Well, I’ll be damned…. JCB is out, BBB is in

October 11, 2012 at 9:21 pm 225 comments

Ms. Barbara Byrd-Bennett. No idea how recent this was, but as a favor to her I chose the most flattering one on Google.

I don’t quite know why this caught me by surprise.  He was a nice, nice man, but probably not…(?) enough for the job.  I’m having a hard time filling in what the right word was.  He was so soft spoken and a very high level thinker.  Not a PR person’s dream, I guess.  For CPS to be making big changes these days, they need a strong figurehead who knows how to talk the talk and rally troops.  Ms BBB seems to be much more up that alley, from my experience in a phone call with her the week of the strike.   I think things are going to get interesting…

Sun Times reports:

Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard out by ‘mutual agreement’

BY FRAN SPIELMAN  AND ROSALIND ROSSI Staff Reporters October 11, 2012 8:58PM

Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s premier hires, is out by “mutual agreement” with City Hall after just 17 months on the job, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Brizard was Emanuel’s pick to lead CPS and push through the mayor’s aggressive education agenda. But with the city’s first teachers strike in 25 years in the rear view mirror and a new contract to be implemented, Emanuel said it’s “time for a clean break.”

Brizard leaves his $250,000-a-year job to be permanently replaced with Barbara Byrd-Bennett, a former teacher, principal and Cleveland schools CEO who has been filling in as Chicago’s interim chief education officer for the past six months.

Byrd-Bennett, 62, played a pivotal role in negotiating an end to the strike — and upstaged Brizard in the process. Terms of Brizard’s exit were still being finalized, but are expected to include a full-year’s salary.

Talk of Brizard’s departure has swirled for weeks. On Sept. 19, the mayor told reporters: “J.C. has my confidence.”

On Thursday, Emanuel said the decision for a change was made during “two to three separate conversations” in recent days.

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Ready, Set, Apply…. for the 2013/2014 school year! Figuring out the High School thing

225 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ZanesDad  |  October 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    No surprise that it happened, other than the timing.

  • 2. CityMom (the Original)  |  October 11, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Wow….I am surprised. But I think that it is a good thing for CPS.

  • 3. anonymouse teacher  |  October 11, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I don’t think anything will be any different. Things will be badly run, as always. CPS churns through “leadership” like toilet paper. I’ll give BBB 2 years or less before she moves on. I am totally not surprised–its business as usual in a system that doesn’t know its head from its—-

  • 4. Falconergrad  |  October 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    The quotes attributed to Rahm make no sense to me. I have not been distracted by JCB. Rahm is making up a story and shoving it down our throats. Cause that’s how he does things!

  • 5. ZanesDad  |  October 11, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I do find it interesting that she doesn’t plan to fill the Chief Education Officer position that she just vacated. One small layer of bureaucracy removed is a nice start.

  • 6. Paul  |  October 11, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Interesting. He did seem like a nice guy, but the mayor obviously wasn’t satisfied with his performance. Hopefully, BBB can be successful. There are a lot of people counting on it.

  • 7. cpsobsessed  |  October 11, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Tribune reports in:
    By John Byrne and Noreen Ahmed-Ullah Tribune reporters

    9:21 p.m. CDT, October 11, 2012
    Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean Claude Brizardis out, to be replaced permanently by the school system’s chief education officer, a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday.

    Brizard, who has been the CEO for about 17 months, made a mutual decision with the mayor that it was best he leave the top school post, mayoral spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said.

    “J.C. spoke with (School Board President) David Vitale and the mayor, and said ‘I’m becoming a distraction. This is becoming more about me than it is about our mission to help the kids,'” Hamilton said.

    Barbara Byrd-Bennett, a former CEO in the Cleveland school system who has been serving as the interim chief education officer for CPS, will take over Brizard’s post, effective immediately, Hamilton said.

    Brizard’s decision to step down “was fairly recent,” Hamilton said.

    Brizard’s departure had been rumored for weeks, speculation that gained steam as he was virtually absent during much of the drama of a seven-day teachers strike and negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union.

    In late August amid heated negotiations between the district and the teachers union, sources told the Tribune that education and business leaders told Brizard that the mayor would blame him for letting the labor situation with teachers get out of hand.

    Emanuel flatly denied that report and expressed full confidence in his schools chief. “As soon as I heard about this, I called J.C. and said, ‘You focus on the full school day, full school year. You’re doing a great job.’ “ Emanuel said.

    But Brizard’s management style was criticized by the Chicago Board of Education in his annual evaluation. The board gave Brizard low marks for the way he communicates and runs the district.

    “The organizational effectiveness of CPS could be substantially improved with a more coherent and decisive management decision-making process,” board President David Vitale wrote in a June 11 letter to Brizard that accompanied the review.

    Still, Vitale commended Brizard for a “challenging, but solid year” and wrote that he is “off to a good start in year one and there is significant potential to have year two and beyond be even better.”

    Brizard also has drawn fire for high turnover in both cabinet-level positions and department heads. The chief education officer resigned in April on the heels of two other cabinet-level departures.

    Emanuel named Brizard as the district’s CEO in April 2011, a month before Emanuel officially became mayor.

    Brizard came to Chicago from Rochester, N.Y., where he spent about three years as schools superintendent. He was also a teacher and administrator in New York City for 20 years.

    Emanuel charged him with the task of instituting a longer school day and year, which turned out to be a lengthy and arduous protest that drew significant opposition from the Chicago Teachers Union as well as many parents.

  • 8. anonymouse teacher  |  October 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    I should just leave this be, but I can’t! NO CEO is likely to actually create any helpful change in CPS. Who fills the CEO position is a non-issue. Student learning doesn’t happen because of CEO’s. The CEO is just a person with a driver and an inflated salary (250K to do what?) who has absolutely zero effect on instruction and learning. Zero.

  • 9. Whit  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    I think the mayor was really in charge with Brizard as his front man. Just my opinion.

  • 10. cpsobsessed  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    @Whit, I agree. And I think BBB is right up his alley as a front-woman. Although I can’t figure out why JCB was hired as the frontman… he’s not a great “PR talker.” I see him more as a think-tank guy. I think. Hell, it was hard to tell what he really truly believed about education policy, as you say, frontman.

  • 11. arjrsmom  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Not a surprise – Rahm’s puppet. If you don’t like the new calendar, this is a person that must be contacted. I think JCB was the sole decision maker in this and received a tremendous amount of criticism for it.

  • 12. Marketing Mom  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    No surprise. During the strike, we saw more of BBB than JCB. It was a bad decision for him to take that vacation one week before the strike. jCB was MIA and now he is SOL!

  • 13. K D  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    @11 arjrsmom —-I agree. The calendar change process was bizarre. The announcement made it clear that the new calendar was JCB’s creation, not the BOE’s. I don’t understand the change in spring break and the 1/2 days.

    The calendar change increased the level of chaos. Unfortunately, making another high level change will add to the instability in the short run.

  • 14. Formerly working mom  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Not Good. Another stain on JCB’s record. Discrimination lawsuits, a no-confidence vote in Rochester, followed by the Chicago Teacher’s strike. It’ll be interesting to see where this Chicago Fall Guy lands and will he land on his feet!

  • 15. arjrsmom  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I don’t think it will cause any more chaos – most people were pretty surprised that yesterday was a half day. The calendar is a mess and it goes too late into June. That can be corrected with a few simple date changes. Also, changing Lincoln’s B-day and President’s Day shouldn’t be shocking. Also, there should be school on Veteran’s Day. I would rather be in school both of those days than on June 24. There are simple things they can do with a bit of common sense.

  • 16. OutsideLookingIn  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Could anyone really have done a great job during the last 17 months? JCB was stuck between a new mayor who wanted sweeping changes right away and a very angry teacher’s union that wasn’t going to take it. He walked into an impossible situation, and I have no doubt that he knew it too, but tried anyway. JCB was the “transition guy” who would vanish once the teachers’ contract was settled. And he did.

    I don’t agree with anonymouse that the CEO is nothing more than a “person with a driver and an inflated salary”. Clearly many (if not all) cps teachers loathe the central office and resent all the money going into the pockets of the people who work there, but things could get a whole lot worse, really fast, with a truly awful CEO.

    I hope BBB can make a difference. It won’t be easy.

  • 17. cpsparent  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    This is great news. I am more excited about Byrd-Bennett than any other CEO in recent years. I think this could be a very good thing. I’m surprised by some of the comments here about thinking that Brizzard was a think tank kind of guy. I think he was nothing like that. My guess is that there wasn’t a lot of depth. I also wonder if Brizzard was setup as the ‘temp” guy until the new contract was in place.

  • 18. SJ  |  October 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I really, really, really don’t know what people expect. CPS won’t change for many reasons but one of them is because very few of the folks you have elected – including the mayor and very few of the city workers tat are paid by your tax dollars have their kids in public schools.

    Here is a tip for you: If you live in a neighborhood with a bad public shool, move. The school won’t be getting better. It won’t. I’m sorry. If you can’t afford to move then do whatever you have to do to get your kid in a better one.

    Are we done here yet?

  • 19. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 12, 2012 at 4:58 am

    No surprise. People have been calling for his resignation for months. I thought he’d be gone by Christmas so this is a pleasant early treat for Halloween~since we’d been subject to so many tricks lately by Rahm. Rahm runs CPS~CEO is a puppet. BBB will be gone in abt the same amount of time since she is a Broadie too. The only thing I am surprised is at the ppl who are surprised and also a few parents who really liked him and now are saying he wasn’t the right fit. The sad thing is ~ he’ll leave with his full $250,000 salary AND 15% bonus. What a waste. BBB will be no better~Rahm should have picked a qualified person from CHICAGO. Rahm is a let down to CPS and will be out in 3yrs himself.

  • 20. Teacher4321  |  October 12, 2012 at 5:59 am

    I don’t think any of us can act surprised. Wasn’t this a lead story in the Sun Times right before or during the strike that the CPS said was a lie? Then there was the supposed “leak” of thr story from the CTU. I doubt this is a surprise to anyone working for CPS. This rumor has been discussed for months and most of us knew it wasn’t a rumor.

    Interesting that it has not been much of a story on the morning news. NBC has mentioned the Evergeen Park strike many times and naming a dolphin at the Shedd seems to be their top story.

    This story sheds an interesting light. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/chicago-teachers-strike-contract_n_1959129.html . It was written prior to the announcement yesterday. Though I think Brizard was starting to turn a new leaf and side more with the teachers than CPS from the quotes. I’m sure he signed some sort of “I won’t talk” letter, but I am curious as to what he will say.

    What does this announcement bring to us at the school level? All of the changes we just went through will probably be changed again. Thus the chaotic feeling inside CPS will continue. All of the new initiatives we’ve spent months stressing over will probably change.

  • 21. clouisepesenti  |  October 12, 2012 at 6:11 am

    So JCB gets the golden kayak and we get the mayor’s SHAFT!

  • 22. Bookworm  |  October 12, 2012 at 6:40 am

    I think the democratic party in Chicago needs to get to work planning a primary for the next mayoral election now and lining up the options for us all.
    It’s obvious to most public school parents that the current mayor is unable to manage our school district. He could have kept Terry Mazany all along, saving parents and the teachers the pain and frustration of the last year and a half.

    I’m not really interested in the “pr” skills of the new ceo. They won’t need to rely on their pr if they do an adequate job of salvaging the mess. For our school that means treating my kid’s excellent teachers decently enough that they don’t all leave– destroying the amazing school it has been.

  • 23. mom  |  October 12, 2012 at 7:41 am

    He still gets all the money since he was on a contract I think, right?

  • 24. JT  |  October 12, 2012 at 8:06 am

    My guess all along: JCB was initially hired because of (not in spite of) his history bucking the teachers’ union in Rochester. Researching news articles on his tenure there, one finds that most of the discussion is related to his union dealings. Mayor Emanuel knew well that the new contract would be a war, and he wanted somebody who had a track record of fighting union leadership. My guess is that the purpose of this was twofold: First, it served as a “shot over the bow” to union leadership to let them know that the city was putting a real fighter into the ring. Secondly, the mayor hoped that JCB would be the big dog in the fight. (It doesn’t hurt that JCB was also very charter-friendly, but I’d propose that his hiring had more to do with his labor relations history.)

    Ultimately, the mayor may have found that JCB is more nuanced than his reputation would have suggested. CPSO is probably dead-on with her assessment that he is more of a “think-tank” guy. In other words, Mayor Emanuel wanted a “war-time consigliere,” and he got… well, Tom Hagen.

  • 25. sen  |  October 12, 2012 at 8:15 am

    If they are still paying him, put him to work. I am sure there are plenty of schools that could use him, especially if they do not have to pay him. They should hold a lottery!!!

  • 26. JT  |  October 12, 2012 at 8:21 am

    @25 Funny, sen. Mayor Emanuel can do what many school administrators to get rid of employees that they have to keep in the building: lunch, recess, and detention monitor! (…for the bargain price of $250k – Dear Mayor Emanuel: I’ll do it for half.)

  • 27. none  |  October 12, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Just don’t see why we can’t have a Chicagoan running the education system! JCB was a discard figure from NY, and now we have Cleveland.. Dont we have a talented Chicagoan or what???

