At the North Kenwood Oakland campus of the University of Chicago charter schools, even the preschoolers are tech-savvy. By the time they reach 6th grade, each student gets his or her own laptop. But despite the emphasis on technology, North Kenwood Oakland does not consider it an educational magic bullet. Technology is merely a means of enhancing good educational practice.
Nichole Pinkard became interested in technology and urban youth when, as a professor at the University of Michigan, she noticed that few kids from Detroit were entering the computer science program. Now, as director of technology for the University of Chicago’s Center for Urban School Improvement, Pinkard helps integrate technology into the classrooms of the university’s charter schools. Pinkard talked to Associate Editor Maureen Kelleher about her work and how urban schools can make better use of technology.
You wouldn’t call it a love connection, but then again, something must have happened between Erick Pruitt and O’Toole Elementary’s local school council on a winter evening this past February. That’s when the district and school reform group Designs for Change co-sponsored the Leaders to Leaders conference, an annual matchmaking event to hook up new aspiring principals with LSCs looking to hire someone in their schools’ top leadership spot.
MOVING IN/ON Matthew Stagner has been appointed director of Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago. He was formerly director of the Center on Labor, Human Services and Population at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. He replaces Mark Courtney, who is stepping down to devote more time to research but will continue as a faculty associate at Chapin Hall and as a professor at the university’s School of Social Service Administration.
Each year, Chicago Public Schools tells us how the central office has sacrificed to help balance the budget. Yet, Cross City Campaign’s recent budget analysis shows that CPS has at least 600 more central office staff members on the books than it claims to have and that CPS did not cut $25 million out of central office as it had asserted.
The MacArthur Foundation has a long history of involvement and investment in reform and improvement of the Chicago Public Schools. As such, we are pleased to see the substantial interest in such efforts by local and other national foundations. The characterization of MacArthur’s current involvement and support of district efforts is, however, inaccurate.
The district’s new Student Code of Conduct (formerly called the Uniform Discipline Code) is a compromise between two positions: that of youth advocates who wanted more innovative methods of discipline, and principals and teachers who wanted more resources and training to use the innovative practices.
As executive director of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund, I must comment on Kurt Mitchell’s cartoon displaying a crumbling pension fund in the April 2006 issue.