Reinvestment Schools

August 14, 2013 at 6:17 am 78 comments

This is the program I mentioned that will be targeting schools like Manierre  It sounds like a combo of special Professional Development and working with the LSC/parents.

It sounds like a good idea, assuming the PD is worthwhile.  Can these efforts alone make a notable difference?

Support For High-Need Schools Integral To CEO’s Five-Year Action Plan

 July 24, 2013

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced today that twenty-two “reinvestment schools” will receive direct support from the newly created Office of Strategic School Support Services (OS4) to provide guidance and tools to increase these schools’ overall performance. CPS Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Barbara Byrd-Bennett created OS4 as an integral piece of her five-year action plan, “The Next Generation: Chicago’s Children.” The action plan lays out District priorities aimed at providing every child in every neighborhood across Chicago with a rigorous, high-quality education that prepares them for success in college, career and life.


“Even with exhaustive efforts, sometimes school leaders, teachers and school communities need the guidance and support of their District leaders to help them reach their full potential,” said CEO Byrd-Bennett. “OS4’s reinvestment strategy presents a monumental, ground-breaking shift in the way the District supports high-need schools. It is an important opportunity to partner with schools that both need support and are ready and able to do the intensive work needed to put themselves on a path toward success.”


To support reinvestment schools, OS4 will directly provide both school leaders and teachers with intense and comprehensive professional development tailored to the specific needs of each school. Recognizing the critical role played by Local School Council members and parents in supporting school improvement, OS4 will also provide these groups with professional learning opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills in best practices to increase student achievement. The style of support involves embedded coaching and training for school leaders and staff that will help them sustain the new practices and improve performance beyond the three-year program. These professional development resources and tools will be designed in collaboration with a cross-functional CPS team, representing our Network and Teaching and Learning staff, and will be leveraged as a core District resource for all schools.


The reinvestment schools program is an early intervention support effort for high-need schools that aims to prevent putting in place drastic, late-stage, school-level interventions in the future. To find schools meeting the OS4 criteria, CPS conducted a comprehensive and inclusive selection process that centered on input and recommendations from Network Chiefs as well as a review of each school’s performance indicators and attributes. OS4 criteria primarily focused on input and recommendations involving Level 3 and Level 2 neighborhood schools; schools located in communities historically impacted by school consolidations; and high-need schools with trajectories indicating that dramatic improvements in school climate and student performance are necessary. Network Chief recommendations, together with school performance indicators and attributes, directly informed CEO Byrd-Bennett’s determination in selecting which schools were ready and able to commit to a whole school transformation process starting in the 2013-14 school year.


CEO Byrd-Bennett has identified twenty-one reinvestment elementary schools and one reinvestment high school. Each reinvestment school will be responsible for meeting or exceeding annual school-specific benchmarks established by the CEO and will remain subject to the District’s performance policy. OS4 will partner with reinvestment schools for up to three years, and all of OS4’s supports and services are designed to build the capacity of each school’s ability to sustain school improvement following its work with OS4.


OS4 will also oversee the implementation of the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. This program currently covers 15 secondary schools that were selected for SIG by the Illinois State Board of Education. As required by SIG, each SIG school is paired with an external lead partner that is responsible for managing the implementation of the grant at the school level. SIG funds are used to pay for all costs associated with the lead partner.


A full list of reinvestment schools follows.


OS4 2013-14 Reinvestment Schools

  • Ira F. Aldridge Elementary School
  • Arthur R. Ashe Elementary School
  • Alice L. Barnard Computer Math & Science Center Elementary School
  • Jacob Beidler Elementary School
  • Lorenz Brentano Math & Science Academy Elementary School
  • William H. Brown Elementary School
  • Edmond Burke Elementary School
  • Andrew Carnegie Elementary School
  • George Washington Carver Primary School
  • Crown Community Academy of Fine Arts Center Elementary School
  • Leif Ericson Elementary Scholastic Academy
  • Esmond Elementary School
  • Charles G. Hammond Elementary School
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School
  • Scott Joplin Elementary School
  • Lawndale Elementary Community Academy
  • George Manierre Elementary School
  • Morgan Park High School
  • William C. Reavis Math & Science Specialty Elementary School
  • Jackie Robinson Elementary School
  • John M. Smyth Elementary School
  • Telpochcalli Elementary School

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

2013 ISAT Top Schools (with Common Core Standards) What should public education be?

78 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Romeldia Salter  |  August 14, 2013 at 7:27 am

    …only as good as people delivering the PD. Yes, it does sound good. Interesting I don’t see a few school on this list that I know are level 3.

  • 2. Counterpoint for discussion  |  August 14, 2013 at 8:39 am

    The students will learn and score well on standardized tests if their families Section 8, Link, and WIC unearned benefits are tied to their educational results. That’s the lynch pin. You heard it here first.

  • 3. cpsobsessed  |  August 14, 2013 at 8:42 am

    @counterpoint: what is it that those parents would do specifically to enable their children to score well?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 4. SE Teacher  |  August 14, 2013 at 8:46 am

    So, again, it’s teachers who need more PD? The children are not coming to school ready to learn. Many don’t read at home. Many do not have ANY type of extra curricular activities. Perhaps we can begin some neighborhood intervention programs prior to kindergarten to ensure that students are ready when they do enter formal education. I am also curious as to who will get the contract to deliver these PD’s and how much broke CPS will pay for these PD’s. It has been reported, by principals, that the PD’s they attended lacked any substance.

