Meeting with Brizard!

October 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm 224 comments

**UPDATE: This meeting has been postponed until Nov 9th**

Yeah, big news!  I’ve been invited (along with other Chicago parent bloggers – no idea who) to meet with JCB for 1 hour on November 8th.

I will supposedly get to ask questions and “get answers straight from the source.”  I don’t even know where to start.  I feel like I need to deliver some very important message to him.  But I don’t know what it .

I guess I know some of his ideas (he supports “choice”, he’s ok with more charters, he thinks every neighborhood school should be good.)

Hell, who doesn’t?  I guess the question is what does he *Really* want to make happen that is actually feasible?

Of course I will have to slip in as “consistent grading scales!” comment before I leave.

So, feel free to share any comments, questions, etc and I’ll try to summarize them for the meeting as best I can.  Hopefully some of you can articulate the questions better than I can.

These are the attendees:

Jamie Fishman, Families in the Loop

Dwana De La Cerna, The Chicago Moms

Me, CPS Obsessed

Beth Prystowsky, Ups and Downs of A Yoga Mom*

Lee Haas, Neighborhood Parents Network blog*

Kate Schott Bolduc, Big City Belly

Kate Schott Bolduc, Big City Belly

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Weekly Events week of 10/24 including Bucktown School Info Brizard taking questions on WBEZ Thursday 11/3 at 7pm

224 Comments Add your own

  • 1. IB&RGC Mom  |  October 28, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Just one hour? Talk fast. 🙂 On a serious note, what a great opportunity. If you get a chance please also mention that there has got to be a better way to diversify then this tier system that forces kids who were fortunate enough to have a good cps elementary education and live in tier 4 to either be perfect in 7th, leave cps, leave the city, or go to a high school that may not offer then the level of education that they have been getting all along.

  • 2. anonymous  |  October 29, 2011 at 8:04 am

    I would love to have him hear, again, that many parents want a longer day, just not 105 minutes longer. And can you ask him how he intends to fund all the new playgrounds that need to be built and how many years it will take to build them all?

  • 3. Anonymous  |  October 29, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Ask how many schools have gyms, playgrounds, libraries, computer labs, etc., so that all grades can enjoy recess and an enriched curriculum in the longer but not 7.5 hour day.

    Ask how many schools CPS wants to close.

    Ask about safety for kids walking to and from school in the dark.

    Ask about Common Core standards. Is it only in reading and math? What are the additions, by grade level? Where is this information?
    Will computer- or tablet-based programs be used to drill CC standards?

    Ask if CPS thinks it will moderate its tone in talks with the CTU?

  • 4. mom  |  October 29, 2011 at 10:09 am

    I’d love to know whether, in addition to getting input from schools that just added 90 minutes, he’s going to also get input from the schools that switched to “open campus” this year — to see whether everyone feels that’s “long enough.” On that same issue: I’d want to know whether there’s any chance he’d allow schools that are already on “Open Campus” schedule to opt out somehow of going to an even longer day. I really wish CPS would allow a school-specific decision here, perhaps with a parent vote to choose between “open campus” and “open campus plus 45.” At least for the littlest kids, it’d be nice to have a choice.

  • 5. cps grad  |  October 29, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I would ask Brizard about the inequitable way class size is calculated in neighborhood schools when compared to the SEES/Magnets. Unlike magnets and SEES which have a cap or per class maximum (28 in the primary grades (k-3), and 31 in the intermediate/middle school grades (4-8), the same is not true in the neighborhood schools. Instead class sizes are an average. In other words they take the total number of students in those grades and divide by the appropriate number for an average.

    For example, say a school has 155 4th through 8th graders. This gives an average class size of 31 students per class, and therefore CPS will provide the school with 5 full time teachers for those classes. This method, however, assumes that the students are equally distributed through the grades. In reality a neighborhood school could have 22 4th graders, 37 5th graders, 23 6th graders, 37 7th graders, and 36 8th graders which still is an average class size of 31. Consequently you have 3 grades with too many students! Now what happens when the # of students is not equally divisible by 31. CPS ROUNDS DOWN the number of teachers. Lets assume that the same school has 30 extra students. CPS will still only provide that school with 5 Full time teachers and those students will bring the class sizes up even more (lets hope those extra students are in the 4th and 6th grades and not 5th , 7th or 8th!).

    Now a principal has very few options to get the class sizes down. Most try to avoid split grades (one teacher will have both 5th and 6th graders). If a school is lucky enough to have discretionary funds they may buy an extra teacher (costing approx $80,000 salary + benefits) , but how many schools have the extra $240,000 needed to buy 3 extra teachers need in the above scenario!

    And if anyone out there is wondering how Chicago got this crazy method, just blame the 1995 legislation that took away the rights of the CTU to bargain over class size. No other teachers union in the state is restricted on bargaining over this issue. Consequently CPS ends up with the inequitable method that “looks okay” and the second largest class sizes in the state. Some people may think that the union is only out for their own interests, but sometimes the interest of teachers is also the interest of the students.

    I am providing two links: One an internal CPS report that outlines the method I explained above:

    And a news article that talks about CPS second highest class average in the state.

  • 6. cps grad  |  October 29, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Here is the updated information for 2010 budget. It is harder to find the information. Information starts on page 91.

  • 7. CPSDepressed  |  October 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I’d ask if a longer school year is in the cards.

  • 8. Jeanne  |  October 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I would ask him if there is a way to make magnet selection “more fair”, and my suggestion would be to do the lottery similar to the way they do the gifted/classical programs (sans testing, of course!), where you rank choices and only get admittance to one school. I think it is absurd that some lucky dogs get into 3 or 4 magnets and low waitlist numbers to a few more, while others get into no magnets and get all really high waitlist numbers.

    I also would like to put in a vote for a longer school day but not 90 minutes worth. And require mandatory recess below a certain grade level and a certain mandatory amount of time for lunch (not sure how long that would be).

  • 9. mom2  |  October 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    I’d like to know his philosophy on the often “one size fits all” mentality of CPS (breakfast in the classroom, etc.) vs. allowing a school that is meeting certain expectations to modify plans to work best for their particular students’ needs.

    I’d also like to know if he is more of the philosophy that we need additional SE schools to retain good families that contribute to the entire school system or more of the philosophy that we need to add college bound programs/curriculum to neighborhood schools and hope to somehow make parents willing to give that a try. Which direction is he headed? If it is the second direction, how does he plan to make that happen – test in programs within a neighborhood school or ???

    I agree with letting him know (although I’m sure he has heard it over and over) about the plight of the tier 4 and even 3 parents/students and the lack of enough spaces to fit those qualified within a reasonable amount of miles from their homes. I know there are plenty further away, but that is crazy to expect families that do have the financial means to pay for private or move to be willing to send their kids on public transportation for 45 minute or more each way every day just to go to school.

  • 10. mom2  |  October 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Oh, and if they plan to add time to the school year, I vote for starting a week earlier (since nearly all suburban schools start a week or even two before we do now) and take away some of the current days off during the current year (November and February come to mind). Let’s not add more days in June when everyone has already been out for a week or two before we currently get out.

  • 11. Anon  |  October 29, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Ask him if crossing guards will be let go starting 2012.

    Does he expect the speed cameras to be up and running by then, for the kids walking hone in the dark at 4:30?

  • 12. at CPS grad  |  October 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    our kid’s K class at Skinner North has 30 kids. I believe the principal said the more kids the class has the more teachers they will be allowed to hire.

  • 13. mom2  |  October 29, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I don’t know why everyone thinks that adding 90 minutes to a closed campus school and less than that to an open campus school will end up having kids walking home in the dark at 4:30. There are schools right now that start around 7:30 and get out at 1:30. Add 90 minutes to that schedule and you are out at 3pm. I don’t see schools getting out any later than 3:30. I just see some of them starting earlier.

    Most sought after magnet schools that I have heard of have class sizes closer to 32 in a class – even in kindergarten. I don’t know where the idea came about that magnet schools were limited to 28. But I do agree that class size in cps makes it even more of a challenge for teachers and less would be much better for everyone.

  • 14. mrsbester  |  October 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I am a current CPS teacher. I have a long list of ideas that you could address with JC. However, due to the limited frame your were given, I will try to contain myself.

    1. What does he plan to do about the inconsistencies that plague CPS? In particular, the money, facilities, and resources afforded to schools in “ideal” neighborhoods, while schools in poorer neighborhoods must work miracles with the leftover table scraps.

    2. What is his specific plan for the extra 90 mins being added to the school day? The plan mentioned on the news is very vague.

    3. How does he plan to change the union laws so that lazy, incompetent, and damaging teachers can be fired in a timely manner? and teachers who work their fingers to the bone can be rewarded for their efforts?

    Thank you for listening to my little rant.

  • 15. anonymous  |  October 29, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    #13, yes many magnets have 32 in a class, but they then use the extra funds that extra students total in a school can provide to “buy” full time teacher assistants for the younger grades, or more specials teachers. (which is why magnets pack them in. If each classroom goes from 28 to 32, if a school has two classrooms per grade, that is 8 extra students x 9 classrooms, meaning 72 extra kids, which means 2-2.5 additional teachers are provided for)
    My own kids have 6 special classes per week (art, music, gym, etc) while the kids at the school I work in, a neighborhood school, only get 4 special classes per week. Some of that is due to fundraising by parents, but not all of it. My own kids also get extra reading, writing and math teachers paid for from magnet funding that pull kids out, so that reading and writing classes are a max of 16 and there is extra math classes too. None of this is provided at a neighborhood school. Don’t get me wrong, I love it that my kids get this kind of funding, but if they get it, so should everyone else. It is my opinion that if the district cannot provide this for everyone, then no one, including my children, should have it. Other people may disagree.

  • 16. cps grad  |  October 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    @12, I don’t know the specifics of Skinner North, and CPS might actually have increased class sizes since the report cited, but the what I outlined up in my #5 entry is the method that is used in neighborhood schools. The links that I provided in @5 and 6 are CPS documents and explain it in detail. This is also what the principal at my neighborhood school explained at an LSC meeting last year. Our neighborhood school almost had to go to spilt classes to keep the #s manageable in the upper grades. Also there was a post on NPN recently from a Belding parent looking to get someone to transfer just 1 Kindergartener to Belding so that they keep a teacher. Otherwise they are going to combine the classes.

    Also using CPS’s formula I came up with another scenario. Suppose a school has 24 students in the 4th grade and 25 kids in each class 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th. That sounds great, doesn’t it! Think again. Using CPS’s average class size method of assigning teachers there are only 124 students in grades 4th – 8th. 124/31 is exactly 4. Cps will assign only 4 teachers to that school to cover 5 grades!

  • 17. HSObsessed  |  October 29, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Given how popular the selective enrollment high schools are, ask him whether there is any consideration being given to building more, brand new SEHS, or converting any existing neighborhood high schools into SEHS. You won’t get a straight answer, of course, but you can report to us your intuitive sense about what the level of hedging was in the response. Have fun!

  • 18. Anonymous  |  October 29, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    It will likely be up to the school’s discretion what time they will start and end, there are schools that could be looking at 4-4:30 dismissal times.

  • 19. Anonymous  |  October 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Ask him what he thinks of students taking the initiative to start online petitions against the longer day.
    : )

  • 20. Parent  |  October 29, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Please ask Brizard to explain what would be needed to decrease the class size for primary grades to a reasonable level – maybe 25? Also, isn’t 7.5 hours of school too long for a 5-6 year old? I think it’s fine for the upper grades, but not developmentally appropriate for the younger ones. Thanks!

  • 21. cps Mom  |  October 29, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    @18 If this is true then I guess we should be asking the schools why they let their kids walk home at 4:30 in the dark and start so late. I can’t believe a school would do that.

    @19 Looks like we have a bunch of high schoolers complaining about 90 minutes when that is not the plan for HS. I wish they would announce what the plan is so that we don’t have this misinformation floating around. Do you know of one kid in favor of an extended day?

  • 22. mom  |  October 29, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Though NEITHER is a great option, I’d rather my children start at 9:00 (which is when they start now) and go later than start at 7:30 or 8:00. It works much better for our schedule and their sleep. I don’t think it’s fair to assume that “starting earlier” is the option that all of us would choose.

  • 23. Chicago Gawker-  |  October 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I seriously doubt the majority of CPS student have one stay at home parent which is what it takes to make a 9am start time work for most families.

  • 24. mom  |  October 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Well, I didn’t say that. And we don’t have one stay at home parent, either, FWIW. I just took issue with the idea that no one would choose the later start time.

  • 25. Claire  |  October 30, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Can you ask him if we can change the SEHS lottery method of getting a seat to the Pinata Method? All the parents stand under a big paper mache high school and take turns whacking it with a stick. When one parent splits it wide open, everyone rushes in and grabs a Tootsie Roll (Chicago based company) with an SEHS name taped on to it. No crying and no whining. You get what you get and are grateful for it. I think that would be more fair than the current tier based system.

  • 26. also obsessed  |  October 30, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I would say fund the magnet school and neighborhood schools equally. Is that crazy? That would get everyone a more equal playing ground I think. I suppose I”d have to do some research on this to see what gets funded in Mags and not in Neighborhoods (i.e. kindergarten, science labs, computer labs, etc…)…but I wonder if that would help stop the idea that only mags are good and neighborhoods are just what you go to if you can’t get in anywhere else….a philosophy I hate, obviously.

  • 27. cps Mom  |  October 30, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Claire – good one LOL

  • 28. CPSbroken  |  October 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    25 – Best idea yet! I’m definitely on board.

  • 29. CPSDepressed  |  October 30, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    @25, Will there be metal detectors to ensure that some parents aren’t using shivs to get injure parents in their path? I’ve seen some pinata openings get ugly with lower stakes than SEHS admission.

  • 30. Mayfair Dad  |  October 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    @17: I like your question but I would be more specific. When will CPS begin construction on the Steven Jobs High School of International Competitiveness in Mayfair?

  • 31. dad  |  October 30, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I would ask him why they upped funding to magnet schools this year by 10% when magnet schools already get more positions than neighbhorhood schools by a fair amount. I would also ask him what he’s going to do about the PE waiver that’s under review. Will CPS honor the state mandate of 150 minutes per week of physical activity for students? I would also ask him what he’s doing to change things in specialized services so kids can actually get the services they need.

  • 32. mom2  |  October 30, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Mayfair Dad, how about Jobs College Prep in the current Amundsen High School? I do love their campus. So much could be done with that school.

    I agree that it would be good to get a sense of where he stands on better meeting needs of special Ed kids and following laws as far as PE goes.

  • 33. top shelf  |  October 30, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Tell him to make a perfect score on the SE tests impossible to reach by any student. That way, we’d have a better baseline of each student’s academic achievement to which to add the other factors (grades, tiers, etc.) when the student applies for SE schools.

  • 34. top shelf  |  October 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Re: students with special needs: Ask him what, exactly, is he doing to ensure that students are quickly evaluated for sped when indicated.

  • 35. top shelf  |  October 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Ask him if he gets south of Congress Boulevard much. No, seriously.

