CPS Schools Closing: 54 to close, 61 buildings to be shuttered

March 24, 2013 at 10:04 am 697 comments


I’m copying this from RYH who has the lowdown on the closing and continues to challenge CPS on some of the tough questions (including — what really constitutes UNDER/OVER utilization.)



CPS has never closed more than 13 schools in one year and the district has a master facilities plan that is due in October yet they are proposing this move without any research or evidence to back it.

Here’s the list:


Interactive map from Sun-Times:


CPS must hold three hearings for each school before the May 22nd Board vote on school closings. The Board will vote on these closings but Board members did not attend any of the community hearings.

We will be on Chicago Tonight this evening talking about the closings at 7pm.

Parents4Teachers will be doing a banner drop around the city tomorrow to oppose the closings. Meet at City Hall at 4pm to participate or email info@parents4teachers.net.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: .

2013: SEES Gifted and Classical Letter Thread Pre-School for All – Surprise! New process for applying, starting TOMORROW!

697 Comments Add your own

  • 1. marcsims  |  March 24, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Low income African Americans in Chicago have been abounded by the African American elite and the BlackBourgeoisie.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74QaYU320Lg


  • 2. Jill Wohl  |  March 24, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Now hurtling towards school overcrowding crisis.

  • 3. local  |  March 24, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Anyone know how Andrea Zopp has been responding to the school closing plans? The board has to vote.

  • 4. local  |  March 24, 2013 at 10:46 am

    She is head of the Chicago Urban League.

  • 5. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I saw this about Zopp on WGNTV.com:

    Chicago School Board members and the Mayor say the closures are painful medicine for the city’s ailing educational system with underutilized and under-equipped buildings, in many cases without air conditioning libraries or computers.

    Board member Andrea Zopp says the district is saving money by closing schools that are only 50% enrolled and reassigning those students to buildings where they can invest money and improve the learning environment. Zopp says CPS expects to save $500 Million from the closures.

    Barbara Radner with the DePaul Center for Urban Studies has spent decades working exclusively with Chicago Public schools. She hears the parents and teacher’s concerns. But she says the problem of underutilized schools is real. The end result, in many cases, are problems like split-grade classrooms or partial curriculums.

    Read more: http://wgntv.com/2013/03/22/mixed-reactions-to-cps-school-closings/#ixzz2OTOoILUK

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2013 at 11:13 am

    From Sped Mom:

    FWIW: I’m really amazed by the miscommunication and some of the missteps in image management delivered by the CPS/mayor’s communication people (who are very well-paid). Did they not have a clue how “skiing vacation with the Lab kids” and “iPads” would play out in popular media? Perhaps the Emanuel kids could have done some Habitat for Humanity spring break volunteering on a reservation out west and the iPad treat could have been very, very clearly defined. Just sayin’.

  • 7. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2013 at 11:17 am

    @Sped Mom:
    Regarding the ipads, I wonder what the families in affected schools think? They’re the ones who it’s being offered to so to me, that’s what matters.
    What I don’t know is if I was in a closing school (my neighborhood school IS closing but we don’t attend there) would I think “well, we’re getting ipads and other upgrades” or would I think “you really think having ipads in the school will make this all better????”
    I’m guessing from the community responses that it’s number 2.

    Perhaps CPS should have just said “technology upgrades.”

    Or maybe they thought that parents could ease the sad news to kids by saying “the new school will have ipads” which is talking more a kid level than explaining the real issues around the closings.

  • 8. Sped Mom  |  March 24, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I keep reading that the savings are not going to be what’s being projected by the BOE (FWIW). Perhaps the bigger issue is the depopulation and devitalization of those areas in which schools are closing. The “underutilization crisis” could be reframed as a bigger issue. I wish the city and media were focusing more on that. I guess the “urban farm” is the solution?

  • 9. Family Friend  |  March 24, 2013 at 11:47 am

    @8 Sped Mom: I agree with you 1000%. I believe poor schools are the reason for depopulation and devitalization, and thus the cause of the “underutliization crisis.” You could argue that crime and gangs are part of the reason for depopulation and devitalization, and that is no doubt true — but if the schools were better, and kids had a credible vision of a future like the one my kids were free (and encouraged) to imagine, I think the problems of crime and gangs would decline. We are a long way from where Detroit was at the beginning of its decline, but it still offers some stark lessons.

  • 10. Angie  |  March 24, 2013 at 11:47 am

    @8. Sped Mom: “I keep reading that the savings are not going to be what’s being projected by the BOE (FWIW). ”

    Has anyone calculated the savings for the future years, when the one-time expense of the school transition will be over?

  • 11. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2013 at 11:57 am

    @Angie, I wanna say I read the annual savings would be something like $50-$150 million per year – I can’t remember the exact number. It did seem fairly low in the grand scheme of the CPS budget, but obviously not nuthin’.

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Found it: Not sure what it means that we save $560 over 10 years AND $43 million per year. Is it both of those??


    CPS said the closures would save $560 million over 10 years, as well as annual savings of $43 million. CPS now faces a budget deficit of $1 billion, said CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll. It will cost $233 million to complete the process, CPS said.

    Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130321/chicago/cps-school-closings-list#ixzz2OTf7x8MZ

  • 13. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    This is really insane. I have more here but in 14 cases, the building of the school being “closed” will be the building that the “receiving school” will enter into. And in at least one case, the “closed” school had the higher ISAT scores.

  • 14. tchr  |  March 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    This is a website of a CPS teacher with a class set of ipads. Amazing the things she and her class can do. http://www.msmagiera.com/home and http://teachinglikeits2999.blogspot.com/

    My guess is CPS will not give professional development in actually how to use the ipads in the classroom. It will be a ridiculous amount of money spent that could have been spent on something else. Like what if every classroom had an apprentice teacher working with the master teacher. THAT would be amazing.

  • 15. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    @C-Ball: Shouldn’t they be consolidating into the better/bigger/more up to date building when possible? (I’m assuming that’s what drive the decision or hopefully other logical input such as which building will require more kids to travel less distance to school?)

  • 16. Bookworm  |  March 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I an curious to know how many of the closed schools have been recently physically updated and will be turned over to charters. I would be interested to see what kinds of capital improvements have been done to any of the 61 schools in the last three to four years.
    the cost of improving the schools should come out of the money to be saved as any be closed which have had substantial capital improvements would really indicate a loss over time if unused.

    I understand the unease of parents facing this change both receiving and moving families considering the low quality of the implementation of changes in the last year- especially the creation of the longer day and single schedule.

  • 17. anonymouse teacher  |  March 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    @16 a while back on the RYH facebook page people were listing all the schools that had recently had millions of dollars of improvements that were due to close. I don’t know how many of those actually closed. Trumbull is closing and though no big capital improvements there, there is a charter set to open less than a mile from the school.

  • 18. Angie  |  March 24, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    @12. cpsobsessed: “Found it: Not sure what it means that we save $560 over 10 years AND $43 million per year. Is it both of those??”

    My guess would be both. There’s money that will not be spent on maintenance and repair of the old school buildings, plus the salaries and benefits of the school personnel laid off from the closed schools.

  • 19. anonymouse teacher  |  March 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Does anyone know when CPS is going to put out the ten year plan? I have a ten year plan for my career, and a one year plan that I institute using backwards design (what are the end goals, how to get there breaking up the year in 5 week chunks) for my classroom so I think a 10 year plan for the district is more than reasonable. I know they have been saying for forever now that they will release a 10 year plan, including a complete review of capital improvements, additions, etc, but no word on if we will ever see it.

  • 20. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    This could be why the schools are getting IPads~for more high stake testing… http://thejournal.com/articles/2012/06/12/apple-ios-6-guided-access-boon-for-high-stakes-testing-with-ipads.aspx

  • 21. Seth Lavin  |  March 24, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    @cpsobsessed the $43M is the operating expense savings each year. That’s what counts against the $5B CPS budget (with the $1B deficit). Not sure when $43M starts appearing, or if it assumes the buildings get sold, meaning they don’t need to be heated anymore, etc.

    The $500M over 10 years is capital expenditure savings. This is money that won’t be spent on fixing up schools CPS is no longer investing in. My understanding is that number has nothing to do with the CPS operating budget, since the CPS capital expenditure budget is different from the operating expenditure budget, but someone could correct me if I’m wrong on that.

    Keep in mind that the $43M annual savings is projected, and that studies of other cities’ experience finds “widespread school closings often fail to generate expected savings” (quote from: http://thenotebook.org/blog/114177/pew-study-school-closings-bring-pain-not-much-money)

  • 22. anonymouse teacher  |  March 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I’d love to know too, what’s the status of “per pupil funding” which, as reported, would fund neighborhood schools per pupil, but selective schools (magnets, rgcs, etc) would remain funded the current way. As I understand it, per pupil funding will make it very difficult for principals to keep teachers with experience or higher degrees, make it even more difficult to fund art, music, sped, bilingual and other things. My building holds quite a few extremely gifted teachers with 15 years+ experience, masters degrees or double masters degrees and NBCTs. These are teachers I’d love to be teaching my own children. I wonder, will all of those people be dismissed? (and I am not talking about slacker, no heart in it anymore teachers—these people are the best of the best)

  • 23. local  |  March 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Did I read that all schools with get a baseline “per pupil” budget, then those special schools/programs would get extra funding on top of the per pupil budget? Foggy now.

  • 24. local  |  March 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I’m thinking the new formula would incentivize hiring new teachers (likely young ones) who would also be required to produce higher test scores from students. This is what’s reported from some charter schools, so I would guess regular schools would duplicate it. Perhaps it’ll be a Teach for America (the two and out way, however) profession from now on. Not sure who would continue to actually train as a teacher. If teachers become scarce, would technology-as-teacher take their place?

  • 25. local  |  March 24, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Note that “higher test scores” might not be the same as better learning in students.

  • 26. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 24, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    @15 I agree that they should move into the better building, but in that case the school based in the vacated building should be the one that is “closed.” In 14 cases, they are not vacating the building of the school they are “closing.” They are vacating another building and giving that school’s personnel control of the building that everyone will use. So closing Altgeld and having Wentworth receive does not mean that Altgeld students go to the Wentworth building. Instead the Altgeld faculty and staff are dismissed, the Wentworth faculty and staff transfer from their building to the Altgeld building, and Altgeld students are “received” at Wentworth, even though it is the Wentworth students who will be moving to a new building. Altgeld has higher ISAT percentages than Wentworth on all but one measure.

    Similarly, Delano is being “closed” but this means Melody personnel take over the Delano building and the Melody building actually closes. Delano has higher ISAT scores on most measures and better attendance levels than Melody and it is not on probation (Melody is). Why should Melody take over?

    It seems that CPS is looking at only the 2012 Performance Policy percentage, which awards points for year-on-year growth. Melody had 61.9% and Delano had 54.8% of the available points. So one year’s point differences are deciding which is the better school.

    And in most cases these are at best marginally better school faculty and staff. Altgeld and Wentworth are both level 3 schools, the lowest. Likewise, Dumas and Wadsworth are both level 3 but again, the Wadsworth admin. and faculty move into Dumas’ building and Dumas students are “received” there even though it is the Wadsworth students who are going to a new building.

  • 27. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 24, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    @25 I’ll be the first to agree that ISAT test scores are not real measures of learning but they are the standards that the state has set and they are the ones that CPS is using in the “Performance Policy” scores. Those scores weight upward trends more than actual scores. If you had a choice between two school’s faculty and admin, which would you prefer:

    School A , which saw its composite ISAT rise from 53.5% (2010) to 73.7% (2012)
    School B which had its composite ISAT rise from 53.0% (2010) to 68.8% (2012) .

    Now I would go with school A, but that school is Delano, which is having its staff dismissed and having its building taken over by Melody, which is school B. Why? Meldoy got 3 more points than Delano in 2012 out of 42 possible points.

  • 28. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    @C-Ball, if I were analyzing the performance of those schools, I’d call them even given how close they are.

    If I were in charge, I’d probably choose the admin staff who seems the most up for the task of handling the new school/transition/welcoming process, and if I were CPS, the team that was most aligned with the goals of the system (which is how things are done in many work places.) Whichever team shows the most potential for success (as defined by whoever is choosing the team.)

    Calling it on numbers that are that close, you might as well flip a coin — but I’d take other factors into account.

  • 29. local  |  March 24, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    I’d look closely at the sped population scores (the IEP with ISATs, that is). Telling.

  • 31. CPS Teacher  |  March 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Regarding the above referenced Trib editiorial: From Diane Ravitch’s blog-

    50% of those polled were white. Less than 9% of CPS students are white.

    30% of those polled make more than $ 75,000 a year. 87% of CPS students are from low-income families that qualify for federal free or reduced lunches.

    43% of those polled do not know a Chicago Public School teacher or teachers’ union member. Really?


    Key results the Trib decided not to tell you about:

    The most popular answer to their question about what to do about underperforming schools was “devote more resources while keeping the staff intact” (37%). The least selectedanswers were “close the school and transfer students to a higher-performing school” (only 6%) and “allow an experienced nonprofit to come in and run the school” (18.8%) (question 24).

    Nearly as many people think the CPS budget should be balanced by raising taxes on businesses as by closing schools. Oops! (question 31).

    Further details can be found at PURE’s site:

  • 32. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    As a marketing researcher, some of the question wording in the survey made me shudder (and made me embarrassed for the company who administered it.) Mind you, not ALL, but some were HIGHLY loaded.

    Truthfully, most of those response are exactly how I’d expect people to answer who have no/little knowledge of the issues.

  • 33. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 24, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    @28 Such a process would make sense, but it does not seem to be what is happening. In a real merger, you have people from each team who are evaluated and the good ones chosen. What CPS is doing is dichotomous: all one team or all one other team. No one merges like that in the real world. Given that central office people have never set foot in some of these buildings, I doubt that much team analysis went forward.

    Some closed-receiving decisions clearly benefit students at the closed schools: going for level 3 to level 1 schools (e.g., Bethune into Gregory; Bontemps into Nicholson). But others are at best lateral moves.

  • 34. anonymouse teacher  |  March 24, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    @26, I am going to take a wild guess on this one. I’d love to know if the staff that is “taking over” has cheaper, less experienced, less educated teachers than the one that is being let go. (with the possibility of being rehired) I think CPS chose the better building to host the student population combo (makes sense) and chose the cheaper staff to “take over” (also makes sense if one is only looking at cost effectiveness, even though I strongly disagree with the approach).

  • 35. anonymouse teacher  |  March 24, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    @31, Wow. Just wow.

  • 36. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    @A-Mouse. Good point. 2 schools with comparable test scores, one staff cheaper — which do you choose?

  • 37. anonymouse teacher  |  March 24, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    @25, Yeah, higher test scores do not always mean better learning. One example would be my school and grade level. Last year, one teacher on my team got the highest scores. (slightly higher than mine) But, I will tell you, she did not allow her students to go to recess the entire year even when directed to by admin and she did not give her students ANY free play or center time (its kindergarten). I know this to be a fact because she brags about this publicly. She made the kids work the entire day with no breaks. She pulled them from specials to test them on Dibels and TRC’s so she wouldn’t miss any instructional time. She sent home several hours of homework each week (she says usually about an hour a night, not including reading). And she’s doing the same thing this year. Is that a good learning environment for a 5 year old? Would anyone choose this for their kindergarten child?
    I do not begrudge her the scores. But at what cost? 5 year olds need recess, they need uninterrupted music, art, PE, library, etc, they need some play/center time, they absolutely should not under any circumstance have hours of homework each week–that’s just bad practice.
    This is no different than the schools that force teachers to only teach reading and math all day long and skipping science and social studies because those aren’t tested at the benchmark year.

  • 38. CPS Teacher  |  March 24, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    There was a day this year that I thought my class was doing so well… we were discussing graphing, they were asking questions, we were answering problems…all was so exciting for this happy math teacher. And then someone said, “is this on the act?” and I said, “No, probably not…” and they said, “then why do we have to do it?”. I realized that day that I had set up test prep and talked up ACT so much that I deprived them of enjoying the subject that I love so that they would be “ready” for the ACT. Yes, they will do great on the test and hopefully, they learned good mathematics. At what cost? Loving math. Looking at learning as test prep.

    Definitely a game changing day in my teaching book.

  • 39. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 24, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    @31 @31 On the other hand, when asked to rank indicators of school quality, the indicator that had the least support was “student test scores” with only 37.3% saying it was “very important” (5 out of 5). It had the highest percentage of people saying it was “not important” (1 out of 5). Go More than a Score

  • 40. Claire  |  March 25, 2013 at 7:23 am

    CPS originally put 300+ schools on their potential closing list, then 100+, then the final 50+. At each step it was the parents and the communities that had to show up to public hearings and argue for their schools be pulled off the list. They had to describe their schools in just a few minutes and attempt to create an effective argument for saving their schools. This is so backwards. I understand that on paper dozens of schools would appear to be “under utilized” or “under achieving” or not “right sized” or whatever the buzz words. At that point, someone from either CPS or the BOE should have gotten themselves out to the schools and done an on site survey and conference as to what was actually taking place at the schools. At that point, after visiting the schools, if they still felt it was not serving the students or community, then the red flag raised on paper stayed raised. Only then, after a visit to the school, could CPS put the school on the closure list, but not without that first hand, eye witness account. The burden and emphasis of saving a school was stressed over the burden of proof of necessary closure. I would feel far better and more confident in this process if CPS would have said “we first looked at the schools on paper. Then went out to see the schools ourselves. THEN came out with a closure list.” To deem scores of schools as failing, and then put the stress and burden on parents to have to negate that assertion is not the way to effectively manage a school district. From a leadership perspective it’s ridiculous.

  • 41. anonymouse teacher  |  March 25, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Not to mention that the formula CPS used to show 100% effective utilization was 36 kids per room. Yes, 36 was their number for at capacity. And if a school had a sped population that BY LAW required a much lower class size (like an autism room can’t have more than 12 children in it), they did NOT factor this into their formula. In those cases, they said the school was still underutilized. They did not consider that in schools with large autism programs, that moving those very fragile children, sometimes for the 2nd or 3rd time, would be emotionally traumatizing.
    The underutilization formula was pretty much a load of crap.

  • 42. EdgewaterMom  |  March 25, 2013 at 8:16 am

    @40 I completely agree. To put a school on a closure list based purely on numbers (and often misleading numbers) is criminal! Of course, CPS does not have the resources to visit each school in the ridiculously short time frame that they needed, which just proves that they do not have the resources to handle these school closings responsibly.

    I think that they should also have to devote whatever resources they are currently using to open charter schools towards the school closings. It is insane that they are closing all of these schools while still opening new charter schools.

  • 43. Sad Day  |  March 25, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I think I am very very disheartnened by some of the comments on the other “blog” pages. When I brought the topi up of closing schools I got closings. Severl people said the “did’nt care” and that I shouldn’t ruin their hapiness. I am sorry, but this is the same attitude that one day will take EVEYONE”S power away from CPS. WE ALL MUST FIGHT TO PUT cps back into the people’s hands. If CPS had an elected board, then I wouldn’t feel quite so powerles. But to see rahm, who has way below 50% of the people’s vote, railroad his “Waiting for Superman” attitude on CPS, makes me very very frustrated. But then to see parents who basically said “don’t inconvenience me” because I am happy…this made me realize why we are in the mess we are now. Again, these are just a few people….I just hope one day the “wrecking” ball doesn’t come to their Magnet school. I bet they are next!! Rahm doesn’t want to upset the elite school crowd, he has divided and conquered. SOme parents , and teacher, have taken it HOOK LINE AND SINKER…

  • 44. Angie  |  March 25, 2013 at 10:20 am

    @33. Christopher Ball : “In a real merger, you have people from each team who are evaluated and the good ones chosen.”

    But that is exactly what’s happening here. The top rated teachers, per union contract, will follow the kids to the new school, and others will be let go.

    At the previous community meetings, all the schools had to present their vision for the future and make their case why they should stay open. Perhaps the schools that are taking over and moving to the new buildings were more successful in that regard.

    @43. Sad Day : “WE ALL MUST FIGHT TO PUT cps back into the people’s hands.”

    Don’t you mean fighting to put CPS in union’s hands? Come on, be honest now. The real reason for this fight has nothing to do with giving the better education to the displaced kids. It’s about saving union jobs of the lowest-rated teachers, and preserving their contributions to CTU coffers, a.k.a. politician bribery fund.

    “If CPS had an elected board, then I wouldn’t feel quite so powerles.”

    But of course. If we had an elected board, it would be staffed with the puppets of CTU and other special interest groups, ready and willing to do their bidding. Look at all crooks that have been indicted recently. Look at the elected officials in Springfield that can’t do anything right, because they are only concerned with satisfying the contributors that put them in the office, and with getting reelected for the next term. Why would we want the same kind of mess and corruption for the school board?

    The people of this city elected Rahm and gave him the power
    to appoint the school board. If you’re not happy with that, try to elect someone else next time. It just might work, because apparently, some people are easily duped if the lies you feed them are convincing enough.

  • 45. junior  |  March 25, 2013 at 10:26 am


    As always, PURE’s spin is not real accurate or honest. For example, the 50% white number includes Latino, so it’s actually pretty representative of city demographics. 50% of the sample was CPS parents. Go to the actual original source and read the survey. I found it pretty interesting. Don’t rely on either the Tribune or PURE or anyone else cherry-picking and spinning their own biased statistics.

  • 46. local  |  March 25, 2013 at 10:28 am

    @ 32. cpsobsessed | March 24, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    I know, right?! I swear every survey I’ve seen involving CPS has been written by monkeys. These survey instruments could, basically, be used as examples of what NOT to do in any college survey methods course. Sad.

  • 47. local  |  March 25, 2013 at 10:32 am

    @ 36. cpsobsessed | March 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    “@A-Mouse. Good point. 2 schools with comparable test scores, one staff cheaper — which do you choose?”

    (this is not criticism of the posts)

    Isn’t is just so ironic that CPS, whose charter is “education,” seems to ultimately devalue more highly educated staff? (Of course, this happens almost everywhere that can’t pay for more educated staff. Hence the life of adjunct college faculty.)

  • 48. local  |  March 25, 2013 at 10:37 am

    @ 40. Claire | March 25, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Good points. BTW, am I hallucinating or is Emanuel (post-vacation) now framing the school closings as “closing the ‘worst performing’ schools” ?If so, slick move. Anyone notice this, or should I lay off the caffeine?

  • 49. local  |  March 25, 2013 at 10:42 am

    @ 40. Claire | March 25, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Yep on your suggestion of decision-making by thorough investigation. I shudder to think of the future of my work unit if the higher ups made decisions mainly on certain data without deeper understanding & evaluation of my unit’s work, role, purpose, needs, and resources. On paper, I bet they’d click us off. Up close, they’d see we’re the lynchpin for the entire operation (imho!). 😉

  • 50. junior  |  March 25, 2013 at 10:53 am

    54 seems like a lot of schools, but isn’t there another round of hearings that will take place for individual schools? If so, my guess is that the final closing list will be around 35. CPS always starts high with a “shock and awe” number and then reduces it to make it more palatable.

    Seems like some of these closings will create pretty awful conditions. If you believe in charters and choice, then it’s just as wrong to make conditions so bad in neighborhood schools that there is no reasonable choice but a charter or magnet. If the point is competition and choice, then neighborhood schools should be allowed to compete on an even playing field and not set up to fail.

    On another note, anyone else see an irony that some folks in the More Than a Score coalition are complaining that based on pure ISAT scores, some receiving schools are ranked slightly lower than closed schools? CPS used a broader metric than ISAT scores (hurray!), and now they are criticized by test-hating lobby that they didn’t follow raw ISAT scores? Gotta love politics.

  • 51. Mayfair Dad  |  March 25, 2013 at 10:54 am

    @ 40. Right on target as usual. I will repeat my mantra from the past few months: If the data is flawed, the process is flawed. If the process is flawed, the outcome is flawed.

    This has been a fustercluck of epic proportions. If you are CPS and you know that CTU will galvanize support from union members and aggrieved parents to oppose the school actions, wouldn’t you make sure you set about this task in the most thoughtful, transparent and unassailable way?

  • 52. local  |  March 25, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Where is Deming when you need him?

  • 53. local  |  March 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I see mention of the no-school-closings rally. I don’t want to attend b/c what I need is a set-about-this-task-in-the-most-thoughtful- transparent-and-unassailable-way. For real. I’d attend that with bells on.

  • 54. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 25, 2013 at 11:07 am

    #32~CPSO~”Truthfully, most of those response are exactly how I’d expect people to answer who have no/little knowledge of the issues.” Exactly, I totally agree. Loaded questions to ppl w/hardly any knowledge of CPS.

  • 55. junior  |  March 25, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I believe there is a breakout of answers by CPS parents. If CPS parents have hardly any knowledge of CPS, then I guess that says a mouthful.

  • 56. Gobemouche  |  March 25, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Speaking of charters and skewed information, have you all read the Tribune editorial “Unchain the Charters”?

    Yes, some charters have waitlsts. But that is also true for a helluva lot of regular CPS schools. Since when does “having a wait list” equate to “being a good school.”

    They throw around numbers from that survey to prove how badly people seem to want charters. However, they don’t compare to regular CPS schools. I’m sure if they also asked parents if they would like to see more selective or special programs like STEM, they would have gotten the same kinds of responses.

    I have no idea who wrote this, but I suspect their last name might be Rangel.


  • 57. cpsobsessed  |  March 25, 2013 at 11:30 am

    @Gobemouche: A friend of mine and I (she also used to work in marketing research) were just on Facebook being outraged about the way the questions were asked in that survey and how the data was concluded in that editorial. She and I were both separately up all night feeling pissed off about it. I am not fully ant-charter, but any means – but I don’t like seeing an institution like the Tribune twisting information around to purport an opinion.

    And to your point, if we’re making recommendations for education based on waiting lists and what children are “yearning for” — well, bring on some magnets, SEES, reading specialist, etc etc…

    That survey was clearly created to lead peoples’ responses in a certain direction and I am incensed that the Trib is trying to manipulate public opinion like that.

    I think I have equal, if not more rage as a researcher as to how the ‘facts” were presented in the article.

  • 58. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 25, 2013 at 11:36 am

    CPS does NOT have a waiting list of 19,000 students for charters. CPS can’t fill the charters they have now, and they want to open 60 more?? http://cpsoae.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=173111&type=d

  • 59. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 25, 2013 at 11:36 am

    #57~As a researcher, I agree w/you…but technically, now I’m a sahm!

  • 60. Lisa  |  March 25, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I heard on NPR that the teacher’s union may be engaging in “Civil Disobedience” to protest the closing of schools. What does this mean or what could this entails? Could we be looking at a “mini-strike” or some sort of work stoppage?

  • 61. Gobemouche  |  March 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Glad I’m not the only one who’s not p*ssed off about this editorial. I don’t know if its lazy reporting or manipulative. Either way, it’s a shame.

  • 62. junior  |  March 25, 2013 at 11:49 am

    @56 Gobemouche

    “Since when does “having a wait list” equate to “being a good school.”

    That one could generate a lot more discussion than I have time for. I think that demand to get into a school can often be a good indicator of its quality, but not always. And it brings in parents’ values, perceptions and judgements, which generate far broader, multi-faceted measures of quality than test scores.

    However, the problem with using waiting lists as a measure of quality, is that they reflect supply and demand, which may be distorted/manipulated in CPS based on the number of choices, or lack of, in a given geography. But if you compare situations where the number of educational choices are similar, then I would argue that the demand to get into a school is an excellent measure of quality.

  • 63. Gobemouche  |  March 25, 2013 at 11:57 am

    “However, the problem with using waiting lists as a measure of quality, is that they reflect supply and demand, which may be distorted/manipulated in CPS based on the number of choices, or lack of, in a given geography.” Exactly, junior. Well said. That’s why this editorial is driving me crazy.

  • 64. Family Friend  |  March 25, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    @56 & @57: I am strong charter support and I was upset by that editorial. Before I am anything, I am a critical thinker. I like to see the data, and as much data as possible, from as many angles as possible. I also like first-hand knowledge. I know there is no data to support the 19,000-waiting-list claim. I was sorry to see Andrew Broy of INCS jumping on that bandwagon; he is usually respectful of the facts. It’s not CPS’ list, by the way. The number was compiled (or pulled out of the air, take your pick) by New Schools for Chicago. In essence, they asked charter schools how many people were on their waiting lists, and made some estimates to cover gaps in the data. There is no “master list”; each school keeps its own list. So there is no way of cross-referencing to account for students on more than one list. There is also no way of knowing if a student on one school’s list has been accepted at another charter. My stab-in-the-dark guess is a little over 10,000, and I am sure that my number is at least as defensible as 19,000.

    Other than that, the editorial seemed to take a page out of a libertarian play book. It just spouted platitudes about competition, and supply and demand. The reason charters succeed – and most of them do succeed – is that they can implement the practices that have been shown to work; they can make nimble adjustments when something is not working; and they create a culture of high expectations from both students and staff. I think parents want their students in that kind of school, and they don’t really care if it’s charter or not. Until CPS can figure out how to turn the battleship of a huge organization that doesn’t do what works, can’t adjust to the situation on the ground, and has disappointingly low expectations, charters will serve a need.

  • 65. Angie  |  March 25, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    @58. SoxSideIrish4 : “CPS does NOT have a waiting list of 19,000 students for charters. CPS can’t fill the charters they have now, and they want to open 60 more??”

    Do you have the waitlist data for each of the charter schools? Please provide the link.

    Obviously, the better the charter, the more likely they have a long waiting list. How is that different from CPS? Some of the magnet and open enrollment schools have hundreds of people on their waitlists, and others have hundreds of open seats and no one interested in attending there.

    Just a few examples from the CPS high school guide:

    Charter NLCP – Christiana Performance:
    PSAE 24.2%
    ACT 17.2
    Grad Rate 74%

    Charter Noble – Pritzker Performance:
    PSAE 58.2%
    ACT 21.5
    Grad Rate 85.8%
    College Enroll. 75.2%

    Charter Noble – Rowe ClarkPerformance:
    PSAE 44.1%
    ACT 19.7
    Grad Rate Not Avail.
    College Enroll. 83.9%

    CPS Clemente Performance:
    PSAE 11.9%
    ACT 15.1
    Grad Rate 49.5%
    College Enroll. 43.1%

    CPS Corliss Performance:
    PSAE 9.2%
    ACT 14.7
    Grad Rate 42.8%
    College Enroll. 50%

    CPS Farragut Performance:
    PSAE 20.1%
    ACT 15.9
    Grad Rate 43.2%
    College Enroll. 38.9%

    Which would you choose?

  • 66. Angie  |  March 25, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Forgot the linkfor previous post. http://cpsoae.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=189321&type=d&termREC_ID=&pREC_ID=383430&hideMenu=1

  • 67. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 25, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Angie: ” Some of the magnet and open enrollment schools have hundreds of people on their waitlists, and others have hundreds of open seats and no one interested in attending there.” ~what schools have open seats that no one wants to attend? Charters. Name them. The charters I see that are doing ok, have a huge attrition rate and those kids went back to n’hood schools. I would choose to have a good n’hood school not a charter that spends more money on administration than students. There is no 19,000 list~they couldn’t provide one…See above #64.

  • 68. Gobemouche  |  March 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Angie, you’re being deliberately obtuse. And you know it. Consider the words fo Family Friend above. She (I assume, could be a ‘he’, I don’t know) supports charters and recognizes the problems with the editorial. That’s what we’re talking about here. Not a debate on charters (again). But a debate about how facts are presented. The point is that there are also waitlsts for CPS magnets, etc. The point is that a wait list is not necessarily an indicator of quality. The point is that the editorial represents the skewing of facts and baseless correlations. You’re also cherry picking scores. Lets just all be honest with each other – typically the “best” CPS schools (district and charter) are the result of the self selection that is inherent in the application process.

  • 69. Gobemouche  |  March 25, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Question – Do some of you have some sort of notification system in place where certain key words alert you to what’s being discussed here? Or something. Because its sort of remarkable how certain posters disappear until the words “charter” or “union” pop up. If so, please advise. I’d like to set up some key words of my own. 😉

  • 70. anotherchicagoparent  |  March 25, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Are all three charters on the list lottery based?

  • 71. anotherchicagoparent  |  March 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    oh yeah to answer your question I would probably choose Clemente. Much more creative school my teen would not get demerits for tiny things and he would learn to question things around him. Noble really into ACT test prep too so not that big of a fan of non critical thinking. JMO

  • 72. Mich  |  March 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    @64, @65, What if charters had to actually play in the same field as their neighborhood schools though?
    I have more respect for the attempt to take the same population and do contract management than I do for the charter. Because the contract has to deal with the SAME population the charter does not. It is unfair to compare the performance of a school with 9% SpEd (Noble-Pritzker) to a school with 20% SpEd (Clemente) and expect the same results out of each.
    While I get parents then want to leave the 2nd, that doesn’t mean you BLAME the second for their lack of results, instead you realize the realities and then figure what you need to give the neighborhood school to allow it to function closer to those that can choose their own students.

  • 73. anonymouse teacher  |  March 25, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Again, I find it terribly odd that while perhaps, some charters do outperform neighborhood schools (and some neighborhood schools outperform charters), give that magnet schools FAR outperform even the highest ranked charters, why are we not opening many, many, many more magnets? CPS magnets are always in the top 50-100 schools in the state.
    Why open a charter that might have, like Namaste (clearly one of the best charters around), exceeds scores on the ISAT between 10-20% and meets and exceeds scores in the 80%–which makes this a decent, viable option (link is: http://iirc.niu.edu/School.aspx?source=ISAT&source2=ISATResults&schoolID=15016299025218C&level=S) when you can open a Hawthorne or a LaSalle or a Stone or a Jackson?

    Hawthorne, exceeds: average around 75%, meets and exceeds, average around 95%+
    Stone, exceeds: 30-40%, meets and exceeds, high 80%
    Both of these magnets far surpass what most would argue to be the best elementary charters we have. Why are we not replicating THESE schools in our neediest areas?
    And yes, I know that Magnets and Charters are essentially the same exact thing because they take kids from families who must compete to get in through the lottery, thus ensuring each of those kinds of schools get some of the most advantaged and or the most committed to education families. But if magnets do better and they do, or even if they are in some cases comparable, why privatize something that can give the same or better education?

    I looked at Galileo, Newberry and Disney I and Namaste. They have nearly comparable scores, with the CPS magnets ALL outperforming Namaste.
    This is not a slam on Namaste. But why have charters, even arguably decent ones, when CPS has something that works even better? (again, I’d also argue, you will also nearly always have better scores when there is a lottery to get in, and the higher performance has nothing to do with the ability to make changes, better instruction,etc. Its all parent investment and income)

  • 74. Angie  |  March 25, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    @68. Gobemouche: If there are no waitlist numbers that can be verified, then how do you know the Tribune information is not accurate? Even if it that waiting list is 10,000, as Family Friend says, it means that there are more people than sets available in the desirable charters.

    “You’re also cherry picking scores. Lets just all be honest with each other – typically the “best” CPS schools (district and charter) are the result of the self selection that is inherent in the application process.”

    So what is wrong with letting people self-select into the better schools? If you live in the Clemente neighborhood, and don’t have the scores to get into SE school, or the money to move into the Lincoln Park attendance area, why shouldn’t you be able to get into the charter school with the nearly twice the graduation rate?

    “The point is that a wait list is not necessarily an indicator of quality.”

    Maybe, but it is always an indicator of desirability of a certain school. Taxpayers’ money is used to finance both CPS and charters, and if they want to be able to choose between them, why should they be denied that choice?

    “Question – Do some of you have some sort of notification system in place where certain key words alert you to what’s being discussed here?”

    Most of the discussion in the recent weeks has been about magnets and SE scores and acceptances. I have nothing to say on that subject as we are not applying anywhere.

  • 75. TG  |  March 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Angie, I’ve always appreciated your input. Keep it up, you’re one of the sane ones on here.

  • 76. junior  |  March 25, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    @73 anonymouse

    You’ve been around long enough to have seen the data that show that magnets do not significantly outperform neighborhood schools when you adjust for selection bias.

    Charters, magnets, selective enrollment, neighborhood schools… I’ll take an “all of the above” strategy.

  • 77. Angie  |  March 25, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    @75. TG: Thank you.

  • 78. anonymouse teacher  |  March 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    @76, which is exactly why I stated that in parenthesis at the end of post 73. I said, “again, I’d also argue, you will also nearly always have better scores when there is a lottery to get in, and the higher performance has nothing to do with the ability to make changes, better instruction,etc. Its all parent investment and income”. There is no “secret sauce” in any magnet or charter. They just have better students.

    But, when you adjust for selection bias, and do NOT look at neighborhood schools, and only compare charters and magnets, magnets do better. They both have the same bias. I never compared magnets to neighborhood schools. I was comparing magnets to charters. Charters do not take just anyone. Neither to magnets. Both select kids through lottery, correct? Charters and magnets, both who select kids nearly the same exact way and the magnet outperforms the charter virtually every time. So, again, why open a charter, when if we opened more magnets, we’d get even better results? Why open schools, such as charters, that even when given the advantage of selection bias, still can’t compete with a magnet?

    If you had the choice between a school that only had 10% of their kids exceeding standards or a school that had 40% exceeding standards, which would you choose? (let’s for the sake of argument say that both had simliar qualities in all other ways)

  • 79. CPC4Chicago  |  March 25, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    @76 Junior,

    Honest question. Statistically, how do you adjust for the selection bias in a magnet versus neighborhood school?

    The first thing that comes to mind would be tracking the performance of kids who applied to magnets, never got it but nonetheless stayed within their neighborhood school through 8th grade compared to kids within the magnet schools. While the second set of data is readily accessible, I’d be very surprised if the first set exists. Even while I type this I can think of problems with that method so I’m sincerely interested in knowing the metrics that someone else utilized to arrive at that conclusion.

  • 80. Gobemouche  |  March 25, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Angie, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with letting people choose. What I’m saying is that the Trib editorial presents a one sided view with no real data to back it up. That is all. There are so many things to say about education in Chicago, that it would be nice if a prominent editorial would present a a researched and well reasoned point of view. Instead, its like they threw together a piece based on what they heard from somebody who heard it from somebody.

  • 81. cpsobsessed  |  March 25, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    @A-Mouse, without looking at any data, I’d venture to guess that the charters are serving almost primarily Tier 1/2 students and seem to be located in and geared towards some of the most “at risk” neighborhoods. Most of those top magnets are more skewed away from low income than a typical CPS school. I know for sure theirs an achievement gap at the magnets. Would be a more fair comparison to look at the lowest income kids in magnets and compare to charters. Charters are lottery and are creaming off the top, but are doing so from a lower starting point is what I’d contend.

    To your point though, why not just have a few more magnets in place of those charters which would likely be the same thing?

    I support the idea of parents (esp those in shitty neighborhoods) having a choice for something different – more disicpline, UNO which is geared specifically to the hispanic popultion, etc. But the downside is they don’t operate in a vacuum and they have a detrimental effect on the whole system by draining kids from the neighborhood schools.

  • 82. Magnet Parent  |  March 25, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    @73 anonymouse teacher: One of the big differences between magnet and charter is charter school teachers are not members of CTU. The students could still go to school while the CTU was on strike back in the last fall.

  • 83. junior  |  March 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    @78 a-mouse

    What @81 cpso said. The two lottery pools are very different.

    @79 CPC4Chicago

    I will get you what you’re seeking. Now, before I do that…. what problems do you see with the approach that you defined?