  • 5. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 14, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I think Barnard will do well. They have a new principal from the neighborhood that just started this past Feb (old principal retired in Dec of the schoo yr). He and his assistant principal both live in the area and are focused on bringing kids that live in the area into the school~and from what I heard, they are doing a good job. Many ppl are impressed. There is a real vision for Barnard and that school will get back on track.

    3. cpsobsessed | August 14, 2013 at 8:42 am

    The parents would have to be involved and engaged in the process of their child’s education~reading w/a child, listening to a child read, making sure the child gets his/her proper rest, having a quite place for a child to do hw, coming to school ready for the day.~working w/teachers to see where a child is and how to get that child back on track.

  • 6. Chris  |  August 14, 2013 at 9:59 am

    “That’s the lynch pin.”

    If that’s unintentional, it’s sad and sickly hilarious.

    If it’s intentional, it’s (at best) scary.

  • 7. anonymouse teacher  |  August 14, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    If the only think the district is providing our most at risk schools is more PD, this is just plain cruel. More PD AND several reading specialists, math specialists (both whose only job will be to work with small groups of kids), more materials, after school programs, more social workers, psychologists, behavior specialists,early childhood ed, and community programming to help lead parenting classes starting when moms become pregnant? Or at least a few of these things? Sure. That’s a start. A start. ONLY more PD? These are the kinds of policies that leave me swearing up a storm in my car on the way home nearly every day when I leave work.

  • 8. JMOChicago  |  August 14, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I have been closer this year than ever to witnessing the management, strategy and policy decisions of Central Office and the Networks. I wish I could turn back the clock and know less.

    In some ways, it is revealing. So many things now make sense now that I know a little bit more about what goes on up there. I never knew the mess that principals and teachers had to put up with at the Network and District level (or even the mess that some of the better Central Office people have to put up with.) The poorly thought out, hastily executed decisions that affect most if not every school. The refusal to admit that they made the wrong call. The disorganization, the strange priorities that send the wrong message or emphasize the wrong things. The lack of basic data analysis skills and how that negatively affects informed decision-making. The culture of fear. And some of the craziest memos and schemes that I’ve ever seen in over 20 years of working with organizations. The lack of basic understanding of how to engage people, assess performance, etc. It is a living Dilbert cartoon, except scarier because it is more than just someones’ work life that is affected.

    The problem with this District is the governance of it, the operations of it. The leadership of it. The dysfunction permeates everything. It rewards “yes men” who aren’t speaking truth to power. But worse…it throws up roadblocks in front of successful schools, teachers and principals. It is impossible to describe how much more difficult they make the work of education in Chicago, instead of supporting and improving it. At this point, the best schools seem to have principals that work hard to protect their teachers and students from the mess that is Central Office. Which makes me angry as a taxpayer.

    I don’t even know what to do with what I see in order to convey it to the outside world. Or even what to do about it as a parent. Lots of attention has been paid to assessing the grades of students, the work of teachers, the leadership of principals. The Networks and Central Office have been a big black box to parents for a long time. But it’s getting more important to know what is going on up there and how it is affecting our schools.

  • 9. anonymouse teacher  |  August 14, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Oh, JMO, you are my new hero. Seriously.

  • 10. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    8. JMOChicago | August 14, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I wish more parents could be enlightened…there are several, but the vast majority of CPS parents need to know the Chaos that is at the top (Rahm, B3, & CPS Team) and trickles down to the classroom~impacting our kids.

  • 11. local  |  August 14, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Oh, man, when you’re really poor it’s a challenge just to eat, sleep, be well, work, and bathe. When a family system and its income is messed up, it’s almost impossible to do things like have a regular reading time. There’s not even a regular to-bed time. There might not even be a regular bed. Seriously. There’s very little stable when a family is very poor. It’s almost 24/7 crisis & stress. Exhausting. Exhausting to even try to help folks with such deep needs. Not sure how the city can change that. New York’s Harlem Children’s Zone was an attempt. I hear there’s funding problems now, so not sustainable or “scalable.” Remember hearing of some of the progress at Harper this past year on BEZ? Now, no more special funds. That’s going to help (not).

  • 12. local  |  August 14, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    “(or even the mess that some of the better Central Office people have to put up with.)”

    There are some great people in the CPS system, aren’t there? It’s good to remember that amid the constant crisis.

  • 13. Veteran  |  August 15, 2013 at 4:01 am

    #8 You said it perfectly….CPS central office is a hot mess….and offers no help to teachers or principals…..been getting worse since Vallas came in….