  • 36. Claire  |  October 30, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    @29-Excellent use of the word “shiv” in a education themed blog! You are right though. I’m sure parents on the “Titanic” used such tactics to get their kids on a lifeboat.

  • 37. cpsmama  |  October 30, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Many great ideas above. My personal request is threefold:

    Uniform Grading Scale
    Uniform Grading Scale
    Uniform Grading Scale

  • 38. Anonymous  |  October 31, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Why not narrow the achievement — or opportunity — gap with universal preschool for every child in Chicago’s high-poverty communities?

    Over many years, the research shows that a good preschool has a lasting effect in reducing the disadvantages some kids begin life with.

    If the longer day — however it is defined — is designed to reduce the gap, then why not focus CPS, best effort on the most deserving kids?

  • 39. Mayfair Dad  |  October 31, 2011 at 8:36 am

    “Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard returns to WBEZ Schools on the Line this Thursday, November 3 from 7pm-8pm to take your questions and comments about Chicago’s selective enrollment and magnet schools.

    Have questions on the selection process or thoughts on the impact these schools have in Chicago? Suggestions on what could work better?

    Call 312-923-9239 during the live broadcast, or submit your questions ahead of time. Here’s how…

    To participate:

    -Email questions to:
    -Leave a question or comment for Mr. Brizard ahead of time by calling 312-948-4886
    -Join the live broadcast at 7pm by sending an email or by calling 312-923-9239
    -Twitter: @AskBrizard

  • 40. cps Mom  |  October 31, 2011 at 9:38 am

    More info for those interested in ranking. Sun Times top 50 high schools. Big news, Lindblum goes to #39 from #114 attributed to year round classes. Whitney Young #2.

  • 41. MarketingMom  |  October 31, 2011 at 9:40 am

    CPSObsessed – you should feel proud that you are being invited to meet with him. Perhaps JCB has been perusing the blog. It is nice to know you have this level of influence.

  • 42. cps Mom  |  October 31, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Regarding 40 – I meant to post this in the thread about ACT’s. Sorry for the duplication.

  • 43.  |  October 31, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Don’t waste time on the common core. Those are from the national and state level and he has zero control over how that goes. #14 is dead on in her questions to ask. These are the REAL heart of lots of problems. I would also ask his plan to IMPROVE (rather then close or turn around or replace with a charter) all neighbordhood schools (not relying on parents to fix them ala Nettlehorst). (turnarounds sound like a good idea, but don’t work really often b/c of poor leadership)

  • 44. CPSDepressed  |  October 31, 2011 at 9:55 am

    I’ll give Brizard a lot of credit for being visible and talking to parents. After the Huberman administration, it is a breath of fresh air.

  • 45. Surfer  |  October 31, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Excited for you to meet with the man, but 1 hour with other people is not a lot of time. I would focus on impressing him enough that you get MORE time – and ask at least one substantive question. My preference would be something around high school given that there seems to be no solution to that.

  • 46. RL Julia  |  October 31, 2011 at 10:19 am

    1. Uniform grading scale
    2. Longer day/shorter day could we just make sure that the school day is the same length for everyone?
    3. High School probably doesn’t need a longer day.
    4. When is CPS’s curriculum going to reflect the actual student population?
    5. Can’t Kindergarten be mandatory throughout the city.
    6. What about Special Ed timelines?
    7. Ditto readjusting curriculums etc.. about ESL.
    8.What about the Union?
    9. How does he propose developing a system where a gifted child could in fact receive appropriate education intervention without a strong advocate (like a parent). Ditto SPED. Currently an intellectually gifted child in CPS could never get the education necessary to go to a SEHS without an involved parent or other adult.
    10. What’s his vision and priorities?
    11. If education is supposed to ultimately be a catalyst to promote equity or at least recognize an individual’s ability to transcend class, race, gender etc… how is CPS a contributor to this ideal?
    Good luck. An hour with a group of other parents is not a lot of time in my experience.

  • 47. NW Parent.  |  October 31, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Is there money to fund the longer day in the years to come? What is his plan for the longer day? Does he have a blueprint for the longer day?

    I do not want my sons in school just to be in school. They need more PE. The students should have PE everyday. What about a second language? I hope he doesn’t leave it up to the schools to figure out. Will they provide the schools with additional funds to hire another PE, music, language, or art teacher. If he needs a model just look at any suburban school and you will see a well balanced to curriculum. My biggest fear is, the extra 90 minutes (too much in my opinion) will be used for more reading and math and science and social studies will stay on the back burner!

    Also, they need to build another HS on the northwest side of Chicago.

  • 48. Kris Humphries  |  October 31, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Ask him whether he thinks Kim Kardashian will get married again.

  • 49. justanotherchicagoparent  |  October 31, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Why isn’t “looping” used at more schools?
    This might help out poor performing schools quicker than a 7.5 hour school day.I know a few higher performing elementary schools involve some form of looping in the upper grades, were a student has the same social studies,math ,science,& reading teacher for two or three years.I am not sure if this is the case for all schools.

  • 50. cpsobsessed  |  October 31, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Omg, when I am learning about celeb gossip from my blog, I clearly need to read the news more often! Yikes! It would be funny if JCB got all passionate about that question. heh heh.

    I’m VERY excited about the meeting but am trying to figure out how to synthesize stuff into the key issues into what will probably amount to 10 minutes of talking time, max. I encourage everyone to call into his show tomorrow to ask stuff as well. What a great opportunity. Maybe if he starts hearing “consistent grading scale” over and over it will seem to be a top-of-mind topic…..

  • 51. beth  |  October 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    It’s only an hour meeting, so you might ask him if there is another forum, such as a memo, through which you could assemble the main concerns of the CPS Obsessed readership and perhaps recommendations. This is a chance to influence policy – just asking questions or complaining won’t accomplish that. Otherwise, he’s probably going to do most of the talking and try to win you over. That said. These would be my questions/ideas:

    1) How will he ensure that the longer day is not spent with children in front of computers doing math and reading exercises ( I recommend recess and gym everyday; rotating art, music, and second language classes during the week)
    2) Will there be a waiver for schools to opt out of the longer day with parental approval – if the school meets or exceeds state math and reading standards (obviously the school is already doing something that works . . . )

    I agree they should create a uniform grading scale for CPS—it’s entirely doable and it’s good policy because it’s fair and equitable. Other favorite topics on this site often sound to me like sour grapes (re: magnet and select high school selection).

    The Tier System: Personally I think the tier system of selection makes more sense and is more equitable than the previous system based on race/ethnicity because research tells us that academic achievement is better tracked by socio-economic status that racial/ethnic background. Is it perfect? No. But rather than just complaining about it to JCB, the question is how would you change it to make it more fair and equitable (with the understanding that a system only based on merit would never be supported politically and would undoubtedly be challenged in the courts).

    Magnet/ Lottery/ Gifted Elementary: Personally I would get rid of the entire system, but again, I don’t think that would fly politically or in the courts. For the people who are unhappy with the current selection, what would you change and how would you support that change? What practical policy changes could be made to ensure families across the city have equal access to these schools?

  • 52. cpsobsessed  |  October 31, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Beth, great idea about asking for a forum for submitting more ideas! I will definitely do that.

    Although I think I still need a good elevator speech….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 53. CPSmommy  |  October 31, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Question for Brizard:

    Why has the AMPs status that was given to selected schools been revoked (e.g., there are no more AMPs schools in CPS)? For those of you who don’t know what this is, here is a link to the CPS website:

    Also, AMPs schools in the past did not receive their federal funds for students that qualified for free/reduced lunch (the federal money came into CPS, but because a school was AMPs, the money did not go back to the school….it went elsewhere). Since the AMPs status is now gone, will the schools now get their money?

  • 54. Lilith Werner  |  October 31, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Will Central Office please, please, please match the TIF funds for Lake View High School? This will allow us to modernize our science labs and bring in a STEM program. We have been waiting for months to get the answer to this question.

    Lilith Werner, PhD
    Lake View High School

  • 55. Anonymous  |  November 1, 2011 at 7:15 am

    #46 — Many great questions, but I disagree to the same length day if it is to be 7.5 hours.

    #51 Like beth, I don’t want kids sitting in front of computers day after day, doing what are essentially animated worksheets. Especially if their adoption means CPS can cut teachers. Too much test prep has already weakened CPS curriculums.

  • 56. Anon  |  November 1, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Uniform grading sounds logical.

    A neighbor is the chair of the science dept at a great surburban high school. She tells me the honors chem curriculum at one of CPS’s top h.s. is what she teaches as her school’s AP chem course.

    So, would a uniform grading system reflect the different degree of difficulties?

  • 57. CPS parent of 4  |  November 1, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Dr. Werner, what is the ballpark figure?

  • 58. AngryJ  |  November 1, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I was originally, like everyone else, going to throw up a bunch of crazed questions then follow them up with my own thinking for two or three paragrpahs then it occurred to me that the idea of another forum or venue was perfect.

    That said, why don’t you invite him to a forum with your readers? I am sure it would be easy to get help/funding from those here to hold it somewhere suitable (such as a certain downtown law firm). You will need to weed out some of the crazies and windmill tilters but I think telling him you appreciate this opportunity and would love to invite him to a similar session with concerned parents that follow your blog would be the way to go followed by one really good question (“We are all in favor of a longer day but what is going to ensure that the day isn’t spent with kids surfing the net in “computers” class?”).

  • 59. mom2  |  November 1, 2011 at 8:48 am

    @56 – So, would a uniform grading system reflect the different degree of difficulties? – I think that is a huge question and actually goes beyond even CPS (as you see when you compare the honors chem classes in CPS SE high schools vs. chem classes elsewhere. The honors SE chem class is very advanced!) You get a C in a class like that and that counts as a 2.0 for some colleges that ask for unweighted GPA. Someone else gets an A in a much less difficult chem class (in or out of CPS) and that counts as a 4.0.

    For college, starting off all CPS high schools with a standard grading scale makes sense (and I am so glad Lane finally understood that), but it isn’t everything needed to insure total equity. That may be impossible.

    But, that discussion always comes up when talking about uniform grading scale within CPS elementary/middle schools as kids try to compete for SE high school spots. But, what is really crazy, is the schools that tend to still use the higher grading scale, are often the schools where the classes are more difficult to start with. So those kids have a double whammy.

    What is better for those same kids, however, is they tend to do much better on the ISATs and SE tests since they have had a more advanced curriculum over the years.

    Just things to think about.

  • 60. mom2  |  November 1, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Dr. Werner, thank you so much for participating in this forum. I know many parents are thrilled to see your dedication to Lakeview High School and we hope you will get the school to the point where we are all fighting to send our kids there!

  • […] Meeting with Brizard! CPSObsessed:  Of course I will have to slip in as “consistent grading scales!” comment before I leave. […]

  • 62. Lots of different opions on this  |  November 1, 2011 at 9:01 am

    @58 – What’s a “windmill tilter” and who would that be? How can you have a meeting and only invite select posters. Most of the questions posted here are quite good but not necessarily “the voice” of all or the majority.

  • 63. CPSDepressed  |  November 1, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Many colleges have relationships with high school guidance counselors, and they can track the progress of their own students, so they have an idea of which high school courses are more difficult and which do a better job of preparing their graduates for college. Unfortunately, not all high schools have the resources for their guidance counselors to be able to have these conversations with college admissions officers.

    I’d love to ask more about guidance for 8th graders and for high-school students trying to figure out what to do next, but sadly, that’s probably a frill given all of the challenges that CPS has.

    Does that make me a windmill tilter?

  • 64. nursereatchett  |  November 1, 2011 at 9:31 am

    If time allows, can you plse ask Mr Brizard about making after school programs available at ALL schools? For parents who work dually, this is essential.

  • 65. Chicago mom  |  November 1, 2011 at 9:42 am

    One question: How will CPS make all neighborhoods as good as the magnets and selective schools? Including before and aftercare.

    This would solve so many problems.

  • 66. junior  |  November 1, 2011 at 10:15 am

    How will he solve the conflict in the Middle East? When will the Cubs win a World Series? Where are the jobs? How can I get my kids to listen to me? WTF?

  • 67. mom2  |  November 1, 2011 at 10:18 am

    The way you make all neighborhood schools as good as the magnets and selective schools is by closing those schools and forcing all the best prepared kids with the most family support into their neighborhood school. I hate saying that. But, you can only do that if you guarantee that each neighborhood school has a well organized honors/AP/college bound program and that safety issues are resolved in some way. Parents will leave the city or go to private if that isn’t done. The magnet and SE schools are good because they have the students and parents that know the value of education and have the means to live that philosophy every day.

  • 68. junior  |  November 1, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Ask him why people who insert HTML bold tags into their posts don’t use close tags?

  • 69. beth  |  November 1, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Let’s be clear, all a uniform grading scale means is an A is consistently across all school 100-90, B-89-80, etc. I don’t think a grading system weighted by course difficulty would work for a few reasons, but mostly because it isn’t fair. Presumably, we want a weighted system so that a kid in a classical or gifted school who, presumably, took a more difficult class load gets extra points toward his select high school application. However, as long as all CPS elementary schools fail to offer the same course opportunities, you can’t hold it against kids who did not have the opportunity to take honors classes when they apply for select high schools. If you do you’re predetermining entrance into these schools when kids enter kindergarten or first grade, and we know that not every kid gets a berth in these schools for a variety of reasons, that some parents prefer sending their kids to the local school, that some children move into the city after first grade and regardless of IQ attend schools that have no honor classes, and that some children do not attend CPS schools. My point is that where a child attends elementary school in this city is such a crap shoot–we shouldn’t deny him the opportunity to earn a spot in a select high school because he didn’t take honors courses when honors courses weren’t offerded.

  • 70. also obsessed  |  November 1, 2011 at 10:56 am

    How do you know the school isn’t good enough for “our” kids already? What is “good enough” …is that just based on test scores?

  • 71. also obsessed  |  November 1, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Sorry, post above, talking about Lakeview, re: the comment to Dr. Werner

  • 72. Concerned parent  |  November 1, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I would love to know the answer for #5. My child is sitting in a neighborhood classroom with 38 other children while the gifted class (in the same school) is capped at 28.

    The school as an “average” is not over-crowded, but 38 children in one classroom in a primary grade seems like too many.

    Thank you in advance for listening to all of us, and I look forward to the blog post with your experiences and hopefully some answers.

  • 73. junior  |  November 1, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Take grades out of the SE formula. You can still have a formula for generating diversity based on SES, but grade inflation/deflation is a factor that introduces uneven/unfair bias and should not play the current role it plays in admissions. When a single letter grade will make or break so many admissions, I think its weight is way out of proportion. Standardizing the grading scale does not solve this issue.

  • 74. RL Julia  |  November 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    How about using number grades – allowing for gradation rather than numerical equivalents of A, B, C etc… Some kids are not good testers so taking the grades out skews in favor of kids who test brilliantly but don’t necessarily get good grades for whatever reason. No one said that the system was fair or was even meant to be- if it was, as mentioned in above posts there would be no need for select enrollment anything because the neighborhood school would be considered adequate for every sort of student.

