All Articles Tagged "schools"

Heads of CPS, Teachers Union Debate

September 14th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Chicago Tribune) — The two sides waging a public tug of war over the future of Chicago Public Schoolsplayfully sparred Tuesday night in a live debate over contentious issues including a longer school day and teacher pay and evaluations.  But CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis also found common ground on what it takes to improve the city’s sagging neighborhood schools and expand education options for all students in the city.  Speaking in front of an audience of about 700 people, many of whom were teachers and union supporters, at the University of Illinois at Chicago Forum, Brizard deflected criticism that his administration was trying to bypass the union in its effort to lengthen the CPS school day by 90 minutes.

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APS Beefs up Academic Help

September 13th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(AJC) — Atlanta Public Schools announced plans Monday to offer extra help to struggling students in response to a widespread cheating scandal, but the district may never know for sure how many were victims of academic fraud.  Existing intervention programs designed to help students during the school day will be increased from 12 weeks to 25 and expanded from 58 to all 100 schools. The program will target students who failed to score on grade level on the 2011 Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT). Teachers will be given additional training, and the district is planning to reach out to parents to increase help at home.

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Going Glove to Glove with Mayor Emanuel

September 12th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Chicago Tribune) — The woman who once promised a boxing match with Mayor Rahm Emanuel for the rights of teachers and the hearts of Chicago’s public school children is getting up off the mat.  Bullied and bludgeoned by weeks of intense public debate over a longer school day, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis fought back Friday by filing an unfair labor practices complaint againstChicago Public Schools leadership and accusing Emanuel of trying to intimidate her in a profanity-filled tirade recently at City Hall.  The time had come, Lewis said, to make a stand.  “Everybody knows who Rahm Emanuel is. He wants to win. He’s dirty. He’s lowdown. He’s a street fighter,” Lewis said. “This is Rahm Emanuel trying to prove a point, trying to flex his muscles. He’s trying to put his fingers in our faces because he ultimately wants to bust this union, bust all the unions.”

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High School in South Atlanta Sends All Its Grads to College

September 12th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(AJC) — Less than a decade ago, Atlanta parents used their school system’s open enrollment policy to send their kids anywhere but Carver High School.  Officials nearly closed the school. Instead, after the nearby Carver Homes project was bulldozed, they split the campus into four smaller schools that focused on art, technology, science and college prep.  One of those schools, the Early College Academy, posted sharp gains.  “That is the highest performing school we have right now,” Superintendent Erroll Davis said of Early College at a recent public forum. “I don’t know that everybody knows that. We haven’t publicized it.”

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Middle Class Schools Missing the Mark

September 12th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Wall Street Journal) — Middle-class public schools educate the majority of U.S. students but pay lower teacher salaries, have larger class sizes and spend less per pupil than low-income and wealthy schools, according to a report to be issued Monday.  The report, “Incomplete: How Middle-Class Schools Aren’t Making the Grade,” also found middle-class schools are underachieving. It pointed to their national and international test scores and noted that 28% of their graduates earn a college degree by age 26, compared to 17% for lower-income students and 47% for upper-income students.  Third Way, a Democratic think tank that claims to “advocate for private sector economic growth,” based its report on data from the Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Education, and national and international testing programs. The report doesn’t include parochial or private-school students.

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State Weighs Testing Curbs on Teachers

September 9th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Wall Street Journal) — New York state teachers could be banned from administering and grading their own students’ standardized tests under a series of changes education officials are proposing after cheating scandals erupted in several other states.  An internal Education Department task force said Thursday the state could improve the way it handles the 6 million tests administered annually from kindergarten through high school.  “It is imperative that those tests are not compromised,” the panel’s report stated. “A reliable measure of student performance is vital to students’ college and career preparedness.”  They are also more important than ever to teachers and principals. In New York state this year, teacher evaluations will be based in part on student test scores. New York City already uses an analysis of scores in some teacher tenure decisions.

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Educators Tackling Problems in Two Crucial Age Groups

September 9th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(New York Times) — On the first day of school nearly two weeks ago, Jillian Carew quickly realized that getting all of her freshman algebra students on the same page would be a monumental task.   That is because the 250-plus freshmen at Johnson College Prep, a Noble Street Charter School, come from 124 different elementary schools.  The new class did have one thing in common, unfortunately. “We definitely found out very early on that they really don’t know how to multiply,” Ms. Carew said. “Some of them are even struggling with adding.”  In Chicago Public Schools, where the high school graduation rate hovers just above 50 percent,  it is important to get the freshmen on track quickly. Elaine Allensworth, a researcher at the Consortium on Chicago School Research who has studied freshman transition for more than a decade, said aligning expectations and curriculum between elementary schools and high schools had been a longstanding problem in the city.

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A Gentler Touch Atop the Schools, After Years of a Hard Push for Reform

September 8th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(New York Times) — As he begins his first full year leading the city’s public school system, Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott is trying to move away from the place that a predecessor, Joel I. Klein, so comfortably occupied: the spotlight.  With the country deeply divided over the best way to improve education, Mr. Walcott plans to reposition New York City on the reform spectrum — from the standard-bearer that it was during Mr. Klein’s tenure to a quiet executor of the initiatives he started. Describing himself as “the cheerleader of our education system,” Mr. Walcott, 60, said in an interview last week that civility was his foremost goal for this school year. What he wants, he said, is “to have both theoretical as well as practical discussions around what we need to do in our schools without the anger and acrimony that’s occurred in the past.”

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Former Atlanta Schools Chief Maintains Innocence

September 8th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(New York Times) — Sitting in the polished offices of a lawyer who specializes in corporate criminal defense, Beverly L. Hall looked tired.  It is not easy being the pariah of a major American city. Dr. Hall, once named as the nation’s school superintendent of the year and a veteran of 40 years in tough urban districts including New York and Newark, now stands marked by the biggest standardized test cheating scandal in the country’s history.  As Atlanta tries to sort fact from fiction and get back to the business of educating the 50,000 children in its public schools, Dr. Hall is left to defend her reputation, prepare for any possible legal action and consider whether her philosophy of education and style of leadership brought her to what is the lowest point in her career.  “I will survive this,” said Dr. Hall, 65, in her first public interview since a scathing 800-page report by state investigators outlined a pervasive pattern of cheating at 44 schools and involving 178 educators.

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Education Effort Puts the Pressure on Parents

September 7th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(L.A. Times) — Anyone up for a national conversation on parent evaluations?  Last week, I went to South Gate for a visit with Mary Johnson, a grandmother who knows a thing or two about how parents can step it up. It was her own grandmother, in fact, who provided the early training.  Johnson and her six siblings lost their mother when Johnson was just 2. So all seven of them went to live with grandma Emma Bessix in Dover, Del. The house had no electricity, but it had an established place where all the kids had to do their homework — or else.  Johnson later moved to California, studied at El Camino College, and, as a single, working parent, sent all four of her children to college. That was the expectation for the kids, and they knew it, just as they knew that until they graduated from high school, their mom would be on campus, volunteering for this or that, investing in her kids because nothing mattered more to her.

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