Politicians and advocates alike have seized on research that says early childhood education offers lasting dividends — as well as on the political expediency of promising a benefit to every voter. As they have, the meaning of “universal” preschool has become, well, not so universal.
CPS' Barbara Byrd-Bennett and CTU's Karen Lewis agreed that neighborhood high schools were in such a dire situation that they need to join forces to try to help them. The district is now working with a community-based initiative to try to revitalize neighborhood high schools.
More than a half-dozen educators are running for aldermanic seats in next year’s city elections. It’s a sign of the times: the Chicago Teachers Union now considers itself a “social movement” union concerned with equity and economic justice throughout communities, not just in schools.
Those who are skeptical of social impact bonds have said that the escrow payments and administrative costs to government make them tough to justify on economic terms. At the end of the day, governments are simply “kicking the can down the road” instead of paying to provide services up front.
More than three years into the mayor’s tenure, advocates for the city’s youngest children say that they’re glad Emanuel has brought increased public attention to the need for expansion of early childhood programs -- but say it's not enough.
The sharp difference in the amount of cash that schools can collect from families through fees contributes to spending disparities, by providing a windfall for schools with middle-class and wealthier students while leaving schools that serve lower-income students out in the financial cold.
Teachers, even the one from Noble Street, say they are still dealing with not having enough for basics, such as gym, art and needed supplies. They also say they don't blame their principals for the shortfall, but rather the way schools are funded in Illinois.
Teachers say they have gotten the message that suspension should only be used as a last resort. They say they generally agree with that, but that they also need support from social workers, counselors and deans of discipline.
Teachers are anxious about how their evaluations will go under the new CPS system based on observations and student growth. For the second part in our series, Conversations with Teachers, Catalyst asked how the new evaluation system is being rolled out.
Teachers tell Catalyst Chicago they're tired of giving out so many tests. During a recent roundtable discussion, CPS educators shared their concerns about assessments, debated the usefulness of computer-based individualized learning programs and asked what the best yardstick is for measuring student growth.