All Articles Tagged "Chicago Public Schools"
In what will be the largest closing of public schools in U.S. history, the Chicago Board of Education voted to shutter 50 Chicago public schools. Chicago is the nation’s third-largest district. Initially, the board proposed 54 schools for closure, reports The Huffington Post.
“A handful of schools — Leif Ericson, Marcus Garvey, George Manierre and Mahalia Jackson — got an eleventh-hour reprieve ahead of the vote after CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett withdrew her recommendations to close the four schools,” writes HuffPo. One school — Canter Leadership Academy — on the closure list will close a year after the others.
Of course, the move has outraged educators, such as Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. The education of the children of Chicago “has been hijacked by an unrepresentative, unelected corporate school board, acting at the behest of a mayor who has no vision for improving the education of our children,” Lewis said in a press statement. “Closing schools is not an education plan. It is a scorched earth policy.”
The battle over Chicago’s public schools has been raging for months now, with a huge teacher’s strike taking place back in the winter. At the time, there were also charges of racism in the system as an overwhelming majority of the students who attended schools that had been shut down to that point (88 percent) were African American.
Chicago parents — Let us know about your thoughts and concerns.
Good Idea Or Too Soon? Chicago Public Schools Want To Start Teaching A Form Of Sex Education To Kids In Kindergarten
As the third largest public school system in the country, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has made a major decision by passing a proposal this week that means that instead of having students learn about sex education starting in the fifth grade, they would begin the process starting in kindergarten.
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Before you get your drawls all tied up in a knot and make a judgement so soon, according to ABC News, before the fifth grade, students won’t necessarily be learning about how sex works and methods of protection and those sorts of things. Instead, they will just be provided with basic knowledge about how to keep themselves safe from sexual predators and more. As it goes according to ABC News, in Kindergarten, students will learn basic information on personal safety, anatomy, healthy relationships, and reproduction. After that, up to third grade, students will focus on family, what is and isn’t inappropriate touching and more. By fourth grade, kids will be taught about puberty, as well as HIV and the myths of it. Also sex-ed will also include a conversation about gender identity and sexual orientation so that there will be more tolerance of students of the LGBT community, but it’s not clear of this will be taught in all grade levels or after a certain grade.
While parent reactions were mixed, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, thinks that in this day and age, it’s a necessary move. “It is important that we provide students of all ages with accurate and appropriate information so they can make healthy choices in regards to their social interactions, behaviors, and relationships.” She went on to explain to ABC News that, “By implementing a new sexual health education policy, we will be helping them to build a foundation of knowledge that can guide them not just in the preadolescent and adolescent years, but throughout their lives.”
If parents of students don’t want their child’s sexual education being taught at such a young age by the schools, they can opt out of the program, but it has been passed and this type of sex education will be implemented within the next two years. Will other public school systems in different states follow suit? That remains to be seen, but let’s be honest, with kids out here at school engaging in sexual acts with one another at four and five years old, it might be time to start informing these kids (through the parents, school, etc.) about what’s appropriate and what forms of interaction are of a sexual manner and inappropriate at such a young age. But what do you think? Good idea or just a bit too soon?
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), which orchestrated a strike in September that kept students and instructors out of school for a week, now says the city’s public school system has forced mostly African-American children into charter schools that are worse than the public ones they previously attended. Moreover, they charge the schools don’t hire enough black and Hispanic teachers.
“Chicago is the most segregated city in the country, and our students of color are routinely deemed as second-class by a system that does nothing but present one failed policy after the next,” writes union president Karen Lewis in the forward of a report released today.
In the press release for the report, the CTU says “the policy of closing schools in one area and opening schools in another has been the failed status quo” for two decades.” As a result, the public school system has experienced more racial segregation, fewer “stable schools” in black neighborhoods, poor treatment of teachers, and lowered educational value for students. The Chicago school system might close 100 schools, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.The report says that black children make up 88 percent of the public schools that have been closed or consolidated so far.
After combing through the report, Crain’s finds some valid points in the report, and others that will be up for contentious back-and-forth. But, in truth, that’s the state of the education discussion in this country as a whole. Educators and policymakers are engaged in a debate about how to teach students in a way that takes race, socioeconomics, and the needs of a modern world into account. In this case specifically, both sides have skin in the game; the union wants to see teachers strengthened, the school system wants to see its policies and plans put into place.
Parents and students, the third side of this triangular conversation need to be sure to make their voices heard as well. It’s the students, after all, that are the center of this whole issue.
Should We Pay Parents To Do The Right Thing? Chicago Schools To Pay Parents For Attending Conferences & Picking Up Report Cards
Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel and Walgreens are partnering up to increase parental involvement in 70 Chicago Public Schools. They hope to encourage more parents to be more involved in their children’s education by offering them $25 Walgreens’ gift card for attending parent-teacher conferences and picking up report cards.
“The success of a student is supported by three pillars: a principal who is held accountable for that success, a teacher who is committed to that success, and, most importantly, a parent who is involved at home,” said Mayor Emanuel.
Well, that’s certainly true. It’s just terribly sad that schools have resorted to giving parents money for doing what they’re supposed to want to do as parents. In essence, it’s like treating these parents like the children they’re supposed to be raising. We’ve all seen students who were always rewarded for doing their homework or behaving well in class, to the point where they found no pleasure in learning for learning’s sake and being obedient just so they wouldn’t disrupt anyone else. We hope the same doesn’t happen with these parents. That as soon as they stop getting paid for doing what a parent should do, they’ll slack off once again.
But on the other hand, I appreciate the fact that Emanuel and his staff are trying to think of new ways to close this essential gap. Maybe this will encourage parents who often have to work in lieu of attending their child’s school functions to take time off for their little ones. Perhaps, they’ll come to understand how important their presence can be to the emotional and academic success of their students. Emanuel has stated that the city plans expanding this program to other schools in the city.
What do you think, is this a good way to get parents involved? Can you think of a better incentive?
Every so often white people take a chance using the n-word to either see if they can get away with it or to try to make a point. A Chicago teacher tried the latter last October and it ended up getting him suspended for five days without pay. Now he’s suing the public school system for his right to use the word during what he said was a “teachable moment.”
The situation occurred after two of Lincoln Brown’s students were passing notes with rap lyrics that included the n-word. According to the lawsuit, Brown then used the word in the context of Huckleberry Finn to demonstrate how such language can be hurtful, but just as the word came out of his mouth, the Murray Language Academy’s principal, George Mason, walked into his classroom. The principal accused Brown of “using verbally abusive language to or in front of students” and charged him with “cruel, immoral, negligent, or criminal conduct or communication to a student, that causes psychological or physical harm.”
So far, Brown has only served one of his five days of suspension but the 48-year-old who says he’s taught in predominantly black public schools for 25 years, is concerned about what this punishment will due to his reputation as a teacher. He told ABC news:
“It’s something I can’t accept and can’t have on my record and more importantly it’s not who I am.”
Despite the pending legal matter, Chicago Public School Director of Communications Robyn Ziegler appears to be unfazed by the lawsuit. According to WLS-TV, she issued a statement saying:
“The principal determined that the way the teacher used the word was improper and imposed a short suspension…. The teacher has received sufficient due process. In our opinion, his federal lawsuit is without merit.”
I’m curious what sort of reaction students had to Brown’s use of the word. While it’s always a little unsettling to hear a white person use the n-word, it doesn’t appear that this teacher was using it in a malicious way. Still, there are ways to make a point without actually saying the word, most people should know that’s the safest route by now.
What do you think? Does Lincoln Brown have a case? Was the school right or wrong to suspend him?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- Fine Tune: Men Who Could Sing To Us Anyday!
- Why Are You Hiding Your Boos? Celeb Women Who Are Always Acting Single
- Dealing With Drama?: How To Know When It’s Time To Go
- I Know You Mean Well, But…7 Reasons Why BET Kills Me Softly
- “Dust Yourself Off & Try Again”: Folks Who Should Find Something Else To Do
- Friends & Lovers: What To Avoid When Introducing Your Guy To Your Girls
- Wild Thang: African Print-Inspired Fashions for Head to Toe
- Ooo Weee: Characters We’re Still Crushin’ On
(Chicago Sun Times) — At least 200 jobs are being trimmed out of the Chicago Public School bureaucracy, for a savings of $16 million — leaving only $44 million in promised cuts to go, CPS officials said Thursday. The job reductions are part of a reorganization of the office of chief education officer, which once employed 750 people. By the time the dust clears, it will be down to 550 people, CPS officials say. New Chief Education Officer Noemi Donoso said she is still planning an additional $34 million in “programmatic” cuts out of her office, many involving outside vendors, that were promised to help fill a $712 million budget deficit.
When you think back to when you were a child, figuring out what to wear and how you would walk out the door everyday was pretty simple—because your parent usually dressed you, right? I know when I went to school as a tyke, my fashions usually matched those of the black girls around me: bright windbreaker suits, big twists and braids with colorfully animated barettes, maybe a light up shoe or two. No one was overly eclectic until late junior high, when your parent stopped pulling and picking out your fits everyday. But nowadays, it seems kids, the younger the kids are, the more control they are getting over what they put on everyday. And many are wondering if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
(Chicago Tribune) — In an era marked by spending cuts, layoffs and budget anxiety for Chicago Public Schools, district records show that former school board Presidents Michael Scott and his protege Rufus Williams gave freely from private taxpayer-funded accounts to dozens of handpicked charities and nonprofits, many with no apparent benefit to CPS. Scott and Williams combined gave more than $200,000 of public money for seats at lavish fundraising dinners, parties and banquets, according to an inspector general’s report and public records. Scott spent at least $220,000 on charities he ran or where he or his wife served on the board of directors. And Scott gave $77,500 to a West Side church whose pastor partnered with him in a controversial land deal tied to the city’s 2016 Olympic bid.
(Chicago Tribune) — Chicago’s school board on Wednesday adopted a sweeping new program to offer free breakfasts in the classrooms of Chicago Public Schools’410,000 students, expanding a federally funded initiative aimed at giving kids from low-income families a healthier start to their day. In selling the program to the board, officials promoted both the nutritional and psychological benefits of a breakfast with classmates, crediting it with improving “intellectual, emotional, social and physical development while at school.”