Weekend Reads 8/20/2016

Each week I prepare a digest of the week’s top stories–with a focus on education–and provide it to members of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Assocation (CPAA). One of the 12 sections in the digest is called “The President’s Picks”.  This week’s picks–and a few other sections–are below.

SECTION I: The President’s Picks: The Top Five Reads of the Week

#1. Stop the CPS Distractions and Raise Some Revenue for Chicago’s Students
Chicago Public Schools has a higher rate of students in poverty than the Illinois average. It enrolls a higher percentage of students in poverty than exists in the city overall, and it enrolls more English language learners. While students with these disadvantages need more resources, CPS has consistently spent less per child, has a larger student-to-teacher ratio, hires a higher percentage of inexperienced teachers, and pays less in instructional salaries than its neighboring school districts which often have far lower percentages of at-risk students. In this post, Mark Weber–a teacher, musician, and educational researcher who goes by the pseudonym “Jersey Jazzman”–combs through the data on Chicago Public Schools and calls on the district and city officials to generate the revenue needed to fund our schools adequately instead of continuing their distracting conversation about teachers needing to take pay and benefit cuts.


#2. CPS Continues to Contradict itself on Spending for Instruction vs. Spending for Private Profit
While CPS continues to claim poverty when it comes to teacher (and principal) salaries and benefits, it continues to keep billions of dollars flowing to debt investors and lending institutions that profit from their unnecessary school construction and high-interest borrowing.

For Recent Historical Context:

Current Articles


#3. The Context of an Impending Strike

It is within the context of the series of stories above–stories that highlight CPS and City Hall’s lack of advocacy for raising appropriate revenue for schools, as well as their willingness to spend lavishly on everything but instruction–that Chicago Teachers are preparing for the possibility of a strike.  The articles above provide the context, while the following articles cover the strike possibility itself.


#4. CPS Policy Threatens Special Education Students
CPS claims it is spending too much on special education students and that schools are over-classifying students but the CPS special education classification rate has been consistently below the rest of Cook County.  Despite this, CPS continues to take aim at students with special needs as is described in Sarah Karp’s WBEZ report (Karp is the reporter who first exposed the Bryd-Bennett SUPES no-bid contract).


#5. Taking Two Lives at Once

Honorable Mention: 
A Tribune reporter reflects on the three years of his life he spent covering violence in Chicago.


SECTION II: Holding Everyone Accountable for Their Part in Educational Outcomes
From lead paint exposure and access to nutritional food options, to household income and persistent segregation, the causes of low academic attainment reach far beyond schools.  Educators have always been willing to do their part, but the rest of society has been slow to do theirs.  This section covers the non-school factors that impact educational attainment.

SECTION III: Teaching and Learning

SECTION V: Charter School/Privatization Watchdog Report





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