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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.

In the News: Culture trumps curriculum: Ed expert

Resurrecting a struggling high school is more about changing culture than curriculum, according to Charles Payne, a University of Chicago professor and affiliate of the Urban Education Institute. Schools should be places where teachers are trusted, students are challenged, and parents are engaged, Payne said Friday at an annual conference hosted by the Education Trust. When that happens, students show up and teachers stick around, and that alone can boost student achievement. (U.S. News)

CPS elementary schools, whether they are run by the district or by charter operators, perform about the same overall: A third are doing great, a third so-so and a third perform poorly, according to an analysis of CPS school ratings that were released Monday. (Catalyst)

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union and some activists are rallied Monday in protest of the city’s plans to close public schools. (WBEZ)

Classes were held Monday in Geneva Community Unit School District 304 after the teachers union agreed to a new contract hours before a scheduled strike. (Tribune)

"The very concept of merit pay is an attack on the nobility of the teaching profession," writes Salvatore Pizzuro. "Should we then provide merit pay to doctors based on the number of patients they keep alive? Would that mean that doctors have less incentive for saving patients if their bonus is not large enough? Can we assume that teachers, who already earn a salary, have no commitment to pupil performance based on their own motivation and commitment? In addition, the concept of merit pay excludes the role of parents and their responsibility for pupil performance." (

Schools are using lunchtime detentions, Saturday schools, alternative schools, and other forms of in-school suspension to keep students on the academic track. (Education Week)

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson said Thursday that the school system’s high truancy rates amount to an educational “crisis,” as D.C. officials disclosed that more than 40 percent of the students at four high schools missed at least a month of school last year because of unexcused absences. (The Washington Post)

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