  • 84. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 25, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    You can see CPS numbers on space utilization for many charters. 28 charters are under-enrolled with 8,516 seats available in all. As with magnets and other application-based admission schools, people want to go to some charters and not others. Opening new ones will not change this unless parents on wait-lists have control over the shape and form of the new charters.


    @33. Christopher Ball : “In a real merger, you have people from each team who are evaluated and the good ones chosen.”
    But that is exactly what’s happening here. The top rated teachers, per union contract, will follow the kids to the new school, and others will be let go.

    No. It is what did not happen. You pick some people from team A and some from team B. In the closing case, only the tenured teachers follow their students (if they are in top two categories). They teachers — regardless of quality — remain at the “receiving” school.

    In the case of Altgeld-Wentworth, Wentworth never presented at the community meeting, but it became the receiving school. No case was made.

  • 85. CPC4Chicago  |  March 25, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    @83, Junior,

    I was just thinking that there could be some survivor bias tilted against the neighborhood schools as they’ll be certain people “of means” who move to the ‘burbs or go private unless their kid gets into their magnet school of choice.

  • 86. anonymouse teacher  |  March 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    What are some south and west side magnet schools or a magnet school with 80% low income, does anyone know? I’d like to compare them, in data, and look at their low income % to see if magnets that typically draw tier 1/2 or low income families do in comparison to charters.

  • 87. anonymouse teacher  |  March 25, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    So, I looked at CPS.edu at southside magnets. Gunsaulus is one of them. They have comparable scores to Namaste as well as a comparable student body.
    They are both about 83% hispanic.
    They have very comparable scores.
    Yet, Gunsaulus has about 93% low income and Namaste is about 85% low income. Gunsaulus outperforms the charter if you consider they have more low income kids. I don’t have time to look at every single magnet on the south or west side, but if a magnet can perform just as well as one of the highest performing charters with even more low income kids, then that’s important.

    Btw, the awesome former principal at Lloyd went to Gunsaulus. I am glad to see he landed a position in the system. We need more people like Mr. Kim in CPS.

  • 88. anonymouse teacher  |  March 25, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Gunsaulus on the south side is a magnet with an 83% hispanic population, just like Namaste. Their scores are very similar. Except Gunsaulus has 93-94% low income kids and Namaste has 85% low income kids. So even with MORE low income children, likely from tier 1/2 tracts given the low income #s and the area, the magnet does as well as the charter.
    And yay for Kiltae Kim, who got unfairly ousted from Lloyd. He’s now at Gunsaulus. Gunsaulus is incredibly lucky to have him. If I didn’t love my school so much and wasn’t so afraid that CPS will close any school that isn’t primarily higher income or “valuable” to the system, I’d go to teach for him in a second.

  • 89. anonymouse teacher  |  March 25, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    sorry for the double post-I didnt’ see it the first time.

  • 90. junior  |  March 25, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    @85 CPC4Chicago

    Good point. That could be a small bias. But the direction of bias (toward magnets) means that the argument that neighborhood schools perform about as well as magnets is still pretty unassailable based on what seems to be the best available data.

    Here’s the data. Warning — this is not a light read. If you don’t have a lot of time, skip to the conclusions…


  • 91. cpser  |  March 25, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    87 – looks like w/consolidations and closings low performing magnets got their magnet designation taken away. Eg Ryder – was a math and science magnet. Only magnets left are performing and not many left on the south side. I imagine that high performance levels are tough for both charters and magnets depending on poverty level.

  • 92. anonymouse teacher  |  March 25, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Yep, high poverty levels make high performance very difficult. And if you also mix in ESL issues, a large sped population and a community where on top of poverty you have a parent body that isn’t very focused on education, its even harder.
    I’m not surprised some schools had their magnet designation taken away. That means CPS doesn’t have to pay for all the nice extra positions those magnets will get. Thus, we see in action, CPS starving a struggling school of resources. Again.

  • 93. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 25, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    @70 All Illinois charter schools are lottery based, if more students apply than there are spaces available. They must accept students district-wide. As @72 Mich points out, this puts charters v. neighborhood on unequal footing. In some cases, the charter can give preference to neighboring students.

    @51 That’s the part that puzzles me too. Why do this in such a ham-fisted fashion?

  • 94. Sped Mom  |  March 25, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    @80. Gobemouche |

    Regarding Trib editorials…

    Ha! I think you nailed how the editorialists come to their POVs. 😉

  • 95. Sped Mom  |  March 25, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    @64. Family Friend |

    Re definition of waitlist/s.

    Exactly, FF.

    Didn’t Pew or some org come out last week with research showing adults are leaving newspapers because they no longer believe the reporting (or some such)?

  • 96. BuenaParkMom  |  March 25, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    @ 86 – Frazier International Magnet

  • 97. EdgewaterMom  |  March 25, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    @84. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)

    You can see CPS numbers on space utilization for many charters. 28 charters are under-enrolled with 8,516 seats available in all.

    How can the Trib throw around statement like “10,000 kids waiting to get into a Charter” and NOT mention the 8,516 current open seats at Charters?!

  • 98. cps alum  |  March 25, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Perhaps someone out there can add up the number of kids on waiting lists for CPS neighborhood schools like Blaine, Burley, Waters, Edgebrook, etc. Then they can do the same spin that the Tribune did in their article listing 1000’s of students on CPS neighborhood wait lists.

  • 99. Sped Mom  |  March 25, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    “How can the Trib throw around statement like “10,000 kids waiting to get into a Charter” and NOT mention the 8,516 current open seats at Charters?!”

    Good question! I hope someone asks their editorial board or writes a letter to the editor.

    Still, it’d be nice if it wasn’t turned into such a pissing contest. Personally, I’d like to have a district of neighborhood schools with special programs for the outliers (such as extreme arts, gifted, sped, etc.) and a few entire schools that are really, truly, deeply alternative (like HS without walls, etc.).

  • 100. Sped Mom  |  March 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    I think this is the Pew study: “The State of the News Media 2013 is the tenth edition of our annual report on the status of American journalism.” at http://stateofthemedia.org/.

  • 101. Angie  |  March 25, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    That’s an interesting list Christopher Ball posted in #84.

    Many of those underutilized charters are marked in red, which means they are in the process of growing grades, and in some of the others enrollment percentage has been growing by double digits in the recent years.

    And some of the charters are marked efficient with utilization over 100%. Do you think they might be the ones with the long waiting lists?

    Now, let’s look at some other red marked schools on the list. Skinner North is 48% utilized, but can you get into those empty seats in the grades that don’t yet exist? Disney 2 is 86%, with 65 seats available, but check its waiting list numbers in the magnet thread. The seats are there, but they are not being filled yet. It appears that having the waiting list and empty seats is not mutually exclusive, even within the same school.

    Also, I think a lot of those empty charter seats will fill up over the summer. Some parents from the closing schools are probably learning about charter availability for the first time right now, and they might be interested in getting into them.

  • 102. EdgewaterMom  |  March 26, 2013 at 7:42 am

    @101 Angie

    Also, I think a lot of those empty charter seats will fill up over the summer. Some parents from the closing schools are probably learning about charter availability for the first time right now, and they might be interested in getting into them.

    I am sure that CPS would love that. We are closing down your neighborhood school so now you are forced to consider a charter. Charters are supposed to be about offering a CHOICE. It is not a choice when it becomes the only decent option. It seems that CPS is intent on pushing more and more kids into charters.

  • 103. Angie  |  March 26, 2013 at 9:30 am

    @102. EdgewaterMom: “Charters are supposed to be about offering a CHOICE. It is not a choice when it becomes the only decent option.”

    Or, please. It’s not like any of the closing schools are a decent option. Which one would you have considered for your own child? Or are they OK for those other children, but not for your own?

    These people always had a choice, they just did not know about it. They don’t hang out on CPS Obsessed, they don’t know about SE and magnet schools, and I’m guessing that their union teachers were not exactly forthcoming about the availability of the charters. And now they can choose between their welcoming school, or try their luck at the cluster magnet and open enrollment lottery if they prefer them over charters.

  • 104. junior  |  March 26, 2013 at 9:58 am

    @103 Angie

    Charters are only incentivized to provide as much quality as will fill their seats. If you close too many neighborhood schools and lower the bar for charters to fill their seats, then you are not providing charters with the necessary incentives to compete on quality. It is a delicate balance.

    As I said before, charters don’t have to be good to succeed, they just need to be better than the alternative. Here, we may be making charters more successful by reducing the quality of the alternative, not by improving charter quality.

  • 105. anonymouse teacher  |  March 26, 2013 at 10:12 am

    What kind of transportation is CPS offering for all the displaced students who no longer have a neighborhood school within walking distance from them (under 5-6 blocks)? Bussing? Free CTA passes?

  • 106. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 26, 2013 at 10:21 am

    @101 Most of the underutilized charters are not growing grades. We still have 16 w/ 4,384 seats open now that people do not want for whatever reasons. The other 4,132 seats are coming on-line over the next several years, The “growing grades” — for charters and for regular schools — always bothered me. This is an administrative decision: I could fill a K-8 school upon opening if it was staffed fully. Either CPS refuses to fully staff a school at opening or the charter teams choose to start with only some grades.

    I can’t figure out where the Tribune editorial wait-list data comes from. The Tribune reported 10,000 on chart wait-lists according to CPS in May (the National Alliance for Public Charters cited the Tribune report as the basis for its figure of 10,000). The NACP tried to survey charters nationally, but the response rate was low: only 31.6% of schools responded (kudos to them for listing that; too many advocacy groups hide their response rate data). See http://www.publiccharters.org/Blog/Default.aspx?id=249 It did not have state-level wait-list data for Illinois, let alone Chicago figures.

    My surmise is that the charter wait-list data is like regular wait-list data: it does not identify the number of individuals who are on wait-lists (i.e., Jim Smith would count for 1 if he was wait-listed at 7 schools) but the number of people on wait-lists for each school (i.e., Smith is on seven wait-lists so Smith is counted 7 times). Look at application-based enrollment at CPS (many people are wait-listed at multiple schools; if you summed wait-list numbers, you would over-count the number of individuals who are waiting for a seat). In fact, some of the 19,000 may be at a charter, but not the one that they prefer to be at in the same way that a child at a RGC may be wait-listed at magnet school.

  • 107. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 26, 2013 at 10:51 am

    @103 You are mis-interpreting the concept behind the school choice movement. The premise is that schools are like other consumer services: if I don’t like grocery store X, I can choose to shop at grocery store Y.* If enough people make this choice, then X will either improve its service, offerings, or prices or it will go out of business. But schools aren’t like grocery stores. No one says — I’m sorry, you can’t shop at our grocery store because we have all the customers we need. But this does happen with schools. In the framework of the school choice movement, the very existence of wait-lists shows that we have too few schools of various kinds, not just charters. Choice can’t work if you cannot choose. If, as you suggest, too many parents who would wish to choose lack sufficient information to choose, then we have a market failure: choice cannot work under these conditions.

    We should be real about what this means: the number of school spots must exceed the number of students by a sufficient amount that parents can readily choose among schools. Inefficiency in terms of seats per students is essential for choice to function.

    * I am aware that there are large parts of Chicago where you don’t have easy choice among grocery stores.

  • 108. Family Friend  |  March 26, 2013 at 11:48 am

    @70. ALL charters are lottery-based. It’s the law.

  • 109. Family Friend  |  March 26, 2013 at 11:54 am

    @73 anonymouse teacher: There are prerequisites to entering the lottery at magnet schools — either a certain performance level on standardized tests or, for kindergarten, a test administered by CPS. Admittedly, the bar is low — years ago my daughter had to know the alphabet, count to 20 and write her first name to get into the magnet lottery for Kdg. But there are no lottery prerequisites permitted for charter schools. I can’t say that accounts for the performance differences, but it can’t be discounted.

  • 110. IBobsessed  |  March 26, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    @109. There are currently no prerequisites for entering the lottery at magnet schools. Are you referring to selective enrollment schools?

  • 111. Family Friend  |  March 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    @97: Some of the underutilization at charters is not due to underenrollment. Many if not most charters start with one to three grades and add a grade annually to reach full enrollment. This shows up as underutilization on that measure, but the seats will be filled as grades are added. That’s why CPS deleted from the initial closing list any school that had not reached its ultimate number of grades. There are some charter schools that don’t fill every seat in the grades they have open, but I believe most of the 8,516 seats are slotted for future grades.

  • 112. IBobsessed  |  March 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    How about Gobemouch and CPS obsessed writing letters to the Tribu editor about that editorial?

  • 113. anotherchicagoparent  |  March 26, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    93 108 Thanks I earned something new. Has anyone ever challenged that law?

  • 114. Family Friend  |  March 26, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    @110: I am behind the times. My kids have been out of school for a while. I haven’t kept up with elementary magnet schools. But I know there are academic requirements for entering high school magnet lotteries: 5th stanine or higher for most; 7th stanine for Von Steuben’s honor program. Agreed, 5th stainine (about the 40th %ile) is a low bar, but it’s something.

  • 115. Family Friend  |  March 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    @113: No one has ever challenged the law requiring an open lottery for charter schools. A couple of years back a suburban college wanted the local school districts to fund its lab school, and a bill was introduced into the Illinois legislature that would have allowed admissions testing for a narrowly-described charter that only that university’s lab school would have met. The bill did not make it out of committee. The charter movement is based on a strong belief that all children can learn; academic requirements for admission conflict with that belief.

  • 116. teachermom  |  March 26, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Not a “true” lottery for charter schools either.
    The last I heard, charter high schools give slots/priority to the charter feeder schools. The lotteries also favor neighborhood children, as in the case of CICS Northtown Academy In Sauganash. This could have changed, but that is how it was years back.

  • 117. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 26, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    @113 @115 There is also the principle that newly created schools drawing public funds should be open to all. Some charters are proposed in areas where there is not existing public school nearby (less so in Chicago, more so elsewhere in Illinois). The lottery requirement ensures that the charter is not created solely to benefit nearby kids (especially in the cases of middle and upper-income developments seeking a charter to create a new local school).

  • 118. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Interesting items from the Joyce/Tribune poll: when asked to grade their neighborhood school, 73.7% gave their local school an A or a B. When asked to grade CPS as a whole, only 24.7% gave the schools an A or a B. So, most respondents liked their local school but though CPS overall was bad.

    And when asked to name the “most important issue” 48.9% said either “lack of funding” or “crime, gangs, and drugs.” Only 11.3% said “low quality of teachers.”

    When asked how the budget should be balanced 65.6% and 76% strongly disagreed that “lay off teachers and increase class sizes” or “cut after-school programs like arts and sports” respectively should be options. Majorities backed closing under-enrolled schools and raising taxes on businesses — 55.4% and 52.5% respectively.

  • 119. anonymouseteacher  |  March 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    @109, You are mistaking classical and gifted schools for magnets. NO magnet in the entire city requires an entrance exam. Not one. Only gifted and classicals require this. They are two totally different beasts. My children attended a magnet and all we did was fill out a simple form. Read the information on CPS.edu regarding magnet schools.

  • 120. anonymouseteacher  |  March 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    No elementary magnet requires testing or scores.

  • 121. Gobemouche  |  March 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    I think they must have been thinking of magnet high schools (of which there are very few). Von Steuben, for example, requires a minimum 5 stanine to be entered into their lottery. But, no elementary schools.

  • 122. anonymouseteacher  |  March 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    FF, I see you were referring to high schools like Von Steuben. I was only referring to elementary magnets. I don’t have kids near high school yet, so I am not so familiar with high school designations. Agree that a stanine of 5 is terribly low. I also don’t think CPS should call any program a “magnet” (like VS) if they are requiring a score of any kind. It isn’t a magnet then, imo, its a selective enrollment school.

  • 123. tchr  |  March 27, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Angie. I don’t know why I engage, but I do.

    You are very anti union teachers. But are you pro charter teachers? But what if charter teacher form a union? From your posts, I take that you were somehow wronged by some union teachers. Or were you wronged by the school system? I think there is a difference. Plenty of things happen at my (failing but dedicated) school that I disagree with and wish I could distance myself from. Anyways, if a failing CPS school were closed, all the teachers fired, the kids stayed the same, but they brought in charter teachers, would the school be all of a sudden better? (That’s the argument turnarounds make, and while they see jumps in scores, it really isn’t enough to compete with the rest of the city. Schools are still being closed for underutilization and parents choose other options.) Or because the teachers at a charter school are not protected by a union, they would be magically better than the teachers in a union? A few teachers at my school are from other charters and could not survive that life while trying to start a family. Money and time. Just curious what you think. And you asked me before if I thought there were dedicated teachers in CPS like me or the other teachers on this blog. YES. I see teachers who are MORE dedicated. Better teachers. Have several masters degrees. Are nationally board certified. Spend their own money to go to professional development an conferences over the summer. And I teach at one of the crummy schools that you nor anyone on this blog would send their children to. We love our kids. It’s just a crummy system.

  • 124. Angie  |  March 27, 2013 at 11:25 am

    @123. tchr : “From your posts, I take that you were somehow wronged by some union teachers. Or were you wronged by the school system? I think there is a difference.”

    No, you have it backwards. I have not been wronged by CPS (yet), and the union teachers my kids have had so far have been very good. It’s the unions that are the problem.

    I cannot stand public service unions because of their bullying collective bargaining tactics, and their willingness to screw their students, customers, or taxpayers to extort more money and benefits for themselves. And in case of the CTU, they are not only willing to screw the children, but have no qualms about doing it under the false pretenses.

    Remember that union flyer that teachers were distributing to unsuspecting parents during the so-called “strike for better schools”? http://www.ctunet.com/blog/text/Parent-Info-Flyer-PDF.pdf

    People who did not know better actually thought that teachers were fighting to get more nurses and social workers in schools, when in fact that strike was about getting more money, benefits and job protection for the themselves. Or how about that whopper about big bad mayor threatening to put 55 children in the classroom when in reality, the class size restriction was already spelled out in the previous contract, and CPS had no intention of changing it?

    And now CTU is claiming that schools are being closed for racist reasons. Do you personally believe that? Even though most of the children affected by it are African American and Latino, is that really the reason for the school closing?

    “And you asked me before if I thought there were dedicated teachers in CPS like me or the other teachers on this blog. ”

    No, I asked you if all the teachers in CPS were as dedicated as the ones posting on this blog. You know that that is not the case, and yet the union is hell-bent not only on protecting the jobs of bad teachers, but also on paying them the same as the good teachers with the same seniority level.

    I don’t think that lack of the union protection magically makes the teachers better, but it allows to fire the bad ones without spending the ridiculous amounts of time and money to justify that decision. And yes, I do believe that if the kids stayed the same, but the all the bad teachers and administrators were replaced by the good ones, charter or not, the school would become better. Of course, it would have the most impact on the younger children who haven’t yet been subjected to years of neglect, but the older ones would benefit, too.

  • 125. Mayfair Dad  |  March 27, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I don’t always agree with Angie, but when I do, its usually about public employee unions.

    Stay feisty my friend.

  • 126. luveurope  |  March 27, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    124 125 YES! Angie you nailed it.

  • 127. CarolA  |  March 27, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I hate to say this, but in some respects Angie is right. I have to say that I was a bit misled by the CTU. I think we started strong and for the right reasons, I just think that somewhere along the line it changed (and almost as if Karen Lewis was bribed or something) because she did a quick turn around and settled out of the blue (IMO). In the end, it seems we don’t have much influence on things like more nurses and counselors,etc. but without researching our actual ability to make those changes, I was hopeful. So don’t go thinking that teachers went on strike stating “it’s about the children” and then turned it into something for themselves. Many could have been like me and just didn’t know our bargaining rights or our lack of influence on things other than our own salary. In the end, at least people are talking about it now and it is in the forefront so I’d like to think that we had some influence on that. Many parents are more informed now than a year ago. Many parents were blind to the way CPS says one thing and does another. Many parents are more proactive about their child’s education and maybe, just maybe the strike ignited that fire. Can we get credit for anything or are we just self-absorbed people?

  • 128. Patricia  |  March 27, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    @ Angie and MFD. I am on the same page with public sector unions. Private sector unions are fine with me. Public sector creates so much corruption and forces mediocrity. Forcing a one-size-fits all on the teaching profession is not working for the students and to me it is just not fair to treat the best teacher the same as the phone it in tenured teacher. The purpose of the union is to keep everyone trapped in the same box.

    @64 FF “The reason charters succeed – and most of them do succeed – is that they can implement the practices that have been shown to work; they can make nimble adjustments when something is not working; and they create a culture of high expectations from both students and staff. I think parents want their students in that kind of school, and they don’t really care if it’s charter or not.”

    I agree and have asked this (way too many times) on other strings. WHY OH WHY OH WHY can’t all CPS neighborhood schools do the above? Implement practices that work, make nimble adjustments, culture of high expectations of student AND STAFF? Bottom line, because the CTU resists treating any teacher differently or having expectations or rewards that differ among teachers (except for seniority and some degree staus). CTU promotes a one size fits all for teachers.

  • 129. Patricia  |  March 27, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    @CarolA. If all were like you, CPS would be so much better for the students. It just kills me that you are treated the same as a phone it in teacher who really does not care about the students. You are dedicated, caring and make a positive impact on the future of your students. I am truly curious, doesn’t that bother you too? The union dues you pay go for protecting those who don’t do as good of a job as you do. IMO you would be fine without the union holding you back. If the union did not and does not fight for what you wanted during the strike, why be a part of it? I know it would be nearly unheard of to not join the union and you would be bullied, so I get it. However, I find it so ironic that in a “school” where bullying is “zero tolerance”, the union reps are darn good at bullying. I’ve seen it first hand. Kids learn by example sometimes. Before some of you go crazy, I know there are nice union reps, but let’s all admit that when needed, the bully tactics are used without restraint.

  • 130. Angie  |  March 27, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    @127. CarolA : “In the end, it seems we don’t have much influence on things like more nurses and counselors,etc. but without researching our actual ability to make those changes, I was hopeful. So don’t go thinking that teachers went on strike stating “it’s about the children” and then turned it into something for themselves. Many could have been like me and just didn’t know our bargaining rights or our lack of influence on things other than our own salary.”

    I blame the union for that, because they lied to you too. CPS actually posted the rebuttal to the union lies on their web site, but the teachers chose to ignore it, and to authorize the strike based on the misinformation that union reps fed them.

  • 131. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Talk abt bullying ~Rahm said today that ‘time for negotiations is over’ he’s moving ahead w/the closings. YET IL LAW says that there has to be hearings for the next 60 days…so I guess everything he says is just a sham.

    Very few charters exceed, when they do~it’s bc of the attrition (which is VERY high). Those kids go back to the neighborhood schls, but the money doesnt. Charters spend more on administration than they do on pupils. And what’s going on w/Rahm and Juan Rangel? How much was Rahm abt of of the #UNOscandal? Another reason we don’t need more charters.

  • 132. SE Teacher  |  March 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Patricia, do you work in a school? How do you see “bullying union reps” or “phone it in teachers?”

  • 133. IB obsessed  |  March 27, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    It’s very interesting that Angie posts on this blog when there is a current teachers/CTU issue, then disappears-totally her perogative, nothing wrong with it. But interesting. No comments or concern for SEs exam results, HS, etc.? Just a deep hostility to CTU. Hmmmm

  • 134. Peter  |  March 27, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    @IB obsessed. I agree.

  • 135. Patricia  |  March 27, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    @132. I have spent plenty of time to see what I stated. You can choose to believe me or not. I have also seen the most amazing teachers and feel so lucky that my kids have had them. There is nothing better than a great memorable teacher! I remember mine, Mr. Brown, 4th grade or Mr. K HS biology.

    @133 IB Obsessed. I am probably guilty of the same 😉 I read this blog all the time, but don’t comment all the time. When it is kid and school specific, I generally use a different name.

  • 136. Angie  |  March 27, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    @133. IB obsessed: Yes, I only post about the topics that I care about, and this is one of them.

    Right now, I’m not concerned with the SE exams because my kids did not take them, or with the high school, which is still years away. I do read those threads, just to know what’s going on, but have nothing to say on the subject.

  • 137. EdgewaterMom  |  March 27, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    @127 CarolA

    I have to say that I was a bit misled by the CTU. I think we started strong and for the right reasons, I just think that somewhere along the line it changed (and almost as if Karen Lewis was bribed or something) because she did a quick turn around and settled out of the blue (IMO).

    I think that many teachers probably feel the same way. I do believe that many teachers had the best intentions when they voted for the strike, but I am not sure that Karen Lewis and the union leadership ever did.

    I have so many problems with CPS and with the CTU. Neither party seems to have the kids needs as their priority.

  • 138. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 27, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    I agree w/you EdgewaterMom~’Neither party seems to have the kids needs as their priority.’

    I just don’t understand why Rahm would want to close 54 CPS school and open up 60 charters, especially w/the #UNOscandal.

  • 139. Mich  |  March 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    @131 – Rahm is stating the hearings can go on, you can speak & demonstrate all you want, but his mind is made up. He’ll follow the letter fo the law while completely ignoring the spirit of it.

  • 140. luveurope  |  March 27, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    138 The schools are being closed because they are underutilized… thus creating more money expenditures than they are worth. GIve charters a chance…CPS for the most part is failing the kids, maybe the charters can do better.

  • 141. EdgewaterMom  |  March 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    @140 That really depends on how you define under-utilized. The formula that CPS uses is way off for many schools. They are assuming 3 classrooms for special ed, regardless of how many special ed students there are in the school. For example, they show Trumbull as having 54% utilization rate, but they do are not accounting for the 144 special needs students who attend Trumbull. When you adjust their formula to follow state laws regarding special ed students, their utilization rate is 88%!

    I agree that there are some schools that are under-utilized and need to be closed so that resources can be used more efficiently. However, there is no way that more than 50 schools need to be closed, and even if they did, there is no way that they could be closed in such a short time frame without hurting students.

  • 142. Peter  |  March 27, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    CPS isn’t failing kids, parents are.

  • 143. EdgewaterMom  |  March 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    @142 Peter So, are you saying the we do not have a responsibility to educate children who are unlucky enough to be born into a poor family with parents who do not have the resources to help their children succeed?

  • 144. anonymouse teacher's husband  |  March 27, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Patricia #128 – Private unions aren’t corrupt? Jimmy Hoffa – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_hoffa . ALL unions work to protect their members. Good and bad (unfortunately).

  • 145. Patricia  |  March 27, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    @141 EdgewaterMom. “there is no way that they could be closed in such a short time frame without hurting students.”

    No doubt, it is an enormous task that needs resources and focused attention. I am not sure I agree with “there is no way”. Wasn’t that also the mantra for not having recess at all schools and not extending the school day? These have been done fairly well across the whole system in a short amount of time. Not perfect, but it seems to be working. It seems the principals, teachers and school communities are making it work. And the mayor and CPS needed to change policy/contracts to make recess and longer day possible. I recall a lot of headlines and blog comments about how it was “impossible”.

    School closings do add many more layers of complexity and I am not trying to minimize that at all. I think the people protesting for the children (not just protecting union jobs) should be prepared to dedicate the same level of energy to helping make school closing transitions work. For those schools that will end up closing, the school communities should hold CPS to their promises in the press releases and make sure they follow through! As some have written, “it takes a village.”

  • 146. Peter  |  March 27, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    @EdgewaterMom, no I’m not saying that. My only point is that you can’t expect a school to do everything. The parents are at fault, not the teachers or the school system.

  • 147. Patricia  |  March 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    @144 Touche! Ya got me on that one 😉 Further evidence that unions are outdated. For me, I still find public sector unions terribly corrupt with no checks and balances in reality. At least with private sector unions there is the overarching bottom line and stock value that tends to normalize things over time. Now with the car companies it sure did take a long time for reality to sink in……..

  • 148. tchr  |  March 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    “I don’t think that lack of the union protection magically makes the teachers better, but it allows to fire the bad ones without spending the ridiculous amounts of time and money to justify that decision. And yes, I do believe that if the kids stayed the same, but the all the bad teachers and administrators were replaced by the good ones, charter or not, the school would become better. Of course, it would have the most impact on the younger children who haven’t yet been subjected to years of neglect, but the older ones would benefit, too.”

    What are your thoughts on turnaround schools? They follow this model. Fire all the “bad” tenured teachers that cost too much money, “don’t care” about the students, aren’t making growth, etc They bring in NEW “GOOD” teachers. Teachers that care about students. Teachers that are willing to give up their own time for kids. You know, all the good teachers that these kids deserve. Teachers that will do all the things those bad teachers won’t doing. And guess what, their scores are…. still….

    I ask because I am one of those “good” teachers brought in to replace one of those bad teachers. Guess what, some of my kids still aren’t going to make it. And it’s not because I was neglecting them. And the older kids at my school, they weren’t neglected by the teachers at my school either. There are GREAT teachers at my school.

    And guess what, the union doesn’t protect these newbie teachers.

    Please look at these schools that were already turnaround schools and will now be closed for underutilization (which, if they were amazing schools that EVERYONE wanted to send their kids to, they wouldn’t be underutilized) I have been to visit these schools and there are amazing things happening in them. Some wonderful families, kids, and teachers. Just not enough.

    http://www.cps.edu/Schools/Pages/school.aspx?id=610365 Bethune
    http://www.cps.edu/Schools/Pages/school.aspx?id=609888 Dodge (actually has decent scores)

    not being closed, but yes a turnaround school http://www.cps.edu/Schools/Pages/school.aspx?id=610231 NTA

    and a turnaround school but not on the South or West side, very different demographic but same teaching model
    http://www.cps.edu/Schools/Pages/school.aspx?id=610248 Chicago Academy

    And lastly, the bad teachers at my school now… I don’t think any of them are “bad” because they don’t care. I think they are bad because they are overwhelmed, don’t know what to do, have been thrown into the situation they are in, do not have the classroom management to actually teach. But that’s just my school and my thought.

  • 149. anonymouse teacher's husband  |  March 27, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    I agree with some union values, disagree with others.
    I think the reality is, though, if one dislikes a union or unions in general so deeply, that person or people have options. There is the option of homeschooling, going private, or hey, there are tons of charters out there with non-unionized work forces that I am sure would be happy to take new students.
    It is so curious to me that the loudest anti union voices are also the most pro-charter and yet, yet, those same people do not send their own children to a charter school that is so innovative, so free of union restraints. (heavy on the sarcasm)
    Its kind of like saying ,”oh, I am for fair trade” but not buying fairly traded goods. Its kind of like saying, “I am pro-union” then buying at Walmart. Its kind of like saying “I hate it that all the American jobs are going away” and driving a Toyota. Its like people saying they don’t like a certain political candidate yet don’t bother to vote. You can’t say you hate unions then send your child to a school with union teachers and have any credibility. I think you can say you disagree with some things unions do, but you can’t describe them as the root of all evil, and not see the hypocrisy in sending your own child to a union school.

  • 150. tchr  |  March 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Patricia, how do you see the longer school day and recess “seem to be working”? My school is way understaffed. How are recess and the longer day working? Because none of the teachers at my school get their full lunch or full prep! We cover watching our own kids. And for older grades at my school, those kids DON’T get recess! There is nowhere to put them in the school. No one else to watch them.

    It is a mess. When we have had an adult to watch SEVERAL classes at recess, the kids are nuts! Fights! It is awful.

    It is “working” in the sense that, sure, the kids are at school for 7 hours. But is it beneficial? Meh.

  • 151. CPC4Chicago  |  March 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    SoxSideIrish @141 said:

    Talk abt bullying ~Rahm said today that ‘time for negotiations is over’ he’s moving ahead w/the closings. YET IL LAW says that there has to be hearings for the next 60 days…so I guess everything he says is just a sham.

    The decisions have already been made so one would like to think the hearings can focus on the logistical concerns that have been raised such as safe transit routes. Understandable that these sort of issues were raised but not the focus of the preliminary rounds of hearings but if one can accept the reality that these schools will in fact close and one truly has the best interest of the children in mind then the hearings can and should be used in a productive manner.

  • 152. CPC4Chicago  |  March 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Sorry, referenced reply was supposed to be @131.

  • 153. Angie  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    @148. anonymouse teacher’s husband: “You can’t say you hate unions then send your child to a school with union teachers and have any credibility. I think you can say you disagree with some things unions do, but you can’t describe them as the root of all evil, and not see the hypocrisy in sending your own child to a union school.”

    If I had the money for private school, I would most likely do what 35% of CTU teachers do and send my chidren there. I wonder how many of those private schools are unionized. And if they aren’t, why do the union supporters who scream the loudest about the horrors of privatizing education have no problem with private, for profit institutions educating their own children.

  • 154. anonymouse teacher's husband  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    149’s point is perfect. Yes, recess works in schools with upper income children. In schools you and I see. Tchr, I am serious about what I told you before. I will do anything I can to help you leave your school and come to mine if and when you want to. Our school’s teachers insist that the principal abides by the union rules that protect both the kids and the teachers. It isn’t perfect, but its better than the situation you are in. Plus, I really think my (tenured) colleague is going to get fired so there’ll be an opening. Consider it. I’d love to have you on my team anyday!

  • 155. tchr  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Where does that stat come from? I keep seeing this quote “As recently as 2004, a Thomas B. Fordham Institute study found that 39 percent of CPS teachers sent their own kids to private schools. ”

    But that was from 9 years ago. I don’t send my kids to private school. Well, no one asked me where I send my kids. But… if I had kids, I could NOT afford private school.

  • 156. anonymouse teacher  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    @152, because those schools aren’t taking public funds.
    Btw, that was me, not my husband posting on 148/153. Forgot to change user names between me and him.

  • 157. anonymouse teacher  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    @152, Charters are free. Why don’t you send your child there?

  • 158. CarolA  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Patricia: Teachers in CPS really don’t have a choice about PAYING union dues. Everyone has to whether or not you choose to be a part of the union. I know of one teacher in my school who is very against the union and did not join. However, union dues are taken out from his check in something called “fair share” deduction. I get along with that teacher extremely well. We just know we feel differently about certain issues. I guess it takes mature people who have open minds enough to say that we don’t have to agree on everything and we can still be friends. I respect his views and he respects mine. We just don’t agree on everything. And yes, it bothers me that sometimes the union defends people who probably shouldn’t be defended, but in the cases I’ve witnessed at my school when the principal was “getting rid’ of them, there was minimal support from CTU. If CPS follows all the protocols, there’s not much the CTU can do to “save the job” of a “bad” teacher.

  • 159. Angie  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    @154. tchr: “Where does that stat come from?”

    It was all over Twitter during the strike, along with the link to the source of that information.

  • 160. Patricia  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    So hypocrcy when union teachers buy school supplies at Walmart?

  • 161. tchr  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Ah yes. I look to twitter for reliable info too. I think they said that I make $65,000? Ha.

    Like when people cite Wikipedia. Good.

  • 162. Angie  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    @156. anonymouse teacher: “@152, Charters are free. Why don’t you send your child there?”

    Because I’m fortunate to be able live in the good attendance area. But if my only choice was between, say, Manierre or charter, I would most definitely choose charter school.

  • 163. Patricia  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    @tchr sorry recess is so bad at your school. Can your union help you? Or there are organizations like cofi who may be able to structure it better? New principal needed?

  • 164. local  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Thank god for “fair share” and that Illinois is not a “right to work” state.

  • 165. Patricia  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    CarolA. Yes, 4 got about the fair share legislation passed no doubt with union political donations. It is legislated right?

  • 166. local  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    (regarding implementation of “longer school day” and recess) “These have been done fairly well across the whole system in a short amount of time.”

    You know, I haven’t seen much in depth coverage of that. Could you point me to it? There was so much ink prior to the ’12/’13 sy and I haven’t seen much since. Did see the teacher’s comment below and other comments earlier this year saying it’s a bit of a hot mess with staffing & social-emotional kid stuff.

  • 167. local  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    I’d say that most education union political money goes to support a lot of the ed legislation and politicians that support the kinds of education cpso commenters seems to want.

  • 168. local  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    “For those schools that will end up closing, the school communities should hold CPS to their promises in the press releases and make sure they follow through!” (Groan – it hurts my head to think of all the efforts my community have extended to “hold” CPS to their “promises” – and I’m just talking about >mandated< promises.) Perhaps that's why were seeing more mass actions/rallies these days.

  • 169. anonymouse teacher  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    @160, I refuse to shop at Walmart. I purchase the thousands of dollars I spend on school materials every year from as many places as possible that allow people to earn a living wage.

  • 170. anonymouse teacher  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    @162, so you do not have a big enough issue with union operated schools to keep your kids out of them. I thought so.

  • 171. local  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Personally, we’ve just been dealing with a string of “bad” orthodontists. It sucks!

  • 172. local  |  March 27, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Note: Angie reports being involved with a SWD. In the US, you pretty much have to be involved with public schools in that case. Unless you’re rich.

  • 173. Angie  |  March 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    @170. anonymouse teacher: So you do not have enough confidence in CTU teachers to let them educate your kids? They are good enough for other children, but not your own?

  • 174. local  |  March 27, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I wonder what percent of CTU reps are “bullies” and what percent are “nice.” Seriously. Anyone know (guessimate)?

  • 175. momof2  |  March 27, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    So Angie, the school your children attend is good in spite of the union, and all bad schools are bad because of the union? Am I getting things right?

  • 176. anonymouse teacher  |  March 27, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    I don’t have enough confidence in CPS leadership to send my kids to CPS. I don’t believe in the kind of education that CPS teachers are being forced into (huge overtesting, other issues). So, no, I don’t send my kids to CPS. I do send them to another unionized school district with leadership that allows teachers to do what they are trained to do–teach. I know I am continually forced to implement policies that I think are “worst” practices and I have no control over this. If CPS teachers were allowed to do what they knew was best by our, ahem, leaders, I’d have no issue.

  • 177. anonymouse teacher  |  March 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    @174, probably about the same number of bullies that exist in private sector work, other professions, our government, etc.

  • 178. CarolA  |  March 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    @173 Angie: anonymouse (and everyone else) have the right to choose their own school for their own children just as you have that right. The problem is that YOU are complaining about the teachers and anonymouse is not! If you are so upset with teachers and the CTU, then pull your kids. Otherwise, stop bashing us. You can’t have it both ways.

  • 179. local  |  March 27, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    @ 177. anonymouse teacher | March 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    😉 True that.

    Granted it’s not a census, but across my many days, some of the most amazing humans working for social justice I’ve ever encountered worked as union organizers.

  • 180. Angie  |  March 27, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    @176. anonymouse teacher: “I don’t have enough confidence in CPS leadership to send my kids to CPS.”

    @178. CarolA : “You can’t have it both ways.”

    If you are so upset with CPS, why are you still working for them? Get a job in a different school district.

    If you are so upset with Chicago mayor, move elsewhere.

  • 181. Patricia  |  March 27, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Just curious, taxpayers have no say in the matter? The union is paid for by taxpayers, so why can’t taxpayers have a say about the public services that they pay for. Same as taxpayers have a say in how CPS spends its money on lame contracts, etc. Even people who pay taxes and send their kids private have a say in how tax dollars are used for education.

    YIKES, taxpayers pay for the union—–because of the “fair share” rule, we all essentially pay Karen Lewis’ salary! YIKES! LOL!

    It is interesting that the union/anti-union conversations are essentially the same in every thread. Yes, I am guilty of this too and probably should go back and read old threads instead of participating in new ones! It is NOT the good teachers that I personally am frustrated with and CarolA and anonymouse certainly seem to be very good dedicated teachers. (While no personal experience with them beyond this blog, I appreciate their genuine insight even if I don’t agree).