  • 28. liza  |  October 12, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I never really understood why Emmanuel hired Brizard, he came with a lot of baggage. I don’t know much about Byrd-Bennett, but the fact that she has bounced around so much makes me a little leery. My biggest fear is that CPS will become even more chaotic. Who knows what changes she will want to make. There really needs to be some stability in the system. It’s like a revolving door at CPS!

  • 29. jp  |  October 12, 2012 at 10:04 am

    @27, Huberman was a Chicagoan, and I don’t recall that as working out all that well. Daley took him from the CTA to run CPS, and I think he was out in less than two years, too. In fact, it has been another tumultuous 17 months on top of a tumultuous 5 years at CPS. My family has been touched by the many changes, both large and small. Brizard and the mayor came at the teachers with both guns blazing from day one–it did not seem to me that they created an atmosphere conducive to renegotiating a contract. My family is still adjusting to the longer school day–it’s an earlier morning and a shorter afternoon to squeeze in homework, music practice and dinner–let alone a little play time. (I would like an extra half hour back, please!) And Brizard’s reorganization of the “areas” into “networks” caused much disruption in my daughter’s school last year when the principal and a key teacher were plucked in November to fill new administrative positions. That particular school, a turn-around school under Arne Duncan’s Renaissance 2010 plan, has been rocked by every single administration change since then. Well, those are my experiences, anyway. I am hoping for the best with Byrd-Bennett, but I need to catch my breath before any more changes happen.

  • 30. Mayfair Dad  |  October 12, 2012 at 10:25 am

    “In other words, Mayor Emanuel wanted a war-time consigliere, and he got… well, Tom Hagen.” – JT # 24. Love it.

    Once the annual performance review was leaked, and news of the family vacation during the ramp-up to the strike was leaked, and BBB standing alongside the mayor as JCB was nowhere to be found during the strike — the writing was on the wall. Or, the fish wrapped in newspaper was already delivered.

    I thought they might wait until the long Thanksgiving holiday to make the announcement but maybe JCB already has another job offer and needed to vacate sooner than planned.

    McCarthy is next. Cue the baptism scene. Mo Green on the massage table…

  • 31. cpsobsessed  |  October 12, 2012 at 10:35 am

    There’s NO way someone in that position could just announce that they’re taking a vacation without approval! I think they knew back then that JCB wasn’t gonna be the key guy during the strike so the Mayor may have told him to “shoo” for a while. Or bought him plane tickets somewhere.

    I still think the system needs a strong education person AND a business-type person. Hard to find someone with strong skills in both areas.

  • 32. sfw  |  October 12, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I am wondering if it’s naive to blame the calendar, or any of CPS’ other problems, on JCB. I suspect someone in the mayor’s office wanted it, and told cps what it would be. I also wonder if JCB was not publicly comfortable busting down the union as much as Rahm would like, but Byrd-Bennett is.
    I am curious if clouted out flunkies, who can’t cut it w other city agencies and get sent downtown, to continue earning six-figure salaries while doing nothing, will keep their job. If their sponsors give enough money, I suspect they will.

  • 33. Anon  |  October 12, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Slightly off-topic question. What school was JCB sending his own children to?

  • 34. local  |  October 12, 2012 at 11:34 am

    The new ones are not school-aged, but when asked where he intended to send them, he replied CPS. He has moved to Lincoln Park. I’m wondering if he’ll now get involved with charters along with his most recent wife, who was a charter executive, from what I’ve heard.

  • 35. local  |  October 12, 2012 at 11:45 am

    @32 Isn’t there an employment pipeline flowing from City Hall jobs to CPS jobs?

  • 36. local  |  October 12, 2012 at 11:49 am

    BBB might follow the Broad playbook, methinks.

  • 37. local  |  October 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I thought Jennifer Cheatham crafted the new calendar: http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/The_Board_of_Education/BoardBios/Pages/JenniferCheatham.aspx. Where will she land now?

  • 38. cpsobsessed  |  October 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    From CPS Press Release:

    Mayor Emanuel announced today that he has named Barbara Byrd-Bennett the Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). A former teacher and principal, Byrd-Bennett is a lifelong educator with experience running schools and districts in New York City, Detroit and Cleveland. She replaces Jean-Claude Brizard who is departing after leading CPS since May 2011.

    “Barbara is a proven leader and educator with the breadth and depth of experience that make her uniquely qualified to serve Chicago’s students and lead Chicago’s schools and I am incredibly proud to welcome her into this position,” said Mayor Emanuel. “She taught in the classroom for over 12 years; was a principal for eight; has put struggling schools on the path to higher achievement and balanced her school districts’ finances. Most importantly, she has helped students in urban centers across the country succeed, and I know she will use that experience here to help our children learn and excel.”

    Byrd-Bennett currently serves as the Chief Education Officer at CPS, where she oversees the development of curriculum and instructional policy for the district and helps guide the district’s school and neighborhood administrators, from network chiefs to principals. She also played an integral role in guiding CPS during contract negotiations with the Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU), which resulted in a contract that preserved more time in the classroom for students, maintained principal autonomy over hiring decisions in schools, recognized the great work teachers do in the classroom every day and, for the first time in 40 years, updated the evaluation system for teachers to provide more support and feedback to help them hone their craft.

    “I am honored by the opportunity to further serve Chicago’s students and lead the District in providing a high-quality education in every school and every neighborhood across the city,” said Byrd-Bennett. “First and foremost, I am a teacher at heart and my focus is providing the tools teachers and students need to boost student achievement and help them succeed.”

    Byrd-Bennett has over 30 years of experience working in schools. She began as a teacher in the New York City public school system. After 12 years in the classroom, she became a principal and held that position for 8 years. In 1994, she was appointed to serve as the superintendent of the Crown Heights school district, the third-largest school district in New York City, overseeing the district’s budget and focusing resources back towards the classroom and instruction, reducing class sizes, ensuring students received more one-on-one tutoring and access to after-school programs, and providing more support and training for teachers. Under her leadership, student performance in both math and reading increased. As a result of her leadership and improved student achievement, in 1996 she was chosen to lead a special district in New York City comprised of twelve of the lowest performing schools. In her two years in that role, student scores rose dramatically.

    Following her tenure in New York City, Byrd-Bennett spent over 10 years leading large urban public school districts, first in Cleveland (1998-2006) and then in Detroit (2009-2011). As the Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland public school system, she successfully balanced the school district’s budget each year of her tenure after inheriting a more than $150 million deficit. The number of fourth and sixth graders who met standards on math and reading tests grew by an average of more than 160 percent over a 5 year period, improving more than twice as fast as statewide averages over that time. The district’s graduation rates also climbed from 28 percent to 50.2 percent under her leadership. In Detroit, as the District’s Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor, she worked side-by-side with the District’s emergency financial manager where she helped implement a central office restructuring, developed a five-year academic reform plan for the district that aligned with the district’s financial planning and deficit reduction plan, expanded instructional time in math and reading to 120 minutes a day for all K-8 students, and developed and implemented a fair academic performance evaluation system for teachers and principals.

    “We are excited to welcome Barbara into this role on our team,” said David Vitale, President of the Chicago Board of Education. “Over the past year, Barbara has displayed impressive talent and leadership and has been a trusted voice on issues ranging from curriculum to supporting teachers throughout the district. As JC transitions out after months of hard work and achieving great milestones for our students, Barbara is the right choice to lead.”

    Byrd-Bennett replaces Jean-Claude Brizard, who is departing after leading CPS since May 2011, one of the most transformative periods for Chicago’s schools, with the introduction of expanded opportunities for students, including 5,000 more seats for pre-kindergarten, five new STEM high schools, 10 new IB schools, and six new AUSL turnaround schools.

  • 39. Lyndon  |  October 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    the report from Cleveland:


  • 40. Logan Dad  |  October 12, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Hi CPSO Parents –

    I can’t help feel a little bad for JCB. I’ve heard that he disagreed with the Mayor on CTU Negotiation Strategy and consequently, Rahm took his seat away from the table. It’s pretty much an end game after that. But, with a year of salary and some significant resume padding (longer school day, teacher testing, CPS Admin Re-Org, new STEM schools, etc) and being able to say that it is basically impossible to succeed working for Rahm, he should be able to find some significant future paydays.

    BBB’s credentials are a little light in my opinion. During the time that she was in charge in Cleveland, the number of students there declined considerably. That’s how the gains were made in budget and testing.

    But mostly I’m very, very concerned that there is no rhyme or reason to how Chicago picks a leader for CPS. There’s been a couple of decent hires (Valas, Duncan) but most of the rest seem to be puppets (JCB & maybe BBB, jokers (Huberman – I mean come on!) or self-important wonks (that dude from the Chicago Community Trust was a total clown). Is there a process here?

    And it’s important to note that the two most successful CEOs, Valas & Duncan, both left under somewhat stormy conditions.

    I know that it’s not likely, but it would be great to get a leader that stayed for more than a few years and inspired confidence among Parents, Teachers & CPS staff. I think the official defination of this is “Pipe Dream”.

    All the more reason parents need to get organized…

    Logan Dad

  • 41. none  |  October 12, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    @29 jp- I agree with you that Huberman was lousy, but what do we really expect from a CTA guy? It was ridiculous that Daley nominated him since Huberman was not in any position to lead CPS. What I’m really frustrated is that we Chicagoans seem unable solve our own problem.. We have to hire ‘left over’ from other cities to do our job ( not implying the most recent one since I do not know much about her).I just want a real educational leader who understands the dilemna that CPS students currently face, not some puppet for the mayor to pull strings. We replaced leadership like we replaced the pot holes!

  • 42. mom  |  October 12, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Of course BBB will land on his feet, he’s in the rarefied air where there is no such thing as ‘not making it.” They all scratch each others backs. He’ll be earning 6 figures while still getting paid out on his CPS contract.

    We stiffs work to pay taxes to keep them in the business of messing up, getting let go, messing up again, over and over. Same story as with corporate CEOs. You ever seen a disgraced one down and out? Nope.

  • 43. Been there done that  |  October 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Terry Mazany said he did not want the job if it was offered to him.

  • 44. Todd Pytel  |  October 12, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    @40 (Logan Dad) – “most of the rest seem to be puppets (JCB & maybe BBB, jokers (Huberman – I mean come on!) or self-important wonks (that dude from the Chicago Community Trust was a total clown)”

    I have no idea to whom you’re talking, but Terry Mazany was by far the most promising CEO to take the seat in the last 5 years, mainly because he’s the only one that didn’t pretend to have all the answers the moment he took office. In the 9 months he held the office, he displayed more reflection and long-term thinking than all the rest of them put together. And beyond CPS, Mazany is very highly regarded. He didn’t want the job long-term because he knew he was too good for it.

    Even Huberman had his strengths. While I think he overvalued data analysis and ignored voices closer to the ground, he at least projected a consistent management vision. I knew what he and his area honchos were looking for in the mid-level area meetings I attended, even if I didn’t entirely agree with their methodology.

    For all the faults of the Daley-era CPS leaders, none of them come close to the complete leadership vacuum we’ve had since Rahm took office. There’s no vision whatsoever now, only a relentless churn of messages and directives that change by the week to suit the mayor’s political needs.

  • 45. anonymouse teacher  |  October 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I agree with Todd on this one regarding Mazany.

  • 46. jp  |  October 12, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Oh, yeah–I almost forgot about Mazany. I liked him–he seemed downright sensible and reasonable by comparison. Why couldn’t he stick around?

  • 47. cpsobsessed  |  October 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Mazany was an interim guy and not reformy enough for Rahm. I heard him speak once and he sounded very smart and sincere.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 48. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 12, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Right & Rahm doesn’t go for the smart & sincere~he goes for the conniving & dishonest.

  • 49. Katherine  |  October 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    i have not been able to visit here for a few weeks due to work overload, but I said then JCB was a nice man (he is) but wouldn’t be here long (i was told then).

    Daley did not start a good thing with the school board…almost immediately it became an excuse factory, and now it is a privitization unit. Mazany would have been good for the long-term (and the strike could have been averted) but he would have been stopped by Rahm–the point of the CPS board is not to improve free education, that’s for sure. : )

    Except many parents, like me, want the schools fixed and brought up to standard, not sold off or outsourced.

    I think if the rule was all CPS administrators and City Hall politicians HAD TO send their kids to CPS free-non-selective enrollment schools we would have sudden interest in their long-term progress in a more serious way.

    Until then, we have to sign a light on how money is budgeted, how it is banked then dispensed; compare poverty indicators with access to wrap around services. When poverty levels go down, scores go up…so make the poverty go down, at least while a kid is in school.
    The CPS board should have elected parents and teachers on it–ultimately those are the two Interested parties who stand to put in the greatest investment for the Recipients/Participants–the kids.

  • 50. Katherine  |  October 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    and I wish in the Press they would stop believing Rahm’s self-hypnotic sound bites–what Rahm is doing/trying to do is not “Reform”…he is not reforming anything he is Removing and Selling off.

  • 51. CPS Parent  |  October 13, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I seem to recall that Mazany had no intention of doing the job permanently. He also maintained the status quo which is easy to do. The only progress, of any significance, on his watch was the implementation of “breakfast in the room” which was, as I recall, hated by the usual suspects, the tier 3 and 4, parent groups.

