7 More Charters on the Way

January 23, 2014 at 12:55 am 222 comments

Jetson

As I’m sure you’ve heard, CPS voted to approve 7 new charters today, among 17 proposed.

The tribune (intrepid education reporter Noreen) covered the story as shown below.

I remain “charter neutral,” conceptually.  Meaning I am okay with the idea of choice and offering options, especially to families who are surrounded by low performing schools.  When I attended the New Schools fair last year I could fully understand the appeal.   BUT, that is just conceptual.  The current reality of our school district makes the notion of choice and schools competing for students a bit ludicrous.  How long can the Mayor and Board pretend that opening these schools won’t have an impact on neighborhood schools?   I would be much more open to embracing new charters if some kind of strategic plan was laid out and  sense of forthrightness was shown in managing the shift from neighborhood to charter.

Without any hint of a strategy to manage the shifting student population (which is inevitable) it appears that it will be left to chance, to “free market” results.  What can the result be other than less efficient neighborhood schools?  If there is another outcome that doesn’t result in inefficiency, I would love to hear about it.  If the goal is to continue to reduce neighborhood schools with charters, just say it.  Or just have the balls to do it.  Let a charter take over a neighborhood school if some of the charters so are good.  Figure out a plan to shift students that doesn’t let schools dwindle and fester.

Yes, competition can be a good thing.  It works when 2 independent companies or entities compete.  One wins business and the other loses business and the only downside is to the owners of the “losing” business.  But in this case WE (CPS, Chicago, taxpayers) own BOTH the businesses.  If one loses, that results in losses and inefficiency, neither of which we can afford right now.
Show me the strategy, Rahm.

**Original link to Trib story here:**

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-amid-protests-cps-considers-up-to-17-new-charter-schools-20140122,0,1446141.story?page=1

By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah Tribune reporter8:54 p.m. CST, January 22, 2014

While Chicago’s Board of Education on Wednesday approved just seven of 17 proposals for new charter schools, the growth of privately run schools in the city remains on a pace sought by advocates.

Five of the seven schools that got the go-ahead are scheduled to open up this fall, at the same time as 10 charter schools previously approved by the board. So the rejection of 10 charter proposals Wednesday was not seen as a setback by the charter community.

“It’s a somewhat modest number, but it’s good,” said Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. “It’s progress.”

With the 15 new charters opened this past August, Broy said the district would still be on target to meet its goal to open 60 new charters between 2012 and 2017.Chicago Public Schools has promoted the growth of charters as one way to fix the city’s troubled educational system because they can offer a range of innovative learning environments and offer parents more choices.

But charter expansion efforts this year have met with especially strong criticism in large part because they follow the decision last year to close nearly 50 district-run schools because of underenrollment, in addition to tens of millions of dollars in budget cuts at schools.

CPS has made clear it intended to be conservative in charter growth this year, and on Wednesday again stressed that only a handful of the 10 schools approved earlier appear on track to open in the fall.

The board Wednesday followed the recommendation of CPS staff to approve seven of the 17 proposals. Only three of the schools approved Wednesday will be located in communities with overcrowded schools, which CPS had said would be target areas for new charters this year.

None of the four district-recommended charters in “non-priority” areas passed unanimously, with one board member, Carlos Azcoitia, voting against all four. Those schools are slated for communities on the South and West sides, which saw large scale school closures this past summer.

“This is a very difficult decision, and it’s very difficult for me,” said board member Andrea Zopp who voted against one of the seven recommended proposals. “I think we have some real challenges. It is hard to balance what we’ve done already this year with opening schools that are in communities where we have said we have too many seats. I struggle with that significantly.”

Zopp said voted for three other charters planning to locate outside CPS’ “priority communities” on the Northwest and Southwest sides because they had demonstrated strong community support.

Right now, 126 of the district’s 658 schools are charters. Charter schools can employ non-union teachers, and the Chicago Teachers Union has led protests against charter expansion, culminating with an overnight vigil outside CPS headquarters that ended early Wednesday.

Ald. Emma Mitts, 37th, a charter proponent, spoke passionately about her desire for a Noble Street Charter campus in her neighborhood. Ald. Howard Brookins, 21st, spoke out in favor of a charter that was part of a play by mayoral ally the Rev. Charles Jenkins to redevelop the old Johnson Products Co. site on 85th Street..CPS officials said they settled on recommending seven charters as opposed to all 17 based on the quality of applicants, strong track records, solid finances and evidence they could meet additional requirements.

Noble Street Charter Schools, a favorite of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s, won approval for two new high schools which will increase its number of campuses in the city to 16. Concept Schools, which has a high school in Rogers Park and opened two campuses this year, won approval for two more.Intrinsic Schools, which opened its first campus this year, needs to meet further requirements involving academics and other factors before getting final approval for a Fall 2015 starting date for the new high school it wants to open.

Bishop James Dukes, part of group of South Side pastors who applied for a new school through the Connected Futures Academy charter network, which targets troubled youths and dropouts, made clear his disappointment with the board’s rejection of that group’s proposal.“It’s a sad day in Chicago that of all the applications you have the usual organizations being approved, none of the charters (that were approved) are lead African American organizations and yet all of them are going to operate primarily in African American communities,” Dukes said.

The board followed a recommendation made earlier in the day from Chicago Public Schools staff to move ahead with seven of the 17 proposed charter schools.The board approved proposals from the following charter operators:

•    Concept Schools: two schools at 5401 S. Western Avenue and 8522 S. Lafayette Ave.;

•    Intrinsic Schools: one school at 4540 W. Belmont Ave. in first year before moving to another unspecified Northwest Side location;

•    Noble: two schools, at 5321 W. Grand Ave. and 17 N. State Street;

•    Chicago Education Partnership: one school, with grades K-6 at 400 N. Leamington Ave., grades 7-8 at 415 N. Laramie Ave.;

•    Great Lakes Academy: one school, location to be determined.

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222 Comments Add your own

  • 1. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 23, 2014 at 1:57 am

    ‘But in this case WE (CPS, Chicago, taxpayers) own BOTH the businesses. If one loses, that results in losses and inefficiency, neither of which we can afford right now.’

    The BIG loss will be to children and will set them back even further. Charters were suppose to narrow the achievement gap~it’s wider than ever in Chicago~Charters aren’t the secret sauce.

  • 2. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 23, 2014 at 1:59 am

    Charters are OK if I’m a parent attempting to find a better school for my child.

    Charters are bad if I’m a CPS teacher?

    Charters are exactly what for the common taxpayer?
    -Distributing public money to politically connected school owner/operators instead of to teachers and by default a socialist union that associates with anti-American rabel rousers..
    -Reducing the pay/status of teachers employed by Charters.
    -I think tax neutral though????

  • 3. Cheryl  |  January 23, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Please read this post:
    http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-public-fools/2014/01/9-things-the-mayor-doesnt-want-you-to-know-about-charter-expansion-in-chicago/

    It will explain much about the secretive plan of the mayor.

  • 4. SickOfEntitlements  |  January 23, 2014 at 9:18 am

    This is a Double Standard and I’m not sure who to support here.. In one way, Charter Schools SUCK!.. there aren’t art programs in most of them and they are funded by our tax dollars. On the otherhand, depending on where you own your home, the quality of your childs education will be affected. Unfortunately, even in the County Schools, if you do not live in certain neighborhoods, your child doesn’t really receive art, music as a strong class anyway. You get it as if it’s some sort of Recess or something. No this isn’t due to the parents complaining. believe it or not, even in the worst neighborhoods, parents are demanding more. Yes the neighborhoods are worse but why? because the jobless rates in areas where the higher tax bracket homes aren’t available. It isn’t because they don’t apply for these “GREAT JOBS” it’s because they are handed out to Friends and Family of those who are already in these said jobs, not allowing anyone else to rise, or move to a better neighborhood so that their child can receive a better education. .

    Half of the people here GRIPING about “ANOTHER CHARTER SCHOOL” Are entitled. Your child gets to go to a school where the teachers actually CARE about the students.. Unfortunately we have BAD TEACHERS As well.MANY of them just looking for a paycheck just like some parents use school as a babysitter. Not all parents are like this. Any school outside of WHERE YOU LIVE SUCK!!! …

    If you don’t like the Charter School, You have the right to continue to send your child to Lincoln Park, Jones College Prep, any of the IB Schools that YOU and YOUR FAMILY Are ENTITLED to ATTEND because YOU Live in the neighborhood..

    Others who ALSO PAY TAXES Want a decent education for their child as well. They aren’t doing anything that YOU ALL have done to make sure that only YOUR CHILD Receive the best School Education that YOUR TAX DOLLARS can Afford.

    you all sound like someone is doing something to YOU! .. Half of the parents are Working their AZZ’s off just to keep food on the table because this CITY IS STILL SEGREGATED.. This is why you only see 1 COLOR when the Firemen come.. You only see Predom 1 Color when Police officers come.. you see 18 yr olds Running Park Districts.. This isn’t New News.. No one gets ahead here but YOU..

    I’m a DR.. I can go anywhere but you all sound like a bunch of EntitleD people who can’t stand the fact that someone else other than YOUR CHILD may receive some sort of better education..

    Our teachers deserve more but come on.. They receive the highest paid in the NATION and not all of them give a Ratz behind about the students that they are teaching at these undesireable schools. No one is going out of their way, not even the principles on their $140K Salary! ..

    Unfortunately you have to do something better here.. Adding more funding to the schools ? What would that do if no one cares..

    My children are in Selective Prep Schools but we had to spend every waking hour STRESSED OUT during their 8th Grade Years hoping that they would get one of the 100 open spots that weren’t filled by your Children

    You all sound upset that someone else could receive an opporotunity that was almost Given to you from Slavery Days..
    LEts keep it real here..

    as long as your children are getting their Amazing Education in the Chicago School System, by all means Celebrate that someone else who also pays taxes and didn’t receive what you have all along is finally getting a chance!

  • 5. Elliott Mason  |  January 23, 2014 at 9:26 am

    I would be less hostile to charters if they actually closed the ones that don’t work — but they don’t. Charters get advantages (in funding, in ability to kick out kids they don’t do well with, in paying teachers less and treating them like garbage in the worst cases) that neighborhood schools are denied, and then neighborhood schools are told to ‘compete’ with them. And even when the neighborhood schools do better, the widely-known ‘common knowledge’ is that neighborhood schools are riot-laden pits of despair and charters are amazing.

    From a CPS parent’s point of view, charters are exhausting: even finding out which ones are where, what their application requirements/dates are, and how to find out if I want to put my kid in them, is a multi-week full-time job.

    I’d love to see a charter try to be a neighborhood school — take everyone (interested) within an attendance boundary and really build community. Radical proposal time: have overlapping maps of standard-CPS neighborhood schools and a second grid of charter neighborhoods — each system guarantees admission to anyone within their boundaries, and then can lottery in people outside it if they have spare seats.

    Good for parents: two guaranteed-admission schools, less scrambling around applying 30 places to try to get 1 maybe. Good for neighborhood school: more level playing field for competition. Good for charter: economically- and racially-diverse student bodies lead to BETTER education, not worse, and families that live close are better able to volunteer.

  • 6. Elliott Mason  |  January 23, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I would be the first to stand up and cheer a charter that actually educates the children of a poor neighborhood WELL … but very few of them are doing it. The ones that are doing best with poor students are very far away, requiring the parents to arrange insane transportation distances, sometimes three different commutes for three different kids.

    Putting you rkid in CPS should not be a full-time job — if it is, it means only the parents who can spare that amount of time can keep their kids in good CPS schools.

  • 7. HSObsessed  |  January 23, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I watched the Chicago Tonight coverage of the charter hearings yesterday and noticed that the people interviewed who spoke against charter school openings were white, appeared affluent, and spoke in abstract, theoretical terms about the subject, whereas the people who spoke in favor of it were people who wanted the schools in the communities where they lived, to send their kids there, to strengthen their neighborhood. So it seems like there’s certainly demand for the product. Charters are perceived to be better – whether they are or not, isn’t the issue.

    However, I question whether the market for charter schools in Chicago is saturated already. There’s a new school fair this coming weekend that will have dozens of charter schools in attendance, trying to entice applicants, most for the coming school year, I think. Last summer, 45 elementary charter schools and 39 charter high schools still had openings for the school year starting a few weeks later. (You can still see the lists on the OAE site:http://www.cpsoae.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=173111&type=d ) That’s more than half of the existing 160ish charters already established. So, when that many charter schools don’t have waiting lists, and likely didn’t even enroll to full capacity, why the heck would we want to open any more of them? It does seem like a misallocation of resources.

  • 8. IB obsessed  |  January 23, 2014 at 10:31 am

    @7 and then there are those robo calls by CPS advertising the charters and the upcoming New Schools expo. Some of the charter landlords have financial ties to Rahm and Byrd-Bennet sits on the board of or even is employed on the side by organizations promoting charters. Um, conflict of interest??? Someone should do an investigative expose of the just who the various CPS officials are in bed with.

  • 9. Chris  |  January 23, 2014 at 11:13 am

    ” Last summer, 45 elementary charter schools and 39 charter high schools still had openings for the school year starting a few weeks later.”

    To be fair, only 4 of those 29 HS had available seats in all 4 class years, and only 11 of the 45 elementaries had available in more than 4 class years, with 14 of them having seats for only one class year. So it wasn’t a situation where half of the charters would have been able to take any given kid who wanted in–they would have had to be the right class year at over 90% of the charters.

    That said, there should be defined metrics that, if the operator doesn’t meet the goals, tested annually (perhaps with a 3 year start up grace period), then they lose the school. And any operator who loses a school goes on probation at their other schools.

  • 10. Chris  |  January 23, 2014 at 11:17 am

    “Some of the charter landlords have financial ties to Rahm ”

    What does that mean? That they’ve made campaign donations?

    If it is campaign donations that you object to, would you want to have any members of an elected school board who received campaign donations from CTU required to recuse themselves from voting on any CTU contracts? Because that is the same sort of ‘conflict of interest’.

    If it’s something else, that’s a bombshell, and would require some evidence.

  • 11. mom2  |  January 23, 2014 at 11:23 am

    @5 – “I’d love to see a charter try to be a neighborhood school — take everyone (interested) within an attendance boundary and really build community. Radical proposal time: have overlapping maps of standard-CPS neighborhood schools and a second grid of charter neighborhoods — each system guarantees admission to anyone within their boundaries, and then can lottery in people outside it if they have spare seats.
    Good for parents: two guaranteed-admission schools, less scrambling around applying 30 places to try to get 1 maybe. Good for neighborhood school: more level playing field for competition. Good for charter: economically- and racially-diverse student bodies lead to BETTER education, not worse, and families that live close are better able to volunteer.” — You are exactly right about this. The only way to know if a Charter school is “better” than a neighborhood school is to place them both in the neighborhood and require both schools to take anyone from the neighborhood that wants to go there. Otherwise, no one can claim that one is better than another.