    I wonder how to frame the conversation so it is really the “union” as an organization that I have an issue with and the ripple effect it has on resisting change (bad or good change). Teachers even have issues with their union. Much of it is probably the same frustration when you get down to it. The union mentality of striving for mediocrity and treating the best and phone it in types the same is what I really have issue with. It is not a “personal” attack on teachers. It is an attack on the union for what it does to the good teachers in the system. And of course ultimately what it does to the students.

    I forgot to say earlier on when someone implied I was a charter lover. I still consider myself “charter-neutral”. I am not fighting for neighborhood against charter or vice versa.

  • 182. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 27, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    181. Patricia | March 27, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    That’s something Bruce Rauner would say. Interesting. He like to say, ‘I’m not against the teachers, I’m against the union.’ Just from the teachers at our school and my friends who are teachers~they are one in the same. They aren’t separate. You can try to make them but it was 98% of teachers who voted for the strike. 98% of union teachers.

    As for charters, I guess I’m against charters that starve neighborhood schools of their $$$, spend more on administration than pupils, mixed bag results, some performing worse than neighborhood schools. Now with UNO and their scandal, we really can’t trust charters networks…giving their family and friends big contracts, paying them a lot of $$$~definite CPS ethics violation. There is one charter that I know of that is good~it’s not a charter network, just one charter school.

  • 183. Patricia  |  March 27, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    @182 SSI4
    I believe Oprah said the same thing too 😉 Interesting…….

  • 184. CarolA  |  March 27, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Most of my personal friends give me no sympathy at all for anything to do with my work issues. I am very realistic about my situation and know that the job protections I enjoy are not what most people are lucky enough to have. It’s hard to complain about my working conditions when my neighbor is on pins and needles every few months about losing her job because her company keeps downsizing. I’m not an idiot. I am very fortunate. But I also work very hard (as most people do) and just am tired of all the teacher bashing as if we are responsible for everything wrong with CPS. So Angie, I continue to work for CPS because I love teaching and no one else would hire me due to my salary point and years of experience. If I leave CPS, I’m kissing teaching goodbye and I’m not ready for that. Why don’t I leave the city? (I can because I’m grandfathered in.) I don’t leave because I bought my house many years ago and I don’t have a mortgage anymore. If I move, I wouldn’t be able to afford my style of living because I’d have to have another mortgage. I voted Rahm in (because it is my right) and I’ll vote against him in the next election. That’s what the right to vote is all about. I answered your questions, why don’t you answer mine instead of continuing to bash me?

  • 185. SE Teacher  |  March 27, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Hard to see how Oprah has anything but a corporate interest in the game.

  • 186. EdgewaterMom  |  March 27, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    @184 CarolA I just want to say that I really appreciate your honesty here. I think that you offer a very realistic view of the current situation and I really appreciated your balanced views.

    I also voted Rahm in, and I will also vote him out.

  • 187. anonymouse teacher  |  March 27, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    @180, oh believe me, I ask myself this all the time! I have a total love-hate relationship with CPS.
    I think most of it is because I love my students. God, how I love them. I love being with them, in spite of the system, and there are things I can do to protect them against the idiotic decisions that are being made at the top. And, you know, most people, most teachers can’t make it in CPS. I am awfully proud of the fact that I can survive this system. And reality is, I am also biding my time. Every year I apply out, and eventually, something will open up and I’ll leave.
    Some family members think I am stupid. Stupid for throwing a pension away. Stupid because they know I am addicted to the codependency of working for a place as dysfunctional as CPS. Stupid because they know I still believe, as much as I say CPS is hopeless, that I can help change it. So, yeah, I complain like crazy, but at least I’m doing something to help make it better.
    And yes, I have issues with my union. Its not perfect.

  • 188. South Side Parent  |  March 27, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    I’ve been enjoyed reading Angie’s comments. Thank you Angie! I personally think CTU is the one who is murdering the kids’ education. Go home Karen Lewis! You are really disgusting! You were trying to use racism to support your case. It’s so low. It’s true that most proposed closing schools will affect the black students the most. But the majority of CPS students are either black or Hispanic at the first place anyway. So, don’t try to stir the pot and gain support from the public for the low quality and lazy teachers. CTU needs to step back! I believe in CPS teachers but I don’t believe in CTU. The good quality teachers should be supported not the lazy ones. CPS is already trying to help the closing school students to a better performing and safer environment. Change is hard. No one likes to change. But this is the reality! No one can guaranteed their job is stable nowadays. If we don’t close the underutilized schools, the city will be keep draining the hard earning money from the taxpayers. Can you imagine one day if all our kids go to virtual schools?

  • 189. Bookworm  |  March 27, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Certainly the last year has tested parents and teachers with kids in CPS. The heart of the system is the relationship between the kids and their teachers, parents and administration on each small school’s little planet.

    I get depressed reading the last half of this thread as it eerily echoes the zombie like comments that made this blog unreadable for me for a long time after the strike. It feels like publicity people commenting to a key word search and less like parents.

    I don’t think even the most non-union loving parents I know in CPS call the teachers lazy. In years at a CPS school I have never once heard a parent call any teachers they know lazy at all in any way.

    I would love to spend the huge money the Mayor spends on the pr arm of CPS on something that actually does something for my CPS students and their teachers. And gives the administration at our school a break from senseless memos from on high. Just decentralize, get rid of the whole CPS head office and let each school go for it on their own. Hire ten people to handle the payroll.

  • 190. junior  |  March 28, 2013 at 12:03 am

    LOL. I didn’t vote for Rahm last time, but probably will vote for him next time. Wish he would have been tougher on CTU contract though. He is such a softie.

  • 191. cpsobsessed  |  March 28, 2013 at 12:12 am

    This is long, but I got this from CPS tonight:

    CPS Fact Check On Consolidating Underutilized Schools

    Claim: Closing these schools won’t save money.

    Fact: Based on actual spending at each underutilized school CPS is proposing to close, the District will save $43 million annually in operating spending for a total of $430 million over 10 years. By avoiding needed capital spending on underutilized schools proposed for closure CPS will save $560 million over the next ten years.

    Claim: Classes at welcoming schools will be overcrowded.

    Fact: Each welcoming school has sufficient space for the number of students expected to attend this fall. By combining underutilized schools, principals will have more resources to hire needed staff and better positioned to avoid the larger class sizes that we often see in our under-enrolled, under-resourced schools.

    Claim: Thousands of teachers will lose their jobs.

    Fact: There are just over 1,100 teachers in underutilized schools proposed for closure. Many of these teachers will follow their students to welcoming schools per the joint CTU-CPS agreement included in last year’s teachers’ contract, which allows tenured teachers with Superior or Excellent ratings to follow students if their position is open at the welcoming school.

    Claim: Student safety will be at risk.

    Fact: The safety and security of every student is the District’s top priority. In partnership with the Chicago Police Department, CPS will provide every welcoming school with (1) Safe Passage to provide safe routes for students to and from school every day (2) additional safety personnel inside each school (3) new and updated security technology inside each school and (4) social emotional supports to help build relationships between students, staff and families of both sending and welcoming schools in order to create positive learning environments by the start of the school year.

    Claim: Students will have to walk several blocks more to get from home to their welcoming school.

    Fact: For neighborhood students that will not receive transportation, the average increase in distance from their home to their school building will be less than two blocks.

    Claim: Students won’t be going to better schools.

    Fact: Per state law, every designated welcoming school will be higher-performing than the sending school. Criteria outlined in the CPS CEO School Actions Guidelines, which was filed with the state in October 2012, defines school performance that must be used in determining the performance of each school.

    Claim: There is no population decline/CPS can find the money for things we want to fund.

    Fact: According to U.S. Census data, there are 181,000 fewer African Americans in Chicago today than last decade. This has had a significant impact on the utilization rates of schools in these communities – in fact 65% of underutilization in elementary schools is due to population decline. Due to declining revenues and an additional $600 million pension payment, CPS is facing a $1 billion deficit next fiscal year. While it has cut more than half a billion dollars in non-classroom spending over the last two years, it can’t cut its way out of this deficit.

    Claim: CPS created this problem.

    Fact: Population declines over the last decade in both the African American community and in school-aged children are driving the majority of underutilization in our District’s schools. Today, our schools have space for 511,000 children, but only 403,000 are enrolled.

    Claim: This will result in vacant buildings and eyesores in communities, with no plan to deal with this.

    Fact: CPS is working with communities and City Departments on a comprehensive planning process to determine the highest and best use for unused buildings .

  • 192. cpsobsessed  |  March 28, 2013 at 12:16 am

    I also thought this was interesting. Need a new business venture? You can be a Safe Passage provider for CPS!

    CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to expand the Safe Passage program this fall as part of the District’s efforts to provide students with a safe transition both inside and around their welcoming schools. CPS is partnering with community leaders and organizations to lead the Safe Passage expansions at each welcoming school, in order to apply the deep knowledge and expertise they have with each of their school communities. This program is one part of CPS’s comprehensive plan to support the safety of students at all welcoming schools in the 2013-2014 school year.

    The new RFP is an expansion of CPS’s successful Safe Passage program that currently serves 35 high schools and four elementary schools. There are currently ten Safe Passage vendors and they already work in the communities they serve as part of this program. Selected service providers will be assigned to provide every welcoming school with safety support for children traveling to and from school. Community-based watchers familiar with their neighborhoods will be stationed at points along key routes. CPS will provide all Safe Passage partners with training on building relationships with students as well as de-escalation techniques. There are over 600 Safe Passage workers currently serving schools enrolled in this program. CPS will nearly double the program as part of its expansion to all welcoming schools this fall.

    Organizations that are interested in responding to the RFP should visit the CPS Procurement website at http://www.csc.cps.k12.il.us/purchasing.

    (there were more detail in the email)

  • 193. Wendy RYH  |  March 28, 2013 at 2:04 am

    @cps obsessed- thanks for sharing the latest CPS talking points. As we’ve pointed out for the past few months with the help of Jeanne Marie Olson their current formula for utilization already allows for overcrowding and some of their consolidations will most definitely lead to overcrowding. They have schools at 91% efficient set to be “welcoming schools”. They define overcrowded as 120% of ideal capacity of 30 students per homeroom-and that is a problem for all of us. They also still haven’t factored special ed rates into their formula, which is just wrong. Again, CPS does not consider a building overcrowded until it is at 120% of capacity based on 30 students per homeroom. Many of the schools on the closing list have high special ed rates, 16 have special ed cluster programs for autism and other special needs, and it is just plain false that there won’t be issues of overcrowding. Their definition of overcrowding is way off-base.

  • 194. CarolA  |  March 28, 2013 at 6:21 am

    Junior: So far it’s 2 votes against Rahm and one vote for. 🙂
    South Side Parent: I agree that change is necessary. I think a lot of people do (including teachers). I personally think that it is wise to close some schools. I don’t know about any of the schools so it wouldn’t be right for me to comment on that. I think we need to be specific in your comments that you really can’t stand Karen Lewis and her team because when you say you don’t like CTU you ARE talking about the teachers. You make some good points. These are things I’ve said myself. The reality is that the majority of students in CPS are black and/or Hispanic. I can only speak for myself, but it’s Rahm’s strong arm tactics (my way or the highway) and the misleading of the public by offering forums when they already know what they want to do. I present the example of Governor Chris Christie who has some very strong opinions, but I like him a lot. The only way I can describe the difference is that if I sat down with the governor, I feel like he’d really listen to what I had to say. If I sat down with Rahm, I think he’d be planning how to be “out of town”.

  • 195. cpsobsessed  |  March 28, 2013 at 6:42 am

    Thanks Wendy. Are there any specific examples you can to point out?
    Sometimes it’s more concrete to look at some specific schools for people to understand what the impact will be.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 196. Casey H  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Make that 2 for, 2 against CarolA. We finally have a mayor who cares about education after the do-nothing Daley era. So far I agree with everything Emanuel has done and is doing.

  • 197. anonymouse teacher  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Wendy, have you heard where the new locations will be for all the autism programs? I have been wondering how many will go to the new building and how many will be displaced to other buildings, simply because there isn’t room to comply with the legal class size mandate for autism programs. I also wonder how many school basement rooms or large closets will be converted, over the summer, into “classrooms”.

  • 198. Patricia  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:16 am

    3 for: 2 against

    In just about 2 years…………..

    My kids now have recess.
    My kids now have a decent length school day (not pathetic 5.75h)
    My kids now have more options for HS in the future with IB and STEM
    My kids school now has more guidance on curriculum with common core
    My kid will get a playground upgrade
    My kids teachers still care about them and their futures
    My kids principals now have expectations set that the students are priority
    My kids have a district that is making tough decisions, implementing a little better, but still has a LONG LONG way to go
    My kids have a mayor who has the guts to make change happen

    Under Daley, my kids would probably be at school in the burbs by HS

  • 199. CarolA  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Patricia: I agree! Go back in the posts and see that I’ve always was FOR change. I can be FOR change, but against a person can’t I?

  • 200. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:38 am

    197. anonymouse teacher | March 28, 2013 at 8:12 am

    1. Under Rahm’s longer day~ for the minutes extra, were the minutes need to use for more high stake testing. There was no real quality added instructional time, but there were more tests and the time need for the tests so CPS didn’t deny IL law of 300 minutes of instructional time. Rahm’s friend Murdoch got $4.7M contract for high stake tests, our kids got more time in school to take the tests.

    2. Under Rahm’s longer day~ High school kids (mostly the SEHS) are getting home so late, many have lost their part time jobs that they needed bc they were gettting home way later than Catholic schools.. Thanks Rahm. The SEHS had a plan and many were longer day all ready~Rahm should have left it alone.

    3. And now we see neighborhood schools closing and charters opening very close to where the schools are closing. Will Rahm be around for Mayor, I think the #UNOscandal will bring him down during an investigation.

  • 201. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I”m sorry the above post was for

    198. Patricia | March 28, 2013 at 8:16 am

  • 202. Patricia  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Yes CarolA, you have always been level headed and rational and want good change to happen. As I have said before, if all were like you, the students would be a whole lot better off. Your vote is your vote to do as you wish 🙂

  • 203. Patricia  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:52 am

    oops, hit return too fast. CarolA, one last thought, do you really think all this good change would have happened under one of the other candidates? Do you think the kids should wait years or decades, which they don’t have? Every single year is critical to a kid. I agree that the approach is forceful and harsh at times, but in reality, I do not think that any degree of, “pretty please with sugar on top” approach would have worked any better and in fact may have stalled change. Too much staunch resistance to any change that we continue to see today.

  • 204. CarolA  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Thanks Patricia.
    Sox: You are right. There is really NO added instructional time to speak of.
    Many years ago I had a principal who drew us (the teachers) a triangle and made no bones about the fact that she was on top. Decisions were hers and hers alone. We were at the bottom. She said if we didn’t like it, she’d be more than happy to sign our transfer papers. Even though I didn’t like her tactics, I respected her for being up front and sayin’ it like it was. All over the news last night and this morning I’ve been seeing Rahm saying the talks are over, the decisions have been made and it’s time to move forward. Why then are we going to waste time and taxpayer money to have 3 meetings per closed school? If it’s a law, change the law. It’s been done many times. Let’s not fool ourselves that these meetings will matter. He’s already stated they won’t.

  • 205. Casey H  |  March 28, 2013 at 9:00 am

    199. CarolA If you agree with Patricia’s list (as I do 100%) then it it is hard too understand why you wouldn’t be supportive of Emanuel’s efforts. You may not like him but he’s not letting likability get in the way of getting public education to a better place.

  • 206. CarolA  |  March 28, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Patricia: You are right again. Not sure about the other candidates. Yes, this change needed to happen right away. But there’s a right way to move forward quickly and a wrong way. Before Rahm even sat in his mayoral office he was bashing the teachers. “They got raises the last four years and the city got the shaft.” Really? The city (the children) got shafted? Really? Maybe a more mature statement like….It’s time for change. It’s time for…… Let’s work with the teachers who are with our children each day and find ways to give them a better education. It’s all about the tone. My husband can say something one way and it’s comes out rather harsh and then say the same exact words in a different tone and it’s inquisitive, not harsh. As mentioned earlier, I like Chris Christie. He’s about change, but he’s not demeaning.

  • 207. CarolA  |  March 28, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Casey: Guess I’m looking through my rose colored glasses again and expecting people to treat each other with kindness.

  • 208. Bookworm  |  March 28, 2013 at 9:08 am

    3 against

    in this one year

    teachers have finally struck after months of waiting for a decent negotiation

    teachers can’t observe recess or lunch due to having to eat lunch in an underfunded longer day

    my kids will not get a playground update

    my son’s room is over crowded with 32 students- and counting next year

    my kids teachers care but are demoralized and exhausted

    My family has a mayor that thinks it’s acceptable to leave town and close 51 schools simultaneously ( say what you want about Daley but he would have been out in front of City Hall to face the music)

    Schools closing are arbitrary and based on my kids having 36 children to a room

    the CEO of the public schools has changed 3 times in less than a year and a half

    Neither the Mayor or the CPS has a plan

    Most Chicago public schools still do not have a library

  • 209. Bookworm  |  March 28, 2013 at 9:12 am

    And I’m sorry but my experience in the last year and a half of this mayor is not that he is ” unfriendly ” but that on schools and community violence he is incompetent.

  • 210. Patricia  |  March 28, 2013 at 9:27 am

    @208 Bookworm…………and before the past 1.5 years your list would be what? Status quo, kids dropping out of HS, kids trapped inside with no recess all day driving the teachers crazy?

    @CarolA you are so right about tone, etc. However, with the other bookend being Karen Lewis? Unfortunately, teachers got smooshed in the middle and demoralized.

  • 211. CarolA  |  March 28, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Patricia: LOL 🙂

  • 212. Bookworm  |  March 28, 2013 at 10:00 am

    My list in the last year and a half is not growth on any front for schools. No improvement save forthe addition of music teacher brought to me by the negotiation of my children’s teacher’s union.

    Few students at underfunded schools went our for recess at all this winter. They were inside with inexperienced independent care providers in many cases inexperienced at observing the social interactions between students at lunch or ” recess”.

    Broken playgrounds and cracked pavement isn’t really a recess nirvana. The drop out rate has not improved. Violence has skyrocketed. I am not impressed., Maybe you are. It’s not the Mayor’s tone I dislike it’s the lack of management skills.

    I respect that you feel differently.

  • 213. Neighborhood parent  |  March 28, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Patricia, SSI Junior & Bkworm, CarolA, anon teacher, et al…

    I wasn’t asked but I’ll add my view from a northside Level 2 school –

    My child now has Spanish 50 min/wk (part of longer day).
    My child now gets small group instruction (50 min every day) due to longer day
    My child now has International Studies on alternating days
    My child continues to enjoy recess (no longer “carved” out of passing time/classroom time)
    The longer day offers 10 min. more of “specials time” each day due to longer day.
    Our school has increased enrollment during the last 3 years which has miraculously kept it off the “closing list”
    Our school no longer has to fundraise for Art, due to increasing enrollment
    OUr school has added .5 librarian/.5 reading spec. due to increasing enrollment

    While I fight against the vagaries of CPS and demonstrate support and concern for the teachers at our school; I have to say things are looking better than 4 years ago when we arrived at our neighborhood school.

    I credit RE with “balancing” the city budget with no tax increase and with targeted cuts. I understand that mental health services, libraries were impacted largely but I believe that the city needs to get back its financial health. I agree that corruption, violence and ongoing favoritism (including the charter schools) need to be fought and pray that he’s the leader that can make a lasting impact.

    I didn’t vote for RE but he has my attention now…. and he has a big job in front of him if he wants to keep it.

  • 214. tchr  |  March 28, 2013 at 10:50 am

    That’s great that your school gets those things. I would say that no, my school and teacher friends’ Level 2 and 3 schools on the
    west and south sides did not fare as well as your school. No Spanish. No music. And no science or social studies, for that matter. No real recess. Where do the kids in your school go during winter or rainy weather?

    We already had time for meeting with small groups. I spend a good 45 minutes in my reading block doing that- and had been doing that. Was your school not already doing that? Math block- same. It’s not a one size fits all kind of district.

  • 215. tchr  |  March 28, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I have a question that maybe has already been discussed but maybe someone who understands budgets better can answer. By closing these schools, CPS expects to save $43 million a year. And they need to save money because they are in debt and don’t really have this money to spend anyway. But then how will they be giving schools more resources? They will be again spending the money that they would be saving? I’m confused. Or they will be spending less money this way but still be in debt?

  • 216. RL Julia  |  March 28, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Change is always hard. This is no exception.

  • 217. Peter  |  March 28, 2013 at 11:55 am

    209. Bookworm “community violence”

    This is a load of shit. Sorry.

    One year of increased violence in 2012 and he is incompetent? Homicides are down almost 50% from last year, of course no mention of that. Look at historic crime rates in Chicago. There are occasional bumps up from time to time, but over the last 20 years crime has decreased dramatically.

  • 218. Peter  |  March 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    198. Patricia | March 28, 2013 at 8:16 am
    3 for: 2 against

    In just about 2 years…………..

    My kids now have recess.
    My kids now have a decent length school day (not pathetic 5.75h)
    My kids now have more options for HS in the future with IB and STEM
    My kids school now has more guidance on curriculum with common core
    My kid will get a playground upgrade
    My kids teachers still care about them and their futures
    My kids principals now have expectations set that the students are priority
    My kids have a district that is making tough decisions, implementing a little better, but still has a LONG LONG way to go
    My kids have a mayor who has the guts to make change happen

    Under Daley, my kids would probably be at school in the burbs by HS

    Great post Patricia

  • 219. Casey H  |  March 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    215. tchr. CPS is not “in debt”. The money used to operate the CPS comes from real estate taxes (from people who own homes and buildings and a bit more comes from all Illinois tax payers and then some more from all Federal income tax payers). The problem is that, in a nutshell, the amount that the taxpayers have been willing to give to CPS has been shrinking and the total number of students in all CPS schools has been decreasing for the last 20 years or so. The amount that CPS receives compared to other schools systems is right on the national average but probably on the low side given all the urban problems which impact financial need. New York City schools receive twice as much for example.

    It makes sense to match the size of CPS to the size of the student population. At the same time, in order to improve the quality of schools more money needs to be spent. By closing half empty schools money will be saved and can be used for improvement.

    One big “bill” that is coming due next year (about half-a-billion dollars, I believe) is a payment to properly fund your well deserved pension. The previous mayor had been able to convince CPS (and the CTU) to not pay the annual amount due, for several years. What I think will happen is that some of the savings achieved by closing schools (remember this is an ongoing year-after-year, forever, savings, not just a one time boost) will be used to pay off the big pension payment over a few years – either by borrowing or by making a deal with the pension plan. If CPs is more “efficient” (size is matched to students) CPS will be in a better position to make a pension deal.

    Sorry for the long post but this is why I think the long overdue shrinking of the system is needed – it will benefit students and will help secure the retirement benefits for the teachers.

  • 220. Angie  |  March 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    @193. Wendy RYH: “They have schools at 91% efficient set to be “welcoming schools”.”

    I think I found the 91% school.

    Closing: Canter Middle School, grades 7-8, utilization 58%, currently 228 students.

    Moving to:

    Harte, grades PK-6, utilization 91%, currently 328 students, ideal 360, enrollment decreased by 11% since last year.

    Ray, grades PK-6, utilization 78%, currently 676 students, ideal 870

    So, first of all, the current 8th graders from Canter will be leaving for high school. And, I’m just guessing here, that 7th graders will be moved to Ray, which has more space, for 8th grade. Then, 6th graders from both schools will probably stay at their respective schools for 7th and 8th grades. If you break it down like that, 91% utilization doesn’t sound so scary any more, does it?

    I would also like to know more about the special ed cluster programs from closing schools, and where they are going to be moved. Most of these students are bused in, so the distance of a few blocks wouldn’t be a big issue.

    Oh, and if you haven’t guessed by now, I voted for Rahm and will vote again for as long as he want to run this city.

  • 221. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    @64 @128 If CPS traditional schools are not nimble it is not because of CTU but CPS central office. For example, I had parents puzzled at Mayer because we could not run two recess periods this year — we had recess under the 5.75 hour day for years so 7-hours changed nothing on recess for us. With over an hour more to the day, why wasn’t there more time to spare, parents asked. I had to explain that CPS gave no flexibility to the schools — the minutes per day for each subject were prescribed by the central office under the 7-hour day. When JCB said that principals would have flexibility, he meant that they would have the flexibility to rearrange staff schedules to meet those time requirements without getting more staff.

    Unfortunately, many charters have become less innovative over time (in terms of curriculum and organization). Instead of providing alternatives to public schools, too many have set themselves up as competitors to public schools, so the benchmark is not teach well, but teach better than the average traditional school. Since the charters are often focused on areas where schools are dong poorly, this is not much of a goal. In fact, most fail at this. In general, Chicago charters help poor students do better on math compared to matched students remaining in the feeder schools, but not much else (no real difference in terms of reading). Nationally, more charters have negative effects compared to matched students in the feeder schools than have positive effects. See http://credo.stanford.edu/reports/MULTIPLE_CHOICE_CREDO.pdf

    You cannot identify good teachers and bad teachers with any ease. Look at the poll results @128: Almost 75% think their local school is an A or a B but only 25% rate Chicago schools overall at the same level. Same thing will happen with teachers: most will declare their teacher good, but want some nameless “other” teacher fired. Yet you will often find, in playground conversations, people who love and people who disparage the same teacher. What organizations like CPS do in the end is come up with some abstracted metric that is affordable but inaccurate, easily gamed* and has perverse effects. The MAP is a prime example: it cannot differentiate teacher input from the parent input or from other inputs. There is no test for auxiliary subjects (e.g., art, music, history) so they can’t be measured at all. And it creates disincentives for teachers to cooperate if the metric is zero-sum (a high score for teacher x requires a low score for teacher y). Most of the systems I have seen proposed assume that you will always have bad teachers (because those at the bottom of the scale are considered bad) even after you have substituted the fired ones from the prior year with new ones. If this is true each year, the whole exercise is pointless.

    If we really believe that teacher quality is independent of the students’ characteristics, then take a “good” teacher and have her teach low scoring students and take a “bad” teacher and have her teach high scoring students for a quarter. We should see the low-scoring students improve and the high-scoring students decline. I don’t think that will happen; I think the effects will be middling. Most of think about how well we did or our child did with a different teacher, but in most cases, we did not change just the teacher. The class was different or we moved to a new school entirely. We attribute the improvement to the teacher, who no doubt plays a role, but we ignore everything else that changed too.

    * Hint: at the fall MAP test, promise the students cookies when they are done; they will rush through and get low scores. In the spring, encourage them to take all the time they need. They will get higher scores, and so your students have achieved great growth. NWEA has evidence of this occurring in school districts: median spring test times are longer than fall ones, and those schools with longer test times show more growth. Growth should not be a function of test time (controlling for # of questions answered).

  • 222. anonymouse teacher  |  March 28, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    @198, Emmanuel is in no way, shape or form responsible for Common Core. And no, schools are not getting any more guidance than in the past regarding curriculum. Now we have CC. Last year and in years past we had ISBE standards. The only thing that changed was one set of standards for another. Teachers have always used the standards to drive instruction, we just have different standards now.

    How many schools, with pictorial or written proof, got the playgrounds promised back in September? There were around 100 schools without playgrounds then, 6 months later, how many still are waiting?

    More options for HS? Really? All they’ve done is slapped labels on schools. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    I agree that Emmanuel can get credit for the longer day and for most grades, I agree this was a good thing. And I’ll concede that he rode on the backs of all the parents who did the hard work to get recess in schools. I do wish that all schools, not just the “nice” ones, got fully staffed recess and lunch and specials. My school has recess, when the weather is nice. When it isn’t nice, there isn’t recess. I am grateful that I am in a school, at least, that has 2-3 adults who watch the 200-300 kids who are stuck inside for those 20 minutes when there is snow on the blacktop or it is rainy or too cold so I have time to eat.

    Did I understand you correctly that your child has only been getting differentiated instruction this year? Or were you indicating he is getting more of it?

  • 223. Family Friend  |  March 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    @116 teachermom:

    You said

    “Not a “true” lottery for charter schools either.
    The last I heard, charter high schools give slots/priority to the charter feeder schools. The lotteries also favor neighborhood children, as in the case of CICS Northtown Academy In Sauganash. This could have changed, but that is how it was years back.”

    This is complex. SOME charters give priority to feeder schools — because they aren’t, technically, feeder schools; it’s all one charter. Back when the charter law was first passed, there were 60 potential charters statewide. Chicago had 15, the suburbs had 15, and the rest of the state had 30. Chicago gave out its 15 charters pretty quickly; the rest of Illinois didn’t do much. Because of demand, Chicago started allowing its charters to open additional campuses. So the first 15 charters are what is now known as “replicating” charters. These include, among others, CICS, Noble Street, Perspectives, University of Chicago, UNO and some, like Namaste, that have remained single campus schools.

    When the legislature amended the Charter Schools Law to add more charters, it specified that new charters issued in Chicago would be limited to one campus. The old ones were grandfathered in. So CICS Northtown High School (which I am certain does not have neighborhood boundaries) is the same school as CICS Irving Park Elementary School — they are just different campuses. But if the grade 5-12 school where I am on the board wanted to open a second middle school as a feeder to the high school, those students would not have preference, because we would need to get a new, separate charter. They would just go in the lottery with everyone else.

    CPS still has to approve new campuses for replicating charters, and it’s the same application form, but replicating charters are prized. When ACT Charter High School closed, its charter was mothballed for a couple of years; recently CPS approved its transfer to KIPP, which will be opening more schools in Chicago. The KIPP school already in Chicago does not have a replicating charter.

    As for neighborhood preference, up to 15% of charter schools in Chicago are allowed to establish neighborhood boundaries. If they don’t get a full roster from the neighborhood, kids from other parts of Chicago are admitted. The only one I know of is U of C, which wants to focus on areas of the city near its campus. The U of C schools, like most charters, are predominantly minority and low-income. They are not middle class meccas.

  • 224. Family Friend  |  March 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    @119 anonymouse teacher:

    You said

    “You are mistaking classical and gifted schools for magnets. NO magnet in the entire city requires an entrance exam. Not one. Only gifted and classicals require this. They are two totally different beasts. My children attended a magnet and all we did was fill out a simple form. Read the information on CPS.edu regarding magnet schools.”

    This is puzzling. I researched this, for high schools, for the 2011-12 school year. I made phone calls to the OAE and to most of the individual schools. Every single magnet high school told me that students had to have ISAT scores in the 5th stanine to be placed in the lottery. As I said, I don’t know what the story is for elementary schools, but I know that if there is no academic minimum — I did not say an admission test — for high schools, it’s a very recent development.

  • 225. Wendy RYH  |  March 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    @Angie – the 91% school I saw was Castellanos. Ray is one receiving school for Canter that will have to give up ancillary rooms to make space for the reabsorption of 7-8th grades. I guess I don’t see how we can give an addition to one school that is 100% efficient (Bell) while having others in the 80 and 90% range be receiving schools. I am not saying Bell isn’t overcrowded but that the formula (and facilities management planning) is off. Otis is one example of a school that is going to be overcrowded because they have a high special ed population and already are complaining of being crowded and cannot hold 328 more students. I don’t see how Courtenay and Stockton won’t be overcrowded given the high sped rates at both. I have done a walkthrough at Stockton. Trumbull is not underutilized at all. Have been there. Ryerson is not underutilized. They do use a few rooms for indoor recess because they feel it’s unsafe to do outdoor recess (as many school) but this is being counted against them. They also have fantastic community programs which they spent years building. There are more examples but running out the door. I have no idea what this has to do with MRE vs. Mayor Daley or Karen Lewis. You have to look at individual schools and see how they’re going to be impacted and decided if they’re good decisions, whether your kids has recess and an extra art teacher or not.

  • 226. Neighborhood parent  |  March 28, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    214/teacher – I realize that CPS doesn’t have a consistent and high performing standard throughout the district and that schools are limited to the leadership and staff inside (& parents outside). I only have to compare our resources and experience to neighbors’ kids who attend Hawthorne/LLA/Edison etc. I get that and I’m sad and disheartened that schools/kids lack some of the resources that we’ve enjoyed. But I’ve also experienced the benefits when a school is able to increase enrollment and address declining numbers.

    As for recess, our school has cobbled a solution with staff/parent/community members both paid & volunteer to staff lunch/recess rotation. While not as ideal as a full staff/faculty solution – it has allowed indoor/outdoor recess to continue. Indoor recess is held in classrooms as needed…. however I’m encouraged as outdoor recess has persisted despite snow on the ground or drizzle.

    The whole school is now getting “small group instruction time”. That was not occurring during 5.75 but is now. With 30 kids/class in K/1/2+, it’s been a real surprise that we have that capability. Are you indicating that a neighborhood school should have always had the ability to divide the classroom so that the ratios fall to 1:15 or 1:20??? Or are you referring to the ability of a teacher to focus on handfuls of students at a time while also managing the remainder of the classroom?

    222- Please correct if I don’t follow. I understand that our “small group time” provides for differentiation during this longer day with ratios of 1:10 or 1:15. But I always thought that “differentiation” was “teacher dependent”. While I know that “some” teachers are capable of such skills…. I don’t believe ALL teachers are fully capable of differentiating in crowded classrooms whether a 7 hour day or 5.75 day. Is that true?

  • 227. IBobsessed  |  March 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Family Friend- Some or all magnet high schools do currently require minimum stanines to apply. You stated only “magnet” schools, and did not specify you meant HSs. Since you have been discussing both elementary and HSs, and since “magnet” is generally assumed to mean elementary schools because there are few magnet HSs (not SEHSs they’re not “magnets”), we all thought you were referring to elementary magnets. Therein lies the confusion.

  • 228. anonymouse teacher  |  March 28, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    @226, It is expected and demanded everywhere now that teachers are able to differentiate on their own despite large class sizes. It sounds like what you are describing, though, is not what most teachers think of as differentiation (although it is–it really is).
    You are describing a use of staff, where multiple people push in or pull out students in order to reduces class sizes and possibly offer different levels and depths of instruction to those smaller groups, ie, the 1:10 ratio. What most teachers think of when we discuss differentiation is this: The teacher trains the majority of the group to do work independently (and not just busy work, meaningful independent work) while she pulls a small group to the side and works with them at their level. This often means 25 or more children are working independently and very quietly and 5-6 kids are working on, say, fluency with the teacher. It also means that every group is working at different levels or different skills.

    While it is expected that teachers all can do some differentiation on their own and most schools I know have been doing this for years now,some classrooms can be extremely difficult and this will limit how much of it can happen, which you recognize. The size of a classroom matters as well, though, I’ve been impressed with my school’s upper grade teachers who differentiate with class sizes near 40. I will say that I have used differentiation in reading since my first year as a teacher, but it wasn’t that good! Its taken me years to go beyond reading and to really improve it, to include math and writing and differentiated homework too.

    As well, most teachers will think through their questions and group discussions within large group, planning with the needs of different learners, will plan different types of learning (kinesthetic, visual, auditory, etc) and will offer enrichment as much as possible. This is also differentiation. First year teachers should definitely be doing at least some differentiation without outside help or it is unlikely they’ll be rehired.

    In any case, it is a challenging skill to master and there is not nearly enough training on how to make it work within the realities of a CPS environment–too many kids, little to no materials to work with, serious behavior issues,etc. I am so glad your school has found a way to reduce class sizes and offer the style of differentiation they are. When you said your child was getting differentiated help for the first time all I could picture was a school full of teachers who never did small group work on a regular basis and I think now you did not mean that. (that would indicate, imo, a serious problem in the school)
    My school doesn’t have the staff resources to do it that way (the 10:1 ratio), but I am fortunate to have bilingual push in help and sped help on a daily basis. Between those staff members and myself, we are able to see virtually every single reading group (I have 7 different reading levels in my K room) almost every day–except for all the weeks the sped and bilingual teachers are pulled for testing– and meet with every writer every day to conference with them. Now, if I could only figure out how to meet with every math group more than once or twice a week!

  • 229. Angie  |  March 28, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    @225. Wendy RYH : “@Angie – the 91% school I saw was Castellanos. ”

    So 172 students, minus the departing 8th graders, from Paderewski will be divided between Cardenas and Castellanos, with Castellanos getting the 4-8 graders. It is hard to make sense of that without knowing the specific number of students per grade and the SPED situation at each school. CPS, however, did have all that information available before making their decision.

    I’m also wondering how did Paderewski function with having 172 children divided between 9 grades. Did they have split grades? If so, that’s not so good for the kids. There probably wasn’t much money available for art, music, and other specials, either.

    CPS wanted to have the receiving schools as close as possible to the ones that will close. There may be another school a few blocks away that has available space. Do we know for sure that they will not be adjusting the attendance boundaries in the near future? That could take care of some of the utilization issues.

    Every school, closing or receiving, is going to complain about the change and demand that things should stay the same, but the district can no longer afford it. Something has got to change.

  • 230. anonymouse teacher  |  March 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Wait, CPS is mixing kids from Castellanos, Cardenas and Paderewski? For real? The gang mix up is going to be a huge issue. I’m sitting here with my mouth hanging open.

  • 231. cable123  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    @230 So in 5 0r 10 years when these kids are no longer kids and are applying for a job should we ask them what gang there in to make sure we aren’t mixing the wrong ones together?

    You comment is what helps gangs keep control. You are giving up this city to gangs.

    There are lots of schools in this city where gangs co-exist because CPS can’t afford to give each school to a gang faction.

  • 232. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    #231~cable123~well that’s the reason Rahm and Byrd-Bennett said they weren’t closing ‘underutilized’ HS~bc of gangs…guess they are letting gangs control HS.

  • 233. anonymouse teacher  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    @231, You mean they kill eachother by co-exist right?

  • 234. Angie  |  March 28, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    @232. SoxSideIrish4: Some high schools should have been closed, or at least phased out, because they are half-empty and continue to lose students. Hopefully, CPS has some solution in mind for the future.

    I think the concept of smaller high schools connected to elementary schools, like Ogden, Alcott and Disney 2 is a good idea, if it is implemented right. Top students can go to selective enrollment schools, and others can stay with the kids they already know and keep learning.

  • 235. Wendy RYH  |  March 28, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    All I can say is I am very confused because I thought this was about saving money and now CPS is saying it will cost $250 to invest in welcoming schools. It will take about 5 yrs to break even on this. And cps is placing ads on single’s websites?

    Re Paderewski, I haven’t been there but have been told they have a ton of community programs in the building. No idea how their enrollment shrunk but I don’t think nearby schools should face overcrowding because of it. It wouldn’t fly over where I live and it shouldn’t fly for other communities.Maybe CPS should stop approving new charters at every board meeting. I am tired of them complaining about under utilization while contributing to it every month, even though it’s pretty clear to me now that their move to close schools has little to do with under utilization. The city is now saying it’s all about performance.

  • 236. Patricia  |  March 28, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    @ peter. Thanks!

    @ neighborhood parent. Nice posts and great insight. I hope principals share best practices so all can benefit

    @ anonymouse. Didn’t RE push to have cps implement common core earlier which benefits students sooner? Also, it is still being implemented for the first time under his watch. AND I do be?ieve that BBB is one of the creators of the (almost) national Common Core. Her expertise will certainly help over time-if she is here long enough 😉 RE did put her in charge. To me it looks like he has had something to do with CC. That said, I completely agree that the teachers are the key to CC and so much more.

  • 237. junior  |  March 28, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    @235 Wendy RYH

    CPS has lost how many students? Around 30,000-35,000?

    You’ve looked at the schools as closely as anyone. How many would you close? Give us a number.

  • 238. Wendy RYH  |  March 28, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    @236 – Common Core is a state initiative that has nothing to do with MRE although I do think he was using it in his talking points for a while about improving education. The whole state is moving to it for 2014-2015 as part of the New IL Learning Standards.

