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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In the News: Three-quarters of CPS over class size limits
“Apples to Apples,” an independent investigation of Chicago Public Schools data, found that 76 percent of CPS elementary schools had entire grades above the recommended class size limit set by CPS in 2011. CPS’ recommended quota allocations on class size are 28 maximum students per teacher in grades Kindergarten – 2nd and 31 maximum students per teacher in grades 3-8.
The investigation by Raise Your Hand Illinois also found that 44 percent of schools had one to two grades above the recommended limits, 21 percent had three to four grades above the recommended limits, and 11 percent had five or more grades above the recommended limits. According to a study by independent research from the Editorial Projects in Education, by 2010, all but 15 states had laws restricting the number of students that may be included in a general education classroom, in some or all grades. Illinois was not one of the states to impose class size restrictions, however, the Apples to Apples data shows that CPS class size averages were significantly above the Illinois state average class size range of 20.9 – 22.9 students per class in grades K-8.
A chart compiled by Raise Your Hand is attached below. (Cassandra West, press release)
Attempting to quiet critics of its charter expansion plans, Chicago Public Schools officials say they will get tough with privately run charter schools that are failing academically this year and could shut down those that aren't making the grade. CPS is accused by the teachers union and others of failing to invest in those schools even as the number of charter schools grows. (Tribune)
Chicago Public Schools officials on Wednesday unanimously approved a healthier snack and beverage policy that bans the sale of items like Gatorade, energy drinks and whole milk at schools. (NBC Chicago)
Chicago Public Schools will save approximately a half-million dollars in its waste hauling contract following action taken by the Chicago Board of Education Wednesday. (Press release)
A group of parents and community leaders called on the district to offer more alternative educational options like charter campuses. About 50 parents, students and community leaders from the Austin, Lawndale, Englewood, Humboldt Park and Roseland neighborhoods huddled outside the CPS administration building Tuesday evening, bringing attention to failing Chicago schools and asking district officials to replicate the successful ones. (Medill Reports)
IN THE NATION
Admission to one Baltimore public high school depends on whether students have done something so serious a regular district school won't have them anymore: assaulting classmates or staff members, possessing or distributing drugs, or wielding weapons. (Education Week)
Las Vegas, Tampa, and Dallas showed the fastest growth among districts where charter enrollment tops 10 percent, a study says. And, New Orleans public schools still have the highest “market share” of student enrollment in charters, according to the report from the Washington-based National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. (Education Week)
New findings show that money troubles interfere with the academic performance of about one-third of all college students, who report finances as a major source of stress. (The New York Times)