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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George seems like a decent guy ...giving money with out the Bill Gates and Obama hoops dog and pony show that they want!!
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In the News: Clout opened door to spot at Payton Prep
Greg Hinz at Crain's reports on how potential GOP gubernatorial candidate and wealthy venture capitalist Bruce Rauner used his clout to get his daughter into Walter Payton College Prep High School by placing a call to former CPS chief Arne Duncan, according to sources with first-hand knowledge of the matter. Rauner owned a suburban home and his daughter could have attended wealthy New Trier High.
PROTESTS AND BOYCOTTS: The school closing debate led to dueling protests Wednesday morning outside Chicago Public Schools headquarters. Students from various area high schools boycotted the second day of standardized testing to protest the role of testing as a factor in schools landing on the school closure list. A group called Charter Parents United chanted, "Our child, our choice, hear our voice," saying they wanted equal funding for charter schools and for the district to hear their voices too. (Tribune)
STUDENTS WALK OUT: Dozens of Chicago students boycotted a required standardized test on Wednesday in protest of high stakes testing and the city’s plans to close 54 schools as part of deficit reduction measures. The walkout is the latest in a series of community and union protests of the March 21 announcement. (MSNBC)
"UNDER-RESOURCED, OVER-TESTED': About 100 high school students on Wednesday skipped the second day of a mandatory state test to march on Chicago Public Schools headquarters. "We're under-resourced, over-tested, and we're fed up with the policies that are put in place by CPS officials," said Brian Stirgus, a Robeson High School junior. The test boycott, organized by Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools, attacked what the group said was unnecessary testing. (DNAInfo)
CHARTER EXPANSION: CPS board members approved Wednesday the expansion of several charter networks but, in an unusual occurrence for an appointed board that usually accepts all of the administration’s recommendations, the proposals did not all earn unanimous votes. (Catalyst)
POVERTY GRANT EXPLOSION: Across Illinois, the state counted some 1 million low-income students — more than twice the federal numbers — in calculating poverty payments to districts, a Tribune review of school finance data shows. Those numbers, in turn, have prompted skyrocketing poverty grant expenditures totaling nearly $10 billion over the past decade — money that also goes to the wealthiest school districts in the state, including Arlington Heights-based District 59.
SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS: Two Harper High School students, Deonte Tanner and Brittney Knight, are winners this year of the prestigious Gates Millennium scholarship, awarded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One thousand needy minority students are receiving the scholarship across the country this week; 54,000 applied. (WBEZ)
IN THE NATION
LANGUAGE FAILURE: More than 20,000 English-learners in California's public schools are not receiving language instruction and the state department of education is failing in its role to ensure that schools educate such students, alleges a lawsuit filed today by the American Civil Liberties Union. (Education Week)
A DROPOUT DROPS IN: Mark Wahlberg, one of the world’s most successful high school dropouts, stopped by T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria on Wednesday morning to encourage students to stay in school. The multimillionaire Hollywood producer, actor, former rapper and model dropped out of high school in the ninth grade. But now, the 41-year-old father of four is pursuing his diploma through an online credit-recovery program. (The Washington Post)