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College and careers

An overhaul of the district’s career education programs seeks to make classes more challenging and put career-track students on the path to higher ed, but many schools have lost programs, and fewer students are participating overall.

In the News: Aldermen want charter moratorium

A group of aldermen is calling for a moratorium on new charter schools starting in 2014 in Chicago, arguing it doesn't make sense to add new charter seats at a time the city is considering closing public schools that don't have enough students, the Tribune reports.

TARGETED FOR CLOSURE: The Chicago Teachers Union called the 129 schools still on the list for possible closure an "unprecedented attack [that] targets only schools in Black and Latino neighborhoods—especially the ones in which resources are few."

PARING DOWN: Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, announcing that she has officially shaved the school closing list by agreeing to some of the recommendations of the Commission on School Utilization and taking heed of the feedback at community meetings, said she used nine criteria to remove schools, including ones that are high-achieving, have more than 600 students and are more than a mile from another school that can accept them. (Catalyst)

CLEVELAND AND CHICAGO: "The entire Cleveland school district, which Barbara Byrd-Bennett led, is smaller than the CPS closings list." (@SethLevin)

CONFLICT OF INTEREST: The day before Chicago Public Schools was set to release the list of schools in danger of closing, a group of parents asked the CPS Inspector General of Chicago Public Schools to investigate the district’s closing process. Parents 4 Teachers, which has strong ties to the Chicago Teachers Union, filed a complaint alleging conflict of interest, saying the district is motivated to close schools not by a budget deficit but by a desire to expand charter schools. (ctu.net)

WEST SIDE VOWS TO FIGHT: Residents of the West Side, where 16 elementary schools now must make the case they should not be closed in June, vowed not to give up the fight. “No schools closing,” “save our schools,” shouted folks from the Austin-North Lawndale network who were crowded into the House of Prayer Church of God in Christ.  (Sun-Times)

FINES FOR CHARTERS: The Chicago Teachers Pension Fund is seeking a change in state law that would expand the number of charter school teachers who are required to participate, and also allow the fund to levy steep fines on charter schools that are late in handing over teachers’ payments toward pension savings. (Catalyst)

LIFE AND DEATH AT HARPER HIGH: This weekend and next, Feb. 15-17 and Feb. 22-24, the public radio show "This American Life" will devote two full episodes to the violence affecting Harper High School in Chicago. Last school year, 29 current and recent Harper students were shot. Twenty-one were wounded; eight died. The special episodes begin airing the same day President Obama travels to Chicago to talk about urban gun violence. (thisamericanlife.org)

IN THE NATION
VOCABULARY REQUIREMENTS: Children who enter kindergarten with a small vocabulary don't get taught enough words—particularly, sophisticated academic words—to close the gap, according to the latest in a series of studies by Michigan early-learning experts. (Education Week)

PRESCHOOL CRITICS: While supporters herald President Obama’s plan to extend preschool, critics argue that providing universal access could result in federal money being squandered on ineffective programs. (The New York Times)

1 comment

Chris Sexton wrote 1 year 9 weeks ago

School Closings

Under utilization means that there are not enough children in the schools. You cannot take away classrooms and have 1 of each grade. 1 kindergarten-8th grades. There normally would be at least 2 of each grades. Where some Principals have messed up is: they gave unsatisfactory ratings to their veteran teachers of no fault of their own; and bought computers, ipads, ipods, elmos, projectors, and smartboards. But of course no books nor workbooks. So now they stand up and say we are with the 21st century. We have all of these things; but their schools do not have children. They ran some of them off by firing teachers and bunching students into 1 classroom under 1 teacher(replaced by technology) and now fights and no learning happens and the schools are sinking further and further into probation (without resourses). The Principals that did this were not very smart Principals. They never cared about hurting veteran staff and pushing them out of their jobs just to keep up with the 21st century. Now the students still are not learning; the schools is not making the grade. So there is failure. These Principals have not thought to think why this is happening to them. You do not do people wrong and think that wrong is not going to come back to you. If fairness had been in the deal then things would have been better for some. Yes now these students deserve more than computer labs. They have those now; and the school is still on probation. Schools that have been on probation on and on and on, need to come off. The students need to be shifted to a better environment so they can learn. A school where they do have libraries; also. A school where the Principal is compassionate with their staff (especially veteran teachers)' and allow those teachers to do their jobs. Not just coming around to classrooms to watch you teach and video you and I am going to fire you and hire someone else. That is not what educating children is about. Educating children is about letting my teachers educate the children. People can't work under Principal pressure of firing a teacher just because I can. I am the boss and out you go. A Principal like that is not a good Principal. It is not about hiring and firing. Those teachers are the ones in the trenches. They are the ones who have to teach and motivate the students. Let them do their jobs. So yes; students will be better leaving from the schools that have continued to sink, to one that balances technology, simple teaching; and has the resources to get the children where they need to be. Children need to know how to apply. Not just peck on an ipad; ipod or elmo. They need to know how to do hands on. Some Principals just have not run their schools correctly. A good leader respectfully man their ship. Works with their parents and staff. Is not selfish.

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