  • 14. CarolA  |  August 15, 2013 at 6:33 am

    JMOHicago: I couldn’t have said it better and it means so much more coming from a parent. Teachers tend to be viewed as complainers and making excuses, so its refreshing to hear you agree with what we have been saying for some time. You say you don’t know what to do with the info you know. You are in the BEST position to go to the media. You don’t have your job at stake if you work outside the system. There are groups associated with people on this blog and together you can get more people to see what we see and join together. The teachers can’t do it. People see it as all about our pay. I beg you to find a way to expose the craziness! Thank you! My principal is NOT a complainer, but he is under so much pressure this year and is not his usual self. I can only imagine the directives he has been given. This is my opinion only, but I feel principals were told to lay off some teachers and then hire some back so the stats will show that laid off teachers were rehired. We had several positions open due to people leaving, yet he laid off several. I was wondering why he didn’t place at least one of them in the needed positions. People guessed that perhaps they weren’t qualified. Turns out that after interviewing several good candidates for a bilingual position, he hired back someone he had let go that is not bilingual. My guess is that he intended to hire her back right from the get go, but went through the process for the sake of reporting numbers back to the media.

  • 15. cpsobsessed  |  August 15, 2013 at 10:19 am

    This level of corporate dysfunction — is it a government thing? A chicago thing? A big bureacracy thing? It seems to have permeated through several administrations now (and perhaps made worse by the fact that there has been so much high level turnover perpetuating this mode of ‘left-hand-not-knowing-what-right-hand-is-doing” and constant shifting of plans/priorities.

  • 16. Patricia  |  August 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    @15 CPSO. I think it is a government thing which is compounded by bureacracy, patronage hiring over decades and union influences. I have been in corporations for over 25 years and in the past 7 have been in government. I have been through the merging, purging, restructuring, changing curn and burn of banking in the 90’s. In addition to other fortune 100’s and an internet start-up. I also have some experience with CPS internally, and have seen the mess that it is. So I have seen a fair amount of org structure, but will be the first to admit I am no expert and this is just my opinion.

    Governent is an entirely different beast from for-profit organizations. When there is no bottom-line and just a budget to spend (because you can always raise taxes), the measurements of success and motivations of staff are very different. From what I have seen and lived, government is 80% mostly-dead weight and 20% really good people who keep it all going. No one really gets fired and instead gets shuffled around and someone else brought in to hopefully do a better job. Often, political hires are brought in and may not be fully qualified for the job. In relation to CPS, the correlation I am making is to central office employees, not the teachers.

    Layer on top of all of this that there is a political element to it with huge budgets and contracts that invite corruption at every level.

    Change in an environment like this is usually at a glacial pace, at best. Part of the reason for slow pace of change is the union roadblocks and inept ability for the bureacratic organization to implement change. Adding the revolving door senior managment at CPS has caused the shifting directions which has really been detrimental at the school level. The end result is a chaotic mess for the principals and teachers at individual schools. I think Carol A is correct that the good principals are able to shelter their school from the chaos. It all comes back to a strong Principal in so many ways doesn’t it?

    That said, I do think CPS has gotten better at implementing in the past few years. “Better” is relative as it was a low bar to start with 😉 I think having stability at the top is important. If CPS can actually execute their plan (the 5 pillar thing?), students will be better off. Devil is in the details and government can go astray at any level. As a taxpayer, I think about this “model” being replicated across the country—-so much waste.

  • 17. CPS Parent  |  August 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I think part of the problem is that the salaries of the top leadership is too low. UIUC is a 1.7 billion dollar operation (CPS is 5 billion) and it’s CEO makes about $500,000. The CEO compensation for 5 billion dollar corporations is around the one million plus mark. School principals make around 125k which seems fair People in charge of 50 or so schools/principals should make double that.

    You can’t attract great talent if the compensation isn’t there – you get what you pay……

  • 18. anonymouse teacher  |  August 15, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Today I drove all the way out to my spouse’s suburban school where they GAVE me a perfectly good technology cart so I can actually use the Elmo I have easily (instead of moving a student, moving their desk, getting the laptop, plugging it in, setting it up, oops, no, it falls off the desk don’t put it there, warning the kids, “no, no, no, don’t walk there, you’ll trip on all the cords!!! 15 minutes later we have a video clip or can look at student work.) Yes, their tech department head felt sorry for me because I don’t ever have what I need and gave me a great cart so I can use the tech I have in seconds. I can’t tell you how many times my spouse/my friends have gotten me stuff I need from other school districts that have things lying around or are throwing them away that are in perfectly good condition because they are getting something newer, better, etc.

    Reinvestment in schools means to invest again. That’d be great, but our schools were never invested in to begin with. And I’ve been involved in this since 1994.

  • 19. IB obsessed  |  August 15, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    @16″You can always just raise taxes”. Huh? This would be news to many government agencies I know. If 80% of government workers were dead weight, this country would grind to a halt. That’s way inflated and unfair. Let us not use one of the worst examples of government waste and bureaucracy (CPS central office) to characterize government.
    We DO need to shine a spotlight on central office and the WASTE going on. It needs to be discussed. Parents need to ferret out the details and start applying pressure. Our own children may be better served if we shift our focus away from fundraising etc. for their individual schools to central office and their screw ups that filter down to every classroom.

  • 20. Sunny D  |  August 16, 2013 at 12:47 am

    “″You can always just raise taxes”. Huh? This would be news to many government agencies I know. If 80% of government workers were dead weight, this country would grind to a halt. ”

    This city, the state and most of this country has ground to a halt. Record number of people on disability and food stamps, public schools turning out kids who cant function, cronyism funneling billions to politicains friends and donors, more laws and regulations driving up costs, Businesses leaving state, horrible real estate market, tourists assaulted by gang bangers on Mich Ave. Its a disaster. A postal service that delivers mainly junk mail and is billions in the red. Government takeover of health care driving up rates 25%-75% and shifting workers from full time to part time status.

    And why are you confused about raising taxes? State tax rates went up 67%. Property taxes have gone up 10% plus this past year. Sales taxes in cook are close to 10%. City sticker fees up double digits. Freeway tolls up almost double. And what they cant get from taxes borrow more and sell assets…like a 75 year parking deal where the billion plus in proceeds were spent in a few years.

    Cities are now filing for bankruptcy across the US. Chicago is tens of billions in debt and unfunded pensions and the state is over $200 billion short. As with Detroit, Illinois debt holders and public pensioners will have their expected payouts cut dramatically. This will not end well.

  • 21. cpsobsessed  |  August 16, 2013 at 6:44 am

    @16 Patricia: What you’ve described is what my impression was as well, knowing someone who’s worked in a marketing job at the CDC. The standards for working were so low, he was basically told by co-workers to stop being productive for an 8 hour day because it would make them all look bad. (And these are all grad-degree professionals – locked into job with good salaries but little chance of termination and seeming lack of anyone pushing them to excel.)

    I recall from the couple times i got to go to CPS to meet Brizard he made it seem like there were people working on certain floors/areas of the central office that nobody really knew what they were doing – and his goal was to weed that out. But it seems like that culture has persisted in government for a long time.

    That’s why I’m often puzzled at the animosity about privatizing education – there is such venom about it among some people, as though the schools will be run by the devil. I assume I’m biased, having worked in the business world for 20+ years now, but it seems to be a much more efficient, accountable model than the government model.

    And no, we can’t always just raise taxes, BUT in the U.S. thus far it has been pretty rare that the country or a state or city has cut back when needed. The post office is still running somehow despite being broke. Social Security is still paid out. Teachers are still getting good salaries and pensions. The libraries are still open every day. Until very very recently, government employees have bee able to assume that things won’t really change. The furlough days in the past few years, the fear about Detroit may finally be a wake-up call, yet that still doesn’t get anyone’s butt in gear to figure out the pension dilemma!

  • 22. Angie  |  August 16, 2013 at 8:10 am

    BREAKING: Federal judge rules: CPS schools can close

    Be sure to read the court document at the end of the article, debunking all the ludicrous claims in the CTU lawsuits.

  • 23. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 16, 2013 at 10:22 am

    21. cpsobsessed | August 16, 2013 at 6:44 am

    Gosh, what Patricia wrote is what I’ve witnessed as well w/government jobs. However, her ‘raise taxes’, I’m sure was more sarcasm~we are all sick of our taxes going up and our services getting reduced.

    As for ” puzzled at the animosity about privatizing education”~there is NO accountability. Look at the budget for charters~it doesn’t show how many teachers, programs~LOT of PUBLIC $$$ going into private hands, but no accountability. Also, w/turnover so high in charters~no real bond w/school, community~no commitment~just stepping stone~and I don’t want my kid to be one of the heads that are stepped on.

  • 24. Sped Mom  |  August 16, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I’m interested in how sped is addressed in all schools. Privatized public schools (charter) make me worried. Not that public schools are all that successful addressing all sped.

  • 25. Veteran  |  August 16, 2013 at 11:32 am

    #24 You are correct in your worry. We have had many children enrolled in our school whose parents were told by the charter directors (no principals),”we do not have a program for your child” or who were told “your child needs more help” Sometimes the children were years behind or have transferred in from out of state to charters and if the charter could not follow the IEP the parent was told to go to the neighborhood school. The teacher turn over rate is so high in the charters that your child can be passed from year to year without anyone noticing he/she is behind. The Catholic Schools in the area also do this (much quicker if the child is a behavioral/gang concern) because they can not afford the 30-90K it may cost per child with disabilities. Special education in CPS is generally a mess but individual schools somehow have successful sped programs in spite of central office.

  • 27. Angie  |  August 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    @25. Veteran: “We have had many children enrolled in our school whose parents were told by the charter directors (no principals),”we do not have a program for your child” or who were told “your child needs more help” Sometimes the children were years behind or have transferred in from out of state to charters and if the charter could not follow the IEP the parent was told to go to the neighborhood school. ”

    What a coincidence. I was told the exact same thing by my neighborhood school. “We cannot provide the required services, so your child will have to attend a self-contained program at a different school.” So was everyone else in my child’s classroom. All the kids live outside the attendance area, and were send there because the neighborhood schools could not service them.

    When will this lie that charters are the only schools who do that will finally die down?

  • 28. Veteran  |  August 16, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    The difference is that charters don’t send them to another charter…and charters do this to children with mild disabilities who can be included in the general population. It’s too expensive to hire a “certified” special education teacher.

    Yes, there are cluster programs in CPS for children who have specific learning needs. For example: a child who is blind may be sent to a school that has a program for children who are blind-the teachers and staff would be able to teach children with vision issues and the physical environment would be adapted to meets the needs of a group of children rather than just one child.

    The suburbs do this…what would you suggest? Actually, as I’m sure you are aware of, CPS buses (usually as a result of due process) our students and pays suburban tuition to other school districts which have such programs especially for children with autism-six children with autism, six one on one aides(not shared) a sped teacher AND a full time, in the classroom all day, speech language pathologist-the suburbs have wonderful programs even in the lower income south suburbs. Hmmmm…..

    I am sorry that your child could not be educated at the neighborhood school-have you thought of moving into the attendance area of the school with the cluster program?

  • 29. Angie  |  August 16, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    @28. Veteran: “The difference is that charters don’t send them to another charter…and charters do this to children with mild disabilities who can be included in the general population. It’s too expensive to hire a “certified” special education teacher. ”

    Do you know of a charter school that has a self-contained deaf program? If not, where, exactly, would they send a child like mine?

    As for the mild disabilities, every charter has some percentage of special education students, so they are not turning down everyone, do they? And while you’re at it, check the special education percentage at some of the famous schools like Blaine, Lincoln or Burr. It’s awfully low, too.

    “Yes, there are cluster programs in CPS for children who have specific learning needs. For example: a child who is blind may be sent to a school that has a program for children who are blind-the teachers and staff would be able to teach children with vision issues and the physical environment would be adapted to meets the needs of a group of children rather than just one child. ”

    So you have no problem with CPS schools doing this, but you expect charter schools to provide these and other services for every disability in every school? Is that right?

    “I am sorry that your child could not be educated at the neighborhood school-have you thought of moving into the attendance area of the school with the cluster program?”

    Thanks, but there’s no need to be sorry. My child is very happy in that program, and the other child is just as happy at our neighborhood school. I’m not complaining, but trying to debunk a frequently repeated lie.

  • 30. Veteran  |  August 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Angie, In a perfect world where schools had unlimited resources your child would be able to attend his neighborhood school with his sibling.

    I only write about what I have witnessed at my school and what the parents of children who were asked to leave the charters say.

    CPS has cluster programs for children with severe disabilities, the charters do not…..yet they receive the same, if not more, per pupil funding…..where does the money go….not on teacher salaries…it’s a revolving door a far as the teachers…..we had one parent who said that her children could not read because they were in groups of sixty and the children were taught by the TV-no teacher……

  • 31. Sped Mom  |  August 16, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    @ 27. Angie | August 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    When a student has a low-incidence disability that cannot be accommodated in a general school, then the student might be sent to a school with a more appropriate program in place or even sent out of CPS into a private sped school. I would not expect every school to meet every need. However, many students with disabilities can be educated in a general school without special programs (such as a self-contained TBI classroom). I do expect every general school to seriously ask itself if it can educate the child in the LRE APPROPRIATE (folks always forget that “appropriate” qualifier). Ditto for any charter. However, I don’t trust most charters to ask that of themselves or have any deep skill in educating sped students. It’s normal to seek the correct school placement.

  • 32. Sped Mom  |  August 16, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    @ Angie: “So you have no problem with CPS schools doing this, but you expect charter schools to provide these and other services for every disability in every school? Is that right?”

    I really don’t think Veteran or others are saying that. It would be very odd for anyone with sped knowledge to say ot believe that. Personally, my favorite expert on CPS sped is Rod Estvan, who has borne witness to charter “push-out” of students that one would not expect a general public school to “push-out.”

    You’re “blessed” CPS has a decent deaf program. It fails for many other DXs.

  • 33. Angie  |  August 16, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    @30. Veteran :”CPS has cluster programs for children with severe disabilities, the charters do not…..yet they receive the same, if not more, per pupil funding…..where does the money go….not on teacher salaries…”

    First of all, the special education funds are separate from the $4,429-$5,029 per student the schools are receiving. From CPS press release posted on this site:

    “The remaining funding in a school’s budget is made up of various resources provided for educational supports outside of core instruction funding. Examples include supplemental general state aid and money for special education, magnet, International Baccalaureate, bilingual, STEM, English language learner and Title I programs as well as operations funding, including money for transportation, security and nutrition services. These funds will not be affected by the funding formula change.”

    Second, this is the first year that charters are receiving funding equal to CPS schools. Previously, it was lower. And good for them if they are spending these funds on educational needs rather than teacher salaries. I wish more schools would do that.

    @31. Sped Mom: “I do expect every general school to seriously ask itself if it can educate the child in the LRE APPROPRIATE (folks always forget that “appropriate” qualifier). Ditto for any charter. However, I don’t trust most charters to ask that of themselves or have any deep skill in educating sped students. It’s normal to seek the correct school placement.”

    How many times have you and others blasted CPS schools for not providing the special education services on this very site? Evaluations delayed or refused, SPED minutes not delivered, parents not informed of their rights, and so on. But as soon as charters are mentioned, people seem to forget all about these problems, and pretend that CPS is doing a great job educating the children those evil charters are counseling out.

  • 34. Sped Mom  |  August 16, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Angie: I never forget the mismanagement and criminal behavior of CPS with sped. Nor do I forget the poor treatment at Catholic school or private school or what’s been reported at charter schools. Never “pretended” otherwise. But, I hear consistent testimony from CPS employees (including teachers) exposing the system’s serious faults.; I don’t hear that same honesty coming from charter employees. That’s the difference. There’s evil to go around, to be sure, but the see-no-evil of the charter boosters is what warns me off.

  • 35. Sped Mom  |  August 16, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Was she a special education teacher? No. Did she have a special education degree? No.

    He then asked/commented that she had never taught an LD (learning disabled) child. Her response was “not entirely.” She elaborated for the judge and those present in court that for two years in Baltimore, as a sub, she worked with 7th and 8th graders, including LD students; and when the teacher was not in the room, she was in charge. When asked if she presented herself as an expert witness in special education, she replied: No.

  • 36. Jeanne Marie Olson (@JMOChicago)  |  August 17, 2013 at 10:01 am

    RE: You can’t attract great talent if the compensation isn’t there – you get what you pay [for]……

    This is true at every level. Frankly, I’d rather have the person closest to my child well-paid. (This wouldn’t preclude being assessed as an excellent professional, certified teacher.) Central Office, except for Accounts Payable, could fall into Lake Michigan tomorrow. But if the schools were open and kids were there, teachers would still teach and get it done. Not every school in the US or even in the world needs a Central Office to make education happen.

    My sense is that turnover and volatility, plus tying new programs to political theater creates most of the problems at Central Office. There is no long term plan shared with the public that actually gets followed through on…either because it was a poor plan (hastily slapped together) that begins to fall apart quickly after roll out, or CEO’s/Mayors change and want something new to “make their mark” with. Employees keep their heads down because the new CEO will be along soon. Part of this is related to mayoral control of the schools.(More about that in a minute.)

    Mayoral impatience is related to this as well. Real, sustainable culture change in big, unwieldy organizations takes time and won’t happen through being dictated “down the chain”. No one in politics wants to take time for that. As for the top-down nature of CPS, this is actually a corporate model of work, not a educational model of organization. Schools are not factories and students are not widgets.

    If the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing at Central Office, that is not always the employees’ faults. That is a consequence of high mgmt turnover. Lack of transparency into all schools and the Central Office is another issue (and the charter/contract schools are the worst offenders here, along with Central Office.) As someone who spends most of her freetime hunting down CPS data, the fact that I can’t easily find out which schools (with addresses, phone numbers, student info) are operating under the YCCS contract for Alternatives Schools within the system is shocking. Or that we don’t have easily accessible data on the facilities and programs for each school, including charters/contract schools, in one place. I can’t even get campus-by-campus performance data on some charter networks. The ability to have “choice” in a school district relies upon complete, easy-to-understand, comparable data sets for each school building. We don’t even have that. Taxpayer money funds charters/contract schools, and yet they are not required to publish their budgets (revenue/expenses/staff salaries) as every traditional school must. A large organization of private corporate funders underwrites/staffs the recruitment efforts of charter schools, and the Mayor is part of that organization, and we have no data on that. I have been told by some charter supporters that they believe charters should replace every neighborhood school in the District, and that every school should be a lottery or test-in school. No more Blaines, no more Burleys, no more Alcotts or Agassiz’s.

    My jaw used to drop, not anymore.

    We could privatize the District tomorrow and I fear that we would be trading the current set of problems for a new set. There is a lot of federal and state money to gain for private companies that offer services to schools and Districts. Just like military contractors use the Pentagon budget as the cash cow for their business model, so companies like SUPES and Pearson and Rocketship etc. are viewing these same cash flows to tap for their business strategies. I have been in rooms where the business model being pitched was based primarily on the largesse of the Gates Foundation. Corporate has its demons, just as non-corporate does.

  • 37. Patricia  |  August 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    @19 IB obsessed. As SSI pointed out, I was being sarcastic about raising taxes, but the mindset of always being able to raise taxes or get a larger slice of the fixed pie permeates government at every level. There is NOT a thought of, “the company is not doing well, we need to work harder or we may lose our jobs”. There is not a thought of being more efficient or innovative. It is a defensive mindset to resist change and keep status quo. I am talking government in general, not just CPS central office. I stand by my 80% “mostly dead weight” and 20% really good people getting the job done. However, I do think at the federal level, there may be a higher percentage of highly productive workers.

    @20 Sunny D. Yep, Illinois is right behind Detroit in the “F***** Up” financial mess of a state.

    @21 CPSO. There is a phrase of “don’t kill the job” used a lot. Workers get very upset if someone is working to fast and the social/union pressure can be significant. It is so organizationally dysfunctional and sets up human dynamics that make efficiency and productivity very difficult to achieve. It really is an alternate universe.

    Like you, I am perplexed about how people see charters as the devil. They certainly should be held accountable. If that is the beef, then the outrage should be to hold charters accountable, not eliminate them. What really is “public education”? (Yes I am saying this as a thought provoking question.) Money goes into private hands for books, buildings, curriculums, security, etc. etc. etc. Heck, public money funds the CTU which is a private organization. The biggest chunk of money is salary and benefits for teachers, so that money would still be going into the teacher’s hands neighborhood or charter, it would just change who manages the school. There is not much love for CPS managing things, so a more direct and accountable management through charters is the difference?

  • 38. local  |  August 17, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Maybe that’s a good end-of-summer post: What is “public” education? Dewey, anyone?