  • 75. Magnet mom  |  November 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Please ask him if he will continue to make himself available to you and other concerned parents throughout his tenure in a serious format where one hour isn’t divided by who-knows-how-many other bloggers and interested individuals. Access to him is important. It’s a start in hopefully addressing the problems faced by CPS and it’s students/parents/teachers.

    Most of my specific questions have been asked already by others above. I am lucky as my children are in a great magnet program with a tremendously active core of parents who kill themselves each year fundraising to make up for short falls.

    What about those other schools that don’t have such a group of parents and can’t offer their teachers and administration such perks to make up for lack of funding? Maybe free up those TIF funds……

  • 76. LR  |  November 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Lucky! I would like him to answer why they are piloting a 7.5 hour day when the data that they have been so eagerly quoting suggests that only 16% of parents support such a long day? At The University of Chicago Lab School, where Rahm’s kids go, they start out with a 5 hour 40 minute day in Kindergarten and do not reach 7.5 hours until they get to jr. high (length of day increases as students get older – what a “revolutionary” concept). Plus, the students there get out one hour early twice a week, so that teachers can meet, plan, and collaborate. Personally, if we are adding minutes to the day, I think giving teachers time to meet, plan and collaborate is not such a bad idea. Since it is evident that a longer day is not the magic bullet, I would ask, “Wouldn’t it make sense to give principals and LSC’s the power to determine the length of day/instructional minutes that work for their school?” For instance, in schools that have more rigorous demands and projects outside the classroom shouldn’t the time spent in school be a little less? I’m thinking of my daughter who is in a 2nd grade RGC program. I don’t want my bright, sweet, sunny, enthusiastic 8 year old turning into a run-down, stressed out 9 year old who hates school. This vision in my head is making me regret my decision to ever be a part of CPS. I don’t know if anyone has ever put it in these words to Brizard, but I think he needs to hear things like that so that he reconsiders his “one size fits all” approach.

    The only other topic I would push him on is more gifted programs. It is stupid how many kids qualify that do not get a spot. And the competition for those few spots is just shameful. What’s the plan? Do they plan on opening more gifted programs within neighborhood schools, or perhaps continuing to expand the RGC and classical programs? I think Emanuel and Brizard both understand the value of such programs as Emanuel was instrumental in establishing Coonley’s RGC. They have been silent on this topic and I’m curious why.

  • 77. Mom1971  |  November 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    If you let the LSCs decide school length days, they’ll all vote for the shorter day to let teachers get home to their soap operas by 2:30.

  • 78. also obsessed  |  November 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Hmmm, not the one at my school, at least not this year’s council!!

  • 79. IB&RGC Mom  |  November 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    @69 I understand both sides because I have a daughter who has been in an RGC/AC since 1st and I have a daughter in a neighborhood/magnet program. If they changed it to weight the advanced curriculum it would hurt my daughter who is not in an advanced program. Still I do think the kids who have been able to stick it out in a rigorous program should be able to continue to do so. That means even if she got a B in 1 class on her Freshman level work in 7th. If she was at her neighborhood school doing course work suited for her grade level she could have easily gotten the A’s needed. There are kids that leave the gifted programs to help ensure their placement in an SEHS. It is sad that they have to go to those measures just to hope to continue the level of education they have been receiving throughout high school. In essence it is like they are repeating a grade or two. Also, in High School don’t Honors and AP classes grades get more heavily weighted? Why should it be different for elementary then?

    Good point Junior. Though I think grades still should have some weight, just not the weight they do now and especially not with the grading scale inconsistencies. Maybe they should use the overall percentage and take 1 point off for each percentage point lower then 100%. Not 25 points off for a 92% B.

  • 80. mom2  |  November 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    also obsessed @70 – the teachers and possibly even the curriculum may be “good enough”, and I’m sure they are, but if you have the choice between sending your child to a school ranked in the top 50 in the state, where you are guaranteed that your child will be in classes with kids that were smart enough and/or with parents dedicated enough to get into an SE school, which one would you pick? 4 years is a short amount of time, but they are very influential years as far as peer pressure. I would do everything in my power to make sure my child was surrounded by others that at least have grown up with the attitude that homework is not an option, grades are critical to success and going to college is a given.
    So, if Lakeview could offer a program similar to LP double honors, where it is still neighborhood kids, but those kids have to meet a minimum requirement (less than SE, but still something) to be in that program and they travel together for the core classes, you start to achieve what SE high schools guarantee you.
    It isn’t everything and there are so many other things that people look for (sports, clubs, AP classes, facilities), but I think a lot of parents are looking for some exclusivity (however mean that sounds),

  • 81. AlsoAnonymous  |  November 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Add me to the ranks of those questioning why the magnet/SE system exists anymore. When neighborhood schools have 38 kids in a class (as one said above) and magnets and SEs are capped and have more funding and teachers in addition to the capped classes, we are doing something terribly wrong.

    As a neighborhood school mom, I guess I am the 99% in CPS and life. : )

  • 82. kate  |  November 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    I have an issue @67mom2…. the converse to your statement would be that: neighborhood parents don’t know the value of education and don’t have the means.
    Disagree emphatically.
    When I filled out the app for magnets/SE it didn’t ask me about my educational values or resources. It took my kids name and address and assigned us some very large waitlist numbers.
    You, my dear, are likely more lucky than me… that’s it.

  • 83. cps Mom  |  November 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Individual schools naming their hours – not a good idea. It needs to be universal – which it currently is not. Don’t forget, there are plenty of parents like me that had these hours for their kids in preschool and would find it highly desirable to continue the schedule into grade school. I like to think that my child is also “bright sweet and sunny” and would welcome the idea of more in school learning vs. out of school since he wouldn’t know any different. I would further expect the time in high school to be at least equal to, not less than the grade school schedule. Really, as others have mentioned, its about what’s done with the programming. I imagine that this might create some concern depending on the confidence level in the individual school.

    Can we stop comparing CPS to Lab yet?

    @63 Having a HS kid, I share your thoughts. I am so confused about next steps and the right ting to do for the right school or at least the best fit school. I think a family council end of 8th grade or that summer identifying goals and plotting a course in the way of classes to take, strategies, financial supports etc could be beneficial. This should be a session (multiple sessions even better) that encourages the child to make a plan and strive for it. Something like this might even help bring up those drop out rates. I can see that other issues take precedent. I too was wondering if I were a “windmill tilter”.

  • 84. CPSDepressed  |  November 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    There. That should close the bold thing.

    @76, Don’t CPS teachers get to “meet, plan, and collaborate” on all these endless professional development days? What did they do on Friday? What are they doing on the 10th? The 18th? That’s three full days off of school – for what? How much more time to CPS teachers need to meet, plan, and collaborate than teachers at Lab?

  • 85. CPSDepressed  |  November 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Bummer. My “” tag didn’t close the bold thing.

  • 86. cps Mom  |  November 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    sorry #83 was to 76

  • 87. Lilith Werner  |  November 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    My understanding is that we would need a minimum of $2 million from Central Office to match the $2 million in TIF funds that have been promised to us.

  • 88. CPSparent  |  November 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Lake View neighbors … can you think of ways to help Dr. Werner raise her money for STEM?

  • 89. mom2  |  November 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    @82 Kate – I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to imply and certainly don’t think that every neighborhood parent doesn’t value education and doesn’t have the means. I was mostly thinking about SE high schools (not elementary or magnet schools) since someone was asking me about what more would Lakeview have to do to get people that currently strive only for SE high schools to consider Lakeview right off the bat.

    What I thought I was saying is that with an SE high school you have some guarantees about the student body and their abilities, values, etc. It certainly doesn’t guarantee the that all students will continue to be that way or that other negative influences won’t impact your own child. But it is a start. This statement cannot just be turned backward to imply the opposite about everyone at a neighborhood high school. I’m certain there are fabulous students and parents at every school.

    The neighborhood elementary schools in my area are doing very well and I would gladly send my child to many of them. I was being asked about Lakeview High School and I was really try to give an honest opinion about what more could be done. That’s it.

  • 90. mom2  |  November 1, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    @88 – Could Raise Your Hand do something to start a fundraiser for a Lakeview STEM program? Maybe work with all the Lakeview High School feeder elementary PTA’s to have one big auction event? Works for many elementary schools.

  • 91. cpsobsessed  |  November 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I was told that currently 70 percent of the kids at lakeview are from out-of-area, possibly because the school is the best neighborhood high school in the city (based on test scores.). This *could* indicate more of an education-minded student body at the school, if parents are sending their kids across town to avoid the local school.
    I know it’s still hard for some of us to reconcile that idea when comparing the test scores to that of the SE high schools, but assuming that positively affects the student body, it’s just something to keep in mind.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 92. Pam Prosch  |  November 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I am a big proponent of looping, having the same teacher stay with kids for 3 years (like Montesorri) Does he think that could ever happen. I know one public school is doing it and thinks it’s great – (I think it’s Poe elementary)

  • 93. IB&RGC Mom  |  November 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I don’t think doing away with all magnet and SE schools would be the right thing to do. I personally think they need more magnet and SE schools (especially high schools)! Though if there are 38 kids in a classroom in the neighborhood schools they should solve that problem first and foremost. It is a shame for any school to have 38 kids in a class. But doing away with magnet and SE schools would not solve the problem of overcrowding in neighborhood schools. It would just add a few more kids to each grade in those schools. And if you think the funds would come the way of the neighborhood schools that were going to the magnets, think again. They would either be divided up and be so little they really didn’t help especially now that there are additional kids or CPS would find something else to spend them on.

    One thing about living in Chicago that is nice is that we have some choice in our kids schools. I know with CPS it is more luck then choice really, but I am thankful of the fact that there is some choice and know that the neighborhood school is not necessarily the best fit for every child. Hopefully we can get to a point when all neighborhood schools are a great fit for most of the kids living in that neighborhood, but you are still going to have kids that need to be challenged more, learn in a different way, are better off going year round, etc. It may actually be disruptive to the neighborhood school. I like that we have IB schools, Montessori schools, world language, gifted, and classical schools, etc.

    @76, I am really surprised that only 16% of people support the longer day. I support it and always have. Not for high schools (which I don’t think this applies to anyway), but for schools that the kids are there for only 5 hours and 45 minutes. I don’t think anyone intends to stress kids out more by keeping them there longer. I also would not be in support of it if all they are going to do is prop our kids in front of a computer. I am in support of it so that the teachers do not have to rush through all of the curriculum so fast that the kids are just learning to memorize long enough for the test. I am also in support of it so my kids don’t have to get to the lunch room (possibly down several flights of stairs), get in line for lunch, scarf the food down, just to go back 20 minutes later to cramming all their classwork in and then have so much spill over they are doing homework for hours. I think a longer day would be less stressful in that way. I also think it would be good for them to have more time to socialize whether that be working together in class or even the possiblity of recess. When I was a kid I remember going to school from about 8:30 to 3:30pm or so. It was just what we did. And we took our time to eat our lunch, we had a decent amount of time to run around at recess, and we had classes like gym, music, and art much more often. It was a Catholic school, but I am pretty sure the public school across the street from where I lived had similar hours.

  • 94. cpsobsessed  |  November 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    I think the 16 percent could be those that support the 7.5 hour day. I haven’t met one parent who is opposed to the extra 45 minutes which is what the “open campus” offers, I believe.

    My son’s school added 45 minutes this year which is 20 min of instructional time and 25 for lunch and recess. I think that puts us on par with the national average, although we may still have fewer school days per year.

    So school runs from 9 – 3:30 for us. I’d probably rather go 8:30 – 3. My son will be PISSED OFF if the day is over 7 hours. I could support it if the schools had the resources to fill that time in an enriching and enjoyabe way. Or if there was a plan to REALLY close the achievement gap (a la Hawthorne Mom’s plan.). But in absence of that funding it just seems like more of the same.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 95. IB&RGC Mom  |  November 1, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Ahhh. Thanks. That makes sense then. I support the longer day, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be a whole 90 minutes. 45 minutes is great. An hour maybe better. I can see 90 minutes (especially all of a sudden) being a bit overkill, but I have always had issue with the current short day that anything sounded better. I really didn’t know what “open campus” referred to in regards to elementary schools and only noticed it recently in some posts. Does that basically mean more time for recess and lunch and not necessarily all the additional time needs to be instructional?

  • 96. Mayfair Dad  |  November 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    If you add some time for recess (+30 minutes), some time for a reasonable lunch period (+30 minutes) and add an art class or music class or study hall/homework assistance or computer lab (+30 minutes), there goes 90 minutes BOOM.

    Your kids will survive. In fact, they’ll thrive.

    Left to their own to decide, I am afraid some LSCs will want to play nice with their militant union teachers and adopt the shortest possible longer day to keep the peace. That’s where your child’s recess went, it was sacrificed to keep the peace and allow teachers to take their lunch at the end of the day.

  • 97. anonymous  |  November 1, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Mayfair dad, did you mean to add 30 minutes to the current 20 min. lunch making it 50 minutes? I am pretty sure you didn’t and assume you’d know that if lunch was 50 minutes long, there’d be fights, misbehavior and in some jr. highs, serious violence. Though I hate the 20 minute lunch (I think it should be 30 minutes total), one of the reasons it is so short is to prevent those very serious issues that come up when 12-18 year olds are not kept busy.

  • 98. anonymous  |  November 1, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    #84, “meet, plan and collaborate”? Hahahahaha! We are in endless stupid board mandated meetings that have absolutely nothing to do with true collaboration. There is NEVER a second to plan. We sit and listen to the latest new mandate, get trained on some new thing (that in 3 years will be dismantled), etc.
    Instead, what we should be allowed to do, is long range planning, serious discussion with teammates about basing instruction around data, and more of the like.
    But, the board mandates what our principals must do, so the principals mandate what we should do. One of the PD days coming up is the school’s SIPPAA plan. Ugh. Boring, long, and in general and waste of time paperwork “for show” kind of thing. Some of it is good, but the hours and hours and hours and hours it takes to plan and write one isn’t worth it and very little of those plans get implemented.
    Personally, I think when we go to the longer day, every grade level team should be guaranteed a minimum of an hour TWICE a week to meet and plan together. During school hours. Send the kids to gym! Then I think one day a week, the day should end an hour earlier than whatever is normal, all teachers should be required to stay and meet and plan. Then we could end all these full day PD days. No more stupid board mandated stuff. CPS doesn’t really allow teachers to do what they need to do. It is one of the many, many things that the CTU is not to blame for.

  • 99. anonymous  |  November 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I should also indicate that when I say an hour to plan twice a week during the day, I mean ON TOP of normal prep time. In addition to. That would take care of the 90 minutes. The kids would get what they need, the teachers would get what they need too. Plus, when teachers actually get time during the day to plan, then the kids get more of what they need, making their days better as well as being longer. I know people think all the planning can be done at the end of the day or at the beginning, but it really can’t.

  • 100. cps grad  |  November 1, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    It bothers me that Chicago currently doesn’t have a system for meeting the needs of truly gifted children who are indentified after the age of 4. Gifted centers should be for the truly gifted and extremely bright whose needs cannot be met in a traditional classroom setting. In a city the size of Chicago there must be a need for this. It is my opinion, however, that the current model is just a separate accelerated yet traditional school for smarter/bright students who were lucky enough to score well on a test a year and half after they were potty trained.

