Racial mistmatch between students and teachers

In January, the Illinois State Board of Education forecast that the state’s schools will have to hire 51,500 teachers and 3,500 administrators over the next four years. The need is being fueled by growing student enrollment, a recent bulge in teacher retirements, an increase in teachers leaving the profession and district-level initiatives such as reduced class sizes. The high-demand teaching areas remain math, science and special education.

Chicago Vocational student, teachers decry last update

I cannot say how humiliated I am and ashamed of the article that was written about me. It was based on unproven assumptions and false information. I have worked very hard this year to maintain my credibility as a seriously motivated student. I was made physically ill to see a great picture in the magazine only to be followed by the total negativity of an entire page of untruths. I only wish that the reporter would have put herself in my shoes and try to explain the contents of this article to the hundreds of students and teachers who are bewildered by all of this information.

Comings and goings

EDUCATIONAL CRISIS The Chicago Board of Education placed Smith Elementary at 744 E. 103rd St. in educational crisis, which by state law allows the board to take over dysfunctional schools and disband the LSC. After hearings in February, the board found that long-standing conflicts between the LSC and Principal Antionette Patton had led to declining academic results and a failure to devise a school improvement plan or budget. Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins will oversee all school expenditures and the school improvement plan through June 30. The board will allow Patton to remain, but it will dissolve the LSC. However, many of the ousted LSC members are slated as candidates in this month’s election.

Learning to play media game will help schools

Since taking control of Chicago Public Schools last summer, Duncan has been a breath of fresh air for sound education practice. He’s done away with the punitive aspects of intervention, launched a research-based reading initiative and shifted how school academic progress is measured. Duncan and his team are asking the right questions, says Peter Martinez of the University of Illinois at Chicago. For instance, what is CPS spending on staff development?

Reluctant offer for choice gets only 17 takers

The New Orleans experience—an example of what could happen in Chicago this fall under the No Child Left Behind Act—suggests caution for parents who may want to transfer their children to a better school and comfort for Chicago administrators who fear having to bus droves of students out of their neighborhoods.

The timeframe

Spring/Summer 2002

Parents notified of school choice.

New hiring standards for paraprofessionals go into effect.

July 2002

Title I funds must be used in accordance with the new law.

September 2002

School choice goes into effect.

Parents of children whose teachers are not “highly qualified” will be notified, and all parents will be told they can request teacher qualification status.

Parents of children in specialized language programs will be notified of students’ status and options.

New school report cards issued.

New hiring standards for teachers go into effect.

New federal law raises tough questions for CPS

The main purpose of the new act is to ensure that disadvantaged children are taught as well as and reach the same academic standards as children who are not disadvantaged. It does this principally by requiring new standards in a number of areas, including teacher qualifications, student testing and school accountability. It leaves most of the details to the states.

Scott’s ties round out mayor’s school team

Little fazes Michael Scott, a fiercely loyal political operative who has worked for the last four mayoral administrations. Scott, 52, has put in more than 30 years in city government and was a West Side activist in the 1970s. He is politically savvy and connected and knows his way around city bureaucracy.

CTU in Springfield

It was the Republican-majority state Senate that took away CTU’s bargaining rights when it gave Mayor Daley control of the city’s public schools in 1995. But a redistricting map that favors Democrats, who generally support the CTU, is expected to swing control of the Senate to the other side.

Politics strain board, union relations

At their monthly meeting, Lynch let Duncan know she wasn’t happy. After that, he seemed more willing to open the lines of communication to keep the union involved when making new plans, Lynch says.

Since then, Lynch has added a second monthly meeting with CPS officials, including Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins, about educational issues. Lynch and Watkins also co-chair one of the committees for the CPS Human Capital Initiative, a study group exploring career options for teachers.

Smoke on the horizon

State legislators are expected to continue haggling over the budget until the session ends in early June, but CPS is almost certain to lose some funding. In early April, estimates of the damage ran as high as $90 million. Some proposals being discussed in Springfield

Duncan administration year one

The bureaucracy:

“You still have the old mentality, the old guard, nestling in the ranks. And they make life pretty miserable for people trying to innovate or do new things in schools. Even when the new leadership commits itself to something, … things are still boxed up in the bureaucracy there.”

Mike Klonsky, director

Small Schools Workshop

Quiet start, big finish mark Duncan’s first year

Duncan, then 36, said he had been Vallas’ deputy chief of staff and wanted to come right over. “He said he’d asked a bunch of people about reading, and they said talk to me,” Shanahan recalls.

High-profile outsiders have helped shape many of Duncan’s signature projects, including the following: