Weekend Reading: An Education News Service from the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association
The President’s Picks: The Top Five Reads of the Week
“Time to End the War on Neighborhood High Schools”
On Friday, Beatriz Ponce de Leon, Executive Director of Generation All, penned a remarkable opinion article in Crain’s Chicago Business calling for CPS to do “everything possible to make neighborhood public high schools great for all students.” CPAA is partnering with Generation All on a principal-led effort to change the School Quality Ratings Policy (SQRP) to make it fair for all schools. In short, the ratings policy should fairly reflect the quality of the academic programs in our schools rather than punishing schools based on the socioeconomic background of the students and families we serve.
- Beatriz Ponce De Leon (August 26, 2016). Time to end the war on Chicago’s neighborhood high schools. Crain’s Chicago Business.
- Related: Generation All (April 2016). Strong Neighborhood High Schools for a Stronger Chicago.
2. Chicago Magazine’s 2016 Best Public Schools
Chicago Magazine has released its rankings of the Chicago area’s best schools, and a series of articles explaining the criteria used to determine the rankings and other related topics.
- David McAninch and Claire Zulkey, with Dana Driskill, John Hardberger, and Taylor Scheibe (August 22, 2016). Best Chicago Schools. Chicago Magazine.
- David McAninch and Claire Zulkey, with Dana Driskill, John Hardberger, and Taylor Scheibe (August 22, 2016). Chicago’s Best Public Schools. Chicago Magazine.
- David McAninch and Claire Zulkey, with Dana Driskill, John Hardberger, and Taylor Scheibe (August 22, 2016). How We Ranked the Schools. Chicago Magazine.
- David McAninch and Claire Zulkey, with Dana Driskill, John Hardberger, and Taylor Scheibe (August 22, 2016). The Innovators. Chicago Magazine.
- David McAninch and Claire Zulkey, with Dana Driskill, John Hardberger, and Taylor Scheibe (August 22, 2016). How to Fix CPS: Four competing ideologies on solving the district’s fiscal mess. Chicago Magazine.
3. John Oliver Puts National Spotlight on Charter School Corruption
This week John Oliver used his weekly news satire program, Last Week Tonight, to highlight the rampant abuse, fraud and corruption in the charter school industry.
- John Oliver (August 21, 2016). Charter Schools: Last Week Tonight. Home Box Office.
- Valerie Strauss (August 22, 2016). John Oliver hysterically savages charter schools — and charter supporters aren’t happy. The Washington Post.
- Diane Ravitch (August 25, 2016). Please Write and Tweet John Oliver to Thank Him for His Program Revealing Charter Fraud. Diane Ravitch’s Blog.
- Steve Neavling (August 22, 2016). Detroit charter school closes just two weeks before first day of class. Motor City Muckraker.
- Joe Mandak (August 24, 2016). Online Public School Founder Admits to $8M in Tax Fraud. Associated Press.
- Julian Vasquez Heilig (July/August 2016). 10 Things to Know about the Charter School Debate. The ProgressIve.
- Angela Ruggiero (August 22, 2016). Livermore: Hundreds flee charter schools, district braces for influx. East Bay Times.
4. CPS Continues to Squander Hundreds of Millions While Claiming Poverty
Despite debt and dozens half-empty high schools, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and district leaders are contemplating building three new high schools and other unnecessary projects in the coming years, and adding billions to the district’s debt in the process. CPS’s budget is being criticized by a wide array of advocacy groups, from the conservative leaning Civic Federation to the Chicago Teachers Union and disability rights groups.
- Sarah Karp (August 22, 2016). Chicago Keeps Some School Construction Plans Under Wraps. WBEZ 91.5 Chicago.
- CTU Communications (August 22, 2016). New CTU report reveals rampant, unaccountable outsourcing is impoverishing and undermining schools. Chicago Teachers Union Blog.
- Jon Seidel (August 23, 2016). Father, son, who scammed schools out of millions, plead guilty. Chicago Sun-Times.
- Sarah Karp (August 23, 2016). Broke Chicago Schools Find Millions For New Computer Software. WBEZ 91.5 Chicago.
- Juan Perez Jr. (August 22, 2016). Emanuel defends CPS borrowing for air conditioning, other projects. Chicago Tribune.
- Matt Masterson (August 22, 2016). CPS Looking to Increase Line of Credit up to $1.5 Billion. WTTW Chicago Tonight.
- Lauren FitzPatrick and Fran Spielman (August 22, 2016). CPS wants approval for $1.5 billion in short-term loans. Chicago Sun-Times.
- Morning Shift (August 24, 2016). Chicago Public Schools Faces More Borrowing. WBEZ 91.5 Chicago.
CPS Budget Criticized
- Greg Hinz (August 24, 2016). Civic Federation slams CPS budget, but board approves anyhow. Crain’s Chicago Business.
- Lauren FitzPatrick (August 23, 2016). CPS budget denounced by good government, disability rights groups. Chicago Sun-Times.
- Brandis Friedman (August 23, 2016). Budget Watchdog Group Rejects ‘Optimistic’ $5.4B CPS Proposal. WTW Chicago Tonight.
- Ellyn Fortino (August 24, 2016). Chicago Board Of Ed Approves $5.4 Billion Budget As Calls Grow For TIF Surplus Ordinance. Progress Illinois.
- Stacey Baca and Laura Podesta (August 24, 2016). Chicago Teachers Protest $5.4 Billion CPS Budget. ABC 7 Chicago.
- Sarah Karp, Becky Vevea (August 24, 2016). Chicago School Board Passes $6.3 Billion Budget. WBEZ 91.5 Chicago.
- Becky Vevea (August 24, 2016). Education Board To Vote On Budget That Cuts Number Of Teachers In District. WBEZ 91.5 Chicago.
- Becky Vevea (August 22, 2016). Emanuel Touts Classroom Air Conditioning, Pushes New School Construction Plan. WBEZ 91.5 Chicago.
5. African Americans Disproportionately Targeted by Chicago Police for Marijuana Enforcement
Despite the fact that academic studies have found marijuana usage is similar across racial and ethnic boundaries, African-American neighborhoods continue to bear the brunt of enforcement. • Largely black East Garfield Park on the West Side has the highest rate of arrests and ticketing — 72 times greater than in predominantly white Edison Park, which ranks lowest.
- Mick Dumke (August 20, 2016). WATCHDOGS: Blacks bear brunt of marijuana enforcement in Chicago. Chicago Sun-Times.
President’s Honorable Mentions
You Can’t Solve a Murder if You Can’t Investigate it.
The murder clearance rate is a measurement of solved and closed murder cases. Over the past 10 years Chicago has consistently had one of the lowest clearance rates of any of the country’s 10 biggest cities. A strong factor is our low clearance rate is our shrinking detective force. By understaffing its detective force, Chicago officials have made the decision to leave let more and more murders go unsolved. Leaving murderers on the street increases the likelihood of subsequent murders.
- Fiona Ortiz and Justin Madden (August 24, 2016) Chicago’s detective force dwindles as murder rate soars. Reuters.
Chicago Area Teacher Makes Viral Back-to-School Video
- Dwayne Reed. Welcome to the 4th Grade – Dwayne Reed. YouTube.
- (August 24, 2016). Skokie Student Teacher Talks about His Viral Back-To-School Rap Video. ABC 7 Chicago.
- Chicago Teacher Creates Back to School Rap Song. ABC News.
Holistic Educational Accountability
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.
Segregation’s Impact on Chicago’s Schools
- Melinda D. Anderson (August 22, 2016). Chicago’s Inescapable Segregation. The Atlantic.
- Laura Bliss (August 24, 2016). The Most Segregating School-District Borders in America. The Atlantic.
- Alana Semuels (August 25, 2016). Good School, Rich School; Bad School, Poor School. The Atlantic.
- Anya Kamenetz (August 23, 2016). Americans Like Their Schools Just Fine — But Not Yours. WBEZ 91.5 Chicago.
Teaching and Learning
- Morning Shift (August 25, 2016). Should Schools Ban Homework? WBEZ 91.5 Chicago.
- Valerie Strauss (August 23, 2016). Our misguided effort to close the achievement gap is creating a new inequality: The ‘play’ gap. The Washington Post.
- Valerie Strauss (August 24, 2016). How hard is it to keep kindergartners focused on a class lesson? This hard. The Washington Post.
International Comparative Education
- Timothy D. Walker (August 25, 2016). How Finland Starts the School Year. The Atlantic.
- Lillian Mongeau (August 23, 2016). Why Britain Said ‘Yes’ to Universal Preschool. The Atlantic.
Charter School/Privatization Watchdog Report
- Dora Taylor (July/August 2016). Snuffing out Democracy—the Struggle over Mayoral Control of Seattle’s School Board. The Progressive.
- Steven Msinger (August 21, 2016). Do Unions Belong in the Fight Against Corporate School Reform? GAD Fly on the Wall Blog.
- Ken Lovett (July 11, 2016). Democratic state lawmakers being targeted by an education reform PAC. New York Daily News.