  • 101. bookworm  |  November 1, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I guess I have to change my long term name after over a year as someone else has adopted Magnet Mom now. Reading this thread I just want to stress as I have in the past that weighing the grading system wide for “curriculum” is absolutely ridiculous. I guess I’d like the system to weigh purely how able a kid is to work totally independently all day and follow the instructions in Arabic.
    I think as I have said before that the gifted system in Chicago is not about finding gifted children, it’s about measuring how economically powered most of these families are. When the city unilaterally tests every single CPS child in second grade –which is when some studies believe that it is first possible to test for “giftedness”– then we might scratch the surface of getting to fairness.
    We never tested any of our kids and should have the option not to. Kids whose parents are not interested in the least by the SEE schools should not be penalized in their AC or High School applications by the curious system that is the gifted program in this city.

  • 102. Inquiring mind  |  November 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Please ask why there are no more AMPS sschools like cps mommy suggested (#53). I have submitted this question twice to the Schools On The Line radio program, but the question was not used. Our school was formerly an AMPS school and benefitted from that status.

  • 103. Anon.  |  November 2, 2011 at 9:31 am

    # 96 May be just our area, but I don’t know of any CPS school with 30 minutes for recess, or 30 minutes for lunch, even in the primary grades.
    Those that have recess usually split a 45-minute period into lunch/recess. That works well for lot of kids.

    Magnets, gifted and s.e. schools are working well. We shouldn’t get rid of them, but more equitable funding and class sizes for neighborhood schools is vital.

  • 104. CPS Parent  |  November 2, 2011 at 9:35 am

    # 96 I’m pretty sure that an earlier poster explained in detail the history of the shift of teachers’ lunch to the end of the day, which happened decades back, and I don’t think it was all the unions fault. You might be close to riding that horse to death.

  • 105. nmMom1014  |  November 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

    My question for him would not be so much of a question regarding academics, but instead regarding security. I am concerned about the inconsistencies in the level of security found at all CPS schools. I have two children who attend two different CPS schools one where visitors must be buzzed into the school, are greeted by a security guard and must answer to him to give a reason for the visit, sign-in (and out) and receive a visitor’s badge. My daughter’s school, on the other hand, is not as ‘affluential’ as my son’s and the only ‘security’ there is a buzzer to get in the door. Once in the door, it is on the visitor’s honor that they check into the office. There is no one to answer to…not even a security desk anymore (eventhough there is a hired security guard on site…sitting in the office) and no sign-in sheet in the office (if you are so inclined to go in).

    This is of great concern to a parent who is sending her THREE year old to school there.

    Of even more concern is after making a phone call to CPS Security I learned that there is NO minimum standard for security practices. Each school is given ‘best practices’ security operations suggestions, but it is up to each individual principal to follow it. This just seems to be a disaster waiting to happen.

    Sooo….I guess my question would be “What are his thoughts on the fact that there are no minimum security standards that are required to be met by each school – doesn’t this leave a HUGE liability opportunity for those schools who are not being held accountable for not having a procedure in place?

  • 106. Mayfair Dad  |  November 2, 2011 at 11:14 am

    My intent was not to design the perfect CPS day “on the fly”. My point was 90 minutes – skillfully deployed to address the intellectual and physical needs of the students – can be absorbed into the day fairly painlessly. I am advocating that individual schools along with their teachers and LSCs, identify the needs of their students. Bolstering this collaborative effort will be the Core Standards initiative, meaning schools will be determining how to allocate the extra time to ensure their students meet the Core Standards. Nobody wants more ISAT test prep. Nobody is suggesting that. It will mean a longer work day for teachers and it will mean that lunch will take place in the middle of the day, and not a union labor concession to shorten the work day. Is the horse dead yet?

  • 107. cps Mom  |  November 2, 2011 at 11:19 am

    @106 right on. Excellent summary.

  • 109. Anon.  |  November 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    The average school day in Illinois is 6.5 hours. Here are a few sample schedules for 4th grade from suburban schools with a 6.5 hour day.

  • 110. LR  |  November 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    #106: No not done yet. Sorry. Someone needs to look Brizard in the eye and ask about this topic. And I think the way cps obsessed phrased it in #94 above is perfect. Like most parents, I support a 6.5 to 7 hour day, which we luckily already have. But, the data suggests that if you go to 390 instructional minutes/7.5 hours, which is what is going to happen, 84% of parents are not in favor. Given the overwhelming lack of support from parents and the lack of funding, how is this a good idea?

    Another way to look at this is to take a big picture approach. The only reason I used Lab School above, is to point out that more hours is not necessarily the key to producing better results. If we want to talk about creating better schools, there are much more effective solutions than just tacking time on to the day. For instance, how about lowering the compulsory age of education in Illinois from age 7 to age 5? There are some kids in this city that aren’t setting foot into a classroom until they are six or seven years old. It has been proven that early education actually does have an impact on better outcomes (better graduation rates, lower rates of incarceration, better paying jobs, etc.). So, instead of splitting hairs over the number of instructional minutes, why don’t we focus on getting kids into school at a younger age? Early education has proven long-term results. And if kids are not starting school until they are 6-7 years old, I don’t care how much time they spend in school during they day, you have missed a critical window of opportunity.

  • 111. Check your facts  |  November 3, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    The “84% don’t favor 7.5 hr day” stat comes from a very unreliable survey, why is everyone citing it?

  • 112. CPSDepressed  |  November 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    In the absence of real data, I think it’s safe to say that most parents believe that a 5 3/4 hour day is too short. It’s also safe to say that CTU has a lot invested in the idea that it is just right and maybe even too long, and as long as that gap exists, the difference between a 5 3/4, 6 1/2, or 7 hour day is merely academic.

    Pun intended.

  • 113. Need before and aftercare  |  November 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Please ask Brizard why some schools don’t offer aftercare. No aftercare and a day ending at 2pm = many families who can’t attend their own neighborhood school and instead have to trek across town – and use up a magnet space – in order to have access to an aftercare program.

    This also applies to before care for the schools with the anti-working-family start time of 9am.

  • 114. cpsobsessed  |  November 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Because that’s only number at all that anyone can quote. Clearly it’s not representative though but there’s no way to make a fully rep survey for all cps families.
    I know the RYH has spoken with community groups from around the city, at different socioeconomic levels and have heard feedback supporting the survey findings – 6.5 is ideal unless someone can really show that the 7+ hours will be really fruitful and enriching.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 115. LR  |  November 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    #111 and CPS Obsessed: Exactly! I find it irresponsible that people in positions of power such as Jean Claude Brizard and Emanuel are quoting numbers from unscientific surveys like Raise Your Hand (which RYH said was not perfect) and Fox News. But, if they are going to use the numbers, they should not twist the facts. It’s no big “a-ha” that 68% say they want a longer day. Of course! Most people have less than a 6 hour day. But the data also says that parents do not support the longer day they are proposing, which entails 390 instructional minutes.
    #112: I wrote the CTU a while back. This is what they told me their position is: “CTU is suggesting that elementary students can have more instructional time simply by having them attend school for the same 7 hours that teachers are scheduled to work, instead of the current 5 hours and 45 minutes. The 7 hours would include the 45 minutes of lunch and recess that most students no longer have; more “specials” (art, music, P.E., world language, etc.) for students; and additional preparation time for teachers.” That email was sent to me from Carol Caref, Quest Center Coordinator. Anyhow, this sure sounds like the teachers are on board with a 7 hour day, which confuses me. So why all the drama? Why are Brizard and Emanuel pushing an extra half hour? Just because they can? Are the teachers and Brizard mostly disagreeing over how the time is used? I mean, I don’t know, but I have to say that based on the above, I am totally on board with the teachers.

  • 116. CPSDepressed  |  November 3, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    The teacher day includes their lunch hour, and with the 5 3/4 day, teachers are allowed to leave the campus when school is out to get lunch and do whatever else has to be done at home. With a longer day, teachers would have to stay on campus to eat their lunch. CTU, at least, interprets this as not only a longer day, but as slavery.

  • 117. cpsobsessed  |  November 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I *think* the CTU email is saying they’re ok with 7 hours if they are not required to have more instructional time (although I’m not so sure all teacher are on board with that either.) I assume they want CPS to hire more art, music, gym, teachers, homework helpers to help fill that time.

    I assume Rahm wants a decent chunk of the time to be instructional, which supports his notion of more time equals smarter kids. So he wants them to work more (not just be on school premises more) for no or negligible extra pay.

    I *think* that is the fight.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 118. CPSDepressed  |  November 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Here’s the slavery quote:

  • 119. CPSDepressed  |  November 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I should add that a friend who is a CPS teacher tells me that there is a huge divide in CTU. About half the teachers would actually like a longer day so that they can be more effective and less rushed, but they want paid for it. The other half want to do as little as possible while making as much money as possible. Those, my friend tells me, are the people who elected Karen Lewis.

  • 120. LR  |  November 3, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Huh…that’s interesting. I was assuming that art, music, PE, and foreign language would count as instructional hours.
    The slavery thing, well, that’s a bit over the top. But, I sort of understand where it’s coming from. 390 instructional minutes is 6.5 hours. In schools that don’t have money for art, music, foreign language, computer, etc. the teacher is going to end up spending a lot of that 6.5 hours with the students, in front of them, instructing them in core subjects. That sounds quite awful to me. I don’t think that is good for either the teacher or the students. If the length of the day is now unlimited (thanks to SB7), there should be some cap to the amount of instructional minutes that one teacher spends with the students.

  • 121. anonymous  |  November 3, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    #115, yes, that is what teachers and the CTU are fighting for. A longer day but not much more added instructional time. More PE, art, music, etc. This is what suburban schools, teachers and students have. I’d personally KILL for actual time to truly collaborate and look at data with other teachers during the day.

  • 123. cpsobsessed  |  November 3, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Looks like there will be some news tomorrow on the longer day…

    Union to announce deal with CPS on longer school day

    By Joel Hood , Chicago Tribune reporter
    Thu Nov 3 2011 8:53 PM

    The Chicago Teachers Union has called a news conference at noon Friday to discuss details of an agreement reached with Chicago Public Schools over the longer school day issue.

    Neither side would provide specifics of the agreement Thursday.

    But a spokeswoman for Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Madigan has spoken with city and union leaders in the last few days as the two sides sparred over Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to lengthen the school day 90 minutes without annual raises for teachers.

    “Yes, Attorney General Madigan talked to both Mayor Emanuel and the union side in the last 24 hours,” said Robyn Ziegler, Madigan’s spokeswoman.

    The attorney general represents the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board in a legal case over the extended day. The board recently ruled that there is evidence the city used unfair labor practices in offering financial incentives to schools and teachers who opted out of their union contracts to agree to a longer school day.

    “As the (board’s) attorneys, we have been preparing to file injunction action in court as requested” by the board, Ziegler said.

  • 124. cpsobsessed  |  November 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    @122, from the article you posted:

    The camera doesn’t favor her, and in her battle to stop the new mayor from pushing through a longer school day, she seems on the side of outmoded, lumbering labor. Who, after all, wants to deny Chicago public school kids more time for math, reading, lunch, and recess?

    But in person, Lewis, 58—South Sider (grew up in Hyde Park, now lives in the Oakland neighborhood), CPS lifer (Kenwood, ‘71), daughter of two teachers, former high-school chemistry teacher (Sullivan, Lane Tech, King College Prep), wife of a now-retired CPS P.E. teacher—has a sharp sense of humor, and intelligence and articulateness to spare. After an hour spent with her at a conference table at the CTU’s headquarters in the Merchandise Mart, if someone asked me to choose a few words to describe her, I’d say “substantial, self-confident, direct.”

    **I know we’ve discussed this, but WHY do they have to comment on her appearance? Why not just say that in person she’s an impressive speaker?

    I found her the same way when I saw her speak at the “debate” with Brizard. I liken her style to that of Rush Limbaugh. You can tell she’s really smart, she knows what she’s talking about, and she has this uncanny way of using clever sound bytes to answer questions in a way that you can’t really argue with them even though they’re part B.S. And you can’t help but think “darn, I wish she was fighting for the other side.”

  • 125. cps Mom  |  November 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    here’s the link to the decision

    no comments regarding specifics of 90 minutes. @120 not sure where you get your stats or what group of parents are included but the majority do want more time and there is a wide range of opinion on how many minutes that time should be. Many feel that they will take as much as they can get. I don’t think that arguing viewpoints will be effective in this case and it should be left to the head of CPS to decide (someone has to).

  • 126. cpsobsessed  |  November 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    From the Press Release:
    (So each side has curtailed their most “objectionable” behavior. I suppose that is a step in the right direction.)

    The following is a statement from CPS CEO JC Brizard on agreement reached yesterday between CPS and CTU on the longer school day this year. CTU has agreed to not move forward with additional legal proceedings to stop schools in this year’s longer school day pioneer program from adding 90 minutes of additional instructional time to boost student achievement, while CPS has agreed to not add more schools to the pioneer program in the current school year. Also pasted below is the agreed upon letter between CTU and CPS that was sent out today on behalf of CEO Brizard to all CPS staff regarding this important agreement.

  • 127. 2 cents  |  November 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Thumbs up Madigan for sorting this out.

    Thumbs down for some of the media who have focused primarily on the pr attacks-and-counterattacks. They have skipped an intelligent discussion of facts and options and goals that parents want to be part of. Don’t want it decided for me.

  • 128. anonymous  |  November 4, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    @119 cps depressed You might want to take what your CPS teacher friend is telling you with a grain of salt. Working in a rather large school, having quite a few relatives and friends working as CPS teachers, I think if you asked most CPS teachers about a longer day, about 90% or more would agree that the day needs to be longer. The schedule that most schools currently have with a 20 minute student lunch and no recess is not exactly conducive to learning. With no real break and an opportunity to burn off some excess energy, our students tend to lose interest by 1:00 or 1:30. As a teacher, I find myself running out of steam around that time as well.

    Yes, it’s nice to know that we can leave at 2:15 or whatever time the school day ends, but many of us do not. We stay to get ready for the next day, check work to see what needs to be reviewed or reinforced, redo lesson plans, grade papers, etc. I know the teachers at my school would love to have the day mapped out to include a break for the students and for us as well. More instructional time would be welcome such as adding more time for social studies and science. We spend 120 minutes a day on language arts and 70 minutes on math. I really don’t know how much more my students could take on these core subjects. I would also love for my students to have art and musict taught byteachers endorsed in these subjects every week, as well as PE more than 40 minutes a week. Most teachers are afraid that CPS will not pay for these extras as part of an extended day.

    I know I can’t speak for your friend’s experiences and conversations with other teachers, but I take issue with her statement that about 50% off teachers want to do as little as possible for as much money as possible. I can only say that in my experience with CPS, I have found teachers with that attitude very rare, and they usually left the profession rather quickly once they realized all the work that was really involved in teaching. You obviously are more than willing to believe the worst of our profession, but most of us put our hearts and souls in what we do. We take pride in our work and our profession. You may have had a bad experience with a particular teacher, but please don’t make sweeping judgements about teachers in genera with no real knowledge other than hearsay remarks.

