Take 5: Education assemblies, middle grades to college, Duncan’s pro-testing stance

A diverse group of parents, students, teachers and educational activists came together on Wednesday evening to plan what they are calling “education assemblies.” Details are still being worked out, but the idea is to hold two assemblies a year and use a democratic process to develop a progressive education platform. Smaller groups would push the agenda between assemblies. They hope to have the first assembly in late spring.

Take 5: Rahm’s early childhood non-news and competing PARCC letters

Seven weeks ahead of Chicago’s mayoral election — and about a week after his campaign started airing commercials touting his record on early childhood education — Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a press conference Tuesday to announce federal funding for the city’s Head Start programs. But it was hard to find the news: Yes, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did send the city a check for the preschool program, but it has done that every year and for more than a decade the funding has been pretty stable. Also, the city knew it was getting the funding for weeks.

Take 5: Catching up on the news

CPS leaders are open to handing over the education of the district’s most troubled, vulnerable students to private entities, putting out a Request for Proposals last week that asked for vendors to apply to serve students considered at risk of dropping out who are as young as 6th grade.

Take 5: Secret recalculations, education platforms and chicken nuggets

Activist principal Troy LaRaviere might have discovered at least one of the “smoking guns” when it comes to the vexing question of why the district delayed releasing the school ratings for so long. Turns out, district accountability officials secretly recalculated some of the all-important growth scores that 25 percent of the ratings were based on.

Take 5: New discipline data; DFER to endorse aldermen and computer science classes

1. Suspending black girls … When it comes to suspensions and expulsions, much of the attention is on black boys. But a New York Times article points out that black girls also are disproportionately subjected to harsh disciplinary tactics. According to the latest U.S. Department of Civil Rights data, 12 percent of black girls were suspended, compared to only 2 percent of white girls. The New York Times highlights a case where two girls committed the exact same offense, but black girls received the harsher discipline.