Given a choice between working independently during classes or working in a small group, Von Steuben high school senior Maria Proano would choose the group work. Given the same choice, Von Steuben sophomore Anna Tran would work alone. Proano is Hispanic. Tran is Asian. And that might be the basis for their preferences.
What happened when you dropped out?
They just gave my step-dad the transcripts and we left the school. That was it, no questions asked. … They figured, you know, I was 16 years old, I could drop out.
A collection of facts, figures and news briefs about school reform—both in Chicago and around the country.
The target is 40 percent of students scoring at or above national norms on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, or meeting or exceeding state standards on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test. However, little-noticed provisions give schools credit for making progress even if they fall short of the target.
more important to advocates, the dropout policy takes aim at the chronic “pushout” problem caused by the longstanding practice of dropping students who have too many absences. That practice, common in urban school districts nationwide, is now prohibited. “Schools are moving students out, which we absolutely don’t want to happen,” says Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan.
That finding in a December 2002 study by the U.S. General Accounting Office is illustrated by a comparison of two elementary school districts in Cook County: north suburban Glencoe District 35, which spends $10,935 per pupil, and south suburban Midlothian District 143, which spends $6,584 per pupil.
Accounting for such factors as the cost of living, Education Week, a highly regarded national newspaper, recently gave Illinois a C+ for the overall level of school funding. However, it gave it the only F in the country on school funding equity. With heavy reliance on property taxes, the average spending per pupil ranges from $6,341 in bottom-quartile schools to $12,177 in top quartile schools.
CPS says its new guidelines are intended to “raise the bar” and provide local school councils with an improved pool of principal candidates. The requirements come as the system faces a leadership void, with nearly 400 current principals eligible to retire over the next four years.
Martire’s plan, which would lower property taxes and raise the state sales and income taxes, may make economic sense, said Jones, a Republican from northwest suburban Palatine. But it would fail politically, he continued. “Here’s why,” Jones explained, turning to the audience of 75 to 100 people. “Who’s willing to pay higher sales and income taxes?”
With budgets due before all the test scores come in, how should schools in jeopardy of probation construct their budgets for next school year? The board has sent a letter to schools calling on them to budget as if they were going to be on probation.
The Chicago Teachers Union has sent each of its 33,000 members a 28-question survey intended to measure principals’ effectiveness as instructional and organizational leaders. The results will provide critical information for teachers who are considering a transfer and parents who are choosing a school for their child, the union maintains.
More hoops for would-be principals Current principals, interim and acting principals with more than six months experience, and recent graduates of approved principal-preparation programs automatically meet the new guidelines.
Chicago’s dismal dropout rate has garnered plenty of attention in recent months, but a new report contends that other districts across the country also consistently underreport the number of dropouts and overestimate graduation rates.
Researchers considered that Hispanics might prefer collaborative work because it allowed them to learn in their native language with other Spanish-speakers. The data did not support that hypothesis.
WHO WAS STUDIED: Students at eight high schools in four cities (including Chicago) were studied for one week during their math and science classes. Students were beeped at random and then asked to answer a brief survey about what they were doing in class and how engaged they felt in the work.
43rd in state taxes as a percent of personal income
34th in state and local tax burden as a percent of personal income
41st in state income tax rates (among 41 states with income taxes)
From the standpoint of its property tax base, Chicago is not a poor district. Thus, even though its student body is overwhelmingly poor, school finance reform likely would bring it only moderate financial gain.
1970—Illinois voters approve the current state constitution, which provides that “the state has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education.”
In the late1990s, it rushed into a high school reconstitution program that chased away good faculty members as well as dismissed presumably bad ones. It wrote its own set of end-of-course exams for high schools, winning praise for some and ridicule for others. It gathered teachers to write daily lesson plans for every core subject at every grade level—a total of 9,360—again getting mixed reviews.
*Revise the state’s tax structure to:
*Reduce the schools’ reliance on property taxes.
*Boost minimum baseline spending by $1,000 per child.
*Increase overall revenue to arrest what some see as a growing structural deficit.
Indeed, lawsuits are by far the most common tactic activists have used to try and force states to change their education funding systems. In all, 45 states have faced lawsuits filed by reformers looking to the courts for relief. And while every state constitution includes an education clause that can be used as a springboard to a lawsuit, courts in some states have been more willing than others.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg won approval from the Panel for Educational Policy of his strict new promotion policy for 3rd-graders. Just before the vote, Bloomberg fired and replaced three panel members who were against the plan, according to the March 16 New York Times.
Four Chicago Public Schools teachers are winners of this year’s Golden Apple teaching award. They are: Jelaine Binford, Curie High; Timothy Devine, Northside College Prep, Elena Diadenko-Hunter, Clemente High; Diego Giraldo, Jones College Prep.
Chart A: Schools rely on property tax
Chart B: Huge differences in per-pupil resources
Chart C: Poor, minority districs have higher tax rates
Chart D: Saving a billion dollars
Chart E: Where the education dollar goes
Chart: Neither the richest not poorest, districts still far apart
Chart: Blacks least likely to graduate