  • 239. anonymouse teacher  |  March 28, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Chicago is actually quite late to the game in implementing CC. (my husband’s district fully implemented it two years ago) Some states started with it back in 2010. I hadn’t heard that Emmanuel or B3 pushed for earlier adoption, but I suppose anything is possible. When you say earlier adoption, I am assuming you mean earlier than Chicago originally planned. Chicago is always behind, in every way. And no, I don’t B3 will be around more than 2-3 years if that. I’m sure they’ll give her a relocation stipend though even if she leaves tomorrow.

  • 240. Wendy RYH  |  March 28, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    I wouldn’t close more than 10 if I found 10 that were underutilized and not functioning well, and could move kids nearby without impacting class size and safety. For one, I don’t think a district, especially our district which has all new leadership, can handle implementing the closing of more than that in one year. I also don’t think they have been able to focus well enough because they started out with such a ridiculously large list. I also think it should be mandatory for BBB to visit any school that she plans to sign off on. I can honestly tell you that what you are reading in the papers does not resemble reality of these buildings. I wish I could bring a busload of parents in with me to visit some of these schools. I also wish CPS would allow the press into these schools.

    Am in NV right now with my family and my sister-in-law is a Principal. She almost fell out of her chair when I told her our district is trying to close 54 schools. They did 4 turnarounds here last year, and it was a huge deal. Everyone was aware of the process, there was much transparency and openness about it. It is a different world out here.

  • 241. Wendy RYH  |  March 28, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    @Junior – sorry, CPS has lost 31k students.

  • 242. Patricia  |  March 28, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    @anonymouse. LOL! Not implying cps is cutting.edge. RE did push it earlier than required as wendy shared the date above. Better 4 the students.

  • 243. junior  |  March 28, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    @240 Wendy

    Setting aside the issue of how many schools CPS is capable of closing in an orderly way in a year, how many schools do you think are underutilized and could be consolidated for efficiencies? How about a range?

  • 244. Wendy RYH  |  March 28, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    @243 Junior- how many schools have room for more students? Definitely some. How many have space for the number CPS says they can hold – none. Every principal I have talked to, building I have walked through, parent I have met with – demonstrates this to me. You don’t put 300 students in a building when there’s really room for 100. Until CPS fixes their formula, I am not going to throw out numbers. Besides, this isn’t even going to save money for five years. Why not continue with the community school model that many of these schools have going?

  • 245. tchr  |  March 29, 2013 at 12:06 am

    I think it is interesting that people can say yes, mix those schools and gangs. Those kids will just have to learn to live with each other.

    But if these kids were bussed to YOUR school as a result of their school being closed, would your thoughts be different?

    Why don’t parents want to enroll their kids at Jenner? NTA? Both schools with brand new facilities. The low test scores? (which could be improved with a diverse student population and a strong parental and community support) or is it for
    fear of the kids currently enrolled there?

    Prejudices exist. And for good reason.

    But why can’t minority families fight for safer schools for their children?

  • 246. Family Friend  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:06 am

    It pains me to see SoxSideIrish4 repeating that charters spend more on administration than on students. Unless teacher salaries are “administration,” that cannot be true. Charter school annual financial reports are publicly available. I don’t know where SSI4 is hearing that statement, but it is not based in fact.

  • 247. Family Friend  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:08 am

    Question on safety issues: an NPR story (some time ago) said that gang boundaries are constantly changing. If this is true, does it make sense to keep schools open to, in effect, preserve current boundaries? Won’t the boundaries change anyway? Or do gangs align themselves (informally) around school attendance boundaries? This is an honest, if awkwardly phrased, question. On the one hand, setting school attendance boundaries to accommodate gang territories is all too much like letting the inmates run the jail. On the other, we truly don’t want to put children at risk. Is “safe passage” enough? Does safe passage, in itself, legitimize gangs’ control of neighborhoods? These issues, for me, are way too big for the sound bites we (the people of Chicago) have been using to describe them.

  • 248. PatientCPSMom  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:35 am

    @245 lots of good points. Schools like Jenner exist because everyone who has an interest in safety won’t fight for the school.
    Just think for 3 years I have advocated with CPS and Aldermen to get a higher functioning/safer neighborhood school in the Jenner area. But what does the Mayor do – he closes Manierre and wants to combine it with Jenner. No one now and no one before cared enough to look at a real long term solution. That solution is integrating schools that have 100% porverty rate with other schools that are higher functioning. Kids learn by example. When your situation is structural gerrymandered borders that isolate kids then there is little parents can do. Believe me I’ve tried for 3 years and the result is the Mayor and CPS creating a more segregated unsafe educational environment here on the Near North side.

  • 249. Angie  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:36 am

    @244. Wendy RYH: “Every principal I have talked to, building I have walked through, parent I have met with – demonstrates this to me. You don’t put 300 students in a building when there’s really room for 100.”

    Is that student population information available online somewhere? Specifically, I would like to know the number of students for each grade in the closing and welcoming schools, and the number of self-contained SPED classrooms, if any. Also the enrollment trends would be helpful. If the enrollment is decreasing, there may be more kids in the upper grades leaving the school at the end of this year than kindergarteners coming in for the next one.

    Everybody involved in the closing and consolidation is going to complain, and some of those complaints are going to be based on politics rather than reality. Every principal is hired by LCS, which includes the union teachers and parents. If they don’t fight, they are risking losing their job when it’s time to renew their contract. The same goes for aldermen and other elected officials. Whether or not they understand the reality of the district finances, or even personally agree that something has to be done about wasting money oh half-empty schools, they are going to raise hell about it because that is what the voters expect from them.

  • 250. cps parent  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Why is it when these schools are going to close everyone comes out to say “no not my school”
    Where are these parents/teachers/admins during the reagular struggles to help a school function and thrive.
    I am sorry for some of the schools closing b ut ss a parent and educator it takes hard work to keep the school where your child attends functioning. Parents need to be volunteering in the school (and please do not tell me about not having time I am a parent of two and work a full time job but still volunteer my time.) Teachers need to be willing to work closely with families (there are teachers at some schools that should not be teaching…(thst is a different topic). And there are admins that do not do justice to these schools.
    Sometimes it is needed to close a school just ro start fresh.
    And this whole thing about gang turf/boundries….really??? Like many other people who have commented “you are letting the gangs control the schools!”
    This is about standing up and now dealing with what we have.
    If schools have to mix then so be it….then work to make work out. Parents might need to walk/drive their children to school (there’s a concept) or start talking with other parents to carpool (I help you, you help me) it can be done!
    This is a touchy subject but serisouly some people are thinking of themselves and not the children.

  • 251. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 29, 2013 at 7:35 am

    246. Family Friend | March 29, 2013 at 6:06 am

    This is just one place where it is reported~but there have been other studies that support it.

    Charter Schools Spend More On Administration, Less On Instruction Than Traditional Public Schools: Study http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/charter-schools-spend-mor_n_1415995.html

  • 252. Claire  |  March 29, 2013 at 8:21 am

    So much debate because so little concrete information is made available…or even collected by CPS. Each and every single one of our schools deserves to be thoughtfully and carefully viewed and evaluated before it faces closure. To me that is the bottom line. All of the questions, the piecing together of a school’s student body or space utilization or community benefit is all coming from parents or reporters having to investigate. CPS should be doing this work. Doesn’t every school deserve to be looked at before it gets a big neon closure sticker on it’s front door? Don’t they at least deserve an on site evaluation? It boggles my mind that the Chicago Board of Education is not visiting each suspect school, writing up their findings, then presenting an in depth analysis of the school BEFORE they decide to close it. All the talk is in the plural form “the schools” as though they are all being judge as a group. Shouldn’t it be “this school” and “this school” and “this school” ? This specific school, because of these specific reasons needs to be closed down. Anybody should be able to look up a school scheduled for closure and read a report as to why each and every individual school was put on that list. We can’t do that because CPS or the BOE has not visited the schools and independently evaluated them. If someone has the power to pull the plug on anything, they have a duty to supply concrete, specific facts as to why termination is preferable to life…this specific life in and of itself.

  • 253. tchr  |  March 29, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Would you want this for your child? Would you want your child going to school with kids associated with gangs, either by their own association or by a father, uncle, etc?
    If you can’t say yes, then how can you support the decision to change the lives of other children?

    The schools aren’t safe as they are. “We found more than 15 gangs operating in just the attendance area around Harper alone.”

    And it’s not just the walk to school that isn’t safe. It’s kids fighting during school hours. Chicago is not doing enough to give these kids an actual chance out of these situations. If you think otherwise, again I’d ask, would you put your child in these schools?

  • 254. tchr  |  March 29, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Well said Claire.

  • 255. CarolA  |  March 29, 2013 at 8:58 am

    @250 cps parent: You make a valid point about people “coming out of the woodwork” to raise their voice against the closings, but are no where to be found when it comes to volunteering to help at school. Most of the posters on this board are people who invest a lot of time and money into their child’s school. Those schools aren’t closing. Something to think about for sure.

  • 256. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Oh! I finally figured out that MRE is Mayor Rahm Emanuel and not Meals Ready to Eat. I’m a bit slow.

  • 257. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 9:47 am

    @ 240. Wendy RYH | March 28, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    “I wish I could bring a busload of parents in with me to visit some of these schools. I also wish CPS would allow the press into these schools.”

    That’s a great idea! Or, do it for the BOE. Call is the nitty-griffy CPS bus tour, or some such. Why can’t the press get in. CPS can’t cite FERPA, as it does not apply.

  • 258. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 9:53 am

    @ 249. Angie | March 29, 2013 at 6:36 am

    Those would be great questions to ask reporters to research and publish/air. Which reporters would be best, do you think?

  • 259. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 9:55 am

    @ 249. Angie | March 29, 2013 at 6:36 am

    Also, Rod Estvan and Access Living is researching this info, in particular the sped data. You might want to phone him. He’s a great and accurate source.

  • 260. anonymouse teacher  |  March 29, 2013 at 10:00 am

    @247, you raise a good point re: boundaries changing all the time. I don’t know. I do know that the security needs of students and staff in buildings where rival gangs exist are not being met. And I worry terribly for the staff and students and bystanders. I am worried for the Little Village kids, I still think of them as “my kids”. I taught there, I loved those children, and I’ve been to a few funerals of kids or family members being killed and I don’t want to go to anymore.

  • 261. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 10:09 am

    @ 260. anonymouse teacher | March 29, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I have a question. I’ve noticed that those I know who’ve taught a class for a semester or more (at any level – pre-K through college/continuing ed) wind up “loving” their students. Hard.

    As someone with years of experience in various schools, do you know of teachers that don’t feel that way? (Yes, one might not “enjoy” all students equally, but I found that when teaching I had strong affection and commitment to each.)

  • 262. anon  |  March 29, 2013 at 10:25 am

    It is so surreal some of you wouldn’t think of sending your own kids to certain schools because of safety,gangs,the neighborhood they are in or gosh the students are beneath yours yet you question other parents when they say they are frightened of their children crossing gang lines.

  • 263. Angie  |  March 29, 2013 at 10:32 am

    @259. local : “Also, Rod Estvan and Access Living is researching this info, in particular the sped data. You might want to phone him. He’s a great and accurate source.”

    Sorry, but I have my doubts that a former CTU lobbyist is going to say anything that contradicts the union POV. Burning the bridges with them may not be good for the future employment opportunities.

  • 264. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 11:09 am

    @ 263. Angie | March 29, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Sigh. Sorry you will then miss some of the most accurate and insightful information about CPS (and through the sped lens, to boot).

  • 265. Josh Kalov (@shua123)  |  March 29, 2013 at 11:37 am

    @249 & @258, There are not numbers easily available for self contained SPED classrooms that I am aware of. We’ve organized enrollment trends along with % SPED and some other information at http://schoolcuts.org for the closing and receiving schools. We don’t currently breakdown the number of students per grade but it is available on CPS’s website ( http://www.cps.edu/Performance/Documents/Datafiles/enrollment_20th_day_2013.xls ).

  • 266. junior  |  March 29, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    @253 SSI

    You could rewrite that whole point as “traditional public schools spend more money on teacher salaries than charters”. We already knew that. So what? For some people, providing similar education at a greater efficiency is a good thing.

  • 267. Wendy RYH  |  March 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    @Angie – I just emailed Rod Estvan to inquire about your comments and he told me he has never worked as a CTU lobbyist. He was a teacher years ago for CPS. Where did you get that info?

  • 268. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm


    It is hard to make sense of that without knowing the specific number of students per grade and the SPED situation at each school. CPS, however, did have all that information available before making their decision.

    You’re joking, right? CPS did not have that info for the commission that BBB set up. You can look at their website and see all the material they were given.


    CPS has student per grade data, but didn’t even forward that to the Commission — they do NOT have centrally available data on the exact number of students in each room of a school. This is why the always site average class size — they can just take the number of declared homerooms and divide by the number of students enrolled. This is why the assumed ancillary room use as a fixed percent of students. In some cases, no one involved with closings from CPS even set foot in the building; let alone did an extensive survey. They have no idea how many sped classrooms there are in each school. This is the problem with the closings.

    CPS has not promised new educational opportunities for most of the schools. Even those with new programs, where will the new IB teachers come from? Will they be experienced IB teachers, or existing teachers rushed through a summer training class? Is each school being promised an art and music teacher?

  • 269. cpsobsessed  |  March 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    I’m really finding it shocking that CPS hasn’t visiting and met with each receiving school. Is this possible that a human hasn’t seen the space or at the VERY least, had a meeting with the receiving principal to understand how the current space is being used and how the new plan might work? Can this really be engineered entirely off those utilization figures? I understand with the vastness of CPS, the initial tentative list might have been driven by numbers – but it’s shocking if there was no one-level-deeper process to understand how each merger would work.

    What is the actual number of receiving schools?

  • 270. anonymouse teacher  |  March 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    @261 Local, I think that is the most interesting question anyone has ever asked me re: teaching. I don’t know that I’ve ever met a teacher who didn’t say they loved their students. I have known a few who say they do, and they actually might feel love, and at the same time, have treated those kids awfully. (I’m thinking of someone who retired at my school last year.) But, yeah, I think its pretty typical for teachers to love their students. Every year, I think I can’t possibly love my new class as much as I loved my former one and I find out how wrong I am. Its one of the greatest perks of the job, imo!

  • 271. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    cite, not site above.

    “Adopting” the Common Core State Standards is a speech-act not a change to students’ education. The issue is how the curriculum changes as a a result of setting the new standards. And that could have been done independently of adopting the Common Core.

    I don’t see what gain comes from replacing this:

    English Language Arts Performance Descriptors. 1A, Stage D, 6. Recognize the difference between denotative and connotative meanings of words.

    with this:

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.

    for your average 3rd grader.

  • 272. Casey H  |  March 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    268. cpsobsessed The Network Chiefs know each of their schools. The question is how much have they been involved with the consolidation planning.

    Here is the CPS org. chart.

  • 273. anonymouse teacher  |  March 29, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    The network chiefs are mostly new to their networks and may not know their schools as well as one might hope, given that CPS keeps changing leadership (including networks or whatever the new name will be when they rearrange again this summer) every single year. My own principal had to do the measurement of each and every space in our entire school because CPS couldn’t be bothered to come out and look when we unsuccessfully tried to get a new addition. They were still using blue prints from the 1930’s. Not kidding.

  • 274. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 29, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    265. junior | March 29, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    but it’s a mixed bag w/charters~some perform way below even CPS standards~yet get money that should go to neighborhood schools not to UNO, Juan Rangel and his relatives just bc they are friends of Rahm’s.

  • 275. cassie  |  March 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    We are putting together a website detailing what stands to be lost in the disruption of the mass closing process at the 117 schools that will be directly impacted—both closing and receiving (and any other school actions like turnarounds as well).


    If you would like to contribute to this site as a teacher/parent/student/staff/alumni of a school being directly impacted or as a someone who would like to show solidarity with those school communities, please get in touch with our project by emailing me: cassie.creswell@gmail.com

  • 276. Angie  |  March 29, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    @266. Wendy RYH: “@Angie – I just emailed Rod Estvan to inquire about your comments and he told me he has never worked as a CTU lobbyist. He was a teacher years ago for CPS. Where did you get that info?”

    It would have been either District 299 or Catalyst, because that’s where I usually see his posts. But if he says he wasn’t, I must’ve confused him with
    with someone else.

    My apologies for the misinformation.

  • 277. junior  |  March 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm


    Agree about the mixed bag. Some CPS teachers perform better than charter teachers and some don’t. Overall, average CPS teachers probably perform about the same as the average charter teachers, yet we pay the average CPS teacher over 50% more than the charter teacher for no discernable difference in overall student outcomes.

  • 278. Casey H  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    275. junior. I think what remains to be seen is if the charters can retain experienced, mid to end career teachers at similar savings. Can a charter school teacher make a career at their schools and support a family, live reasonably closeby, send their own kids to college, save for retirement, etc.?

    Although I think that if free market forces were in play, CPS could pay entry level teachers significantly less, I don’t think good and experienced teachers would would work in the city for much less than what CTU teachers are paid now.

    I’m in favor of charters by the way, and expect them to be about 50 to 75% of all CPS schools at some point in the future so this would be a real issue as far as operating cost savings.

  • 279. junior  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    @276 Casey H

    And the logical question then becomes… if experienced teachers do not produce better results than nonexperienced teachers, why then would anyone pay more for experience?

    I’d gladly pay teachers more for going into the toughest environments and for demonstrated performance, but I don’t believe in additional pay for its own sake.

    BTW, I count myself as charter neutral and argued earlier in this thread against closing so many neighborhood schools because it lowers the bar for charters to attract students.

  • 280. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    #276~Casey H~ Charter teachers are mostly teachers who did not go to school 2become an educator. They didn’t major in education, but more than likely are business majors. They seem to be short term teachers~a stepping stone for a few yrs. Doubtful they could make a real living ~however now with Charter Unions, that may all change. But even w/unions, I doubt teachers will become veterans and NOT 3 yrs of experience (what charters call their veterans)~there for the duration!

    Teachers at charter schools more than twice as likely to leave the profession http://www.examiner.com/article/teachers-at-charter-schools-more-than-twice-as-likely-to-leave-the-profession

  • 281. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    What’s a decent annual salary for a new teacher (K-12) in a big city? What should the salary top out at?

  • 282. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Rod Estvan is a lobbyist now, just for Access Living. As much as possible, he helps make sure CPS SWD have a chance.

  • 283. junior  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    @278 SSi
    … and still charters perform as well as traditional schools. That is what is truly amazing!

  • 284. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    @ 268. cpsobsessed | March 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    In my work, I get reports with sets of figures about individuals. When I review just the figures, I draw conclusions (or guesses) and build all kinds of “solutions” around those guesses, based on the figures. Then, at the point I start gathering the first-person narratives for each case, my solution kinda blows up in my face. The story behind the numbers is just so much more complete. Still, tracking numbers is useful to me, but not without the fleshed out stories.

  • 285. cpsobsessed  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Let me ask this. Magnet schools score better than non-magnets. Do you believe that magnet schools have all have better teachers? don’t we agree that the student base also contributes to the school outcome?

  • 286. cpsobsessed  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    @282: Totally makes sense, local! I’m a numbers person but they only go so far…

  • 287. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    @ 281. junior | March 29, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    A lot of professions or lines of work are getting demonitized, as teaching seems to be. Folks might want to make sure that their kids get college education and all other training/degrees with no debt. It’s just a feeling from various anecdotes, but I see very little opportunity for recent college grads to earn much of a living that would gain them entrance into the middle class (achieving the American Dream).

    Really, what should these professionals be paid? Start ’em at $25K, finish them at $45K? I’m not sure they’ll be able to support their own kids, home, health, and education in their lifetime. But, maybe that’s the new normal. It ain’t pretty for this nation.

  • 288. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Anyone been following the Urban Prep news this week? Interesting juxtaposition with the school closing news (and charter discussion above).

  • 289. junior  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    @283 cpso

    I thought most of us tend to agree that magnet, neighborhood schools and charters in general perform comparably when adjusted for self-selection / SES factors.

    [And, yes, magnets would tend in a general to have better teachers for various reasons (they tend to have better working conditions, so there is more interest from teachers to work there, giving magnets the a stronger applicant pool; whereas, schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods have a harder time attracting and retaining good teachers — that’s why “combat pay” is a reasonable policy.)]

  • 290. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Mr. Bell: Can CPS institute IB as promised when the schools haven’t gone through the IB process? I don’t know what it’s called, but the teachers must be trained and the program accredited somehow, right? Can you just call something IB and it is?

  • 291. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Oops. Mr. Ball, not Bell.

  • 292. cpsobsessed  |  March 29, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    No, what is the Urban Prep news?

    Junior – I guess I can’t get through the logic that young teachers at charters where there is high turnover can be as good as experienced teachers (whether charter, public, whatever.) Using test scores alone as the measure of teacher success to compare charters to non has too many confounding factors (same as comparing magnet to neighborhood to SES – impossible to tease apart all the factors.) My brain can’t understand how that can be true. On the other hand, the charters don’t have those who may be experienced yet “slacking” due to tenure. (no offense to any union people on here.. you know I have this lingering issue with low-effort teachers that I can’t shake.) Maybe that offsets it. Experience can be good or bad depending on the person I guess.

  • 293. CPC4Chicago  |  March 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    I don’t think the problem is so much with outright salaries as much as it is with a defined benefit pension plan. I’d keep our obligations to current teachers but I don’t know why teachers aren’t part of the Social Security System. New teachers (and all other taxpayer funded positions) should be funneled into defined contribution plans, 401(k) s.

  • 294. junior  |  March 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    @285 local

    This is not about demonizing people, but it is about the harsh economic realities you allude to.

    I heard someone speak recently about how inequalities are tolerated when people are given benefits (for example, when tax cuts are legislated, people might grumble a little about how much the rich are getting, but in the end the poor and middle classes are happy that they receive any benefit themselves). On the other hand, when pain is distributed (e.g., salary cuts, layoffs, tax increases), no matter how equitably the pain is distributed, everyone seems to feel they are getting screwed. (Rahm will get a lot of hate because he has to distribute the pain that is the economic downturn and Daley financial mess — no matter how reasonably or equitably or he distributes it.)

    If growing pains are tough, you are right that “contractions” are far more painful (there’s a “labor” joke in there somewhere…).

    As for teacher salaries, I’d recommend “Moneyball” as a good starting point for that discussion.

  • 295. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    No, not “demonizing” — demonitizing fields of work. Lowing the price point.

  • 296. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Re Moneyball: Is the principal the team manager?

  • 297. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Urban Prep news: Press event 100 % seniors gained a college acceptance. (Follow up includes…how many of freshman class, college persistence expected, college readiness markers, Emanuel calling UP a successful school when some markers are the same as the schools he’s calling “failing,” etc.)

  • 298. junior  |  March 29, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    @290 cpso

    Yes, that’s what I was thinking. In the studies that I’ve seen, experience seems to be valuable in the first 4-5 years, but after that it plateaus. So, I wonder if after a couple decades in a comfortably tenured situation, experience can become a negative.

    The only other possible explanation that I can think of as to why charters perform comparably despite having less-experienced teachers is that perhaps the charter teachers do underperform their more experienced colleagues, but there is some other charter “special sauce” that increases performance in some other way and thus masks the lack of teacher performance. I’m pretty skeptical about that though and tend to lean toward the experience issue that you identified.

    The big picture issue is that academic performance is a stubborn beast that is incredibly hard to move. It is determined far more by socioeconomic factors than by the interventions of teachers and administrators and policy-makers in school.. That is the major concept that should inform social policy.

  • 299. junior  |  March 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    @293 local
    Sorry, my eyes are going…

  • 300. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 29, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    #295~local~56% of the starting freshmen for UP graduated. Of the 56%~100% has been accepted into a four year university. But I’ve read where ppl are asking UP, Rahm, CPS, where are the other 44%?

  • 301. junior  |  March 29, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    @294 local

    I guess CPS principal would be a Yankees general manager; charter operator would be Billy Beane — doesn’t have the money to pay teachers but still needs to compete with the higher-paying teams.

  • 302. cpsobsessed  |  March 29, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Agh, it bums me out about Urban Prep because I SO wanted to believe in it. I mean it’s still great that they can get all those kids into college, but based on scores, they’re worse than the CPS average. I hope the college thing works out for the majority of those kids.

  • 303. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    College students who don’t nail the low to mid-20s in ACTs might do remedial reading, writing & math courses in their freshman year of college. They also might be required to take a bootcamp in academic skills the summer before their freshman year at the college. A goodly number of freshmen, no matter what their scores going in to college, flame out b/c they party, get depressed, skip class and deadlines, have a family crisis, work in a job too many hours, or just made the wrong choice to be in college. They leave with debt, if their family isn’t paying full freight.

  • 304. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    “couple decades” – Note that the ground is always changing under you, even if you’ve done the “same job” for decades. Plus, you’re always improving. It’s an endless process. Or, at least it can be.

  • 305. sadday  |  March 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Two Questions

    1) has Obama said anything about this mess? or duncan?

    2) why is Rahm tooting AUSL graduating class when the school is a level three and below even CPS standards on ACT etc??? I am happy for these kids, but really what has this school done better? For once Rahm is giving credit for effort….but normally he just wants to shut down a school with such dismal results??? This is why I find it very hypoctical

  • 306. Katherine  |  March 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    #296 “there is some other charter “special sauce””

    Yes, it’s called ‘we can ask you to leave’

    we cant do that at regular CPS schools.

    CPS teachers have been asking/begging for social workers and case managers–that is a solution that **can** help students as many do not even have one responsibly behaving adult at home so a socila worker is often the only person able/capable to listen and help in an effective way…and the knock on effect is improvement to test scores. Teachers and admin cannot help with the social problems, there is no time. Extra sped support too. Not enough kids are getting support services which would help get through school.

    Magnet schools have more of these resources.

  • 307. Family Friend  |  March 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

    @251 SoxSideIrish4: Glad you have a source. But the article says, “Charter Schools Spend More On Administration, Less On Instruction Than Traditional Public Schools.” You said charter schools spend “more money on administration than students.” See, e.g., @67. Big difference. And I looked at the study the article was about – It deals only with Michigan charter schools. You are all welcome to see my school’s annual financial report. You will be as amazed as I am that they manage to make ends meet.

  • 308. Patricia  |  March 30, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I keep struggling in my head with the concept of being so aggravated with CTU as an organizational structure and what it does to the teachers and school dynamics. Yet I genuinely love and support the good teachers in the system. Often, the comment is “the teachers and CTU are one in the same” and in my mind they are separate at least in the way I feel about them.

    So, being “obsessed with CPS” like all of us here on the blog, my mind flipped the coin to the other evil monolith on this blog, CPS. So many parents and teachers LOVE their local school but hate CPS and the suffocating bureaucratic structure and what it does to the school dynamics.

    So following the same logic, does it mean that if a parent loves their local school, they need to accept and love CPS because they are one in the same? LOL!! Isn’t this the same argument as saying if you love your teacher, you should support the union because they are one in the same?

    Right? What am I missing? I really think you can fully support your good teachers, yet despise what CTU does to them.

  • 309. Family Friend  |  March 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

    @298: Less than 15% of African-American males who enroll in CPS schools as Freshmen are accepted to 4-year colleges. 56% at Urban Prep is not bad.

  • 310. Family Friend  |  March 30, 2013 at 11:56 am

    @300 cpso: The ACT is a content test. When a kid hits high school reading at a 5th grade level (that’s the average, not the low for Urban Prep freshmen), a school needs to choose between backfilling the knowledge missed on the way to high school and teaching how to learn. Urban Prep students get a huge emphasis on the basics, and when their reading and math skills get to the point where they can use them to learn other things, there is a focus on how to learn: research, critical thinking, writing papers, math and science projects. When they go to college they have the tools to keep up with classes. The real test of UP will be how many of its graduates complete college. UP is keeping track of that.

  • 311. Family Friend  |  March 30, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    @304 Katherine: The “counseling out” of charter students has been exaggerated. Somebody wrote about it once and now the entire charter community is assumed to toss kids out the window on the slightest excuse. We don’t do it at my school, and we can’t simply “ask” someone to leave. We can, and do, expel more students for major violations of school rules, and I make no apology for that. As I have said before, if every school were strict, it would raise the level of behavior at all schools.

    Some students choose to go back to their neighborhood schools at the end of a school year, sometimes because they would have to attend summer school to advance to the next grade at our school but don’t have to if they go back to the neighborhood school. Other times they convince their parents the behavioral expectations are too burdensome, and the parents go along. We care about these students, and worry about them. If they want to return, we are happy to hear it, and hope we have a space for them.

  • 312. anonymouse teacher  |  March 30, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    @306, this argument actually makes a lot of sense to me. One can dislike the union and or CPS and still love the teachers associated with them. I agree with a few typical “hate the union” ideas myself and disagree with others. I don’t walk around feeling like I “hate what the union does” to teachers because mostly I fully appreciate the benefits it brings me and the students I serve, but I appreciate my own opinion is not the only logical one.

  • 313. HS Mom  |  March 30, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Patricia, Neighborhood parent, Peter, Junior etc

    Thanks to MRE administration we have more for our high school students too

    – Schools have been forced to evaluate their schedules and have implemented creative ways to take advantage of extended learning time with block schedules and enrichment
    – One day early release or start allows students to regroup and schedule clubs/activities
    – All qualifying CPS high school students can take advantage of programs offering classes and college credit at city colleges
    – Expanded and additional SEHS seats
    – WTW IB in all neighborhoods expanding nearby quality options. Less commuting more time for academics, sports, PT jobs etc.
    – More quality jobs and internships for teens through corporate sponsorships
    – re-examination of course and curriculum ensuring that all schools offer credible college prep programming as well as CTE, arts and career training.

  • 314. junior  |  March 30, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    @294 local

    So, I wasn’t kidding about the Moneyball reference — there’s a lot in there that is being applied to other professions. Let’s take the concept of VORP, introduced in baseball’s statistical revolution. It stands for “value over replacement player”. A “replacement player” represents the level of player that is readily and plentifully available in the minor leagues or on waivers that can step in and perform at let’s say an “adequate” level at the major leagues for the entry-level base wage. Any player whom the team is considering paying more than the base wage must be cost-justified by the number of wins that the player will add to the team over the replacement player.

    So, for example, if the standard replacement player’s wage is $400,000 per year and Player X is rated at 2 wins above replacement player (i.e., this means that having Player X on your team instead of a replacement player will give your team two additional wins per season), then the team can justify paying the player the $400,000 replacement wage plus what those two additional wins are worth to the team.

    The concept can be applied to other professions. For argument’s sake — and with apologies to the talented and valuable charter teachers out there — let’s assume that the “replacement player” for teachers is the charter teacher described by SSI @278 — not highly trained in education, not a lot of experience, and fairly plentiful in the marketplace at a salary of $50,000.

    What I want to know, if I’m going to pay a teacher $75,000, is how many additional wins will the additional $27,000 expenditure get me. Right now I have not seen strong evidence that the $75,000 teacher is getting me *any* additional wins.

    Furthermore, I want to know how spending $27,000 more on the more expensive teacher compares with other interventions I could make on behalf of the students. For example, is the money better spent on hiring 1.5 replacement teachers and thus reducing class size by 50%? Is the money better spent on tutoring, social services, longer day, etc. Where do we get the most value for our educational investment?

  • 315. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 30, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    305. Family Friend | March 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Yes, I’d like to look at your school’s financial report~could you provide a link?

  • 316. CarolA  |  March 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    So…a little birdie just told me something that kind of makes sense that I didn’t think of. Perhaps it’s been brought up and I missed it since I don’t check all the posts, but…….I know there was some discussion about why a lower performing school’s staff would take over a higher performing school and the higher performing school’s staff would be let go. Turns out that in at least one case, the lower performing school was one of the schools that took advantage of Rahm’s initial proposal to start the full school day earlier than the rest of Chicago (previous year with “incentives”). Turns out, because of that, they were promised job security. That’s why they aren’t losing their jobs. HMMMMM

  • 317. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 30, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    306. Patricia | March 30, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Fair question. I feel the same abt Rahm/CPS and how he has tried to break the teacher’s union and ruin neighborhood schools with over testing (even little grade K kids), charters w/cheap, blended learning, while starving neighborhood schools from their resources, reduce neighborhood schools so they aren’t the anchor and safe place for some kids. So yes, I fully support my neighborhood school yet despise what Rahm/CPS does to it and other schools.

  • 318. Angie  |  March 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    @314. CarolA :”Turns out that in at least one case, the lower performing school was one of the schools that took advantage of Rahm’s initial proposal to start the full school day earlier than the rest of Chicago (previous year with “incentives”). Turns out, because of that, they were promised job security. That’s why they aren’t losing their jobs. HMMMMM”

    Good for them. They did what’s right for the kids, and allowed them to have recess and more time for learning, while the other school thought that going home early was more important. So why shouldn’t the first school be rewarded?

    Which one is it, BTW? Is there really a big difference in scores between it and the school that is closing?

  • 319. CarolA  |  March 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Angie: So I guess you are for rewarding teachers who work longer, but don’t produce better results? Is that what I hear you saying?

  • 320. Angie  |  March 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    @317. CarolA: Which school? And how have their scores been trending over the last few years?

  • 321. CarolA  |  March 30, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I have to admit, I don’t know the name of the school, because I was so surprised to hear that news that I didn’t even ask. It was information from a principal friend of mine (in CPS). Her school was on the original list of possible closed schools, but didn’t end up on the final list. We were discussing everything happening now and moved right on to the next topic. Just wanted to share with posters here because everyone here definitely knows more about CPS schools than I do ( I also don’t care to know more ). It’s an angle I didn’t think of and thought I’d share.

  • 322. cpsobsessed  |  March 30, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    @CarolA: Not totally surprising – maybe not as cut and dried as that (you get job security if you do X) but more of CPS/Rahm choosing the admin that is more “on board” with their goals (whatever those might be.) That’s how it works all over the business world I guess – upper management keeps the people who they think are good (which typically translates to “agrees with our way of thinking”.)

    It seems like there should be some level of subjectivity in deciding who stays. Not saying this is the right or wrong subjectivity, of course.

  • 323. cpsobsessed  |  March 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    @308: Family Friend: Thanks, interesting about Urban Prep. As I think about it, it’s not realistic to assume the school could take kids with low incoming skills and churn them out in 4 years with super high scores. If they’re doing what you say they’re doing, that’s impressive. I wish someone would do a documentary on the school…

  • 324. CarolA  |  March 30, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    CPSO: I’ve worked so long for CPS that I keep forgetting how things work in the “real” world. You are right. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  • 325. junior  |  March 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    @319 Carol

    One has to be skeptical about the accuracy of this kind of information. I’m not saying it’s false, but I think the Sun-Times article caused a lot of confusion by implying that some kids were being moved from higher-performing schools to lower-performing schools. In actuality, Sun-Times was looking at ISAT scores only, whereas CPS applied a consistent performance metric that is broader than just ISAT scores. So, I’d want to check that out before spreading it as fact. Maybe someone could cross-check the list of “Pioneer” schools with the school closing list and figure it out.

  • 326. CarolA  |  March 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    @323 Junior: Good idea! I never think of those things. Maybe that’s why they keep me down in first grade! 🙂 So I did the cross-check (quick one) and 5 pioneer schools were on the 129 list of possible school closings: Melody, Bethune, Fiske, Sexton, and Mays. Final list of closings only included: Bethune and Sexton. Take it for what it’s worth. Didn’t investigate if staff is cut from one or the other. Welcome school for Bethune is Gregory. Welcome school for Sexton is Fiske. Thanks for the idea.

  • 327. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Just a quick look showed this~Close Bethune into Gregory and Close Sexton into Fiske, move into Sexton building.

  • 328. Patricia  |  March 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    @310 anonymouse. I am glad it makes sense to you and appreciate your open mind. I really hope that teachers think of this perspective when they feel attacked or feel someone is bashing them. I do think that a lot of times, it is the hate the union, love the teacher concept. I just always feel terrible when a good teacher feels demoralized and have been trying to figure out how to explain it better.

    @Junior—like the moneyball concept, you are obviously ready for baseball season 😉

    @Family Friend. Thank you for your insight into charters. I learn so much. Still charter neutral 🙂

  • 329. edgewatermom  |  March 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    @326 Patricia I know it is bad internet form, but I just want to say that I completely agree with all of this post!

  • 330. local  |  March 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I saw this in comments at Catalyst re Urban Prep:

    KatieO wrote 3 hours 48 min ago
    Urban Prep is All Spin

    Through my work as a teacher on an inpatient psychiatric unit in the city, I have worked directly with a number of young men from Urban Prep. Their stories, without exception, tell of extreme bullying, gang violence, and chaos. The schools, like so many “no excuses” charters, push-out any student who is not on track to college, students with disabilities, and students with behavior problems. These boys come to the hospital angry, scared, and sure that they will be the next to be thrown out of the school. I am worried that UP is acting immorally and against the mission of addressing these young people’s needs all in the name of having a “perfect” senior class. Could Catalyst do some reporting about what happens to the Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors in order to get that 100% college-bound senior class number?

    While I am happy for the boys who are college-bound, how much pain, stress, and cruelty was needed to get this headline?

    Note that some under-prepared students who hear the college-only goal drilled into them can have a very heavy added burden if they start flaming out once in college. The serious extreme shame and fear some under-prepared kids present is so sad. It’s hard enough managing the transition into adulthood. When they don’t realize there are other routes to an esteemed adult life, it’s tragic. I wish all kids learned before 8th grade that there are many solid avenues such as the trades, military, etc. Then if a child chooses college within the array of options, they might be more willing to consider a Plan B (or even to forestall college for a while) if their first attempt at college doesn’t pan out.

    Believe me I’m not saying college should not be a real option for all who have prepared and want it. But the all-or-nothing approach seems harmful to kids’ psyche, from what I’ve witnessed.

  • 331. Casey H  |  March 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    326. Patricia – An interesting wrinkle is that teachers are not required to be in the CTU although, by Illinois law, they are required to pay the CTU dues even if they opt out. I have never seen numbers on percentage of membership. I suspect it is close to 100% though.

  • 332. Family Friend  |  March 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    @313 SoxSideIrish. I will have to find a link, or probably, make one, to our FY 12 financial report. I don’t have an e-copy of the report, so I asked our ED to send me one. Then I figure out how to turn it into a link. It will take a couple of days, especially considering my level of tech competence.

  • 333. local  |  March 30, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Uh oh. “UNO grant” is headline for the Sunday papers.

  • 334. local  |  March 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    @ 329. Casey H | March 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Employees of a union shop can elect to be an “agency payor.” They are not members of the union and cannot enjoy some of the member benefits, such as voting for officers or for the contract. Still, because of the “fair share” concept, they must help support the union through agency fees because they benefit from the unions work. They also can seek union representation when needed, for violations of the contract, for example. If an employee refuses to either join the union and pay dues or become an agency payor, he or she can be fired, if the contract stipulates. Illinois is not (yet) a so-called “right to work” state.

  • 335. Family Friend  |  March 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    @328 local: I also know a number of students from Urban Prep, but not the ones that end up in an inpatient psychiatric unit. They are expected to be respectful and to speak up. They are expected to speak properly in formal situations. I have known a brand-new assistant principal to take a kid home to live with his family for the school year because the kid had exhausted all of his other options. No gang identification or activity is tolerated in the schools. It’s a hopeful place.

