July 24, 2014

This week, the Chicago Board of Education approved a $5.8 billion operating budget for the 2014-2015 school year. With a full year of student-based budgeting underway, this budget represents an effort to stabilize a challenged system and presents an opportunity to prioritize funding in the classroom.

October 13, 2011

Tamoura Hayes started high school with big dreams for college that she already knew would be tough to reach. “C’mon,” she said. “I go to Marshall High School.”

Obviously, Marshall’s long-standing academic failings weren’t lost on Tamoura, who went on to say that she “wasn’t even supposed to be here.” Marshall was her last option. Her family couldn’t afford the private school that was her first choice, and she wasn’t offered a slot at Raby, one of the newer high schools sprouting up on the West Side.  

August 22, 2014

Brandon Davenport scored in the top 3.5 percent on the apprenticeship test he took this spring. Takaia Butler recently graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a B.A. in applied sciences. Timothy King was named valedictorian of his high school class, went on to earn a degree in electrical engineering from Southern Illinois University and has been accepted to graduate school. Malcolm Zeno and Aaron Moore have just successfully completed their first year of apprenticeship school and are well on their way to good careers as union electricians.

July 28, 2014

Jesus Velazquez got caught at school with a marijuana pipe in his backpack. What happened next is exactly what shouldn’t take place if a school district’s goal—or, from a larger perspective, a community’s goal—is to get kids who make dumb mistakes back on track. 

July 09, 2014

The preparation of new teachers is receiving a lot of attention these days. Recently, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released a review of educator preparation programs. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration recently announced its plan to renew efforts to develop a rating system for these programs.

June 04, 2014

When students don't show up for school, it is not only a student problem: It’s also a school and a community problem.

May 21, 2014

Recently, over 400 people attended events in Chicago that were focused on the critical question of what a quality education should look like. Teachers, parents, teacher educators, students and community members came together, to discuss a bold vision for classrooms, schools and larger education systems.

The discussions yielded a wealth of ideas but one strong conclusion: A high-quality education has little resemblance to the “reforms” being carried out in Chicago and elsewhere in the U.S.

May 15, 2014

Having less than three full years under my belt as a principal, and at a neighborhood public school that has been on “probation” since the inception of No Child Left Behind, I’m probably not one who should speak out on the issues raised this week by my colleagues at Blaine and Peterson schools.  Without getting into the politics of these issues, I do see a potential solution that could help improve the Chicago Public Schools. 

May 13, 2014

On a chilly morning last October, more than 200 students gathered in the gymnasium at Westcott Elementary School to participate in a special assembly. Children as young as three years old cheered as, one by one, the school’s Pk-4th grade classes marched across the stage. There, student representatives from each class waited anxiously for the school’s principal to bestow a special placard of the Historically Black College/University (HBCU) that their classes had researched the previous month.  

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