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Rise & Shine: College gun ban won’t be on ballot

EdNewsColorado - Thu, 06/26/2014 - 10:02

Election analysis

Voter turnout, ballot position and hurried, low-visibility campaigns likely were more important than education issues in Val Flores’ victory over Taggart Hansen in the Democratic primary for the 1st District seat on the State Board of Education. ( Chalkbeat Colorado )

Guns on campus

Supporters of a measure to ban concealed weapons from college campuses announced Wednesday they have the required number of signatures to take the measure to voters in November, but they’re not going to do so to avoid muddying the political waters. ( CPR )

Charter hopes

A group of residents hope to open a new charter school in or near Englewood with the help of a charter school incubator, despite the Englewood school board's opposition to previous charter school applications. ( Denver Post YourHub )

Reading matters

Colorado and surrounding states are listed as being in a "book desert" because there simply aren't not enough books for kids, according to the advocacy group Unite for Literacy. ( 9News )

First Person

The principal of Denver’s George Washington High School explains the changes he is making to all of the school’s academic pathways, including to the school’s International Baccalaureate program. ( Chalkbeat Colorado )

Ed tech

While technology has often been hailed as the great equalizer of educational opportunity, a growing body of evidence indicates that in many cases it is increasing the gap between rich and poor, between whites and minorities and between the school-ready and the less-prepared. ( Hechinger Report )

Common Core feud

Louisiana's education commissioner is ramping up the rhetoric against Gov. Bobby Jindal, who wants to pull the state out of the Common Core. ( Politico )

Discipline & safety

School district lobbyists and congressional Republicans are working to stall federal proposals to limit use of physical restraints on students. ( ProPublica )

Categories: Urban School News

In the News: CPS librarians are a rare breed

Catalyst Chicago - Thu, 06/26/2014 - 09:20

Staffing projections show more than half of Chicago Public School will lack a certified librarian next year, a CPS mom who's also a school librarian told the Chicago Board of Education Wednesday. But, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett told the board there’s a lack of qualified people to fill librarian jobs. She said the district is working with universities to determine who is on track to be certified (Sun-Times)

AN ODD ALLIANCE—FOR CHICAGO: In an odd and rarely seen alliance, Rainbow/PUSH joined with affluent North Side residents who oppose CPS’ planned $20-million expansion of Lincoln Elementary School.

DYETT PROTESTERS: In an extended display of protest at Wednesday's City Council meeting, a few dozen demonstrators stood up in four separate groups chanting about their displeasure over the closing of Dyett High School in Bronzeville. They chanted "Will Burns do your job" in demanding a hearing for the school with the alderman whose 4th Ward includes the school. (Tribune)

IN THE NATION
CHARTER CONVERSIONS LIFT CATHOLIC SCHOOLS: While conversions of Catholic schools to charters are rare, a number of schools have made the switch in recent years. A study this spring found enrollment grew dramatically following the change. (Education Week)

SEEKING AMENDMENT ON PUBLIC ED FUNDING: If Mississippi is going to move past its troubled history, it will take a renewed focus on education — and better funding of its public schools, advocates said Tuesday during  the Freedom Summer 50th anniversary conference. “Better Schools, Better Jobs: A Ballot Initiative” is seeking to pass an amendment to the state’s constitution that would require the state Legislature to fully fund K-12 public school education with no cost to taxpayers. (The Hechinger Report)

Categories: Urban School News

In the News: CPS librarians are a rare breed

Catalyst Chicago - Thu, 06/26/2014 - 09:20

Staffing projections show more than half of Chicago Public School will lack a certified librarian next year, a CPS mom who's also a school librarian told the Chicago Board of Education Wednesday. But, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett told the board there’s a lack of qualified people to fill librarian jobs. She said the district is working with universities to determine who is on track to be certified (Sun-Times)

AN ODD ALLIANCE—FOR CHICAGO: In an odd and rarely seen alliance, Rainbow/PUSH joined with affluent North Side residents who oppose CPS’ planned $20-million expansion of Lincoln Elementary School.

DYETT PROTESTERS: In an extended display of protest at Wednesday's City Council meeting, a few dozen demonstrators stood up in four separate groups chanting about their displeasure over the closing of Dyett High School in Bronzeville. They chanted "Will Burns do your job" in demanding a hearing for the school with the alderman whose 4th Ward includes the school. (Tribune)

IN THE NATION
CHARTER CONVERSIONS LIFT CATHOLIC SCHOOLS: While conversions of Catholic schools to charters are rare, a number of schools have made the switch in recent years. A study this spring found enrollment grew dramatically following the change. (Education Week)

SEEKING AMENDMENT ON PUBLIC ED FUNDING: If Mississippi is going to move past its troubled history, it will take a renewed focus on education — and better funding of its public schools, advocates said Tuesday during  the Freedom Summer 50th anniversary conference. “Better Schools, Better Jobs: A Ballot Initiative” is seeking to pass an amendment to the state’s constitution that would require the state Legislature to fully fund K-12 public school education with no cost to taxpayers. (The Hechinger Report)

Categories: Urban School News

Observers: political realities more than ed issues led to Flores’ State Board win

EdNewsColorado - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 22:02

Voter turnout, ballot position and hurried, low-visibility campaigns likely were more important than education issues in Val Flores’ victory over Taggart Hansen in the Democratic primary for the 1st District seat on the State Board of Education.

Flores, a retired teacher and professor, won 59 percent of the vote in the race, a surprise to many and a defeat for the coalition of education reform advocacy groups and funders that have been repeatedly successful in a string of Denver Public Schools board races.

The differences in the two campaigns were stark. Flores raised a bit under $20,000 in contributions and non-cash support. Hansen raised more than $35,000 in cash, loans and non-monetary support – and two independent expenditure committees spent more than $100,000 to back him.

But the Flores campaign wiped out the financial advantage, and she swept much of Denver, as the city elections division map above shows. (Greenish shaded precincts were won by Flores; brownish ones by Hansen.) The 1st District also includes a small part of northern Arapahoe County, where Flores also won neatly.

Hansen, a lawyer for CH2M Hill, was backed by reform groups Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform, along with some of the same corporate and legal community contributors active in past races for the DPS board. Flores was supported by the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, the Colorado Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

The person vacating the seat, Democrat Elaine Gantz Berman, confessed to being “stunned” by the outcome. “I’m deeply disappointed,” said Berman, who publicly backed Hansen.

