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The race for City Hall

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

Catalyst Notebook

Friday, January 16, 2015 - 9:39pm

Defying state, CPS will test just 10 percent of schools


CPS officials say that the district will go against the state's testing plans and refuse to give all students the controversial new PARCC exam. Spokesman Bill McCaffrey said Friday evening that district leaders plan to have only 10 percent of schools take the PARCC, the new state-mandated test that is geared to the Common Core standards. McCaffrey called it an expanded pilot and said that the schools taking the PARCC will be representative of the entire district.

Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 9:11am

Take 5: Education assemblies, middle grades to college, Duncan's pro-testing stance

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A diverse group of parents, students, teachers and educational activists came together on Wednesday evening to plan what they are calling "education assemblies." Details are still being worked out, but the idea is to hold two assemblies a year and use a democratic process to develop a progressive education platform. Smaller groups would push the agenda between assemblies. They hope to have the first assembly in late spring.

Monday, January 12, 2015 - 10:51am

Take 5: Meeks to head state board, college credit classes, principal autonomy

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In his first statements after being named chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, Rev. James Meeks said he is open to charters and vouchers, anything that successfully closes the achievement gap. Of course, as chairman of the board of education, he won’t have any real role in passing legislation to get more vouchers or charters.

Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 5:13pm

Emanuel makes big promises for schools in second term


If elected to a second term, Mayor Rahm Emanuel promises that within three years the graduation rate will go up by 15 points to 85 percent, the number of preschool classrooms will triple to 300 and the senior year of high school will be redesigned to include internships and 6,000 students taking City College classes to earn college credit.

Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 8:58am

Take 5: Rahm's early childhood non-news and competing PARCC letters

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Seven weeks ahead of Chicago’s mayoral election -- and about a week after his campaign started airing commercials touting his record on early childhood education -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a press conference Tuesday to announce federal funding for the city’s Head Start programs. But it was hard to find the news: Yes, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did send the city a check for the preschool program, but it has done that every year and for more than a decade the funding has been pretty stable. Also, the city knew it was getting the funding for weeks.

Monday, January 5, 2015 - 10:00am

Take 5: Catching up on the news

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CPS leaders are open to handing over the education of the district’s most troubled, vulnerable students to private entities, putting out a Request for Proposals last week that asked for vendors to apply to serve students considered at risk of dropping out who are as young as 6th grade.

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