    Every month Urban Prep has a “Seeing is Believing” day early on a Friday morning. You can sign up at the UP website. I went last May and all the kids had spring fever — I would wait and go in, say, November for the full effect.

    I simply disagree with the poster on Catalyst.

  • 336. local  |  March 30, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    312. junior | March 30, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Hmm. And I usually am wondering about the MBAing of social services. Now have to get my head around the Moneyballing of public education.

    My first thought is that I don’t know diddly about baseball, so am not much use for this analogy. Would ALL public schools adopt the $50K/teacher (no matter what background/experience) and there would not be any teacher/players/teams with higher paid folks? Does the scope of teams/schools need to have some higher paying teams so some other teams can pay lower?

    How about if just everybody gets $50k for life (every job, every FT working person)? You pretty much need at least $50K to make ends meet, right? It might change the incentive for higher ed, but maybe it’d be for the best?

  • 337. local  |  March 30, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    @ . Family Friend | March 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    I hear that you don’t accept what the psych unit teacher reports, but it echos what I’ve seen (not specific just to UP), so I do believe him/her. The commenter is referring to his/her experience with just a small slice of the UP student body. So, it seems worth-while to consider it.

  • 338. anotherchicagoparent  |  March 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    cps obsessed the secret sauce to both the # 1 CPS college enrollment high school (Jones) and number (2)Urban Prep (2011 data) is their college counseling programs and smaller school sizes.Urban Prep each student assigned a counselor, a college counselor and a 24 mentor whom they can text or call 24/7 plus extensive ACT test prep.
    Until next school year Jones had 20 week college knowledge classes both junior and senior year.So they had guidance in everything from career choice, to how to write the college essay,time to fill out college apps with counselors during school etc.Next year with bigger school size this program will shrink to just 6 classes per junior and senior year.Not enough counselors to continue with 20 week classes.
    Both schools I believe have a minimum requirement of college applications and scholarships each student must fill out and submit.
    Great counseling is key especially with so many first time college goers at CPS.CPS did cut money to its post secondary/college coaching program in 2012 ,even though in 2011 60 percent of CPS students who graduated enrolled in college this was up from 56 percent the yr before.

  • 339. local  |  March 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    On second thought about the Moneyballing of CPS. Wouldn’t it be the STUDENTS to whom this should be applied? IDK. They’re the players/performers who have to hit the ball or whatever. Wonder how that could work. I always feel the students’ own performance is left out of the public education discussion/debate. We hear about mayor, CPS HQ, principal, teachers, support staff, gangs and parents – but no kids mentioned. When our own kids do well in school we report how hard they worked. Are all these kids who aren’t hitting the meets-exceeds marks not applying themselves? IF not, at what age did that start? Or, it is the adults’ fault?

  • 340. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 30, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    #336~anotherchicagoparent~ WY in 2012 had 100 of their grads accepted into a 4 yr university. Their school is much larger than Jones/UP. They do have wonderful counselors but I don’t believe they have any college knowledge classes.

  • 341. local  |  March 30, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    @ 336. anotherchicagoparent | March 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm: “Next year with bigger school size this program will shrink to just 6 classes per junior and senior year.Not enough counselors to continue with 20 week classes.”

    Uh oh. That’s going to suck. Students need to find a replacement for that valuable intensive prep. That is huge.

  • 342. local  |  March 30, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    This is a great model of HS college prep programming:
    Acceptance: A Legendary Guidance Counselor Helps Seven Kids Find the Right Colleges–and Find Themselves by David L. Marcus

    Definitely worth the read.


  • 343. anotherchicagoparent  |  March 30, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    @338 ..so maybe it is just a school’s counseling program plus the other common factors(involved parents,goal orientated students etc) not the school size. do you know how many counselors WY has?

    Yeah It will be interesting to see how it plays out.Counselors also did freshman Fridays once a month.

  • 344. anotherchicagoparent  |  March 30, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    339 local:Yeah It will be interesting to see how it plays out.Counselors also did freshman Fridays once a month.

  • 345. local  |  March 30, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Check out Chicago Scholars.

  • 346. jaded  |  March 30, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    In this whole school closing deal I wish that kids in schools that closed actually had a chance to attend a good school. You know like Blaine, Lincoln, etc. etc. sigh…..not much difference from the closing school to the receiving school 😦 I don’t know why this wasnt done.

    No, I am lying to myself—I do know why this wasnt done. Sigh again 😦

  • 347. jaded  |  March 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Even if the better school accepted 20-30 kids, it would at least be a start at changing the path for those 30 kids times however many “good” schools are out there in cps land.

  • 348. anonymouse teacher  |  March 30, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    @337, that is my spouse’s fear with this concept. (He’s a high school teacher-not in CPS) He feels like you cannot replicate a business model, or sports model, with schools, because eventually that concept trickles down to students. His question is, if you are going to follow the business model, then the students are essentially the product. So then what incentive do schools/teachers have to work with or invest in the “least valuable” (and I put this in quotes because I do not believe any child is less valuable than another, its a bad analogy) students? We already use this in schools and its a pretty big problem. The most resources are invested in kids just below or at the “meets” level, because those kids mean the most “gains” or the most impressive “outcomes” because they have a shot. The kids who are far above or far below get less help. I have literally been in meetings where when deciding where to invest a school’s limited resources, the decision has been made to offer special reading pull out help to the 3rd graders who are in that “just below” category. The other kids are already meeting standards or may never do so, so resources are doled out based on realistic outcomes. Its what we call educational triage and I hate it.
    Isn’t this the whole criticism of Urban Prep? Yes they graduate all their students, the ones who aren’t counseled out or who quit. Yes they send them all to college, but nearly half the kids they started with aren’t included in those numbers. That’s the way the business model works. Get rid of the low performers. It kind of makes sense when we are talking about adult employees, but when it trickles down to children, it makes less sense.
    I’m not saying there isn’t any merit in the business model proposal. But there are also some inherent dangers and it isn’t as simple to implement as one might think.
    I also think that while yes, we could reduce every teacher’s pay to 50K or whatever, but here is my concern with that. Right now there is a glut of teachers. But in 5 years, 10 years, what happens then? What happens when the business end of that kicks in and no one wants to go into teaching, specifically city teaching anymore? We’ve been down that road. Back in 2000, I got a job in a low income school when qualified teachers were hard to find, and I got hired, not kidding, sight unseen. The principal never met me. She never interviewed me. No one interviewed me. I sent in a resume, left the country for the summer and she hired me over the internet without so much as an online interview. The schools were that desperate for any warm body in the classroom. Granted, I have and had a terrific resume and she got really lucky with me, but jeez. I am pretty sure no one wants that kind of thing on a regular basis for their children.
    Would it work then, that in times of severe teacher shortages, pay would increase and then when things get better, pay would decrease again? What impetus would anyone have to go into teaching then if they can’t afford even a small condo?

  • 349. Angie  |  March 30, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    @344. jaded : “In this whole school closing deal I wish that kids in schools that closed actually had a chance to attend a good school. You know like Blaine, Lincoln, etc. etc. sigh…..not much difference from the closing school to the receiving school I don’t know why this wasnt done.”

    Actually, it was done, just like it is done every year. The catch is that people have to fill an application if they want to get somewhere. And while the magnet school application period is closed for this year, children from closing schools will have a second chance to apply to magnet cluster and neighborhood schools that have available space.

  • 350. junior  |  March 30, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    @346 anonymouse

    I think you’re arguing against a model that I did not propose. You are arguing against the current CPS model which has some narrow and perverse incentives in place. I think you are correct to identify the ill-advised and arbitrary performance criteria that are in place now.

    However, nothing that I said would suggest that a system in which the “least valued” kids, as you put it, get neglected. I specifically did not define educational “wins”. You could create incentives to focus resources on any or all population of kids — that all depends on what you choose to measure and what you choose to reward. (A fine example of this is “combat pay”, which would bring additional resources to disadvantaged students. CPS wanted to do this but CTU would not agree.)

    The Moneyball story, in fact, has some lessons in this area as well. Billy Bean, the Oakland A’s general manager, had to assemble a team given one-tenth the salary budget of the Yankees. What he idid was change what statistics the team measured in order to find players whose vaule was not recognized by other teams. These were the cast-offs, misfits and even players with disabilities that other teams devalued. Bean measured what actually mattered in creating baseball wins — not what every other team thought was important — and his no-name, misfit bunch rolled to the playoffs.

  • 351. frank  |  March 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    347/Angie, come on, your statement ignores the point and intent of Jaded’s (344) post-you and I both know this! None of the displaced kids will have the opportunity to attend Blaine, Bell, Lincoln, etc. or any other similar school.

  • 352. cps mom  |  March 30, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    @347- “The catch is that people have to fill an application if they want to get somewhere.” well hate to burst you bubble Angie deary but I have filled out that application for the past FIVE years and have never gotten in anywhere! So your comment implies that these families are just not wanting to “get somewhere” is offensive.

  • 353. parent  |  March 30, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    @350- five years? well now my three year “losing” streak dont seem so bad. We never made it off the waitlist either.

  • 354. Angie  |  March 30, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    @349. frank and @350. cps mom: So how else do you propose getting these kids into a good school? Lincoln and Bell are already overcrowded. Should we just kick out 30 children from their attendance areas and give these spots to kids from a closing school? That’ll go over really well.

    Lotteries will allow some of them to get in, which is a start. And in case of the pure magnets, they would have been competing with Tier 1 kids who are just as poor and live in the similar conditions.

    And IIRC, last year, there was a late round of the magnet offerings that allowed people to get into decent, but less desirable schools, which are probably way better than what these kids are attending now.

  • 355. anonymouse teacher  |  March 30, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    @348, ah, I think I understand. You’d like to look at every possibility for student success, but feel boxed in my the union and probably think they’d reject every option presented to them. You’d like to use all the good potential that business models and sports models offer, correct? I wonder what would happen, if, on a trial basis, the union worked with people like you, to open up a few pilot schools? I’ve often imagined opening my own school, with of course, my dream team of teachers. But I don’t want the limitations of a charter (lottery system, 75% of regular public school funding, having to deal with CPS at all, pressure to produce impossible soundbite worthy stats that no close inspection can prove true–see UP as an example) or a private school.
    You want my honest opinion? I truly think our school system needs to be completely and totally reimagined and redone. It is so dysfunctional, start to finish, and I can admit the union is a part of that problem in some ways. (and don’t get me started on CPS as an entity)
    I’d like to open a pilot school with small class sizes, play based early childhood classrooms, project based learning, lots of reading specialists, lots of training and support (as in real coaches coming into a classroom and modeling lessons as well as extra bodies coming into help) in differentiation, etc. I just don’t see this as something though that will ever happen or could ever happen.
    I think more than anything else, CPS leaves me feeling hopeless. Do non-teachers feel that way too or is it just teachers (or maybe just me)?

  • 356. sad day  |  March 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I just always ask the question….why don’t we see these problems in rich suburbs…they all have unions teachers. however, they aren’t closing schools and opening charter schools. i think urban prep is an example when you work with what you have. you focus on the positive. CPS and Race to the Top focuses on the negative…..these kids can shine..but maybe slower…why is there this RUSH RUSH with CPS to a goal that makes no sense. CPS now with it’s new REACH evaluation wants CPS teachers to be show results like New Trier High School when they are dealing with some very difficult situations. It’s like asking a farmer in Illinois to grow pineapples. It isn’t going to happen. However, if CPS would concentrate on what is has I think we could have a brighter future. Unforgettably, our beloved Duncan and Obama somehow forgot the challenges Chicago faces. And our state legislature, thanks to the Aspen Institute types have put CPS in such a difficult and impossible place…its insanity…..CPS teacher are SOOO FRUSTRATED right now. I am sure the teachers at Walter Payton probably want to disasscotiate themselves with the rest of CTU members, but they must realize just how bad it is out their.

    MY school wants us to teach kids who can’t even read to have self directed book discussions and a million other flashy learning styles. No more textbooks or plans. It’s a mess….it’s impossible to explain…but we teachers need the PUBLIC’S Help…..we are not lazy…well no more lazy than any other human….being a teacher is like being a waiter, a professor, a made, customer service agent….it’s getting worse and worse….Rahm has no idea what the H he is talking about if he goes and praised Urban Prep…when they show the same results ALL cps schools show…..he is so hypocritical!!

  • 357. sad day  |  March 30, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    excuse my spelling mistakes..my frustration gets ahead of my keyboard!!

  • 358. Angie  |  March 30, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Found last year’s late round lists. Did you consider any of these schools?



  • 359. Angie  |  March 30, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Found last year’s late round lists. Did you consider any of these schools?


  • 361. Angie  |  March 30, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Sorry, looks like highs school link above is wrong. It’s an elementary school scores instead.

  • 362. Portage Mom  |  March 30, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    @353. anonymouse teacher – what you’re suggesting sounds very similar to what Finland did to improve education in their country. I know the US is so different than Finland. What I thought was interesting was something I read about what Finland set out to do in terms of education. They were not necessarily going for excellence but really striving for equality in the type of education all children in Finland received. The by product for making sure ALL children received a good education was excellence. I thought this distinction was interesting.

    School districts funding should not be based on property taxes, but purely on income taxes with each school receiving the same amount of money per student. The problem is no one is interested in adopting that model. I think as a society, shouldn’t we want every child to have an equal chance to succeed? Funding a good portion of schools with property taxes just ensures there will always be inequality based on income.

  • 363. Kat  |  March 30, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    354# i teach too and it is frustrating since Rahm, whose kids do not go to a typical CPS school, does not understand anything about the challenges of being a kid in a poor part of the city.

    Some schools targeted for closure were on their way up…major blow to the community.

    Asking kids to go to a school where a different gang operates shows how out of touch these upper middle class planners are. A kid doesnt have to be in a gang (and most arent) to get labeled or to get picked on by more aggressive kids espescially on the way home/to school. It happened to me. I was labeled as being from Disciples territory *because of where I lived* not because I was in a gang (I wasnt) and I could not go into certain neighborhoods without people attacking verbally or otherwise. I had to go to several different schools so this is an old CPS trick that distracts from major issue of not spending $/organization on children directly (get the books on time for 1st day of school).

    If jobs that are real jobs come to the community that will help the community socially, and in the meantime support services is the only way to get kids can get brought to the place to being able to learn.

    Some schools may need to close for a variety of reasons, but not looking closely at performance and community need/activity, and if the school is up and coming or not, is so important to helping the kids for the long term but that seems to be a secondary concern.

    CPS likes everyone out there to think they are in a bad place but CPS put themselves there a long time ago with top heavy admin that does not solve problems for over 25 yrs. Crane is a perfect example of a problem festering 20+ years.

  • 364. Kat  |  March 30, 2013 at 11:36 pm


    I totally agree Portage Mom.

    If the $ were equal, the wealthy areas would still donate to their schools..and in the poorer areas at least they would have a fighting chance!

    They need to adopt it or I predict city problems to get a good deal more ugly when our schools are overcrowded.

  • 365. katy  |  March 31, 2013 at 7:43 am

    352 @ Angie, no one is asking Lincoln to throw out any kid. But there are good schools that can take in 20 kids comfortably without overcrowding but this option is not really being given to the kids at closing schools. I think that was the point, everyone knows Lincoln’s issue but Disney 1 and Disney 2 have seats, so does lasalle and lasalle2, why not ear mark a couple seats here and there for these children. My sister asked was this an option at her kid’s school closing “briefing” and the answer was the district is looking into it, so we all know that means no. If the goal is a better education why not make the process open and accommodating? some may call this cutting in line, but call me crazy but I think these kids deserve to cut in line. If the CPS statement is true that these children have suffered years in poor and failing schools–/ their own quote then yeah I think for this year only they deserve to cut line. The definition of fair is not what is equal but what is right!

  • 366. katy  |  March 31, 2013 at 7:46 am

    My daughter attends a good neighborhood school and I believe my nieces also deserve the right to a good neighborhood option.

  • 367. Casey H  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:09 am

    There shouldn’t be any attendance boundaries for any schools – it ads to the ghettoization of the city and promotes the status-quo in school quality variance.

  • 368. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:14 am

    364. Casey H | March 31, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Yes, there should be attendance boundaries for schools~otherwise you would have no neighborhood schools~and gr8 neighborhood schools keep the neighborhood gr8 w/strong communities and keeps the real estate up.

  • 369. cps mom  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:29 am

    @ Casey–I agree! It is just another way to separate and widden the gap.

  • 370. cps mom  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:31 am

    ” If the CPS statement is true that these children have suffered years in poor and failing schools–/ their own quote then yeah I think for this year only they deserve to cut line. The definition of fair is not what is equal but what is right!”.

    Katy this is the best post I have read in a long time. Makes sense to me.

  • 371. cps mom  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:34 am

    I would love for a group of parents of schools that are being closed to start a legal challenge regarding “neighborhood” schools. If my taxes go into the city “tax pot” I should have access to any city school, not just the one down my block.

  • 372. frank  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:37 am

    @352 very obtuse way at looking at providing a real option to better schools.

  • 373. just another parent  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:49 am

    @354 – “why don’t we see these problems in rich suburbs…they all have unions teachers. however, they aren’t closing schools and opening charter schools”

    A – rich suburban schools aren’t underutilized or if they are it’s by design and they are funded B – One significant goal of the charter school is to provide flexibility in teaching in an effort to narrow “the achievement gap”. This is not an issue in “rich suburbs”

    @362 – take a look at the response on this site to converting LaSalle to a neighborhood school to relieve overcrowding. This may come as a shock but many kids from the housing projects already attend LaSalle, Franklin and Newberry. What you are describing is already done. Are you suggesting that upper income neighborhood kids should have a lesser chance at proximity seats or that fewer upper income proximity kids allowed for “the good of” lower income kids?

  • 374. southie  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:49 am

    > 364. Casey H | March 31, 2013 at 9:09 am

    That’s an interesting proposal: no attendance boundaries and open admission to all city residents.

    Perhaps CPS should not rely on parent or guardian applications for children to attend a school. Maybe CPS should just run the numbers of all registered students and assign them to a school somewhere in the city that likely best meets their needs (high scoring, etc.). Take the parent or guardian initiative out of it. Then, give the family the choice to decline the placement. Let CPS place the student, the family chose to decline.

  • 375. southie  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:58 am

    > 365. SoxSideIrish4 | March 31, 2013 at 9:14 am

    You know the old saying: Public is private. As in, public school is provided via your private mortgage. 😉

  • 376. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:59 am

    @319 @323 The school is Melody. I referred to it in @26. The Suntimes notes this too.

    The longer day did not improve the school. Delano is higher..

    Delano did not have a longer day, but it achieved the same composite point rise that Melody did. So much for longer day.

    Mayer didn’t have a longer day and we already gave time for recess — we had the highest growth in the network last year.

  • 377. southie  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I was hoping the CTU would have a more strategic approach to dealing with the school closings, but the message that’s rising to the top is the “show up at your old school” directive. I doubt that will work. From what I’ve read, it would even jeopardize the jobs of the reassigned teachers due to insubordination.

  • 378. kim  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Most of these are not neighborhood schools. They are schools with maybe half of the kids coming from within the attendance boundaries the rest are allowed in because there is space.

    Dont believe me think about your own neighborhood schools. How many of you attend that school?

  • 379. katy  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:24 am

    @ just another patent/370-“This may come as a shock but many kids from the housing projects already attend LaSalle, Franklin and Newberry”.
    This thread is about school closing therefore I was putting out an opinion about ways to help children affected by school closing. By commenting on housing project children and upper vs lower income children you show your own bias. Why not read my post once more? I stated that for this year only I would be in support of allowing these displaced children access to these schools. I stand by this statement, how you read that to mean anything else is beyond me??? upper, lower, middle, I don’t care, if your school has closed then yes I think it would help to provide this option.

  • 380. skinner mom  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:38 am

    @ Just another parent “Are you suggesting that upper income neighborhood kids should have a lesser chance at proximity seats or that fewer upper income proximity kids allowed for “the good of” lower income kids?”.

    Heavens forbid CPS did anything for the “good” of these kids. in the case of a massive school closing year (an uncommon year), I also think that uncommon solutions should be used. Sending John from school X to school Y seven blocks down the street means nothing in academic improvement. Send John to school A. I wish could take the time to list all the good schools that are not overcrowded but don’t have the time (maybe someone else?) why can’t these students attend these schools without jumping through a bunch of hoops? Many parents will find a way to get their kid to the school if the option was available.

  • 381. just another parent  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:42 am

    375 -“I stated that for this year only I would be in support of allowing these displaced children access to these schools.”

    So while we are adding kids from displaced schools into magnet schools why don’t we place the kid in post #350 or #351 or a whole host of kids in the magnet school thread? Why is the dilemma of being reassigned to a different (potentially better) school any greater than others having difficulties finding a good school?

  • 382. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:44 am

    374. kim | March 31, 2013 at 10:23 am

    My kids attend our neighborhood school~it’s very good…it’s also getting overcrowded w/ppl who don’t live in our area using fake addresses to attend. Luckily, our principal has stopped a lot of that.

  • 383. skinner mom  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Acvording to CPS own formula:
    Lasalle 2 underutilz., Disney has space for up to 300, Disney 2 under., Nettlehorst space for up to 100 more kids, Murray space for about 80, Burr space for up to 150 more, Pritzker space for about 100, etc……..

  • 384. Frank  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:52 am

    378-“overcrowded w/ppl who don’t live in our area”.
    Got to love the Chicago attitude. Smh

  • 385. Casey H  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:55 am

    365. SoxSideIrish4. Your perspective is narrow, my guess is you live in Beverly with its cut of streets to keep the “neighborhood” out and is a textbook definition of a “ghetto”. What works well for CPS as whole has verry little to do with what the needs of an enclave like Beverly are.

  • 386. Frank  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:55 am

    377 “Why is the dilemma of being reassigned to a different (potentially better) school any greater than others having difficulties finding a good school?”. Can you really not see the difference?

  • 387. Frank  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I would guess southsideirish is from the Mount Greenwood area, the comments seem VERY aligned with that area.

  • 388. Frank  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:57 am


  • 389. Casey H  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:58 am

    380. Frank – Yes, indeed Frank. SoxSideIrish4 is like a pesky mosquito buzzing about here but I give her kudos for persistence.

  • 390. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 31, 2013 at 11:03 am

    #380~Frank~Our neighborhood school has boundaries and I believe they should be enforced so that our schools don’t become overcrowded and classes larger. That’s why CPS has boundary areas.

    #381~Casey H~Yes, I live in Beverly. I doubt my perspective is narrow~I realize what you are saying~but I believe that ALL students should be provided good neighborhood schools~whether it affects Beverly or not~ALL schools~ALL kids should be able to attend a safe, neighborhood school and receive a good education.

    I hope everyone on this board have a lovely and blessed Easter.

  • 391. yeah right  |  March 31, 2013 at 11:11 am

    379 – and Skinner Norths capacity?

  • 392. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2013 at 11:15 am

    From Christopher Ball (this was waiting for approval and I think if I approve it messes up the post #s so I’m going to copy the approved posts here):

    @319 @323 The school is Melody. I referred to it in @26. The Suntimes notes this too.

    The longer day did not improve the school. Delano is higher..

    Delano did not have a longer day, but it achieved the same composite point rise that Melody did. So much for longer day.

    Mayer didn’t have a longer day and we already gave time for recess — we had the highest growth in the network last year.

  • 393. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2013 at 11:16 am

    From Angie:
    Found last year’s late round lists. Did you consider any of these schools?



  • 394. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2013 at 11:16 am

    From Cassie:
    We are putting together a website detailing what stands to be lost in the disruption of the mass closing process at the 117 schools that will be directly impacted—both closing and receiving (and any other school actions like turnarounds as well).


    If you would like to contribute to this site as a teacher/parent/student/staff/alumni of a school being directly impacted or as a someone who would like to show solidarity with those school communities, please get in touch with our project by emailing me: cassie.creswell@gmail.com

  • 395. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2013 at 11:16 am

    From Josh Kalov:
    @249 & @258, There are not numbers easily available for self contained SPED classrooms that I am aware of. We’ve organized enrollment trends along with % SPED and some other information at http://schoolcuts.org for the closing and receiving schools. We don’t currently breakdown the number of students per grade but it is available on CPS’s website ( http://www.cps.edu/Performance/Documents/Datafiles/enrollment_20th_day_2013.xls ).

  • 396. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2013 at 11:18 am

    From Waiting Game:

    At #708,yes I did write my opinion about charter schools but it is based upon actual research from Stanford as well as other sources of charter performance. Please see the CREDO study found here:


    You can also look at this recent Chicago Tribune article which states “More than two dozen schools in some of the city’s most prominent and largest charter networks, including the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO), Chicago International Charter Schools, University of Chicago and LEARN, scored well short of district averages on key standardized tests.”


    I’m not going to pretend that all Chicago neighborhood schools are great, but let’s not pretend the charter schools are either.

    I think you are absolutely right-parents should look at this research before deciding!

  • 397. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2013 at 11:20 am

    From FrankE:

    From RYH:
    54 School Closings Means Overcrowding for all of Us

    After months of saying we have a space utilization crisis the narrative has shifted and the city now says the closings are all about school performance and their need to save kids who are trapped in “failing schools.”

    Here’s one example of a school the city considers failing that is going to be shuttered, Lafayette Elementary.

    Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drj4aE8tXko

    The Sun-Times reported that 1/3 of the schools will not be going to better performing schools (based on test scores).


    Overcrowded Class Sizes

    Mass closings will lead to overcrowding and bigger class sizes. The numbers don’t work. Some receiving schools have told us they have no idea how 300-400 kids will fit in their building without class size going up to 40 or higher. Is this how we create better education for Chicago’s children? Also the loss of 54 schools in Chicago means less “seats” for all of us. 16 special ed cluster programs are on the list. When people in those attendance boundaries who have kids not yet in school enter school, the rest of us will be absorbing them.

    We already debunked the 100k empty seat myth. Apples to Apples determined there are 25k empty seats based on a max class size of 30 and not taking high special education, ELL, community schools into account. So we have far less than 25k. This is a short-sighted plan not unlike the parking meter deal that’s going to lead to overcrowding and more of a strain on the taxpayer when we have to open new schools. Are we trying to build a city that attracts and retains families or sends them packing?

    Safety Concerns

    What the city is also not telling us is that kids at schools like Garvey and Manierre and Earle and many more will be going to schools where they’ll have to sit in class with new gang factions. Is being afraid for your life conducive to a child’s learning? Safe passage is one issue in consolidations, being in a classroom with rival gang members is another issue. The mayor says he will ensure the safety of every child yet safety plans have not worked thus far in Chicago. He is now closing an historical number of schools in the city with the most gang members in America. Why aren’t we addressing the underlying issues here?

    Special Ed

    CPS is closing 16 special ed cluster programs and will attempt to transition 2400 kids with IEPs next year. Emails us if you have a kid at one of these schools. info@ilraiseyourhand.org.

    The Trib says it’s time to “Unchain the charters.”

    Unchain the Charters

    If you’re a believer in strong neighborhoods schools for all children and communities, it’s a bad time to be in Chicago. This was never about a space utilization crisis, it’s about an ideology held by a select few making all the decisions in a vacuum about what’s right for your kids.

  • 398. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Those who are talking about opening all school boundaries and/or moving kids to “good” schools – that’s what was called “Busing” about 30 years ago. It was big for a while but has died out for reasons I wasn’t quite sure of, but here’s what Wikipedia says:


    Since the 1980s, desegregation busing has been in decline. Even though school districts provided zero-fare bus transportation to and from students’ assigned schools, those schools were in some cases many miles away from students’ homes, which often presented problems to them and their families. In addition, many families were angry about having to send their children miles to another school in an unfamiliar neighborhood when there was an available school a short distance away. The movement of large numbers of white families to suburbs of large cities, so-called white flight, reduced the effectiveness of the policy.[3] Many whites who stayed moved their children into private or parochial schools; these effects combined to make many urban school districts predominantly nonwhite, reducing any effectiveness mandatory busing may have had.[3] In addition, school districts started using magnet schools, new school construction, and more detailed computer-generated information to refine their school assignment plans.

  • 399. Casey H  |  March 31, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    398. cpsobsessed Busing decreased parental control so it is not really comparable to boundary free school choice.

    Right now there probably 125 or so schools in the system (out of 681, soon to be about 620) which are boundary free. When that number goes to 250 – 300 or so (125 to 175 more charters) in a few years, the neighborhood schools will want to compete for students from all parts of the city. Many families wil choose schools close to home but for those who think the trade-off, proximity vs. quality, is worth it, they will choose schools further away. This is exactly what private school parents do as well as many charter school familiies. By removing boundaries ALL parents will go through a similar selection process.

    The Los Angeles school district tried to remove all boundaries for all schools recently but the measure was not supported by enough of their board members yet.

  • 400. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    @casey H: ah, yes. The busing comment really should have been directed to those who suggested sending the kids from closing schools to “good” schools elsewhwere in the city.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 401. WendyRYH  |  March 31, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    @Skinner mom – keep in mind that the CPS calculation for capacity is based on a formula that is 120% of their “ideal” class size of 30 kids per homeroom. Ask any of the schools you mention if they have empty rooms or space for the number of students CPS claims they have room for. They don’t. What’s sad is CPS is forcing overcrowding on some of the district but not on schools that are in certain zip codes. No one should be subjected to this. I find it interesting that parents from some of these schools who think these closings are a great idea are at schools that have room (according to CPS) for more students, but would be going absolutely nuts if they were forced to deal with bigger class size and loss of ancillary rooms.

  • 402. local  |  March 31, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    @ 401. WendyRYH | March 31, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Which mainstream media are covering this aspect (the calculation and how it seems to be applied differently among schools)? Which reporters understand the numbers you describe. Could you point me to them? Thanks!

  • 403. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Wendy, so to clarify, does this mean that classes at 120% of ideal class size means that classes will be around 36 kids and the most will be down to 0-1-? rooms for things like music, art, library, computers?

    So CPS is saying that the new combined schools are OK to be at 120% capacity based on the utilization formula they’ve devised?

  • 404. tchr  |  March 31, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    From the everyschoolismyschool.org site. (wow what a great site! How do we make sure BBB and MRE read it since they have *no time* to visit those schools.)

    “WBEZ is asking why CPS decided to move Manierre students to Jenner instead of  another nearby school?

    “Manierre is an interesting case, because it’s surrounded by higher performing schools, some of them magnets, among the best in the city. But  instead of combining Manierre kids with them, and looking for a home where everyone could fit, the district is sending Manierre students to Jenner, another Cabrini Green school: 98 percent black. Jenner has slightly lower test scores than Manierre. People say Manierre and Jenner have been on opposite sides of gang lines for at least four decades.”

    Exactly! Those kids COULD go to a better, more diverse school. Within in walking distance, no busing. But *for some reason* they will be sent to Jenner.

    I get why. I get it. Sending these kids to another school in the area would cause an uproar with the parents there. If you wouldn’t want this for your child, how can you support it for another child.

  • 405. Angie  |  March 31, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    @401. WendyRYH : “What’s sad is CPS is forcing overcrowding on some of the district but not on schools that are in certain zip codes.”

    Lincoln is 124% utilized, Bell 100%, Blaine 139%, Beaubien 129%, Burley 126%.

    Please name the neighborhood schools that are “in the certain zip codes” that are underutilized and not accepting applications for open enrollment.

  • 406. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    So how would this work – sending Manierre kids to local magnets? (I assume just the Manierre kids would be sent and the Jenner kids would stay put in their also underutilized school? Or do they all go to the magnet schools?)

    So the magnet schools would stop accepting new students in the lower grades and take Manierre/Jenner kids for kindergarten. That could work. What happens in the upper grades where the magnet schools are full/near full. I’m sure they could probably cram in an extra couple classes if needed.

    My understanding is that the schools around Manniere/Jenner are all at capacity.

    I guess potentially split kids at Man/Jen up – say a few (30-50) here and there and the magnets lose their space for specials?

    Also remember there will continue to be kids from the Man/Jen neighborhood who need a place to go to school. It’s not a 1 year thing. Year 1 is a LOT of kids, but each year are probably another… 30 or so who need a school. Could the reverse work? Combine Man+Jen now, but phase the K kids into the magnet schools?

    Does this result in the phasing out of the magnets as kids from that area get neighborhood placement?

  • 407. WendyRYH  |  March 31, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    @Angie – I didn’t say every school in a higher-income zip code is in this category and I am not saying any of these schools have space, as I’ve repeated. I am saying the formula is flawed and there are different standards for different zip codes, as I mentioned earlier with an addition going to one school that’s 100% efficient and other schools in the 85-90% range becoming “welcoming schools”.. Here are a few more:

    Alcott – 68%
    Mayer – 67%
    Hawthorne – 87%

    There’s a reason why most magnets are not at 100% efficient, They usually have pretty high class size but want to retain space so their kids can have a well-rounded education, as they should. PS – Burley is at 136%.

    Again, I have heard Bell is overcrowded for years but they are at 100% efficient per CPS. The formula is rotten and it should be changed.

  • 408. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Yeah, that Bell number seems suspect.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 409. WendyRYH  |  March 31, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    @cpsobsessed – the formula is complicated. The district assesses total building capacity at 120% of 30 kids per room allowing for 23% of rooms to be ancillary (non-homerooms). It doesn’t mean every consolidation will lead to 36 kids in a classroom or no ancillary rooms but that you can have 36 kids per room in every room and not be considered “overcrowded,” or you can give up your ancillary rooms and try to keep class size lower. The problem is when CPS says FACT: closings won’t lead to overcrowding, they don’t tell you that under their definition, you can have up to 36 kids in a room and still be considered “efficient” and not overcrowded.

  • 410. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Thanks wendy. Trying to get my head around it…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 411. Angie  |  March 31, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    @Josh Kalov: Thank you for posting the enrollment information spreadsheet. Very helpful.

    @407. WendyRYH: As far as I know, both Alcott and Mayer were accepting applications this year. Is that not correct? It looks like they have more space in the upper grades than in the lower ones, but again, people have to apply to get in.

    Hawthorne is a pure magnet,with 60+ kids per grade, and 87% utilization. What do you propose to do here? Create more classes per grade, which will quickly put it over 100%, or increase the current class size, which is already over 30?

    BTW, what happens if the neighborhood school has, say, 60 children entering the 3rd grade, and receives another 30 applications for 3rd grade from out of boundaries students? Will it be required to set up an additional 3rd grade classroom, and hire an extra 3rd grade teacher this year, and extra 4th grade teacher next year, and so on?

  • 412. WendyRYH  |  March 31, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    @Angie – I don’t think you’re reading what I am writing. I am not saying those schools should take more kids. I am saying they have high class size and are still considered well below 100% efficient because the formula does not allow for enough ancillary rooms/adequate class size. I am not proposing that they take more kids.

  • 413. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I think Wendy’s point being that if these schools suddenly had to absorb 100+ kids there’d be a big stink about it and it would be difficult to do — which is what’s happening in some/many of the receiving schools.

  • 414. anotherchicagoparent  |  March 31, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    As Wendy states and as a Bell parent CPS” utilization numbers are faulty.They do not count for ancillary classes at all and class sizes of 36+.Bell needed to question CPS’ numbers and put together its own space utilization committee as several years ago some parents started questioning why some classes were now held in what used to be storage rooms or broom closets.Bell needs 200 more students to meet CPS’ overcrowded rate ask any Bell parent what that would mean for their child.As someone who has experienced CPS’ bad utilization numbers and wants equity among all schools I would definitely want a walk through of every school involved on this closing /receiving school list.Sometimes it is good to question CPS in the best interest of the children,great schools do it.

  • 415. Chicago Mama  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    @399 and magnet schools do as well. This study is old, but it studied the time period right after the neighborhood set-back (proximity lottery) was introduced to magnets. Very interesting data which is, unfortunately, now outdated. http://ccsrdev.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/publications/MALDEF%20magnet%20sch%20rpt.pdf

  • 416. Anonymous  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    414. I also have ben telling people I think a “walk-through” is necessary.

    Part of my issues (as an overcrowded neighborhood school mom) is that only the neighborhood schools seem to be affected. So far no one is saying (yet) that the magnets should help absorb the students from any of these closed schools. I mean, no one from CPS! We’re just making ALL neighborhood schools overcrowded!!

    I think the ONLY fair thing is to REQUIRE EVERY incoming kindergartener to fill out a magnet school application. That way the parent will be forced to take responsibility and maybe realize there may be other options.Until EVERY student is in the lottery, it is not a true lottery.

    Also, here’s a crazy idea. I live in a great neighborhood school district (not by chance, of course). I can be in proximity to FIVE great magnet lotteries: Franklin, Newberry, LaSalle, Alcott, and Mayer. Five. Why is that fair? My kids go to our neighborhood school — because I want them to go to school with their neighbors. I love the community feel. THankfully, I never had to fill out the magnet application.

    During discussions of Lincoln’s overcrowding issue, it was brought to light that over 100 Lincoln district families attend LaSalle and over 30 attend Newberry. I don’t remember how many attend Franklin, Mayer and Alcott. That is AT LEAST 130 spots taken away from kids who don’t have an amazing option like Lincoln.

    How about taking away proximity for families who live in a high-performing neighborhood school district? How would that be for evening the playing field?

    I know. There would be an uproar. But that’s my point. Why aren’t magnet schools feeling any heat? And why aren’t they part of the solution?

    However, I think we are also talking from an unfair perspective. Schools we see as “failing,” are beloved by many of their students and parents. Manierre has a parent center to help parents cope with parenting issues. It is across the street from low-income housing — a giant complex. What will become of the parents let alone the students??

    IT is not fair for outsiders (like me) from ANY district (whether Bell or Jenner or Lincoln or Manierre) to claim to know what’s best or even what’s wanted from students and their parents.

    That’s why I agree that there should be not just a walk-through, but a “residency” of sorts for each school. THat will never happen, but isn’t that a shame that a school board which has never set foot in these schools thinks they know what’s best for the kids.

  • 417. edgewatermom  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:55 pm


    I think the ONLY fair thing is to REQUIRE EVERY incoming kindergartener to fill out a magnet school application. That way the parent will be forced to take responsibility and maybe realize there may be other options.Until EVERY student is in the lottery, it is not a true lottery.

    They can’t require that because every family does not WANT to send their child to a magnet school. They may want to keep siblings together, they may not want their child to travel on a bus to an unfamiliar neighborhood, they may LIKE their neighborhood school (even if it is failing). It is not a choice if you force it upon somebody.

  • 418. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 1, 2013 at 8:49 am

    417. edgewatermom | March 31, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    So true. Two things kept from sending my child to a SEES~1) I didn’t want him on a bus and 2) our neighborhood school is wonderful and I wanted him walking to and from w/the neighbor kids.

  • 419. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 1, 2013 at 10:10 am

    @290 There is a multi-step process to become an “IB World School” at http://ibo.org/become/

    It is not clear that all these schools will complete the steps. None of the elementary schools have these programs in place yet. CPS will have to go through the process of training teachers or hiring new ones with this training.


    On another note, anyone else see an irony that some folks in the More Than a Score coalition are complaining that based on pure ISAT scores, some receiving schools are ranked slightly lower than closed schools? CPS used a broader metric than ISAT scores (hurray!), and now they are criticized by test-hating lobby that they didn’t follow raw ISAT scores? Gotta love politics.

    They are not using a broader metric than ISAT. The performance scores are based on the ISAT scores, just re-arranged differently. And some of the data is misused, even when value added scores are unreliable — the confidence interval includes zero — they are used in the performance calculation. So many schools are getting rewarded or punished for statistically invalid reasons.