Flores praised her supporters’ “grassroots campaign” for gaining the victory, and her campaign manager, Dave Sabados, said she won partly because “I don’t think Democrats support the corporate [education reform] agenda.”

Reform-group leaders put a brave face on the race’s outcome and said they don’t think it reflects voter attitudes about education reform policies.

“Denver voters support more innovative ideas for our public education system,” said Sonja Semion, executive director of Stand for Children Colorado. “We don’t often get the full variety of Denver sentiment in a primary election.”

“We were clearly disappointed by the results,” said Jennifer Walmer, state director of Democrats for Education Reform Colorado. “I don’t believe it’s an indictment on reform.”

Stand and DFER both are connected to the independent expenditure committees that support Hansen. Both groups issued statements saying they look forward to working with Flores.

But it may be political realities, not education issues, that led to Tuesday’s result. Here’s a look at some of the factors involved, based on Chalkbeat Colorado research and on comments by people we interviewed.

Concentrated and low turnout

Only 38,033 Democrats voted in the Flores-Hansen race. By contrast, more than 107,000 votes were cast in the 2013 race for an at-large seat on the DPS board, won by former Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien, a reform favorite. A key difference is that only Democrats could vote in Tuesday’s election, while any voter regardless of registration can vote in non-partisan DPS races.

So, the lack of GOP and unaffiliated voters may have worked against a “reform” candidate like Hansen.

Low turnout may have been due to the fact that Democrats had no high-profile races – such as the four-way Republican gubernatorial primary – to motivate them to mail their ballots.

“The voters were completely disengaged from the primary. People didn’t have a clue the primary was happening in the Democratic Party,” said Berman. “People didn’t pay any attention to the endorsements,” which included Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, other politicians and the Denver Post editorial page.

Ballot position and name

Because she won a majority of delegates at the Democratic Party nominating assembly, Flores’ name was the first one listed on ballots.

“I think it certainly helps,” said Sabado. Julie Whitacre, a lobbyist for the CEA, said top-line designation usually is a boost for a candidate.

Some sources interviewed by Chalkbeat also said Flores’ Hispanic background may also have helped her. The elections division map shows strong support for her in west Denver, which has concentrations of Hispanic voters.

“The district is heavily Hispanic and minority, and I think they wanted a representative that fit their values,” said one source.

Low-key and short campaigns

Needless to say, members of the State Board aren’t the highest-profile elected officials in Colorado. Lack of voter knowledge makes factors like ballot position more important.

“Nobody really knows what the State Board does and who is running and what the issues are,” said Van Schoales, CEO of A+ Denver, a reform advocacy group.

And, even with significant spending such as that made on Taggart’s behalf, the campaigns had a hard time reaching all potential voters.

In an effort to target voters they considered most valuable, both campaigns tailored mailings and phone calls in some parts of the district and ignored others. Some voters reported receiving as many as a dozen Hansen mailings; Democrats in other parts of the cities received none.

Both campaigns used direct mail, social media and phone calls to make their cases.

Several people interviewed cited the shortness of the campaign as a possible factor in the race. Flores and Hansen were placed on the ballot by a Democratic Party assembly in early April, leaving less than three months to campaign before the primary.

Prior to 2012, the primary election was held in late August, giving candidates a much longer period to reach out to voters.

Schoales called it a “superfast campaign” that didn’t give the candidates much time to get their message to Democratic voters.

Categories: Urban School News

The coming changes to George Washington High School, as told by its principal

EdNewsColorado - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 18:00

This is the second in a three-part series of First Person essays in which members of the George Washington High School community present their takes on the proposed changes to the school’s International Baccalaureate program. Read yesterday’s piece, from a recent graduate of the school, here, and read all of Chalkbeat’s coverage of the proposed changes here. Check back tomorrow for the final installment in the series. 

As scholars at a wonderfully diverse high school, George Washington High School students, along with parents and community members, spent the year working alongside our school leadership to explore what the future will look like for GW through a comprehensive process called Common Ground. The call from students throughout this process has been clear:  Unify GW as one school and raise the bar for all students.

In response to this call, we recently announced a vision to improve our academic program, an important step in making our shared commitment of Futures Unlimited a reality. The vision represents a school-wide effort to ensure all students have access to rigorous, challenging courses across the entire academic program, and to allow the school to continue to champion the highest standards in academics.

Our belief is that each and every classroom at GW can, and will, benefit from increased rigor. In fact, beginning as early as next year, students will notice changes across all of GW’s academic pathways designed to best prepare them for college and career.

For example, resources to support success in Advanced Placement classes will increase, in part, due to GW being named a Colorado Legacy School, a program designed to increase student success in AP programs. The school’s Concurrent Enrollment program for college-level courses and Career and Technical Education pathways will also be expanded.

We have unwavering support from our leadership, faculty and staff to continue and strengthen GW’s state-leading IB Diploma Programme for 11thand 12th grade students, including exploring the option to become an authorized IB Middle Years Programme for grades nine and 10.  The IB Diploma Programme, which covers the last two years of high school, will continue for our juniors and seniors with the same offerings and same rigor we have today.

Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, students in GW’s ninth grade will have greater flexibility as to how many pre-IB/Honors courses they take. The following year, we will scale this approach up to 10th grade. The rigor and content of today’s ninth and 10th grade pre-IB courses will not change. While we will open up greater access to these ninth and 10th grade courses to all students who are prepared to take them, these pre-IB courses will stay the same – same rigor, same content, same preparation for the IB Diploma Programme.

Students will have the opportunity at the end of 10th grade to decide whether to enter the IB Diploma Programme, to focus on Advanced Placement courses, to enroll in Concurrent Enrollment college courses, and/or to follow Career and Technical Education pathways. I am proud to implement these changes and maximize the positive impact of GW’s unique diversity by offering more opportunities for students to interact in meaningful ways, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Efforts are currently under way to bring together a working group of students, teachers, school leaders, parents and community members to identify what needs to happen to make these changes a success and our collective vision—seen through the eyes of our students—a reality. Our goal is not only to raise the bar and be one GW united, but also to strengthen GW as an outstanding neighborhood school to serve students in our community and across Denver. Currently, nearly two-thirds of students within our attendance area are choosing to leave our community to attend another school. That is higher than it should be and higher than it is across DPS. A variety of strong academic pathways and rigorous, accessible courses across the entire academic program will help GW students excel and will dramatically improve the educational opportunities available to our entire community.