    However, when a parent doesn’t like their current options and wants more possibilities, they don’t care about anything else. More options gives them hope. If they are willing to take the time to get their kids to and from a school outside their neighborhood, they may gain the benefit of their kids going to school in a better location or with kids that come from families that care about education or have some funds to contribute financially to the school or going to a school with the option of removing disruptive kids, etc. That’s all parents care about. The fact that it could/does hurt their neighborhood school and that it makes it appear like the neighborhood teachers or administration aren’t as good is just irrelevant to them. And the fact that the school itself may offer less qualified teachers really doesn’t enter the picture, either.

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  January 23, 2014 at 11:38 am

    New School Fair info btw:
    http://www.newschoolsnow.org/expo/

  • 13. cpsobsessed  |  January 23, 2014 at 11:43 am

    @HSObsessed, exactly!

    I attended the New School Fair last year. If you walk in, imagining you are a parent from a neighborhood with a very low performing school (especially a high school which we’ve all acknowledged can be scary) and there are all these schools with different themes, all vying for your attention, promising college prep, it’s very enticing.

    Knowing that 1/3 of the charters are Level 1 (and 1/3 Level 2, and 1/3 Level 3) if I am the parent with few options, I now have the chance to get my kid into a school with a 2/3 chance of being better than my neighborhood school. And for high school, a greater guarantee of safety. Conceptually it’s hard to say “we don’t want that for you.”

    On the other hand, it feels weird that CPS is by default admitting “we cant’/don’t know how to fix the neighborhood schools so we’re offering you these other options.” I acknowledge, maybe it is impossible to “fix” some of the neighborhood schools (especially high schools.) But we still need to acknowledge the outcome of inefficiency if the charters continue to grow and have a plan to deal with it.

  • 14. Counterpoint for discussion  |  January 23, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Due to the distrance students have to travel to attend charter schools, isn’t it similiar to removing a child from the home/community environment and placing them into a reeducation camp? The discussion needs to address that the family/community has fallen apart and that the focus should be on fixing the family structure. Schooling is secondary and should remain in the local community so that relationships are built rather than having kids go to schools all over the city and then come back home to their silos to sleep only to repeat the process at 5am the next day.

  • 15. Chris  |  January 23, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Mom2: “However, when a parent doesn’t like their current options and wants more possibilities, they don’t care about anything else.”

    “The fact that it could/does hurt their neighborhood school and that it makes it appear like the neighborhood teachers or administration aren’t as good is just irrelevant to them.”

    The same things could be said about the magnets and selective-enrollment schools run by CPS. If the above were the core of one’s objection to charters (not that it is *your* objection, nor that you even necessarily object mom2), then how do you distinguish bt charters and their cps-run equivalents?

    I, quite honestly, don’t see how one *can* distinguish them, at least as it relates to the effect on neighborhood schools, in a principled fashion. Makes some of the more inflammatory accusations of the pro-charter *parents* seem a little more grounded in reality.

  • 16. SEESandCharterParent  |  January 23, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I don’t think Charters are the answer to all the issues facing public education in Chicago, but I can say that I’m extremely happy with the one my son attends. He has great “specials” (Art, Music, Gym, Language), teachers who know all the kids and care. Excellent differentiation within the classroom. And my son is happy. It’s perfect for him.
    I have another son who attends one of the “top” RCGs in the city. It’s also not the answer to all the issues, but is the right place for him. I think the RGC could learn a few things from the Charter in terms of communications and openness to trying new things.
    Both are excellent schools and we are so happy that we had the choice (luck and good scores) to send each of our kids to the right place for them.
    FWIW, we have a good neighborhood school with an amazing principal, but it is so over crowded, we didn’t consider it a great option for our family.

  • 17. OTdad  |  January 23, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    @13 cpso:
    “CPS is by default admitting “we cant’/don’t know how to fix the neighborhood schools so we’re offering you these other options.” I acknowledge, maybe it is impossible to “fix” some of the neighborhood schools (especially high schools.) ”

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s impossible to “fix” under the current setup.

    The key problem is accountability. CPS cannot hold teachers/students accountable. Bad teachers and bad students can stay comfortably. Teachers’ performance cannot be easily compared because there is no control of what kind of students are in the classroom. Students who have no intention of learning are still entitled to attend school. With charters, CPS can at least hold the school accountable to a certain degree. That’s the only difference that I can see.

  • 18. HSObsessed  |  January 23, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Chris @9, while recognizing your point, I also believe that some of the schools decide themselves to only accept new students at certain grade levels, i.e. only in 9th or 9th/10th grade for high school, because otherwise there’s not enough time for them to become acculturated or for them to benefit from the school’s programs, etc. So the real pictures is probably somewhere in between, is my guess. I also fully recognize that logistics are an issue; it doesn’t help if there are openings in charter schools that are 5 or 10 miles away from your home if you lack transportation options. Still seems like a lot of schools, a lot of openings. In browsing around, I saw an article from spring 2013 in which it was estimated there were 5,000 to 6,000 slots still available in charter schools for fall 2013, after all offers had been made.

  • 19. CPS Parent  |  January 23, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    17. OTdad You’ve got it right – 100% It’s an imperfect solution but charter schools are the escape valve for students (and families who do care about education) where the assigned neighborhood school is populated by miscreants. We know CPS can’t fix those kids (and their parents) but it can prevent them from ruining other student’s lives.

    I think for this model to work best the ratio of “neighborhood” versus charter schools probably needs to be about 30:70. Right now it’s about 80:20, so a long way to go.

  • 20. cpsobsessed  |  January 23, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    so how can CPS go about working charters into the mix in a way that doesn’t create inefficiencies in the neighborhood schools? (That is, draining students in certain neighborhoods, leaving neighborhood schools that can’t will start losing specials, activities, etc as their budgets decline from students leaving? I feel like there has to be a more efficient way to go about it.

  • 21. CPS Parent  |  January 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    20. cpsobsessed Consolidation and by making those “neighborhood” schools bigger. The ideal size for a school (didactic, social, financial) is about 800 or so. I realize that means new buildings for many “neighborhood” schools but this should be the grand scheme and they are sorely needed. I do believe that CPS newer buildings are about that size typically.

  • 22. another cps parent  |  January 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    20 – until they can close down underutilized high schools without consideration of gang territories, there will be no efficiencies.

  • 23. Chris  |  January 23, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    “so how can CPS go about working charters into the mix in a way that doesn’t create inefficiencies in the neighborhood schools?”

    Why is this a concern with Charters, but not with Magnets and SEES? Would the Charter v Neighborhood issue go away if all the Magnets and SEES were closed?

  • 24. CPS Parent  |  January 23, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    No, of course not, but the need/demand for Magnets and SEES will fade as charters become the norm. Some charters will cater to more academically advanced students. In “normal” (non-urban) school systems there are no selective or magnet schools. Think of any of the well-to-do suburban districts around Chicago.

  • 25. CPS Parent  |  January 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    22. another cps parent – the gang issue is ludicrous. Gangs in Chicago are so unorganized that they are literally only a few blocks in size and they shift boundaries. Are schools currently shifting their attendance boundaries on a regular basis to match?
    Are gangs matching their territories to school boundaries?

  • 26. Chris  |  January 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    HSO: ” I also believe that some of the schools decide themselves to only accept new students at certain grade levels”

    I have no basis to doubt that, but haven’t looked for evidence either way.

    ” I saw an article from spring 2013 in which it was estimated there were 5,000 to 6,000 slots still available in charter schools for fall 2013, after all offers had been made”

    How many seats were still ‘available’ at all the neighborhood schools, even after the closures? Using the same class sizes as used to calculate the 5-6k charter seats, and Price is Right rules for ‘overfull’ classes.

    Charters are 20% of CPS schools, so they would have to be substantially more than 20% of ‘empty’ seats for it to mean anything much–so, unless the rest of CPS had fewer than ~15,000 ‘empty’ seats (meaning that the district as a whole didn’t have anything close to enough capacity to place all Chicago kids going to private school–there are more than 20k Chicago kids going to private schools, which is possible, but I doubt), then the Charter ‘empty’ seats would be right in line.

  • 27. Chris  |  January 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    ” In “normal” (non-urban) school systems there are no selective or magnet schools. ”

    Sure there are. There’s Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy, IMSA, Elgin Gifted and Talented Academy, etc etc.

    The “non-urban” school system where I grew up had and has a separate ‘gifted’ elementary program (then it was co-located with an alternative school, now co-located with a neighborhood elementary). It is *absolutely* common to have ‘selective’ schools–tho rare that they start in K or 1. Magnet (that are not selective) are, indeed, rare, but that’s as much about district size (how many districts have the 10+ Elems that would be required to make it make even vague sense?) as anything else.

  • 28. HSObsessed  |  January 23, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    @26, the difference is that the city leaders fully understand that there are far too many empty seats at neighborhood schools: That’s why they originally proposed closing 200 of them due to underenrollment, but after all the protests, compromised and closed only 50. Perhaps there are empty seats in charter schools in equal proportion to the number of schools left in the CPS system (including charters); however, the city leaders are paradoxically the number of charters and by creating more capacity in the system, increasing the number of empty seats in the future, both at neighborhood schools from which the charter kids are drawn, as well as potentially empty seats at the new charter schools. Doesn’t make sense.

  • 29. PatientCPSMom  |  January 23, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Can I ask what has happened to CPS opening/replicating successful schools? Why are there no Disney 3’s or LaSalle 3’s or Inter-American 2’s slated to open? CPS itself has successful models it could replicate including Skinner West. Why is no one funding this expansion? I believe in replication of schools with strong acedemic success as a model for expansion. I am not anti-Charter but when you have models that work you should look there first. Let’s get this discussion on the BOE docket!!

  • 30. HSObsessed  |  January 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    @29 – That’s a very good question. I think part of the answer is that it’s cheaper for CPS/the city to allow more charters to open. Although funding for the child follows him/her to a charter school, it’s not the full amount (anyone know the exact numbers?). The charter school itself is responsible for making up any shortfall in money needed to operate. If the demand for more charters by the public is the loudest voice, and the city saves money by allowing more to open, seems like a win/win politically.

  • 31. IB obsessed  |  January 23, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    The same billionaires and hedge fund managers that bankroll Stand For Children PAC also were major contributors and supporters of Rahm’s campaign.

    http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=1948

    http://www.progressivefox.com/?p=5364

    That’s not a bombshell or illegal, but it doesn’t pass the smell test, and makes it dubious that Rahm’s charter expansion is really “for the kids”.

    Investors who put up money for charter schools can double that money in 7 years, with a 39% tax credit from a federal program ‘New Markets’.

    Rahm’s friend Levy’s charter Be the Change was one of the 7 approved by the Board. What a coincidence.

  • 32. IB obsessed  |  January 23, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    The same billionaires and hedge fund managers that bankroll Stand For Children PAC also were major contributors and supporters of Rahm’s campaign.
    http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=1948

    That’s not a bombshell or illegal, but it doesn’t pass the smell test, and makes it dubious that Rahm’s charter expansion is really “for the kids”.
    Investors who put up money for charter schools can double that money in 7 years, with a 39% tax credit from a federal program ‘New Markets’.
    Rahm’s friend Levy’s charter Be the Change was one of the 7 approved by the Board. What a coincidence.
    Leave a Reply

  • 33. Chris  |  January 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    HSO: “the difference is that the city leaders fully understand that there are far too many empty seats at neighborhood schools: That’s why they originally proposed closing 200 of them due to underenrollment, but after all the protests, compromised and closed only 50.”

    I don’t think you are being cynical enough–I think that they ‘proposed’ (it was actually just a consideration list) 200 with an actual target of around 50 (ie, that was not the compromise, but the real goal). If you want to get the largest closing of schools in US history done, you start out with the ‘possibility’ that it will be much worse. Then, when it is “only” 50, they get to say “look, we saved 150 schools”. It’s about building the narrative.

    Still, I’m all for ascribing bad intents to ‘city leaders’ wrt the move toward charters. I have a hard time believing that they would be this absolutely ham-fisted about it were it all about making CPS better for 80% of the kids (10% already have it pretty good, and another 10% would get left behind in one way or another, even if the charter thing really worked as well as the sales pitch sez it does).

  • 34. Chris  |  January 23, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    HSO: “Although funding for the child follows him/her to a charter school, it’s not the full amount (anyone know the exact numbers?).”

    It looks like the SBB amount is ~15-20% less, BUT that ignores any amounts that are transferred to the charters on the ‘capital’ side of the ledger.

    Of interest is that some of the charter operators have presentations about how the existence and (alleged) preferential budgeting treatment of magnet and SE schools is inequitable to the charter school kids. See:

    http://www.chicagointl.org/assets/files/Student-based%20budgeting%20presentation%2003%2012%2013v2.pdf

  • 35. Chris  |  January 23, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    “[campaign contributions to the Mayor] doesn’t pass the smell test, and makes it dubious that Rahm’s charter expansion is really “for the kids”

    If one buys into that, that is a very persuasive argument AGAINST an elected school board–the board members would have significant campaign costs and thus their every decision ‘wouldn’t pass the smell test’ when it was favorable to one or more of their benefactors (which, for some members, would certainly include the CTU and for some would certainly include charter school operators), which would be virtually every decision. We wouldn’t be able to trust the motivations of any of 7 (or 9 or 11) people, whose untoward motivations would be that much more difficult to track. We’d have to assume that each one of them is voting in favor of their supporters interests, instead of ‘for the kids’, since the kids were not their major financial (or door knocking) backers.

  • 36. junior  |  January 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    @31 IBObsessed said:

    “Rahm’s friend Levy’s charter Be the Change was one of the 7 approved by the Board. What a coincidence.”

    You are incorrect. Be the Change was rejected. Well, there goes that argument.

    Source:
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/25100782-418/board-of-ed-approves-7-new-chicago-charter-schools.html

  • 37. junior  |  January 23, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    @35 Chris

    Right on — been saying that for a while. The average Chicagoan is not going to be engaged in CPS Board election. That election would be decided by monied special interests (charters, CTU, vendors) that will have adult wishes addressed instead of children’s needs.

  • 38. IB obsessed  |  January 23, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    How about public financing of the BOE candidate campaigns?

    Ok, I was mistaken about Be the Change. However, the charter for which Rahm’s other friend will be landlord was approved.
    Concept in Chatham. Y’all really think there’s not something in this for Rahm and cronies?

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/24960566-418/landlords-for-2-proposed-chicago-charter-schools-have-ties-to-emanuel.html

    Chris, with your line of reasoning it would be better if the US Congress was appointed by the President. A better way to protect political integrity of a legislative body is to expose the corrupt members and vote them out. And have public financing of campaigns.

  • 39. Chris  |  January 23, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    “And have public financing of campaigns.”

    Yes, absolutely. There are a *ton* of other changes that *could* be made to make governance better, but then (as my mother, the public school teacher, always said) if wishes were horses then beggars would ride. We ain’t getting an elected BOE with public financing unless the perfect NCAA bracket is picked by the imaginary “CPS BOE Public Financing Trust”.

  • 40. junior  |  January 23, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Or as Madonna would say — “yeah, and maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt.”

