Tag Archives: Chicago Public Schools

Mayor Rahm “Murder” Emanuel: No high school diploma without acceptance letter

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Since when did Rahm determine that he could be in charge of other kids’ future plans? Leave that to the kid and his family.

From MSN.com: Chicago high school students may soon need to create a plan for their future in order to graduate.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared on “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday to discuss his new proposal, which would require students to develop a post-high school plan before receiving a diploma. Chicago would be the first city to adopt such a requirement if the measure is approved by the city’s board of education.

“We live in a period of time where you earn what you learn,” Emanuel said. “The school system of K through 12 is not applicable to the world and the economy and the world that our high school students are graduating to. So we’re moving to a pre-K to college model.”

Under the proposal, all Chicago Public School students starting with this year’s freshman class would have to show an acceptance letter to a four-year university, a community college, a trade school or apprenticeship, an internship, or a branch of the armed services in order to receive their high school diploma.

“Around 62 percent of our kids are already either accepted into college or accepted into community college, and our goal is to make sure nobody spikes the ball at 12th grade,” Emanuel said on Wednesday. “We want to make 14th grade universal. That’s the new goal line.”

Chicago Public Schools students would have to show acceptance into continuing education, a trade or the armed services in order to graduate from high school.

Emanuel said the plan is a continuation of the city’s efforts to provide more access to higher education, including free community college for students with a B average or better.

“We want to make sure our kids do not see graduation from high school as the end point, but all of them have a plan and all of them have a specific acceptance on how to go to post-high-school education,” Emanuel said.

The plan would allow students in special circumstances to waive the requirement. Undocumented immigrants illegal aliens, English language learners and currently incarcerated students would be able to apply for a waiver with Chicago Public Schools.

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Chicago Public Schools to force staffers to take four unpaid furlough days

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Chiraq is so full of problems. Gee, I wonder why…

From MyFoxChicago: Staring down a $215 million budget hole it blames on the governor, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced Friday it’ll make all staffers take four unpaid furlough days this spring on dates when children aren’t scheduled to be in class, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The move, which CPS also imposed for three days last year to conserve cash, is estimated to save the state’s largest district $35 million. It’ll impact union and non-union employees alike who will be furloughed on February 3, April 7, June 21 and June 22.

CPS banked on $215 million in pension money from Springfield that was allocated in legislation Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed in December. The money was supposed to be tied to “pension reform.” But when a compromise couldn’t be reached, Rauner pulled the plug.

District officials have said they’ll try to plug the funding gap in the least disruptive manner possible to schools, which have already seen their budgets slashed and their reserves spent during last year’s similar budget woes.

“As we address CPS’ financial challenges, we have two goals: minimize classroom disruptions and restore funding,” CEO Forrest Claypool said in an email. “Since Gov. Rauner is denying fair funding to Chicago students, we are forced to make cuts that will create new challenges for schools that are working to build on their academic gains. But make no mistake, any additional cuts we are forced to make would fall squarely at the governor’s feet.

Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly chided CPS for budgeting money it didn’t have but said the governor would consider the legislation again if the General Assembly were to pass statewide “pension reform” measures.“Continuing to blame the governor, who has been in office two years, for decades of fiscal mismanagement and bad decision-making is getting old,” she wrote in an email. “CPS willingly chose to budget for money they had not received and knew was contingent upon real pension reform.”

Last year, CPS also passed a budget it considered balanced despite banking on $450 million in pension help from state lawmakers. By January 2016, when that money hadn’t materialized, CPS cut school budgets for the second semester, too. It later furloughed employees for three unpaid work days.

If principals hadn’t planned so carefully from the beginning of the financially-troubled year, teachers would surely have been among the 200-plus staffers cut in the middle of the school year.

The Chicago Teachers Union is livid at what amounts to a 2 percent pay cut. “It’s the second year in a row they shortened the school year and cut our pay,” said Jesse Sharkey, the union’s vice president, angry that CPS leaders still won’t seek new revenue sources. Sharkey said the days off were to allow teachers to complete grades at the end of each quarter, work he assumes will still have to be finished and handed in.

“I’m hearing hearing from teachers who are outraged because they see this as a reduction of pay without a reduction of work,” he said. “We’re looking into whether it’s wage theft.”

Meanwhile the ratings agency Moody’s advised that CPS shore up its finances with another property tax increase of $400 million, a notion district officials have rejected.

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Chicago Public Schools admits to ‘overstated’ graduation rate months after Mayor Emanuel’s re-election

Well, what do you know.

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The College Fix: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had heralded the improved graduation rate of students in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) during his re-election campaign … right up through his February triumph.

But there’s a problem: It wasn’t true.