  • 52. Michael Monroe  |  October 13, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Enough with the “Brizard is a nice guy” stuff. He isn’t. The deformed reform agenda he pushed is devastating for Chicago’s children. He has left destruction in his wake in Rochester and Chicago and then has the nerve to call it a “masterpiece.” He is self-serving and a willing shill. Being soft-spoken does not make one “nice” or decent.

  • 53. cpsobsessed  |  October 13, 2012 at 10:00 am

    @MM. That’s true. I should say he has a nice demeanor. And face.

    I don’t know if I’d fully agree that all reform agendas are not “nice” though. It’s not about being nice. It’s about finding a way to get hard-to-teach kids to read and do math.

    What would be NICE (meaning pleasing) is if CPS could find some other ways to make this happen in addition to charters….

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  • 54. CPS Parent  |  October 13, 2012 at 10:23 am

    @cpsobsessed – but isn’t that exactly what they are doing with the new IB and STEM programs?

    My take on this is that Brizard was too “nice” to do the consolidations quickly and wanted to do them Major Daley style, at a snails pace, which is politically expedient but it’s much too late for that now.

    I don’t think Brizard was fired over what has already happened. It’s about lack of cooperation on what needs to happen next (or he simply doesn’t have the stomach for it).

  • 55. cpsobsessed  |  October 13, 2012 at 10:39 am

    @CPS parent. Ah, that’s a good point. There have been initiatives for improvement, indeed. Commom Core being another.
    I guess I’m thinking about the worst-performing neighborhood schools and what can be done there. That’s one of the million dollar questions, of course.

    I think rahm”s argument would be that by offering turnarounds and eliminating ineffective teachers, this will be addressed. Obviously not everyone agrees with that. As I’ve said, allowing schools to try some out of the box stuff or placing a principal who is known to be highly effective in a few of the schools could be an interesting experiment.

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  • 56. CPS Parent  |  October 13, 2012 at 11:06 am

    @cpsobsessed There is another issue that I don’t see discussed.

    CPS K – 8 classrooms are not allowed to be segmented by ability level which apparently is the most effective/productive way for teachers to do differentiated teaching.

    The end result of school “choice” is actually segmentation by ability level which arguably serves all segments better. I think the argument that having smart kids co-mingled in with lower achieving kids is good or “inspirational” for the lower achieving kids is probably not true.

  • 57. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 13, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Brizard wasn’t ‘too nice’~he did his job and has moved on~he was the fall guy. As for B3~she’ll close schools, open charters, and move on.

  • 58. karet  |  October 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    @56 — I wasn’t aware of that rule, but it seems like the way that schools get around it is to have a “gifted” class — many neighborhood and magnet schools do this: e.g. Prussing (our neighborhood school), Thorp, Disney, and so on.

  • 59. Patricia  |  October 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Trib editorial. Recommends B3 buckle-in for the year(s) ahead………. think we all need to buckle-in AND wear a helmet!


    “Here’s the math: There are 402,000 kids in classrooms and about 130,000 empty seats in the district’s schools. As many as 120 under-enrolled schools need to be closed. That can’t happen on a slow, long-term phaseout. These schools need to be closed next year to help close that budget gap. The city needs to expand charters to take over some of those failing schools, a move that Chicago Teachers Union leaders oppose. The district needs to do more turnarounds, restructuring dismally underperforming schools and restaffing them from top to bottom. Again, expect union blowback.”

    “CPS — Byrd-Bennett & Co. — must deliver a plan for closing schools to the Legislature by Dec. 1. That’s the beginning of a painful process.”

    “Nor will closings alone balance the budget. CPS faces a string of budget-busting teachers pension payments. It needs the Legislature to deliver major pension reforms pronto. Yes, that’s the same Legislature that has punted again and again on tough decisions on school, state and municipal pension reform. Let’s see if Byrd-Bennett can convince Chicago Teachers Union leaders to lobby for pension reform in Springfield to save teachers’ jobs.”

    “Turnover at the top has become a real concern at CPS. Arne Duncan. Ron Huberman. Terry Mazany. Jean-Claude Brizard. That’s the lineup of CPS CEOs just since 2008. Now Byrd-Bennett.”

  • 60. none  |  October 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    @56 – “CPS K – 8 classrooms are not allowed to be segmented by ability level which apparently is the most effective/productive way for teachers to do differentiated teaching. ”

    — Some schools actually followed this strategy, but I’m not sure about its effectiveness. From what I have seen, the “smart group” thrive in this exclusion; however, the “not so ready” one tends to get discouraged and lagged further behind. My oldest child’s school tried this method and the result was too ambiguous to continue. Thus, they switched back to mixing the children, hoping the bright students will assist the “unmotivated” ones. I can’t say anything about its effectiveness, as of present, but my oldest seems to enjoy helping her classmates. She even learns things here and there. As a parent, I am not ambivalent about the co-mingling program. It is inspirational to have all students on the same page, but it is also awful to see my child did not get challenging enough.

  • 61. CarolA  |  October 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    @60: Your child should be getting challenged. If he/she hasn’t been, you should see change this year or the teacher will be out. The purpose of the NWEA (MAP test) is to find out the learning/teaching level of EACH child and go forward from there. My class just finished the reading and math tests. I have 8 different levels of learning in my room. I have managed to group them into 6 different teaching groups because having only 1 or 2 in a group will not be possible on a regular basis. I have taken the data which is extensive and printed out what each group needs to learn to move forward. I teach first grade so I have a group that needs to learn beginning sounds and a group that needs to work on blends, digraphs, synonyms, and antonyms to start. I have a group that needs to practice basic sight words and a group that is reading on a third grade level and needs comprehension and reading strategies. MY RATING will be based on the data showing that I have moved ALL children up from their starting point. Teachers cannot let any group stagnate. It’s quite the challenge and is doubled because we must do the same thing for math. I am using this weekend to think it all out so I have it in place, up and running by Wednesday. That means at any given time in my classroom, I’ll have 6 different things going on. Sometimes it means I give the same lesson, but each group has a different task that’s leveled to their ability. Sometimes it means 6 different tasks. I just finished my math workshop materials and I have 15 stations so that 2 students can be at a station at one time. I have 30 students. Each of those 15 stations has the same activity leveled in 4 different ways. They are color coded by folder colors and the folder colors match the color of the child’s name card. At an instant, I can see who is working at which level. This is just a small peek at what the current classroom should look like daily. Hope this helps.

  • 62. EdgewaterMom  |  October 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    @61 CarolA Wow – that must really be complicated to prepare for class! I REALLY wish we could have smaller class sizes at CPS. It seems unrealistic to expect a teacher to be able to differentiate well with > 30 kids in each classroom.

  • 63. anonymouse teacher  |  October 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Carol, sometime I’d like to talk with you re: differentiating in math. I feel like I have the reading piece down pretty well, but math is more complicated for some reason for me. I’ll email you. I think I can incorporate more math groups if I do that during center time and keep my reading groups just during daily 5. I doubt I can turn into a math group expert in one year, but perhaps I can start with a few things this year and then build on that for next year. It helps, though, just hearing that someone else has managed to do it! Do you get any help in the form of bilingual push in or sped push in?

  • 64. mom  |  October 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Anybody see this — CPS Seeking Thoughts and Feedback on the Guidelines for School Actions


  • 65. jill  |  October 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Terry Mazany would have taken the job if it was offered, but it was not. An optimal transition plan would have been to name him to be a member of the current Board of Ed team.

  • 66. local  |  October 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    “The end result of school “choice” is actually segmentation by ability level which arguably serves all segments better. I think the argument that having smart kids co-mingled in with lower achieving kids is good or “inspirational” for the lower achieving kids is probably not true.”

    I’ve read that research shows that it is better to have mixed classes as long as no one’s being left behind. I don’t know the source. Sorry.

  • 67. local  |  October 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    “I think if the rule was all CPS administrators and City Hall politicians HAD TO send their kids to CPS free-non-selective enrollment schools we would have sudden interest in their long-term progress in a more serious way.”

    Ha – funny. So true. Ditto for all the media. educators and advocacy people. Like Karp, Zorn, Javorsky, Woestehoff, Zipporah Hightower, Schmidt… etc. Just attend the neighborhood schools in tier 1. Presto-change-o.

  • 68. CarolA  |  October 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Sure mouse! Email me and I’ll go into to further. It’s time-consuming, but once set up, lasts for several rotations.

  • 69. cpsobsessed  |  October 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Someone just informed me they saw huberman’s young child enrolled in a private school.

    Linda lutton, wbez education report has kids in CPS and her extensive time spent on the topic has built a confidence in many schools that others don’t express, which was encouraging to me. As many teachers here point out, there are great things going on in many schools, but the population is challenging.

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  • 70. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    #69~Huberman’s son is only 3, so it would be a private preschool.

  • 71. cpsobsessed  |  October 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Yes, private preK that feeds into a K-8.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 72. HS Mom  |  October 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm


    Hey, and add to that what if the teachers had their kids in CPS – non-private, non-selective, non-suburban schools. Yes, presto-change-o. 🙂

  • 73. CarolA  |  October 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    HS Mom: MANY CPS teachers have their children in neighborhood schools! My daughter went to a neighborhood K-8 school. That was years ago. Currently, we have 5 children of CPS teachers in our school. Our principal has his children attending his CPS neighborhood school. So you might be surprised. Not everyone qualifies for selective schools and as much as people like to think we all “have ins”, that might be a very small percentage of people.

  • 74. HS Mom  |  October 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    @73 many more go to magnets, selective, private and suburban schools. I’m sure there are those that go to the neighborhood school. Point being, as discussed before, it’s about making sound parental decisions for your child. Why should we expect certain people to make certain decisions – it should be up to the individual if they have a choice.

  • 75. none  |  October 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Carol: Thanks for the explanation. After my last response on here, I realized that it was actually a good thing for my daughter’s class to mix students of different levels together. This allows her free time to pursue other interests, and along the process of helping her group, she is learning the fine skill of communication etc. School is not all about abc and 123, and she has this opportunity to “evolve’ is golden. Again, thank you! It is really informative to hear from the teacher’s perspective.

  • 76. CPS Parent  |  October 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    75. none – What CarolA’s explanation is illustrating is well planned differentiated teaching driven by the NWEA MAP test which is used to assess student progress and teacher efficacy. What it doesn’t explain is why having this mix of students in one classroom is better than splitting them by ability level into different classrooms and having 3 or 4 teachers teach them during the same time period. I’m assuming her school has 3 or 4 rooms at the same grade level. Carol, which would you prefer?

  • 77. none  |  October 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    76CPSParent: What Carol’s explanation illustrated is the unfairness and inaccuracy of how a test used to measure teacher’s effectiveness. 🙂 While I have no background in this area, I think that differentiation might be beneficial to children in early primary years since children at this age are not very “self- conscious”. However, using differentiation method with older age kids might be counterproductive. I dont think it is helpful for “unmotivated” kids to be labeled or “segregated”. Also, somehow children communicate with children better; those ‘unmotivated” kids can pick up things faster from their peers.

  • 78. nothing  |  October 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    CarolA…… I have a first grade son, can he be in your class as you sound like a WONDERFUL teacher…..

  • 79. CPS Parent  |  October 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    77. none Regarding “What Carol’s explanation illustrated is the unfairness and inaccuracy of how a test used to measure teacher’s effectivenes” it does none of that whatsoever. Teachers on this board have praised the NWEA MAP as a great tool. CarolA is using the MAP exactly for the right purpose. Her motivation to do so is either intrinsic ((she’s a great teacher (my vote – Carol seems like one of the best to me)) or external (the knowledge that it is used for her efficacy rating is driving her) but actually which of the two is in play doesn’t matter in the end. The issue is whether having that many levels of differentiated learning is best achieved within one classroom with one teacher or would it be better to split up into several more closely grouped ability level cohorts.

  • 80. anonymouse teacher  |  October 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Most of the research I have read indicates that the top kids pretty much perform the same no matter what situation they are in. But heterogenous grouping typically pans out to be the best for middle and low achievers. When schools put all the lowest performers together, they tend to not do as well as when they are mixed.

    Personally, my experience has taught me that the very best thing for kids is having a teacher who is highly skilled in differentiating learning AND giving great whole group instruction and appropriate materials. Kids need both small group instruction at their level and whole group instruction that allows them to see great modeling of skills. It isn’t really an either or situation. It is both/and. Teachers can be more effective with say 24 kids rather than 30 because instead of seeing each reading group 1-2 times per week, she can see each reading group 2-3 times per week and can do individual conferences with readers too. That kind of individual attention adds up. Even better would be 16-18 kids in a room, but since that will never be a possibility in Chicago, I don’t hope for that!

    Teachers need a TON of resources to be able to do this, which are often not available. They also need permission from their principal to offer instruction at kids level. So, in a 5th grade room of 30 for example (this was my classroom 10 years ago), 15 kids are reading at a 1st/2nd grade level, 8 are on a 3rd grade level, 5 on a 4th grade level and 2 at a 5th grade level. (And I’d say this kind of breakdown is VERY typical of CPS.) The teacher has no assistance, a library of maybe 100 books, when she needs a minimum of 1000 and her principal says she may not use anything other than 5th grade level reading materials with the class.(again, this was my situation in that school) This, of course, produces no growth, because the kids cannot read the material and all research indicates they need material at and slightly above their level. And, while one can be a very strong classroom manager, running small reading and math groups do not work well in classrooms where kids have no internal locus of control. Some schools cannot offer small groups at all because the population is just not able to work independently for even a 5 minute period of time.

