Do teens realize the impact that having a child could have on finishing school?
Kids are not very future-minded. And most of them were not planning on this. Most adolescent moms were sexually assaulted or abused before age 18.
A collection of facts, figures, and news briefs about school reform—both in Chicago and around the country.
Elementary schools earmark more than three-fourths of their poverty funds for instructional expenses. High schools, which by necessity have more administrative needs, spend more than a third of their poverty funding on non-instructional expenses.
At Pickard Elementary on a recent Friday, Maria Ramirez and her daughter Diana, a 2nd-grader, go through their morning ritual before class: hugs, kisses and a firm but gentle reminder to Diana to “be good.”
Councils across the district are feeling financially squeezed this year, and those at schools on probation find themselves squeezed out entirely. The percentage of state and federal dollars going into schools’ discretionary pots is shrinking, and the purchasing power of those dollars has diminished significantly, a Catalyst analysis has found.
The number of homeless students in Chicago Public Schools has more than doubled over the past five years, but advocates believe the district is still undercounting them and CPS officials acknowledge there are problems with its tracking system.
Under federal law, school districts must provide fee waivers, free lunches and any other assistance homeless students might need to attend school. Districts must also immediately enroll homeless students and make sure they know they can enroll in their original school.
As part of budget cutting last September by Chicago Public Schools, Pamela Williams lost her job as an aide at Lawndale Community Academy and soon became homeless. Her son, whom she describes as a former “straight-A, honor roll student,” began to slip academically, even with the tutoring provided by the district.
Through Scaling Up Best Practice, parents at Perez, Pickard and Orozco schools attend workshops tied to classroom work, test-taking or special school projects.
To analyze how schools spend poverty funds, Catalyst adapted personnel and programmatic spending categories developed by the now-defunct Chicago Panel on School Policy for a 1995 study on school spending.
Supplemental General State Aid (SGSA) is the lifeblood of school reforms in Chicago. Previously known as state Chapter 1, its 32-year history marks the pendulum swing from centralized control of schools to local control and back.
When the Education Funding Advisory Board gave lawmakers its recommendation for a $1,441 increase in minimum per-pupil spending, the board made another little-noticed but far-reaching proposal that would, in effect, end the yearly battles over how much to spend on schools.
Forcing educators into a game of chance to fund their budgets every year probably would improve the odds that funding would be distributed fairly. That’s because Illinois fails the two tests of responsible school funding: Equity and adequacy.
Business, civic and education leaders are urging legislators and the governor to spend $90 million on the state’s worst schools over the next three years, according to the March 11 Boston Globe.
A steep sliding scale—ranging this year from $200 to $980 per low-income student—provided schools with the highest poverty rates proportionately more of this federal discretionary money and won praise from researchers studying urban district funding strategies.
At a March 15 meeting, Clemente’s LSC reviewed line items budgeted for the $2.2 million in poverty funds the West Town school is slated to receive next year. The process was a 10-minute formality since Area Instructional Officer Richard Gazda had already signed off.
Prosser Career Academy and Steinmetz High School, both in Belmont Cragin, came in second with nine aides each. At Prosser, that amounts to one aide for every 149 students; at Steinmetz, one for every 271. “They’re necessary”.
An obscure CPS funding program that fattens lean discretionary budgets at schools with the fewest poor students will pay out $2.5 million to those schools next year.
In February, New Schools for Chicago teamed up with Mayor Richard M. Daley’s office to announce it had awarded $3.7 million to eight schools; so far, the group has not released a school-by-school breakdown of the grants.
Parents and teachers can learn more about their children’s school lessons through CPS’ new Virtual Kindergarten. The program, available in Spanish and English, allows parents to view the classroom lesson via video footage and duplicate the lesson at home.
Healy Elementary: A spending profile
Spencer Math and Science Academy: A spending profile
Chart: Schools share of poverty funds slips
1995 to 2005: Less bang for the buck
School size, grades served factor into spending
Magnet, selective schools buy aides
Probation requirements at work in high schools only