Tuition-based preschools falter in South, West side communities

The tuition based program runs daily from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. and boasts such extras as classroom computers, field trips, fine arts projects and, in some schools, the well-regarded Suzuki-Orff music program. Classrooms are limited to 20 students and each is staffed by a certified teacher, a trained teacher’s aide and a parent tutor.

What are the jobs of the future?

Nationally, jobs requiring an associate’s degree are expected to grow by 32 percent, the fastest rate of growth at any educational level. All but two of the 50 highest-paying occupations require a four-year college degree—only air traffic controllers and nuclear power reactor operators can get entry level jobs with less education.

Career programs under construction

For Latifah Pierce, a senior at Prosser High School, a metalworking course in machine shop is opening the door to an array of career options. The program offers Pierce an opportunity to earn one of seven certification credentials created by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills. Prosser launched its technical certification program two years ago, and it is gaining the attention of employers.

Firings anger principals group, which asks, ‘Why these five?’

Last year, the School Board shut three schools with low test scores but years later, many of those same schools are still on probation or were among those closed last year by CEO Arne Duncan for low performance, observes Dave Peterson, who recently retired from the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association. “I don’t see removal as the answer. It’s a simplistic response to a complicated problem.”

At a glance

A quien observaron:

Los investigadores encuestaron a 280 niños en una escuela elemental predominantemente Latina, y observaron a 18 en sus casas y en el salon de clases.

How schools stack up

School performance data at five schools where principals were ousted generally was similar to many of the other 45 elementary schools and 30 high schools on probation, according to a Catalyst analysis.

Sold on CPS?

Created three years ago with the encouragement of Mayor Daley, tuition-based preschool was another way for the district to attract more middle class families into the system. So far, the plan is working.

Teacher resources

Illinois Resource Center offers workshops for teachers who want to learn more about educating English language learners. It also hosts an annual statewide bilingual conference and has a library with resources for teachers.

At a glance

Key findings:

Children of immigrant parents often perform translating tasks for their families that are more complex than educators realize. They also may build a range of literacy skills that can boost their test scores.

Founders ‘not used to losing’

It’s graduation day for this year’s crop of leaders-in-training and KIPP co-founder Michael Feinberg is wearing a special outfit: brown cut-off shorts, a dark blue T-shirt with a torn white T-shirt poking out below the waist, and bare feet.

Year 1: What to expect

Among the 32 KIPP schools across the country are 32 unique first-year experiences. However, few have gone through the spectrum of setbacks and victories as has the school in Oakland.

Student internships

This summer, John Battista, a machine shop teacher at Prosser High, landed internships for three of his students at S & C Electric. Marius Kryska is still there, working after school, earning $10.18 per hour and looking forward to college next year on the company’s tab.

Founders ‘not used to losing’

At the KIPP Foundation’s office in San Francisco, Feinberg, 34, says his shabby dress conveys a message to the new graduates: “You’re not done yet.”

And, in truth, they’re not. This group of 11 former teachers who have finished a yearlong program at the Haas Business School at the University of California-Berkeley will spend the next three months shadowing leaders at existing KIPP schools.

Career education one remedy for ‘boring’ high schools

Samella would advise the mayor to ensure that classes have the materials and facilities they need. Both students were enrolled in what theoretically should be some of the least boring programs in the system, yet they both ended up twiddling their thumbs. If the school system can’t make its career education classes interesting, there’s scant hope for the rest of its programs.

Umoja blends counseling, academics, real-world experience

A student achievement report found that seniors who were highly involved in Umoja-related activities were more likely to enroll in a four-year college than those with lower participation levels. “This is extraordinary for an inner-city, low-income, minority high school,” according to the 2002 report by G. Alfred Hess of the Center for Urban School Policy at Northwestern University. The authors credited Umoja for contributing to the college enrollment gains.

Program lets students take college courses, earn credit

Last year, student participation dropped by 1,200 to 1,836 students from the previous year because of funding problems. CPS planned to use federal funds appropriated under the Carl D. Perkins Vocational-Technical Education Act to pay for students’ college tuition. But the Illinois State Board of Education, the fiscal agent for the Perkins funds, ruled that out, saying the money is meant to help students succeed in high school.

Comings & Goings

Leslie Baldacci, a CPS teacher and former Chicago Sun-Times reporter, has published a book detailing her two-year classroom internship in the Teachers for Chicago alternative certification program.

CPS pushes new science curriculum

This year, CPS is requiring all 45 high schools on probation to take a number of steps to improve instruction in biology, the discipline with the largest number of science teachers. About 60 percent of freshmen take a biology course.

Boston pioneers school partnership

Under ProTech, employers in four industries make multi-year commitments to selected students at five of the city’s 23 high schools. In the fall of their junior year, students do job shadowing in various departments. About half the students return in the spring for part-time jobs, which convert to full-time jobs during the summer. Employment continues through senior year and often beyond.

Year 1: What to expect

KIPP opened a school in the Oakland Unified School District in the summer of 2002. Since then, the school has survived a districtwide deficit of $100 million, nearly a quarter of the overall $450 million operating budget; a state takeover of the district; principal and teacher turnover; a facility relocation; and a name change.

Career academies at a glance


Industry categories

Projected growth over 10 years (%)
Projected employment 2010
Projected employment 2010
Base year employment 2000

Highest-paying jobs, Cook County

Median hourly wages

By the numbers

CPS tuition-based preschool
space, enrollment:

2001-02: 340 kids in 330 seats
2002-03: 360 kids in 360 seats
2003-04: n.a. kids in 540 seats

Budget (in millions)
FY02: $1.9
FY03: $2.5
FY04: $5.7

SOURCE: CPS Office of Early Childhood Education