By connecting and leveraging the backgrounds and experiences of all students, faculty and staff, we will ensure we are one GW united. We look forward to continued collaboration with the GW Patriot community to ensure that changes in our academic curriculum will be successful to prepare all current and future GW students to meet the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow.

Categories: Urban School News

Rise & Shine: State board primary results represent win for Common Core critics

EdNewsColorado - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 09:38

under the radar but still important

Val Flores, a retired teacher critical of many of the state's education reforms, soundly beat her more heavily-funded opponent Taggart Hansen in the Democratic primary for their State Board of Education race, while incumbent Republican Marcia Neal won her primary. ( Chalkbeat Colorado )

Get the full background on the candidates who will advance to their general elections in Chalkbeat's primer on the primary races. ( Chalkbeat Colorado )

first amendment fears

A humanist organization is accusing the Dougco school system of promoting a Christian mission trip taken by Highlands Ranch students. ( Denver Post )

get to work

Colorado's higher education officials are bracing for a tough several months of work developing a performance funding system that few are enthusiastic about. ( Chalkbeat Colorado )

good news bad news

The Colorado state employees' pension fund had a higher-than-average return last year, but political controversy over the system's long-term sustainability is likely to remain. ( Chalkbeat Colorado )

specializing in special ed

Under new changes to how federal officials enforce special education laws, Colorado will have to improve its special ed students' performance on tests or receive federal assistance and risk losing grants. ( Chalkbeat Colorado )

in the first person

A recent graduate of Denver's George Washington High School presents a student-developed plan to increase educational opportunities for those not enrolled in the school's well-known International Baccalaureate program. ( Chalkbeat Colorado )

working together

The superintendent of Eagle County Schools argues that an unprecedented level of collaboration among the state's district leaders is representative democracy at its best. ( Vail Daily )

smartypants

A group of Sand Creek high school students developed a water purification system for developing countries and won the chance to show it off at MIT. ( Gazette )

And an Edison student became the first local student to win both local, national and international recognition from the Zonta Club scholarships. ( Gazette )

Categories: Urban School News

In the News: State task force report critical of CPS

Catalyst Chicago - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 08:40

A highly critical report by a legislative task force said Chicago Public Schools’ 10-year facilities master plan was “deeply flawed, lacked broad public input, and wasn’t completed until after CPS closed 49 neighborhood public schools.” The report also criticized CPS for opening 33 new charter schools with more than 23,000 seats since 2011 even as it was closing publicly-run schools for underutilization. (Tribune)

On the positive side, the task force noted the steps CPS took last year to support student transitions during the closings.

READY FOR COURT: A Lincoln Park parents group plans to announce its intentions to go to court if the Chicago Zoning Department fails to block an expansion of Lincoln Elementary School. The parents say the plan is unsafe, wastes taxpayer money and violates city zoning laws and Chicago Public Schools guidelines. (Crain's/DNAinfo)

TEACHERS BACK ANTI-RAUNER PAC: An Illinois teachers group has given $325,000 to a group that opposes Republican Bruce Rauner's bid for governor. The Illinois Freedom PAC on Tuesday posted the sizable contribution from the Illinois Federation of Teachers COPE. (Sun-Times)

IN THE NATION
 EX-OBAMA AIDES VS. TEACHERS UNIONS: Two former aids to President Barack Obama will go up against teachers unions that are fighting to defend tenure laws against a coming blitz of lawsuits. The Incite Agency, founded by former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and former Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt, will lead a national public relations drive to support a series of lawsuits aimed at challenging tenure, seniority and other job protections that teachers unions have defended ferociously. LaBolt and another former Obama aide, Jon Jones — the first digital strategist of the 2008 campaign — will take the lead in the public relations initiative. (Politico)

HBCUs IN JEOPARDY: Enrollment declines, cuts to government financial aid, leadership controversies and heightened oversight are working together to threaten some historically black colleges in new ways and perhaps even jeopardize their existence. (Inside Higher Education)

FREE LUNCH EXPANSION: Thousands more students could be eating school lunch completely free starting next fall, thanks to a four-year-old federal program that is finally expanding to all 50 states. (Pew Stateline)

Categories: Urban School News

Flores wins State Board primary; Neal looks safe

EdNewsColorado - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 21:44

Updated July 25, Noon – Val Flores, a retired educator backed by teachers unions, won a convincing victory Tuesday night in the Democratic primary for the 1st District seat on the State Board of Education.

In the 3rd District, Republican incumbent Marcia Neal had 51.7 percent of vote with most returns reported at midday Wednesday.

Taggart Hansen, a lawyer backed by education reform groups, got only 41 percent of the vote in nearly complete returns. He conceded shortly after 9 p.m., saying, “While we did not win tonight, we brought a focus to some of the challenges and critical issues facing our public school systems. I want to congratulate Dr. Val Flores on her victory.”

Flores sounded a bit stunned at her victory, saying, “I think the people won tonight. This is a great win for our children and our public schools.”

Her campaign manager, Dave Sabados, said, “I think Val’s message of good neighborhood schools resonated with voters. I don’t think Democratic voters want the Democrats for Education Reform agenda.”

Neal faced Barbara Ann Smith for the Republican nomination in the sprawling 3rd District. Neal ran ahead in the district’s more populous counties, including Eagle, Gunnison, La Plata, Mesa, Montrose and Pitkin, while Smith won well more than a dozen small counties, plus Pueblo, which is on the district’s far eastern end.

At noon Wednesday vote counts were still incomplete in Custer, Gunnison and Montezuma counties, and tiny Hinsdale County in the San Juan Mountains still hadn’t reported, according to the Department of State.

Late Tuesday evening Neal said, “I’m pretty confident. I would be very much surprised if it changed.”

Primaries for seats on the unpaid SBE are rare – the last one was in 2002.

Neal initially decided not to seek a second term but got back in the race because of concerns about Democrats winning the seat if she didn’t run. Smith decided to stay in the race. Both candidates are retired Grand Junction schoolteachers and both oppose the Common Core Standards, although Smith is more adamant on the issue.

The 1st District race was a reprise of recent Denver school board contests that pitted candidates backed by education reform interest groups against union-backed hopefuls. Hansen was backed by Stand for Children, while Flores was supported by the Colorado Education Association and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association.

