With help from its national and state affiliates, the Chicago Teachers Union is planning a push to organize charter school teachers. Initial steps in Chicago will include admitting charter teachers to union-run professional development programs, including the union’s touted National Board certification prep program, called Nurturing Teacher Leadership.
Following the delayed release of spring ISAT scores for 2006, CPS recently released the list of 46 elementary schools that will be on probation this year. A comparison with the previous year’s list shows that 138 schools are now off probation.
Deborah Lynch (right) is trying to regain control of the Chicago Teachers Union, after losing by a narrow margin to current President Marilyn Stewart in 2004.
Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart and former president Deborah Lynch are trading barbs on the campaign trail leading up to a rematch of the contentious 2004 race that Stewart won on a razor-thin majority. This year’s May 18 contest comes just weeks before the current union contract expires on June 30, tossing the winner immediately into negotiations marked by rising health care costs, uncertain state funding and a continued boom in charter schools.
A unique study that examines how Chicago Public Schools students whose mothers are behind bars perform in school paints a dire picture, yet concludes that the incarceration is not the breaking point in their academic lives.
For any number of reasons, many children who attend Chicago’s public schools live very stressed lives. Joblessness, the lack of affordable housing and high-crime neighborhoods all take a toll. For some, these afflictions are aggravated by having a parent in prison. Statistics show that about half of the male children whose parents are in jail or prison will someday follow in their footsteps. While the situation for these children is extremely difficult, it is not without hope.
This school year, Von Humboldt joined more than 1,400 schools, faith communities and social service agencies in Illinois that use Rainbows, a curriculum designed to help grieving children–including those whose parents are in prison.
A national study found that when they have mentors, children with incarcerated parents do better in school and are less likely to use drugs or get violent, but some advocates worry that mentoring may fall short.
Set to retire in June, a West Side principal is laying the groundwork for an organization that would provide mentors to children in North Lawndale whose parents are in prison. As many as 57 percent of North Lawndale’s adult population has had some involvement with the criminal justice system, either by being arrested, incarcerated or being put on probation.
CPS social workers do not know how many of their students have parents in prison, nor do they know exactly what to do for these children. Catalyst Chicago conducted a survey of school social workers, primarily in schools in South and West side communities that have a higher than average share of children with an incarcerated parent. Here’s what the had to say.
A special project of the Community Renewal Society
As the prison population has soared, so too has the number of schoolchildren with one or both parents behind bars. These children show up in classrooms with social and emotional problems that hinder learning. Yet schools are often unaware of the problem and lack resources to help students.
It’s the last day of Rainbows program at Von Humboldt Elementary this year and a dozen or so children are sitting in a circle in the school social worker’s office.
llinois prison populations have more than doubled over the past 20 years, yet school officials have no idea how many students are affected, and advocates disagree about whether they should be identified.
Leslie Jacobs and Shenita Johnson Garrard describe how New Orleans is striving to convert a failed, corrupt school system into a decentralized system of schools. With some 60 percent of its public school students enrolled in charter schools, New Orleans has the most school autonomy and competition of any district in the country. To hear their presentations, go to www.catalyst-chicago.org and click on “On the Air.”
A collection of facts, figures, and news briefs about school reform—both in Chicago and around the country.
Economic policies that support work and boost income are a proven way to improve children’s academic achievement, says Greg Duncan of Northwestern University. Duncan is co-author of the new book “Higher Ground: New Hope for the Working Poor and Their Children,” on a three-year program instituted in Milwaukee in the mid-1990s.
As the Chicago Teachers Union election heats up in the city, union officials are busy in Springfield working to expand its power and protect its members.
SCHOOL TAKEOVER, CLOSING CPS officials are proposing that the Academy for Urban School Leadership take over Harvard Elementary in Greater Grand Crossing this fall, under a restructuring plan similar to that used this year at Sherman Elementary.
Only 12 percent of high school students in Chicago Public Schools have taken advantage of their right not to have personal contact information forwarded to military recruiters, CPS data show. Activists say schools aren’t doing enough to let students know they can block access to that information.
Chicago Public Schools will be hit this year with a record number of principal vacancies. One in five school leaders—120 systemwide—have notified the district that they will step down from their jobs at the end of the year, CPS reported in mid-March.
Chicago could net an extra $300 million under Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s school funding proposal—a potential windfall for teachers, who will be negotiating a new contract this summer.
Chart: No room for raises?
Graphic: Most fired teachers find new homes
Chart: Boosting college, career plans
Map: Where do kids with moms in prison go to school?
WebExtra: School-by-school contact information
Map: Where do kids with moms in prison go to school?