  • 41. PatientCPSMom  |  January 23, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    @30 Agreed. I wonder if there really is a demand for more charters or just a demand for more quality schools by parents? By CPS taking the charter route only to expand choice they are not providing the highest quality school choices for our kids. The expansion of schools like Disney, LaSalle, and Skinner have proven CPS can replicate their success. If expanding these schools cost more it might be because these replicate CPS schools provide things that charters don’t – like robust art and technology classes and real access to second language. Seems like these replicated CPS schools have ISAT scores that are well above the charters. If the Mayor could find a Charter operator that could duplicate these type of successes then maybe more people would buy into Charters.

  • 42. junior  |  January 23, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    @38 IB obsessed

    Actually, with your line of reasoning, that would be more like the American people voting for all the President’s cabinet members and officers of the agencies.

    When was the last time an election for judges was decided by an informed electorate? It’s all about money and machines and political allegiances.

  • 43. Chris  |  January 23, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    junior: “When was the last time an election for judges was decided by an informed electorate? It’s all about money and machines and political allegiances.”

    Whaaaaaaaaat????? Are you suggesting that people aren’t informed about the judicial elections? I’ve never heard of such a thing!!

    You forgot about “using an Irish name on the ballot”. It still matters.

  • 44. Patricia  |  January 23, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    CPSO I agree that adding charter schools to the mix is messy and a slow moving change that causes erosion to a bad neighborhood school. However, I do not think that in a democratic society anyone can chart out a rigid plan because it would mean passing judgement (harsh judgement) on parenting. KLM on this site has had many insightful posts over the years (gosh we have been obsessing for a long time now) and one that really resonated with me was when it was pointed out that in many poor neighborhoods being smart and wanting to learn was deemed “bad” or a “looser” by the other students who are gang members or students who simply do not value education. So much of the “school years” hinges on peer groups and peer pressure. For the same reason that peer groups are a plus in SEES/SEHS, it is a seemingly insurmountable negative in poor performing schools.

    What charter schools provide is a situation where parents actually have made an effort to get their child into a better educational situation. They are looking to get their kid into a safer environment where education is valued. This alone makes charters appealing to parents desperate for options. Their neighborhood school will never get better until the gangs are gone and education is valued by parents and students. This has nothing to do with money, teachers or test scores. It has everything to do with school culture where education is valued and if you don’t value education at a charter, you can be kicked out. Charters can and DO set expectations on parents and student. And if you do not meet these expectations the student can be kicked out (per insight from family friend on this site charters try really hard to help many families who struggle).

    This is how charters are able to create a school culture counter to the surrounding neighborhood. I used to think that neighborhood schools should be able to set the same expectations, but have come to realize that they can’t. It is not fair to compare charters to neighborhood schools. The neighborhood schools do get a higher concentration of students who do not value education and are very difficult to teach. Teachers in these situations should not be blamed for being bad or lazy. They are unable to create the same culture as charters because neighborhood schools are based on boundaries while charters are based on choice. You really cannot compare the two.

    It would be great if instead of the fight of charter vs. neighborhood the charters were allowed to open in areas that need the choices and the neighborhood schools got concentrated efforts to provide wrap around services, counseling, intervention and things that may actually give some of these kids a shot. The answer is not to stop charters.

  • 45. junior  |  January 23, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    @43 PatientCPSMom

    The so-called success of magnets is little more than smoke and mirrors. If you adjust for demographics and self-selection, magnets do not perform significantly better than neighborhood schools.

    Not that I’m against expanding magnets. Both magnets and charters seem to be filling a need. For many, that need is simply avoiding an undesirable neighborhood school (usually reflective of a troubled/impoverished neighborhood). I do believe that parents need choices and those choices exercise what little parental power we have.

    The problem with expanding magnets is that CTU has now priced themselves out of the market. If CPS can get a charter to fill the need more cheaply, then, in this deficit environment, that’s what CPS is going to do.

  • 46. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 23, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    @35 @37 First, most of the country is able to elect school boards despite fears of monied interests. Chicago is exceptional, not normal. Second, if the average Chicagoan would be uninterested in school elections, they would be uninterested in school issues in regular elections. Essentially, they don’t pay attention either way. Third, narrow interest group would have to divide their resources between regular and school elections, weakening their influence. Fourth, if narrow factions could influence school elections, they can also influence regular elections. These interests are already at play.

    If an elected school board would merely duplicate the current situation, then there would be no change, and the vehement opposition from Rahm and allied aldermen should not exist.

    An elected school board would be different from a mayoral domination because of the various views of those elected. They would need to bargain, negotiate, persuade, and convince their peers to put together majorities. This is why we have a city council and a state legislature. Otherwise, why bother electing those bodies?

    If we really wanted to avoid corrupt actors and take politics out of education, we would choose the school board members by lot each year.

  • 47. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 23, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    In the late 1980s and early 1990s, charters were intended to break the educational bureaucracy’s monopoly on education. The Minnesota ones in 1991 were to be created by certified teachers who sought an escape from district-level interference. School-level autonomy was a key issue. These first charters were considered liberal-progressive ideas, along with the Local School Council in Chicago (but these had little curricular control and limited fiscal control). Initially, quasi-libertarians and semi-reactionaries preferred vouchers or tax incentives for private schools because charters smacked of state monopolies. Only later did charters as school choice become attractive to them.

    The entire choice model is riddled with problems. First, there are too few, sought-after schools for parents to be able to choose which school their child attends. Instead, we have wait-lists at some of the charters, magnets, SEHS, and neighborhood schools that accept out-of-boundary students and open seats at others. Second, it is hard for parents to learn which school has a high-quality education. Touring schools, observing classes (if allowed), talking to teachers, meeting with parents, looking at test data and college placement takes considerable time. Look at the number of parents on this blog who have applied to schools that they did not even tour.

  • 48. Sleepless in Chicago  |  January 23, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    I am grateful for this approval!!!! CPS & their union has had quite sometime to “clean up shop” AND the means to make improvements…. Instead they continually to take advantage of tax payers money while sacrificing our children’s education. My hope is for CPS & their union to quit pointing fingers at everyone else. A true introspective look at themselves is in order. Sometimes being backed into a corner is a great thing that evokes true drastic changes. Good luck to all!

  • 49. Jason  |  January 23, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Would live to see a charter high school option for lakeview–since Lane Tech will never be a neighborhood school again. It’s like they closed a high school and lakeview high school doesn’t seem like a good option.

  • 50. local  |  January 23, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Noble: … 17 N. State Street

    Any chance this one will be as racially diverse as Jones?

  • 51. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2014 at 1:22 am

    I would hope that everyone reads or rereads #44 Patricia’s post. I think it’s well thought out and written. I do disagree w/the last sentence, unless charters went back to where they were originally intended ~in targeted areas where education has no value and it’s not cool to go to school. But now they want to come into areas where schools are overcrowded and obviously not wanted, but since they are cheaper, that’s the secret sauce~is ludicrous.

    I also have a questions, I hope someone can answer. Upon doing research regarding UNO charters, I saw where they had a fantastic math program~yet the kids on ISAT/MAP lacked any real knowledge/didn’t grasp the concept from what I could see of the numbers. Does anyone feel it’s because they use teachers that weren’t educated in education, like TFA, and therefore they don’t know how to teach and present it well to the kids. A 5week teaching program doesn’t really benefit the kids, but is cheaper for charters. More $$ goes to charter operators than to classrooms. That’s another disservice.

  • 52. pantherettie  |  January 24, 2014 at 6:43 am

    **spam

  • 53. Angie  |  January 24, 2014 at 8:04 am

    @51. SoxSideIrish4: ” Upon doing research regarding UNO charters, I saw where they had a fantastic math program~yet the kids on ISAT/MAP lacked any real knowledge/didn’t grasp the concept from what I could see of the numbers. Does anyone feel it’s because they use teachers that weren’t educated in education, like TFA, and therefore they don’t know how to teach and present it well to the kids. ”

    Actually, it’s the other way around, probably because TFA teachers had to meet much higher standards to get into their original field of study that traditionally-educated teachers. Some of those “education majors” get in with 2.5 GPA, and go into teaching because no other college program would accept them.

    Study: Students Learn More Math With Teach for America Teachers

    http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/09/study-students-learn-more-math-with-teach-for-america-teachers/279527/

    “The study included 4,573 students at middle and high schools across the country. In the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years, researchers randomly assigned the students in each school to similar math courses–some were taught by TFA teachers, and others or by teachers who entered teaching through traditional or other, less selective alternative programs. The students with TFA teachers performed better on end-of-year exams than their peers in similar courses taught by other teachers. The bump in their test scores is equivalent to an additional 2.6 months of school for the average student nationwide.”

    And:

    “Only 23 percent of teachers from traditional or less-selective certification programs graduated from a selective college or university, while 81 percent of TFA teachers did. And although the TFA teachers were less likely to have majored or minored in math, they scored significantly higher on a test of math knowledge than their teacher counterparts. “

  • 54. OTdad  |  January 24, 2014 at 9:16 am

    @20. cpsobsessed: “I feel like there has to be a more efficient way to go about it.”

    Take a page from industry mergers. As I mentioned in another thread, one way to improve efficiency without drastic change is merging and grouping.

    The “consolidation” to 800 students per school suggested by CPS Parent @21 is on the right track, but may not be enough. I would merge at least 5 neighborhood schools to form a super neighborhood school with 3000+ students, housed in 5 campuses. With 10 classes in each grade, we group students every school year, based on their performance into different classes/campuses and teaching accordingly. This way, teachers’ performance can be fairly evaluated. Teachers will be compared among other teachers who teach classes of similar level. Bad students won’t drag other students down. Let’s face it, nothing we can do with students who have no intention of learning, but this can create a better environment for others.

    If we do that, parents near bad neighborhood schools may not feel SEES and magnets or charters are the only options.

  • 55. PatientCPSMom  |  January 24, 2014 at 9:19 am

    @45 We have attended a local CPS school for Pre-K, and both of the mentioned replicated schools. My experience has been there is no smoke and mirrors at these replicated schools. These schools have been genuinely high performing schools for academics for our child. At each of the replicated schools my son has received services and curriculum that was far beyond that at the local school. The Principals at the replicated schools direct these additional services. The parents, BOE, and CPS fully support these Principals and that is what makes all the difference. In my expereince, these replicated schools deserve a chance elsewhere in the CPS system because they can and do work. My question is why not a Disney 3 towards Hyde Park? Why not a LaSalle 3 towards Midway? Do we only have to have Charter choice on the South side and West Side?

  • […] 7 More Charters on the Way CPS Obsessed:  How long can the Mayor and Board pretend that opening these schools won’t have an impact on neighborhood schools?   I would be much more open to embracing new charters if some kind of strategic plan was laid out and  sense of forthrightness was shown in managing the shift from neighborhood to charter. [see also comments] […]

  • 57. Angie  |  January 24, 2014 at 9:46 am

    @54. OTdad: I think 10 classes per grade is too many. I would like to see 4 – one for the academically advanced kids, one for the average, one for the kids who are struggling but still want to learn, and one for the troublemakers who don’t want to be there. That would also allow to match the teacher’s strengths to the class they are teaching, because some would better at explaining the advanced math concepts while the others are more skilled at maintaining the order in the classroom and getting through to the unruly children.

  • 58. junior  |  January 24, 2014 at 9:52 am

    @55 PatientCPSMom

    I agree that these are good schools, but I was responding to *your* statement of their success: “Seems like these replicated CPS schools have ISAT scores that are well above the charters.”

    A comprehensive study of magnet schools showed that they simply do not raise scores significantly over neighborhood schools. That’s just a fact.

    I agree more choice and greater differentiation is better, so I support expanding good magnets and good charters. The reality is that we can’t afford the existing pension benefits of CPS teachers, so the prospect of adding more at the current level are dim.

    That’s the tradeoff CTU took. It protected the generous pay/benefits of its current members, knowing that some would lose their jobs and that there would be a financial drag on future expansion of CPS positions.

  • 59. cpsobsessed  |  January 24, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Junior, on the magnet study are you referring to the one that showed at indiv students don’t perform differently in magnets than in neighborhoods? Slightly diff twist on the data, but that would be why magnets show higher test scores tha neighborhoods – likely taking the better students (aka those whose parents are education-oriented). Same with charters, most likely.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 60. junior  |  January 24, 2014 at 10:08 am

    @46 ChristopherBall

    I could say a lot but don’t have much time. I’ll simply repost something I posted in the past from someone on a blog talking about the job the elected San Diego school board has done:

    “Aaahhh yes, another adult food fight about who has the worst model for public education. Should we support the adults in administration, those on the school board, those at the unions, or the adult business leaders? The answer is none of these adult groups deserve the support of parents, citizens or taxpayers. This year Our School Board took $20 million of Prop S money and gave to the downtown library project that legal can’t have a public school at this location. This year the District’s administration and Board created nine new area superintendents positions at $3 million, while they cut programs to train new teachers. This year the teachers union secured a promise of 7% pay raise in return for cutting the school year for the students by five days. How much improvement do you expect out of schools that spend 25% of their budget on employee benefits? 90% of the school budget is about the adults getting their money while the students get the scraps in the last 10%. Until the schools are run for student education instead of run as an adult jobs program, there will be no big improvements in the schools.”

    There is actually a movement in San Diego to replace the elected school board with an appointed one.

    The prior thread about school board elections is worth a read and covers some of the dynamics of special interest money:

    http://cpsobsessed.com/2012/06/20/example-of-a-school-board-election-san-diego/

  • 61. junior  |  January 24, 2014 at 10:15 am

    @59 cpso

    Yes, the one that showed that the pool of students in the magnet lottery perform the same whether they attend a magnet school or a neighborhood school. A school’s ISAT scores are predominantly a function of which students they attract, not a measure of the success or failure of the school’s educational methods.

  • 62. CPS Parent  |  January 24, 2014 at 10:25 am

    54. OTdad Your thought on a very large campus is not new.
    former Chicagoan, Alexander Russo over at the District299 blog wrote a book on a charter school in LA which used that model. It’s a good read

    Stray Dogs, Saints, and Saviors: Fighting for the Soul of America’s Toughest High School

  • 63. Veteran  |  January 24, 2014 at 10:37 am

    #53 “Only 23 percent of teachers from traditional or less-selective certification programs graduated from a selective college or university, while 81 percent of TFA teachers did. And although the TFA teachers were less likely to have majored or minored in math, they scored significantly higher on a test of math knowledge than their teacher counterparts. “

    Do teachers come from families with high incomes? I would say based upon my experience is that most come from middle class or lower class. Many like myself, are the first in their family to attend college. Many used to be the children of teachers. Ivy League colleges/selective ones are very expensive. Many do not even have education departments. In my experience you either have it or you don’t-good teachers have a skill set unlike no other occupation.

    The TFA teachers may not have majored in “math” is misleading because many have majored in business/science.

    The problem I have with TFA is that they are just dabbling until the market improves or want the TFA experience on their law or medical school application.