    CPS has said that they want to use this data; MtaS doesn’t endorse this position. In fact, MtaS is opposed to using ISAT data for high-stakes decisions. What some MtaS members have pointed out, is that the results from CPS’s use are inconsistent with the properties CPS attributes to the data. How can the school be subject to closure as the worse-performing school when its composite scores are higher than that of the other score? CPS is giving great weight to marginally different data. This is what is wrong.

  • 420. junior  |  April 1, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Metric includes other things, like attendance. Value-added is at least a step up from raw ISAT, which is so closely a function of SE factors. Would be better if they used a three-year moving average for value-added, but that is another discussion.

    My point is that the media and MTaS groups both fall into the narrative of defining schools by their raw ISAT score by claiming kids are being moved to inferior schools. That narrative is both pervasive and silly, and you would expect more from groups that are so anti-test. Why are MTaS groups making arguments about school quality based on ISAT scores? I understand that politics will make people grasp at whatever argument is convenient at any moment, but I continue to find it highly ironic.

  • 421. Family Friend  |  April 1, 2013 at 11:16 am

    @355 anonymouse teacher: I feel that way, too, and I’m not an educator. I would like to put you at the head of MY school district, when I am queen of the world. But I agree it’s not possible in our current world. Both sides in the labor-management equation need to be turned on their heads, and I don’t see that happening absent a complete breakdown, and I certainly don’t wish for that. After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans wiped the slate clean and started over. I have not seen an unbiased report on how that has worked, only skewed perspectives from people advancing a point of view. And the slate may have started clean, but it was soon cluttered with position-based choices. What can we do? I suspect we are both doing it – making the most of our opportunities to help students one or a few at a time. It’s not enough, but without all of us doing what we can, things will only deteriorate, and implode.

  • 422. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 1, 2013 at 11:17 am

    419. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins) | April 1, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Several elementary schools in Beverly have the Mid Years IB prgm in their schools (grade-6-8).

  • 423. Family Friend  |  April 1, 2013 at 11:37 am

    With regard to displaced students attending good schools with available seats (like Nettlehorst): How are poor parents expected to get their students to these schools? A train and two buses? Every day? And then the pickup? No, we need to get good schools into poor neighborhoods.

  • 424. Family Friend  |  April 1, 2013 at 11:49 am

    @398 cpso: Why busing for desegregation has ended in Chicago: the federal consent decree for school desegregation ended a couple of years ago because, all parties agreed, there are not enough non-minority kids in Chicago schools for anything the court can require to make a difference. Busing had been phased out even before that, because it is just so expensive. I had the opportunity to study CPS busing more than ten years ago, and it was a mess. There were two primary reasons it was so expensive: the bidding process was completely messed up (details withheld), and schools refused to even consider staggered start times. So the number of buses and drivers required was at least double what it could have been. There were some routes where we could have put every single kid in a taxi and paid full metered fare every single day of the year, and it would have cost less than what was being paid for the bus. Busing at that time was costing CPS more than $100 million annually.

  • 425. Peter  |  April 1, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I agree 423, but how is that accomplished?

  • 426. cpsobsessed  |  April 1, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks FF – fascinating! And pretty much what I would have expected unfortunately.

    Agreed we need better schools in all neighborhoods. That seems to be the million dollar question though….HOW… especially on the CPS budget.

  • 427. mom2  |  April 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Yes, FF. Please explain how. I hear this all the time but I’m not sure anyone has the answer about “how” to make a school “good”. What makes a school “good” and how can that be replicated in a poor neighborhood? Are there any “good” schools in very poor neighborhoods? If so, I would think that would be the place to start looking.

  • 428. Casey H  |  April 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Regarding “good” schools, everything I’ve read always points to good “school culture” as being the underpinning of “good” schools. In a nutshell good “school culture” is the positive relationship between students, teachers, administrators, and parents as well as positive interaction within these groups. I would also include a positive culture between the layers of leadership above the schools (Clark Street) and the schools themselves.

    CPS can influence and control all the aspects of school culture to some degree but the negative impact of poor parenting skills, low parent education levels, a culture of aggression, etc. are tough and extremely expensive to overcome.

    What is needed in order for good school culture to develop will vary widely from neighborhood to neighborhood. What is needed in some areas, aggressive social work outreach for example, will hardly be needed in others. Extra financial incentives to attract teachers will be critical for some schools but superfluous for others. One size for all does not work.

    My own conclusion is that high levels of school autonomy is a prerequisite for good school culture coupled with a much more holistic approach to budgeting which goes beyond the per pupil funding formula now used for most schools. The old Autonomous Management and Performance Schools Program (AMPS) was a step in the right direction and lot of the latest CPS efforts seem to be moving in that direction – AMPS for all schools if you will. Charter schools, of course, already have that kind of autonomy to a much larger degree.

  • 429. Family Friend  |  April 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Good schools in poor neighborhoods. I am most familiar with charters, and I can vouch for Academy for Global Citizenship, Alain Locke, Amandla, Bronzeville Lighthouse, Catalyst Circle Rock, several of the CICS schools,EPIC Academy, Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy, KIPP Ascend, Kwame Nkrumah, LEARN, esp. Romano Butler and Hunter Perkins, Legacy, Legal Prep, Montessori, Namaste, all the Noble St. Schools, Polaris, Providence Englewood, Rowe, University of Chicago Schools, most of the UNO schools, and Urban Prep. I left out the ones that are too new to call and those that are located in “good” neighborhoods, like Northtown, CMSA, and Passages, as well as schools that are struggling. I would pick those schools over neighboring regular district schools in every case, with the confidence that any student can be prepared for college, and beyond, there. These are elementary schools that may not look much better, if at all, on the ISAT, but are blowing the lid off NWEA tests, and both elementary and high schools whose students are reading, writing, and understanding math & science well above grade level, and planning to attend college. I have spent time in most of these schools, and there is a difference in how engaged the students are, the level of instruction and classroom discussion, and the school culture from what I have seen in regular district schools. I’m not saying you can’t find that in other schools, and I would like to hear about some. But these are the ones I know.

  • 430. Family Friend  |  April 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Conventional wisdom (based on lots of educational research) as to what makes a good school — most educators will recognize this. Suburban and downstate district administrators can recite this by heart:

    1. Effective principals and teachers in every school (coupled with the ability to get rid of ineffective ones)
    2. More instructional time (extended school day and year)
    3. Use of data to drive instruction (always be aware of each student’s strengths and weaknesses, and when students don’t learn a concept, re-teach it)
    4. High-dosage, individualized tutoring
    5. A culture of high expectations

    Some of this just costs money. Some is opposed by teachers’ unions, or thwarted by bureaucracy. But it works. The question is not what makes a good school, but whether we can get behind the changes it will take to make schools good.

  • 431. Anonymous  |  April 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    #417 and #418. Sorry. I didn’t make myself clear. I did not mean that kids HAD to go to a magnet school by filling out the application. I simply meant that CPS uses magnets (and their applications) as a way to siphon off involved parents from some neighborhood schools. I am a neighborhood school mom. Even if I filled out an application (which I never did), I would not send my child to a magnet. I just think some parents don’t even know they have the option. Parents in Manierre, for example, are in proximity to Franklin, LaSalle, and Newberry. If they did not choose to go to Manierre, do they even know they could fill out an application? If it were required, they would. That is what I am saying. I am sorry if it came out wrong.

  • 432. Old town neighbor  |  April 1, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    @431 – Yes, Manierre kids do fill out applications for magnets and get plenty of assistance from the alderman’s office and Jesse Whites organization located in the Marshal Fields complex. Franklin is located right down the block.

    Someone mentioned that many of the kids at some of the schools are not from the neighborhood. I have been told that this is the case with Manierre lots of kids from other parts of the city and still underutilized. The move to Jenner will be a big improvement for them.

  • 433. A mom  |  April 1, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Anonymous 416 – Alcott is a neighborhood school. There is no proximity lottery. You are either in by living in the neigbhorhood or you get in through a general lottery. No tiers no proximity

    Just fyi since you had said “I can be in proximity to FIVE great magnet lotteries: Franklin, Newberry, LaSalle, Alcott, and Mayer. Five.”

    Understood your point though.

  • 434. Sarah Karp  |  April 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Family friend… have you or anyone else applied to these charter schools? Do you have any sense of how hard it is to get in?

  • 435. local  |  April 1, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Re: Academy for Global Citizenship

    I’ve heard that some parents expect there might be a marked number of families leaving the school next year. Don’t remember why, exactly. It sounds lovely and the director seems like a go-getter. Not a lot of AA folks on staff however.

  • 436. Casey H  |  April 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    434. Sarah Karp – Charter schools do not have entrance testing or other requirements for entrance. Some have waiting lists and some have attendance boundaries. Up to 15% of charter schools are allowed to have attendance boundaries by Illinois State law but the actual percentage of schools who have requested boundaries is lower I believe.

  • 437. PatientCPSMom  |  April 1, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    @431 and @432 regarding Jenner. I am not sure you’re aware that Jenner has been on probation for the past 5 years. Jenner is not a school 98% of the people on this blog would choose. The education offered there should not be a choice offered for any child. For three years I have advocated to expand educational opportunities here on the Near North side. The plan for transformation that is the city’s hallmark should include transformative thinking on education.

    Interestingly, the combined population of Jenner/Ogden is almost a mirror image of Disney magnet on the lake. I hope CPS chooses to look at what it did right in the past and use that knowledge in the future.

  • 438. HS Mom  |  April 1, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    @437 – What is your resolution to this issue? Where would kids at Manierre go?

  • 439. local  |  April 1, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Speaking of educational options and personal choice for low income, high scoring students… http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/opinion/sunday/a-simple-way-to-send-poor-kids-to-top-colleges.html?_r=1&amp;

  • 440. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 1, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    @422 I was referring only to the schools on the closing list. There are said to be five new IB programs, either primary and middle years, to be created at receiving schools.

  • 441. PatientCPSMom  |  April 1, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    @438 CPS could consolidate the area of Manierre into the Lincoln border. There is an underused CPS facility on Larabee that could be used to expand neighborhood education. Using the Disney model of integrated educational opportunity, CPS could create a primary school at one location and secondary school at another.

    Just like a Jenner/Ogden consolidation.
    Combining schools could do a couple things.

    1. Create economies of scale and a cohesive strategy for growth of CPS neighborhood education on the Near North side. The strong Lincoln brand would continue to attract new families to both campuses.
    2. Allow neighborhood education to expand and stop the reliance local families have on magnet schools for education.
    3. Separate young kids from older kids to better maximize resources for each group and ensure additional safety.
    4. Give needed outdoor space at a new Primary campus (current underused Laarabee campus has large park area. There even is a pool.
    5. CPS could expand access to the “Pay for Preschool” program. There has been a huge growth of private preschool programs in the area. Seems like there’s a demand.

    I am fully aware of the political implications of this suggestion. I am patient and I believe with cooperation and consideration a fair solution can be reached for all the children of this area.

  • 442. SEN  |  April 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    @424 Too bad they did not learn anything from the study. Start times are now staggered. Think of how much money they wasted in those 10 years. When my daughter was in first grade she was the only child on the bus in the morning for the entire school year. I used to think it would be cheaper if a limo picked her up. This year the bus is also a mess. It seems that CPS has a hard time implementing big changes. I think these closures will be a disaster if how they handled the bus routes is any indication. These children’s lives are a lot more complicated than bus routes and they can’t t even do that right. There is also a lack of direct accountabililty for most problems. Who is going to handle the problems when these schools close? It will be a game of pass the buck. BBB can just quit like the last guy did, but still get paid!!!

  • 443. HS Mom  |  April 1, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    @41 Interesting ideas. Thought it was mentioned here that Near North on Larabee is not available for some reason.

  • 444. Family Friend  |  April 2, 2013 at 11:12 am

    @434 Sarah Karp: My kids are adults; we didn’t have charters until they were almost finished with high school. I did work with several children in the last few years who still attend charters. Four are or were at Passages, which usually has a few openings, although not in every grade. Passages accepts mid-year transfers if they have space. It’s located in Edgewater and its students score well on standardized tests. In addition to having 82% meet/exceed ISAT standards (composite), all of its students meet their NWEA goals in every subject. These scores include ELL students, who make up a large percentage of Passages students – the school was founded to serve the needs of refugee and immigrant children. The school is very diverse, however. One of my young proteges was admitted to Chicago Math & Science Academy in the 6th (entry level) grade. The two who finished elementary school are currently both charter high school students, one at Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy, the other at a pilot program between CICS and Global Citizenship Experience High School. The Instituto student has a long commute from Rogers Park, but even at 14 she thinks it’s worth it for the education she is getting — she has applied to intern at Lurie Children’s Hospital this summer (wants to be a pediatrician) and her advisor tells her she will probably get the internship. She was far down on the waiting list after the lottery, but enough students had other options that they reached her name. The other, who attends GCE — a truly outstanding program — was also admitted to several Noble Street schools. We spent a lot of time in the fall and winter of their eighth grade year attending Noble Street and other charter school open houses, as well as SEHS open houses, IB open houses, etc., but it was worth it. All four students are in excellent elementary or high schools where they can reach their full potential. And we chose GCE over several other excellent options — not just the Noble Street schools, but IB programs at Senn and Ogden.

    Providence Englewood (composite ISAT score 86.8) always has seats. (See discussion of schools in Englewood, below.)

    In addition, I am on the board at Amandla, which usually has openings as well, this year in grades 5-10. Its location in Englewood (across the athletic field from Robeson) subjects it to the same kind of enrollment problems as other CPS schools in the area. (Thanks, CPS, for offering us these wonderfully located buildings; now we know why they were available.) We hope that opening enrollment to new students in grades up to 11 (when we get an 11th grade, in 2014) will encourage students from farther away to take advantage of Amandla’s academic excellence. We recognize that we will have to make some adjustments: right now, every single one of our high school freshmen is at or above grade level on the NWEA, because they have all been with us since at least 7th grade. We are gearing up to address the needs of students who will reach high school years behind.

    So, yes, you can access these great schools. And many have openings even this late in the year. New schools usually take a while to fill up, so a new Noble Street campus is a good bet. Plus any school in Englewood.

  • 445. Family Friend  |  April 2, 2013 at 11:14 am

    SoxSideIrish4: I haven’t forgotten your request for a copy of Amandla’s financial report. Amandla is on spring break this week, and our ED is out of town. I have reached out to the deputy ED but I don’t know if she is at school this week, either. (They are routinely at school until 9 or later every evening, so I don’t begrudge them some time away.) If I knew how to access the board papers section of our website, I might be able to get it on my own, or at least point out that it should be posted, but my tech skills seem to be declining. I will definitely get this to you.

  • 446. Family Friend  |  April 2, 2013 at 11:22 am

    @435 local: I can’t imagine that families will leave Academy for Global Citizenship — it’s one of those places that envelops you in its warmth the minute you walk in (see also, Alain Locke) — but if that’s true, I would consider it good news for other people in the neighborhood.

    Getting African American staff members is a struggle. As a board, we constantly push our administration to be aware of diversity when they are hiring — but we can’t have quotas or even targets, and highly qualified AA teachers and administrators are in great demand. We also have trouble finding African Americans who are interested in serving on our board — it’s a lot of work, and, again, people with the skills and available time are in demand.

  • 447. Anonymous  |  April 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    #433. Alcott is a neighborhood school but the majority of its students attend through the lottery. It is (oddly enough) not popular as a neighborhood school. I don’t know why that is. It is an awesoome school. Same with Mayer. It still has lots of magnet room but it’s an awesome neighborhood school. I think in Mayer’s case perhaps people don’t want to go to Montessori?

    As for combining Jenner and Lincoln. AGAIN, why is it the neighborhood school that has to have even MORE kids. Some families (Ogden, etc.) are fighting for enough room for the kids we already have. Why can’t a magnet take more kids and become a bigger school. When are schools too big? Ogden has how many kindergartens?? LaSalle has two. Newberry has two. Franklin has two.

    The only thing I DON’T like about my neighborhood school is that there are too many kids. Too many is just as bad as not enough. That’s not something magnet/SE parents have to deal with. And I see that CPS is just creating an overutilization problem where an underutilization problem once existed.

  • 448. local  |  April 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    I missed a lot of pieces from the Reader this past week:

    1) Mayor Emanuel’s crowded-classroom approach to fixing schools /
    How the school “consolidation” plan could make teaching and learning even harder. By Ben Joravsky


  • 449. local  |  April 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    2) Standardized testing overkill at CPS /
    Even Chicago school officials allow that they’re giving students too many standardized tests. Will they really cut back? By Steve Bogira

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/cps-opt-out-standardized-tests-reach-map/Content?oid=9144250 + lots o’ comments

  • 450. local  |  April 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    3) Welcome back from spring break, CPS teachers!
    Posted by Ben Joravsky


  • 451. Gobemouche  |  April 2, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    WBEZ does the reporting that the Trib couldn’t be bothered with:

    “Chicago Public Schools officials explain the seeming contradiction by citing a large demand for charter schools. Charter advocates and even the Chicago Tribune editorial board say 19,000 kids are on charter school waiting lists in the city.

    There’s just one problem with that number: it’s not accurate. It significantly overstates demand.”


  • 452. Patricia  |  April 2, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    The WBEZ report is nothing new. Of. Coourse parents hedge their bets. Ask any general lottery parent. You cast a wide net cps neighborhood and charter. Many schools go down into the 300 to 500 range before anyone calls back. Not a. Hawthorne, but many other good schools do. This is really nothing new nor unique 2 charters. I am personally still completely charter neutral.

  • 453. edgewatermom  |  April 2, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    @452 But the WBEZ report does make it clear that the 19,000 is inflated. Unlike the Tribune, WBEZ is willing to do a bit of investigative journalism, rather than printing exactly what CPS feeds them (which is all the Tribune seems to be doing lately).

    I used to be charter-neutral, or even slightly pro-charter. But as I watch CPS try to shut down neighborhood schools at the same time that they are opening new charters, I am quickly becoming anti-charter.

  • 454. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 3, 2013 at 5:20 am

    452. Patricia | April 2, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    It may be ‘nothing new nor unique for charters’, but it’s new for parents who aren’t in the know abt charters. It’s new to CPS parents that the Trib is inflating charter numbers to push Rahm’s agenda for shuttering neighborhood schools in lieu of experimental charters. Thank God WBEZ exposed the Trib & Rahm/CPS for their lies and being manipulative. Also, thankful that msm has picked it up as well and it’s now in the public forum.

  • 456. Patricia  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Edgewater mom & ssi4. My point wasn’t 2 defend the Trib article and wbez did dig deeper. My point is that waiting lists are meaningless in CPS, neighborhood or charter. The only thing meaningful IMO is if there is a waiting list or not. Beyond that the number on the list doesn’t tell much.

  • 457. local  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:53 am

    And now in this week’s Reader:

    The need for charter schools: The Tribune overstates the case
    Posted by Michael Miner on 04.02.13 at 11:05 AM


  • 458. local  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Oops! I now see that Miner’s piece was already linked above. Sorry!

  • 459. local  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Aw. Eyes playing tricks. Plus, need more coffee.

  • 460. HS Mom  |  April 3, 2013 at 10:37 am

    So analyzing these wait list numbers tells us what? 44,000 wait listed for magnets and 19,000 for charters. Assume as a total guess (probably on the high side) that the average number of lists that the same child is on is 10 for magnets and 5 for charters. That’s 4500 magnet and 3800 charter kids for a total of 8,300 mostly K kids that do not want to go to the neighborhood school. If that number represents the number per grade of kids “stuck” in a school they don’t want to be in that would be roughly 8,300 x 9 = 75,000. As a % of the 450,000 CPS/charter population that is roughly 17%. This does not take into consideration those who could afford to go private. Kind of high, I think.

    What bothers me most about the charter discussion is that everyone wants to hold them separate from CPS. They are the same kids.

    If some charter schools can get the same or better results and provide a need at lower cost does it not make sense? If we can take our best success stories and replicate them without consideration of label – be it charter or magnet – doesn’t benefit the kids? Realistically, cost also needs to be a factor.

  • 461. klm  |  April 3, 2013 at 10:58 am


    Alcott is actually a popular option for the middle-class and upper-middle-class families in its enrollment district. This is a recent phenomenon, similar to what happened at Blaine a few years earlier. Same goes for Mayer. Up until it changed to a Montessori magnet, Mayer had a terrible reputation (and low scores to prove it), so it was a school that the neighborhood families in its LP enrollment zone avoided virtually always. I toured Mayer several years ago (before the magnet changes) and I knew right away that I’d never sent a child of mine there –the atmosphere was chaotic, many kids in the upper grades were thuggish to an unsettling degree, plus the dismal test scores, etc. A teacher and one administrator didn’t come out a say it, but seemed to suggest as diplomatically as possible that it was not a good choice for people like my family (i.e., one with options).

    Middle-class people will enroll their kids in CPS if it means their kids can get an education comparable to one they’d get in Northbrook, Naperville, etc., as evidenced by the fact that other neighborhood people that care about education are also enrolling their kids at the school and the ISAT scores are there to prove its educational bona fides.

    Accordingly, Lincoln is bursting at the seems, people get 10+% for their home if its on the Edgebrook Elementary District side of the street, etc.

    As a unscientific, but generally useful indication of how well a CPS neighborhood school is perceived to be, quality-wise, if it’s a selling point in real estate ads, then it’s the kind of CPS school we all want for our kids. I see Lincoln School District, Bell School District…., but not most others, in real-estate ads.

    Accordingly, messing around with school boundaries is going to start a war with people that have invested their savings and pay a significant part of their income for a home (the biggest investment most people will make in their life) that was bought/invested in with the understanding that theirs is a home attached to one of the few excellent CPS neighborhood schools. Also, why should any Chicago resident support and work to improve their local CPS school if, when the school does become a “good” one, they can simply be thrown out of its enrollment zone when it becomes popular/crowded (a la Lincoln)? Not a good message. The howls that would happen if Lincoln were combined with Jenner would be heard all the way to China.

  • 462. local  |  April 3, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Oops. This was supposed to go here: Catalyst’s new issue on school closings:


  • 463. Casey H  |  April 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    461. klm – A very thoughtfull and realistic post. This is why I favor a boundary-less system. If families in Englewood had equal access to good schools in Lincoln Park (if they wanted to travel that far) then the voters in Lincoln park would make sure the schools in Englewood are “good” as well. By default, it would be in everyones collective interest for ALL schools to be desirable in ALL neighborhoods. The system right now encourages Chicagoans to only care about the schools in their own fiefdoms.

  • 464. cps alum  |  April 3, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    @460– big assumption. A lot of people apply just because they can and not because they are unhappy with their neighborhood school. Many of these people ultimately CHOOSE their neighborhood school over magnets and SE. I applied just because I wanted to see if my daughter would be lucky enough to get in, and I wanted to put off any ultimate decisions until April rather than the Dec. deadline for applications. Even though I have a magnet offer, DD is going to the neighborhood school in the fall.

  • 465. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    @461 The real estate signal is a good one. We have had word back that parents have told several agents that they were moving into the area in order to attend Mayer. I have spoken with several families who were planning to do so as well. I’ve even had Lincoln parents say that are considering moving into the Mayer neighborhood.

    @463 I wouldn’t exaggerate the clout of LP voters. They can’t get their school a new building to reduce overcrowding. All CPS seems to offer is amending the boundaries so future residents would not go to Lincoln.

  • 466. HS Mom  |  April 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    @464 – I agree which is making me wonder about all the hype over wait list numbers. If this is the only gauge used in creating charters it is truly a bad one. If, however, a charter is a viable alternative and can contribute to “making a school good” then I say, by all means, have at it.

    I find that people who are against charters, even “charter neutral” live in neighborhoods that have a good or acceptable neighborhood school.

  • 467. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    #461 & #465~Real Estate is a valid point. Our neighborhood is gaining more ppl (empty nesters leaving) w/kids and buying in our area for our neighborhood schools.~Unfortunately, the schools are bursting at the seems too.

  • 468. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm


  • 469. Peter  |  April 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    @CaseyH, good way to reduce CPS enrollment.

  • 470. junior  |  April 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm


    Good way to rid the city of the middle class and its tax base. But at least there will be plenty of space at those “good” schools.

  • 471. mom2  |  April 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    agree with junior. Casey H., how on earth could the “voters in Lincoln Park” make sure the schools in Englewood are “good”? What exactly is it that they would have to do?

  • 472. local  |  April 3, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    In case you were wondering, teachers should just give Rahm what he wants (according to his bro): http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/The-312/April-2013/Zeke-Emanuel-To-Chicago-Teachers-Give-In-Now/

  • 473. Casey H  |  April 3, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    471. mom2 Well, if a candidate for mayor were to run on a platform of improving schools by increasing funding for wrap-around services – social work, classroom assistants, smaller classes, increased counselling positions, school nurses, etc. etc. basically all the services that are needed to make schools in low income neighborhoods “good” AND, yes, would pay for that with increased taxes the Lincoln Parkers would be much more receptive since it would keep “those kids” out of their schools.

    It’s a Machiavellian plan for sure – forced collectivism you will.

    The “reformers” are already implementing this plan of course. When charter schools become the majority school type down the road CPS will be essentially boundary-less. Charters are the choice for school “reform” across the political spectrum which is an interesting phenomena in itself. Is my idea ultra right wing or left of left?

  • 474. Angie  |  April 3, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    There Aren’t As Many Children Here: Population Change and Chicago School Closings


    Click on the census tract to see the change in numbers for it.

  • 475. anonymouse teacher  |  April 3, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    @463, the Lincoln Park parents have no control over whether any other school is good or not. School quality is highly determined by the income of the parents. (not the only factor, but according to every study I’ve ever read, this is always the single most important one) Are you saying LP parents are going to ensure every Englewood family has employment, that the schools have every resource they need?
    This is my issue with closing schools too. You can close schools, shift kids around, but you still have the same kids getting the same services. Nothing changes for the student but location. Yes teacher quality matters a LOT, but not nearly as much as parent income. Teacher quality and all other factors are secondary to income. My opinion? We need to figure out how to do something about getting people jobs, and helping them increase their income.

  • 477. Casey H  |  April 3, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    475. anonymouse teacher The Lincoln Park parents (et al) have everything to do with the funding of the schools. The CPS is primarily funded by property taxes on homes and commercial buildings. The ability to motivate the property owning upper 10% (?) of Chicagoans to open their wallets to make bad schools good is paramount. Right now those parents are fairly happy with their school choices and therefore comfortable with not wanting to spend more on the system as a whole. My idea changes that dynamic.

  • 478. Dever School  |  April 3, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Perhaps you could clarify and be more specific then. Are you saying LP parents would use their resources, financial and otherwise, to pressure the city into actually offering all children the individual intensive support they need? In that case, I think something could be said for that kind of approach. If the relatively rich could band together to raise hell about what is happening to our relatively poor communities, something might be done.

  • 479. anonymouse teacher  |  April 3, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    @477, yes explain further.

  • 480. Casey H  |  April 3, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    478. Dever School, 479. anonymouse teacher Ok so here it is.

    I’m working from the premise that no matter how you slice and dice it what is needed to fix “bad” schools is significant money for the wrap-around service that are key to making up the deficits cause by poor or absent parenting, a culture of aggression, etc. etc. Some may disagree but I believe not much can be achieved without spending much more on those services.

    I believe that voters vote with their pocket books. Few parents will willingly vote for a significant increase in school funding via taxation if they are reasonably happy with their schools. Families desire to have their kids attend school with kids similar to their own; I’m not judging that desire, just using it. The threat of kids from all neighborhoods having the ability to attend any school will drive the families of means (property owners) to be motivated to increase their own taxation since it benefits their own children; their children will go to school with their own kind since the “other” kids have no reason to seek out schools far away from home.

    I’m not crazy (I think anyway!). San Francisco uses a boundary-less system and if you consider test scores a good measure, seems to be doing well.

    see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Unified_School_District


  • 481. Casey H.  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    I’ve posted an explanation but cpsobsessed has to approve since there are links.

  • 482. PatientCPSMom  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    @474 Interesting article. One note the article most likely did not capture the baby boom of 2006. More children were born this year – more kids than any year during the post World War II baby boom. Those children would only have been 4 in 2010. I think this is one factor which is driving demand for pre k through Kindergarten education in areas like mine on the Near North side. Looking forward where will all these kids go?.

  • 483. Gobemouche  |  April 4, 2013 at 1:14 am

    Patricia – I posted the WBEZ article becasue CPSO and I (and others) had been discussing the Trib editorial. The WBEZ article is a well researched counterpoint to the Trib, and relevant to the discussion we were engaged in.

  • 484. Skinnerwester  |  April 4, 2013 at 5:43 am

    @466, I am against charters and both my neighborhood grammar school and neighborhood high school are both unacceptable!

  • 485. PatientCPSMom  |  April 4, 2013 at 7:50 am

    @483 I also live in an area (former Cabrini – Near North) where the neighborhood grammer school is unacceptable. I would like it if instead of a charter discussion CPS would focus on creating a real solution for neighborhood education here. We do have a neighborhood charter high school. So far it doesn’t look like the Quest Charter high school down the block on Clybourn provides as good as an education as the Lincoln Park high school, which is our neighborhood school. So why would I want a charter grammer school here? This school might provide even worse education as the current neighborhood school Jenner. Jenner by the way, a receiving school in this closure process, has been on probation for 5 years.

  • 486. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 4, 2013 at 8:06 am

    @474 No one has denied a city-wide loss in children 18 and under over 10 years. The dispute is over 1) the future trend, which is predicting a rise and 2) the effect on CPS. CPS enrollment has dropped by less than 32,000 students (K-12) since 2000. Yet CPS cites 100,000 “empty” seats. Which begs the question of when and how those 68,000 other seats emptied. CPS claimed there is a “utilization crisis” so many schools must be shut immediately. But it would seem that CPS had at least 68,000 “empty” seats since before 2000. A twelve-year crisis makes one wonder whether the mayor or CPS understands what a crisis is.

    And let’s be clear — these closings were justified for budgetary reasons, but the mayor’s statements at the closing-announcement press conf. focused not on the budget but on the quality of schools. If quality were the issue, why aren’t the overcrowded level 3 schools the focus of closings? And the budgetary claims fall flat when a “closed” school’s students stay in the building.

  • 487. HS Mom  |  April 4, 2013 at 8:24 am

    @481 – this link shows birth rates in Chicago to be down in 2006 and even lower in the years that follow.


    Could you be talking on a national level?

  • 488. Angie  |  April 4, 2013 at 8:44 am

    @481. PatientCPSMom :” One note the article most likely did not capture the baby boom of 2006. More children were born this year – more kids than any year during the post World War II baby boom. Those children would only have been 4 in 2010.”

    Yes, but these children are attending the school now, and accounted for in CPS space calculations.

    @485. Christopher Ball: “And let’s be clear — these closings were justified for budgetary reasons, but the mayor’s statements at the closing-announcement press conf. focused not on the budget but on the quality of schools. If quality were the issue, why aren’t the overcrowded level 3 schools the focus of closings? And the budgetary claims fall flat when a “closed” school’s students stay in the building.”

    These schools are both underutilized and underperforming, and you know it. And in the cases when the “closed” school’s children staying in the building, the students from the second school will be joining them. When it comes to the budget, it does not matter which of the two school closes, because the money will be saved either way.

    What’s next, the race card? In that case, I think BBB said it best. “To refuse to challenge the status quo that is failing thousands of African-American students year after year, consigning them to a future with less opportunities than others, that’s what I call racist.”

  • 489. Patricia  |  April 4, 2013 at 8:48 am

    @482. Gobemouce. For some reason I missed that. Threads weave and it is hard to always follow exactly which topic a post applies to 😉 I am not questioning the relevance of posting the wbez article at all. I was questioning what the point is to focus on waiting lists because IMO they don’t tell much.

  • 490. Patricia  |  April 4, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Clarification to my post 488. “I was questioning what the point is (add) “for any article” to focus on waiting lists because IMO they don’t tell much.

  • 491. Peter  |  April 4, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I read that CPS enrollment increased this year for the first time in many years.

  • 492. klm  |  April 4, 2013 at 9:40 am

    @Casey H.

    I think more taxpayers would be willing to pay more taxes if they thought it would make a difference, but the current CPS model and current K12 organisation doesn’t bode well in terms of creating confidence: dysfunction, waste, bureaucracy, job security over accountability, special interests of adults over what’s in the best interests of children, etc.

    I’m not sure just spending more money (how much is enough — 25% more, 50%, double?) would solve things, it would just make things more expensive for the same (lousy) results.

    There needs to be a fundamental change in the way we educate at-risk children, but any time there’s movement in that direction, there are those that explode into and anti- whatever accusations (anti-poor, -black, -teacher, -public education, union, organised labor, -civil rights……you name it), we’re-being-put-upon-by-outsiders-somehow -type reactions by so many people that claim to care children. Look at Karen Lewis’s remarks about how changing enrollment to fit reality is “racist” (?). I guess keeping black kids in failing schools is the non-racist thing for some people, we just need to throw more money at them and when that doesn’t work because it’s the same failing model, we just need to spend even more money, ….etc. People (including Jesse Jackson ?), were demonstrating and using racial and civil rights movement rhetoric to keep a failing CPS HS open –as if keeping a failing drop-out factory that has already had many second-chances to improve but still fails, open is a “pro-civil rights” act of support for black kids in the inner-city, at least according to some. Oh yeah, the only problem with this school was that it needed more money, not that it was a disgraceful failure on virtually every level, academically.

    As the parent of black kids, I believe (like most parents whatever their kids’ DNA) that it’s a civil rights violation to keep black (or any) kids in failing schools and not provide other educational options –but don’t tell that to Karen Lewis, since apparently she knows what’s best for my kids, right? God forbid poor families in Lawndale have options like charter schools and let’s not even discuss vouchers –that’s all part of some mean, Fox News, right-wing, anti-good people plot to keep us down, according to some.

    So, sorry if I don’t believe that just giving CPS more money would be very effective, ultimately in improving the lot of at-risk Chicago kids.

    Look at how charter schools are derided, vouchers are demonized (even in Sweden and Denmark [models of womb-to-tomb public coddling and caring of its most vulnerable] parents can leave their public school and enroll their kids in for-profit private ones–they have the funny idea that the per-student funding belongs to the student, not the public school bureaucracy –how strange.). I think places like Sweden and Denmark (In Denmark, parents can even top-off their per-student funding if they so choose) have the right idea: if traditional public schools are not doing their job to the satisfaction of parents, kids and society, why not try other avenues and use them when they work, instead of claiming that every attempt to change things and improve educational outcome is part of some big, anti-public education plot by a bunch of mean people that don’t even care about children. If it’s more effective and a more productive use of public funds, what’s the problem? Even people in the most egalitarian societies on Earth have figured that out. But that would never, ever happen in Chicago –there’e nothing wrong with failing CPS schools that ever more money won’t fix, apparently.

    Sorry, but just spending more money without fundamental change, accountability and yes, measurable improvement is just not going to do the job of better educating at-risk kids.

    We already spend quite a bit on public education –it’s how productive that spending is that’s the larger issue for me and many other people that care very much about the plight of poor kids in Chicago. Throwing good money after bad can be counter-productive without fundamental change.

  • 493. CPC4Chicago  |  April 4, 2013 at 10:39 am


    Bravo. My sentiments exactly.

  • 494. Casey H  |  April 4, 2013 at 10:40 am

    492. klm Very good and thoughtful. I actually agree with just about everything you say.

    I did start my post by saying that I am personally convinced that wrap-around services are the key to lifting school quality in poor neighborhoods. European schools in urban low income areas are definitely going the route of more wrap-around features including age 0-3 year day-care, city adult social services housed in the same building, senior citizen programming in the same building etc. City public libraries co-located in the school building. They speak of (age) “0 to 99” schools. I’m originally from the Netherlands where 75% of schools are Charter schools but all schools are 100% taxpayer funded. There are no private schools. Many Dutch charters are parochial (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc.) which would be a good solution in many of our neighborhoods but I realize that’s Constitutionally a no go in this country.

    Would the CTU allow other social workers, day-care workers, nurses, librarians, not in their union or non union workers in the building?

    This type of approach would be fundamentally different but my premise stands; property owners will bear the brunt of the cost and have to be coerced into participating because it does cost more money. There would be many hurdles but without additional funding for low income neighborhood schools nothing can change.

  • 495. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 4, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Hmmm…Arne Duncan said yesterday “Vouchers aren’t the solution”~I agree. Today Bill Gates has written in the op-ed in of abt 2 much testing and how it can’t be the only answer for evaluating teachers http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bill-gates-a-fairer-way-to-evaluate-teachers/2013/04/03/c99fd1bc-98c2-11e2-814b-063623d80a60_story.html

    I believe in funding traditional neighborhood schools so that they can receive wrap around services, nurses, better learning conditions.

  • 496. Patricia  |  April 4, 2013 at 11:38 am

    @klm EXCELLENT Post

    @Casey. I personally do not think throwing more money will solve anything if it is more of the same as klm described so well above. I DO think that more social services are needed and you bring up a very interesting question of whether the CTU would allow an influx of social services that were non union.

    I have often thought that there is a much better way to accomplish, for example, school nursing. It should be more from a professional services standpoint than part of a teacher union. Why can’t heath clinics be the providers of school nursing services? Or a company like Walgreens or CVS with their expansion into clinics provide nursing services for every single CPS school. The locations are there, and they can be more efficient because they can service the community at large when not serving the schools. It just seems so archaic to have school nursing tucked under the CTU wing. I am sure there would be outrage and accusations of “evil” people trying to kill public education when in reality it is just a way to provide the much needed service of nursing to every single school in a more logistically logical and cost effective way. The current structure is just not working well.

    Also, I have been pondering your thought of no school boundaries and motivating taxpayers to pay more. While it may seem to make sense in a macro-social sciences perspective. I think it would be a failed experiment in social engineering. People would flee the city for the burbs in a heartbeat. Assuming that parents would pay more to “keep those kids out”, (or whatever the wording that was used) would not happen. Instead, people would simply go private if they could or move. Talk about flight from the city! It may cause the opposite and parents disengage and not invest in Chicago schools at all, even their local school. Wow, it would unravel much of the progress made in many parts of the city. I just can’t wrap my head around that working.

  • 497. HS Mom  |  April 4, 2013 at 11:41 am

    @484 – I can appreciate what you are saying. Lincoln Park/Old Town residents are very lucky to have such a great neighborhood high school. But what about the kids coming from Jenner and Manierre? Not likely they will get into any honors programs at LP. The neighborhood program is very segregated and purposely so. The Charters in Old Town are “no boundary” schools and give kids living outside the area access to schools in safer neighborhoods that are centrally located. Local kids may also chose these schools for the specialty they offer.

    Charters opened to serve the mixed income housing developments in the former Cabrini Green area are Legal prep, new HS, Quest currently 6-8, 63 ISAT, Galopgus elementary 64 ISAT. Jenner has 53 ISAT and Manierre has 54. Yes, we all agree that scores are not the only gauge of school quality. They seem to show some positive gain and usefulness – maybe not for you but for others. I agree, charters need to be accountable and provide a positive alternative, and have the demand/willing participants. Charters in general as an alternative form of education do have a place in our system and I’m thankful for the option.

  • 498. HS Mom  |  April 4, 2013 at 11:50 am

    KLM – just read your post. Thanks again for your insights.

  • 499. mom2  |  April 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I agree with many of you. Throwing more money into CPS is not something most tax payers would trust. While I also agree that kids in the poorer neighborhoods need more services and smaller class sizes, (and special places with extra support for trouble-makers or kids that need other outlets for their frustrations – so others can learn) I don’t think people would believe that extra money would be used only for and specifically for that. Instead, it would just disappear into the bureaucracy like all the other money that is thrown at the schools today. And really, how much money would it take to make the school “good”? Does anyone even know?

