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: CTU plans to file strike notice today
Citing anonymous "sources," The Chicago Tribune reported late Tuesday that the CTU will issue a 10-day strike notice on Wednesday.
Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, will hold a news conference today at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the next course of action in contract talks with the Chicago Public Schools, according to a press release sent out this morning. Union leaders have no date for a strike, however, during a special House of Delegates meeting this Thursday (Aug. 30) officials could move a motion to either set a date or terminate the strike authorization altogether.
The CTU did not confirm the Tribune's report. But CPS Spokeswoman Becky Carroll said she did not think that talks had broken down. "We had another meeting today. There was no indication given that they would be issuing a strike notice tomorrow, and talks have been continuing to move forward," she said.
She also put out a statement, saying the district will be ready should a strike occur.
"Students can't afford to be removed from their classroom at a time when they're starting to make progress with the Full School Day," Carroll said in a statement. "They belong in school with their teachers, which is why we need to stay at the table and keep negotiating, every day if needed, until we reach a fair resolution as a strike would only hurt our kids."
The notice is a legal step that must be taken before a strike. The union can call a strike anytime after 10 days. The next step would be to set a strike date. The earliest day the union could strike would be Sept. 10, about a week after the start of regular track schools.
Many expected the strike notice to be issued on Friday or Saturday to delay the start of next week. But last week, union officials said they were making progress and that negotiations were in full swing. It is unclear what, if anything, has changed.
According to a factsheet issued by the union, the union and CPS are still far apart on several issues, including compensation, contribution to health care and recall rights of laid off teachers.
Most high school graduates from Chicago who attend the city's community colleges increase their odds of earning a bachelor's degree, according to a study that challenges a belief that two-year colleges are often dead ends for students who could have aimed higher. That argument draws from the book Crossing the Finish Line, which said social mobility is at risk if too many disadvantaged but otherwise qualified students are pushed toward community colleges. (Inside Higher Ed)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ordered the Chicago Public Schools to block access by teachers, students and others to the Substance website — www.substancenews.net — from inside all 660 Chicago public schools, and from the school system's central and "network" offices. (Substance News)
IN THE NATION
At the Republican National Convention came from Gov. Chris Christie, of New Jersey, slammed teacher unions, saying they were "just too powerful. Real teacher tenure reform that demands accountability and ends the guarantee of a job for life regardless of performance would never happen. For the first time in 100 years with bipartisan support, we did it." American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten fired back at Christie on Twitter. "Christie evidently believes teachers should be seen but not heard—they may be important, but not their views about what they need to help kids," she tweeted. (Education Week)