    I went to a state school free, due to a high ACT and I received an excellence education which prepared me to teach in a system where I started my first school year with 30 students and no books or supplies-but I had been taught how to teaching with nothing and I knew how to mange classroom behaviors.

  • 64. cpsobsessed  |  January 24, 2014 at 10:44 am

    @44 Patricia – agree with all that, which is why I remain charter neutral.

  • 65. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2014 at 11:01 am

    53. Angie | January 24, 2014 at 8:04 am

    I think TFA may be smart but that doesn’t mean they can teach. I think that is where they are failing many kids; charter schools have proven that by their scores. May be they are failing many kids because they don’t see teaching as their profession, just a stepping stone for a couple of years.

  • 66. CPS Parent  |  January 24, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Yes, Patricia, agreed. I used to be “charter neutral” but since I obviously think they are an imperfect, but pragmatic solution to a problem that can’t wait to be solved I have to consider myself “pro” charter.
    In general, my politics are well left of center and I believe my careful consideration of the charter issue is not inconsistent.

  • 67. cpsobsessed  |  January 24, 2014 at 11:03 am

    @62, thanks, I didn’t know about that book.

    Speaking of books I WILL be organizing the book club for Feb for “The Smartest Kids in the World.” RLJulia and I have both read it now and are eager to discuss. It’s an easy ready so feel free to catch up and join us next month in person for some wine and discussion.

    ALSO, I will be making the ultimate parental sacrifice today and skiing with my child on a class ski trip so I won’t be able to approve comments in moderation during the day.

    Hopefully will return without a broken limb or insane aggravation from getting bundled up in all the gear and then hearing “It’s too cold, can we go in??”

  • 68. cpsobsessed  |  January 24, 2014 at 11:11 am

    There’s an interesting article in NYT about arizona adding a lot more charters stocked with TFAs. I don’t have the link now but it will certainly be interesting to see what happens…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 69. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2014 at 11:17 am

    67. cpsobsessed | January 24, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Have fun skiing~I don’t think you’ll be hearing “It’s too cold, can we go in??”

  • 70. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 24, 2014 at 11:32 am

    68. cpsobsessed | January 24, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I think this is the link abt AZ charters/TFAs http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/17/education/arizona-expanding-its-charter-school-efforts-to-urban-areas.html?_r=0

  • 71. PatientCPSMom  |  January 24, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    @58 Agree partly. To me still feels like separate but unequal education choices. North side and gentrified centrally located kids get the magnet expansions and poor South and West side kids get Charters. To many this can look a lot like a institutional racism. Blaming teachers who operated under a negotiated contract with benefit levels that were agreed upon and then later abandoned by legislators does not excuse CPS from looking at ways within the current system to provide more magnet and combined magnet/neighborhood education choices to those on the South and West side. CPSO regarding the comprehensive study – does it have a subset of Chicago magnets and charters? I just looked at the CPS data that’s on-line, which looks like CICS Irving Park is one of the only charters that comes close to the replicated magnets and neighborhood schools like Skinner West.

  • 72. SutherlandParent  |  January 24, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    @54 OTDad–Take a page from industry mergers. As I mentioned in another thread, one way to improve efficiency without drastic change is merging and grouping.

    Not sure I agree with either of your points. I’d say merging four or five schools into a super-campus that could be miles away from students’ homes would be drastically disruptive.

    And all the research I’ve seen indicates that most corporate M&A deals fail to achieve all the promised synergies and efficiencies. (I can provide links to the references below, but that will get this post hung up in moderating limbo while CPSO hits the slopes :) )

    –From Forbes: Most research indicates that M&A activity has an overall success rate of about 50%—basically a coin toss.
    –From McKinsey (which is less optimistic than Forbes): Most mergers are doomed from the beginning. Anyone who has researched merger success rates knows that roughly 70 percent of mergers fail.
    –From the Harvard Business Review: These insights came from our recent study of 270 mergers in various countries and regions. We found that in most cases sales growth had slowed dramatically after the merger—on average, it had dropped six percentage points. (The figures in this article are weighted averages adjusted for industry trends and refer to three years pre- or postmerger.) That decline led to a reduced rate of earnings growth, by 9.4 percentage points, and a consequent reduction in value creation: The firms’ market-capitalization growth decreased by 2.5 percentage points.

    To take it out of the realm of business, the Chicago Tribune looked at the financials of school district mergers in an article published March 25, 2010. According to that article: “A Tribune analysis of Illinois districts that merged in the past decade revealed that most are spending more than they did before the merger, and many are keeping pace with the state’s rapidly increasing per-pupil expenditure.”

    Mergers CAN be done well and successfully, of course, but that usually requires the right deal at the right time and place, and visionary leadership to make it happen. Whether it’s the right time or place in CPS is one question. I won’t even get started on the idea of an overwhelming amount of visionary leadership on Clark Street.

  • 73. IBobsessed  |  January 24, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    @71 I completely agree. Why the focus on expanding charters for ‘school choice’ on the South and West sides? CPS lack of initiative in placing replicated success schools/magnets on the South and West sides could be further evidence that something besides “its for the kids” is driving charter expansion. If “it’s for the kids” was the overriding motivation, seems like current new schools would include all effective options.

  • 74. CPS Parent  |  January 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    71. PatientCPSMom The purpose of charters is not to replicate magnets or schools like Skinner. The purpose is to provide kids whose families care about education with a disciplined educational environment without the presence of disruptive students. If some of them turn to be similar to the schools you mention, so be it, but it is not the underlying mission.

  • 75. Chris  |  January 24, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Chris Ball: “@35 @37 First, most of the country is able to elect school boards”

    You ignored/missed/avoided my real point:

    If it is a problem that a campaign contributor to Rahm is making a dollar off of CPS, then an elected BOE would just present 7 or 9 or 11 of the same problem. It is *inevitable* that some of the folks who contribute to a Chicago mayoral campaign, or a BOE campaign if there were one, would have a financial transaction with CPS at some point.

    Would there be complaints if the CTU-endorsed mayoral candidate won, and then the teachers got a raise? Doesn’t that smell bad, too, in the same way?

  • 76. HS Mom  |  January 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    @71 there are magnets on the west and south side. All over the city. Some do well and others don’t.

  • 77. Chris  |  January 24, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    “Noble: … 17 N. State Street

    Any chance this one will be as racially diverse as Jones?”

    Noble already has Muchin College Prep at 1 N State. It is 52% Hispanic, 38% African American, 5% Asian/Pacific Islander, 3% White, and 2% Mixed Race. So I’d have to go with “no”.

    Also, it is approved for *temporary* location at 17 N State, and the approval was conditional on finding a building (about 1/3 down):

    http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-approves-seven-new-charter-schools-109558

  • 78. Chris  |  January 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    ” there are magnets on the west and south side. All over the city”

    True, but:

    There are 39 magnet schools (including neighborhood schools with a magnet component). 14 of them are south of the Stevenson, 9 of them are north of the Stevenson and south of Grand (but with 3 of those e of Ashland) and 16 are north of Grand.

    Not sure the population distribution among those three broad areas, but it sure seems like the West Side is pretty underrepresented.

  • 79. anonymouse teacher  |  January 24, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Tired of the “probably could only get into an education college with a 2.5″ line. Yeah, I know it was qualified with the word “some” but really, that’s a dig on teachers everywhere. I had nearly a 4.0,graduated in the top 10 of my high school, had large scholarships for undergrad and grad school, and went to a no-name school because I was smart enough to figure out my starting salary after graduation and a good debt to income ratio. I’m not sure how 22 year olds with 100-200K in debt pay their loans on a 45-50K a year salary. Perhaps their parents paid for their school?

    Its amazing to me how parents can say “oh, I respect the ‘good’ teachers” or “I love ‘my’ child’s teacher” and in the next breath discredit teachers every chance they get. Awfully easy to do when your own success/profession, etc, is completely hidden.

  • 80. Angie  |  January 24, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    @63. Veteran :” In my experience you either have it or you don’t-good teachers have a skill set unlike no other occupation.”

    That’s true, but how do we know that all the people majoring in education have “it”? Is there an aptitude test one has to take before being accepted into the teaching program?

    I am particularly suspicious of those 2.5 GPA types who cannot get into any other program. I would think that if teaching really was their lifelong dream, they would have paid more attention to their own learning and grades at school.

    “The problem I have with TFA is that they are just dabbling until the market improves or want the TFA experience on their law or medical school application.”

    As a parent, I have no problem with that. I want the best possible teacher my children can have now, even if he/she leaves the profession in a few years, and not the bad teacher who is in it for life, and cannot be fired because of the union tenure rules.

  • 81. IBobsessed  |  January 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    @75 Chris There is a difference between one or a few smelly votes and a PATTERN of smelly votes or a repeated coincidence of CPS educational reform actions and benefit to mayoral cronies. Please don’t say you don’t see the difference.

  • 82. Angie  |  January 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    @79. anonymouse teacher :”Tired of the “probably could only get into an education college with a 2.5″ line. Yeah, I know it was qualified with the word “some” but really, that’s a dig on teachers everywhere. I had nearly a 4.0,graduated in the top 10 of my high school, had large scholarships for undergrad and grad school, and went to a no-name school because I was smart enough to figure out my starting salary after graduation and a good debt to income ratio. ”

    Then obviously 2.5 GPA line does not apply to you. But are you going to deny that these people exist, get accepted to colleges and are allowed to teach children after graduating?

  • 83. Chris  |  January 24, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    “There is a difference between one or a few smelly votes and a PATTERN of smelly votes or a repeated coincidence of CPS educational reform actions and benefit to mayoral cronies”

    With an elected school board, there would be–within 18 months–a ‘pattern’ of the board members who were supported by the CTU, voting in favor of proposals supported by the CTU.

    Do you actually believe that wouldn’t happen?

    All I’m saying is that there are plenty of things to rail about against Rahm, CPS and the charter approval process, but this one isn’t special and wouldn’t be meaningfully different without a BOE made entirely of philosopher kings.

  • 84. Chris  |  January 24, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    “[2.5 gpa nonsense]”

    Jeebus, *everyone* agrees that there are some bad teachers, and almost everyone agrees that we should reduce their number as close to zero as possible. The question is how to determine who the bad teachers are, and whether some of them are ‘fixable’.

    In any case, college gpa ain’t destiny for a teacher, any more than anyone else. I’m certain that there are great teachers with bad college grades and terrible teachers with great college grades. Were it only as simple as looking at the transcript, we’d have a lot less arguing about ‘bad teachers’.

  • 85. PatientCPSMom  |  January 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    @74 “The purpose of charters is not to replicate magnets or schools like Skinner. The purpose is to provide kids whose families care about education with a disciplined educational environment without the presence of disruptive students.”

    This statement of pupose is most likely why Charter expansion is questioned. If that’s all a Charter school is tasked to do how sad for the kids. Also, probably a reason many on this board are not advocating for a Charter school on their block. Why not include an education choice like a successful replicate school in the mix. The schools like Disney 2, LaSalle 2, and Skinner West have missions that speak to really educating kids even with the presence of disruptive kids.

  • 86. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 24, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    @60 But San Diego is doing quite well now, academically and in board-admin relations. If the argument is that one system is no better than the other, then changing the system doesn’t matter.

    @75 You raised the question of elected school boards. No one else was talking about it. Sure, school board members will represent different interests, but the point of democratic governance is that they are different interests, and so the reps need to bargain with each other. This is why centralizing control in one official is troublesome, especially when that official has absolute control.

    Politics is contentious. What shocked me about Chicago’s BoE is how little it ever discusses anything. There’s almost no substantive debate.

  • 87. HS Mom  |  January 24, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    @78 chris – “Not sure the population distribution among those three broad areas, but it sure seems like the West Side is pretty underrepresented”

    searching CPS school finder and filtering by magnet only, several schools pop up. If anything, the northwest is lacking in magnets.

    http://www.cps.edu/schools/find_a_school/pages/schoollocator.aspx

    Considering the comments above about no discernible difference between magnet/neighborhood, I would also consider the possibility that the west side may be better served by charters and their ability to address learning solutions by customizing to the need.

  • 88. cubswin  |  January 24, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    @63

    “The problem I have with TFA is that they are just dabbling until the market improves or want the TFA experience on their law or medical school application.”

    You’re apparently not aware that 50 chicago principals are former TFA. I found that number surprising.

  • 89. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 24, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    @51 @53: The study found a real difference between TFA teacher and both traditional-route teachers and other alternative-route teachers (Teaching Fellows program) in student outcomes, but the difference was slight. Some researchers give the days/weeks/months of learning measure because most people do not understand what a z-score or standard deviation is, but the time of learning is not intuitive either. Both groups of teachers taught students who had very low mean levels of achievement. Whereas a traditional teacher’s student had mean performance on the NWEA math equivalent to the 27th national percentile, the TFA teacher’s students scored at the 30th.

    The study found that all the teachers: “Completed similar amounts of math pedagogy instruction and student teaching in math during their preparation for teaching” (p.41), and that the TFA teachers scored higher on tests of math content. While TFA teachers had lower average amounts of math courses in college, this was not true of all kinds of maths: they had the same amount of calculus, probability, and applied math.

  • 90. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Also, this was for middle and high-school math. Not elementary school.

  • 91. cubswin  |  January 24, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    @86 Christopher

    “Politics is contentious. What shocked me about Chicago’s BoE is how little it ever discusses anything. There’s almost no substantive debate.”

    If talking more led to actual dialogue the board would probably be more open. In the current environment literally anything they say just leads to over the top criticism. Unpaid school board members simply aren’t willing to sit in front of people and be abused hour after hour.

    In the beginning of Rahm’s term he did talk about the basis of his plans for school reform. The CTU quickly taught him that openness led to a perpetual game of “gotcha”. But I too am disappointed with the lack of substantive discussion.

    Rahm ran on a platform of school reform. He rightly assumes he has the right to carry that forward. If the CTU wants to be their own boss and freeze change they’re going to need to win an election.

  • 92. anonymouse teacher  |  January 24, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Angie, remind me, what field are you in? Your fixation on the HS GPA of teachers borders on stalker-ish. I can only assume you had an ACT of 36 and you went to HYP on full scholarship the way you harp on the low achievement of teachers. You must be, what? A physician, or have a post doc in physics?
    Yes, there are teachers who had a 2.5. Tell me, do you harrass your kids’ teachers by asking them where they went to school or their high school GPA? Seriously, if you love your own kids teachers so much, for what reason do you feel the need to bring up any and every negative thing about some teacher out there, who is a complete stranger to you?
    I think you’ve missed your calling and you need to go back to school to get a degree in education, because surely you are the epitome of educational excellence yourself.

  • 93. anonymouse teacher  |  January 24, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    @88, what is your source of information?

  • 94. PatientCPSMom  |  January 24, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    @87 “Considering the comments above about no discernible difference between magnet/neighborhood, I would also consider the possibility that the west side may be better served by charters and their ability to address learning solutions by customizing to the need”

    To the point of this quote, I ask “is Charter expansion welcome on the North side or higher income areas?” – not that I have heard. There is a difference of choice options on the North side and gentrified central city compared to other areas of the city and that’s the point. If we as a city systemically allow some kids to be less served by educational choice then we as a city also allow those kids less choice in other life options. Because of this we all have to take part of the responsibility for the kid’s educational outcome rather than just pass on the responsibily to the CTU, the kids parents, and society. To the part of the comment about the West side being better served by Charters, I know a lot of parents from West Garfield, North Lawndale, Humbolt, and Austin and those parents would welcome a really great magnet CPS choice for their kids. Expanded choice including replicable CPS magnets is part of an educational solution not part of a financial problem.

  • 95. Veteran  |  January 24, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    #92 Whew! Made my day-think I’ll enjoy a glass of wine!

  • 96. Veteran  |  January 24, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    #88 http://jd2718.org/2009/07/20/to-improve-teacher-retention-nyc-should-drop-teach-for-america/

    The article explains the short track to principalship-staying in teaching is discouraged.

    If the 50 new principals are TFA that my explain why the CTU is perceived as being the savior more than ever by teachers who are tired of inexperienced leadership in their schools.

    I spent 38 years in the classroom, have two masters degrees and was actively encouraged to become an administrator but…..I love teaching. Actually, I am always amused by new teachers who say they are only going to teach for two years and then become administrators because “teaching is just too hard”.

  • 97. Veteran  |  January 24, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    http://jd2718.org/2009/07/20/to-improve-teacher-retention-nyc-should-drop-teach-for-america/
    Requirements to be a TFA- a grade point average of………..2.5

  • 98. Veteran  |  January 24, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Mea Culpa-Yesss a CPS teacher who had Latin! This is the correct link for TFA requirements.

    http://www.teachforamerica.org/why-teach-for-america/how-to-apply/applicant-prerequisites

  • 99. Angie  |  January 24, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    @92. anonymouse teacher: Initially, I was responding to the assumption that TFA teachers are bad at teaching math (see post #51), while the research suggests otherwise. From there, it progressed to the usual TFA bashing by the teachers with degrees in education.

    @97. Veteran: So, from your link:

    “In order to apply to Teach For America, you must satisfy the following prerequisites:
    You hold a bachelor’s degree by the first day of your assigned summer institute
    Your undergraduate cumulative GPA is at least 2.50 on a 4.00 scale
    You have US citizenship or national/permanent resident status or have received deferred action for childhood arrivals”

    And how does that compare to the education credentials required to teach in Illinois? I’m searching, and don’t see any mention of minimum GPA.

    There is this: http://www.degreetree.com/resources/how-to-become-a-teacher-in-illinois

    “Illinois Teaching Certificate Requirements

    Requirements for becoming an Illinois teacher are:
    • A bachelor’s degree
    • Completion of a teacher preparation program
    • Completion of endorsement area requirements, usually 18-32 credit hours of study in subject area
    • Passing score on the Illinois Certification Testing System (ICTS)
    • Completed application”

    Am I looking in the wrong places, or does that mean that there’s no required minimum at all?

  • 100. HS Mom  |  January 24, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    @94 – “There is a difference of choice options on the North side and gentrified central city compared to other areas of the city and that’s the point.”

    Not getting your point. All areas of the city have magnets, SE, IB, gifted/classical choices. This is not a north side privilege. There are even charters on the northside, along with new ones coming to the northwest. In meeting the demand and success of magnet and selective schools (elementary and HS) there are many more options for schools that are centrally located.

    What makes those choices “different” is the success of the individual school – many times this has to do with the level of students attending. When I hear folks wonder why they don’t have good schools like Northside prep on the south or west side the answer is that these same choices are available on the south and west sides. Northside prep, in large part due to location, attracts the top students in Chicago. Period. That’s why there is no educational difference between a magnet and neighborhood school. Your same argument would pertain to the difference in regular neighborhood schools in various neighborhoods.

    As poster mentions above, the mission of charters is different. They are a tool for intervention. They are committed to working with kids in overpopulated schools to provide an alternative. And yes, there are northside parents who welcome this type of education, especially those dissatisfied with their neighborhood school.

  • 101. HS Mom  |  January 24, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    any GPA will have variable significance depending on the quality of the school.

  • 102. Veteran  |  January 24, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    http://education.illinoisstate.edu/teacher_education/gateway1/gpa.shtml

  • 103. Veteran  |  January 24, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    http://provost.illinois.edu/programsofstudy/2013/fall/programs/undergrad/education/about_ed.html

    So 2.5 for ISU and 3.1 for U of I

    I looked at ISU because I’ve been impressed with their graduates who I have taught with while I can’t comment on U of I-Champaign because the only graduates I’ve taught with graduated 20+ years ago when the requirements for U of I were not as stringent.

  • 104. HS Mom  |  January 24, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    @103 that 3.1 is applicants transferring in from another institution. There is no HS GPA requirement. Graduating from UIUC in teaching or other fields is quite an accomplishment and seems like it would be beneficial for kids. It seems to me that many of the teachers coming from UIUC or U of Michigan or any other upper tier university have majors in math or biology or english. How is that different from TFA – just a question. We had a second grade teacher from U of mich that was great. Some thought her methods were strict but it worked for us. She was a communications major.

  • 105. tchr  |  January 24, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    In my education program, you had to have a 3.0 to get in and stay in each semester. I know of a few people who were kicked out and became business majors… Wasn’t there a conversation about how the world is ruled by C students?

    Also, we have TFA teachers at my school. Really nice people. So nice…

    They are SO overwhelmed by all the things they don’t know how to do. And parents have gone to admin and the teachers themselves yelling and cursing them out. It’s a no win situation. I like them as people and I think their heart is in it, but there is so much to do! Elementary teachers have to plan reading, writing, math, science, and social studies AND lesson plans for small groups within those subjects. And be able to manage and develop meaningful teacher student relationships with 30+ students. These parents are PISSED, and I don’t blame them. It is a whole year of education completely lost. Our admin decided to save money instead of provide their children with a staff that knows what they are doing.

  • 106. anonymouse teacher  |  January 24, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    @104, the teachers from UIUC or U of M, are they certified teachers? If so, there are two routes to that: traditional programs or alternative programs. They did one or the other. I’d imagine if they have a degree in math or english or whatever, they also have all the education courses required as well. Maybe a double major? High school teaching requirements are different than elementary though, so I’m not sure.
    Fwiw, if it was up to me, to be a teacher, there’d be 4 years of academic coursework and then a 3-4 year residency or student teaching type of thing, with a gradual release of responsibility. Some people are fine with their kids being taught by TFA’ers, but personally, I’d never allow it for my own. I’d never allow an electrician who didn’t go through an apprenticeship to work on my home either or a doctor who didn’t go through residency to treat me .

  • 107. local  |  January 24, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    I like: “…and then a 3-4 year residency or student teaching type of thing, with a gradual release [to greater] responsibility.”

  • 108. local  |  January 24, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    “any GPA will have variable significance depending on the quality of the school.”

    Is it the “quality of the school” or the “quality” of the students who apply and then enroll? For example, is one Engineering program much higher “quality” than the other? What about the students who get it (and make it through)?

  • 109. HS Mom  |  January 24, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    @106 – to me it’s the quality of a teacher as demonstrated by their abilities and talent – not the GPA or the accreditation. They also need to be thoroughly knowledgeable about their subject(s) before they can teach it. Yes, internship would be a good way to develop those talents, especially when working with kids. It seems here that teachers are the ones here making broad brush statements about TFA in particular. Assuming that teachers are hired based upon some given parameter, I don’t see the reason to quantify one type of teacher over the other based upon criteria other than how they perform on the job.

    @108 local – a 2.5 in engineering at MIT vs UIUC vs U of Kansas should make a difference. As in our own school system here, it may be a factor of being in the middle of the pack at a top school with the brightest minds vs a good school with lower level students, but a difference none the less.

  • 110. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 25, 2014 at 12:20 am

    @91 ” Unpaid school board members simply aren’t willing to sit in front of people and be abused hour after hour.”

    Actually, they do sit and be abused hour after hour. That’s what occurs during the public comments section. I’m talking about how they argue among themselves.

    What is so disturbing is how little time they spend talking with Chicago residents. Aldermen, state legislator, even US reps, are willing to speak with citizens. But you can schedule only 15 min. appointments with BoE members.

    When I’ve talked with state legislators about an elected school board for Chicago, I check my watch. At 15 min. I note that Chicago BoE members cap their discussions then. A state legislators would never do that. I’ve spent 45 min. with a legislator; I’ve spent over an hour with top CPS exec. officers. The latter are administrators; they have a lot of work to do. But they find the time to meet with CPS parents. Even if I walk away unhappy, I respect that they have spent the time to talk with me and others. In a better world, it would be the BoE members who spend that time with us.

  • 111. pantherettie  |  January 25, 2014 at 7:25 am

    I think that the main reason there is not an expansion of charter schools in some neighborhoods is because there is no support for it in the communities. Consider Hyde Park – there is a charter school in the neighborhood. It’s run by U of C. Given the arguments and the rationale CPS uses for the reason charter schools exist, one would assume that the school would be a mix of neighborhood kids attending a school that replicates some of the successful practices of their highly regarded “cousin” Lab school located just a few blocks away. Instead the very, very few neighborhood kids attend the schools. They are *not* seem as options for most parents as they often send their kids out of the neighborhood to SEES, AC or SEHS if they qualify or other magnet or private schools of they have the resources. The school choice is for parents and kids from other outside communities because we Hyde Parkers expect and demand that our public neighborhood schools get funded appropriately. I’m not saying that there are not many in HP that support charter schools, I’m just saying that the board chooses their battles wisely and does things in communities where the voices may not be as loud. Another case in point is the growing South Loop area – they first built a RGC before a charter school to attract students and the current charters downtown are not filled with kids from the South Loop.

  • 112. anonymouse teacher  |  January 25, 2014 at 8:23 am

    109, what teachers on this board are saying is that performance IS affected by lack of course work and lack of student teaching and lack of intention to stay in the field. We’ve seen it on a daily basis in ways parents don’t have access to. However, fwiw, my favorite colleague went through an alternative program. Now, 4 years into it, she’s getting decent. But it took that long. And, she’s leaving at the end of the year to return to private sector work which she feels is, in her words, “much easier work”.
    I don’t blame her though. My school has had 7, yes, 7 staff members leave mid-year this year because they have had enough. I know of another 3 who have already put in their intent to leave letters for June and about a dozen who are trying to leave. Our school only has about 30 teachers total, so this is a shocking percentage.

  • 113. karet  |  January 25, 2014 at 9:38 am

    @94: Would charters be welcome on the north side? I can’t speak for the whole community, of course, but I think charters would be welcome on the far NW side, simply because they would help relieve overcrowding.
    A poster was talking about the overcrowding at Taft on another thread. The elementary schools in the Taft district are bursting as well. There are so many high performing schools that are not getting annexes … where are these kids supposed to go?
    Prussing is an interesting example. High performing, level one school in Jefferson Park, despite the fact that it’s 78% low income. That low income figure does not reflect the neighborhood — the school has no aftercare and is overcrowded, so many families make other choices (as we did). Still, they manage to accommodate the students who do attend. There are currently 38 kids in each K. And these kids won’t get any advantage when it comes to applying for HS, because the neighborhood is tier 4.
    I’m guessing these families would LOVE another option.

  • 114. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 25, 2014 at 11:57 am

    113. karet | January 25, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I believe the board voted on Wed to allow Noble to open relieving overcrowding at Taft~however; there was much opposition to it. Just because there is overcrowding doesn’t mean that parents want their kids to go to charters.

  • 115. another cps parent  |  January 25, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    So all these people who want Taft boundaries redrawn just figure that those on the edge of the line should just go to Mather or Roosevelt…..I don’t think so.

  • 116. PatientCPSMom  |  January 25, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    @113 Totally agree. I understand options are welcome. My observation is let’s give a full set of choices. I bet Parents on the North side/Northwest would like an option like a Suder Montessori, STEM magnet, or Skinner West RGC/neighborhood school as well. All of these new magnet options have been offered recently to others. CPS picks and chooses where they will offer high quality magnets vs. Charters. A Charter may be welcome but just as you offer a starving person a hard crust of bread – the starving person welcomes the crust and survives but does not thrive like the person next to him who got a whole loaf of bread and meat. I realize it’s a corny analogy but choice sets should be as close to equal as possible when we’re talking public education.

  • 117. Admissions  |  January 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    If course Taft boundaries should be redrawn. Elem schools nearby are bursting. I would surmise the boundary is ridiculously wide because parents stopped sending their kids there sometime back. But times have changed with overcrowding and boundaries need to change. No need to build expandsoon, redraw boundaries!

  • 118. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  January 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    @117 Boundary redrawing is very contentious (which boundary gets changed? N, S, E, W? are there adjacent schools with similar programs?) and very complicated (which section is likely to have the greater increase in school-age children; which adjacent schools have space; will people be able to move into the smaller zone and undo the redrawing effects?). In many cases, it will take years before the over-crowding is reduced if existing children are grand-fathered (this was the problem at Lincoln; it would have been years before the crowding was relieved).

    An alternative, which CPS prefers, is to shed programs that take in out-of-boundary students. So, Taft could give up its IB Diploma Prep and its academic center to other schools. But I’m sure current Taft parents with children in those programs would be none too pleased about that.

    Are any CPS schools on controlled enrollment now?

  • 119. another cps parent  |  January 25, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    meaning of course we’d chose Noble probably over Taft too. i think there would be resistance over boundary change

  • 120. Cps alum  |  January 25, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Weren’t the boundaries at Taft just redrawn about 5 years ago?

  • 121. karet  |  January 26, 2014 at 10:18 am

    @ 114, I’m not surprised that there was opposition. The anti-charter people are very vocal. I’m not convinced that they represent the interests and opinions of the larger community, however.

  • 122. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 26, 2014 at 10:39 am

    121. karet | January 26, 2014 at 10:18 am

    It appears that in all the papers it did represent the larger community. CPS set up Neighborhood Advisory Council to study the charter proposal BUT the special advisory had ppl who were married and part of StandForChildren (a procharter group) on the advisory. One parent was offered a job if he would help get the charter passed. In the end the CPS BOE didn’t listen to the community as a who and passed the charter. The whole NAC was just a fake advisory never meant to listen to parents and those parents are very aware of it. Considering the packed rooms of parents not wanting charters~I believe those were the opinions of the larger community.

  • 123. cpsobsessed  |  January 26, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Good – question, if adding charters was put to a vote among citizens, what would the outcome be? We have to keep in mind that all city citizens would vote, not just cps parents and those are the ones who voice opinion to the media.

    I think a more relevant question is what a community/neighborhood wants since the city is different by area.

    I think we can probably all agree that what nearly everyone would vote for are successful and safe neighborhood schools and lack of need for charters but that doesn’t seem to be feasible for reasons we’ve discussed at length…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 124. Angie  |  January 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    PSA: CPS tweeted that all schools will be closed on Monday.

  • 125. karet  |  January 26, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    @122, I’m sorry, I don’t understand your comment. Are you saying that there was a charter approved that will be located in the Taft district, despite protests from the community? None of the articles I have read mention that a charter was approved in this area.

  • 126. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 26, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    #125~Noble Charter was approved as a school for the over-capacitated Taft boundary area. Although the school is miles away from Taft, Noble Charter operators urged the Board on Wed to approve Noble for overcrowded Taft.

  • 127. karet  |  January 26, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    @126, My initial comment was that a charter on the far NW side might be welcome. That is the specific community that I am talking about. I’m sorry, I just don’t understand why anyone in the Taft boundaries would care if Noble opens a charter in Belmont Cragin.

    (It may be that the Noble people said it would relieve crowding at Taft, but that doesn’t mean that CPS or anyone else believes that.)

  • 128. Huh???  |  January 26, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    @124 CPS should have been open on MLK Day after the 2 snow days after Winter Break. For the month of January, kids will have been out 4 days — that’s not good, and that’s not even if the kids are out on Tuesday.

  • 129. anonymouse teacher  |  January 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    I’m so tired of this weather. I don’t think we’ve had outdoor recess since before Thanksgiving. The kids are crawling the walls. If there is snow or ice on the blacktop or playground, we aren’t able to be outside for fear of lawsuits. We do the best we can to keep them active inside, but its not the same. They need to be out, running around (obviously not in the uber cold) and screaming. Negative behaviors have increased dramatically since winter. I can’t wait for April!

  • 130. parent  |  January 26, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    I teach at the college level, and my students frequently mention the high schools they attended. Students who went to certain charters (Noble, CICS) show a lot of pride in these schools — they go out of their way to mention that they attended them. It is a positive part of their identities. Other students speak with embarrassment about the “terrible” high schools they went to (Clemente, Steinmetz have been mentioned). The other students nod sympathetically. They all know what schools have good and bad reputations.
    I understand that the pride and confidence that some students have in these charter schools may not directly translate into higher test scores, but I do think it is meaningful.

  • 131. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 26, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    127. karet | January 26, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    I don’t know if CPS BOE believes it will relieve over crowding at Taft, but that was the BOE’s reasoning for voting to pass it.

  • 132. CPS Parent  |  January 26, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    130. parent – that is great to hear. Everyone I know in the teaching and school administration profession tells me that creating a positive “school culture” is the primary path to good schools.

  • 133. anonymouse teacher  |  January 26, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    @130, you are seeing students from Clemente in a college setting? Community college or other? If that’s for real, that’s awesome. I love to hear about kids in bad neighborhoods who must attend schools with serious gang/crime/low achievement of their peers overcoming that! I have so much pride in kids who overcome those kinds of environments.

  • 134. PSA Paulina  |  January 26, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Today kicks off National School Choice week!

    Let parents, not government bureaucrats, decide where to send their children to school.

    http://schoolchoiceweek.com/

  • 135. parent  |  January 26, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    @133: I teach at one of the City Colleges. I don’t ask my students where they went to high school, but it comes up frequently. Last year I had 2 friends who had attended Clemente together. They told a lot of shocking stories. Off the top of my head, I can recall students mentioning that they attended: Whitney Young, Lane, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Von Steuben, Amundsen, Mather, Taft, Schurz, Steinmetz, Kevlyn Park, Clemente. Charters include: Noble, CICS and North Lawndale (I’m not sure about which campuses for the charters, although I know one student attended the CICS on Irving Park).

  • 136. local  |  January 27, 2014 at 12:38 am

    The key is not just attending community college, but actually graduating (with an AA or transferring and completing a bachelors). Lot of student start and fail, even with remedial college courses. That’s a big problem.

  • 137. pantherettie  |  January 27, 2014 at 6:53 am

    @ Local,

    I agree the goal is for students to complete college – not just start it. But it’s important to recognize that’s a hard and sometimes unattainable goal for kids who enter 4 year universities as well, not just community colleges. It can just as much of a struggle for a high performing kid who attended a top
    rated public or private school to succeed as a kid who went to a struggling and/or failing school. It’s not just financial concerns and academic readiness. It’s personal maturity, organizational skills, a readiness to be (at least partially) an adult regarding life responsibilities. I write this because I think that we sometimes focus on kids that attend community colleges as the ones with the most problems and as less likely to succeed. I don’t think that’s the case.

  • 138. PatientCPSMom  |  January 27, 2014 at 11:53 am

    @136 and 137 any college is good, right? There are firemen, policemen, plumbers, electricians, truck drivers, PC techs, medical assistants, LPNs, pharmacy techs, X-ray techs, research assistants, etc.. that did not complete 4 years of school and in many cases they did not need 4 years of college for their profession. It’s been my experience having a skill is the best chance for employability. You can get a 4 year degree while you’re working if need be. My observation is the importance of generating income is often lost in the pursuit of a degree. As a poor kid who started at City college making money to pay for school, rent, food, and transportation was priority one, of course graduation was the goal but to graduate you need to survive and sometimes that means taking a break to work in the meantime.

  • 139. junior  |  January 27, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    @129

    How many lawsuits have you had in the last 10 years?

  • 140. anonymouse teacher  |  January 27, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    @139, None, thanks for your concern. My principal has directed us that “due to concerns over student safety and lawsuits” there will be no outside recess until the blacktop and playground are clear. The recess company does “recess” inside the classrooms, but of course, its not the same. I am sure if you are super curious about the number of lawsuits CPS has been involved with over the past 10 years that information is available through a FOI request! Let us know what you find out.

  • 141. CPS Parent  |  January 27, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    @140

    Why isn’t the “blacktop” or the playground cleared of snow?

  • 142. local  |  January 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Oh, god. Absolutely. Student fail or stop out of college (community, 4-year, even grad school) left, right and center for myriad reasons. Most leave with student debt they can’t pay off easily. The whole system is pretty effed up. And, not all that great for feeding the nation’s economic engine.

  • 143. local  |  January 27, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Personally, I’d like to see excellent voc ed in middle and high school. This college-for-all is not helpful. But, I’d also like to see voc ed and college-prep leveled to eliminate bias for student SES. Just cuz you’re poor or disabled doesn’t mean you’re destined to wash toilets only.

  • 144. anonymouse teacher  |  January 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    You are kidding, right?

  • 145. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    CPS is closed tomorrow (Tuesday).

  • 146. anonymouse teacher  |  January 27, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Just in case 141 is a real inquiry, here’s why:
    You can’t plow in the playground or you’d ruin the soft foamy “floor” for the playground. That and the 40+ inches we’ve gotten this year has something to do with it!
    The blacktop has been plowed, but there’s still that layer. They can’t get it all. Then it starts to melt and freezes again and becomes ice. As well, there are patches all over of snow. Our budget for salt is running low and we have to use it sparingly. Add this to the fact that most of our students don’t come with mittens or a hat, and my principal says no way. So, yeah, until the blacktop is pretty much completely ice and snow free, no recess outside. And again, as soon as our custodial staff gets it somewhat clear, it snows again.
    You would not believe the number of parents who send us notes blaming us for taking their kids out when it is “cold” (I’m talking 50 degrees) and then when they get sick, they go ballistic in the office on our administration. They call downtown, they make a big stink. So, yeah, our principal is wary. Until the blacktop and playground is clear, there’ll be no outside recess. The last two years we were lucky and were able to be outside most of the winter. This year? It sucks.

  • 147. CPS Parent  |  January 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    @146. Sounds like your school is an administrative mess. A case of the inmates (custodians) running the asylum perhaps?

  • 148. Lady  |  January 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Did any of you hear the BBC interview they played this morning on NPR of Gulen, he of the Concept charter schools? Interesting. Messed up. The profits are funneled to this dude’s entity to have a political fight in Turkey. That is where the tax dollars are going. Not to improve education, but to fight Erdogan in Ankara.

  • 149. anonymouse teacher  |  January 27, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I can understand how an outsider might view it that way. But, regardless, no matter if one blames the weather, our custodians, our principal or our parents, the kids still won’t be going outside. Makes my job very hard and the kids are a little nuts! I’m counting the days until April when, by that time, all the snow should be gone.

  • 150. local  |  January 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Haven’t custodians and snow removal been outsourced?

  • 151. anonymouse teacher  |  January 27, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    @150, maybe for the parking lot, but the custodians at my school are still doing everything else. Whether they are really supposed to is anyone’s guess. Presently, our custodians also have to do lunch duty. Everyone is pulling double duty. My whole grade level team was in the office doing filing one afternoon because our clerks can’t keep up because they are being asked to do lunch duty/cover for IEP meetings, etc.

  • 152. Veteran  |  January 27, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Well, at least the teachers are no longer required to pool monies to pay for private plowing companies to plow the lots….some years I paid 3 installments of 30.00….ridiculous but not as ridiculous as the one school where we were asked to pay 5.00 a month (100 employees-30 years ago ) by the principal to hire a neighborhood man to patrol the parking lot….

  • 153. PatientCPSMom  |  January 28, 2014 at 9:16 am

    @149 we’ve been at 3 CPS schools who all had recess policies in place that were communicated to parents. The policy was to expect inside play/activities when it’s less than 20 degrees – kids do stretches, games, and inside walking etc. Are you saying you, teachers, parents, and the Principal can not work towards a recess policy that is understood and implemented, with the space you have.

  • 154. Veteran  |  January 28, 2014 at 9:52 am

    My school 32 degrees and no rain=very few days of outdoor recess.
    Indoor recess is in the classrooms and consists of boardgames. The classrooms are too overcrowd to even do stretching exercises-think liability.

  • 155. Northwest Sider  |  January 28, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I live very close to Intrinsic’s proposed location on Belmont. I drive or walk by it every day. It is a former lumberyard. There is one old lumber building there, decrepit and open to the elements. Nothing that could possibly be a school. The Intrinsic sign is up, but nothing appears to be happening there, no construction for months. How can it possibly be true that they plan to build an entirely new school building and then move to a new location year after? This is the plan for a tech-intensive school? This makes no sense. Someone is telling a lie, and we are paying for it. The neighborhood is desperate for good school choices, and this is what we get, instead of a decent neighborhood school? The Intrinsic proposal plans to have 45 students to every teacher, and lots of computer-based learning/prep, including online art. online PE. No real support for kids like mine, smart and mainstreamed, but with special needs. We get this, and Ames middle school being turned into a military charter, despite massive neighborhood opposition. Shameful and wrong.

  • 156. anonymouse teacher  |  January 28, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    @153, yes, the recess company does do those things. Sort of. (The recess company is awful and have no control, but CPS insists on trying to save money by only providing enough budget for pay the recess workers $10 an hour—you don’t get adequate people for that price.)

    What I’m saying is that this is NOT the same as running around outside and letting off steam. They cannot yell or scream in the building and they cannot run and there is nowhere within our overcrowded building to walk.The recess company provides ZERO materials/toys, etc, and when teachers have lent their own personally bought things, they get destroyed, so no more of that.
    So, maybe I didn’t state it perfectly. Let me rephrase. There will be no outdoor recess until it is 30 degrees, little wind, and the blacktop and or playground is completely snow free.

  • 157. HS Mom  |  January 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    @155 interesting info. Went to their website…..wow! what a program and team. Love the block scheduling and variable learning groups, hope it works.

    Looks like the location is at 17 S state….is this the same Noble group or is Intrinsic a different group? Not sure about the reported approval. So your saying they will build a new school at the site of an old lumber yard…..talking Lee Lumber on Kedzie? I will say that no business has survived their, probably a good place for something else.

    As far as art and PE on line, not sure where you are getting your info but having gone to a HS with no gymnasium for 3 years I will say that PE is a secondary subject at a college prep school. Art and PE are nothing like elementary school. Some of the most useful art classes use digital imaging on the computer. Good prep for tech fields, media and architectural, mechanical engineering – all done on computer now. I would need to know more about the actual curriculum, if time is spent physically exercising and creating art/images and then processing on line……that’s something different. I would also think that someone interested in the arts and pursuing career and college in fine arts would gravitate more towards one of the specialized fine arts programs offered at other schools.

  • 158. anonymouse teacher  |  January 28, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Anyone else see this article?
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/23/schools-highest-sat-scores_n_4654077.html
    Results are not surprising, most of the schools are private and the publics on the list are all highly selective. IMSA is the only Illinois school on the list. I was surprised that CA, NY and New England had the great majority of the top 25.

  • 159. CPS Parent  |  January 28, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Note:
    “The information is based on self-reported scores from 75,834 test-takers at 909 schools from 2012-2014. In order to be considered in the findings, a school had to have at least 100 students submit their scores.”

    The scores were self reported by students on a voluntary basis.

    This would not result in any kind of realistic ranking. Do not pay any attention. I’m not a data expert but I’m sure those who are would confirm.

  • 160. Northwest sider  |  January 28, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    @157 – they plan to build an entirely new building on the lumber yard site (yes, a site that needs development) and then in a year – move to a new location. This seems very odd. The school is currently in a temporary location currently downtown. Intrinsic is not the Noble Street group. There is very little information on their website. “STEM block – taught by math and science teachers” for example, doesn’t tell me much about curriculum, instruction, or facilities. The school has been put forth to neighbors as “montessori – style (with computer learning “pods”?) and spanish language focused, and tech-oriented. All three, but seems none of these. As for online PE/Art, I’m getting my information from a member of the SAC that was reviewing charter proposals. The staff posted on the website seem well-qualified, but incomplete … the student teacher ratio is to be about 45 students to a teacher. Believe me, I’m desperate for quality high school options nearby, which is why I’m so interested in this school, but I am skeptical of this proposal, and wondering why so much building and site-moving? Why not stay at the Belmont site? That was the original plan. Why not more than one hastily scheduled community meeting? And why not put more detailed information about curriculum, facilities, and academic work on the website? When/if the building at 4540 W. Belmont is ready, and the school is ongoing, I’ll schedule an appointment to go check it out, to see what kind of curriculum they offer. I hope my skepticism is unwarranted.

  • 161. anonymouse teacher  |  January 28, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140124/uptown/charter-openings-after-cps-closings-strategic-mistake-official-says

    Interesting that the Passages high school was rejected. I don’t know about any other community, but Andersonville/Edgewater reallllllllly did not want another charter school.

  • 162. cpsobsessed  |  January 28, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Is intrinsic the one that is being run/founded by ex-cps teachers? I need to check my materials from the new school fair.
    If it’s the one I’m thinking of, keep an open mind. Not saying it would be right for every kid but they seems strategically sound.
    Also keep in mind that good educators are not necessarily good marketers. At all.
    I think there are possibly cps-related reasons for charters changing locations – not sure that is driven by them (but I’m just speculating.)
    I think they emailed me a while back. I’ll see if I can get in touch…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 163. HS Mom  |  January 28, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Is intrinsic the one that is being run/founded by ex-cps teachers?

    Yes – according to their site. Pretty impressive team, some from SEHS’s. They show their address as 17 N. State, assuming this is temporary. Their format is very unique, could be a winner.

  • 164. Patricia  |  January 28, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    @157 HS Mom. Isn’t Intrinsic the charter that is primarily all FANTASTIC former CPS teachers who wanted to teach freely without the oppression of CPS or the union rules that stifle creativity in teaching? They wanted to do things “outside of the box” and from what I remember are teachers who truly just LOVE to teach—-and are darn good at it. I am pretty certain this is that group and I was excited to see it get started last year. I do not know anything about the site location, etc. which sounds a bit confusing, but maybe they end up staying there forever and for some reason that can’t be set in stone yet? Just guessing on this last part.

  • 165. JD  |  January 28, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    @117 – “If course Taft boundaries should be redrawn. Elem schools nearby are bursting. I would surmise the boundary is ridiculously wide because parents stopped sending their kids there sometime back. But times have changed with overcrowding and boundaries need to change. No need to build expandsoon, redraw boundaries!”

    Shouldn’t Taft HS decrease the number of out-of-boundary students enrolled before disenfranchising in-boundary students?

  • 166. JD  |  January 28, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    @ 120 – “Weren’t the boundaries at Taft just redrawn about 5 years ago?”

    Yes, and since then Taft has not decreased out-of-boundary enrollment consistent with the increased in-boundary students. Self-inflicted overcrowding is what it is.

  • 167. JD  |  January 28, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    @118 To be clear, a school such as Taft need not shed programs that take in out-of-boundary questions. Do we really believe that among the thousands of in-area Taft students (who increasingly choose to enroll in Taft) there are not sufficiently qualified students for those programs?

  • 168. pantherettie  |  January 29, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Overall I am not a fan of charter schools, but I must say that when I read the background qualifications for the staff of Intrinsic schools I was impressed. The staff they present are highly qualified and well experienced teachers. Most Ivy trained( which seems to make a big difference for *some* folks on this board) and it looks to me like all of them have specific training in teaching – not only subject matter competency and skills but teaching!! What sucks (to me) is that it seems that this was a total brain drain from CPS. There are a couple employees from outside of the system but overall it seems that these are the folks we want to be leading our schools and teaching our kids and they feel that working outside of CPS ( with CPS charter money) is the way to stay in education. To me – that’s the bummer.

  • 169. CPS Parent  |  January 29, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    168. pantherettie I think one of the reasons that teachers leave to start charters is exemplified by the recess and snow issue mention ed above. In a ‘neighborhood” school sweeping the snow from a play area is impossible even though there might be 30-40 capable and willing adults in the building.

  • 170. Taft  |  January 29, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    The Academic Center and IB Diploma program increase the attractiveness of Taft to those who live in the area, so I would not support moving them. Boundaries need to be redrawn. The boundary is larger than any other CPS High School. Look it up – it is huge. Time to make the boundaries smaller. Anyone still at the school would stay – would just be new students who would have to live within new boundary or get in thru the AC or IB Diploma program. The existing boundaries are relatively new and need to be redrawn. School is way overcrowded based on previous posts of it holding 3000+ students in a facility built for 2000.

  • 171. JD  |  January 29, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    170 – The “new” boundaries actually date back about 7 years and guess what? When the boundaries were contracted back then the idea was that only in-boundary students would be enrolled. Well, we know what happened. The out-of-boundary enrollment continued unabated.

    So if the boundaries were contracted–again–what incentive would there be to restrict enrollment to in-area students only?

    Which specific group of households should be assigned to Steinmetz or Foreman? I’m sure those families will be thrilled to know they can’t go to Taft but other families outside of the Taft boundary can go to Taft.

    What kind of silly game is that?.

  • 172. anonymouse teacher  |  January 29, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    @169, you’d truly prefer that teachers shovel snow each morning instead of prepping for their classes? As in, for real?

  • 173. Veteran  |  January 29, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    #169 ….and the teachers shall live at the school, not get married and stoke the fire before they pull the rope for the bell…

  • 174. cpsobsessed  |  January 29, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    @168 Pantherette: the teachers starting a charter is really what the original idea of charter were meant to do — allow good teachers to try some new ideas in education. It seems like the only way to try something truly different in CPS is through a charter. Your post did make me wonder if they had to take a cut in pay, as most charters don’t pay well – or if they have funding coming from somewhere outside CPS.

  • 175. cpsobsessed  |  January 29, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Hm, they do have some serious backers:
    http://intrinsicschools.org/partners/

  • 176. pantherettie  |  January 30, 2014 at 6:58 am

    I agree regarding the funding for Intrinsic. Again, it appears to have the diversified economic support that I think all charters should have to demonstrate before approval. I also agree that Intrinsic, at least on paper, looks to have the kind of teaching and leadership staff that’s about innovative education. I know I sound like a broken record but I just wish that there was *truly* a place for these educators to try these ideas within CPS. Privatizing schools through the charter system just seems to water down the pool of students and talented teachers and I think that this is an example of it.

  • 177. Veteran  |  January 30, 2014 at 8:03 am

    I read through the bios of the Intrinsic staff and became dizzy from the flitting-some of the staff appear to move from Catholic to public, state to state and public to charter at an alarming rate. Were these teachers even at a school long enough to be tenured? The teaching experience seems to be lacking. I am hoping parents run each name through ISBE to check certification.

    Why would a school need a director and a principal? A director
    (Juan Rangel) does not have to be certified whereas a principal does. The school seems heavy in the admin area. Do charter schools fingerprint their employees?

    What is an associate teacher? Is this a euphemism for teacher assistant?

  • 178. CPS Parent  |  January 30, 2014 at 8:40 am

    172. anonymouse teacher Yes, for real, together with the principal and other admins and the bigger kids and a few parent volunteers if needed. Not every teacher needs to “prep” for class each morning.

  • 179. PatientCPSMom  |  January 30, 2014 at 9:38 am

    @cpsobsessed Does everyone know you can look at the certifications and education of teachers at your school? I’ve been impressed. The three schools we have attended have all had about 50% of teachers with Masters, 2 of the 3 Principals with PHDs or working towards PHDs, and even the teachers with BAs had many certifications and all the teachers always seemed to be working towards attaining more knowledge in thier field. I would encourage a head to head comparision of teacher qualifications/experience comparing Charters to CPS neighborhood to CPS magnet/selective. I wonder what you’d find?

  • 180. 2nd grade parent  |  January 30, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Patient, pls advise how we access this info.
    is this on the ISBE site?

  • 181. Veteran  |  January 30, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    180. http://www.isbe.state.il.us/ELIS/default.htm

    Hope this works-every parent should make sure their child has a certified teacher especially if your child has a disability…..

  • 182. PatientCPSMom  |  January 30, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    @181 Also, at the start of every year I’ve filled out a form from the school to request the education/certifications for the teacher who is teaching our class. The form just came home in the homework folder. I thought everyone in CPS got this form.

  • 183. Mayfair Dad  |  January 30, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I started to write something but realized Junior has it covered. Maybe CPSO will start a new thread on the changes to the SEHS admissions process? No more ISAT scores, oh my!

  • 184. anonymouse teacher  |  January 30, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    @178, Yes actually they do.
    And, in my case, prepping for classes happens every single morning without fail from 7-8 a.m., and often much of what I do during my lunch is prepping for the afternoon, as well as during my official prep time and other times too. When do you think the copies get made, the printable books cut and stapled, the science demo’s prepped, the meetings with parents, the paperwork that the principal asked for that morning at 7 which she must have by 8, the books selected for reading groups, the math stations replenished, the new name tags put on the desks because the kids keep pulling them off, the pencils sharpened, the morning message written on the board? When do you think the teacher finds the carefully selected book to match the unit in her shelves, pulls out the laptops for differentiated stations and checks to see which ones are working that particular day, cuts the 11×18 paper in half for the writing center to make it last longer, answers the email from the parent right away so that parent doesn’t say she isn’t timely, preps the new word wall words, makes an example art project? (and no, you don’t want to get me started on my list of things I do during “prep” and after school and at home)
    But hey, if you feel that professionals really don’t need that time, be sure to tell your surgeon that surely he can go out and shovel the hospital parking lot because he doesn’t need to prep for surgery every single time, just maybe 75% of the time and you’re comfortable if it is YOUR surgery he doesn’t prep for.
    Only a non-educator would say that every teacher doesn’t need to prep every single morning. Take away my morning prep time and you take away my time to effectively work with my children. I am not standing around drinking my coffee and “chatting”. I’m working my rear off, running between the buildings trying to get all the crap done that is endless. Be clear, I am not complaining about my work. But there’s things that must be done in the morning that frankly, I’m too exhausted to do at 4:30 or 5 p.m. or that I can’t do from home.

  • 185. Veteran  |  January 30, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    #184 Well said…you forgot to mention the collaboration time between yourself and the special education teachers spent during the morning preps and all throughout the day and sometime night…
    I used to call the six gen ed teachers regarding my students in the car on the way to and from school….I had to up my minutes but it was worth it….people have no idea….

  • 186. OutsideLookingIn  |  January 31, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Give the kids shovels and tell them to clear the snow off the playground. Call it gym class. Problem solved. You’re welcome.

  • 187. concerned parent  |  January 31, 2014 at 9:16 am

    @180/181 – and what would you suggest if you don’t like the schools/programs or “certifications” that teachers have been trained or studied under?

  • 188. anonymouse teacher  |  January 31, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    @187, If you don’t like the programs/schools/certifications you can go somewhere else, of course. However, if you merely choose a different city school, in 2-3 years you could end up with a dramatically different staff from when you began and you’d have no control over who was hired or from where. Teacher turnover in CPS is very high.

  • 189. local  |  January 31, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Maybe run for LSC and get a principal that hires teachers who have only the certs and come from the schools/programs you like?

  • 190. teachers  |  January 31, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    “you’d have no control over who was hired or from where. Teacher turnover in CPS is very high”

    yes, that is a problem isn’t it

  • 191. Veteran  |  February 1, 2014 at 12:17 am

    Parents need to check ISBE to make sure that their child’s teacher is certified to teach in Illinois and that the certification matches the job assignment. A second grade teacher needs an Early Childhood certificate or an elementary certificate. A high school English teacher needs a certificate in teaching English at the high school level-this means a major in English etc. A teacher who is teaching special education needs a certificate in special education or at least an endorsement in special education which is attached to their elementary, early childhood or high school certificate (gen ed certificates). If your child is in a departmentalized program then the teacher should have middle school endorsement attached to their gen ed certificate in that subject area. Many teachers have dual certificates/endorsements BUT there are uncertified teachers especially in special education so parents need to be aware of these situations. If you find that your child has an uncertified teacher you can always request a room change hopefully,before the school year starts.

  • 192. CPSMom  |  February 1, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Intrinsic is very new and only has 5 months of experience running their own school. They should never have been allowed to replicate this quickly. I served on the Northwest side NAC and were even told by the office of new schools that they had a fatal flaw in the proposal and couldn’t be approved, yet for some bizarre reason the Office of New Schools did a total about face and recommended them for approval anyway. Working within CPS and working within a charter school are 2 completely different arenas. Charter schools have to fundraise, work with investors, board members and other outside influences whereas CPS schools do not. They are just getting their feet wet learning the ropes and still don’t have a solid curriculum. Their funding is from Canyon Agassi and every child that enrolls in the school results in them paying out $1500 to Canyon Agassi… so that’s $1500 coming out of the per pupil funding that CPS pays to charter schools walking straight out the door and into the hands of investors. It’s in their proposal which is viewable online on page 88. “We are currently working with Canyon Agassi to purchase and renovate our first school building. Canyon Agassi will purchase the facility, renovate it and lease it back to us for $1,500 per pupil.”

  • 193. Falconergrad  |  February 7, 2014 at 10:52 am

    That video on the Intrinsic website was up BEFORE the school opened. And it makes it sound like the school was already opened and had tons of satisfied customers. I went to a NAC community forum and I believe it was the Intrinsic director (not the principal) who told the audience that she had no teaching degree and had never taught. A lot of people were shocked. If I have noble and intrinsic mixed up please correct me! It all ran together with how insane it all sounded.

  • 194. Veteran  |  February 7, 2014 at 11:03 am

    http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=4504

    A “director” does not need a teaching degree or an administrative certificate-think Juan Rangel. Ms Zaikos was in charge of the AMPS schools which are the high performing schools in CPS so how much experience she received from that is suspect. She is bright, pleasant and a good listener (qualities lacking in CPS admin) BUT her knowledge of teaching and what it takes to run a school that is not high performing is lacking. I would have thought by now that she would have gone back to school like so many of us have and pursued a masters’ or doctorate in education.

  • 195. Family Friend  |  February 8, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I have been so busy and so stressed, I have not been able to keep up with this site, although I knew there would be a lot of comment on the decisions on charter applications, and I knew I would have a lot to say. So here goes — I apologize in advance for being snarky; I’m still stressed.

    @31 and @32: “The same billionaires and hedge fund managers that bankroll Stand For Children PAC also were major contributors and supporters of Rahm’s campaign.” I really have to comment on this. It makes perfect sense: Imagine you are a billionaire hedge fund manager, and you support education reform as embodied by Stand for Children and charter schools. Rahm Emanuel also supports charter schools. You make your political donations to people who share your political views. It most certainly does pass the smell test, in my opinion.

    Investors who put up money for charter schools can’t really double their money in seven years, or there would be MUCH more investment in charter schools. As a director (board member) of an excellent charter school (one of six in the city, including all of CPS and all charters, with the highest level of student growth) that is hanging on financially by the skin of its teeth, I can testify that there is no rush to bankroll even excellent charters.

    Also, Be the Change: I think you are confused. “Be the change you wish to see in the world” is a very loose paraphrase of a quote from Gandhi. A lot of people find it inspiring, including at least two organizations concerned with education. Be the Change, Inc. has offices in Washington, D.C. and Boston, and Be the Change School is entirely in Chicago. They are completely unrelated to each other, no interlocking directorates, no connection that I can find. Neither has anyone named Levy publicly associated with the organization. Jonathan Lavine, a Managing Director of Bain Capital who is reportedly associated with both Emanuel and Obama, is a director of Be the Change, Inc. He has no connection with Be the Change School. I have met with the Be the Change School design team. They are impressive, and have truly innovative ideas that could change the way we differentiate instruction. I hope they apply again, and I hope they succeed.

  • 196. Family Friend  |  February 8, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Part 2: Concept Schools

    @38: I had no idea that the landlord for Concept Schools’ newly approved south side school was a “friend of Rahm.” I do know that Concept Schools has an excellent track record across five or six Midwest states, that CPS turned down two Concept schools last year, and that Concept embarrassed CPS by having that decision overturned by the state charter board. Now CPS has two schools it doesn’t control but must fund, at the level the state board tells it to (probably more than CPS gives the charters it authorizes itself). CPS is not gonna say no to Concept on a good proposal any time soon.