    I also agree that there is a limit to how much tax payers will be willing to pay and once that limit is reached, they will simply flee to the suburbs. They certainly won’t stick around and keep their kids in CPS schools that start to perform worse than they currently perform (which is what will initially happen based on test scores when you add more poor kids to their current schools) or when their child would not be able to go to their current school and have to travel further, etc. This idea would backfire and hurt the city in many different ways.

  • 500. Casey H  |  April 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    496. Patricia – Yes, Yes, your middle paragraph! You and I agree. Similar to what progressive schools in Holland are doing – but overall it would cost more money than is spent now even when done in the manner you describe. Holland has extensive mix of private/public hybrid approaches to many social services including the health insurance system. The post office was privatized many years ago and are only co-located stores, similar to TCF banks in Jewel.

    Regarding “flight” from the city I don’t think it will happen especially if the schools are improved. A catch 22 of course.

  • 501. Patricia  |  April 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    @Casey H. On a pure cost basis, having a hybrid for school nursing may be more expensive (any data out there?)………but if the service is much more extensive and better meets the needs of students, it certainly may be worth it. Do you know if things like this are explored in CPS or the US? There just has to be a better way to provide much needed social services to school populations.

  • 502. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    In that case, I think BBB said it best. “To refuse to challenge the status quo that is failing thousands of African-American students year after year, consigning them to a future with less opportunities than others, that’s what I call racist.”

    If this is what she said, then BBB just agreed with KL on racism in school closings. The students from the closed schools are getting stuck in the status quo in the receiving schools, which are marginally better overall. Only 12 of the 54 receiving schools are level 1 schools with performance ratings above the highest closed school. So most students are going to the status quo, with a substantial disruption.

    Now, CPS could have identified clusters of schools of all levels and use — regardless of network — and created cluster-level groupings of CPS staff, local admin., faculty, and parents to discuss how to shut down x number of schools based 30-students per class enrollment rates across the cluster, negotiate new boundaries, and constitute new, merged schools, and be provided funding for librarian, art, music, and foreign language positions from the estimated savings levels. (Right now, CPS is not promising any new staff at the schools; they get a library at receiving sites, but not necessarily a librarian). Instead of “receiving” schools, a new LSC could be formed to select the permanent principal.

  • 503. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    @491 klm: On the Danish comparison, do note that despite vouchers, roughly 80% of Danish students in 6-15 age group still attend public schools; 85% for primary grades. Private schools are beholden to the same basic subject offerings that public schools must follow. By Danish law, the private school boards are elected by parents of those attending, and since 2010 parents can elect a supervisor to evaluate the school; the ministry of education could always choose to review a private school and recommend that it be defunded, but rarely did so. Imagine a charter system in the US, where the all charters were governed by parent-elected boards rather than the board chosen by the chartering organization.

    There is the equivalent of standardized school testing, but even Danish reading is only tested every other year and math only twice in elementary school. And the test scores are not public knowledge except at the national level, e.g., no scores at even the school level or regional level are released. Parents get them for their own children, but that is all. Only the elementary school exit exam results (at roughly our 8th grade) is reported at the school level.

    Since 2010, there has been a push for there to be gifted classes in schools. But there are no “selective enrollment” schools in the public elementary system, and social promotion is the norm, as in Japan. And Denmark spends slightly more per pupil than the US does for primary education. And teachers spend less time w/ students there: 650 hours per year of contact time for ages 6-15 v. over 1,000 in the US. It’s actually caused a labor fight this month — the schools locked out the teachers, so all public school kids are out of schools. Yes, you read that right; the schools locked the teachers out, for the children.

  • 504. Casey H  |  April 4, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    501. Patricia – Absolutely they are explored in the US. Google “community schools”.

    for an example, see:

  • 505. Angie  |  April 4, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    @501. Christopher Ball : “The students from the closed schools are getting stuck in the status quo in the receiving schools, which are marginally better overall. Only 12 of the 54 receiving schools are level 1 schools with performance ratings above the highest closed school. So most students are going to the status quo, with a substantial disruption. ”

    And how many level 1 schools have space for several hundred students in multiple grades, and are located within a few blocks of the closing schools? That was one of the big criteria, that the welcoming school must be within a few blocks from a closing school, and parents are still raising hell about having to walk farther.

    Also, do you really expect the school faculty to participate in school closing discussion in any meaningful way when their jobs are on the line? That will never happen.

    CPS is promising more than these kids have now, including libraries, air conditioning, new study programs and other things that will be possible because of the money saved by closings. A child moving from an old crumbling school to a newer building with air conditioning, library, and science lab is getting more either way you slice it, even if the ISAT scores at the new school are comparable to the old one.

  • 506. klm  |  April 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    @Casey H

    I guess I have to agree with everybody else that “border-less” CPS schools would not be a panacea. As others have pointed out: We already have some really good schools like that –Hawthorne, LaSalle, Jackson Language….etc. These really are places open to everybody, regardless of where they live. If people that live literally next door to Lincoln, Bell, Blaine or Edgebrook were just as like to be bused to a failure-factory in Engelwood as their excellent neighborhood school, then people would just up and move. Anybody remember the 60s and 70s? Much of Chicago’s middle-class moved lock stock and barrel to the suburbs.

    Also, I’d like to point out that this is not a uniquely American phenomenon, in terms of public schools that some avoid, etc. The U.S. is roughly the converse (yes, I know it’s not 100% true) of Western Europe where the wealthier, educated types have traditionally lived in the cities with good public schools, safe, clean streets, etc. and the poorer, less-educated, working-class (including most of the brown and black immigrant families) people live in the suburbs with what are perceived to be less good schools, more crime, etc.

    Most Parisians, residents of the “good” ‘arrondisements’ of Lyon, Bordeaux, etc. are happy with their neighborhood public schools (like most Americans that live in Greenwich, Winnetka and Scarsdale, etc.), but they’d never want their kids going to some of the schools in the surrounding grittier suburbs (concerns over quality, safety, etc.). The differences between the % of kids from the cities and suburbs that pass the university entrance exams is frequently quite big. I remember reading several years ago about some German educators coming to the U.S. to study how some American public schools (believe it or not) were successful at integrating and reducing the achievement-gap between immigrant Hispanic with native students. A good friend from Belgium tells me that there are lots of low-performing schools (in the working-class neighborhoods populated mainly by non-white immigrants) that many native Belgians avoid out of concern for quality. People in the UK move for schools or go private –ask anybody from there.

    Bottom line: people everywhere don’t want their kids suffering academically by enrolling in one of the “bad” schools. I don’t think that there’s a socioeconomic prejudice as much as there’s a strong desire for parents to make sure that their kids are enrolled at a school where the likelihood of getting a quality education is high. Same with CPS. If a kid from Lawndale tested well enough to get into one of my kids’s RGC or has parents that care enough to try the lottery for LaSalle or Hawthorne, then cool–I’m all for socioeconomic diversity. But I’m not going to send my kids to a failure-factory, no-way-in-hell CPS school not because I’m a bad person, but because I’m a good parent that cares about my kids’ educations.

    CPS schools with poor students already get quite a bit more money (Title I), all CPS kids are given free dental exams and treatment if needed (we have insurance, but could have gotten everything, including the anti-decay coatings for free with my kid at a RGC), all kids in Illinois have health care (there’s a clinic in one of my kid’s CPS schools). Most CPS schools in low-income areas have before- and after-school care. CPS schools in low-income areas usually are open even in the summer to provide free breakfast and lunch. A relative of mine that taught in Lawndale told me that all her students got voucher for free winter coats from Sears. I’m not saying all’s fine, but a lot of what we’re talking about is already there, to some.degree, for the most at-risk kids in CPS.

    There’s more to changing a failing educational model than providing more social services.

  • 507. Casey H  |  April 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    506. klm Very well stated! As I said, when parents are happy with their schools they don’t really care about making the “bad” schools better. Makes sense doesn’t it? How do those anti-decay coatings work – I wonder about that. Free coats are nice too. It’s all good!

  • 508. another CPS mom  |  April 4, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    “CPS schools with poor students already get quite a bit more money (Title I), all CPS kids are given free dental exams and treatment if needed (we have insurance, but could have gotten everything, including the anti-decay coatings for free with my kid at a RGC), all kids in Illinois have health care (there’s a clinic in one of my kid’s CPS schools). Most CPS schools in low-income areas have before- and after-school care. CPS schools in low-income areas usually are open even in the summer to provide free breakfast and lunch. A relative of mine that taught in Lawndale told me that all her students got voucher for free winter coats from Sears. I’m not saying all’s fine, but a lot of what we’re talking about is already there, to some.degree, for the most at-risk kids in CPS.”

    Why would these schools be “failure factories?”

  • 509. another CPS mom  |  April 4, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Perhaps it’s the families and students who are the failures?

  • 510. WendyRYH  |  April 4, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    @Patricia – we already have a hybrid for school nursing at CPS. Much of the nursing is covered by non-union temporary nursing agencies. Many schools that have kids w/ daily nursing needs have agency nurses covering multiple days a week. We’ve had about 9 different nurses this year at my son’s school. The lack of continuity of care is not ideal. Perhaps there is a better service provider out there, but this practice has been in place for years at CPS.

  • 511. another CPS mom  |  April 4, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Did you catch that This American Life series on the CPS high school, where the extra funding was paying for support personnel? The funding was about to end. So, the help they were providing to those children would also end. I think the school should have the extra funding to help the students.

  • 512. Patricia  |  April 5, 2013 at 7:10 am

    @ Wendy. Thanks 4 the insight into nursing at CPS. What you desacribe is not what I was talking about. My post was short so I can understand your line of thinking based on what I wrote. It sounds like cps. Is currently stringing it together. Probably spending a ton of money and obviously not providing the best service for the kids. If there was a true partnership with a Walgreens for example then it wouldn’t be just filling the gaps. You can have true scale and improve the service. Tweaking entrenched structures like cps does all the time with the union red tape on top of it all makes any efficiency very difficult.

  • 513. WendyRYH  |  April 5, 2013 at 8:15 am

    @Patricia- got it. Not sure if that would work. The nurses who work at Walgreens make over 100k. There is also a school nursing shortage right now. One reason is the pay is not competitive. Maybe something could be worked out, but not sure it would save the district money. There is a certified nurse at each school usually 1-2 days a week. Not sure how an outside service provider could stay looped into all the administrative stuff at CPS and deal with all the changes in student mobility and everything else that goes into the mix. Maybe possible but lots of challenges with this.

  • 514. cpsobsessed  |  April 5, 2013 at 8:39 am

    To me, I feel like additional support services in the schools with at-risk kids is a no brainer. But should the cost burden fall on cps? Ultimately it’s a social service that the city is providing. I would love it if chicago was committed to providing that, but it feels impossible to find funding within our city budget or support from taxpayers to pay more for additional social services.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 515. Patricia  |  April 5, 2013 at 9:05 am

    @WebdtRYH and CPSO. Certainly it would take a lot of restructuring, but the benefit to a Walgreens type partnership is that the nurses would be paid what they currently are paid, which is competitive at $100K and to service the CPS students would be integrated into their current work schedule. There would be a higher demand for Walgreen nurses and eliminate the shortage of school nurses. The school nurses who should be qualified, could be employed by Walgreens at the higher salary. It has to be so expensive to maintain these functions within CPS. That is what I meant by saying the clinic nurses could still provide services to the community at large. Essentially add CPS students into the mix. This would certainly be a good partnership if Walgreens clinics are busier after school hours and tend to be less busy during the school day. I have no idea if this is the case or not.

    I think there is a lot of administrative paperwork because it is really not what the school district should be running/managing. Also, medical services have more advanced patient records and tracking and would probably be light years ahead of the paper based system that CPS uses. CPS could not afford, nor would it bubble up to a top priority to get to electronic medical records. Walgrees does this already with their pharmacy systems and clinics. It is placing nursing services within a structure built on medical needs instead of trying to tuck it into a school system that should have its focus on curriculum and eduction. It would certainly be a large task to implement.

    CPSO, I agree with the thought that it is a larger community social service issue. Yes, costly and no money in the budget. Fragmented infrastructures are almost always more expensive to maintain, but integrated ones require good management and solid implementation.

  • 516. Mayfair Dad  |  April 5, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Just discovered this blog…


  • 517. Casey H  |  April 5, 2013 at 10:45 am

    516. Mayfair Dad Someone who immediately couches the complexities of CPS within the union, anti union wrapper will not have much to say of interest. Sounds like SoxSideIrish4.

  • 518. local  |  April 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Like the the contracted outside healthcare provider to Illinois prisons? http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-legislators-looking-14-billion-prison-contract-106505

  • 519. Patricia  |  April 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    @local. Heathcare is not the same as the needs for school nurses. School nurses do not diagnose cancer, they facilitate meds and kids who get sick at school, etc. However, yes any provider needs to be managed well.

  • 520. avid reader  |  April 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    @516 casey – don’t think that’s the real Mayfair Dad. He wouldn’t just show up to post someones blog like that. Yeah, agree with you.

  • 521. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    ha! That’s not me on that blog. I have a blog under my SoxSideIrish4 but that is all. Not to be mean, but if you’ve read my writing, I have a dif voice~I rarely use contractions~not saying I don’t use them, but rarely.

  • 522. Mayfair Dad  |  April 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    @ 516. You make a good point. I’m intrigued where he might go with it though. A promise of data. Many data nerds on this board would enjoy that. P.S. I’m under the cone of silence until May 22, 2013. On May 23, I have a date with RL Julia at Starbucks. She doesn’t know this yet. Venti coffee of the day, leave space for milk.

  • 523. local  |  April 5, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    “However, yes any provider needs to be managed well.”

    Yes, that’s my thought, too.

  • 524. local  |  April 5, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    BTW, the school nurse is also part of the IEP team for students involved with that domain.

  • 525. cpsobsessed  |  April 6, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Comment from Local on 4/2

    I missed a lot of pieces from the Reader this past week:

    1) Mayor Emanuel’s crowded-classroom approach to fixing schools /
    How the school “consolidation” plan could make teaching and learning even harder. By Ben Joravsky


    2) Standardized testing overkill at CPS /
    Even Chicago school officials allow that they’re giving students too many standardized tests. Will they really cut back? By Steve Bogira

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/cps-opt-out-standardized-tests-reach-map/Content?oid=9144250 + lots o’ comments

    3) Welcome back from spring break, CPS teachers!
    Posted by Ben Joravsky


  • 526. local  |  April 6, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Wow. This is a weird twist. Claims that the CPS CEO is not a Chicago resident. Wonder what that would do to her authority in CPS: http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=4147&section=Article

  • 527. local  |  April 6, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Funny: (quote from link above about BBB of Ohio & Crawley of Winnetka)

    “We will have to evaluate whether we can continue to investigate residency allegations if doing so would cause there to be additional appeals, grievances, litigation concerning the propriety of dismissing someone else for a residency violation when one of the heads of the organization has been given what appears to be preferential treatment,” Sullivan said. “To have effective rule enforcement, people have to be treated the same.”

  • 528. Family Friend  |  April 6, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Crawley clearly lives in Winnetka. BBB does not have an Illinois drivers license/ID and has not registered to vote. However, Substance did not pursue or was not able to nail down what I consider the clearest indication of residence: a lease or deed to Illinois property. If I got a job in a new town I might keep my Chicago residence, for when I retire, and lease it out (or not, if my salary were high enough). I might rent a new place and take my time about getting my drivers license, especially if someone drove me around most of the time, or if I were very busy. So it’s still an open question, to me, whether BBB is a Chicago resident. Where does she go when she leaves 125 S. Clark St. at night? Since she hasn’t asked for a waiver to commute from Ohio, I bet she’s got a place here.

  • 529. local  |  April 6, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Yes, that piece is missing from the reports: “However, Substance did not pursue or was not able to nail down what I consider the clearest indication of residence: a lease or deed to Illinois property.”

    That residency issue cropped up as an issue for Emanuel during his election run.

    BBB likely got relocation expenses and her HR file would likely have her housing details.

    It’s interesting to read the rationale for the Residency rule of the BOE. Right now, it doesn’t seem that either Crowley or BBB have met that ideal. But, perhaps they won’t have to.

    But, god forbid you or I try that.

  • 530. local  |  April 6, 2013 at 11:27 am



    A political candidate who seeks election in an area where they have no local connections.

    A person from the northern states who went to the South after the Civil War to profit from the Reconstruction.


  • 531. cpsobsessed  |  April 6, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    So if she rents a place in chicago but goes to ohio on most weekends do people object to that?
    Lack of drivers license, to me, indicates a lack of settling down for the longish haul…

    Although maybe she’s been busy. Took me almost a year to change the address on mine when I moved.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 532. Casey H  |  April 6, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Certain classes of CPS jobs such as HS math and science teachers are exempt from residency due to low supply and inflexible salary scales. I would put the CEO in the same class. You are not going to attract the best leadership possible by attaching strings and compensating poorly.

  • 533. local  |  April 6, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    @ 532. Casey H | April 6, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    I guess BBB is doing the best job?

  • 534. anonymouse teacher  |  April 6, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    I am curious, what rubric or evaluation system and standards are in place to evaluate B3? What would the highest level of performance look like for a CPS CEO? We have principals and teachers being evaluated partly on test scores, so I wonder, will she be evaluated on test scores too? If so, which ones? (NWEA, ISAT, Reach, Explore, Nape, Dibels, TRC, ACT, PSAE, and on and on) Or will that be decided after the fact? Who is evaluating her?
    I don’t really blame her for not putting down roots here in Chicago. Does anyone believe she’ll be here in 2 years? I don’t. She’s temporary, like the last few guys.

  • 535. Casey H  |  April 6, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    533. local – How would we know? At the salary paid you will never get the best candidates to consider the job. There are probably hundreds of school districts with a fraction of the number of schools and without the urban poverty driven problems with similar or more compensation.

    For some perspective consider that CPS principals earn half of the CEO’s salary for running ONE school. Consider that in Connecticut alone there are 27 superintendents who earn more than $200,000.
    Consider that the superintendent for Oceanside, NY, earns $292,000 for running EIGHT schools. NY has dozens of superintendents earning in the $200,000 range.

    Maybe they all earn too much but you still have to compete for talent.

  • 536. PatientCPSMom  |  April 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    @526-528 Where BBB, the Mayor, or anyone else who works for CPS lives seems like a distractaction from the discussion about school closing. Clearly both BBB and the Mayor don’t have real roots in the Chicago.

  • 537. local  |  April 6, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    @ 535. Casey H | April 6, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I’m not so sure the “best and brightest” ones are always paid the most in any field/job. What was the name of that book?… Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. 😉

  • 538. local  |  April 6, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Ray’s a receiving school. With a new principal coming, it appears: http://hpherald.com/2013/04/06/ray-principal-vice-principal-removed/

  • 539. Casey H  |  April 7, 2013 at 6:20 am

    536. PatientCPSMom The idea that the person who is in charge of CPS, which is the city’s largest public employer, the largest social and medical services and provider, operates the largest food assistance program, and is the nation’s third largest school system has to have “roots” in Chicago is short sighted and provincial. It points to the ghettoized attitude that persists in Chicago. Hire the best possible talent from a nation-wide pool (someone who isn’t tied into the Chicago “old boy” network – which are Chicago’s Irish politicos and the A religious elite mob) and pay a competitive salary which is probably in the $300,000 to $400,000 range.

    I happen to think the mayor is doing a great job and he was duly elected. Daley is “rooted” here and drove CPS to the brink of disaster. Take your pick.

  • 540. southie  |  April 7, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Just saw rumor BBB lives in a hotel suite in Chicago. Sigh.

  • 541. southie  |  April 7, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Then dump the residency policy for all CPS employees. Then CPS can hire the best suburban residents.

  • 542. southie  |  April 7, 2013 at 9:49 am

    The current old boy network: John Rogers, et al.

  • 543. southie  |  April 7, 2013 at 9:55 am


    More best and brightest.

    ‘If you have any questions call 311,’ CPS representatives told the audience… CPS hearing for Songhai closing with the students moved into Curtis

    Susan Zupan – April 07, 2013

    “The first of the three ‘hearings’ legally required per each Chicago Public School (CPS) action against elementary school communities across the city began today, April 6, 2013.”

  • 544. cps alum  |  April 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

    The only way to see if BBB is really an resident is to see her state income tax returns. Is she filing as an Illinois or Ohio resident? If she is still an Ohio resident, Ohio has a right to demand her to file a return there.

  • 545. Family Friend  |  April 7, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I take issue with the idea that Rahm doesn’t have roots in Chicago. Yes, he was born in the suburbs and has worked in Washington, but he owns and lives in a house in Ravenswood, where he is raising his family. Do I not have roots in Chicago (albeit transplanted) because I have lived here “only” 41 years? I did not choose where I was born. I chose where to make my life.

  • 546. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I’m not happy w/Rahm as a Mayror, but I do take issue w/Rahm not having roots in Chicago. He was born in Chicago~moved to the burbs and then moved back to Chicago. However, if he were invested in Chicago, he would invest in CPS neighborhood schools and give them the resources they need. He would also put his kids in CPS schools.

  • 547. Mich  |  April 7, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    I think the mayor’s request to move CPS pensions solely from the city’s tax burden to the state’s tax burden (like all other districts) is a step toward loosening residency. One thing I hear is that teachers need to feel the cost burden it places on us by living here themselves because of the way CPS is treated. If we treat CPS like every other district, that argument disappears because it is simply like every other district. I’m of two minds. I have found that the teachers that lived elsewhere were the ones in their cars at the stroke of 3:00 and never came in for special events, literacy nights, etc. Other teachers made at least one a year, those who lived closest in the city made nearly all of them.. And I think it is important that occasionally you see the teacher sometimes as part of the larger community. It isn’t something you can police but there is something to acknowledging if teachers live 2 hours one-way they aren’t going to be part of the larger school community.

  • 548. anonymouse teacher  |  April 7, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Mich, I am curious what you mean when you say cost burden. Do you mean property taxes or more than that?

  • 549. Mich  |  April 7, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    The way the state has structured things it basically throws more of the burden onto the city residents than it does to any other municipality They don’t care how we come up with it, they just decide it is our responsibility more than they do for other municipalities. The thought is if CPS teachers are treated so differently they should feel the impact. I think the mayor probably has it right, the answer is the other way, force the state to give CPS equal treatment.

  • 550. tchr  |  April 7, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    In response to the Songhai/Curtis issue, I looked up the fight they said happened years ago. This account is scary. No parent would want their child in this mess- and this happened when the schools were separate! What will it be like if they join? Also, Curtis does NOT have the room to take in an additional 200-300 students.


  • 551. PatientCPSMom  |  April 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    To all who commented about my post on Mr. Emanuel’s roots, I am not disagreeing that the Mayor lived in the city as a child. I also agree longer days, recess, and trying to set a higher standard for education are great goals. I certainly would agree getting the best person for the job is a great idea. But when it comes to the Mayor’s relationship to the city I liken it to the family who had an uncle they would see all the time when the kids were young but then the uncle goes away for 35 years and he only contacts the family again when he hears there is an inheritance. So the uncle is surely part of the family but is he rooted in that family? You’re never quite sure if the uncle would have come back if he hadn’t heard of the inheritance. I’m sure my observation is just generational. When you’re 54 you get to think a lot more about what having roots really means?

  • 552. seen it all...  |  April 7, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    At my school the teachers who live the closest come to school right before the bell rings. The ones who live either in the city or suburbs an hour away are there an hour early. The ones who live in the neighborhood definitely show preference for their neighbors children. The teachers who live in the neighborhood seem to have little or no professionalism as they think it is ok to be on Facebook with the students’ parents or drink with them at the local pub. If you live in Hegewisch it can take two hour to get to school in Saganaush.

    We do not pay into a city pension, have the city medical/dental/vision plan nor do we have tuition reimbursement yet we are held to a ridiculous residency requirement which has affected the quality of teachers-what other city has a teacher residency requirement?

  • 553. CarolA  |  April 8, 2013 at 6:38 am

    @552 seen it all…. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Please don’t judge teachers by the time they arrive or leave the school. There are so many reasons why people arrive and leave at various times. I can think of two teachers at my school that either arrive early or leave late and they are not the top teachers in the school. By the same token, a couple of teachers who are really excellent arrive at the bell and leave right away for a variety of reasons. Obviously, some teachers work once at home and others do not. Many of our teachers are grading papers well into the night at home. It’s not fair to judge using that criteria.

  • 554. seen it all...  |  April 8, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I totally agree. My response was to #547. Sorry, should have referenced it.

  • 555. Peter  |  April 8, 2013 at 9:34 am

    The state is moving in the direction of shifting pension costs to the municipalities. It’s the suburbs who will struggle mightily with increased RE Taxes.

  • 556. Family Friend  |  April 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    @315 SoxSideIrish4: I have the audited financial report for FY 2012 in ,pdf form. I have no idea what to do with it to make it accessible to you. I also don’t know if you are still checking this thread. If you see this, let me know and we’ll figure something out. Otherwise I will watch for you to post on another thread.

  • 557. Casey H  |  April 8, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    556. Family Friend Use If you use Gmail use Google Drive. Alternately use Dropbox.com. For both, to upload the pdf and set the file to “share with anyone who has the URL” Email the URL to ssi4.


  • 558. Family Friend  |  April 8, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    @557 Thanks. I think I can manage that. If not, I have children. SoxSideIrish4, I need to know how to email you without our sharing our emails for the entire world to see. Or I could just post the url — the financial report is publicly available info. Let me know you see this, however.

  • 559. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 8, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Please just post the url! I appreciate it.

  • 560. HPMom  |  April 9, 2013 at 11:02 am

    @538 regarding the removal of Ray’s Principal & Assistant Principal:

    I actually liked many of the changes that this, now former, administration made at Ray- such as school safety, offering healthier lunches/snack options, the use of interventionalists for kids that need more of a challenge as well as for kids that need to catch up for example. I know of several families who have pulled their kids out of Murray, Lab & various SEES schools because they were excited about this administration and their vision for the school.

  • 561. Family Friend  |  April 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    OK, a little help here. I uploaded the financial report to my Google Docs account and OK’d it share with anyone who has the URL. But what’s the URL? The only one I can find is the one to my list of docs. There is nothing in there I mind sharing, and most are not marked “share.” But I’m not sure that’s what I should post.

  • 562. edgewatermom  |  April 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    @561 When you click on the ‘Share’ button in Google docs, it should give you the url.

  • 563. junior  |  April 9, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    You should test that first to make sure your privacy is maintained.

  • 564. Casey H  |  April 9, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    or copy the URL in your browser’s address box when you have opened the file from within Google Drive.

  • 565. Family Friend  |  April 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    I am not sure how I did this, but I think this is the link:


  • 566. Casey H  |  April 10, 2013 at 8:46 am

    565. Family Friend The cost of Fund Raising is $177,700 (or about 5% of all expenses) but I don’t see the revenue from that effort. Are the costs expensed to the school but the revenue reported via a separate 501(c) entity?

  • 567. Family Friend  |  April 10, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Casey, that was a mistake. Our fundraiser is no longer on the payroll. We have hired a consultant, for much less money, who is getting us on track. Without a full time staff person, we have already raised far more than last year and our prospects for FY 14 are looking good. Our director of development missed the first test of performance: failed to raise enough to pay his own salary. Also $177K was total fundraising costs, not just salary. And we now have a database that is proving useful.

    Anybody that has any questions, please feel free to ask.

  • 568. anonymouse teacher  |  April 11, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I am deeply annoyed. This is a little off topic, but I recently learned that if a school has less than a 95% student attendance record, said school must submit an excessively lengthy and detailed “attendance plan” on how they will improve student attendance. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Why do WE have to do more work because PARENTS cannot or will not get their children to school? How is this any way, shape or form OUR job? Yes, we need to make school a welcoming place, but sheesh, what’s next? Do me and my colleagues need to walk the neighborhood, ringing bells, making sure kids leave the house? I am willing to do just about anything within my classroom and often times outside of it to ensure my students succeed, but this is totally pushing it. I seriously think the city needs to start fining parents who do not get their kids to school. I have multiple students missing 20-40 days of school each year and yet I am still held accountable for them learning the entire curriculum. I feel strongly that any child who misses more than 10 days or so-without some legitimate reason, that their test scores should not be figured into a teacher’s rating.

  • 569. Family Friend  |  April 11, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    There should be a plan to get kids to school, but the plan should make sense and the work should be fully supported by the administration. You have heard me say before that we are expecting a lot of parents who were themselves at the receiving end of a failed education — we have to figure out how to break the cycle with parents in poverty, not somehow convert them to the equivalent of middle-class parents. I think the district should run pilot programs and make the results available. Then schools can pick the successful plan that will work best in their particular community, or design their own.

  • 570. anonymouse teacher's husband  |  April 11, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I do believe that schools need to make themselves relevant to their communities and I do believe that schools, in some circumstances, have failed their communities, but… I also believe that failure is a two way street. We can lead a tortoise to water but we can’t make it drink. People have to make their own decisions, we cannot make those decisions for them. It is not a school’s responsibility to make sure kids are in school. That is the parent’s job and if they choose not to bring their kids, there is not much we can do about it. Conversely, teachers should not be held accountable for children that don’t come to school. Why should a teacher be assessed for a child that is a nonparticipant?

  • 571. klm  |  April 12, 2013 at 9:34 am


    True. True.

    The parenting style of so many low-income parents is almost designed to keep their children at a disadvantage academically, from the get go.

    We all have read books and articles about this and many of us have seen it in real life.

    Middle-class and upper-middle-class parents (and ones that think like them) understand that they are their kids’ most important teacher and parent accordingly.
    Q: Mommy, why’s the sky blue?
    A: What a good question. Why don’t we find out together the next time that we’re at the library –let’s put that on our Discovery List. Now, let’s practice our counting –you start.

    Many low-income parents feel that their job is to make sure that their kids are fed, clothed and kept outta’ danger (‘a good child is seldom seen nor heard’ describes the idea) –‘keep them in line’ through the threat of corporal punishment, smacking and yelling. Teachers get paid to have kids learn math, science and reading –that’s not my job. I’ve got too much to deal with as it is –I can’t be a TEACHER, too. I know a relative that taught in Englewood. Sometimes, she wanted to tell the parents about mischief at school, but she knew that most of the times the kids would getting “whoopin'” rather than a long talk from the parents, so she was hesitant –she didn’t want to be the one responsible for kids getting hit, even indirectly. Another relative that volunteered at a Head Start at a Lawndale CPS was stunned by how many mothers (or grandmothers –he never saw a father) let him know that he shouldn’t hesitate to give their kids a smack to keep them in line. One of the teachers there would use a large metal spoon to hit the kids on the head when they “misbehaved.” Can anybody imagine such a thing in Lincoln Park or Wilmette –there’s be lawsuits, firings and news stories.
    Q: Mommy, why’s the sky blue?
    A; I don’t know! Leave me alone, I’m tired from work. Go watch TV or something.

    Obviously, this is a gross generalization, but people who study these things find that the way parents interact with their kids has a seminal influence on kids’ emotional and cognitive development. Most affluent families seem to get this right, while most low-income ones don’t.

    It’s sad, but it seems like yet another way poor gets get screwed in terms of having a hard road.

    There have been successful programs that try to break this inter-generational problem of emotionally distant parenting. Apparently, the kids from these “taught to parent more effectively” households have gone on to do better in school and early adulthood, such is the benefit of having parents that are emotionally engaged.

    Accordingly, putting so much (as in 100% of the responsibility) on the shoulders of teachers alone is not realistic. Then again, I think there has been a small, but yet significant sub-set of inner-city educators that feel that they are so overwhelmed that they get burned-out and just go through the motions since the kids they are assigned have so many issues that theirs seems like an impossible, thankless task (I saw it myself in my own inner-city public schools). This is understandable, but shouldn’t be tolerated as much as it seems to be.

  • 572. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 14, 2013 at 10:24 am

    565. Family Friend | April 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Thank you for the link!

  • 573. Portage Mom  |  April 14, 2013 at 11:39 am

    568. anonymouse teacher – Teachers should not be held accountable for kids who have a high number of absences. I think they need to cut some of the staff at CPS headquarters and bring back truancy officers. CPS used to have them but they eliminated the positions because of budget cuts years ago. The whole idea does not make sense to me given schools are given funding based on the number of days children are attending classes. I would think the whole issue of kids missing a significant number of days of school would hit the bottom line of CPS funding and would only make sense to have staff to cut down in absences. Parents who have kids that miss quite a few days should be held accountable. If their kids miss a certain amount of days of school with no valid reason then the parents should have to perform community service during their time off from work.

  • 574. LaKeisha  |  April 15, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Hello, thanks you for your site. Do you know how the ipads will be given out to the kids? My son GOES to S Loop using my Mothers address, but we LIVE on W. Side and our localschool is listed to close. If I sign him up for the new school how long he have to stay before he gets his ipad and I can send him back to S Loop?

  • 575. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 15, 2013 at 11:06 am

    @568 I’ve long wondered the same thing. The schools have no tools other than urging parents and children to attend more than they already do.

    It’s not off topic because the closings mean that a number of students will not attend school regularly when the receiving school is farther away, in a different gang territory, or simply lacks a connection to the students.

    CPS and the city lack truant officers, which might explain why over 31,000 K-8 students missed four weeks or more of class during the 2010-11 school year, according to a Tribune analysis.

  • 576. local  |  April 15, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    From a comment to today’s post at catalyst-Chicago:

    Rodestvan wrote 3 hours 41 min ago
    the BBA report

    I just read the executive summary of the report that Cassandra West has linked to the Catalyst site. I found it to be profoundly depressing, but not surprising. I have to assume that their analysis of NAEP test data is baiscally correct and it shows that very little progress has been made over a period of years for minority students in Washington, DC, NYC, and here in Chicago.

    I don’t disagree with the critique of market based reforms linked with test score measurement contained in the report in the least. But what was disturbing was what the authors saw as the alternatives to these failing strategies. They call for a return to the small schools, early childhood programs, and the enrichment of low income students with arts, small classes, along with teacher development. All good and progressive things.

    I honestly don’t believe the market based and testing linked approach was adopted so much because there was a research basis for it, but rather because it is far less expensive than the approaches the authors want to turn to for very large urban school districts. We aren’t headed down the path of higher funding for urban education, in fact we are heading down the path of less funding for urban education. The reforms the authors recommend to be implemented beyond the pliot study level will cost big money and its big money with the taxes associated with this revenue that are not likely to happen in the next few years.

    I hate to say it but progressive educators need to realize our nation, and numerous European nations are in steep decline. Education funding levels are decling not just in Chicago, but internationally. While the stock market may run up because there is simply not where else to get a return on your money many of the fundamentals of western economies are negative. Therefore revenues are flat and the recovery from the Great Recession is limited.

    What public education needs right now is not the next great set of progressive reforms to improve education for low income urban students we just need stability from decades of failed education reforms going back well before NCLB. We need far simpler things, like getting kids to school instead of having no truancy programs at all. Like maintaining the current standard of living for educational workers so a new generation will be willing to become teachers. Like having schools that are part of communities with teachers who are part of those communities. Simpler things like keeping schools open to maximum extent possible in urban communities that have depopulated over the decades.

    Rod Estvan

  • 577. local  |  April 15, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    @ 574. LaKeisha | April 15, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Not sure about your inquiry, but kids will not be given iPads. They might have limited access to some iPads at school. Right?

  • 578. LaKeisha  |  April 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    No, our children will be getting free ipads for they’re own use if the nieghborhood school is closed. We deserve it for having bad schools forever!

  • 579. HS Mom  |  April 16, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    LaKeisha – I’m curious, are you in favor of your school closing, against it or doesn’t matter? Just wondering what some people think who are actually affected.

  • 580. Jen  |  April 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I’m pretty sure LaKeisha is a troll…

  • 581. LaKeisha  |  April 16, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I feel that as long as kids are safe and learning SOMETHING then it is better than what we have now. Most kids at our nieghborhood school don’t come. Want to cause trouble whhen they do come to school. That is why I send my son to S Loop.

  • 582. Jen  |  April 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    But it’s worth a free ipad right?! Wow.

  • 583. SN dad  |  April 16, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    @581 LaKeisha:
    For a neighborhood school like yours, nobody can turn it into a good school. Actually, it’s not the school, it’s the parents in your neighborhood. Close it down and send kids to schools in other neighborhoods. That’s doing those kids a big favor.

    As for iPads, computers etc., those gadgets have little to do with education. In some cases, the gadgets can make things worse.


  • 584. LaKeisha  |  April 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Yes it is worth a free ipad for me and my son. Our local school is no good so CPS should at least give us SOMETHING local for once! CPS GIVE US NOTHING!

  • 585. Jen  |  April 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Well feel free to give up that South Loop place you are committing fraud for, but don’t hold your breath waiting for anyone to give YOU a free iPad. The schools that get the kids from the closed schools get the iPads for in-school use by the kids.

  • 586. LaKeisha  |  April 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Jen, I am not committting fraud, sometimes he stay with my mother downtown. I think you are jellous b/c the system is working for me and my child, and b/c children in my area will get free ipads for personal use.

  • 587. EdgewaterMom  |  April 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I know that this is not really the right thread, but I am hoping that somebody who has more info might see this. Has anybody read this article about IB offers being rescinded at 4 IB high schools? http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=4169 Does anybody have more information?

  • 588. Jen  |  April 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Haha, ok. Enjoy your ‘free iPad’.

  • 589. IBobsessed  |  April 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    @587 Edgewater Mom, yes, this is curious. I cannot figure out if this means that CPS support of IB expansion at HSs is waning or they want the freedom to hire new teachers already trained in IB (and pay them less), instead of training the existing teachers at the schools. The latter does not make much sense. Are there really that many already IB trained newbie teachers? Most seem to get this training after some years of experience teaching.

  • 590. luveurope  |  April 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    587 + 589
    more smoke and mirrors from CPS. I know teachers at Taft who say they are told nothing about IB for next year. Interesting.

  • 591. anon  |  April 18, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I think you need to consider the source – Substance News?????

  • 592. HSObsessed  |  April 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Substance is a pro-union, anti-CPS, anti-everything rag that doesn’t even try to pass itself as a respectable new organization. Check out the sophomoric caption on the fuzzy cell phone picture on that article for evidence. Having said that, I’m pretty sure that this means that previously, teachers at these newly declared all-IB schools thought that they would all receive training to become IB teachers, but in fact, not all will be, only the more qualified teachers. This is making the less-qualified teachers nervous about retaining their jobs or worried that they’ll have to step up their game, and that gets George at Substance hot under the collar.

  • 593. LUV2europe  |  April 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    592 thanks for that info! is sure makes a difference

  • 594. IBobsessed  |  April 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    @592 HSObsessed – “I’m pretty sure that this means that previously, teachers at these newly declared all-IB schools thought that they would all receive training to become IB teachers, but in fact, not all will be, only the more qualified teachers.”

    I hope you’re right HSO, but what’s your source?

  • 595. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    @587 Edgewater Mom: Substance News is indeed a pro-union publication (it is more akin to the pamphlet presses that characterized the early US republic than news v. opinion newspapers. But it is only outlet that I know of that actually covers the CBOE meetings in any depth.

    The article appears to be about what teachers will remain at IB schools, not whether the IB programs will be shut down. However, the IB programs are probationary. A CPS school will not become an IB World School until it is certified by the IBO. It is usually a three-year process.