  • 39. cpsobsessed  |  August 17, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    I like it! I’ll post it in the morning…so start mulling over your thoughts.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 40. IB obsessed  |  August 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Patricia, CPSob, Sox Side and others: 56 million served monthly at my federal agency, and my particular component must yearly justify its existence to congress with hard numbers. We experienced the “do more, faster, and better” push just like private industry has in the past 15 years. We are constantly pushed to find ways to do things cheaper and more efficiently. If we were 80% dead weight, someone you know would be living on the street. I think we tend to conclude that government is wasteful and inefficient because it’s “MY
    MONEY” they’re playing with. ANY state of affairs that spend our money always seems ‘too much’. Bank of American squandered millions of your money, was a model of inefficiency, but hey, it’s a bank they must have known what they were doing.

  • 41. IB obsessed  |  August 17, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Switching topics, I volunteer at a charter school. It is on warning, or whatever it’s called, because it didn’t make AYP. However, I believe the students are far better off there than at the neighborhood HS which is a unsafe, failure factory. At this charter, the students are expected to go to college, and the staff knocks themselves out getting them ready. It has no ties to a for profit entity.

    It is the charters that do have these ties which are especially intolerably risky for the public good. For profit corporations are pressured to increase the bottom line, and the free market is not going to ‘correct’ and eliminate bad for profit charters when they are able to get passed legislation that exempts them from oversight.

    Why shouId I trust my child’s education to an entity that exists to further the interests of a small group?

    Capturing some of the billions spent on public education is just too tempting for corporations.

    80% of charters in the state of Michigan are tied to for- profits.

  • 42. local  |  August 18, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Also, what’s great for a single student or group of students can be terrible for the whole population of students. That’s the rub. Is a puzzlement.

  • 43. cpsobsessed  |  August 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    As I think about it more, I think the problem is when private organizations run off public money. Private companies that succeed by having to generate revenue and customers operate well and generally efficiently because they have to.

    Private companies that have the almost-gurantee of the almost-never-runs-out public money by nature are likely to operate more like a public company but potentially with some bigger problems (ie top leaders can draw bigger salaries, etc.)

    I just saw this in a CNN article about the new push to limit the prison population:

    The greatest challenge in pushing these numbers further down will be the prison lobby. Believe it or not, many of our prisons are run by private companies that then lobby state legislatures massively for bigger prisons, larger budgets, and of course more prisoners. According to the non-profit Justice Policy Institute, the two largest private prison companies in America together generate revenues of $3 billion a year – paid by taxpayers, of course. These private prison companies also happen to be major donors to a number of state campaigns, lobbying for more resources.

  • 44. Formerly working mom  |  August 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Some suggest that low test scores = pipeline to prison.

  • 45. cpsobsessed  |  August 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Correlation doesn’t equal causation.
    But if someone doesn’t have a lot of options for the future it would make sense that crime (and the activities related to it) are more enticing.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 46. CPS Parent  |  August 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Good post by Rod Estvan at District299 – Outs the Reader’s Ben Joravsky as TIF and math illiterate.

  • 48. anonymouse teacher  |  August 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I love what Estvan says in the above linked comment.
    “Everyone likes painless solutions and no one wants to pay up. There is likely no way out of CPS fiscal problems over the long run that will not either involve tax increases, cuts to either benefits of employees retirees, or additional cuts to students.”
    And then later he states that there’s really no way to avoid raising property taxes to put them in line with suburban taxes.

    I think there’ll need to be all three: cuts to students, cuts to retirements and raising property taxes. Our students have too many needs, the pension obligation is a big issue and city property taxes are just too low. Give a little on all three sides and I’d imagine there’d be some sort of relief. I have been talking with friends in both the city and the suburbs and it is shocking to me how much more suburban folks pay in taxes–no wonder their schools are better funded. A 160K home in the western burbs is paying nearly 9K a year in taxes and a condo in the city valued at about 130K is paying around $2500. How is that even possible?

    I also think it is important to remember that city students will always be more expensive to educate given the tremendous needs that poverty lends to development.

  • 49. cpsobsessed  |  August 19, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    This is why people respect Ron. He’s totally no-BS but also doesn’t sound angry. Just states it as it is.
    If only politicians could do that.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 50. HS Mom  |  August 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    What suburb would Chicago align with? How do suburban property values align with square footage, including land compared to Chicago? Don’t RE taxes take into account the fact that there are far fewer residents in the suburban footprint than in the urban footprint?

  • 51. anonymouse teacher  |  August 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Not sure, HS Mom, but I think the poverty we have in Chicago and the large costs associated with educating highly disadvantaged children more than makes up for the density of the city.

  • 52. cpsobsessed  |  August 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I think the trouble is that while WE may see the obvious need for raising property taxes a bit, I’m sure that at least half the city homeowners wouldn’t agree with this idea. Or if they did, they might have other preferences on where the money should go (ie, fighting crime etc.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 53. HS Mom  |  August 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    @52 – yes, agree. Can’t charge suburban taxes if you can’t send your kid to the neighborhood school. People choose the suburb they live in based upon the school. If we did that in Chicago everyone would be clustered in a few areas.

    @51 – how does the high cost of educating highly disadvantaged children become a burden of real estate taxes/home owners?