  • 129. another cps mom  |  November 4, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    “And you can’t help but think ‘darn, I wish she was fighting for the other side.'”

    Maybe you, but not me. 😉

  • 130. cpsobsessed  |  November 4, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Honestly, she sounds like she knows her stuff when she talks about education. She just uses it for the dark side.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 131. another cps mom  |  November 4, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    In other words: I’m glad she’s fighting for unionized teachers. 🙂

  • 132. cpsobsessed  |  November 5, 2011 at 6:45 am

    @131, Yeah…… that probably came out wrong. 🙂

    I think my issues with her is that she DOES sound very knowledgeable and experienced about education. (Or she’s very good at “the talk” which I think is partially true, but is also a trait of an effective leader.) I just heard her slam Arne Duncan in an interview because he doesn’t have an education degree/background and I would bet that she thinks she could do a much better job than he does. And maybe she could!

    She talks a lot about how it’s all “for the kids.”

    But as union leader, she’s not fighting for “the kids,” That is not her job, by nature. Sure, she can consider the kids but she was hired to fight for teachers’ rights. And I’m fine with that. That is the role of the union had, love it or hate it.

    Just don’t ACT like the sole purpose is “about the kids,” She has lead the cry for “a better day, not a longer day.” Ok, bring us some ideas about how CPS can use our current short day more effectively. I bet she’s right. So make some suggestions that involve CURRENT teachers, not hiring more art, music, and gym teachers.

    When CPS asked the union for ideas on how to utilize the longer day, he answer was just a blatant “no,”

    If you’re in it “for the kids,” why the hesitancy to share ideas on how to make it better for the kids instead of holding that information hostage? THAT is the dark side I’m referring to. The side that seems manipulative and does NOT seem to be working “for the kids.” (Unlike most of the teachers within the system.)

  • 133. CPSteacher/parent  |  November 5, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Yes, as head of the CTU, the job of Ms. Lewis is to broker the best working conditions and compensation for the teachers. That being said, as a teacher and a Union member, I believe that working in the best interests of the teachers and working for the best interests of the students we serve go hand in hand.

    How can we provide a “better” day proposed by the Union without adding additional teachers? We can’t. What the Union and teachers hope for is the type of day that children who attend RGC, Selective Enrollment, and Magnet schools already experience. These schools enjoy a capped enrollment, smaller class size, foreign languages, tech classes, Fine Arts, etc. which are generally not available to most CPS students. The Union is trying to make these programs that provide a much broader and richer experience to the students available at all CPS schools, not just the lucky few. In order to make all schools equal, it will take more teachers, teacher assistants, etc. which will cost more money.

    I am at a loss why people would not see this as a good thing. I know this blog is mainly about RGC, SE, magnet schools and issues they face, but I feel that all children deserve the “best” school day and enhanced curriculum no matter what school they attend. Personally, I find this issue one that is worth fighting for as a CPS teacher and Union member and a CPS parent.

  • 134. Anonymous  |  November 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

    #128 and 133 — your teaching experience and insights are very helpful to many parents.

    Especially this from 128: “We spend 120 minutes a day on language arts and 70 minutes on math. I really don’t know how much more my students could take on these core subjects.

    I would also love for my students to have art and music taught by teachers endorsed in these subjects every week, as well as PE more than 40 minutes a week. Most teachers are afraid that CPS will not pay for these extras as part of an extended day.”

    And this from 133: “How can we provide a “better” day proposed by the Union without adding additional teachers? We can’t.

    What the Union and teachers hope for is the type of day that children who attend RGC, Selective Enrollment, and Magnet schools already experience. These schools enjoy a capped enrollment, smaller class size, foreign languages, tech classes, Fine Arts, etc. which are generally not available to most CPS students. The Union is trying to make these programs that provide a much broader and richer experience to the students available at all CPS schools, not just the lucky few. In order to make all schools equal, it will take more teachers, teacher assistants, etc. which will cost more money. ”

    CPSO – I hope that in your time with Brizard you will mention opinions like 128 and 133 — and not only the views of those whose see the union as you do.

  • 135. mom2  |  November 5, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I want to try to clarify something. Most of us that want a longer school day agree with the thought that the day should be a better day, too. One way to get a better day is to have more time within the day to accomplish things and transition, etc. Most of us agree that it would be wonderful for our kids, even those in magnet programs, to have art more than once a week, music more than once a week, PE more than once a week, etc. I don’t know of magnet programs that have all these options that often, but maybe I’ve missed something. Most of us agree that class sizes should be smaller to have a better day. Most of us agree that having more teachers and teacher aids would make the day better. Most of us want a longer lunch so kids don’t gobble down their food, which would make the day better. Most of us want recess or a longer recess so kids have time to unwind and are then better able to concentrate in the classroom. Most of us want facilities to accomplish this.

    So, when CTU supporters ask why people don’t support a better day like them, they are way off base.

    However, while many of us agree with the idea of a better day, we don’t always agree that the CTU is working in the best interest of the kids by trying to get more money for the teachers to take home. That is the job of Karen Lewis, but it doesn’t make the day better for our kids. I rarely hear about the fight that the CTU is making for all the things listed above.

    I always hear about the fight to get more money so that teachers aren’t slaves, etc. Maybe it is just the media and it isn’t the facts, but it sure seems that way. A salary means you work for a given amount no matter what the hours are. You can calculate it to an hourly wage, but that isn’t accurate. I don’t know of any slaves that were paid a yearly salary and that are guaranteed health care after they stop working. I know teachers paid into their pensions, but they didn’t pay enough to pay for their healthcare for the rest of their lives.

    I’d rather have universal healthcare for everyone, so we could all just stop this fighting. I think teachers are wonderful most of the time and appreciate everything they do for my kids. It is a tough job and they are paid well for it. I just want a broke school system to use their money wisely and that means using it for what is best for the kids. Just as you state above.

  • 136. watcher  |  November 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    @135: “I always hear about the fight to get more money so that teachers aren’t slaves, etc. Maybe it is just the media and it isn’t the facts, but it sure seems that way.”

    Yes, it is the media, and its bias toward some points of view. In case you were wondering.

  • 137. CPSmommy  |  November 5, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    For 135: CPS teachers do not get healthcare after they retire. They pay into and get Medicare at age 65.

  • 138. Anon.  |  November 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    From district 299

    Rodestvan said 5 hours, 28 minutes ago
    In reply to Alexander Russo:

    What an interesting statement by Stand for Children. Ms. Anderson the executive director has only been with Stand for Children Illinois since August, about two to three months. She is an attorney with an extensive background in Illinois government. She has supported many organizations that have promoted civil rights issues. But none of her practice was in education except for work on a federal grant when she worked for the state as far as I can tell.

    She asked a good question, “We must ask ourselves, does this decision (the interim agreement between the CTU and CPS) benefit our students?” My answer is yes. The agreement between CPS and the CTU creates a space for negotiation.

    The real issue before us is the end of the CTU contract in June. If our concern is truly improving the educational outcomes of thousands of poor children in Chicago, then we should welcome this space. Ms. Anderson writes as though somehow she believes the Emanuel administration has betrayed Stand for Children’s efforts to pass SB7.

    The hostility Ms. Anderson exhibits towards organized teachers in Chicago seems profound and leads one to believe that the central goal here is not to improve the education of children, but to break the CTU and lower costs for the provision of public education. There is no doubt there will be a longer school day, one that may or may not improve the horrendous educational outcomes for thousands of students with disabilities in Chicago.

    All of us should be glad that the CTU and CPS have come to this agreement. It is in the interests of children in Chicago, especially those with disabilities. Let us all hope that CPS and CTU can build on this agreement to move towards a contract that will promote the education of poor children in Chicago and provide a quality working environment for teachers. If Stand for Children intends on being a road block to creating such an agreement then it is certainly not operating in the interests of CPS students.

    Rod Estvan

  • 139. cpsobsessed  |  November 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Ok, going back a bit, @128 Anonymous, you bring up an interesting point about the time spent on the core subjects and also a good point about teachers needed more breathing room.

    I believe that Rahm’s intention with the longer day is to achieve better “results” (ie more kids performing at acceptable levels, which is now embarrassingly low in Chicago.)

    Do you feel that the longer day with more specials, recess, and importantly, teacher collaboration time would likely results in improved “results?” I think most of us would agree that capped class size would be expected to help things.

    Not sure if you are the same as @134 Anonymous, as that person does not mention the extended teacher collaboration time.

    I guess my question is: Which of these elements is expected to help students perform better in our city? Specifically the low performing students.

    Just trying to think about my response to some of the comments above…..

  • 140. cps grad  |  November 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    There is all this talk about teacher compensation how salary means not clocking hours but is about getting “the job” done. This may be true, but it seems that the all people talking about “the job” don’t know what the job is. It seems like so many people assume that teachers are only working during class time. Generally people underestimate how much time is required to plan, grade, and do other paperwork.

    First of all, you CANNOT have a good teacher that doesn’t plan. Bottom line. No way around it. …AND the more planning the better. Teaching is not the same thing as tutoring or helping your kid with his homework. At home a tutor or parent can just sit down with a kid and “explain” without much forethought; a teacher must plan. Everything starts with the plan. Planning the year: “What are my units? How much time do I spend on each unit? How do I fit it all in?” Planning a unit: “What are my goals? What do they need to know already before we start? What are my assumptions? How will I assess my students?” Planning the lessons: “How will I teach this? How will I check for understanding? What questions will my students have? How will I answer those questions? What is my Plan B if Plan A doesn’t go well?”

    Teaching then requires executing a well thought out plan A, having a plan B, and recognizing the “teachable moments” when you can abandon both plan A and B and do something else. After a lesson, a good teacher reflects on how things went and adjusts the next day’s plan to address any problems. “What did my students have trouble with? What do I reteach?”

    Now everyone might disagree on how much time is needed to plan. But take this for example. Almost every student teacher and first year teacher spends MORE time outside the classroom planning/grading than inside the classroom teaching. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is around 2 minutes of planning /grading for every 1 minute teaching.

    A veteran teacher I would spend less time planning but will still spend about 1 minute planning for every 2 minutes of class time. This does not include grading since grading time is dependent on the # of students, so large CPS classes means more teacher time grading. On top of all of this is all the paperwork, parent calls and any extra curricular sponsorships. If you want to you can add it all up, but the thing to remember, the longer you make teachers work inside the classroom, the more time they will need outside of the classroom to make it all happen.
    Extending the day 90 minutes instruction time is really extending a teachers day 130-180. That is pretty significant.

  • 141. cps Mom  |  November 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    @134 “We spend 120 minutes a day on language arts and 70 minutes on math. I really don’t know how much more my students could take on these core subjects”. Our magnet school had close to half that (40 min periods), this can’t be the norm. Most high schools have 45 min periods for classes. Not sure what school you go to but other schools could sure use that kind of attention in core subjects.

    @140 Some (don’t have a head count) use the same old plan every year with no updating, same projects, same tests. I’m all for streamlining and “not fixing what’s not broken” but this is one area that demonstrates to me as a parent (unaware of what teaching is really all about) the difference between a teacher who is in to what they are doing and one who is just doing their job. Doing the minimal job is OK but not really worth more money.

  • 142. mom2  |  November 5, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Just to stay clear, I do know that teachers work more than just the hours in the classroom. A close member of my family was a teacher for over 40 years and got up early, stayed after school to speak with parents and help kids that needed help. She graded papers, planned curriculum and set up her classrooms on nights and weekends. But that doesn’t make the job that different from many other salaried positions that work early in the morning until late and night and some weekends.

    I feel bad that we are back to this conversation. The point is that parents and apparently CTU both want a better day that produces better results. On that point we can agree even if the media makes it sound like the main thing CTU wants is more money for teachers to take home.

  • 143. cpsteacher&parent  |  November 6, 2011 at 1:29 am

    I am a CPS teacher and am planning on sending my daughter to CPS schools (she is currently 2.) What I want you to ask JCB is about his long term plan for CPS. How will he build a sustainable school district that is both financially and educationally viable for all children? Time and time again, we (students and teachers) are bombarded with one year or two year plans, which then change when a new administration comes in. It is demoralizing and demeaning to constantly be in this state of flux. Teachers (yes, union teachers) want what’s best for students. Consistency (including constant improvement of one’s teaching practice) is one thing that’s best for students. The constant worry about school closings/turnarounds/layoffs takes away from our ability to do our job of educating children.

    I tried working at a charter school last year because I thought it would be better than working in CPS. However, what I found was that the benefits were terrible and they did not have the budget to obtain sufficient classroom materials, nor to hire and retain high quality teachers for more than 3-5 years. Working in an urban, high needs, high-poverty environment such as CPS requires significantly more mental, emotional, and physical energy than working in a less stressful environment. In order to retain high quality professional educators, do not try to cut corners by farming out this complicated task to private entities (charters) and hope the job gets done right.

  • 144. Mayfair Dad  |  November 7, 2011 at 11:22 am

    @ 138, in response to Rod Estvan’s comments.

    I think the current detente between CPS and CTU is logical and necessary. Even a rabid pro-longer day fan like me recognizes Rahm was a tad overzealous going direct to schools. I’m not an expert on labor law but it does seem contrary to what little I know about collective bargaining agreements.

    As Rod points out, we now have a space for negotiation. Let’s have a cooling off period and become more civil in our dialogue. (I’m talking about CPS, CTU, and my fellow bloggers). A longer day should also be a better day, filled with music, art, phys ed, collaboration between teachers, recess, a longer lunch period…and if it means hiring more teachers and teacher aides to accomplish these goals, then hell yes spend my tax dollars for that. Great teachers need to be paid fairly and bad teachers need to be weeded out of the profession. Accountability is good – teaching to the test is not. We all want smaller class sizes.

    Time Magazine has a series of articles about the loss of upward social mobility in the US and how this is tied to our deteriorating public education system. Very sobering stuff. Parents must demand more of our public school system, and it is not the same thing as hating on teachers.

  • 145. CEM1218  |  November 7, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    @84 As a CPS teacher, I think I can answer your question about what goes on during all of these “Professional Development” days during the school year.

    It would be WONDERFUL if teachers had these times to plan and collaborate, but at my school, at least, the reality is far from that.

    These PD hours are taken up by staff meetings, Powerpoints, reviewing school data (over, and over, and over), Epi-pen training, homeless student training, assessment trainings, special education training, different computer trainings, etc etc etc and many other things mandated by CPS and others chosen by the principal.

    Usually, there ends up being about 30 min per day for self-directed planning. This is once a month. So, therefore, all collaboration and common planning needs to be done before or after school, adding up to HOURS each week, at least for teachers at my school.

    Regarding your questions on what we will be doing on Thursday, we will get a “half day” for report card preparation. This will end up being about 2 hours to account for the countless required assessments we must grade, the 30 report cards we need to prepare, and entering this data into 5 different documents that no one will ever look at. This will take HOURS, and there most definitely will not be time for “collaboration and planning.”