    @148: Concept Schools gets a really bad rap about Gulen. I know the schools and the principals and some of the higher-ups, and there is no religious education going on there. They are not funneling school money to Gulen. I really like the Concept people. The organization was founded by Turkish immigrants who made good in the U.S. and wanted to give something back. It’s a place where they really seem to have nailed the culture everyone wants – kids behave without being regimented, and their academic results are good. Concept, which calls a number of its schools “Horizon Academy,” is sometimes confused with another, unrelated organization out of Texas, called Horizon Schools, also run by Turkish immigrants. I don’t know enough about Horizon Schools (Texas) to comment about any Gulen connection. But I think it’s a tempest in a teapot anyway – “controversial cleric Gulen” is controversial mainly in Turkey, because he favors tolerance and ecumenism. I don’t have any problem with that.

  • 197. Family Friend  |  February 8, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Miscellaneous:

    Why there are openings even at good charters: CPS’ old model was to encourage charters to locate in “underserved” neighborhoods, meaning where the lowest-performing neighborhood schools were found. But most parents can tell a good school from one where their children don’t learn, and those neighborhoods are the ones where anyone who can leave, does so. Population, especially among school-age children, is in decline. Elementary and middle schools in particular have a hard time attracting students from a wide geographic area. Even with a high proportion of neighborhood middle-schoolers, we have vacancies in most grades. Now, CPS is prioritizing communities with overcrowded schools. That makes much more sense; we’ll have to see whether it works.

    Charter impact on neighborhood schools: the impact I would like to see is the one where neighborhood administrators take advantage of what charters can do: LEARN schools are incredibly competent at differentiation; Perspective schools have an amazing character development program. These schools are ready, able, and willing to share what they have learned (Perspectives even got a federal grant to disseminate its program) but neighborhood schools aren’t interested. One of the original ideas of charters was to try new things and share what worked with all schools, but regular schools were threatened, and pulled up the drawbridge before getting the facts. Positions are now entrenched. No ideas allowed in! It is saddening.

    Disruptive kids in charters: we have quite a few! The problem is how to handle them. Do you let them disrupt the class so no one else can learn? Do you just throw them out? Or do you keep trying until you find a way to get them to adjust their behavior so that they, as well as their classmates, will learn? We spend a lot of time and a fair amount of money working on our programs and training our staff. Our numbers show we are closing in on something that works: PBIS in middle school, and peer counseling in high school. Fingers crossed. We do expel kids, but it’s not for simply being “disruptive.” I support the notion that if you bring a weapon to school, you don’t get a second chance. It’s as much about preventing the appearance of more weapons brought by other students as it is about keeping you from bringing one a second time.

    TFA alums as principals: I can’t find the reference to 50 Chicago principals being former TFA corps members, but the TFA website cites “more than 60 local principals.” Our excellent high school principal, formerly principal at Bowen, is also a TFA alum. TFA grade point requirement: Maybe 2.5 is the requirement, but I don’t know anyone at all who made it into TFA with less than a stellar academic record. Competition is fierce, and last time I checked only about 10% of applicants made it. Then they get lots of training, including classroom observation by TFA staff and a masters in education while they teach. In our school, TFA members have done a good job — not as good as experienced teachers, but then neither are our recent ed school graduates!

    Correction on U of C charter schools: U of C charters are among the few (the only?) charter schools in the state with neighborhood boundaries. By law, Illinois charter schools must accept any student that lives in the district, with the exception that up to 30% of Chicago charters may have neighborhood boundaries. (If there are open spaces after all neighborhood residents are accommodated, they can accept students from outside the boundaries.) Only U of C, to my knowledge, has done that, and it’s because the charter schools are part of how U of C adds value to its community. If most of the students are African American, that’s too bad for others in the neighborhood. The schools do a good job.

    @177: Yes, Charter Schools fingerprint their employees. Actually, they are required to go to CPS HQ, and CPS does the background check.

    Charter administration: At my school, our CEO (formerly Director, but we thought the new title better reflects her duties) has ten-plus years of classroom experience, did a year-long fellowship in starting and managing a charter school, and is about to finish her masters in educational administration from UIUC. Our principals are similarly qualified. But I can understand why some Directors don’t have education backgrounds – their jobs include all kinds of things a principal doesn’t do. Think about all the CPS headquarters departments – some of those tasks, although not all of them, fall to charter school administrators. In the early days, the most likely reason for a charter to fail was financial – administrators just did not have the background to manage the money. It’s the job of the board to make sure that happens correctly, and we make sure our administrators have the tools they need. Because our CEO takes care of those things, our principals have time to really handle the educational programs.

  • 199. anonymouse teacher  |  February 11, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    So sad to hear that Goeffrey Canada of HCZ is stepping down from being the major driver of that organization. I’m not a charter fan, generally, but I have always been so impressed with his vision. I do believe, as he does, that the only way that urban children living in poverty will succeed (and to close the achievement gap) is to provide intensive, daily, year round wrap around services, education of entire families from pregnancy and much more.
    I wonder what he will do next?
    I remember when I first learned of HCZ, I tried to get my spouse to move to NYC with me so I could teach there. While I am grateful that he wisely told me that I’d be burnt out if I was required to teach (face time) 10 hour days and then put in another 50 hours a week on top of that of prepping and assessing (not to mention that I couldn’t be a mom and work that much), I can’t help but admire Canada’s love for that community. He’s quite literally given his life away for Harlem.

  • 200. local  |  February 11, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    I wonder what *really* happened with Goeffrey Candada. Very odd. Any succession planning?

  • 201. cpsobsessed  |  February 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I still need to watch that Ted talk he did…
    Based on nothing except his impressiveness, I’d speculate he got some kind of offer he couldn’t refuse.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 202. local  |  February 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Apparently, TFA is now recruiting old or retired folks. Encore TFA.

  • 204. Patricia  |  February 12, 2014 at 10:01 am

    @Family Friend. Your posts are always so insightful and balanced. Thank you for educating the rest of us about charters. I get so tired of the “charters are the devil” posts…….but, everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion! You posted:

    “One of the original ideas of charters was to try new things and share what worked with all schools, but regular schools were threatened, and pulled up the drawbridge before getting the facts. Positions are now entrenched. No ideas allowed in! It is saddening.”

    Wow! This truly is sad. Just think how much better off education would be IF there was actually collaboration between neighborhood and charter schools. Wish we could have a “do over” on this one……….

  • 205. Patricia  |  February 12, 2014 at 10:10 am

    @anonymouse
    Ditto! I am a HUGE Geoffrey Canada fan. My guess is that he is getting older and is transitioning into his next phase of life. We will probably still hear from him on education issues. He is a great example of the positive difference one person can make.

  • 206. tchr  |  February 12, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    “Charter impact on neighborhood schools: the impact I would like to see is the one where neighborhood administrators take advantage of what charters can do: LEARN schools are incredibly competent at differentiation; Perspective schools have an amazing character development program. .”

    Differentiation? Every neighborhood teacher that posts on this board talks about differentiation in their classroom. I meet with small groups every day, differentiate my reading and math lessons, send home differentiated homework, give additional support to some students outside school hours. This is the standard at my school.

    Character development program? http://www.perspectivescs.org/adl/a-disciplined-life This social emotional learning is not new and is in many neighborhood classrooms. Many teachers use Second Step, Responsive Classroom, and lessons they made up themselves, got from Pinterest, or from read alouds.

    “These schools are ready, able, and willing to share what they have learned (Perspectives even got a federal grant to disseminate its program) but neighborhood schools aren’t interested. One of the original ideas of charters was to try new things and share what worked with all schools, but regular schools were threatened, and pulled up the drawbridge before getting the facts. Positions are now entrenched. No ideas allowed in! It is saddening.”

    Based on what? Where is your evidence? I’ve gone to PD’s with charter school teachers and heard them complain about the same things I complain about. Their schools really don’t seem all that different than mine. (They are in the SAME PD as me learning the SAME stuff I am learning to put in my classroom.) Was there a formal invitation to go to a charter school and see what they are doing? Did I miss it?

    Also, my neighborhood school has charter schools from other states coming in for tours a few times a year. AT A NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL in the hood.

    And while looking for another job, I read on a website that one charter school only admits HALF the amount of students that I have in my classroom. I would make a little bit less money, but I would have half the amount of students- are you kidding me???

    A friend that works in a charter school in another state has TEN FEWER STUDENTS THAN ME AND 2 full-time teachers in the classroom.

    I have a TFA coworker that is completing grad school classes with other TFA-ers and has described one charter network that has all of their lesson plans scripted and teachers just read them word for word and every classroom is on the same page as other classrooms every day. (THAT’S NOT DIFFERENTIATION. That is NOT being responsive to the students in your classroom.)

    Anyways….
    I am all for replicating having half the amount of students in my classroom. That is a charter school idea I will replicate in my neighborhood classroom!!!! I am BURNT OUT having an overcrowded classroom. Thanks a lot school closings! Oh great, they are opening a new charter school down the street from us!!!

  • 207. falconergrad  |  February 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    If charter school practices are universal best practices, I would think they would trickle into all kinds of schools. They would be studied and written about, independent researchers would verify their effect. That is how you can “share.”

  • 208. JD  |  February 12, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    @197 Family Friend “Correction on U of C charter schools: U of C charters are among the few (the only?) charter schools in the state with neighborhood boundaries.”

    U of C charters are not the only charter schools with “charter boundaries”. There are about a dozen now.

  • 209. anonymouse teacher  |  February 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Yeah, I’m with tchr on that one. To be clear, my awe of Canada revolves around his understanding that families living in poverty need so much more than what they can get from any school and not because his program uses charters as a small part of a much larger and much more significant overall program.

    But apparently CPS is really interested in us copying charter school techniques. A few weeks ago CPS had all its principals at a webinar talking about the new unfunded elementary PE requirement of 30 minutes of PE each day.(we need at least one more PE teacher to meet this unfunded mandate) When the principals asked where they were supposed to have PE when it was rainy, too cold or the ground was icy outside, guess what they said? “Namaste Charter school has PE in the hallways.” Principals went CRAZY. Don’t believe me? Go ask your principal this week. It is quite literally the funniest thing I have ever heard. PE in the halls! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised though. We already have ESL, sped and reading pull out in the halls, why not PE too?

  • 210. Jones  |  February 12, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    #209. From my post on the H.S. thread:

    Noble Muchin Facilities – limited. Entrance on 1st floor. Take elevator to 7th floor. On 7th Floor, have like total of 3 split levels where you step down several steps between levels. No gym, no pool. About 30 classrooms. About 32 kids/class plus 1 teacher and 1 helper in some classes. Track runs at Millenium Park or in hallways when weather is bad. Football/Baseball Teams practice at Butler; Soccer at another facility. Basketball off campus.

    But that was for after school track. I don’t know how you have gym in a charter building consisting of 3 floors in an office building while class is being held.

    Does anyone know why CPS waiver for PE was taken away at this time?

    At the Jones LSC meeting, Principal talked about maybe having to add a 0 period to the schedule to fit in gym or another period at end of day – totally undecided at this time. But basically making a long school day longer.

    For H.S., wouldn’t it be great if you could show you worked out for 30 minutes at home or at a gym instead? Instead of making it 2 more years of gym, why not make it 2 years of exercise with some form of tracking – pedometers, etc.?

    My child hates gym, so horrid that 2 years are being added to H.S. requirement.

    Anyone know how to get a waiver? Think private / public schools will offer gym in summer school for those who want to get the credits over with?

    When is this PE requirement supposed to really start in CPS?

  • 211. anonymouse teacher  |  February 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    The PE requirement starts this August. High schools will get returned TIF money to help fund the additional hires, elementary schools are getting nothing.

  • 212. falconergrad  |  February 12, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Does the PE have to be daily or just work out to 2.5 hours per week? Doesn’t a thirty minute period present scheduling problems when other classes are more than thirty minutes and lunch and recess are only 20-25 minutes each? What are they supposed to do with the extra odd minutes? Or has this already been figured out?

  • 213. anonymouse teacher  |  February 12, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    It must, by state law, be 30 minutes a day. It cannot be any other combination of minutes due to that state law It presents a huge scheduling problem. It has not been figured out at my school, nor would I suspect at other schools. Principals are just now working together to brainstorm possibilities.
    I don’t envy my administrator.

  • 214. HS Mom  |  February 12, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    @210 “I don’t know how you have gym in a charter building consisting of 3 floors in an office building while class is being held.”

    Same way Jones did until this year. Contract out space at a nearby work-out facility. Kids walk to it. It was not ideal but served the purpose. Freshman year has 1/2 year health/PE and sophomore year has 1/2 drivers ed/PE, so not as much of an issue. I imagine with the new PE requirement it will be much more challenging. It is hard to run a HS without a gym. But boy, the location of Muchin is ideal.

  • 215. anonymouse teacher  |  February 12, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    @214, Might be okay for a high school to do that, not for an elementary. Do you happen to know how Jones kids made it from their classes and back again without losing instructional time too? Just wondering.

  • 216. HS Mom  |  February 12, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    @215 – yes, intended for high school. The walking time, which was short and just down the block was deducted from the PE time. They were walking!

  • 217. anonymouse teacher  |  February 13, 2014 at 7:07 am

    Got it, that makes sense. Very creative solution!

  • 218. Veteran  |  February 13, 2014 at 8:02 am

  • 219. Admissions  |  February 19, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Just got this email. I guess we are waitlisted (this is how they opted to notify us – this is exact wording of the entire letter). Plus now they want me to add my support behind them. I don’t think they should be allowed to use my email to build political support. It was provided for Admissions purposes only.

    As a parent of a child on the CICS Northtown Academy waitlist, you know more than anyone that this school is in high demand. There are currently over 600 students on the waitlist and becasue of that need, we are in the process of trying to expand our capacity in the school by 50 seats. In order to provide more enrollment opportunity, we need to apply to Chicago Public Schools and as part of this process, we need to have a public hearing to announce our intention to increase our number of seats.
    If we are granted our request, there is no guarantee that your child will get in to Northtown. However, by showing your support for this increase in enrollment there is a possiblity that we will be able to provide more open seats for waitlisted students this upcoming school year if approved.
    If you are interested in showing your support for this increase, we would ask that you come out to the public hearing on:
    February 25th
    6:00 PM
    CICS Northtown Academy, Cafeteria
    3900 W Peterson
    Chicago IL, 60659
    Sincerely,

    Mike Bower
    Chief of Staff

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  • 221. Lynn  |  March 26, 2014 at 10:18 am

    I am a teacher (not CPS) and mother. My CPS school (Twain) has 35 kids in each K classroom. I will not send my child in to a class with that many kids and no aide (some say they get an aide mid-year but when I call they say NO AIDE.) Charter schools on the southwest side are telling me that the class size is 25. For now,
    I am hoping for a charter spot. 35 5 year olds and 1 adult is crazy.
    As far as test scores go, I am less interested in a number on a paper than the safety and well being of my 5 year old. When CPS lowers the crazy class size then I will think about turning my back on Charter schools.
    Teach for America teachers can be just as good or bad as a veteran with a masters. Neither of them, with 35 students, can spend the small group and one on one time that every 5 year old deserves.

  • 222. office  |  May 5, 2014 at 7:05 pm

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