The 1st District is centered on Denver but includes a slice of Arapahoe County. Flores ran strong in the city, running strongly in most west side precincts and also winning many east side precincts. (See this Denver Election Division map of how the voting went.) Taggart heavily outspent Flores.

In the 3rd District the GOP candidate will face Democrat Henry Roman, former superintendent of the Pueblo City schools. The winner in the 1st District primary is expected to take the seat next January, as there is no Republican candidate.

Neal has been an occasional swing vote on the board, siding with the three Democrats on a handful of issues. But she voted no in 2010 when the board voted 4-3 to adopt the Common Core Standards, “I think it’s very important that we keep the Republican majority” on the board, she said.

Smith has been involved in local Republican politics and is all for local control and against the Common Core. On standards, she said, “We can do our own,” adding, “I’m not in favor of the PARCC testing.” She said she opposes teacher tenure but that teachers need to be paid more.

Flores is a critic of what she calls the corporatization of public education, writing on her website, “ I oppose a ‘reform’ model that is slowly privatizing our public education system.”

Hansen’s campaign stressed equal opportunities for all students and setting high expectations. Hansen, a lawyer, said his two years with Teach for America had an important effect on him and his views on education.

Get more details on the candidates, their fundraising and the SBE in this earlier story.

Other races of interest to education

Hard-fought Republican primaries in two Jefferson County Senate districts have implications for two Democratic senators with strong education ties, Rachel Zenzinger and Andy Kerr.

  • District 19 – Laura Woods, backed by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, defeated the more moderate Lang Sias to face Zenzinger.
  • District 22 -, Tony Sanchez, the more conservative of the two Republicans, beat Mario Nicolais to oppose Kerr.

Victories by the conservatives are considered a possible boost for Zenzinger and Kerr, as voters generally are more moderate in general election races.

Primary races in three House districts drew endorsements from Stand for Children.

  • District 2 – In this central Denver Democratic race, Stand backed winner Alec Garrett over Owen Perkins.
  • District 22 – Incumbent GOP Rep. Justin Everett, a member of the House Education Committee, easily beat challenger Loren Bauman, endorsed by Stand.
  • District 37 – This Republican race in the southern suburbs pitted teacher Michael Fields, backed by Stand, against winner Jack Tate, who had a comfortable margin of victory.

Get background on these races in this story.

Categories: Urban School News

A student plan to equalize opportunity at George Washington High School

EdNewsColorado - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 16:59

This is the first in a three-part series of First Person essays in which members of the George Washington High School community present their takes on the proposed changes to the school’s International Baccalaureate program. You can read all of Chalkbeat’s coverage of the proposed changes here

The students of George Washington High School are no strangers to change. We’ve lived through constant administrative transitions, staff who leave without notice, and the recent eradication of the school’s prized “senior wall” (a brick bench that only seniors had the privilege of sitting on).The student body greets most of these unannounced adjustments with feelings of exasperation.

However, when students heard that Denver Public Schools officials were planning to reform George Washington’s most high-profile academic program, the news was met with an unprecedented amount of fervor from the George community — both in support of and in opposition to changes to the International Baccalaureate program.

As a recent graduate of the traditional (non-IB) program at George, it has been easy for me to get on board with a plan that recognizes and addresses the achievement gap between the two academic programs and negative side effects that have taken a toll on the school culture.

But although the DPS plan does target a real issue, it lacks details on how the administration will cater to a diverse range of students with different academic abilities and needs. In an effort to bring actual value to DPS’s stated core value of “Students First,” an alternative “student plan” was created during a Saturday community meeting in May. This effort was led by me and my classmate Lauren McGovern.

In that meeting, IB and traditional students collaborated and created a plan under which DPS officials would meet the needs and prioritize the values of students in academics and school culture, instead of viewing the school exclusively through the lens of TCAP scores – a recurring theme of which George students are all too well aware.

This “student plan” grew out of the experiences of all students attending George, including my own experiences as a high-achieving student in the overlooked AP/Honors program. Upon entering George as a freshman, I was not aware of the IB program, and was never presented with the opportunity to apply for it.

Coming from Lotus School for Excellence, a small and rigorous STEM-focused K-12 charter school with fewer than 200 students, put me at a disadvantage. The school was new, and guidance counselors were not available to work with eighth-graders, because it was expected that we would continue our education at the same school until 12th grade.

When I finished eighth grade third in my class, I looked to Denver East as a school where I could develop myself even further in academics and extracurricular activities, but ended up at George Washington when I was not admitted to East as a choice-in student. I was immediately placed into an all traditional level course load, where I found myself in boring and unchallenging classes until my sophomore year.

After discovering my academic aptitude, I enrolled in all AP and honors courses through the rest of my tenure at George, and maintained a cumulative 4.0 GPA while balancing the responsibilities of holding seven leadership positions, including president of three clubs, and student body president of a prestigious pre-med program.

Being a student in the traditional program at George has always presented its own set of difficulties. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the many high-achieving non-IB students to take an all-AP and honors course load, especially after the elimination of three core-subject AP teachers at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

Six weeks into my senior year, my academic opportunities were reduced when my AP Biology class was eliminated because my teacher was cut for unexplained “budget reasons.” The day after that cut, an administrator came in and offered a hazy explanation to a room full of frustrated students about why the class would no longer exist . The reason offered didn’t satisfy most of us, though. Several students, including myself, had to skip an entire year of science credits, and others opted to take a gym class to meet the required number of courses.

The cut teachers were arguably some of the best in the AP/Honors program. Many of our probing questions about these cuts remain unanswered to this day, including why only AP teachers were cut, why those teachers in particular, and why this had to happen during the first six weeks of school.

Though the removal of these teachers might seem unfair, it’s nothing new at George. Non-IB students are all too familiar with receiving the short end of the stick. It’s not uncommon to see a teacher with both IB and AP classes (there are a few such teachers) put his or her AP class and its students’ needs on the back burner when it comes time for a big IB project.

The unfortunate reality is that it’s very common for non-IB students with a strong desire to learn and grow to receive a less than stellar education at George. This reality brought about another key point in the student plan, one that was met with great enthusiasm: open course selection.

IB students are presented with the opportunity to take AP classes as electives to further their studies, but AP students are not given the same opportunity with IB classes. With open course selection, AP students would pass an AP class, and then the next year could opt to take a High Level IB course in the same subject.