    I cannot speak for Lab. I do not know the intricate details of their staff planning time. In fact, I don’t really even know why Lab keeps being brought up. In my experience, however, 99% of the planning that happens between CPS teachers is done outside of school, for hours, off the clock, unpaid, because teachers care about what they are doing.

  • 146. cpsobsessed  |  November 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Man, it never occured to me all the stuff that goes on during those PD days. Is that part of working in a big, bureaucratic school system? I assume private school teachers don’t have to sit through all that stuff? I know from the principal at my local schools that SO much of their time is bogged down with CPS-related administrative stuff (as opposed to observing, advising, etc.)

  • 147. cpsobsessed  |  November 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    **FYI, the Brizard meeting is now on Nov 16th.**

    I’m realizing that asking “questions” can be done in 2 ways, after hearing the radio interview. Most people who had a “question” were phrasing a complaint in the form of the question. Such as “what are you gonna do about XXX?!” (lack of SE high schools, lack of consistent grading scale, etc.) Still debating what I’m going to say/ask.

  • 148. cpsobsessed  |  November 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Also had a converstaion with a CPS music teacher from a “rough” school who had some interesting things to say. He says it’s the type of school where a kindergartener will tell a teacher to “suck my d*ck.” He says that when Rahm visits those schools the worst kids are tucked away and he’d like to see Rahm stabbed in the chest with a pencil to see what it’s really like day to day (joking, but point taken.)

    He mentioned the extreme amount of time spent outside of the classroom and said he’s run into teachers he knows who are out running errands and simultaneously grading papers… that it is life-pervasive.

    He stressed the need to get parents more involved in the schools where it’s a challenge, wishing that some Chicago radio personalities could offer “parenting talks” to helps lower income parents understand what needs to be done to help the kids succeed in school – that the community-based programs don’t seem to capture and audience. Interesting ideas, and they certainly capture the essence of why taking on extra time in the day may not make a difference at some schools, unless extra staff is on hand to really provide the kind of extra one-on-one help that’s needed to keep kids on track academically.

  • 149. We all work "unpaid" hours. Stop complaining.  |  November 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Oh BOO HOO. Most professional adults spend many “unpaid” hours working.

    That’s what you do when you are in PROFESSION and not a sh-t shoveler at the circus. You are considered to be working toward the betterment of society, a higher calling if you will. Act that way and set an example for our youth. Or shut up and get out.

  • 150. mom2  |  November 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    @148 – This teacher’s comments are just so upsetting and breaks my heart. If stories like that don’t show the extreme differences in needs between some CPS schools and others, I don’t know what does. Schools like his have needs that go way beyond what most people consider the expectations of a school and CPS cannot and should not ignore those needs. On the other hand, schools, students and teachers that have vastly different needs shouldn’t have to go along for that ride. It makes no sense to try to implement one size fits all in this school district. I would love to know if JCB agrees.

  • 151. cpsobsessed  |  November 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    @150, I agree and this is why I’m hoping his talk about looking at a more granular level at the specific needs of neighborhoods could make sense, so I think that is something I want to ask about. Who/how is this determined and what are some of the ideas for change given the big differences by say Tier 1 vs Tier 3/4 neighborhoods

  • 152. cpsobsessed  |  November 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    @149, agreed, but when working outside of regular hours is expected, people can take issue with ALSO being asked to work an extra 1.5 hours without extra pay on top of it. Spending over 7 hours at work AND having to do all the prep work/grading at home starts to add up.

    I am required to put in extra time quite often but it ebbs and flows and I accept it. However when I interviewed for my job people kept telling me that the girl before me was working 60 hours a week (for very moderate pay.) That was unacceptable for me. Should I have take the job to contribute to society? There’s “working late” and then there’s life-pervasive overtime. I think that’s where people draw the line and the teachers feel like it’s getting close to that line.

    (See, I can take both sides….)

  • 153. CPSDepressed  |  November 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    If these professional development days are a waste of time, then let’s improve them or end them. That seems to me to be a better idea than asking children and parents to make the school day even shorter so that teachers can “meet, plan, and collaborate”. Kids need more time in school, not less, and if these teacher meetings are a waste of everyone’s time, then let’s do away with them. Wouldn’t that fall under CTU’s work-hours purview?

    I don’t know why report cards would take so long to do, though. At my kid’s school, the teachers use the CPS parent portal, so I already have an idea of what the grades will be. The report cards are printed out using that information. Because the teachers enter the grades over the course of the quarter, they don’t have to have a big one-day grading session before report cards are due.

  • 154. CPSDepressed  |  November 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    And don’t even get me started on the insult that is report-card pickup, by they way. Yeah. I give up a day of vacation time and my kid gives up a day of school for a 5-minute chat with the teacher. It’s stupid.

  • 155. CEM1218  |  November 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    @149. Wow. Not complaining about the extra hours! I understand that this is part of my job, that’s why I do it. Someone asked about what happens at PD days. I answered. Just trying to give insight into how/when planning happens. Well- I guess I was complaining a little about PD days, but not about the planning! Totally agree that these need to be re-thought.

  • 156. bookworm  |  November 8, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Why can’t teachers complain? Most people complain about work. I love the professionals don’t complain thing it’s so Stalinist.
    Could you ask Brizard why the heck they don’t create more Montessori programs considering that each school gets upwards of two thousand applications and there are only two that you can really apply into?
    Seems they could fill three of these schools with enthusiastic involved parents from every economic tier in about half an hour.
    And that plenty of amazing teachers would like to teach in one.

  • 157. Southside Mo  |  November 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    You could ask Brizard why the Morgan Park principal search is so messed up. From a report on the October BOE meeting listed at

    “Carissa Parker, of Morgan Park High School, said her principal will be leaving Morgan Park and that the school is still without a principal. She said the LSC was doing lots of work on principal selection. Fifty resumes have been examined. The resumes show a lack of writing skills. At public forums, candidates show a lack of speaking skills. She mentioned that two individuals who were not on the principal eligibility lists became finalists pending testing. They did not pass. They were not given the rubrics of the test. They wanted concrete information and the OPPD was not able to give answers. Board Member Mahalia Hines said the Board is well aware of your concerns and will be looking into this and getting back to you.”

  • 158. Mom  |  November 9, 2011 at 8:01 am

    @149 – Why so hostile? Is it really necesarry to tell someone to “shut up” on this blog? I am not a teacher but people act as if teachers aren’t already doing hours of unpaid work. Most teachers I know aren’t against working more hours but they are tired of being demonized by a society that seems to have been brainwashed by Waiting for Superman. I can’t think of another profession that’s been under the microscope like this, and what it would be like to be in a profession that’s under constant attack. As a parent of a kid in CPS, I would actually like to make sure we retain some of our excellent teachers (we have many at my kid’s school) who are getting tired of being treated like garbage by the general public. Many I know are looking to get out, not because they don’t want to work a longer day, but because they are tired of being scapegoated for the financial problems of our country and for “failing kids”.

  • 159. cps grad  |  November 9, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Thank you!

  • 160. Anon.  |  November 9, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    # 149 Rahm? Is that you?

  • 161. MPHS  |  November 9, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    About 80 principals retired already this year (probably worried about the new management) and there have been a lot of new hires from CPS’ principal pool.

    MPHS LSC has read 50 resumes and interviewed candidates from the CPS pool and found no one ready for the job.

    Then they went outside the pool and found 2 candidates the LSC liked and wanted to vote upon, but CPS decided that they would interview them first. They failed them, but won’t say how or what was missing in their applications.

    So the MPHS LSC proceed and is back to square one.

    In the meantime, the CPS principal pool needs more qualified candidates. But that will take time. And MPHS is stuck.

  • 162. anonymous  |  November 9, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    @146, I taught in a Catholic school and it was just as bad, if not worse. Maybe the quality independent schools are different, I don’t know.

  • 163. cps grad  |  November 9, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    The mere fact that CPS OPPD has the authority to maintain an entire office devoted to screening potential principals but at the same time it is board policy to give each LSC the authority to interview, hire, and evalaute its own principal is a JOKE!
    MPHS found 2 highly qualified candidates (they have state certification as an administrator, proper degrees, etc) that CPS found to be “ineligible” is further proof of the nonsense that goes on on Clark Street. If the LSC has ultimate authority to hire a principal, then Clark Street should stay out of it. Local schools do not need CPS political hacks sticking their big noses in where they aren’t needed or wanted. Does anyone venture to believe that the reason the 2 candidates weren’t hired is because someone “up top” had their “own” candidate in mind???
    Furthermore, one of the “ineligible” candidates (according to CPS) has actually been running the school as AP since April!! So, it’s OK to let herthe AP) run the school since the former principal got snatched out from under them with no warning, but she’s suddenly not qualified to be the official principal. These kids deserve sooooo much better.
    Business as usual–sweet home Chicago!

  • 164. Mayfair Dad  |  November 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

    @ 163 & others:

    It is permissable (by LSC/CPS bylaws) to offer the position to a candidate conditionally for one year until he or she acquires whatever “piece” is missing to attain qualified status. I know this is possible because this is exactly what we did. Once the interim principal attains qualified status, the LSC has the option of offering a 4-year contract or seeking another batch of candidates. Sometimes its an advantage to have this test drive period to evaluate the candidate.

    In the Huberman era, the powers on Clark Street were looking for a specific skill set that didn’t always translate well to the civilians on the LSC. CPS wants principals who are technologically savvy and understand the data-based methodology, while LSCs are sometimes looking at other intangibles.

  • 165. cps grad  |  November 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    @164 Then maybe the LSC should not be given the power or the responsibility to hire a principal. The MPHS LSC has been going through the interviewing process since April. They have spent countless hours on this, then to be told that their 2 top choices are ineligible! These 2 candidates had much more than “intangibles”, they were qualified on paper. They would expect nothing less!! When Clark St.’s OPPD came out to MPHS defend their decisions on these 2 candidates they did the political dance of evading direct questions from the MPHS community.If the LSC members (and the MPHS parents and teachers who supported them) aren’t qualified to hire someone, I don’t know who is!
    BTW, the LSC voted to request an investigation of the “eligibility process” of these 2 candidates because, as Shakespeare says, there’s something rotten in Denmark.
    CPS is wasting valuable time and money with this game. If they had all the answers, graduation rates would be hire than 50%.
    Give me a break.

  • 166. LR  |  November 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Meeting got bumped, huh? I read your comment above about people asking questions in the form of complaints. And Brizard will probably have well-prepared responses for those “questions.” I guess if I were in your shoes, I would try to ask things that he is not going to have prepared responses for.
    The story you told above in #148 about the Kindergartener is eye-opening (and hiding these kids away reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons where Superintendent Chalmers visits Springfield Elementary and Bart gets lured into the basement thinking he has won a bicycle…but I digress). Anyway, that story sort of encapsulates the situation. If you are Rahm and Brizard, you are charged with educating this child together with his teachers (no easy task). And Brizard’s solution is 390 instructional minutes (not art, music, gym, like Mayfair Dad was saying or investment in early education, which would make sense). Again this whole pushing the agenda of 390 instructional minutes, particularly in the absence of “enriching” activities to fill that time, seems like an empty promise for this kid, and I would argue on a large scale an empty promise for Chicago Public Schools.
    Also, love your idea in #150 about asking about things on a “granular” level. If you look at the State of Illinois, many educational decisions are made on a local basis because different areas, even different suburbs, have different needs. The city is as diverse as the suburbs. The problem is tier 1 is treated the same as tier 4 right now, with no flexibility at all. This is something I would really like to hear Brizard talk about. We are lucky to be in a tier 4 school, but I feel like 75% of the time the decisions CPS is making are not really being made with our school’s and our children’s best interest in mind. They are things that are sort of aimed at improving the schools at the bottom – which I often agree with – but don’t make a whole lot of sense for our school. But, CPS tries to convince us that they are good for us (e.g. Breakfast in the Classroom is an opportunity to educate our children about nutrition). For me and for a lot of the parents at our school, this sort of dialogue with CPS just comes off as B.S. Most parents at our school think that Brizard doesn’t care what we think and will just continue to shove pointless mandates down our throats. Certainly, it has eroded our trust in him. Anyhow, don’t know if any of that sentiment can be worked into your question, but that is my 2 cents.

  • 167. AlsoAnonymous  |  November 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    If you get another chance, then, I would ask why district 299 is district 299. After all, it encompasses SO MANY extremely diverse neighborhoods with extremely diverse needs.

    I think it’s time to break up this one district (oh, and not to create new administrative jobs overseeing them) to address the fact that not all neighborhoods of Chicago are the same.

    This one-size-fits all mentality is just not appropriate.

  • 168. anonymous  |  November 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Ask him why CPS spent at least a million dollars to print off color, glossy multipage reports of school achievement to hand out to parents this year at report card pick up and most of the information in the packet is incorrect (and the BOE knows and admits it is incorrect).

  • 169. cpsobsessed  |  November 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    @168: I have a little bit of an answer for that. The type of parents I know (ie who read this blog) are very informed about how schools rate and whether a school is good or not.
    But Brizard pointed out that there are a lot of parents in the city who are sending their kids to very low performing schools who think those schools are great.

    The concept behind publishing information and school report cards and making sure it got into parents hands was to empower parents in crappy schools to realize that they need to demand more.
    Clearly there are LSCs in schools with minimal progress who keep extending the contracts of their principal. Why shouldn’t every failing school be searching for new leadership? Those parent might not even know the school is failing!

    Anyhow, that may not justify such a huge expense and I have no idea whether the info is correct, but that is the concept behind it, which makes sense, even if the implementation does not.

  • 170. anonymous  |  November 10, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Sure, I agree the concept is good. But when they misreport ACT scores, misreport data, and I am talking multiple HUGE mistakes, and then spend a million dollars on glossy color copies, when the district is in such financial straits, I take issue with that. (my principal went through the report line by line and it took her an hour to explain to us all the different mistakes, miscalculations and other errors. I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry)
    Print it on the cheapest black and white ink and paper you can find. And make sure it is absolutely 100% correct. If teachers and schools are to be judged on the data, shouldn’t it be accurate? Parents would be up in arms if their little darlings all got D’s and C’s instead of A’s and B’s if they earned them. As am I. They also neglected to print out an explanation sheet telling parents how the numbers were determined, how to read the data and what the data even really represents. Maybe the wonks on this board can figure it out, but 99% of the system will not.
    Any parent would be mad as hell if their darling 7th grader got an inaccurate C on their report card and it kept them out of a SEHS, right? Well, I am mad as hell that the board wasted MY TAXDOLLARS on this report when it isn’t correct.

  • 171. Mom  |  November 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    What if the only reason that a school is low-performing or crappy is solely by virtue of the children that attend? What if the only way to make a school significantly better is to replace the current student body with a different one? What can we do to improve the educational outcomes of the less fortunate, without simply manipulating at the margins?

  • 172. anonymous  |  November 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    I also want to know why CPS has rolled out its new principal bonus initiative without first deciding and communicating to principals the exact criteria for meeting the goals to receive the bonus money. Like always, they are making up the rules as they go along without thoughtfully considering the data or best practices. It has only taken 10 weeks into my return to teaching to completely turn me off to Chicago Public Schools. What a mess from the top to the bottom.
    This bonus policy is just like if I gave grades to students based on criteria I made up AFTER the lesson was taught and after the test was given. ANYONE who knows ANYTHING about teaching and schools knows one FIRST decides the standard, second decides the evidence required to show one meets that standard, communicates that all very clearly to those working to meet the standard, then gives the lesson, then grades the work or exam. Apparently the educational “leaders” we have in charge know NOTHING about schools or teaching and are complete idiots.
    Did you know that the Common Core assessment kids took a few weeks back was given in a 9 point font on computers? So small many kids could not read it. Did you know there were questions on the test with no correct answer? Did you know that in some grades, in order for a child to get the highest “grade” of “expert” that kids had to write additional information on the test to show what they know—but nowhere in the instructions did it tell kids that information? I don’t think anyone piloted the exam with real live children before giving it out to the entire system. Nowhere. It was like a trick test. Like someone was purposely attempting to get a drop in scores. Maybe they were. Ugh.
    My anger is indescribable at this point. (Add 4 days of PD where I found out more crap about the system than anyone should ever have to know) These are kids’ lives we are talking about. My own children are in this system. You cannot make up policies as you go along.
    Before I had my own kids I could just ignore the nonsense and do a great job in my own classroom. But now that I see how this really affects an entire city, my children included, I cannot in good conscience work for or send my kids to CPS any longer. As soon as we can get out, we will.

  • 173. Mamamia  |  November 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    From District 299 blog:

    Anonymous said 2 hours, 16 minutes ago

    “I 100% support the goals of the principal merit pay initiative: narrow the achievement gap, lower dropout rates, and improve student test scores. I also happen to believe this initiative is a giant load of crap.

    “90% of the time improvement in these types of metrics in CPS is a direct result of knowing how to work the system and massage the data rather than the result of improved pedagogy or more effective leadership and teaching.

    “For instance, in order to raise scores at my neighborhood school the most important thing we’ve done is…” (see more at:

  • 174. ChicagoNewbie  |  November 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm


    “What if the only reason that a school is low-performing or crappy is solely by virtue of the children that attend? What if the only way to make a school significantly better is to replace the current student body with a different one?…”

    There have been several schools in this state and around the country that have successfully increased the academic achievement of “low performing students. CPS can take a hint from these programs and direct the funding that way.

    If your questions/comments were indeed rephrased as statements, the only logical solution would be to give up or segregate and simply these children who are supposedly incapable of performing since they will never contribute anything positive to society.

  • 175. cpsobsessed  |  November 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    In my meeting with Brizard (wonder how long I can milk that line?) they mentioned this Burnham school that Eric Zorn wrote about recently as an example of what they call a 90/90/90 school (90% low income, 90% ?? (minority?) and 90% meets/exceeds.) In any case, a school that has defied the odds of their student body and achieved academic success.

    The article and Brizard+his communication lady say it is due to a stellar principal who has really rallied the staff and parents and set the bar high….

    Anybody heard about Burnham?

  • 176. ChicagoNewbie  |  November 12, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    That’s a fascinating article. I haven’t heard of Burnham before. I think this just shows again that children from disadvantaged backgrounds with parents who aren’t “involved” absolutely can be academically successful. It is not a lost or impossible cause.

    I love that its a regular old neighborhood school (not magnet, not SE). CPS should apply some of these changes to neighborhood schools in other parts of the city as well.

    I doubt the class size at Burnham before the principle came on board was significantly larger, so I think most of the positive change has to do with the principal changing the school culture and being a great leader.

  • 177. anonymous  |  November 12, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    I’d really like to see hard, cold data on class sizes at Burnham before the new principal came in and now. 8 less kids per class is no small change. 30 kids in 1st grade versus 22 is a massive difference. Obviously that can’t be the only difference. Pushing parental responsibility and pushing it to the extremes is likely what also helped.

  • 178. ChicagoNewbie  |  November 12, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    I’m not sure how easy it would be to find “hard, cold data” on class size, but its pretty clear from the article that class size alone is not responsible for the children’s success. Rather, its the combination of at least 3 different things. 1) leadership 2) class size 3) more class time & a different use of that class time.

    If classes sizes had gotten smaller and everything else stayed the same, there would absolutely not be that sort of wide % margin of improvement.

  • 179. CPSmommy  |  November 12, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    @178 Take a look at their website Their class day seems pretty typical for CPS – 9AM-2:55PM. I don’t get Brizard’s comment that more class time contributes to the improvement…they have (roughly) the same hours as most other CPS elementary schools.

  • 180. Angie  |  November 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    @171. Mom: “What if the only reason that a school is low-performing or crappy is solely by virtue of the children that attend? What if the only way to make a school significantly better is to replace the current student body with a different one?”

    I would replace the teacher body first, like they’ve done at Marshall. Apparently, some principals are capable of making the school a place for learning, and some teachers are able to teach difficult students.

  • 181. ChicagoNewbie  |  November 12, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    CPSMommy@179: I completely agree, more class time is not a sure fire ticket to improvement.

    My comment about time was in reaction to where the article says the principle “began using grant money to operate a one-hour after-school academic program four days a week from October through March.” So it seems like they were getting extra instruction outside the regular school day at least part of the year.

  • 182. anonymous  |  November 12, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Yes, but that extra hour of instruction was not with 30+ kids. After school programs typically have anywhere between 5-15 students. So, during that time, they decreased class sizes.
    And many schools have replaced their teacher body several times over, it doesn’t help over the long haul unless other measures are also taken (like decreasing class size, increasing teaching staff). Marshall high school also has been able to improve by getting rid of the worst of its student body. I have read a bunch of articles on them and talked to teachers from the school. Yes, their principal is fabulous (she follows kids home from school, literally, to prevent violence and hopefully she will never get hurt or shot at doing that). But she has also “counseled out” or otherwise removed some of her worst kids. That part has everything to do with making a school a place where learning can occur, but unfortunately, most schools do not have that luxury. Turnaround schools get more leeway, until, well, they stop being a turnaround.
    Anyone remember the name of the high school written up in the paper that was on its 3rd turnaround in 15 years? Getting rid of the staff didn’t help.

  • 183. ChicagoNewbie  |  November 12, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    @anon182. I’m not sure why the number of kids–whether in the after school program or classroom–is becoming a point of contention. Its clear that a combination of things helped the school succeed.

    I don’t understand why whenever there is proof that schools can help disadvantaged kids, there is this effort to explain it away or find some factor that renders the results useless and anomalous. Its like people are wedded to the notion that disadvantaged kids are destined to fail and impossible to help in a school setting, so when there is evidence that contradicts that belief, there is this mental gymnastic exercise to find a way to preserve that underlying assumption.

    The most important thing about the Burnham article is that it shows a CPS neighborhood school with low income minority kids and parents can foster academic success. That is the bottom line. There is yet another model CPS can look at in their never-ending quest to improve neighborhood schools.

  • 184. Parent of 4  |  November 13, 2011 at 9:24 am

    172 — “Did you know that the Common Core assessment kids took a few weeks back was given in a 9 point font on computers? So small many kids could not read it. Did you know there were questions on the test with no correct answer? Did you know that in some grades, in order for a child to get the highest “grade” of “expert” that kids had to write additional information on the test to show what they know—but nowhere in the instructions did it tell kids that information? I don’t think anyone piloted the exam with real live children before giving it out to the entire system. Nowhere. It was like a trick test. Like someone was purposely attempting to get a drop in scores. Maybe they were. Ugh.”

    Thanks for this information. Now I know why my principal won’t be giving out the scores for this test.

    I also believe that someone was purposely trying to get a drop in scores. How else can Emanuel create his political narrative for higher office — which is that he performed an “Education Miracle in Chicago?”

    — First, he ends collective bargaining with SB7.
    — Second, he pushes for the longer day.
    — Third, he creates a new computerized test that he can easily manipulate so that kids do poorly in order to trash the ISATs’ record of steady, incremental improvement.

    He has to trash the ISAT scores, b/c they show steady improvement by kids and teachers over decades during a normal school day with a union work force.

    When he finally institutes new Common Core tests — he will be well on his way to achieving his Education Miracle, which will be the cornerstone of his next campaign for his next big job.

    Btw, Chicago magazine’s Carol Felsenthal says he wants to be President.

    Alll of this reflects extremely poorly on Duncan and Obama.

  • 185. anonymous  |  November 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    @183, it is because the number of students within a classroom matters a great deal. The article stated that Burnham typically had 8 fewer students per class than the other school. HUGE difference in a school being able to meet their needs.
    Two, if the added hour of instruction was done with 30+ students in that hour or with 5-10 students in that hour (as most programs of the type the describe) that is a HUGE difference. CPS wants to extend the day 90 minutes. They may use Burnham as an example. But you cannot compare 60 more minutes with 5 kids to 90 more minutes with 30+ as they currently want to do. The difference in variable is too large to indicate success that is directly correlated.
    Perhaps I misunderstood your point. I just hate it when people say all schools have to do is “change their culture” as if the home life culture of students don’t matter or as if class size doesn’t matter or as if not having access to supplies or books or other teaching materials doesn’t matter. Perhaps you weren’t saying that.
    Burnham deserves a lot of credit for their success. All I am saying is we should look very closely at the data, in depth, over a number of years. It is easy to make quick judgements about “what works” without very carefully examining and studying and controlling for all the variables.

  • 186. cps Mom  |  November 13, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    All I am saying is we should look very closely at the data, in depth, over a number of years

    What about the kids that have to go to school tomorrow?

  • 187. cpsobsessed  |  November 13, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I agree – again with me it’s a data thing. If CPS management is showing of Burnham as an example of “making it work” then let’s figure out what really works.

    They positioned it to me as “great leadership.” Really, it it were as “simple” as a great principal, I’d have to think there’s be a few more schools succeeding. There’s gotta be some more great ones in this city who are working their butts off.

    But if the smaller classes also made a difference then hey, made there is now a small shred of data that shows that smaller classes are good (despite CPS saying there is NO data on this.) Hmph.

  • 188. anonymous  |  November 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    #186, this isn’t an either or situation. There is plenty of data out there studied by numerous reputable outside agencies that CPS simply ignores. That data could be applied pretty much immediately, but the leadership refuses, for some unknown reason.
    Like the fact that kids need books to read that are written at their current independent reading level. There are hundreds of studies to support this and none that I know of that contradict it. Guess what? My school supplies literally zero leveled books to its teachers to use with kids. Just seconds ago, I got off the scholastic website and ordered four large boxes of books for my classroom. That is coming out of my own children’s non-existent college fund. CPS wants to talk “gourmet” when it doesn’t even supply bread and water for its students. It is horrible to talk about a school’s success when the parent district has willfully looked the other way while students are starving for materials. ALL the time.
    It is possible at this point I am so totally fed up with CPS that I can’t hear any thing they say. The “spin” makes me sick.

  • 189. ChicagoNewbie  |  November 13, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    anon@183: Nobody said all you have to do is change the school culture, and yes you completely missed my point (and apparently the point of the article).

    You are projecting your own personal hangups and fears onto this Burnham success example & arguing against points no one has made…

    Parent of 4: That sounds scary. I hope things really aren’t as sinister as that.

  • 191. CPSDepressed  |  November 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Wow. Mayfair Dad, that is one scary video. What a super classy lady out there representing Chicago’s teachers! If I were a real estate agent in the suburbs, I’d make sure every prospective buyer from the city had a link to that.

    It sure makes me want to move.

  • 192. cps Mom  |  November 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Aye yi yi! If there was a stand up comedy routine there I am truly missing it. I guess the jokes on us CPS parents.

  • 193. cpsobsessed  |  November 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I rarely comment on 299 (would if I had more time) but this one broke me down and I had to write something….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 194. Anonymous  |  November 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Wouldn’t it be nice to get back on topic? We were talking about what CPS admin under Emanuel has done right to help poor kids get a good education.

    We also had teachers talk about how the curriculum gets narrowed when CPS over-focuses on tests.

    And how messed up the recent Common Core test was. It would be nice to get back to that.

    Constant carping about the CTU and Lewis distracts parents from the important issues.

    Btw, her first point — that Arne Duncan was not the best candidate for Sec’y of Ed — is not news to teachers. We knew that the highly regarded Stanford professor of education, Linda Darling-Hammond, was also under consideration.

    And Obama picked his basketball buddy.

  • 195. AlsoAnonymous  |  November 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    #194. To get back on topic, check out the Chicago Tribune article that talks about how the gap between African-American and white, Hispanic, and Asian student achievement has WIDENED in the past 20-something years of so-called reform and at least three different administrations.

    This is what we should be talking about, to your point. Why is it that all we talk about is new SEs and new magnets and new charters? Our schools are failing as long as the average child (who happens to be overwhelmingly low income, African-American) is failing.

  • 196. CPSDepressed  |  November 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    See, here’s the thing: as a parent, I do see CTU as part of the problem. As long as all discussions get back to how teachers cannot be accountable and need more money for less work, nothing can change.

    I happen to think that good teachers can make a difference, and that they need to make more money. But I do not support paying bad teachers more money. Bad teachers should be retrained or counseled out.

    I didn’t elect Karen Lewis. The teachers did. Karen Lewis is opposed to slavery.

    She also should be really careful talking about how Arne Duncan may not have had math or science in college, because I would bet that an awful lot of CTU members did not have math or science in college, either.

    I don’t not want to cast aspersions on individual teachers, but I think that teacher training is part of the problem. As most colleges, education is known as an easy major, and so it attracts people who either cannot handle more rigorous majors, or who do not want to. Furthermore, teachers learn how to work with middle-class white children. That’s why, when they are confronted with children who are different, some teachers – not all, but some – fall back on the “Well, what can you do, these kids just can’t learn because they don’t have books in the house or parents who can help with homework” excuse. Well, maybe we need to think about education differently.

    This is all too big for a message board. And so then we get back to, the president of CTU doesn’t have a lot of respect for the people she should be working with, so nothing is going to get better any time soon.

  • 197. mom2  |  November 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    @195 – Many parents on this particular forum are fighting against a one-size-fits-all approach in CPS. If they didn’t feel strongly in that, everyone would agree with you that we need to help CPS in any way we can to better educate the majority of CPS students which happen to be low income and minority. That is a huge task and very important for our society as a whole, but it doesn’t have to be the only task.

    This forum tends to attract parents that may not be drastically poor (although I can tell you that most of us are not wealthy or we wouldn’t be sending our kids to CPS at all), but we want what is best for OUR kids. Selfish or not, we want CPS to find a way to not only focus on the majority of their students with severe needs, but also educate the kids that don’t have those sorts of needs. That is where we are coming from when we write about removing breakfast in the classroom, adding SE high schools or gifted programs within schools, etc. Why does it have to be all or nothing? CPS is so big, why can’t some people focus on the things you mention, someone else focus on learning disabilities and special ed and someone else focus on improving things for those that hope to be or are college bound, etc. Why is it that everyone can only focus on one thing?

  • 198. Mayfair Dad  |  November 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    @ CPSD 196: Well stated. In an earlier post I called a truce on taking shots at CTU but when I came across this video I knew I had to share it with the cpsobsessed community.

    Ms. Lewis’ unprofessionalism and the positions held by the organization she leads have a direct impact on the quality of education our children receive. Her larger-than-life personality is fair game, just like mocking Arne Duncan’s lisp is fair game (in her book, anyway).

    I do find the timing of the “who do you trust?” robo-calls and the sudden release of this video clip from a month ago a tad suspect, however. Classic skunkworks from a master political operator. So much for a cooling off period.

  • 199. LR  |  November 14, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    What is the “who do you trust” robo-call? I think I missed that one.

  • 200. anonymous  |  November 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    @189, yes I had a crazy moment (or day or two). Prof. Dev. days in CPS do that to me. That and the intense pressure I personally feel every moment of every day to get my students to where they need to be.

  • 201. ChicagoNewbie  |  November 14, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    A one-size fit all approach doesn’t work, but CPS has certainly not been focusing on only one segment of the poopulation. The students that have benefitted most from CPS reform recently have not been low income students, and the data on the increasing achievement gap bears this out. Painting a picture of CPS pouring resources into and paying sole attn to poor communities would be inaccurate. One could easily make a good argument supporting the opposite side of this.

  • 202. Anon.  |  November 15, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Can we completely trust this data from CPS?

  • 203. Anonymous  |  November 16, 2011 at 7:00 am

    I missed the robo-call, too. Pls. explain?

  • 204. cpsobsessed  |  November 16, 2011 at 8:25 am

    I think this was the call people mentioned?

    The mayor for put out a push poll that asks “Who do you trust more to improve the schools for the children of Chicago, Karen Lewis or Rahm Emanuel?”

    (my problem being that the person who’s job it is to improve the schools is JCB. It’s a ridiculous question with subversive intent.)

  • 205. Angie  |  November 16, 2011 at 10:42 am

    @204. cpsobsessed: Is that a trick question? Why should we trust CTU to improve schools in the future when they already had a chance to do so and failed?

    Of course I trust Rahm more, and that’s how I answered.

  • 206. cps Mom  |  November 16, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Nice to see that our mayor is hands on – not like his predecessor.

  • 207. ChicagoNewbie  |  November 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Was just listening to CBS News Chicago (780 AM Station) around 3 pm CST, and Karen Lewis responded to the controversy surrounding her comments about Duncan’s lisp and smoking weed in college. She owned her comments and partially blamed “neoconservative bloggers” who are “anti-public education” and labor for making a big deal about things. I found that odd and surprising…

  • 208. anonymous  |  November 16, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Fwiw, my colleagues and I were discussing Karen’s comments on the video in reference and every single one of us said she should step down. She is embarrassing and this is not the first time. I did not vote for her and am horrified this is the person who represents us.

  • 209. guffawed  |  November 16, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Karen Lewis saying those things is awful. It’s much worse than Rahm using the term “f**king retarded” in a meeting when he White House chief of staff. GASP.

  • 210. Anonymous  |  November 17, 2011 at 5:33 am

    209 Neither Emanuel nor Lewis is eloquent.

    Rahm has famously said:

    “F**k the UAW,” during negotiations to save the industry after the crash.
    “F**ck you, Lewis,” during negotiations over a 90 minute longer school day.
    And, “F**cking retarded,” as you mentioned.

    He shows a basic lack of respect for anyone with a different viewpoint.

    And he just closed down six of 12 neighborhood mental health clinics and has fired a lot of library staff.

    But the CME got $15 million in TIF money to redo their bathrooms in the CBoT building.

    Karen is intelligent and honest but she needs to desperately get her act together. I hope she can, b/c Chicago has no one in a similar position to address the excesses of Emanuel’s privitization ideology.

  • 211. Anonymous  |  November 17, 2011 at 6:10 am

    207 — From your moniker, it seems you are new to the national debate on public education, which is being played out in Chicago at warp speed.

    Many neo-conservative bloggers promote privatization of public schools — which is when our tax dollars go to private organizations, like UNO, for them to open up charters, or to primarily parochial schools in the form of vouchers.

    Milwaukee has had the largest voucher program for the past 20 years — with no improvement in performance. Indiana just began a big voucher program.

    All privatization initiatives pull huge sums of money out of the public schools system. This hurts the students left behind. It is almost like a run on the bank, in that no one wants their child to be the last one left as services are cut because funds are drawn away to go to support charters and vouchers.

    There are few charters that outperform traditional schools, but that is not a problem for the ideologically bent. (Stanford CREDO study, cites 17% outperform, and other more recent studies show similar lack of progress.)

    Proponents still like charters and vouchers. They believe that they offer an innovative curriculum, a longer school day, non-union teachers who are more flexible, and bonuses for principals — and that all this will improve student outcomes. The operators get to pay themselves as they see fit, and there is very little financial oversight. Nepotism is common.

    In Chicago at least, charters do not need to report their test scores by school. Each charter operator can lump together all students’ scores and report only that one number. So what can you tell from a single number for 3,000-plus students spread over 6 campuses? Nothing, and that is the point.

    Now, if you are still with me, which would be a welcome surprise, we’ll get back to the bloggers spreading the video of Karen Lewis’ extremely unfortunate attempt at humor.

    Last spring, in much the same way as now, supporters of traditional public education spread the Aspen Ideas Festival video of Jonah Edelman, a conservative who promotes privatization.

    In it, he and the mega-wealthy Chicagoan Jim Crowne, brag how his group, Stand for Children, came to Illinois to push through SB7. This law curtailed collective bargaining right for teachers and did away with seniority and tenure when lay-offs are made, and allowed a principal to hire anyone regardless of traditional teaching credentials. It takes effect June 2012.

    The video is a fascinating look into exactly how politics is played in Chicago and Springfield and who — Zell, Crown, Pritzker — funds it.

    Google Jonah Edelman, Stand for Children, Aspen Ideas Festival

    Ultimately, snarky attacks distract parents from the real issues at stake here.

    Charters are not a proven success, yet the politicians are pushing them in order to cut down on the number of union teachers, pay them less, and reduce pension benefits. Thousands of families will be hurt.

    Who benefits? Mayors, who get the support of political organizations like UNO, who then get to control how hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on schools for their own constituency.

    That is what public education, a bedrock of our society, will be transformed here in Chicago.

    But remember, it is all for the children.

  • 212. cps Mom  |  November 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    “ltimately, snarky attacks distract parents from the real issues at stake here.”

    What are the real issues at stake here? Charters and privatization of public education as a means of correcting a system that is broken or CTU with it’s stellar leadership continuing to stuff teacher raises down our throats without delivering. We can’t take anymore, we’re broke. Give good teachers a raise. Replace under-performing teachers with new cheaper ones. There seems to be a lot of talk about evaluation and performance comparison. It would seem to me that an effective CTU would elevate the standard of teaching and help clarify those evaluation criteria so that the hard working teachers making a difference are recognized and rewarded. Stop using charters as the scape goat. Stop criticizing the fact that charters are in demand because parents want a choice other than the neighborhood school. Stop expecting people to use their own kids as guinea pigs to help fix school problems.

    One of the real issues at stake here is the abhorrent show by the leader of CTU being laughed or shrugged off by CTU supporters. To see a teacher casually discuss the use of drugs in a “funny way” is criminal. Then in a cavalier manner dismiss the fact that kids would hear this. It’s not “snarky” or “distracting” to expect more from a teacher who is a leader of teachers. Maybe a leader that is not “self medicated” would help bring CTU, teachers, parents and CPS to a more fruitful positive relationship benefiting our kids.

  • 213. anonymous  |  November 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    212, I have not yet spoken with one educator colleague who, in person, has shrugged off Karen’s comments. Most of us are horrified. Online, there is support for her, but in real life, most teachers really are dumbfounded by the stupidity of her remarks. Regardless, come the next CTU election, she’ll be on her way out. There is a lot of anger at Lewis and at the system in the ranks and some strong push back is expected.

  • 214. cps Mom  |  November 17, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Thank you @213, I appreciate your candor and welcome that day. The hope is to make CPS a top notch school system for teachers and the families that depend on them. I don’t think this is unachievable.

  • 215. Anonymous  |  November 18, 2011 at 4:55 am

    “Replace under-performing teachers with new cheaper ones.”

    That really is the CPS point about privatization — charters and union-busting — isn’t it?

    Cheaper teachers. Reduced pay and benefits. Cut the city’s future pension obligation by cutting the numbers of teachers paying into the system and bankrupting it.

    But thousands of Chicago families, sometimes headed by single mothers, will have a sharply diminished future. One reporter said it a “salary time bomb” is going to hit many neighborhoods.

    But for the charter operators, happy days are ahead.

    The school performance data pushed out to parents yesterday was junk. You know that. But that data is supposed to somehow accurately reflect the need to shut 100,000 seats? Somehow accurately evaluate teachers’ performance?

    How are you sure that “bad” teachers are to blame for everything wrong with educating our poorest kids?

    Why won’t you even consider poverty, crime, or chaotic families — as at least part of the reason so many children in our poor neighborhoods aren’t doing well?

    If it were all due only to “bad” union teachers, then all charters should be doing wonderfully, right?

    Charter test scores should be through the roof, too.

    But that is not the case, is it? Not at all.

    More importantly, where will those 100,000 kids go?

    How will the receiving schools handle that kind of influx without being so overwhelmed that the entire school falters? Will cheaper teachers be the key to success for these receiving schools?
    Will it be hours of computer-based Blended Learning? That’s cheaper even than a cheap teacher.

    I see so many hardships ahead for kids, parents and teachers.

  • 216. Anonymous  |  November 18, 2011 at 5:08 am

    An analysis of Senator Kirk’s charter school ‘analysis’
    Mark Kirk claims that Chicago’s top high schools are charters, but that doesn’t mean it’s true

    By Ben Joravsky

    One day last month, an Evanston resident named Zoe Zolbrod came across an e-mail blast from the office of U.S. senator Mark Kirk with the headline, “9 of the top Ten High Schools in Chicago are Charter Schools.”

    Kirk’s declaration took Zolbrod by surprise. “I don’t pretend to be an expert,” says Zolbrod, an editor at a publishing house. “But I do know that nine out of the top ten performing high schools in Chicago are definitely not charters.”

    In this case, you don’t have to be an expert—you, like me, can just go to the website of the state board of education to see exactly which schools are doing how well in the great test-taking game.
    It turns out that Zolbrod was right: nine out of the ten top-scoring high schools in Chicago are not charters.

    In fact, if you use ACT scores as the measurement, as Senator Kirk did, you’ll discover that none of the top ten public high schools in Chicago is a charter.

    That’s none—as in zero.

    Now, before I go further, let me say this: I’m usually the last person in the world to start throwing test scores around. I don’t think much of using a test to try to measure how schools, teachers, parents, and especially children are progressing.

    But since Senator Kirk raised the subject . . .

    The highest-ranking charter, Chicago Virtual, ranks 11th. Its average ACT score for the 2010 to 2011 school year was 20.1—well below the 29.2 average at Northside College Prep, which tops the list.

    That’s not all. It seems that only two of the top 20 are charters—Noble Street Charter also cracks the top 20 list with 19.9.

    As a matter of fact, nine of the 13 charter high schools that reported ACT scores were below the system’s 17.7 average.

    **Read more at the Reader**

  • 217. Anonymous  |  November 18, 2011 at 5:19 am

    “We can’t take anymore, we’re broke.”


    Right now, Chicagoans have $867 million of their property taxes — sitting in an account under the mayor’s sole control.

    The TIF money was diverted from our libraries, parks, public schools, and health facilities.

    The mayor refused to take a mere $8 million (out of a $6 billion city budget) and put it back in the library to avoid severe cuts.

    –But he included a contract worth $11 million for some new contract — won’t specify what — for the CPL in the new budget.

    –But he gave $15 million to renovate Chicago Board of Trade bathrooms.

    So we’re broke when it comes to avoiding cuts in our mental health clinics and libraries and schools.

    –But we are not broke when it comes to developers, the CME Group, or Walmart.

  • 218. anon.  |  November 18, 2011 at 5:46 am at 06:00 AM ET, 11/16/2011

    What the evidence on charter schools really shows
    By Valerie Strauss

    This was written by Matthew Di Carlo, senior fellow at the non-profit Albert Shanker Institute, located in Washington, D.C. This post originally appeared on the institute’s blog.

    By Matthew Di Carlo

    In our fruitless, deadlocked debate over whether charter schools “work,” charter opponents frequently cite the so-called CREDO study (discussed here), a 2009 analysis of charter school performance in 16 states. The results indicated that overall charter effects on student achievement were negative and statistically significant in both math and reading, but both effects sizes were tiny. …

    Recently, charter opponents’ tendency to cite this paper has been called “cherrypicking.” Steve Brill sometimes levels this accusation, as do others. It is supposed to imply that CREDO is an exception – that most of the evidence out there finds positive effects of charter schools relative to comparable regular public schools.

    … The evidence makes it abundantly clear that that is not the case, and the goal at this point should be to look at the schools of both types that do well, figure out why, and use that information to improve all schools.

    First, however, it’s important to review the larger body of evidence that corroborates CREDO’s findings. For example, this 2009 RAND analysis of charter schools in five major cities and three states found that, in every location, charter effects were either negative or not discernibly different from regular public schools’. As one might expect, charters tended to get better results the more years they’d been in operation.

    Similarly, a 2010 Mathematica report presented the findings from a randomized controlled study of 36 charter middle schools in 15 states. The researchers found that the vast majority of students in these charters did no better or worse than their counterparts in regular public schools in terms of both math and reading scores, as well as virtually all the 35 other outcomes studied. There was, however, underlying variation – e.g., results were more positive for students who stayed in the charters for multiple years, and those who started out with lower scores.

    **Read More**

  • 219. anonymous  |  November 18, 2011 at 7:26 am

    @216, I didn’t hear the comment by Kirk, but really, does anyone really believe what Kirk says about anything? He lied about his military record. Now, I automatically assume nothing he says is true. Either that or I change the channel because I can’t bear to listen to him blather on. I think it is hilarious that he thinks 9/10 top performing high schools are charters. As long as we have selective enrollment schools that middle and upper class families want to send their kids to and as long as charters are not allowed to require testing for entrance, no charter will ever be able to surpass the top SE schools.

  • 220. CPSDepressed  |  November 18, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Bad teachers aren’t the whole problem, but they are part of the problem.

    And, the real issue is that as long as everyone keeps pointing fingers while defending their territory, we can’t make progress on any of the other issues. How much time and energy has CTU lost defending Karen Lewis?

    Kirk is crazy, and obviously, gross errors like that should be corrected. OTOH, some charters are outperforming the neighborhood high schools, and parents who want a safe school that will prepare their children for college aren’t as concerned about who runs the school as, say, CTU is.

  • 221. anon.  |  November 18, 2011 at 11:18 am

    We all seem to agree that Kirk is crazy.
    Maybe we should stop here.
    ; )

  • 222. cpsobsessed  |  November 18, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I mean honestly, if you’re Kirk’s people and you heard the mayor quote something, should that be good enough reason to assume it’s true?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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  • 224. Chicago cutlery  |  January 26, 2012 at 2:10 am

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