  • 81. Free Education Forum  |  October 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    [We posted this previously on another thread, we are posting it again here in order to try to reach to most people. Thank you.]

    If you haven’t seen or heard, the Bucktown Community Organization is holding its annual Education Forum again soon.

    The first part is an open house with reps from all of the Bucktown elementary schools in attendance.

    The second part is a presentation on ‘Everything CPS’. It’s a 60-90 minute boot camp on how to navigate CPS. The presentation is not Bucktown specific, it would be of value to anyone considering CPS. Best of all, it’s FREE!

    Here are the details:

    Location: Burr Elementary (Ashland and Wabansia)

    Date: Thursday, October 18th

    Time: 6:00-7:30 Open House
    7:30 -8:30 Presentation

    Cost: FREE

    Details are also available on the BCO website-

    any questions email: steve@bucktown.org

    Steve Dillinger
    Bucktown Community Organization

  • 82. local  |  October 13, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    69. cpsobsessed

    I’m fairly certain I’ve heard that Lutton’s teenager is in the IB program (make that programme?) at Curie. Not in general HS.

  • 83. local  |  October 13, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    And, Hightower’s son was at a boy’s Catholic school and the daughter was at Brooks, an SEHS, last I heard. Hightower was hooked up with Emanuel.

    I know it makes sense that people who are involved in education or education reporting/media/advocacy/policy would make sure their kids got into the best educational option possible. But, if they had to send their kids to a neighborhood school (esp. in tier 1), like I said, presto-change-o. 😉

  • 84. local  |  October 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    “Most of the research I have read indicates that the top kids pretty much perform the same no matter what situation they are in. But heterogenous grouping typically pans out to be the best for middle and low achievers. When schools put all the lowest performers together, they tend to not do as well as when they are mixed.”

    Have read the same. Yet, the way our schools in Chicago are increasingly moving, it appears to my untrained eye, students are being shifted by school/program into segregated units based on high, mid, and low achiever categories. Just a hunch.

  • 85. local  |  October 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    80. anonymouse teacher

    My big question. Does the new CPS CEO know what you know, and is she willing to apply that knowledge for good immediately? Fingers crossed, I guess.

  • 86. local  |  October 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    “Some schools cannot offer small groups at all because the population is just not able to work independently for even a 5 minute period of time.” — Hence, last week’s story about medicating kids in such populations with stimulant drugs, just so learning can happen without the other needs being met. Sigh.

  • 87. anonymouse teacher  |  October 13, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    @84, I don’t know. And even if she does know, I am not sure if she can actually DO anything that will affect things at the classroom level. She’s just a CEO. It is far more important for each principal and each teacher to be fully supported, coached and encouraged to do what needs to be done. Seriously, the CEO is just a figure head. Real change in schools happens one classroom at a time.

  • 88. CarolA  |  October 13, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Great teachers have been doing this differentiation for years. It is not something one does just because it’s part of our rating. In fact, if you weren’t doing it before, I doubt you’d be able to juggle it all of a sudden. I have a first year teacher on my team and I feel so sorry for her. She also has 3 severe special education students in her room. Not the best way to start a career. Talk about being thrown to the wolves!

    Separating students based on ability usually works great for the upper level students. (Maybe that’s why magnet schools are so successful and desired by parents.) We did that type of grouping several years ago (I had the high group) and I was able to take them really far. On the other end, the low group did not move much. Keeping all the lows together did not work. It was a terrible situation. No one ever knew the right answer, nor were they able to think about how to figure out the right answer. It was a mess of incorrect guessing.

    As anonymouse stated, it takes a lot of materials to make a classroom work properly. Resources are key.

    @78 nothing and CPS parent: Thanks for the compliment! 🙂
    @74 HS Mom: Choice is a wonderful thing if all schools were created with equal resources. Most parents would love for their child to go to a SE school, yet there are only so many openings. It would be nice to know that if my child didn’t qualify for a SE school, I’d still be happy with the resources, building safety, special programs, etc that my neighborhood school would provide. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

  • 89. anonymouse teacher  |  October 13, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    @85, I did not see that story. My classroom so many years ago had kids that would break into fist fights or might walk out of the room and go home if I literally wasn’t walking around the room using my physical presence to keep the peace. This is semi-amusing if you know me, since I am a rather small woman. But, no, I couldn’t sit at a table and work with a group of kids. The other kids would either be zoning out or doing violence. I am lucky to now be in a school where, honestly, I’d describe our population as a cakewalk.

  • 90. local  |  October 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I wonder where CPS teachers tend to reside in Chicago, as most must live in the city (residency rule). Some have waivers to live outside of Chicago and they might send their children to suburban schools. My experience is that lots of CPS teachers live in the two main “city worker” ‘hoods on the SW and NW sides of the city. Still, I’d love to see a distribution map of where teachers’ homes are overlaid with where the schools are their school-aged children attend. — Not looking to prove any points. Just curious, given the conversation. I would expect each family makes the best choice (“choice” not used sarcastically, either) for themselves — regular program in neighborhood public school, SE, magnet, private, special needs, etc.

  • 92. CarolA  |  October 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    HS Mom: With 30 first graders in my room, I would never be upset if a parent opts out for another school. I say….please, please, go! 🙂

  • 93. local  |  October 13, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Also, I’ve read that the demographic stats of CPS teachers has dramatically shifted over the recent years (and, heck, there were a lot of retirements last year for both CPS teachers and CPS principals, which might have impact on the current workforce demographics of those groups).

  • 94. CarolA  |  October 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    @89: I agree that a great majority of teachers live either far NW or SW as you stated. That also goes for firemen (and ladies) and police officers. I think most people with children who have a decent income concern themselves with the type of neighborhood they want to live in based on the schools in the area. It would be silly not to think that way. I can’t imagine anyone CHOOSING to live in a bad area with bad schools. People living there simply have no choice because they can’t afford a better area. So I’m not quite sure what point you are trying to make. Seems like common sense to me.

  • 95. local  |  October 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    This caught my eye today. Was thinking about student achievement in context of “matching” high, mid, and low ranking. Interesting. “The Unraveling of Affirmative Action – Racial preferences spring from worthy intentions, but they have had unintended consequences—including an academic mismatch in many cases between minority students and the schools to which they are admitted. There’s a better way to help the disadvantaged.” (I’m glad the authors mention other preferences, such as athletes, alumni children, donors’ children, etc.)


  • 96. local  |  October 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    “I think most people with children who have a decent income concern themselves with the type of neighborhood they want to live in based on the schools in the area. It would be silly not to think that way.”

    I was riffing off something in this comment above, by 49. Katherine | October 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm. Kartherine wrote: “I think if the rule was all CPS administrators and City Hall politicians HAD TO send their kids to CPS free-non-selective enrollment schools we would have sudden interest in their long-term progress in a more serious way.”

    I was actually being silly… in a “what if” way. I don’t really expect anyone to seek out schools where most students don’t exceed state standards.

    I’m reminded of the dust-up at Catalyst last week regarding the opinion piece touching on this by Rebeca Nieves Huffman: “I moved to the Beverly community (the 19th ward) for many reasons—the anchor one being the strong public schools…” at http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/news/2012/10/05/20482/real-parents-have-been-standing

  • 97. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  October 13, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I’m puzzled over Brizard being referred to as “a high level thinker” or a “think-tank” type. As a superintendent, he should be informed about educational issues. But he frequently presented non-sequiturs as arguments and put out policy justifications with mis-cited data. For once, I would like to see CPS do a real policy analysis before launching multi-million dollar projects.

    Unfortunately, Byrd-Bennett’s track-record is shaky. In Detroit, they never met the targets they set in the plans. Fall 2010 MEAPs in math for grades 3-8 were supposed to reach 72% from 62%. They were 65%. Large contracts went to places she had worked. See http://detroitk12.org/admin/procurement/docs/contracts/Managed%20Instruction%20Prog.%20%20-%20Reading%20and%20Mathematics%20-%20Houghton%20Mifflin%20Harcourt.pdf

  • 98. junior  |  October 14, 2012 at 12:03 am

    @80 anonymouse said:
    “Most of the research I have read indicates that the top kids pretty much perform the same no matter what situation they are in.”

    Can you provide some citations to this research?

  • 99. 2cents  |  October 14, 2012 at 12:44 am

    BBB I predict won’t last long either. First you have her resume with so many school districts she’s work at there basically is no stability in her career. What does her resume say about her commitment or her ability in keeping her job and remaining in one place, not to mention her age, which is already close to retirement. CPS needs stability and long term goals. What’s going to happen at central office? More turn overs? More unqualified people being brought in from Cleveland, New York, Detroit and where ever else BBB has worked at that don’t have a clue how CPS functions?

    A major storm is brewing in Chicago. Here’s a list of some items that BBB needs to take care of or it will take care of her!

    1. A large chunk of CPS schools predominately on the west and south side being ready to be cannibalized by CPS.
    2. A new charter expansion push in the same school areas that CPS is closing.
    3. A financial cliff (budget, new teacher contract & pension obligations, plus more money for charter expansion) that CPS needs to address.
    4. A poisonous relationship between CPS & CTU.
    5. A micromanaging mayor who can’t resist meddling in CPS.

    Anyone else want to add to the list of obstacles BBB faces?

    Either way, she won’t last pass 2015, which is when contract negotiations begins and all heck breaks lose during the mayoral campaign. This is why we need an elected school board and a REAL SUPERINTENDENT FROM ILLINOIS!

  • 100. CarolA  |  October 14, 2012 at 7:17 am

    2Cents: I think you hit it on the mark. I don’t even give her to 2015! That’s very generous of you.

    I thought I heard on TV the other day that Emanuel was going to see if charters would take over some CPS schools next year, but it seemed to me it was worded in such a way that the teachers would not be let go. For some reason, it led me to believe that the teachers could stay (I’m guessing this will be a way to get around the contract obligation for the rehire pool.) In other words, they won’t be letting the teachers go, but if they choose to stay, they would have to agree with the lower salary, longer hours, and out of the CTU. I haven’t heard anything since so maybe I just took it the wrong way. Anyone else hear anything like that?

  • 101. CarolA  |  October 14, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I just read a good article in today’s SunTimes which basically said that if the mayor lets BBB make her own decisions, things might improve in CPS. It really revolves around the mayor. It seems everyone knows he’s a micro-manager and he should step back. Of course, as mayor, he needs to express which direction he’d like to go, but after that, he should step back and let that person handle it. She also mentions that she wants to be in it for the long haul. So I guess it all depends on the mayor. Let’s hope he sees the light and allows her to do her job!

  • 102. Matthew Patterson  |  October 14, 2012 at 8:35 am

    @CarolA – interesting SunTime article.

  • 103. none  |  October 14, 2012 at 9:05 am

    CPSParent: “Regarding “What Carol’s explanation illustrated is the unfairness and inaccuracy of how a test used to measure teacher’s effectivenes” it does none of that whatsoever. Teachers on this board have praised the NWEA MAP as a great tool. CarolA is using the MAP exactly for the right purpose. Her motivation to do so is either intrinsic ((she’s a great teacher (my vote – Carol seems like one of the best to me)) or external (the knowledge that it is used for her efficacy rating is driving her) but actually which of the two is in play doesn’t matter in the end. ”

    — I think you might have misunderstood my previous statement. I agree that MAP test is a great tool for teachers to assess the student’s ability, however, when the mayor uses it as a way to evaluate teacher’s effectiveness, it becomes “unfair and inaccurate”. Student’s growth and teacher’s performance are not easily determined by a simple test. Likewise, I also think Carol is a great teacher, so it is “unfair and inaccurate” to rate her based on a test.

  • 104. cpsobsessed  |  October 14, 2012 at 9:13 am

    @82 Local: Yes, IB. I just meant CPS in general (rather than private, charter, etc.) She did tell me that neighborhood would have been an option if IB/selective didn’t work out.

  • 105. ReadIt2  |  October 14, 2012 at 9:16 am

    94 Carol and don’t forget about the teachers who live in the suburbs both NW and SW. You know the ones that should be in the city but don’t believe rules appy to them….

  • 106. anonymouse teacher  |  October 14, 2012 at 9:29 am

    @98 http://www.ascd.com/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_199103_slavin.pdf
    I just did a quick search. I am basing my assertions off of different PDs I’ve been to and my graduate classes. By “whatever situation they are in” I am referring to homogeneous vs. heterogeneous grouping. I am vehemently against grouping kids all day in all subjects by ability. At the same time, it takes an awfully skilled teacher to really get at all the different skill levels in a classroom, particularly when the lowest kids are often years below or when half or more of the class is working years below. And CPS does not lend itself, with its too large classes and lack of additional staff resources for push-in help, to allow teachers to become that skilled.

    However, if you disagree, I am happy to read research from the other perspective. Understanding both sides of an argument only helps. I can tell you that in my classroom, I do both whole group heterogeneous groups and small group ability groups. This year, I am trying something new, where I take kids of widely differing reading levels in kindergarten, and working with them by skill, all in the same group. So, for example, I could have kids in a group who all need to work on fluency. But those kids could range in levels from A,D, and J. They’ll all be working in different texts, but practicing the same skill. It is one way to meet different skill levels without isolating our highest or lowest kids.