Ensuring that all students have the opportunity to take classes in subjects in which they excel would not only assist in mending the gap between the two academic programs, but would also increase the morale of AP students.

Struggling against feelings of inferiority is a common theme for most—if not all—non-IB students at George.  Some of my IB peers, and even parents of IB students, have insinuated that I am unintelligent upon hearing that I am a non-IB student. It’s a battle non-IB students have to face every day. So much focus is placed on the IB program that non-IB students, who are a majority of the school, feel ignored.

Providing comprehensive training for AP teachers to create a more focused and stronger curriculum in the AP program would be a great first step in addressing these issues. Adding more resources, including an AP coordinator with an office would prove an invaluable asset for AP/honors students. Even offering more AP and honors classes for students in all grades would ensure that the traditional program, with time, has a chance of becoming as strong an academic program at George as IB.

Categories: Urban School News

Higher ed system goes back to the drawing board

EdNewsColorado - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 15:24

With polite smiles firmly pasted on their faces, Colorado’s higher education leaders and bureaucrats are steeling themselves for an intense six months of work on a performance funding system that none of them asked for.

The work ahead seems wearily familiar to many in higher education, which in the last five years has gone through creation of a state strategic plan, the launch of a complex but temporary change in tuition policies, the passage of an earlier performance funding and master plan law and finally the negotiation of performance contracts between colleges and the state.

Through all the hours of meetings and in reams of documents, politicians and policymakers have largely been of one mind about Colorado’s higher education goals – increasing student retention and graduation rates, improving remedial education and reducing the state’s wide demographic gaps in college attendance, retention and graduation.

At a time when the state’s K-12 system is being challenged to increase the percentages of minority and at-risk students who graduate high school and go on college or vocational training, those same students lag behind white students in every key higher-education indicator – enrollment, need for remediation, staying in school and graduating.

Behind those educational and social goals is anxiety that Colorado will lose ground economically if the state doesn’t get more of its residents through college.

Now higher education will have to modify existing plans to achieve their goals, thanks to House Bill 14-1319. A pet project of outgoing House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, the bill easily passed both houses, but not until after the Denver Democrat made significant changes to the measure after pushback from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) and college leaders.

House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver

Ferrandino, long frustrated by the lobbying and deal-making that marked higher education funding decisions, also wanted to inject more transparency and predictability into the system. The speaker had lined up a long list of both Democratic and Republican cosponsors, and once he made his concessions in committee the bill sailed through both houses with little debate.

Key changes in the bill gave the Department of Higher Education and CCHE a greater role in designing some details of the new performance funding system, a task that will consume much of the rest of this year.

Ask people in higher education about the new law, and the word you frequently hear is “frustrating.” As one person involved in the legislative negotiations put it, “It’s somebody else’s vision. It’s not being built from the ground up.”

Frustrating or not, the ball now is in higher education’s court. “It’s yours now, you own it, it’s not somebody else’s,” DHE lobbyist Chad Marturano told the commission at its June meeting. (Marturano has since the left the Department to work for the University of Colorado System.)

Inside HB 14-1319 History

Documents

Simply put, the new law gives greater weight to enrollment and would base a modest – but still to-be-defined – amount of funding on institutional performance measures such as graduation and student retention.

But the law is anything but simple. “The complexity is pretty intense,” notes Mark Cavanaugh, DHE chief financial officer.

State support of higher education comes from two sources, the resident student stipends (basically tuition discounts) provided by the College Opportunity Fund and direct support of institutions known as fees for service. In the past there’s been little differentiation between the two sources, as total funding has fluctuated (mostly down) based on state revenues and has been allocated to colleges based on formulas negotiated by the institutions and DHE and rubber-stamped by the legislation.

(Colleges and universities will receive $604 million in operating funds from the state in 2014-15, up $90 million from 2012-13 but still below the 2008-09 high of $706 million. Statewide, about three-quarters of campus revenues come from tuition.)

The new law requires 52.5 percent of total funding be devoted to COF stipends. That would drive more funding to higher-enrollment institutions and is expected to most benefit Metropolitan State and Colorado Mesa universities and the community colleges. However, the law does allow adjustments when actually enrollment in the fall doesn’t match projections done when state budgets are approved in the spring, theoretically allowing stipend funding to drop below 52.5 percent in some years.

Fee-for-service funding will be distributed on the basis of institutional characteristics (admissions selectivity, enrollment, rural or urban character, number of graduate programs, etc.) and on the extent of services to low-income and first-generation students, plus two additional factors to be determined by CCHE.

Performance funding would be awarded for student retention and graduation, plus up to four additional factors decided by CCHE.

The law merely requires that fee-for-service and performance funding be “fairly balanced” – a needle that CCHE will have to thread.

There are separate provisions in the law for funding of specialty education programs, such as medical training at CU and for various CSU programs, and for regional vocational schools and non-state junior colleges.

The law also includes provisions to moderate excessive funding swings for institutions through 2019-20 and a way to suspend the system if state funding drops significantly.

The race to December Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia / File photo

Timing is a key challenge, Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia told Chalkbeat Colorado in a recent interview. No other state has created such a plan “in this time frame,” he noted. “It’s a very abbreviated process.”

Kachina Weaver, a former legislative staffer who’s been hired to coordinate the process, agrees that it’s “an incredibly condensed time frame.” But, she added, “I don’t think it is unrealistic at all.”

The commission was briefed on the project earlier this month, and the law was discussed at a meeting of campus finance officers last week. College and university presidents are to be briefed at a session this week.

DHE staff members are developing a “foundational working document” about implementation for CCHE members to consider during a retreat in July, while August and September will be taken up with interest group meetings and collection of financial data.

An advisory committee including representatives from both higher education and the broader community will review the plan before the commission makes its final decision.

A final financial model is supposed to be selected by early December, with the whole package presented to legislative committees before Christmas.

If everything goes according to plan, the new finance system will go into effect for the 2015-16 school year.

The bottom line

“Everyone seems to understand we have to work on this together,” Cavanaugh said of how college leaders are reacting to the process.

But he and others acknowledge that discussions may get more difficult as the financial models are developed.

“They want to know what this is going to mean to their institutions,” he said. Weaver also noted that the thought of divvying up state funding in a new way “makes everybody a little uneasy.”

And without consensus on the plan, noted commission member Monte Moses, “we’ll be reliving this over and over” in future legislative fights over the funding plan, he said.

The biggest financial problem may be the state’s relatively meager support of higher education in recent years.

“The challenge is we don’t have enough money to fund all the things we want to do,” Garcia said. “To help one school means there’s less money to help another.” The lieutenant governor, who also heads DHE, is especially concerned about what happens in years when state funding drops. “We don’t know what money is going to be available the year this goes into effect.”

Tuition is the elephant in the room when college leaders gather to discuss funding. Tuition has risen steadily as state funding has dropped, and now legislators are pushing back. Another law passed this spring limited tuition hikes to no more than 6 percent in each of the next two years.

Tuition isn’t part of current HB 14-1319 planning – but the department and the commission have to produce a report on future tuition policy by Nov. 1, 2015.

Categories: Urban School News

Pension system investments grew 15.6 percent in 2013

EdNewsColorado - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 14:45

Investment returns for the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association were 15.6 percent in 2013, the pension system reported Tuesday in its annual financial report.

The health of the pension system is important to Colorado teachers, all of whom are covered by PERA and who make up the majority of the system’s members. It’s also closely watched by school districts, which make millions of dollars in employer contributions each year.

PERA assumes an average 7.5 percent return over 30 years, so the 2013 report is good news.

The system had $43.7 billion in assets for its defined benefit plan at the end of 2013, an all-time high. PERA’s overall funded status increased to 64.2 percent in 2013, primarily because the $6 billion of investment income earned on its portfolio.

Despite a comprehensive overhaul law passed in 2010, PERA remains the focus of political controversy, with many Republican officials skeptical about the system’s long-term health without significant changes. Public employee groups and Democratic officials generally argue that the 2010 reforms need time to work. A 2014 law commissioned three studies to look further into PERA’s finances (see story).

Get more details on the system’s 2013 finances in this news release, and see the full report here.

Categories: Urban School News

National shift in special ed accountability could impact Colorado

EdNewsColorado - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 14:43

Federal officials have announced a major shift in how states will be held accountable for serving students in special education — and Colorado could be among those affected if it does not show improvement.

U.S. Department of Education (DOE) officials announced Tuesday that states and territories would now be measured on how well special education students perform on state and national tests. In the past, the department has looked exclusively at how well states comply with federal laws on the education of students with special needs.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the shift was intended to raise the bar for states on how well they educated students with special needs.

“We know that when students with disabilities are held to high expectations and have access to the general curriculum in the regular classroom, they excel,” he said in a press release Tuesday.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal government must monitor states and place them in one of four categories: meets expectations; needs assistance; needs intervention; and needs substantial intervention. Last year, nearly all states met expectations.

This year, just 18 states and territories met expectations under the new system, known as Results-Driven Accountability (RDA). Colorado was among those that fell in the second category, needs assistance. If a state remains in that category for two years in a row, the DOE could require them to get technical assistance to come into compliance. They could also be classed as “high-risk” when applying for grants.

To ease the transition, the government is funding a technical assistance center to help states access additional funds, as well as helping states develop comprehensive plans to meet the new guidelines.

More on the changes here.

Categories: Urban School News

In the News: Charter schools seen as good investments

Catalyst Chicago - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 08:52

Despite the problems with  UNO Charter Schools, Crain's is reporting that the bond market is still interested in charter schools. Even UNO, which is the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission action, is seen as a stable investment. Chicago International Charter Schools have the most bonds, followed by UNO and then Noble Street.

FEWER SUSPENSIONS:  Catalyst, the Sun-Times and Tribune are reporting that first- and second-graders in Chicago Public Schools will be spared from school suspensions if proposed disciplinary changes are approved at this week’s Board of Education meeting. And so will students busted for chatting on cellphones in class.

LEAVING CPS: James Sullivan will resign as Chicago Public Schools’ inspector general at the end of this month, after 12 years of work. Sullivan, who earns $133,000 as IG, will join Sikich LLP, a professional services firm, to do fraud investigations. (Sun-Times)

IN THE NEWS

The Detroit Free Press has published the first part of a yearlong investigation on corruption and lack of oversight in the Michigan charter school sector. Among the findings:

  • Charter schools spend $1billion per year in state taxpayer money, often with little transparency.
  • Some charter schools are innovative and have excellent academic outcomes — but those that don’t are allowed to stay open year after year.
  • A majority of the worst-ranked charter schools in Michigan have been open 10 years or more.
  • Charter schools as a whole fare no better than traditional schools in educating students in poverty.
  • Michigan has substantially more for-profit companies running schools than any other state.
  • Some charter school board members were forced out after demanding financial details from management companies.
  • State law does not prevent insider dealing and self-enrichment by those who operate schools

CHANGES TO FOIA: Good government advocates are asking the governor to veto a bill that intends to reduce excessive records requests filed by the same person. The bill introduces a fee structure for electronic public records requests and does not apply to the press, non-profits or academia. (State Register-Journal)

REVIVING ART, MUSIC AND GYM: Milwaukee Public Schools is one of several school systems across the country — including Los Angeles, San Diego and Nashville, Tenn. — that are re-investing in subjects like art and physical education. The Milwaukee school district is hiring new specialty teachers with the hope of attracting more families and boosting academic achievement. (KERA News)

ELIMINATING FAFSA: Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Virginia) and Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) are co-sponsoring a bill to simplify the federal student aid system, eliminating the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. (Inside Higher Ed)

Categories: Urban School News

In the News: CPS to ease up on suspensions for youngest

Catalyst Chicago - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 08:52

The Sun-Times and Tribune are reporting that first- and second-graders in Chicago Public Schools will be spared from school suspensions if proposed disciplinary changes are approved at this week’s Board of Education meeting. And so will students busted for chatting on cellphones in class.

