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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Laptops would help with typing skills. The problem always seemed to be the poor wireless connections.
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In the News: History of violence on Safe Passage routes
As thousands of students made their first trek Monday to new schools using Safe Passage routes, a Sun-Times analysis shows those routes may not be so safe. Chicago Police data show 213 people were wounded by gunfire, and another 49 people were murdered during the last school year within a block of the routes used by students whose schools have been closed.
BUDGET VOTE: Chicago school officials will vote Wednesday on a $5.58 billion budget that promises teacher and program cuts and has generated additional criticism. The district's budget has been panned by The Civic Federation, a watchdog group; the bipartisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability; and Access Living, a disability rights group. (Tribune)
LESS FOR TEACHERS, MORE FOR CHARTERS: CPS is projecting a reduction in salaries (both teachers and education support personnel) of $148.8 million in FY2014, with nearly 60 percent of that reduction coming from teacher salaries, according to an analysis of Chicago Public Schools proposed 2014 fiscal year budget by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. These cuts are made solely to salaries of teachers who teach at non-charter CPS schools (i.e. neighborhood, magnet, and selective K-12 schools). The District is also projecting a reduction in non-teaching staff salaries of $37 million. CPS achieved both of these savings by laying off over 1,500 teachers and education support staff. Charter school funding will go up by $80 million, or 16.5 percent, from last year.
TOO HOT: Chicago flirted with record high temperatures Tuesday, causing some schools without air conditioning to cancel or close early for the day. (Sun-Times)
IN THE NATION
STRIKE LOOMS: Seattle Public Schools has notified families to prepare for a possible strike by Seattle teachers. School district officials emailed and called parents Tuesday, saying that the district and teachers still have not reached an agreement on a new teachers contract. In a vote Monday, teachers rejected the district’s latest contract offer. (The Seattle Times)
ONLINE TEST SCORES: Parents in New York will be able to log on to see how their children did on the new Common Core reading and math tests. (The New York Times)
PRACTICING DECEPTION: Kenneth Zeichner, a professor of teacher education at the University of Washington, Seattle, and professor emeritus in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, writes: "Our federal government supports a practice of putting the least-prepared teachers in the highest-need classrooms — classrooms that are most often filled with children from low-income families, English language learners, students with disabilities and students of color. There are powerful players in the education reform world who are advocating for the Obama administration and Congress to maintain a federal policy that promotes this practice." (The Washington Post)