  • 107. CarolA  |  October 14, 2012 at 10:35 am

    @105: Yes, many teachers do live outside the city boundaries, but it may not necessarily be because they don’t think the rules apply to them. For example, if I wanted to, I could move out of the city because I was “grandfathered” in about 15 years ago. I choose to live in the city. I don’t want to move. That’s my choice, but others took advantage of it. That’s their choice. Some teachers are in “hard-to-fill” positions and have been granted “immunity” from the live-in-the-city clause. So even though there are sure to be some who are bucking the system, there are also families doing the same to get their child into a better school. I don’t think we can ever really stop any of that. My feeling is that if a teacher is doing a great job, I don’t care where they live. Isn’t really all of our hopes that our children will have the best teachers? If that means they live out of the city, then it does. I live right on the border of a suburb. In less than a mile, I’d be out of Chicago. That doesn’t make me better or worse than the other guy.

  • 108. unknown teacher  |  October 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    These comments have such humor to them. Helps me laugh after the crazy week of a half day and NWEA testing without enough bandwidth to take attendance at our school…thanks for the chuckles

  • 109. TEACHER4321  |  October 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Remember about the Donors Choose “Double Your Impact” code, “Pumpkin.” Support a classroom in need!

  • 110. CarolA  |  October 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Changing the world one website at a time! Thanks TEACHER4321! Classrooms need help! Please donate! You get to choose!

  • 111. SutherlandParent  |  October 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    @73 CarolA, “MANY CPS teachers have their children in neighborhood schools!” I can vouch for that. At our school, we have the children of several CPS teachers and aides and at least one principal and one assistant principal, that I know of (along with a state rep). It’s a good neighborhood elementary school. They exist in CPS, but they are heartbreakingly rare.

    I don’t believe anyone should have educational choices forced on them, but I agree with those who have posted above that CPS would have more good neighborhood schools if the people making the decisions had to send their children to them.

  • 112. CarolA  |  October 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Yes, I agree @111, however, those that are in a position of making decisions are pretty high on the ladder in CPS. I find it highly unlikely that they would live in areas where neighborhood schools are really bad. I get your message and agree with it, but it won’t change the “bad” neighborhood schools because they wouldn’t be living there. Now if the deal was that no matter where they live, they’d have to send their child to a under-performing school, then yes, that school would change instantly! There would suddenly be more resources, etc. Or…….maybe they’d just change it to a charter school! 🙂 LOL

  • 113. anniesullivan  |  October 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    105 Carol, I wish everyone had common sense like you do…life would be so much easier.

    I worked with two awesome special education teachers who now have their Type 75s Both have waivers and live out of the city…they will probably leave CPS to become suburban administrators because there is no administrative waiver…one is divorced with a young child who relies on her suburban parents for child care…the other one’s wife does not want to uproot their two sons to move back …..a four year contract that could be non-renewed is a big gamble

  • 114. SutherlandParent  |  October 14, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    @112 CarolA, you are absolutely right–those high up on the ladder would live in the kinds of neighborhoods that have good neighborhood schools! But maybe we would at least see a more coherent overall strategy, less of the testing madness and all the other illogical things that come out of Clark Street.

  • 115. junior  |  October 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    @106 anonymouse

    Seems that there are a wide variety of perspectives on this. The particular study you cite defines high achievers as the top 33% of students. That’s awfully broad, and the lower end of those students are more similar to average students than they are to gifted students. I’m not sure which group you refer to when you say “top” students, but I think one must be careful how specific research is applied. The author admits that his cohort is different than “gifted” students (which he defines as top 3 or 5%), whom he acknowledges will benefit from accelerated programs.

    Gifted students will probably score in the 97-99% range no matter what type of classroom they are in, but I don’t at all think that means that any old classroom is doing them justice. I think there is harm that can be done to truly gifted students by putting them in mainstream classes.

    Perhaps the better question is — at what achievement level does it become beneficial to start tracking students into separate programs?

    At the “gifted” level of say 95+ percentile — which would be roughly what our SE high schools probably target — I think it’s highly beneficial academically. For the 67 percentile student, there may be little or no benefit.

    In terms of the non-gifted higher-achieving students, it does seem to be a complex issue. As you note, it takes good teaching skills to handle a broad range of abilities in a sinble class — but do we know how pervasive those particular teaching skills are? I think there are other factors that should be considered — age of kids, e.g. — before making broad statements about tracking.

    I think we also need to make a distinction between ‘differentiation’ in our schools and ‘stratification’. I think most everyone would acknowledge differentiation — offering school choices based on different curricula and learning approaches — as a positive thing, whereas startification (grouping kids by abilities) is going to inspire a bit more debate.

  • 116. CarolA  |  October 15, 2012 at 6:22 am

    Diane Ravitch is speaking today at 4 at Lane Tech. Not sure if it’s open to the public. I don’t see why not. It was advertised on the CTU website.

  • 117. anonymous  |  October 15, 2012 at 6:29 am

    96 — the dust up.

    Democrats for Education Reform has an advocacy arm, Education Reform Now. It’s exec dir. Huffman wrote that her area needs a charter, as she dislikes her neighborhood school, Barnard Computer Math and Science Center.

    Barnard school has 94% of 8th graders meeting or exceeding ISAT state standards in 2011.

    ISBE shows that 80.5% are low income and 97% black.

    Parents have asked Huffman to present a charter that has a similar performance and are awaiting her reply.

    Parents have also asked her to delete all the names and addresses of CPS parents that a CPS group gave to ERN, which they used for repeated robo calls in support of the mayor and against the union during the strike.

    Parents again await her reply.

    Finally, Huffman has no elementary school age children, contrary to what she implied in her op-ed piece.

  • 118. SutherlandParent  |  October 15, 2012 at 9:43 am

    @117, re: the dust up–I keep hearing that Nieves Huffman is referring to Barnard, and I’m curious where that came from. No one I’ve talked to has heard of a boundary change that moved kids into Barnard since dirt was new. There was a slight change that rounded off half blocks, but all those kids ended up in Sutherland, not Barnard (per one family who was affected).

    Could it be Esmond, not Barnard, she’s talking about? At Esmond, 70.3% of 8th graders meet or exceed ISAT standards for reading and 59.5% meet or exceed ISAT standards for math. At Esmond, 97.3% are low income. Not that I’ve head of a boundary change from Clissold to Esmond…

    I don’t know either way, and it’s really just idle speculation on my part. We really are all up in each other’s business here in Beverly. “The village in the city,” indeed 🙂

  • 119. Peter  |  October 15, 2012 at 9:50 am

    SJ: “I really, really, really don’t know what people expect. CPS won’t change for many reasons but one of them is because very few of the folks you have elected – including the mayor and very few of the city workers tat are paid by your tax dollars have their kids in public schools.

    Here is a tip for you: If you live in a neighborhood with a bad public shool, move. The school won’t be getting better. It won’t. I’m sorry. If you can’t afford to move then do whatever you have to do to get your kid in a better one.

    Are we done here yet?”

    Are you this stupid in real life or just on the internet?

  • 120. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 15, 2012 at 10:56 am

    #118~Yes, the school is Barnard and yes, there was a change abt 10 yrs ago…she moved in abt 2-3 yrs ago but didn’t realize she wasn’t in Sutherland until months later.

  • 121. CPS Parent  |  October 15, 2012 at 11:09 am

    @119. Hi Peter, welcome to CPS Obsessed. You may have noticed posters here are always respectful to each other.

    The condescending remark by “unknown teacher” @108 is about as bad as it gets.

    Your cooperation is appreciated.

  • 122. People for a Better Prosser Career Academy High School  |  October 15, 2012 at 11:14 am

    GRRREATTT NEWS for an ‘angry’ Prosser principal Ken Hunter.
    Now that Brizard is gone. Hunter can now concentrate his ranting and complaining
    on the remaining thorn in his aside, David Vitale.
    One gone, one to go.
    Hang in there Ken,
    Prosser can be GRRREATTT again.

  • 123. RL Julia  |  October 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    115 – I agree about having intellectually integrated classrooms – just as long the differentiation actually reaches all the kids in the classroom- not just the low ones. The problem I encountered with my kids (and this is something I am pretty conflicted about) was that while attending the neighborhood was a great experience for them from a social perspective and an o.k. experience from an academic one, at what point do I get all selfish and test them into an SE because there is only so much differentiation that is going to happen (and I had to push for lots of it) and that ultimately the school isn’t very well prepared for kids working one or two grades above level (this especially true for math). For better or worse, and perhaps because of test-in schools, many/most neighborhood schools don’t have very many go to strategies for students working above grade level. Mind you, I am not sure if the SE’s do well with “outliers” either (especially in grades K-6) – it’s just that the bar is set higher to begin with…

  • 124. TeacherD  |  October 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    You can be grandfathered in like CarolIA said: If you were hired prior to November 1996, you don’t have to live in the city. You can also have a waiver: the list used to be on the CPS website, they include reading, math, science, library, physical education, special education and more. So I can say a lot of teachers live outside the city and aren’t hiding it. I am one of them.

  • 125. CarolA  |  October 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    RL Julia: I agree that if your child is truly a high performer, they are much better off at a SE school. I just recommended to a dad that he should have his daughter tested. What I object to is when they rank schools in Chicago, they act like all schools are equal. If you take the “cream of the crop” off the neighborhood schools, we certainly will never score higher than SE schools. SE schools should have their own rankings amongst each other. Neighborhoods schools against each other. Apples to apples. Then a further breakdown would be nice because it’s not fair to compare my neighborhood school to one in a “not so desirable” neighborhood.

  • 126. MorethanUno  |  October 15, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    124 what about the teachers who are hiding it? I know one who lives in Niles and sends her own kids to Maine South. How clever…..

  • 127. CarolA  |  October 15, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    @126: And I know of MANY families attending my school who do not live in the boundaries. I won’t type how they do it for fear of giving anyone ideas who might be reading this, but it can easily be done. What’s your point? Let it go! There are much bigger fish to fry in the ocean of CPS! I discovered a new logo today…..If it’s a mess, it must be CPS! 🙂

  • 128. TeachDac  |  October 15, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    LOL@Carol! I love that one. I go with the standard: leave it to CPS to reinvent the wheel.
    Yes,there are families who lie about where they live, there are also teachers who lie. I know plenty of both. It’s not worth arguing over that.

  • 129. OutsideLookingIn  |  October 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    @125 – I agree. It is ridiculous that test-in SE schools are ranked in the same group as neighborhood schools. Why aren’t SE schools placed in their own category? And I wish the rankings would break out the scores of the gifted and IB students of neighborhood schools so that they weren’t mixed with the regular students’ scores. The way everything is lumped together is misleading. Just another reason why test scores and rankings only tell part of the story about students, teachers and schools.

  • 130. another CPS mom  |  October 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    One presentation by Ravitch today: http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/2012/10/15/20508/ravitch-criticizes-school-closings-charter-expansion

  • 131. EdgewaterMom  |  October 15, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    @126 (MorethanUno )

    124 what about the teachers who are hiding it? I know one who lives in Niles and sends her own kids to Maine South. How clever…..

    Are you sure that they are hiding it? How do you know that they do not have a waiver? I think that it is a ridiculous requirement – teachers should be allowed to live wherever they want.

    Do you honestly think that a teacher that wants to teach in a high-poverty area while living and raising his/her family in a suburb is a bad thing?

    Of course, one way to solve many problems in public education would be to force everybody to go to their neighborhood school and have them all be funded equally. However, that is not going to happen. I really do not see how forcing teachers to live in the city benefits CPS.

  • 132. another CPS mom  |  October 15, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Here’s a new opinion piece by CPS parents at Catalyst:


    (Editor’s note: In recent weeks, Catalyst Chicago has published several op-eds from parents or parent groups. This op-ed from Stand for Children is the latest. Previous op-eds were from Wendy Katten of Raise Your Hand, Rebeca Nieves-Huffman of Democrats for Education Reform and Melissa Lindberg.)

    Lisa Kulisek is a parent at Smyth Elementary.

    Cheyney Wortham is a parent at Bradwell School of Excellence and a recent Stand UP graduate.

  • 133. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 16, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Where’s the $$$ coming for this??? Arts education to get more emphasis http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/15768307-418/the-arts-to-get-more-emphasis-under-emanuel-school-plan.html

  • 134. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  October 16, 2012 at 9:24 am


    First you have her resume with so many school districts she’s work at there basically is no stability in her career.

    I’m skeptical of what she will bring to her knew position (see @97) but I don’t think this is correct. She was in NYC, Cleveland (from 1998-2006), and Detroit (where she was brought in by an emergency finance director; when he was removed, she stepped down. She was technically an independent contractor in Detroit, not a public employee). For a person in her 60s, those positions plus her DC service is not unusual.

    That said, I agree with your other points about the challenges that must be dealt with.

    It certainly doesn’t speak well for the value of mayoral control when we have had significant turnover in CPS over the past 17 months in the “chief of” positions.

  • 135. JT  |  October 16, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Mostly off-topic: I now prefer to picture Mayor Emanuel as he appears here:


    Ballet. Who knew?

  • 136. SutherlandParent  |  October 16, 2012 at 9:44 am

    @120–thanks, SSI4. We’ve lived in East Beverly for 10 years and we’re quite close to the Sutherland/Barnard boundary. I wasn’t aware of any change.

    It never fails to surprise me how many people don’t actually check which school they are in, when they buy a house. Although being confused about which school you are in, and having the boundary change (as Nieves Huffman claimed in her piece) are very different things.

  • 137. cpsobsessed  |  October 16, 2012 at 9:50 am

    I guess my confusion (and I commented on her piece about it) is why the natural solution to having a bad neighborhood school is to push for a charter, knowing your child doesn’t stand a good chance of getting in. Or do they? Maybe it’s a lot easier to win a spot in a charter than a magnet. Anybody know? I know with cics irving park. Many of the neighbors basically used it as their local school and their kids all got in because word hadn’t gotten out and they felt they’d found a hidden gem. Now that scores looks good I think there’s no guarantee of getting a spot.
    Quest was big so they took basically anyone who applied.
    Not sure how it goes for some of the others…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 138. Another Edgewater parent  |  October 16, 2012 at 10:45 am

    125/CarolA – thank you for saying something I’ve been thinking re: the “peer comparisons” and the disadvantage to neighborhood schools re: rankings. As a neighborhood school parent, I can stand outside my school and watch the “cream” board buses for “greener pastures”.
    Recently, discovered that NYC “ranks” their schools on a peer basis. I don’t know the formula by which the comparisons (and I’m sure there are winners/losers beacuse of it) are made but there is an attempt to acknowledge that certain factors play into a student/school test outcome. Chicago should co-opt this approach (and they wouldn’t even have to re-create a wheel ; ).

  • 139. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 16, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Well #137~CPSO~I don’t really believe some charters are lottery. CPS gives them names of the best students. Case in point. I don’t live near or have a charter school in my area. My son is in the 99th percentile for ISATs. I’ve received several postcards to sign up my son at charters. I even received a call from one~from a charter we never had contact w/or heard of. I’ve asked around and not every1 is getting those postcards…that’s another way to cherry pick. The only way they would have any info on my son would be through CPS. I think some charters will look at test scores and then suddenly that child will win the lottery. However, it’s no prize if the charter is a level 3.

  • 140. NotSoFast  |  October 16, 2012 at 10:51 am

    140 Northtown Academy is a lottery only.

  • 141. NotSoFast33  |  October 16, 2012 at 10:55 am

    131 The teachers have the same residency requiremements as police and fire. Either all have requirements or none. There is no grey area. Why is it so hard for people to follow rules? You teach your kids to follow rules, maybe you should do it too. Maybe requirements are archaic, but they exist.

    We have lived on the NW side for years because of residency requirements associated with a city job.

  • 142. not so fast #2  |  October 16, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Really – Charters are not recruiting kids with 99% ISAT scores. Why would they even bother to do that.

    @137 CPSO wait list number at UIC Noble for my 99%er #762

  • 143. mom  |  October 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I live on the North side and haven’t ever been able to get my kids a spot at CISC on irving park. Waitlisted with numbers in the two hundreds and three hundreds.

  • 144. JT  |  October 16, 2012 at 11:34 am

    @139. SoxSideIrish4 : By state law, admission to charters is based on lottery. If any is cherry-picking, or accepting students based on other factors (except sibling attendance) is doing so illegally. Elizabeth Purvis, CEO of CICS has often mentioned publicly that her own children are on the waiting list for CICS-Irving Park.

    See Illinois School Code:
    Sec. 27A-4. (h)

    “If there are more eligible applicants for enrollment in a charter school than there are spaces available, successful applicants shall be selected by lottery. However, priority shall be given to siblings of pupils enrolled in the charter school and to pupils who were enrolled in the charter school the previous school year, unless expelled for cause, and priority may be given to pupils residing within the charter school’s attendance boundary, if a boundary has been designated by the board of education in a city having a population exceeding 500,000.”

  • 145. SutherlandParent  |  October 16, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    141. NotSoFast33, there is a residency requirement waiver process for teachers that must be approved by the Board of Ed. It’s typically for hard-to-staff positions such as Special Ed teachers (or, ya know, Tim Cawley). Some teachers are also grandfathered in, if they lived outside city limits when the residency requirements were put into effect. So CPS teachers can legally live outside the city, although most are bound by the residency requirements.

  • 146. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    #144~JT~Thanks for that info. I don’t know why we’ve been receiving the postcards and that one telephone call from a few charters that are nowhere near our home. I just find that odd.

  • 147. local  |  October 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Based on lottery if there is higher demand for seats than there are open seats.

  • 148. dave  |  October 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    121. CPS Parent | October 15, 2012 at 11:09 am

    @119. Hi Peter, welcome to CPS Obsessed. You may have noticed posters here are always respectful to each other.– NAH…..Did you read those comment during the strike. Nasty!

  • 149. cps mom  |  October 16, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    @121 – thank you for calling @119 Peter on that. To reproduce a quote for the sole purpose of calling someone stupid is not courteous.

  • 150. Sped Mom  |  October 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Should I be doing something as a mom about the coming Common Core? IEP time coming up. http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2012/10/16/common-core

  • 151. CarolA  |  October 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    As the article states, the Common Core is about going deeper into topics. It is about developing critical thinkers. Even at the first grade level, we are including questions for the simple stories that make the students think beyond the text. We are looking for text to self connections and comparing text to text. I’m not sure how that affects you as a parent other than knowing how to ask the proper questions so that your child has a deeper understanding. I’m sure the teacher can explain better how this pertains to your child at the IEP meeting.

  • 152. Prosser Teachers lack Trust in Principal Ken Hunter  |  October 17, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Apparently, defense for Principal Hunter is only good for Unity Walk posters (which he had made), but, not for Prosser’s teachers as they lack trust in Hunter.

    A University of Chicago survey of Prosser Career Academy High School teachers doesn’t bode well for Prosser Principal Kenneth Hunter. One glaring area that needs support and is well below the average for CPS schools with a ’42’ rating is in the “Effective Leaders’ area due mainly because of the poor Teacher-Principal Trust, a WEAK ’35’ rating.. Other areas which Hunter is well below average in are: Principal Instructional Leadership and Program Coherence.

    Check out the survey here:


  • 153. RL Julia  |  October 17, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Thanks for the link -fascinating – however, it (once again) seems like the more resourced a school – the richer the student body and more able the school is to attract outside money to support the school the better the rating. I challenge anyone to find a school with a green rating that isn’t raising lots of extra money (for basics or otherwise) or a school with a with a red rating that is raising lots of extra money -of course the rating itself probably indicates that there is infrastructure available to raise money but…. in the end of it all (and please-teachers – prove me wrong here) CPS schools are underfunded given the job they are charged with doing and the ability to raise extra funds to pay for very basic things (like copier maintenance and paper) seems to directly correlate with the school’s ability to provide the services needed, support teachers to do the job of educating kids and overall function.

  • 154. local  |  October 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I don’t have cable, but maybe you do:
    (from Catalyst comment)

    CAN TV to Air Town Hall Meeting on Elected School Board

    Representative La Shawn K. Ford is in the process of hosting 3 town hall meetings to discuss the pros and cons of an elected school board. The final meeting will be October 29, 2012 at Carey Tercentenary AME Church, 1448 South Homan, from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm. CAN TV21 will air the second meeting this Sunday, October 21, 2012 at noon. You will get an overview of the research regarding elected versus appointed school boards; a history of Chicago Board of Education’s governance since inception; an overview of Representative La Shawn K. Ford’s HB5727, a bill to create a task force to make recommendations for the optimal board structure for CPS; a panel discussion regarding the pros and cons of an elected school board and an update on the advisory referendum on an elected school board.

  • 155. junior  |  October 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Why are the out-of-town soccer club hedge-fund billionaires aligning with an unelected UAE government and Penny Pritzker to influence soccer in Chicago???!!! Beware — the soccer privatization is coming!


  • 156. mom  |  October 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm


    ha ha

  • 157. local  |  October 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I thought Chicago now is getting lacrosse, crew, squash and fencing. For the kids.

  • 158. CarolA  |  October 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    There’s always money for important things like lights for a soccer field! What’s more important than that? LOL 🙂

  • 159. junior  |  October 17, 2012 at 6:47 pm


    Actually, the lights will likely pay for themselves with increased field rental opportunities, but that’s just part of the scheme to privatize soccer! Wake up, Chicago!

  • 160. Patricia  |  October 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    @153 RL Julia. The schools that raise money do so because they get SO MUCH LESS in discretionary funding because they have fewer free and reduced lunch students. Why don’t schools with a very large budget have a copy machine and the “basics”.? There is something off in the current budgeting and how individual schools allocate and manage the dollars. I have posted this it on many threads. There have not been any answers that stick. It would be a great effort for the BGA to dive in to figure out.

  • 161. CarolA  |  October 17, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Patricia: We sort of answered your question before. Schools that get tons of money because they have almost 100% free and reduced lunch students (low-income) do not charge workbook fees because, let’s face it, no one would pay. Therefore, that money is spent on books, construction paper, writing paper, crayons, scissors, glue, etc. All the things that parents in good schools supply as part of the supply list are non-existent in poor schools. My daughter worked in one of those schools and could not send home a supply list. Everything was supplied by the school. In my first grade classroom, the children write in the books. They cannot be used year after year. The total cost of books for my classroom is around $80 per student. We charge a $100 workbook fee. The $20 difference is used to buy construction paper for art projects and copy paper. Even though parents send in a couple of reams of copy paper, it is no where near enough. Running off copies of just the tests alone takes at least one ream per month. Sometimes we forget the cost of all the little things. Also, some schools choose to use their discretionary funds to “buy” another teacher. It could be to reduce class size, offer band or music, or something like that. There’s all kinds of reasons schools with large budgets don’t have the essentials.

  • 162. anniesullivan  |  October 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm


    That is a very good question. Keep asking it. All schools should have the minimal basics-should be a given. Children should not be expected to provide cleaning supplies twice a year.

    I wish someone would ask about the co-mingling of sped monies in lump sum budgets. Special education teachers should not be told there is no money when they ask in September to order diagnostic tests, consumables or materials specific to a single child.

  • 163. CarolA  |  October 18, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Annie: You are right. Sped money always seems to be missing. At our school, they almost never get extra money. I’d be curious why that gets lumped in too! Sped definitely needs extra $$$$ .

  • 164. Prosser Football Hazing Lawsuit  |  October 18, 2012 at 7:36 am

    CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago father is seeking damages from the city’s school district for the psychological damage he says his son experienced at the hands of bullies.

    In a suit filed the Cook County, Jose Calderone, the father of a former freshman football player at Prosser Career Academy, said his son was beaten with belts and taunted in the locker room by other football players a year ago.

    “This was actually videotaped by one of the the other coaches,” said attorney Joseph Klest
    Klest says two football coaches and four senior football players are responsible for the bullying.

    The coach who allegedly videotaped the incident showed it to other people, according to the suit.

    Klest said it all led to depression and emotional anxiety for the child, who was once an honor student but is now struggling in school.

    After the bullying, the child switched schools.

    “It changed his life,” Klest said.

    The incident named in the complaint happened on October 18, 2011.

    Klest says the boy, Nathaniel Calderone, missed a day of rainy football practice because of his asthma.

    He went to the locker room to change, and found four of the defendants named in the suit, all senior football players, waiting with belts.

    Klest says Nathaniel had been beaten with belts before as a part of hazing, so he tried to get away, but was blocked by one of the team’s coaches, also a defendant in the complaint. The boy eventually got away, but the players caught up with him, beat and taunted him in the locker room, as another coach, also a defendant, videotaped the incident.

    A Chicago Public Schools spokesperson said the district does not comment on pending litigation, but said bullying and hazing are not tolerated.

    The family is seeking damages of more than $50,000 for counseling to help get the child back on track.

  • 165. Mayfair Dad  |  October 18, 2012 at 8:51 am

    @ 160: I share your view that there is alot of mi$management going on at the school level. Also how discretionary funds are spent in a high-crime neighborhood, to hire an additional security guard (the principal’s nephew?) or additional paraprofessional aides to maintain order in classrooms filled with unruly kids who are not taught how to behave at home. Peacekeepers instead of copy paper.

  • 166. tired  |  October 18, 2012 at 9:25 am

    @159 Junior: Soccer’s already private and there’s no constitutional mandate for the provision of free soccer in the state of Illinois. While I get that the conspiracy theories around charter schools often mistake good intentions for nefarious motives, and that you find the theories laughable, your analogy makes no sense.

  • 167. junior  |  October 18, 2012 at 9:58 am

    To quote Homer (Simpson),
    Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand.

    Actually, the analogy may be more apt than you suggest. While “soccer” may be private, our parks are not. Increasingly, public park field space in Chicago has been monopolized by private sports organizations and fees in some cases have become too high for many residents too afford. That trend is actually displaces the public from public parks — unlike charter schools, which at least provide free, equal application process to all kids.

    Nonetheless, I’m glad you got the main point behind the silliness — we focus a bit too much on cheap personality attacks or worrying about who is funding what. One should always be skeptical about information sources, but attacking people instead of using evidence and ideas is just a cheap political game.

    To quote Socrates, “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”

  • 168. Patricia  |  October 18, 2012 at 10:15 am

    @Junior—great quotes!