  • 596. Neighborhood parent  |  April 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Re: the IB article. I agree with 592 & 595….
    I don’t think I would describe it as ‘smoke & mirrors’. I think I would describe it as ‘insiders game’ article. Not saying that some person/constituency doesn’t have an axe to grind; it’s probably one of those things where the Rules got changed at the last minute.

    YOu know, like the new preschool process that was unveiled this month. It happens, stuff changes and folks get pissed/annoyed. Write articles. But probably doesn’t actually impact educational outcomes.

  • 597. HSObsessed  |  April 18, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    @594 – I have no source, and that was just my guess. I’m pretty sure (again — just my guess!) that CPS is not backing away from the all-IB roll out, but they are figuring out the process as they go along, and as Christopher says, it will be a multi-year process in any case. My kid will be in the LPHS IB-that-was-formerly-AP-double-honors program for the next four years, so I’ll be sure to report on how it shapes up over there.

  • 598. tchr  |  April 18, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Hey LaKeisha, from the way I understood reports- receiving/welcoming schools will get ipads for students to use IN SCHOOL. Reports don’t say how many ipads per school, so it might even be that a few classrooms share a classroom set. Schools usually pay a hefty price to purchase a cart that charges and locks ipads up for the night. I am positive that the ipads will NOT be allowed to be taken home by student.

    This is even IF cps purchases the ipads. I have some friends that work at the proposed welcoming schools. They’ve said the plans for air conditioning and libraries don’t seem like they will happen. Doesn’t seem like with an extra 200-300 kids in the building there will even be room for a library. Will probably be a broken promise.

  • 599. local  |  April 18, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    @ 592. HSObsessed | April 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    No kidding? Actually, I find more accuracy at Substance than in the MSM. And, I’m saying this as a professional who intimately knows how media is made and how education is covered. It would just take so much effort right now to explain from my POV, and I’m completely pooped.

  • 600. local  |  April 18, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    “…only the more qualified teachers…”

    I must live on a different planet, cuz in my professional rambles, I almost never see “the most qualified” rewarded with more responsibility that also leads to better outcomes. It’s just so common that the wrong folks are moved into positions, and those positions are rolled out the wrong way, rinse, repeat. Sigh.

    Thank god for the effective folks, still.

  • 601. local  |  April 18, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    “This is making the less-qualified teachers nervous about retaining their jobs or worried that they’ll have to step up their game, and that gets George at Substance hot under the collar.”

    Do you know how effective a teacher George was? It’s second-hand, but I hear, amazingly effective & in the tougher schools. He has very high standards for teaching and public education, from all I see.

    Yes, he bloviates (one of his favorite words), but there’s a lot of knowledge and insight in his version of CPS obsession.

  • 602. local  |  April 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Here’s a new option…

    (from catalyst)

    VOICE FOR CHARTER PARENTS: Chicago Public Schools parents from across the city have formed a new grassroots organization that intends to voice the concerns of one group whose views have been missing from the current debate about improving Chicago Public Schools – parents of CPS charter school students. Charter Parents United (CPU) is proposing a Charter Parents Bill of Rights, which they say will “ensure that Illinois and CPS support their children’s schools and continue to provide them with the quality education and stable environment they have worked so hard to find,” according to a new release issued Thursday.

  • 603. PatientCPSMom  |  April 23, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Has anyone else read the article in the Local neighborhood paper which states there are rumors CPS found 10s of million of dollars to expand the Lincoln school at the old Children’s Memorial site.
    Hope this planned expansion will include some kids from the underutilized schools on the Near North side, Sure beats AC and IPads.

  • 604. Angie  |  April 25, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Best laugh I had all day.


    So after the staging the teacher strike, and launching the anti-Rahm campaign for the next election, Karen Lewis is now asking for their cooperation? I hope the mayor and BBB are not stupid enough to fall for that.

  • 605. ...seen it all....  |  April 25, 2013 at 9:54 am


    Instead of laughing you might want to research the sad state of special education in CPS since Rahm took over the mayor’s office.
    I am not saying he is directly responsible but his people are decimating our special education programs without fear of reprisals.
    Parents of special education students who are in Deaf/HOH programs would not be aware of the sad state of specialized services due to the fact that Deaf/HOH programs are housed in high achieving schools. Please read the articles about Finkl-13 severe/profound students, allegedly abusive behavior by staff or lack of supervision? This is going on all over CPS….massive special education teacher shortage. You seem very bright and maybe you could help the students with disabilities in CPS many of whom do not have anyone to advocate for them except Rod Estvan.

  • 606. local  |  April 25, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I second that: Angie would be a brilliant advocate for all SWD in CPS! Go get ’em!

  • 607. ...seen it all....  |  April 25, 2013 at 11:45 am


    I am shocked that CPS is screwing around with Deaf/HOH programs.
    The section about transferring non-ambulatory students to a receiving school that does not have an elevator makes me sick…this is what they did to the Spalding students-teachers and aides were forced to carry high school students up and down stairs-how humiliating ….history repeats itself…because CPS does not consider the students with disabilities to be important….Please read all the way through this link….


  • 608. NeighborhoodSchoolsAreOverburdened  |  April 25, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    patientCPSmom: OVERcrowding is as bad as underutilization. Maybe worse in my opinion. Ogden is overcrowded … and sending classes to another building. Lincoln is overcrowded … and sending classes to another building.

    Where do you suppose these “extra” students go? How about the commute? Again, I ask, why don’t the much closer magnet schools (Franklin, Newberry and LaSalle) take on some of those students? Why are they so sacred?

    Or, better yet, how about CPS NOT close Manierre because it realizes that the students NEED what their NEIGHBORHOOD schools have to offer in terms of parent support (Manierre has a parent support center) and proximity/safety in an increasingly crime-ridden area.

    Please stop burdening already overcrowded schools while most on this board sit pretty in their limited school size magnet and SE schools while telling neighborhood schools to just get larger and larger.

    Funding for neighborhood schools is also going to change next year yet CPS says it will not change magnet/SE funding. I say it’s time for neighborhood schools to fight back and force the same overcrowding and SAME FUNDING on everyone.

    I just read an article where a good percentage (20% or so?) of the “receiving” schools will be overcrowded the minute they begin receiving students from the closed schools.

    Rahm claims in that article that Angie posted above to take overcrowding seriously. But apparently he does not if he’s just creating more and more of those overcrowding situations.

  • 609. Angie  |  April 25, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    @605. …seen it all…. So the teacher at Finkl abused her students, and the school administration did nothing to help them, but you are blaming the mayor for it? How exactly does that work?

    From that blog: “Someone needs to tell me why D/HOH students from Jackson should leave their deaf principal and will do better at Davis, neither outfitted for D/HOH students nor an especially successful school.”

    First of all, having a deaf principal is not a necessity for running a successful deaf program. Second, what does she mean by outfitting the school for deaf students? If they use carpeting and curtains for noise reduction, or strobe lights for fire alarms, that’s easy enough to install. FM systems are completely portable and can be moved to the new building. Teachers, aides and interpreters will likely move with the students, too. The distance between school is not an issue because most special ed students in cluster programs are bused from their homes to school. What else is there?

  • 610. PatientCPSMom  |  April 25, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    @608 to your point I agree over crowding is an issue. Though from an economic standpoint maybe a 10 million renovataion of the underused CPS building on Larabee to expand any of the close by schools and then distributing the remaining 30 million elsewhere would allow even more class rooms. Just a thought.

  • 611. tchr  |  April 26, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    At Manierre closing hearings, several students testified they had been “jumped on” for being on the wrong side of Division.
    “Please don’t send us to Jenner,” 10-year-old Dominique Brooks said with tears in her eyes. “I beg you, please.”
    Last summer, Dominique said eight Jenner girls beat her bloody near Seward Park as she walked to a By The Hand Club For Kids after-school program.
    “She missed our school bus. Even though we told her not to … she walked over,” said Donnita Travis, founder of By The Hand and one of Chicago magazine’s 2012 Chicagoans of the Year. “As soon as she crossed Division she was jumped on.”
    Karolyn Harris said she saw the girls beat up Dominique.
    “If I hadn’t pushed her into the police station, they would have killed her,” she said.
    Neighbors said Dominique got beat up because she was on the “wrong side of Division,” and things haven’t changed.

    Awful. http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130424/old-town/school-closing-gang-feud-fuels-new-fears-old-town

    Safe passage people won’t actually be there in the schools to help when instruction will take place!

  • 612. JW  |  April 28, 2013 at 1:43 am

    @568 anonymous teacher, my fifth grader has missed 30 plus days of school every year since he started school at age 4. In fact this school years he’s already missed 28. I’m confident, however, you would want his test scores to be a reflection of you, as he’s never scored below the 99% on ISAT and his NWEA #’s are the highest in both fifth grade classes and we are at a high performing neighborhood school on the far NW side. Thus proving attendance is not the only predictor of school success. Heck my oldest missed over three weeks of school both her freshman and junior year at Lane, yet still got straight A’s, in her junior year scored a five on all four AP exams, is in the top two percent of her class and managed to get a perfect ACT score. Thankfully these two children have always had teachers who are caring and compassionate and knew they could and would learn despite having poor attendance.

  • 613. West Rogers park mom  |  April 28, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I think tiers apply in entry level grades until qualifying scores in that grade are exhausted. For example I think I read that last year Taft went through all of Tiers 1 and 2. I think I read this at the Selective Prep website .

  • 614. anonymouse teacher  |  April 28, 2013 at 9:18 am

    JW, Your kids are an exception. I am glad they perform well however. I am curious, how you know his NWEA’s are the highest out of his grade band. That information should never be given to parents. We are not allowed to tell parents how their child compares to the rest of the class.

  • 615. sirrahh  |  April 28, 2013 at 10:01 am

    re: 613- looks like this was posted on the wrong thread. That’s what I get to trying to put something up from my cell phone.

    @JW- Your kids sound like the truly exceptionally gifted. Especially your high schooler. When my kid misses a day or two it always is reflected in her grades with missed test reviews, no opportunity to work on projects etc.

  • 616. local  |  April 28, 2013 at 10:14 am

    @ 612. JW | April 28, 2013 at 1:43 am

    Students with that type of attendance record in college are surprised that they post an F for the semester. If a chronic medical condition is involved, such students might want to consider DePaul’s program for students with disabilities that permits them to attend based on their own schedule that accommodates absences due to the disability. It’s a fabulous, unique program.

    Prior to college, homeschooling might be a great alternative.

  • 617. local  |  April 28, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Oh, also, some CPS students might be eligible for home-bound schooling (teacher comes to your home).

  • 618. Tchr  |  April 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Jw, that’s great that your child does well in school, but unless there are medical needs that prevent him (or your other child) from attending school, that is truancy! Also agree with local that attendance like that will not do well in college. Many of my classes in college marked attendance and tardiness as part of the grade.

    And schools and teachers are judged by their attendance data. Each week, my school posts each class’s attendance percentage and teachers are responsible for calling and nagging parents to bring kids in – on our own time and our own cell phones. Last year, I had a K student miss over 50 days of school. And his 1st grade teacher says his attendance is much the same this year. And he still is not past the K benchmarks! Guess how that looks on our school!

    I had a new student transfer in to my room last week from another CPS school, actually a MUCH better school than mine, but this student knows maybe 5 letters! He had missed over 40 days of school and has been tardy about the same. How is his achievement going to look and now he is attached to my name (and to his other teacher’s)

    Yes. Attendance matters. There are other factors, of course. This is the same argument about longer school days or longer school years or having educated families or strong teachers, etc etc. which one matters the most? There are always exceptions to the rule. Sure.

    But missing weeks and weeks of school, just cause, NOT for a medical reason, is parent negligence. I would rather have my kids that come to school everyday and know the routine. I waste so much time having to reteach things to students that weren’t there. Takes away meaningful time from my kids that are there everyday and actually do need me because they are struggling and don’t get the help at home. There are kids in the 1st grade class that are FAILING reading because they show up an hour late and miss the reading lesson EVERYDAY. I have a student that leaves 1 hour early everyday and misses writing. I either have to rearrange my schedule so this student can get writing instruction. Or she gets no help with writing at school or at home. So I have to flip flop my schedule so she does not have to miss 1 subject every time she leaves. It interrupts our day and the routine my other kids are used to. So selfish.

  • 619. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    @616 @618 I taught in colleges for 12 years. Graded attendance was rare. The only people who took attendance for grading purposes were foreign language instructors, who were never tenure-track faculty. I never took attendance: if you can do the work without showing up, fine. If you can’t, you fail. My job was to enable those who want to learn that topics I taught to do so. If they couldn’t hack it, too bad, hit the bricks.

    In all chatter about “college and career readiness” I hear from CPS at all levels, no one seems to know what college is actually like. College faculty are not judged by how well their students do, because it is the students’ responsibility to learn. Faculty are hired and fired based on their competency in the field of knowledge they we were trained in, as judged by their peers. College teachers look at it this way: we give the same lectures, assign the same reading, moderator the same discussions, and grade the same paper or exam questions for all the students in the class. If some do very well and some do poorly, then the variation in performance should be attributed to variation in the students’ talents, interests, and diligence.

    This is the problem I have with all the carping I hear about teacher quality in primary and secondary education: no one seems to consider the variation in student outcomes for the same teacher or the same school. If someone talking about performance data can’t tell me what the standard deviation is, the person is wasting my time and my tax money.

  • 620. local  |  April 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    @ 619. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins) | April 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I’m guessing you taught large, lecture courses?

  • 621. local  |  April 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    “College faculty are not judged by how well their students do…”

    This is changing and it’s a big shock to the higher ed system.

  • 622. local  |  April 28, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    And, “wasting…my tax money.” is one of the driving forces behind this shift in higher ed. What you see in grade/high school systems is now creeping up into higher ed.

  • 623. cpsobsessed  |  April 28, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    So college professors are being judged on student grades??

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 624. tchr  |  April 28, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I went to a small liberal arts school. There were maybe 50 education major students in my graduating class. Attendance AND tardiness were marked. Our grades were not just the papers and the finals. In fact, most of my education classes didn’t have lectures or finals. There were a lot of class discussions, mock lessons, projects, etc. If you didn’t come to class, it did reflect on your professionalism and commitment to becoming a teacher. Who is to say you would show up to your observation hours, tutoring, or student teaching at a school? Where teachers and students were counting on you to be… I know fellow classmates were asked to leave the program / not allowed to student teach at the end of senior year. My small college had all student teachers at schools around the area so professors could observe students. It looked bad on the college when student teachers were not doing what they were there to do.

    Attendance matters. And responsibility and professionalism.

    I have yet to take my own personal days. I’d imagine if I took off 40 days from school (not because of a medical reason) that my principal, my fellow teachers, my students, and their parents would have something to say about it.

  • 625. local  |  April 28, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    @ 623. cpsobsessed | April 28, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Give it time. It’ll get there…basically, an institution’s ability to participate in the financial aid system will be doled out by the Feds based on factors such as an institution’s graduation rate. Work backward toward grading. (Then, backward toward admission policy.) This trend is really going to shake up higher ed.

  • 626. local  |  April 28, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    “…if you can do the work without showing up, fine.”

    I think we’ll be calling that MOOCs soon. 😉

  • 627. CarolA  |  April 29, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Not sure if anyone heard yet or not, but CPS has decided not to do the final MAP test for grades K-1. This announcement comes just days before the window to test opens. Now this might make some people happy to think that they are dropping a test, but don’t be fooled. Teachers must still use other data instead (example: DIBELS testing). We didn’t do the DIBELS this year because we used MAP. Now, we aren’t even going to be able to compare apples to apples. We aren’t going to see how our data all comes together. This is how CPS works. What’s the logic here? If you are going to drop a test, at least complete the cycle and don’t test next year, but why push it down our throats all year and get the kids/parents all paranoid about it, then drop it just before the final test. Confused.

  • 628. 2017mom  |  May 2, 2013 at 6:52 am

    FYI there is a rally next week for Charter schools to protest the states proposal to cut even more funding. Charter students already receive way less funding than CPS schools but these cuts will impact all schools sometimes to devastating effect. Here is a link to a letter that identifes the real pain a lot if schools will feel. http://www.chicagonow.com/state-of-your-state/2010/05/chicagos-charter-schools-start-to-feel-the-squeeze/

  • 629. Chicago Mama  |  May 2, 2013 at 8:29 am

    @628 – good luck with that. I am largely against the slow privatization of public monies via charter schools.

  • 630. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  May 3, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    @620 I taught 100+ lectures and 20-30 seminars. Same rules. Of course, if you never show up to class, it’s hard to do well on class participation. And you can show up all the time, but never speak or contribute out of your ass and also not do well on class participation. My line was: “It is said that 90% of life is just showing up. This class is in the other 10%” and “I get paid whether you show up or not. I also get paid whether you fail or not.” That said, I knew the face of every kid who got an A; no one could skip more than a few classes and get an A. Students could also participate via email lists and online forums and good discussion in office hours. The latter stuff helped the shy ones. Not requiring attendance was also an excellent form of feedback. If classes got smaller, I knew the lecture sucked.

    I knew of a one or two profs that did require attendance; they were lousy lecturers.

  • 631. ...seen it all....  |  May 3, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    630-I get paid whether you fail or not-wow-so if half your class fails it is the students’ fault-no self-evaluation? I have heard many teachers say, ” I gave the test -60% failed-my students are dumb-no it is the teacher who is dumb just as the teacher who says I gave the test 28/30 received As or Bs wow-I am a good teacher-no you are dumb, too.

    As someone who reviewed student records for RtI and SBPS- lack of school attendance/multiple schools seemed to be an issue with children who were not successful.

    I would like to see the attendance of the top ten high schools and compare them to the bottom ten.

    I would also like to see the graduation rates of private colleges compared to state colleges-and somehow see if any attendance policies may be a factor.

    I have found that college professors who may be experts in their fields may not necessarily be the best teachers. Some college professors would really rather be researching and their teaching shows this. Today’s students are visual learners yet many college teachers lecture with any visuals. Some are so brilliant they really don’t know how to break down the information for a class of squirmy freshman. As a previous poster stated, graduation rates are down and students are paying back college loans for unfinished degrees.

  • 632. karet  |  May 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    @621, 623: I agree that higher ed is changing, although I’m not sure that student grades will be used as indicators of teaching success (too much danger of grade inflation). The buzz word right now is student “assessment” — professors might be given a list of “student learning objectives” or “outcomes” that a class must accomplish, and then be asked to explain how assignments and exams given to students show that these goals have been met. (I believe this trend started in community colleges, but it is now happening at 4 yr institutions). Administrations seem to be saying: ‘So … are you guys really teaching our students anything? Prove it!’

    Another trend is the emphasis on the student evaluations of tenure-track faculty. Not only are numerical averages on evaluations compared to department norms, but a person on the promotion and tenure committee will likely read through all of the written comments on every evaluation the candidate has ever received, and write a summary of them (usually for the 4th year review, and then for tenure review) that is seriously discussed by the department. Of course, these summaries are subjective. In one of the controversial tenure denials at DePaul a few years ago, the professor was criticized for having won a teaching award and having such positive student evaluations. Some people in the department suggested that her classes must be too “easy” (although there was no indication of that).

  • 633. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  May 4, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    @ 631 632 I agree that if you are chronically absent, you will not do well in K-12. What irks me in the K-12 discussion is that people conflate a student being absent for two days once in the year with a student who is absent for two days every other week. This gets lost in the average daily attendance figures; a few chronically absent students can lower that rate. The CPS average is 95.3%, which seems pretty good to me.

    I disagree with arguments that the patterns of homework, studying and attendance at K-12 directly translate to college success, especially highly selective colleges. Indeed, a major problem at many state schools, Iowa State was one were I taught, is that students come to us unprepared for the college environment. At college, attendance is not rewarded in and of itself; how well you can do the coursework is. Students need to realize that even if they are not in class 37 hours per week, they need to be studying for between 30-40 hours per week, depending on their abilities. But high school has become such a clock-punching place that the change in regimen is a shock. Homework is not a turn-it-in-tomorrow activity. I had many courses as a student that had only two grades, the midterm and the final. There was no homework as such. But this is anathema to student-need-daily-homework mentality.

    The assessment craze is unlikely to go much beyond the community college level first because developing useful assessments for higher education is really, really hard. The UK has been trying for a long time. Much of college work is substantive, not skill based; the books read in a survey course by one professor will differ from those in another at the same college (there will be some overlap but not uniformity). No one will test your reading comprehension or vocabulary at that stage. Even in the sciences, only the highly standardized fields (physics and chemistry) will use the GRE subject tests for graduate admissions. The number of GRE subject tests has shrunk over the past 20 years, and are almost entirely gone in the humanities and social sciences. And second, the onus is on the students, not the faculty. Many programs in fact weed students out. The intro courses are designed to separate the the top students from the rest. It is for this reason that many hard sciences have very little grade inflation; most students will get Cs or less in freshmen or sophomore year and turn to another major. Part of college is finding out what it is that you are really good at, which means that you find you do poorly in some areas.

  • 634. HS Mom  |  May 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

    @633 – those are interesting observations. Thanks for that in sight.

  • 635. karet  |  May 5, 2013 at 9:41 am

    @633, The “assessment craze,” as you put it, is happening at many 4 yr institutions. Here is an example of U of I’s assessment plan:

  • 636. CPS Parent  |  May 5, 2013 at 11:36 am

    633. Christopher Ball At my kids’ CPS SEHS math homework is optional and never graded for all math classes for all grade levels. At least one science teacher has the same policy. Oldest kid always did problems sets, youngest one rarely did any math homework (only for proof based math class – not really problems sets).

  • 637. local  |  May 5, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    “The assessment craze is unlikely to go much beyond the community college level first because developing useful assessments for higher education is really, really hard.”

    True that assessment, in general, is hard – look at the current K-12 mess. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to keep it out of the higher ed business. Again, it’ll problem be driven by financial aid system. But, who knows the future?

  • 638. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  May 5, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    @ 636 Interesting. Do you know the origins of the policy? Was it designed to ready them for collegeL

    @635 If you look closely at that page, you will find that there is almost no use of standardized tests of student achievement. Only the Journalism dept. gave a test. I don’t know the origin of the usage but I’ve heard higher ed people refer to “assessment” as students’ descriptions of what they learned or experienced rather than objective measures. This usage confused me the first time I heard discussions of assessment at K-12 because I thought testing and assessment were different things. In many cases, at UoI they are interviewing, surveying, or doing focus groups with graduating students or alumni, not testing what the students have learned. This type of stuff has been going on for decades; U of I referes to 1997 efforts.

    @637 There is no incentive for anyone to go first, even if they wanted to have standardized testing for college students. Professors with a good research record would leave rather than put up with the nonsense. The initiating school would lose research funding, which pays a large part of a school’s bills (so-called “overhead”, a percentage “tax” if you will on the the value of the grant). Faculty would argue that their class exams are the measures of student learning, and anyone outside their discipline is not competent to judge what the student’s learned. Some schools bring in outside examiners (other school’s faculty in the same discipline) to grade honors projects (Swarthmore does this), but this is too expensive to do universally.

    The financial aid system is too distant from curriculum and instruction at colleges. The federal government might push, but the real effect would be that many institutions would no longer accept federal financial aid. Pell grants are the only form of direct grants of aid, and don’t amount to much as a % of tuition revenue for many selective private and public colleges (@ 7% for the UoI system; it would be painful but doable).

  • 639. local  |  May 5, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    “The federal government might push, but the real effect would be that many institutions would no longer accept federal financial aid.”

    Higher ed’s not going to know what’s hit them, imho.

  • 640. IB obsessed  |  May 5, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Anyone remember “blue book” essay exams in college? You better know how to write and think critically, not fill in a bubble. There is NO way the standardized testing will spread to higher ed. There will be a full scale rebellion by the professors who have the power to simply go elsewhere., and have voting power on faculty senates.. Like to see them try to measure a philosophy major’s achievement by a standardized test. Christopher Ball, appreciate your comments here. Keep on.

  • 641. anonymouse teacher  |  May 5, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    I want to punch someone down at central office who approved the end of the year REACH assessment for kindergarten.
    The 2nd and 3rd quarter assessments were paragraph writing and opinion piece writing, supposedly based off of Common Core standards (which were not, but that’s what we’ve been told). Anyways, based off of the HUGE jump in skills on the quarter 2 and 3 tasks, we were all scared to death about the end of year assessment. Come to find out, the end of year assessment is literally a repeat of the beginning of the year assessment where kids write in how a character feels and why, and then oral answering of questions on character, setting, problem, solution. No big deal.
    Now perhaps the teachers at my school were the only ones panicking about this. Perhaps no one else even worried. But this whole process has been crazy making, scary and completely non-transparent. Why pressure us to teach such high levels of writing when it wasn’t necessary in the first place? Why not just tell everyone the end of year test would be pretty much the same as the beginning of the year test to compare progress? I would never leave my students in the dark this way and make them feel like failure was inevitable. God, I hate CPS.

  • 642. IB obsessed  |  May 5, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Appreciate all you do anonymouse teacher. Please don’t leave CPS.

  • 643. karet  |  May 5, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    @639, I agree that “assessment” in higher ed does not mean standardized testing. But, universities are still seriously looking at ways to evaluate student learning.

    Here is Northwestern’s “Assessment Framework” from 2010:

  • 644. karet  |  May 5, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    This “Assessment Protocol” from Loyola starts with a good definition of what assessment means in higher ed:
    “An assessment is a tool designed to observe students’ behavior and produce data that can be used to draw reasonable inferences about what students know.”

  • 645. Mich  |  May 5, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    I had a college science course that had multiple choice but the twist was, the answer could be A, or A & B, or C & D or…you still had to really know your stuff, no real guessing worked.

  • 646. CPS Parent  |  May 6, 2013 at 10:08 am

    My observation is that so much of what is considered college work is remedial high school level material. My kid (Sr. in high school) is still helping his nephew in college (Soph. at UW madison, econ major) with papers, math, etc. I think having kids take standardized test to assess proficiency for classes in college which are actually high school level is not a bad idea. I’ve been told that 90% of the classes taught in the City Colleges of Chicago are remedial. I also remember reading somewhere that for most college students the first two years do not result in any increase in critical thinking when assessed formally.

  • 647. JLM  |  May 7, 2013 at 10:33 am


    Long story short:

    Independent hearing officers are opposing 14 of the school closings proposed by Chicago Public Schools officials, citing safety concerns and the district’s failure to show students would be going to better schools.

    The hearing officers questioned the closing of Buckingham, Calhoun North, Delano, Mahalia Jackson, King, Manierre, Mayo, Morgan, Near North, Overton, Stewart, Stockton, and Williams Multiplex and Williams Preparatory Academy .

  • 648. PatientCPSMom  |  May 7, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Has anyone else heard a rumor that CPS has a list of proposed new schools that are suppose to open next year and they are suppose to annouce this new school list on June 1st after the May 22nd vote to close schools? Just thought I’d ask.

  • 649. SoxSideIrish4  |  May 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    648. PatientCPSMom | May 7, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Those may be the new charters that are opening up next year. The BOE votes on May 22. Hopefully, they won’t be approved!

  • 650. local  |  May 7, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    @ 640. IB obsessed | May 5, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    I wonder if faculty will have the power.

  • 651. anonymouse teacher  |  May 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    @642, thank you. Apparently, I will not be leaving CPS as hoped, at least not this year. I had 2 great interviews and a demo lesson and then got so nervous on the 3rd interview, I bombed it. I am both incredibly depressed to be stuck in CPS and incredibly grateful that if I must be, at least I am in a school with such a wonderful staff and students. I suppose I could always take up heavy drinking instead of leaving.

  • 652. sad day  |  May 8, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    651 at least you are trying. that is the only way. you will get a job. i have a family and we are broke. but i am sending emails from Chicago to China to get out too! i actually had a response from Mallorca Spain! Probably cant go…but it’s nice to see there is life outside of CPS.

    CPS has taken such an ugly turn…yet it wants it’s teachers to be Flawless. Did you get a chance to carefully read the Reach Observation for teachers? What a joke! One suggestion they gave for being a Distinguished teacher was “give your cellphone so parents can text you for homework help, or “tweet” them? It has reached a point of insanity! Oh yeah don’t forget your room must be self regulated by the students and each child’s cultural needs need to be addressed in all lessons? I ask you this…is it even legal to ask a student his cultural background? isn’t this against his civil rights and privacy rights? Keep the faith!!!!!

  • 653. local  |  May 9, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Why was the news messing up the facts about the rally downtown yesterday. It was charter schools funding rally, right? Not a rally against school closings.

  • 654. Publicschoolparent  |  May 15, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    How did CTU get my home phone number?

  • 655. anonymouse teacher  |  May 15, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I want to know why the CTU, my union, spent thousands of dollars to print out copies of a nearly 300 page contract for each member. I tried to refuse to take a copy of the book because I was so mad money was spent on hardcopies. I was not allowed to refuse and had to sign for one and take one. How monumentally stupid is that? Put it all online and its free. Simple. Probably the same damn reason my school still prints out articles and agendas and handouts for staff meetings to give us all paper copies. Holey moley, the freaking cost of it all–ink, copy machine wear and tear, staples, paper. We can all just bring our laptops to meetings instead and read it online. Probably the same reason why CPS still prints out paper checks and paper check deposit receipts. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Everyone should be required to get it electronically, no other choice. It wouldn’t save a ton, but it would save something significant over time. So completely tired of a system that can’t get anything right.

  • 656. ...seen it all....  |  May 15, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    We don’t have laptops.

    All monies are direct deposited BUT everyone should keep the paper copies to prove that pension monies were taken out and to verify the amount of sick days. I don’t trust CPS to have computerized payroll records twenty years from now when teachers retire.

    I like to annotate articles in my contract book-I keep it in my home and read it like the bible.

  • 657. EdgewaterMom  |  May 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Has anybody seen this post on RYH? I don’t understand why the police are not able to do anything about kids using Facebook to publicly threaten to kill other kids if the cross in to their ‘territory’ when they go to a welcoming school. http://ilraiseyourhand.org/blogs/claire-wapole/one-mothers-reality

  • 658. anonymouse teacher  |  May 15, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    @656, Of course you are right about the laptops. Schools without laptops might need hardcopies of meeting agendas, but those with them are wasting so much with hardcopies.
    You do know that your check information is all available online and the same info you see on your hardcopy can be saved and downloaded so you will never lose it right? You can print it out if you need to have the paper copy. I don’t trust CPS either, but there’s no difference between the paper copy and the online one. I don’t need them to keep the records for me, I can do it myself.
    Trees are important. And we are all always talking about how wasteful the system is with resources. Paper copies, in many situations, is a waste of energy, paper, ink, staples, people’s time, etc. CPS and the CTU need to get in the 21st century. I know some people really like paper copies. Charge everyone $5 less in union dues over the course of the year and let the people who want their own book pay $5 to order one. Conservatively estimating 50K teachers, @$5 a book, that’s 250K to print out all those books. That could pay for 3 reading specialists in a low performing school.

  • 659. anonymouse teacher  |  May 15, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    @657, that’s horrible. I wonder if there are any community groups working to help the families in these situations leave the city, kind of like how catholic charities sponsors refugees from war torn countries. I’d like to volunteer my time helping these kinds of refugees relocate to safer areas with better resourced schools. If anyone learns of any groups helping families escape Chicago and CPS, let me know.

  • 660. Angie  |  May 16, 2013 at 7:32 am

    @657. EdgewaterMom: I wonder what Jenner school administration did about it, since the kid posting threats has been identified.

    @659. anonymouse teacher: Some people are trying to help, and I hope to God they get through to these gangbangers-in-training.


  • 661. cpsobsessed  |  May 17, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I heard this reported on WBEZ last night. Some good points made here:

    Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle broadly criticized Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s education agenda Thursday,


  • 662. local  |  May 19, 2013 at 9:52 am



    Imagine if the roles were reversed. Imagine if a black mayor were closing schools in white neighborhoods.

    Then I’d be getting phone calls from anguished white people pleading with me to write about the gutting of their communities.

    And black people would be coming up to me at parties to say—a little smugly—”Well, Ben, you have to admit, some of these schools are underutilized.”


  • 663. local  |  May 19, 2013 at 10:05 am

    This one’s about longer-school-day & SE FOIA by a parent: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/public-schools-cps-rahm-destroy-public-records/Content?oid=9669704

  • 664. local  |  May 19, 2013 at 10:06 am

    And this one’s about Lincoln Park HS kids (recent protest re W2W IB/teacher firings): http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2013/05/09/if-only-the-students-at-lincoln-park-high-were-on-the-school-board

  • 665. local  |  May 19, 2013 at 10:10 am

    I am so ready for positive/fun thoughts. Our summer plans for the 14yo kiddo: 8-Saturdays of lifeguard training + 6-week-long summer sport camp + math tutoring + museum volunteer gig. Anyone else?

  • 666. Even One More CPS Mom  |  May 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Announced that Manierre will remain open. According to this article, looks like more announcements to come tomorrow.

  • 667. anonymouse teacher  |  May 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    @665, My kids (mid-elementary age)-going to park district camp/one week girl scout camp/one week computer camp/every Tues. and Thurs. with camp Mom and Dad. Lots of going to the beach, catching fireflies, day trips to fun local places. Me-several weeks of self selected PD/sleeping late/painting living room/playing with kids. Spouse-playing video games/playing with kids and reading/helping me paint.
    @666, so glad this particular school will remain open. Sad they won’t all stay open, but this one was so worrisome.

  • 668. Even One More CPS Mom  |  May 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Manierre not closing article… Sun Times:

  • 669. Even One More CPS Mom  |  May 22, 2013 at 10:28 am

    This morning DNA Info is listing names of more schools that are rumored to be staying open.


  • 670. Even One More CPS Mom  |  May 22, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Here is the quote with schools listed. From DNA Info:
    “A CPS spokeswoman Wednesday morning confirmed that Manierre would be spared, along with Ericson, Mahalia Jackson and Marcus Garvey schools. In addition, the closing of Canter school would be delayed a year, and the proposed “turnaround” of Clara Barton school — in which all teachers and staff would be replaced — would be scrapped.”

  • 671. Family Friend  |  May 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    @665 — I am looking for a low-cost theater camp for a 12-year-old. Does anyone know of one?

  • 672. local  |  May 22, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Define low-cost.

  • 673. Sped Mom  |  May 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I really wish the downtown CPS and school people would be as concerned about my child’s “achievement” and the “quality” of the educational experience when we’re struggling over it at the IEP meeting. You know, under Federal law, my kid has a right simply to free “appropriate” public education – to the beater-with-a-heater, not the new Cadillac. Good luck to all trying to get a good public education in CPS.

  • 674. anonymouse teacher  |  May 22, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    @671, not sure what your budget is, but there are some good park district ones. The other ones I am familiar with are Lifeline Theater and Striding Lion. I am not sure on price though. Good luck.

  • 675. Family Friend  |  May 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    @ 672. Low-cost: I am not sure, but it would be great to spend around $200 for a substantial program, at least 2-3 weeks. I looked at a bunch that were $600 for 3-4 weeks or $200 for one week. It’s for my protege’s younger brother, who needs a way to shine, but his parents are barely making ends meet and I’m on a fixed income, so we are probably looking for a miracle!

  • 676. cpsobsessed  |  May 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    I think Chase park (near lawrence and ashland) has a good drama camp – not sure of cost though.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 677. chicagomom  |  May 22, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    @676, Look at the Chicago Park District site under: Theater Camp at Indian Boundary. $289, runs from July 1 to August 6 (M-F, 10-3). For ages 7-13. I believe it is at Warren Park this year because of the fire at Indian Boundary.

  • 678. local  |  May 22, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    FF: Ask at local college theater programs for ideas for such community programs (age, costs, neighborhood, duration, lunches, etc.). Call DePaul, Columbia, Northwestern. Also, ask at that Chicago arts high school. They’ll know where their local kids come from.

  • 679. anonymouse teacher  |  May 22, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Family Friend, I have listened to you write on this board for a long time now. I’ve disagreed with you many times, but I have always respected your commitment to children. My family would like to help make sure you get that little brother to camp. If you will agree to keep my anonymity, CPSO can give you my email address offline and we can find a way for me to get some $$ to you for the camp. Thank you for your love and care and concern for kids who need it.

  • 680. local  |  May 22, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    FF: Maybe some of these orgs can help, or know someone who can:


  • 681. Neighborhood CPS parent  |  May 23, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Check with Raven Theatre (Clark and Granville)

  • 682. Another Uptown Mom  |  May 23, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    @Family Friend: If the 12yo is interested in theater and arts, check out Arts.XIII at Berger Park – 6 weeks in summer 2013 for $120 – “Be creative all summer. In an arts camp designed specifically for “tweens,” participants will dance, sing, play, paint, sculpt, draw, create, choreograph, write, and perform under the direction of resident arts groups who will lead them through the creation of a variety of exciting arts projects. Camps will include hands on activities, field trips and a finale event.” It’s listed on the Chicago Park District website (modified search: Berger, all programs, all ages, otherwise it doesn’t come up).

  • 683. HSObsessed  |  May 23, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Studio Be’s Youth Revolution has a very active theater program year round for grade-school age as well as teens. They also have summer camps. The prices are very reasonable and the kids receive serious acting training.


  • 684. Family Friend  |  May 23, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Wow!! Thanks to everyone. I will spend all day tomorrow figuring this out. I am sure we can find something. Anonymouse, thanks so much for your offer — we’ll try to figure it out on our own but I really appreciate your willingness to help.

  • 685. cpsobsessed  |  May 23, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Maybe we should start designing apps for activities like this. If I knew anything about designing apps. I better get my son on that…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 686. local  |  May 24, 2013 at 8:10 am

    I think there is grant money for app development of this type.

  • 687. Dominic  |  May 31, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I visited multiple web sites however the audio quality for audio songs
    current at this web site is really marvelous.

  • 688. local  |  June 7, 2013 at 11:13 am


    “It’s been two weeks since Mayor Emanuel’s school board followed the boss man’s order and closed 50 schools. And I haven’t gotten over it yet.

    “Obviously, some things just take time.”

    More at link.

  • 690. cpsobsessed  |  June 7, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I really can’t believe that CPS ever promised to send every kid to a better performing school. That just never seemed feasible given the areas where these schools are closing.

    Why did they just say “we need to save money so we’re consolidating schools” ?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 691. realchicagomama  |  June 7, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Because the data shows negligible cost savings from closing schools. They couldn’t say “We’re closing schools so that we can privatize education through charters.” Which is what I think is the *real* reason behind the school closures.

  • 692. cpsobsessed  |  June 7, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Negligible – isn’t it at least a couple million bucks? Possibly negligible compared to the whole budget but I think facts indicate that parts of the city have shrunk in population. (Or I’m drinking the kool-aid.)

    I remain in denial about the charters replacing, but I’m sure that’s naïve.
    I assume based on past history thought the current admin feels they’re preferable…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 694. cpsobsessed  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:02 am

    It would be nice for the city to offer financial incentives for businesses to open in some of these struggling areas instead of continuing to fund Marianos all over the city…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 695. playstation 4 pre order availability  |  January 10, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Αrticle writring is also a excitement, if you know after
    that you can ωrite if not it is complex to write.

  • 696. temperature  |  February 6, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    whoah this weblog is excellent i love studying your posts.

    Keep up the good work! You realize, a lot of persons are looking around for this information, you can help them greatly.

  • 697. super.madcma.org  |  June 30, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you, However
    I am having troubles with your RSS. I don’t
    understand why I cannot join it. Is there anybody else having similar RSS
    issues? Anybody who knows the answer will
    you kindly respond? Thanks!!

What do you think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed




Blog Stats

  • 6,160,921 hits

%d bloggers like this: