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.
Join the conversation
We encourage our readers to leave comments and engage in dialogue about our stories. But before you do, please check out our "rules of the road."
Recent Notebook Entries
Right Now On Notebook
ISBE needs to lower cutoff scores from 85%. It was raised from 50% to 85%. Which is were the problem is.
Subscribe to catalyst-chicago.org by e-mail
In the News: The tale of a laid-off CPS teacher
CPS teacher Xian Barrett was laid off last week and the story of how it all went down ended up in the Sun-Times. On Sunday, Barrett penned a blog post to share his side. Here's an excerpt: "If I had taught what I taught in Mayor Emanuel’s hometown, I would still be employed. If the children I taught had been rich enough and white enough, I would have continued to collect my paycheck and accolades and they would have been affirmed in all of their accomplishments."
Barrett goes on to write, "I am unemployed and my students are without their teacher today because I chose to teach students of highest need. I chose to actually address the opportunity gaps in our society, and not in theory but in reality supporting impoverished young people of color to fight to improve their own lives and demand to be treated as equals." (Teacher X blog)
PLACING BLAME: Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Sunday pointed a finger at the state's pension crisis in two recent doses of bad financial news: 2,000 Chicago Public Schools layoffs and a decline in the city's bond rating. "This is avoidable in a sense," Emanuel said during an unrelated news conference in response to a question about last week's CPS layoffs, more than 1,000 of which involved teachers. (Chicago Tribune)
NO RETREAT: The Rev. Jesse Jackson and a Chicago Teachers Union representative said on Saturday that work will be done to fight back against the recent layoffs of more than 2,100 Chicago Public Schools employees. (CBS Chicago)
TEACHER STRESS: Teachers have become the punching bags for elites, parents and all who lament the state of American education, writes Jim Nowlan, a member of the Executive Ethics Commission in Illinois, who recently interviewed six Downstate teachers. Asked would they encourage their children to go into teaching, one replied, "Generally, yes, but in Illinois, no." (The News-Gazette)
IN THE NATION
DITCHING THE CANDY SALES: School fundraising is getting more creative, with some schools selling trash bags, just one alternative to the candy-and-gift wrap sales that so many communities hold when school fundraising efforts resume each fall. Some PTAs are going high-tech, using online platforms to solicit and process donations, selling digital images of kids' artwork on coffee mugs or magnets, and hosting scavenger hunts where clues are collected with cellphone photos. And a few school groups have stopped selling products altogether, instead encouraging parents to simply write checks. (Education Week)