    @ Mayfair dad. The interesting thing is when I looked briefly (I did not do an indepth review) at some schools that get A LOT of discretionary money, they had a separate line item for security already that was 4 times my kids school and had 1/2 the number of students.

    @CarolA. Thanks for refreshing my memory and the supply fee does account for some, but not all of the funds. It just seems like there is something off with the discretionary funds at some schools. BTW, LOVE your ideas and explanations about common core. I hope all teachers embrace it with enthusiasim like you do. It is great to read your approach—certainly is a lot of work too. You are good to your students.

  • 169. tired  |  October 18, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Yes Junior we do focus too much on cheap personality attacks, but your mockery of those that question the motives of eductional reformers comes across (to me, at least) as meanspirited.

    Ideas, ideology, intentions and motives, I think we all agree that what really matters is the impact they have on the students.

  • 170. NotSure909  |  October 18, 2012 at 10:50 am

    169 lighten up frances…..

  • 171. tired  |  October 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    You’re right. I’m taking this too seriously and being a scold. 🙂
    All’s good. I hate internet commenting.

  • 172. CarolA  |  October 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Patricia: Thanks. Things are taking a little longer than expected to get organized with all the reading and math groupings, but in the end, it will pay off big time for the kids. I intended to start my math workshop rotations last week, then this week, I’m on track for Monday. 🙂

  • 173. local  |  October 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Citizen Watchdogs of Education: Uptown
    Thursday, October 18, 2012(06:00 PM – 08:00 PM)

    Uptown Library, 929 W. Buena Ave., Chicago, IL 60613 Are you satisfied with your local public schools? Do you want to know how decisions are made and how school budgets are managed?

    The BGA will be hosting the next Citizen Watchdogs of Education training in partnership with the Lake View Citizens’ Council at the Uptown Library.

    Join parents and community leaders in understanding how your local Chicago public school operates. This Citizen Watchdogs of Education training session will teach you about the governing structure of the Chicago Public Schools system, school budgets and public school funding.

    Expert presenters from Access Living and the BGA’s Investigative Team will teach you all you need to know about school finances and the Freedom of Information Act, and they’ll give you the tools you need to keep an eye on your local school.
    This event is free and open to the public.

    About the Lake View Citizens’ Council:
    The LAKE VIEW CITIZENS’ COUNCIL (LVCC) is a non-profit civic organization serving the Lakeview community on the north side of Chicago, Illinois. We have been working since 1952 to keep you informed of what is happening in your neighborhood.

  • 174. Formerly working mom  |  October 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    @CarolA: based on your expertise, please explain how a child can have excellent grades (progress report) but score low average/low on NWEA – 2nd grade assessment. I’m confused.

  • 175. anniesullivan  |  October 18, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    two words-Grade Inflation! (check the weighting)
    rampant in CPS
    Straight A students with an ACT of 9


    is the child not able to use a computer/mouse?


    are the scores comparable to his/her first grade scores

    I have admnistered the NWEA and it is a valid test-much more accurate than the ISAT which is too easy

    ask for a parent-teacher conference-your question needs an answer

  • 176. Formerly working mom  |  October 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks Annie. My 2nd grader knows how to use a mouse but has never done standardized testing before (to my knowledge). Last year they tested with Dibels…scores were on target or at goal. I will def ask teacher for an answer.

  • 177. CarolA  |  October 18, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    I agree you should ask the teacher. I can speak for my grade level (first grade) and there are several progress reports that went out that have higher marks than I know they will receive down the line. For starters, everything in the first 5 weeks of first grade is pretty much review from KDG. There is a little new stuff, but a lot is review. There is also a lot of teacher guidance in the first 5 weeks of school. When I give a test, I walk through it problem by problem so the children get used to my style and how to take a test. It’s pretty hard to get much wrong. At my school, this is their first year for MAP. They did not take it in KDG. They also had to take it on a laptop using the touch pad and not a mouse. I have a lot of faith in the MAP, but not this time around. There are some children who did not score in the area I feel they should be. So when I am making my groupings, I am using the MAP data, but also my classroom observations into consideration. A lot will change in my room for the weeks ahead. I will be working on a more individual basis with my students and getting a clearer picture of their talents. I enjoy when a parent asks questions. It shows they are concerned. A meeting with the teacher should clarify a lot of your concerns. Hope this info helped.

  • 178. falconergrad  |  October 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Regarding parents lying about residence to send their children to a specific CPS neighborhood school – I believe this is basically the *only* rule governing admission to neighborhood schools and they are breaking it. It’s very irritating for parents to choose the neighborhood school (yes, some of us CHOOSE it, both when choosing a residence and again when enrolling in school) and then have it be something other than a neighborhood school. I am very disappointed all around that some parents, teachers and principals think this is okay.

  • 179. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 19, 2012 at 1:06 am

    ITA w/you #178 Falconergrad~We moved into this area 2 be able for our kids to attend a certain neighborhood school. It’s been a wonderful experience except for the overcrowding of ppl getting their kids in from out of the boundaries. These are also the kids who cause a lot of trouble.

  • 180. CarolA  |  October 19, 2012 at 6:28 am

    @178 and @179: I agree about the people from out of the boundaries, but the ONLY way to make sure of it is to hire a private detective to follow them home to prove it. I KNOW that’s what a suburb does. It only costs them $50 per child to check it out and they get rid of them or charge them tuition. Chicago will NEVER do that. As I said earlier, to provide “proof” you live at a certain address is quite an easy thing to do. I won’t mention an even easier way, but there is BY LAW! So, don’t think we like it. Don’t think we accept it. We don’t have a choice. Every year our school hands out letters to people we know don’t live in the district. We even hand they transfer out papers. In fall, they are back because of the “proof” they provide. It sucks.

  • 181. CarolA  |  October 19, 2012 at 6:50 am

    On the other hand is the compassionate side. Yes, I have one. 🙂 A few years ago, I had a girl who lived WAY out of district. Her neighborhood school was very bad. Her dad brought her to school on time EVERY day. He paid the workbook fee and followed all the rules. She is a good student. She is getting the kind of education she would NOT be getting at her neighborhood school because there would be too many behavior disruptions. That same year, I had a student who lived just down the block from the school and was late or absent all the time. So, my heart went out to the family. She will make it in the world because I allowed her to stay. I’m OK with that. If you’re not, that’s sad.

  • 182. Formerly working mom  |  October 19, 2012 at 6:52 am

    @CarolA-very helpful. Thank you. I will contact the teacher for more specifics.

  • 183. junior  |  October 19, 2012 at 8:30 am

    @181 Carol

    Sounds like an argument for school choice.

  • 184. local  |  October 19, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Or an argument to improve high poverty schools.

  • 185. SutherlandParent  |  October 19, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Regarding out of boundary kids attending local schools, there is a process through CPS that does start with hiring a private detective. It’s a lengthy process to prove families really do live out of district and require them to drop out of school or move. (And I know at least one family who sold their house and bought one in district). Our principal does it periodically.

    Just to point out, though, that principals do have discretion to allow out-of-district kids when space is available, so just because someone lives in another Chicago neighborhood doesn’t mean they aren’t legally attending school. In some cases, it’s a careful balancing act for principals–no one wants crowded classrooms, but if enrollment drops too much, schools lose teacher positions.

  • 186. cpsmama  |  October 19, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Sometimes, CPS pursues out of district issues (which I understand are different than neighborhood boundary issues):

    My children’s SEES had a family that was investigated for living outside of Chicago and presented with a tuition bill for $60k that they had to pay unless they agreed to leave the school. It was sad b/c the family was involved and actually owned investment property in Chicago, but admitted to lving in Evanston ( I think).

    I know of at least one family who has kids at the top SEHS who live in the suburbs.

    And, last year, one of my child’s teachers was investigated and fired mid-year by CPS for living out of state.

  • 187. RL Julia  |  October 19, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I would argue that even with ALL that Title I money for low income kids (I’m trying to find if it really is ALL that – seems like the maximum for this in Chicago is $2,089.36 but it is not clear if all of this money goes to the schools or if some is held back by the central office – http://www.isbe.state.il.us/ses/html/district_information.htm), schools with 100% low income kids are coming from such disadvantaged places, that it doesn’t even begin to cover the costs of what is really needed to run a school. As for there being a lot of mismanagement going on in the individual schools – do you have a specific example – or is it more of an urban myth. My particular conspiracy theory on this is that that the schools in general are underfunded and that there is fiscal mismanagement in the central office. Here’s a nice discussion/report of why and how Title I funds are supposed to work and why they don’t. http://www.ash.harvard.edu/extension/ash/docs/reforming.pdf

  • 188. junior  |  October 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    @184 local

    …and in the meantime while we wait for the problems of socioeconomic destitution to be solved, what do you say for those kids who want something better? “Let them eat cake” right?

    Should Carol force that little girl to go back to her other neighborhood school so she can help make it better? I think people see the wrong in that. Would you sacrifice your own kid by sending them to one of the worst schools you could find?

  • 189. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    #187~Junior~I think every1 who is not in the boundaries of overcrowded should go back to their n’hood schools. I’m not alone in my thinking CPS said they were cracking down on it this yr and has asked our principal to be more involved. I moved her (along w/others) so my children could attend this school and we are heavily involved in the school and the community. The ppl coming into our school our from out of chicago (suburbs), a few from chicago, and many cause trouble and have no investment in our school or community~but want the benefits. If they want the benefits, let them move into my community.

  • 190. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    #188~I meant~I moved ‘here’.

  • 191. RL Julia  |  October 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    So basically no freeloaders under any circumstances? And if you can’t afford to live in your neighborhood too bad?

  • 192. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    #190~RL Julia~YES, if schools are overcrowded & CPS has already asked the principal to stay on this so it wouldn’t become more so. YES, I pay a lot to live in this area so my kids can go to this school. I’ve talked to CPS and they agree that out of boundary kids should not be going to a school where it is already overcrowded. This is one thing CPS and I agree on.

  • 193. cps sad teacher  |  October 20, 2012 at 12:24 am

    I know its been said before, but many cps teachers are at absolute zero morale. The new contract not only gives principals the right to remove teachers through the reach evaluation system, but in the process their careers will be destroyed in the process. Obviously some teachers are unsatisfactory and deserve to be removed, but many are going to be railroaded out of a career. One principals opinion, even if hes a political hack, will label a teacher for life. Tens of thousands in loans and college can be for naught because a principal wants to hire his nephew. Im not even sure if ctu realizes what will happen to honest teachers caught in corrupt fiefdom like schools in cps. I know the argument….of welcome to the real world. However, allowing one principal to decide a persons vocational future is horrifying. cps teachers now face a bleak demoralizing future. A teacher who has been rated superior for 19 years can overnight be removed from cps for life. For example, a teacher by a few bad observations can literally and legally be turned out. In fact, a teacher who receives two satisfactory reviews in a row be given an unsatisfactory rating. After, this their future at cps is very likely over forever. In fact, state law states that a teacher with two unsatisfactory ratings can lose their license forever. Yes most unsatisfactory teachers deserve this, but some are rated by criminally negligent principals. How, this kind of pressure will be used to recruit a recent bright college student is beyond me. As a ctu member, i feel l like an idiot for striking for such instability. I know much of this contract was dictated by sb7 and Obama’s race to the top and republican anti union blessings. I remember the song don’t let your sons grow up to be cowboys, mamas don’t let any of your children grow up to be teachers. A race for some elusive perfection has broken a sacred bond of teachers into a swim with the sharks mentality. Again im not looking for sympathy but understand teachers are no longer set for life they may not even be set for two years despite residency rules and accepting jobs sometimes as dangerous as any.

  • 194. CarolA  |  October 20, 2012 at 6:51 am

    cps sad teacher: I hear what you are saying. But I have to admit, we have to do something to make some of the slacker teachers step up to the plate or leave. However, this new rating system will only work well if used properly. I think it will be used improperly by some. There lies the problem. I’ve come to understand that the principals key in codes to a computer. Then somewhere in computerland, those codes get translated into our rating. With the computerized grading system for students, their grades always get rounded up. I’m willing to bet ours will be rounded down! 🙂

  • 195. CarolA  |  October 20, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Also….regarding teachers who have been rated Superior for 19 years…..I know some and they are not Superior. I’m not saying they are bad. I’m not saying they should be fired. I’m just saying they are NOT Superior. If we can right a system that has been misused…then fine. If it gets misused, that’s where we will see trouble. I think that’s why the union put into place that we can appeal a bad rating. So here’s what I’ve been telling all my teacher friends…..save PROOF of everything you do. Save copies of children’s work that proves you are following your unit plan. Save copies of children’s work that proves you are differentiating. Take plenty of pictures of your classroom throughout the year. Document any classes you attend. Document, document, document. I have a nice big file going already.

