Studies link choice, test gains

As the district opens 100 new schools under Renaissance 2010, students will have more options and neighborhood schools will face greater competition. But are more school options good for kids? For students who choose to leave their neighborhood schools, the answer is likely yes.

Q&A with Howard Fuller

What are some strategies a district should use to get parents to have faith in the system?

You try to involve people but you also have to be willing to say, I’ve listened to you but I don’t agree, and from my perspective, as the one who’s making the decision, this is a better way to go. Then go back and try to involve those people who disagreed.

Notebook

A collection of facts, figures, and news briefs about school reform—both in Chicago and around the country.

Reading initiative expands, stumbles

The Chicago Reading Initiative was first out the gate when CEO Arne Duncan took over the district three years ago. Today, the signature program has expanded substantially, now encompassing three distinct efforts.

700 students kicked out of CPS

In 1997, 73 percent of those suspended were African Americans, who made up 54 percent of CPS enrollment. By 2003, 77 percent of those suspended were black, while black enrollment had dropped to 50 percent.

Suspensions up in CPS

Between 1994 and 2003, the number of elementary students who were suspended has more than doubled, from 8,870 to 20,312, according to a Catalyst analysis of data from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

How expulsion works

Infractions that may lead to expulsion are outlined in CPS’ Uniform Discipline Code. Every student receives a copy at the start of the school year, according to Andrea Horton of the CPS law department.

Branches of the reading initiative

Reading First This $15 million literacy program under the federal No Child Left Behind law focuses exclusively on early elementary grades (K-3) and is the most prescriptive of the literacy programs.

Elsewhere

The Detroit district has already cut $76 million from the budget, which initially had a $274 million deficit. Schools CEO Kenneth Burnley says Detroit has lost 33,000 students since 1999 and has lost state funding as a result.

Capital Dispatch

This spring, Gov. Rod Blagojevich proposed a $500 million program to build new schools across the state, plus $50 million to help districts pay for major repairs. But the governor never specified where the money would come from.

Comings & Goings

The parent training universityprogram, open to CPS parents and other parents throughout Chicago, will offer courses on conflict resolution, financial management and other topics related to building strong families. Toyota donated $240,000 for the effort.

Who are the National-Board teachers?

Most nationally certified teachers are white women, but those in the pipeline
are a more diverse group, according to a recent survey of CPS teachers.

BY RACE
156 are white
61 are black
10 are Latino
4 are Asian
2 are other

BY GENDER
206 are women
27 are men

Communities with none

Among the 18 communities with no National Board-certified teachers, nine
are predominantly African American, five are mostly white and two are Latino.
Household income in 10 of these communities is below average. Two are the
city’s lowest—Oakland ($10,739) and Riverdale ($13,178).

Armour Square
Ashburn
Beverly
Calumet Heights
Forest Glen
Fuller Park

Fifty-seven National Board-certified teachers work at the following 11 CPS
schools—more than a quarter of the 214 who are working in schools. Among
the other 19 board-certified educators, one is a principal, one is an assistant
principal and eight are administrators in central or area instructional offices.
The rest are on leave, on loan or have left the system.

Some gain, many lose