Last Thursday, the CPS admitted that the graduation figures were “overstated.” This came after a Better Government Association/WBEZ investigation showed “thousands of students were being counted as transfers when they should have been counted as dropouts.”

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

CPS previously claimed that 69.4 percent of students who started high school in 2009 graduated by the summer of 2014. But on Thursday, officials revealed that the rate is, in fact, 66.3 percent.

Asked whether the numbers were fudged on purpose, CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson said when she was a principal, she knew how to properly categorize transfers.

Jackson also acknowledged that some principals might feel pressure to boost their graduation rate on paper so their school ranking is better.

CPS also revised the graduation rate for 2013, from 65.4 percent to 62.5 percent; for 2012, from 61.2 percent to 59.3 percent, and for 2011, from 58.3 percent to 56.9 percent.

The BGA and WBEZ reported in June that a review of CPS’ own records showed at least 2,200 students from 25 Chicago high schools were wrongly counted as “transfers” – departing the system for another school district from 2011 to 2014 – when they should have been considered “dropouts.”

CPS officials initially said they had no plans to go back and adjust the numbers. It’s unclear why they changed minds.

Breitbart’s Warner Todd Huston notes that Mayor Emanuel had “repeatedly cited” the inflated stats as “shining examples of the promise of Chicago’s future.”

Huston points out, too, that the CPS Inspector General had “raised the alarm over the falsified stats early this year.”

Read the full Chicago Sun-Times and Breitbart articles.

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Chicago Teachers Union to Mayor Rahm: Improving failed schools full of black kids is racist

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Chicago Teachers Union Karen Lewis

Daily Caller: In late March, the Chicago Board of Education announced an ambitious plan to implement its “turnaround” model for three low-performing elementary schools in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods.

The turnaround process involves the sacking of every teacher and staffer at each of the schools, according to an email from the Chicago Teachers Union obtained by The Daily Caller.

Naturally, the union bosses aren’t happy that the nation’s third-largest school district is employing such sweeping measures to improve some of its worst schools.

Still reeling from the closure of 50 schools in 2013, embattled Chicago Teachers Union Karen Lewis called the turnaround plan “a slap in the face to those of us who are attempting to negotiate for more resources” and “nothing more than school closings by another name.”

The email from the teachers union also suggested that the effort to improve the schools is an effort spearheaded by Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to damage black children and black families.

“This is an attack on Black schools that continues the assault carried out by” Byrd-Bennett “last year, when she closed 50 schools (claiming they were the last closings for at least five years).” Byrd-Bennett is black.

“After closing 50 schools, now we find three campuses more on the chopping block while the mayor continues his televised propaganda campaign of promoting these disastrous policies,” Lewis, a Dartmouth graduate, fulminated.

In a CPS press release, Byrd-Bennett countered by saying that the city is committed to fixing schools that aren’t adequately educating students.

“The power of a high school diploma is great and the power of a college diploma is even greater,” said the CEO. “Our children have one chance at a high-quality education and we are committed to doing everything we can to provide our students with the tools they need to be successful.”

One of the three schools facing turnaround plans is Ronald E. McNair Elementary School, which has been on academic probation for the past 14 years. Another school is Dvorak Technology Academy, which has been on academic probation for the past 7 years. The third school is Walter Q. Gresham Elementary School, which has been on academic probation for the past 6 years.

If the Board of Education approves the plan at its board meeting on April 23, the three schools will be managed by the Academy for Urban School Learning (AUSL), a nonprofit organization which already manages 29 public schools in Chicago where over 17,000 students are enrolled.

The turnaround process involves bringing in teachers and staffers who have been specifically trained to work in low-performing schools. It would begin in the fall of 2014 for all three schools.

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Chicago Alderman Holds Toilet Paper Drive For Cash-Strapped Schools

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HuffPo: In some cash-strapped Chicago schools, no resource can be taken for granted — not even toilet paper.

Nicholas Sposato, alderman of Chicago’s 36th ward, recently held a toilet paper drive for the schools in his community. Amid recent Chicago Public School budget cuts, paying for basic resources has become a burden on some schools, especially since these resources come out of the same budget as teachers’ salaries.

“I’m trying to help out the schools financially, every little bit helps. They might be able to save a teacher’s position if they have everything they need,” Sposato told The Huffington Post over the phone.

Sposato started by asking for donations from local convenience stories like CVS and Walgreens. Then he reached out to the community. By Friday afternoon he had collected approximately 6,000 rolls of toilet paper.

“Its unbelievable. I never expected this much,” said Sposato.

Nearly 50 of Chicago’s public schools closed recently due to underutilization. However, according to Sposato, his schools have the exact opposite problem: They are overcrowded. That is what made the recent round of budget cuts especially devastating for his community.

“We need help over here. [The Chicago public school system has] to do a better job in the area,” said Sposato. “We got areas that schools are 200 percent overpopulated.”

Back in June other Chicago residents held toilet paper drives for their schools, as well.

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“In many schools, including mine, there are no funds left for janitorial supplies –- and this includes toilet paper,” Chicago teacher Michelle Gunderson told the Daily Kos before a toilet paper drive. “What might seem juvenile to some is in fact a perfect metaphor for the disregard of human dignity — the Chicago Public Schools care so little about children that their basic needs are being neglected.”

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Sex education for kindergarten students?

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New sex education policy proposed for CPS

Fox Chicago: Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students get their sex education in the 5th grade – as most do in the United States – but CPS want to change that so the instruction begins at age 5.

CPS says more than half of its high school students are having sex. Cook County ranks number one in the country for sexually transmitted diseases and the U.S. has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world. CPS says their program is a modernized sex ed program and considering the facts, it will give the youngsters tools to make healthy choices.

“I just don’t think it’s appropriate,” says Melissa Diebold. “I don’t think it’s age appropriate. They have no concept of anything like that at that stage in life.” “CPS shouldn’t take control of someone else’s children like that with our sex education,” says Mark Macklan. “That’s how I feel.”

Parents who are uncomfortable with the new policy will be able opt out and CPS says the curriculum will conform to each age group. For example, kindergartners through third graders will learn about their anatomy, all living things that reproduce, and appropriate and inappropriate touching. Fourth graders will focus on puberty and HIV/AIDs. It’s not until after fifth grade that teachers will lead discussions about human reproduction, contraception, and abstinence.

Mikkel Nance believes sex-ed should begin at home but also welcomes schools getting involved, early on. “He’s in second grade, and we’ve had introductory conversation on how things work, and how body works,” Nance says. “I do applaud CPS for trying to talk to children early the only concern is how they implement it, and if they involved parents in that process and if they do so they’ll make that transition smoothly.”

The proposed policy follows the “national sexuality education standards” put together by four health organizations. Under the new program, the district would address sexual orientation and bullying for the first time.

In other countries, like Holland, sex ed begins at 4 years old. Sexologist, Dr. Rachael Ross says it’s about time for the U.S. “The parents are kind of in denial about what’s happening,” Dr. Ross says. “You know, in urban populations, the average age that kids start to have sex is between 13 and 14.”

Chief Health Officer of CPS Stephani Whyte will be presenting the new policy to the Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday morning. The board could take a vote that same day. If approved, the sex-ed program would be fully implemented by 2016.

You silly parents, you’re in such denial that we’ve got to teach your own kids about the birds and bees as soon as we get them in our public indoctrination program. CPS just being good little commies.

Reason ∞ to home school.

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Doing it “for the kids”…

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Report: CPS employees involved in ‘widespread fraud’ in lunch program

Chicago Tribune: A report from the Inspector General’s (IG) office of Chicago Public Schools released Monday raises concerns that district employees were encouraged to make fraudulent applications for federal free and reduced-price lunch programs.

The IG found that district employees including principals and assistant principals engaged in “widespread, systemic fraud” in making applications for the program, revelations the office first made last year.

The IG’s new report also criticized the district for not properly following up on earlier recommendations from the IG’s office to provide stricter oversight of vendors and for failing to rescind a residency waiver granted to a top CPS officer.

The issue of vendor oversight came up last spring with the executive overseeing the district’s food program was found to have accepted thousands of dollars in improper gifts from CPS’s two largest food vendors.

“These significant ethical lapses — wining and dining employees and providing other inducements in exchange for preferential treatment — highlight the need for enhanced internal controls to prevent and/or detect this malfeasance,” said CPS’ Inspector General James Sullivan in the report uploaded on CPS’ website Monday.

“The (Office of Inspector General) continues to recommend that CPS enhance its Ethics Office to help stem the tide of ethical misconduct. That recommendation has fallen on deaf ears.

The IG acknowledged that the district could not get rid of the vendors, who collectively received $75 million per year from CPS, and still offer the same food services at competitive prices. Instead, Sullivan’s office had recommended the district hire independent monitors paid for by vendors to keep an eye on contractors and their relationships with staff such as gift-giving and other ethics violations. The district did not immediately follow up on that recommendation.

“These cases are extremely important because we’re dealing with some of CPS’ largest vendors and its highest ranking employees,”  Sullivan said in a phone interview Monday. “It’s important that they be closely monitored.” Nor did CPS beef up its ethics office, as Sullivan had recommended.

Only in the government could one not get rid of an unethical vendor. A private-sector firm would drop them in a heartbeat, and immediately fire employees who violated the rules. But it’s the “Chicago way” after all…

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