  • 196. cps sad teacher  |  October 20, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Imagine if one day you are caught doing a fall word search because you have a migraine . We’ve all done it. Does that make you an unsatisfactory teacher, while a principals pet gets to take a pdday at the nature center. You are funny. They do round down. One bad informal and a fire alarm at nwea.or a broken ac and…all your proof will mean nothing. Tenured should not exist. It should be life long average not new rahhms principals clones first reach score that ends your career. I just think you should get fired without the scarlet letter to boot ….but thats me…a satisfactory teacher so what do i know……excuse typoos im usin a tablet

  • 197. SutherlandParent  |  October 20, 2012 at 10:52 am

    @186 cpsmama, you said “Sometimes, CPS pursues out of district issues (which I understand are different than neighborhood boundary issues).” I’ve always thought the process was quite similar, so I’m curious how it’s different. Either students live in the boundaries, or they don’t, whether the boundary is another Chicago neighborhood or the suburbs. As I understand it, private detectives determine if someone is not living the majority of the time at they address they gave when they registered. Then, CPS’s legal department starts action and proceeds from there.

    And @190 RL Julia, I agree the system stinks and is horribly unfair to kids who already have less to begin with. But that’s the system we have in place, and it’s also not fair to those who follow the rules when others cheat. When schools become overcrowded, all students and teachers suffer, so it’s not exactly a victimless crime.

    One way to ease the problem is to do away with the current tax structure, where local property taxes go directly towards local schools. That would mean that each school district spends exactly the same per pupil. The kids at New Trier would get the same per pupil spending as those in Ford Heights. I’d support that, but I think it’s politically toxic.

    It wouldn’t solve the problem within school districts like Chicago, but I’m one of those people baffled by how CPS schools that receive Title I funding often can’t seem to pay for the basics, while CPS schools that don’t receive that funding can. As I’ve said before, we don’t get Title I funding, and I don’t believe there is any way our parent fundraising and school fees covers that gap. But we have toilet paper, copy paper and those types of items.

  • 198. CarolA  |  October 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    cps sad teacher: If you have graphic organizers hanging around your classroom and evidence of critical thinking skills activities in your workshop rotations, I doubt one day of doing a fall word search would make for a bad rating. My principal “pops” in often. In just a peek, he can see what type of learning is going on. If he pops in 2 or 3 times a week and continually sees great teaching going on and engaged students rather than teacher directed activities or worksheets, then I can’t see why he would think terrible of you if one day he walked in seeing a word search. There’s nothing wrong with word searches as long as you aren’t sitting at your desk with your head in your hands. If you are up and walking around and checking on the students, if you have taken the time to level your word search for the abilities of students in your class, then you are fine. Sorry, I just got through a week of coughing and hacking and having to keep my bottle of water nearby for the tickle in my throat and I didn’t even do one word search or worksheet. My teaching kept going on as normal. I always have a folder filled with skill based, thinking activities related to a good, quality piece of literature for a day I may not be up to snuff. It is coordinated with a nice art project. Recently, I had my students paint adorable pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, then write a list of adjectives to describe their pumpkin. Advanced students who finished early could use those words in sentences. Sorry, I don’t agree with you. Great teachers think ahead just for those type of days.

  • 199. RL Julia  |  October 20, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Many schools getting Title I money are using the extra money to make up for all the stuff their average students don’t arrive with – and it is still not enough. Also – a smart school/principal will spend the bulk of the extra money on things like an extra teacher, a specials teacher, a social worker etc.. Basically when you have a larger percentage of lower income students the school become a resource where families show up to get services – in a higher income neighborhood, schools are places where resources are donated to – simply because people have more to spare. Too many low income kids and you are guaranteed to run out of copier paper. In a school system where most kids are low income -well… welcome to Chicago (or Detroit or really any other urban area)…..

  • 200. Northside Teacher  |  October 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    You sound like you have a good principal, or at least kind. If i were caught doing a word search during my observtion, I would be marked down for not following the lesson plan.I have anchor charts and posters ALL over my room. I have been told I should’nt have to correct my stuents, the class should be regulating themselves. We just can’t do anything unless it is specifically scripted in our lesson plans. SHE MUST PREAPPROVE THIS TYPE OF WORK. When I mean scripted I mean WORD FOR WORD. We write our lessons like they are a PLAY. Our pincipal WOULD Never pre appove any art of wordsearch in our lessons. NEVER. So any art project that is not scripted into reading or math, and pre appoved, will not be accepted!. Let’s remember just because you have a good principal doesn’t mean I do. I have been told I should’nt have to correct my stuents, the class should be regulating themselvesYou and I could be the SAME teacher, but if we have a bad boss tht can make a HUGE difference. I have anchor charts and posters ALL over my room..

  • 201. Northside Teacher  |  October 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    BTW Carol…have you been reviwed under the New Reach system??? Just wait…it’s not like old days. Take a chance to read it over!! I am sorry I don’t agree with you…..

  • 202. CarolA  |  October 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    A scripted classroom is a terrible classroom and a principal who demands that type of classroom is not a good principal. They might as well put a video camera and recorder in your room and save you the trouble of writing the lesson plan.

    You have jumped to the conclusion that I would have a word search DURING an observation. That is not the case. This is if the principal JUST HAPPENS to pop in and some of the kids are doing a word search as part of a workshop rotation so that you can address the needs of others. I am not suggesting the whole class be doing a word search while a teacher hangs her head because she has a headache. I feel sorry for you if you have such a stressful work environment.

  • 203. CarolA  |  October 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Yes, I have seen the new REACH. It is demanding. I do a lot of work to make my classroom successful. I’m not worried. Even if I don’t get to the top category (which he has already said almost no one will be in because it uses the word ALL a lot and I don’t think anyone can do ALL of something ALL the time.), I’m satisfied that I will not be in the lowest two categories either. I don’t intend to be a principal. I’m happy in the classroom. I’m fine with whatever they give me as long as it’s not the bottom two. I know my classroom and I know I what kind of teacher I am. I stand by my words.

  • 204. cps sad teacher  |  October 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Carol . The lower your reach score the more likely you can be laid off
    If your school closes and you are in lower two categories you are out of cps forever. This isn’t about you maybe…….but those who went on strike with and for you. Im just defending them. Technically if you get all proficients but get unlucky with nwea scores you could drop points into the lower two categories developing or unsatisfactory. If this happens to them in school closings they are out of a job and career forever at cps. Does this seems like union protection. I dont doubt your teaching just. Cps

  • 205. concerned parent  |  October 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Am I missing something here? If you are coming to school with a migraine you are jeopardizing your career by giving kids busy work while you sit and suffer. Isn’t in both yours and the child’s interest to take a sick day?

  • 206. cps sad teacher  |  October 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Thats frowned upon too like any job

  • 207. parent  |  October 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Northside teacher are you at Jahn?

  • 208. cps sad teacher  |  October 20, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    No. But i must keep it anonymous.

  • 209. OutsideLookingIn  |  October 20, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    @Cps sad teacher – you sound miserable, victimized and really bitter. My guess is that you weren’t just caught taking it easy on one “off” day but rather that this has become a pattern of late. If this is the case, I urge you to have a come to Jesus meeting with yourself. Can you adapt to the current environment at your schoool in such a way that is healthy for you and productive for your students? Being a superior teacher for 19 years doesn’t mean that you have earned the right to phone it in for year 20. The conditions you describe sound challenging and I don’t mean to minimize them. But they are what they are. You can only change the way you react and adapt.

  • 210. seen it all...  |  October 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Good advice. We have people at my school who are having serious issues with the new principal-she is not putting up with word searches, movies for no reason and poorly planned lessons. For 19 years this was allowed under an unethical principal who gave all of his fans Superiors.

  • 211. cps sad teacher  |  October 20, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    I never claimed to have had 19 years of superior ratings. Never had one, but i never missed a day in 7 years. I was explaining reach and the loss of tenure and its affects in those schools run by an egomaniac or criminal. They exist….just because your school is run well and fairl y doesn’t mean they all are. I congratulate you, but please don’t forget schools where adults and kids are getting short changed. My point is not to protect bad teachers from good principals. I am trying to protect good teachers from corrupt principals. Are you defending them? Sticking up for yourself against corruption is called serving justice not bitterness. I attacked no one on this board. Just pray you never get a bad principal who fires people based on race and to make room for their friends son. It happens. All the great lesson planning will do you no good. I suppose the strike was just teachers being bitter?? Adapting to accept a bullys whims. Is that my obligation. Again i am not attacking you so please don’t judge until you walk in my shoes, especially if you are ctu. If you’re a parent i don’t blame you, sorry for venting on your board. I just at least want people especially teachers to investigate our new contract and reach…then you will know tenure is dead..

  • 212. CarolA  |  October 21, 2012 at 7:34 am

    I don’t think tenure is dead, but I think it’s heading there for sure. I think if teachers don’t do their best every year, they are out. I can understand a bad day here or there, but over all, your teaching should speak for itself. Never missing a day in 7 years doesn’t mean a thing. We don’t get awards for attendance. We get credit for great teaching. My first 5 years of teaching I never took a day. Then I starting taking the days I needed so that I could give my best when I was at school. Either way, I still got a Superior rating. If you’ve never had one, it’s either because you have an administrator that doesn’t recognize your talents or you need to step it up. If it’s the administrator, I would have left that school years ago. If it’s you….time to step it up. Sorry. I think there’s something more to this story.

  • 213. CPSTeacher  |  October 21, 2012 at 8:04 am

    CarolA…for the first time, I disagree with you. I worked at a school on the south side where my principal repeated gave me excellent ratings because I wasn’t social enough with the faculty. (i.e. I didn’t attend her birthday party, the secretary’s baby shower, etc.) She actually told me this. My students repeatedly showed the greatest gains year after year on tests (relative to the department). She never once observed me teach. Her one observation of me in three years was coming into my room to reprimand me for starting my class on time instead of clearing the hallway. It’s easy to say “leave the school”, but then good teachers are forced to leave places where they are needed.

  • 214. cpsobsessed  |  October 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    You may have seen this funny cartoon but I just ran across it on facebook about the addictiveness of posting online… 🙂

  • 215. Paul  |  October 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    @213 cpsobsessed. Funny cartoon, and so true.

    I have to say, though, that I appreciate you and others who have stayed up late to comment and correct me and others. It helps us all better understand our complex school system.

  • 216. cpsobsessed  |  October 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Haha, very diplomatically put, Paul.

    Thank goodness we have school stuff to argue about. I used to be on parenting message boards and I was growing weary of the breastfeeding, cry-it-out, etc debates that I used to get sucked into yet seemed so critical at the time!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 217. Paul  |  October 21, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    @215 cpsobsessed. Yes, I remember those days. Arguments about attachment parenting, SUV-style strollers, and inattentive nannies have been replaced by education policy, charter schools, and homework battles. What’s next, arguments about boyfriends/girlfriends, rated R movies, and curfues?

  • 218. HS Mom  |  October 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    @216 Paul – Yep. But you’ll find that all that goes hand in hand with school culture. Even more significance to lend the discussion that goes on here.

  • 219. cps sad teacher  |  October 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Carol. I never was talking about me personally. I’m probably a bad teacher..I’m not defending myself. Anyway I’m not questioning your superior teaching. I am worried about our new evaluation process for all teachers. We all are susceptible to getting wrongly fired , sometimes justly or not. However, now teachers may lose their lively hood forever due to new principal powers. In addition, the layoff process is based on an unproven evaluation process and new sb7 law railroaded by astroturf education reformist both democrats and republicans. My initial response was written with third party examples and poss ible scenarios. I just think we teachers all need to be vigilant and informed. The kool aid there ing at 125 Clark is not all that it appears. Yes we all need to take responsibility for our actions but we too have the right to question those of or superiors who in the end are paid by public tax dollars like us.

  • 220. HS Mom  |  October 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    @218 – I understand the real issue of pending layoffs due to school closings and consolidations that will more than likely effect many teachers of all levels. It seems to me, however, that teachers in ongoing CPS programs have a high degree of job security. It would be great for parents/kids if the evaluation process really did make a difference in performance, training and possible restructure of teachers according to skill.

  • 221. CarolA  |  October 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    CPSTeacher: I can see your point. I agree that could definitely happen. We’ve had our current principal for quite some time, so it’s easy for me to forget the other principals I’ve had to deal with. I can think of one for sure who would have done the same thing that was done to you.

  • 222. CarolA  |  October 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    cps sad teacher: I am starting to wonder if your name as well as some of your comments are a clue into what you might be going through right now. Are you trying to reach out or do you just need a sounding board? I am actually quite worried. Is there something one of us can help you with before you spiral down?

  • 223. Northside Teacher  |  October 21, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Carol last time I checked that Contract involves you as well. If you get the second level reviews you count on that’s great. However, like I told you, if you get some bad NWEA scores, you actually will be in the ranks of the Developing too…just then cross you fingers you dont have layoffs…principals have no effect on this part of your review..Carol is it common for you to attack the character of people who express opinions? I dont doubt yours…I am fine don’t worry! I just stick up for people rather than trying to make them feel bad…that’s what teachers usually do! Something tells me you are not quite the nurturing type…I never quesitoned you..last word!! I AM DONE! HHAHAHHAA

  • 224. Family Friend  |  October 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Superintendents/CEO’s don’t last long. Chicago has been the exception over the years, not the rule. Great things are expected of people to whom few resources, and sometimes little authority, are granted. The most egregious example in Illinois is North Chicago, which has had 19 or 20 superintendents in 19 years! But 2-3 years is the average, even for stable districts.

  • 225. real estate in western australia  |  July 13, 2014 at 6:10 am

    real estate in western australia

    Well, I’ll be damned…. JCB is out, BBB is in | CPS Obsessed

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