The historic closing of 49 elementary schools in Chicago left many parents bitter and feeling left out as they try to get involved in new schools. Yet parent engagement is essential for school improvement, and principals are faced with the challenge of building trust at schools that scored poorly on surveys of parent involvement.
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Laptops would help with typing skills. The problem always seemed to be the poor wireless connections.
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In the News: AUSL's turnarounds questioned
While the Academy for Urban School Leadership has 'turned around' several failing Chicago Public Schools, some critics say improved test scores don't tell the whole story, the Tribune is reporting.
Test scores increased remarkably in AUSL's 12 "turnaround" schools in the first year or two under the group's management but then leveled out, with many ending up on par or even below comparable neighborhood schools.
The Chicago Teachers Union released a statement in response to a Better Government Association report about the Chicago Public School (CPS) employees’ use of unused sick days. “The BGA report on unused sick day pay offs unfairly characterizes teachers and paraprofessionals as abusing the system," the statement said. "It is not an abuse. Teachers are given only 10 sick days per year. They are not paid for maternity leave and therefore must either accumulate unused sick days or schedule their births during the summer. Our members only become eligible for this benefit if they work 20 or more years or reach age 65; and, most of them do not get the huge payouts that the top Board officials have received."
As the Chicago Public Schools begin what are certain to be contentious contract talks with the Chicago Teachers Union, Mayor Rahm Emanuel emerged as the star of a new online video criticizing the union and promoting charter schools, whose teachers mostly are not unionized. (Chicago News Cooperative)
IN THE STATE
Gov. Pat Quinn has named seven people to a state commission that will oversee a privately funded scholarship program designed to help undocumented immigrants pay for college. (Tribune)
Both students and school officials call the Springfield School District’s program to put boys and girls in separate classrooms a success, saying they’ve seen the benefits of fewer disciplinary problems and improved test scores. (State Journal Register)
IN THE NATION
The Chester Upland district’s fiscal woes – so severe that it cannot afford to pay teachers past the end of this month – are compounded by a charter school with which it shares its financing. (The New York Times)
Parents and educators are expressing strong concern about the central role of standardized testing in the assessment and overall education of their children and students. (Texas Tribune/New York Times)
The average scores of graduating teacher-candidates on state-required licensing exams are uniformly higher, often significantly, than the passing scores states set for such exams, according to an Education Week analysis of preliminary data from a half-dozen states. (Education Week)
Only 48 out of the 3,191 teachers evaluated under the Buffalo, N.Y., school district's existing system in 2010-11 were considered "inadequate" and in need of an improvement plan. (Buffalo News)
"To address the low achievement of black males, schools must be willing to accept that there are ways of looking at the world, modes of communication, and approaches to teaching and learning that are unique to black males," writes Christopher Emdin, assistant professor for science education at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, N.Y. , in Phi Delta Kappan, a content partner of Education Week.
L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy has called for changes to laws that protect the rights of teachers accused of heinous acts, saying they should be subject to faster dismissal and the loss of pay, benefits and pensions. (Los Angeles Times)