  • 54. anonymouse teacher  |  August 19, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    I’d imagine there are very few people who think raising taxes is a good idea and I don’t think this issue can be solved through a tax increase alone.

  • 55. anonymouse teacher  |  August 19, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    @ 53, Who do you think should be responsible for paying for the cost of educating children in Chicago? I actually happen to believe we need a different system to fund schools, but who knows if that will happen.
    I know I’ll probably end up paying on both ends, through raised taxes and a reduction or elimination of my pension (both things I view as inevitable). I view the education of our city’s children as my responsibility, both as a teacher and a tax payer and will think that even long after my own children are finished and I am retired.

  • 56. HS Mom  |  August 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Government, donors, sponsors. Seems that is what charters set out to do. Also seems that the efforts of private industry, grants and benefactors get thrown under the bus.

  • 57. anonymouse teacher  |  August 19, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    We are the government. Without taxpayers, we’d have no government.
    You can’t be serious about grants and benefactors–have you seen how much grant money has been lost recently? Maybe throw a fairy godmother in there too? Donors and sponsors should take care of the millions of disadvantaged kids living in the United States? For real?

  • 58. cpsobsessed  |  August 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    I think the question is, shouldn’t we be like “hell yeah” about utilizing money from the foundations (via charters) and the organizations that want to fund (and reform) public education?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 59. HS Mom  |  August 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    CPSO – exactly!

  • 60. anonymouse teacher  |  August 19, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Sure, private donors are awesome. They are also a drop in the bucket. Yes, we take everything we can get. (I do it all the time in my classroom by begging my family for things and teachers in other school districts to give me their “hand me downs” and picking things out of the alley) But you don’t fund public education with private donors. You can’t rely on that funding stream. Private donors, grants, etc, these are all good for small projects, not a billion dollar public school system. Estvan himself talks about the charters that would have collapsed financially without getting all that extra money this fall.

  • 61. Mom of 3  |  August 20, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Private donors are awesome, but they also come with attachments. What happens when they get to decide what it is your child is being taught? Many donors have no business in the education world and should not be allowed to make those decisions.

  • 62. a mom  |  August 20, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Wouldn’t want to try any new and interesting ideas out now would we.

  • 63. RL Julia  |  August 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    private donors do not have generally have either the resources, the mission or the inclination to commit to long term, deep funding regardless of the outcome – which is essentially what government does.

  • 64. HS Mom  |  August 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    RLJ – right, agreed. although there do seem to be some giant foundations with the ability to help out long term. Why not take advantage? Yes, government, which is not to be confused with real estate taxes.

  • 65. THE TRUTH  |  August 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    You could throw $1 BILLION at these schools and they would never get any better. ‘dem keeds don’ wanna learn, awwwight? And it would go into the fat CTU pockets who never can say ENOUGH.

  • 66. junior  |  August 20, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    This is a great talk. (If you only have a minute, just watch from 8:00 – 9:20 — a great rebuttal to the crap spewed by some people here), but the whole thing is well worth it…

  • 67. anonymouse teacher  |  August 20, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Is HCZ run entirely on donations? Or does it get a bulk of its funding from the state and the feds? Just curious.

  • 68. local  |  August 20, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    @ 44. Formerly working mom | August 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    “Some suggest that low test scores = pipeline to prison.”

    Dart’s calling the prisons mental institutions, in the main. Correlates?

  • 69. local  |  August 20, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    @ 43. cpsobsessed | August 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Can’t remember how many were involved, but it seemed a goodly number of prison developers/builders are also building college student housing/dorms. Interesting.

  • 71. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 20, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    66 junior & 67. anonymouse teacher

    Geoffrey Canada: Just Tell the Truth

  • 72. cpsobsessed  |  August 20, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    I can’t get the geof canada thing to play, can anyone else?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 73. cpsobsessed  |  August 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Interesting to read Ravitch’s comments before I watch his talk. Now if I can only get it to work! But she’s right, just like teachers are under pressure to get high test scores in their classes, he is under pressure to make the schools look good to keep that $ flowing.

  • 74. HS Mom  |  August 21, 2013 at 8:17 am

    @66 – Junior, thanks for that link. Several good points. Instead of throwing money at what we know already doesn’t work, we need to change/grow!

  • 75. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    73. cpsobsessed | August 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    That’s it exactly~teachers are under pressure for students to perform on high stake tests and Geoffrey Canda is under pressure to make his schools look good!

  • 76. Lisa  |  August 27, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Does anyone on here have any personal experience with Brentano Math & Science Academy? This is my neighborhood school and I am very concerned about there low score on CPS website (3) and their “probation status”. Please let me know your experiences or any information you may have. I have run out of options as my son was wait listed for several schools but we did not receive any calls.

  • 77. Charlie  |  September 15, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    Brentano did very well last year. Brentano’s staff members are doing exceptional things. Remember that the scores posted are outdated, from 2011-2012 and do not represent the 2012-2013 academic school year. I think that when the new scores are finally posted on the CPS website for the 2012-2013, which should be soon, you will be very pleased. Brentano has come a long way, and will continue to do great things. Your son is going to a great school, with a dedicated, hard-working staff that will provide a rigorous education.

  • 78. Education in Chicago  |  October 6, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    […] […]

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