LEAVING CPS: James Sullivan will resign as Chicago Public Schools’ inspector general at the end of this month, after 12 years of work. Sullivan, who earns $133,000 as IG, will join Sikich LLP, a professional services firm, to do fraud investigations. (Sun-Times)


IN THE NEWS
The Detroit Free Press has published the first part of a yearlong investigation on corruption and lack of oversight in the Michigan charter school sector. Among the findings:

  • Charter schools spend $1billion per year in state taxpayer money, often with little transparency.
  • Some charter schools are innovative and have excellent academic outcomes — but those that don’t are allowed to stay open year after year.
  • A majority of the worst-ranked charter schools in Michigan have been open 10 years or more.
  • Charter schools as a whole fare no better than traditional schools in educating students in poverty.
  • Michigan has substantially more for-profit companies running schools than any other state.
  • Some charter school board members were forced out after demanding financial details from management companies.
  • State law does not prevent insider dealing and self-enrichment by those who operate schools

REVIVING ART, MUSIC AND GYM: Milwaukee Public Schools is one of several school systems across the country — including Los Angeles, San Diego and Nashville, Tenn. — that are re-investing in subjects like art and physical education. The Milwaukee school district is hiring new specialty teachers with the hope of attracting more families and boosting academic achievement. (KERA News)

ELIMINATING FAFSA: Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Virginia) and Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) are co-sponsoring a bill to simplify the federal student aid system, eliminating the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. (Inside Higher Ed)

Categories: Urban School News

Rise & Shine: Sleepy proctor means AP tests thrown out, retaken

EdNewsColorado - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 08:45

Money worries

While the state budget for schools will see a substantial increase next year, many districts are still facing cuts, some quite severe. ( Chalkbeat Colorado )

Both Pueblo-area school districts are facing 2014-15 budgets with serious cuts. The respective school boards are expected to approve them tonight. ( Chieftain )

A year in

July marks the end of Aurora's superintendent's first year. He has overseen substantial staff changes and has begun to make his own mark on the schools. ( Denver Post )

Testing the waters

Three Colorado school districts will be testing out school models that push technology and personalized learning, while aligning with Colorado's new graduation standards. ( Chalkbeat Colorado )

Faith-based furor

Dougco schools are under fire over accusations that the district helped promote a student-led Christian mission trip to Guatemala. ( Denver Post )

Asleep at the Scantron

A proctor who fell asleep during AP testing at a Cherry Creek high school has created a dilemma for students, who will have to choose between retaking the test, accepting a projected score or seeing their test thrown out. ( 9News )

Adding, not subtracting

In Milwaukee, schools are fighting the trend of cutting "specials" and are reinvesting in arts and sports to draw students back. ( NPR via KUNC )

Categories: Urban School News

Districts to test out models for new graduation guidelines

EdNewsColorado - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 21:03

Three school districts are piloting a program that could help schools comply with Colorado’s new graduation guidelines.

The guidelines, which are still six years from going into full effect, make graduation contingent on students’ demonstration of mastery, rather than completion of courses. When the state Board of Education okayed them last year, even supporters said the guidelines had a lot of unanswered questions. But, they said, the new guidelines were a much-need move away from a seat-time based system that allows room for districts to game the system.

Adams 50, Colorado Springs D-11 and Thompson School District will all design so-called “next generation learning” models that emphasize personalized learning and use of technology. Two schools in each district will test out the models, which will align with the new requirements. It’s part of a program run by the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Education Initiative to test out ways for schools to comply with the new guidelines.

“The Colorado Department of Education is eager to learn alongside these early adopter districts so that we can share what they learn with other schools and districts across the state that will be doing this work in the coming years,” said Robert Hammond, Colorado Commissioner of Education, in a press release.

Categories: Urban School News

Despite rosier state finances, many districts still face cuts

EdNewsColorado - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 20:06

Districts around the state are finalizing their budgets and, despite an increase in funding, some are still facing cutbacks.

According to the Colorado School Finance Project (CSFP), a nonpartisan school finance research organization, at least 14 districts face six-figure budget cuts for the 2014-15 school year. Another 14 districts will have to dip into reserve funds to cover their costs. The report’s contents was either self-reported or came from media accounts. As such, it does not include all districts.

But the districts’ responses reveal an improvisational approach in some regions as districts tighten their belts. For example, two rural northeast Colorado districts, Brush and Buffalo, are combining food services and raising breakfast and lunch prices to cut costs.

Brush also cut summer school for elementary and middle school students, eliminated a bus route and reduced the number of school days. But one area they refuse to cut is teacher training, which district officials deemed “bedrock and untouchable.”

In Silverton, a remote district in southwestern Colorado, a budget shortfall of at least $200,000 means the district must cut many support staff, including all paraprofessionals and interventionists for struggling students. Last year, Silverton avoided cuts by dipping into its reserves “in anticipation there was hope on the horizon,” school officials reported to the School Finance Project. But this year, they said, the cuts were unavoidable.

The biggest cut reported came from Adams 14, where district officials are grappling with cuts of at least $3.5 million and as high as $5 million. The cuts amount to 41 full-time staff positions and will also hit salaries, benefits and professional development.

For more, read the rest of the CSFP’s mid-year budget conversations here.

Categories: Urban School News

Student Code of Conduct set to change as district aims to curb discipline

Catalyst Chicago - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 18:46

Aiming to rein in one of the highest suspension and expulsion rates in the country, Chicago Public Schools is again set to revise its Student Code of Conduct with the goal of creating more uniformity in how schools handle discipline. 

Among the proposed changes:

--Elimination of the vaguely-defined “persistent defiance" as misbehavior for which students can be suspended or expelled. CPS officials say "persistent defiance" is used unevenly to justify harsh discipline, in some cases against students who shrugged their shoulders or threw pencils across desks.

--Children from pre-kindergarten to second grade could no longer be expelled without a network chief’s approval. In the past, only preschoolers and kindergarteners were excluded from expulsion, though records show they were still suspended.

--Another offense, "unintentional physical contract with school staff," would no longer warrant suspension. 

--Police would only need to be notified when students are found with drugs or guns on school grounds, or in emergency situations. The current policy lists 27 offenses for which police need to be notified, including participating in mob action and use of the CPS network to spread computer viruses.

--Unauthorized use of a cell phone would drop to the lowest category of offense.

 Activists and the Chicago Teachers Union said the changes are a step forward. But the real test will be whether the changes result in a fairer discipline process with fewer students being expelled or suspended, says Mariame Kaba, executive director of Project Nia, a community justice organization. She notes that there is still a lot discretion given to the principals.

Kaba points out CPS is not putting more money toward restorative justice practices or for interventions to prevent misbehavior. “For a number of years, I think there will be a tug and pull between the policy and the practice,” she says.

Since 2006, official CPS policy has called for schools to use restorative justice, but no extra money has been provided. Most of the work has been carried out by outside agencies and therefore comes and goes, Kaba says.

In a statement, the CTU applauded the changes but emphasized that CPS needs more social workers and counselors, as well as conflict resolution and restorative justice practices and a safe space for students to go within the school.

CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said that principals will be required this summer to attend professional development on the new Student Code of Conduct and network chiefs will have to bring it up at each meeting. Further, she noted that principal evaluations hold them accountable for the climate of the school and the number of suspensions and expulsions speak to that climate.  

CPS has promised to release suspension and expulsion data for individual schools this year and has promised to continue to do so.  

Despite the fact that the Code of Conduct emphasizes restorative practices, Byrd-Bennett said that CPS had the strictest zero tolerance proposals she’s ever seen. Even when she was consulting with CPS as the chief education officer, she says was worried about it and started some internal discussions.

In 2009, Catalyst Chicago reported that CPS suspended 13 of every 100 students—a higher rate than all other big urban school districts, with black boys disproportionately the target. In 2012, CPS made some revisions to the student code of conduct.

Still, the number of suspensions went up to nearly 70,000 in the 2012-2013 school year, up from 67,512 in 2011-2012, with the biggest spike  among elementary school students. 

District officials say that preliminary data shows they are down this year to about 50,000 or about 14 of 100 students in district-run schools.

About 75 percent of students suspended are black, though they make up only about 40 percent of CPS students.

CPS only has expulsion data for charter schools, but not suspension data. The expulsion data show that charters expel three times the number of students as district-managed schools. Charter schools are allowed to have their own codes of conduct and most of the expelled charter school students would not be expelled by CPS. Therefore, they are allowed to enroll in a district-run school.

Byrd-Bennett says she is working with charter schools on collecting suspensions data and trying to get them to adopt the district’s code of conduct. So far, 10 of them have.  

 

If you appreciate our work, please consider becoming a member or donating

Categories: Urban School News

Student Code of Conduct set to change as district aims to curb discipline

Catalyst Chicago - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 18:46

Aiming to rein in one of the highest suspension and expulsion rates in the country, Chicago Public Schools is again set to revise its Student Code of Conduct with the goal of creating more uniformity in how schools handle discipline. 

Among the proposed changes:

--Elimination of the vaguely-defined “persistent defiance" as misbehavior for which students can be suspended or expelled. CPS officials say "persistent defiance" is used unevenly to justify harsh discipline, in some cases against students who shrugged their shoulders or threw pencils across desks.

--Children from pre-kindergarten to second grade could no longer be expelled without a network chief’s approval. In the past, only preschoolers and kindergarteners were excluded from expulsion, though records show they were still suspended.

--Another offense, "unintentional physical contract with school staff," would no longer warrant suspension. 

--Police would only need to be notified when students are found with drugs or guns on school grounds, or in emergency situations. The current policy lists 27 offenses for which police need to be notified, including participating in mob action and use of the CPS network to spread computer viruses.

--Unauthorized use of a cell phone would drop to the lowest category of offense.

 Activists and the Chicago Teachers Union said the changes are a step forward. But the real test will be whether the changes result in a fairer discipline process with fewer students being expelled or suspended, says Mariame Kaba, executive director of Project Nia, a community justice organization. She notes that there is still a lot discretion given to the principals.

Kaba points out CPS is not putting more money toward restorative justice practices or for interventions to prevent misbehavior. “For a number of years, I think there will be a tug and pull between the policy and the practice,” she says.

Since 2006, official CPS policy has called for schools to use restorative justice, but no extra money has been provided. Most of the work has been carried out by outside agencies and therefore comes and goes, Kaba says.

In a statement, the CTU applauded the changes but emphasized that CPS needs more social workers and counselors, as well as conflict resolution and restorative justice practices and a safe space for students to go within the school.

CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said that principals will be required this summer to attend professional development on the new Student Code of Conduct and network chiefs will have to bring it up at each meeting. Further, she noted that principal evaluations hold them accountable for the climate of the school and the number of suspensions and expulsions speak to that climate.  

CPS has promised to release suspension and expulsion data for individual schools this year and has promised to continue to do so.  

Despite the fact that the Code of Conduct emphasizes restorative practices, Byrd-Bennett said that CPS had the strictest zero tolerance proposals she’s ever seen. Even when she was consulting with CPS as the chief education officer, she says was worried about it and started some internal discussions.

In 2009, Catalyst Chicago reported that CPS suspended 13 of every 100 students—a higher rate than all other big urban school districts, with black boys disproportionately the target. In 2012, CPS made some revisions to the student code of conduct.

Still, the number of suspensions went up to nearly 70,000 in the 2012-2013 school year, up from 67,512 in 2011-2012, with the biggest spike  among elementary school students. 

District officials say that preliminary data shows they are down this year to about 50,000 or about 14 of 100 students in district-run schools.

About 75 percent of students suspended are black, though they make up only about 40 percent of CPS students.

CPS only has expulsion data for charter schools, but not suspension data. The expulsion data show that charters expel three times the number of students as district-managed schools. Charter schools are allowed to have their own codes of conduct and most of the expelled charter school students would not be expelled by CPS. Therefore, they are allowed to enroll in a district-run school.

Byrd-Bennett says she is working with charter schools on collecting suspensions data and trying to get them to adopt the district’s code of conduct. So far, 10 of them have.  

 

If you appreciate our work, please consider becoming a member or donating

Categories: Urban School News

In the News: Ex-CPS communications chief takes new role

Catalyst Chicago - Mon, 06/23/2014 - 09:39

Becky Carroll, who served as Mayor Rahm Emanuel's handpicked communications chief for Chicago Public Schools until a few months ago, has formed a Super PAC to support the re-election campaigns of the mayor and his City Council allies. (Sun-Times)

A play titled "Exit Strategy," set in a fictional Chicago high school that is slated for closure, got a rave review from Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, after she saw it recently at the Jackalope Theatre. The show's been extended through June 29.

IN THE NATION
GREEN TEAMS: A New York City school composting program aims to help the environment, instill a sense of conservation in schoolchildren, and, critically, save some money. (The New York Times)

SUPPORTING GRADUATES: First lady Michelle Obama, who is leading a national push for more low-income students to attend college, addressed hundreds of D.C. high school graduates who participated in the D.C. College Access Program — an organization that dedicated to boosting the number of District students who go to and get through college.  (The Washington Post)

FLORIDA VOUCHER EXPANSION: Middle-income families in Florida will get a chance to receive a private-school voucher under a significant expansion of the state's existing program signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott. (Education Week)

Categories: Urban School News

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