CPS Continues their “Fuzzy” Math

29 Sep

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I received an email this week from a CPS teacher including an email that was sent out by their principal.   The principal wrote, “Effective immediately we will transition to a no zero policy.  Additionally on Friday we will have a brief meeting 4th & 5th periods.  In exchange I will give one of your prep periods back next week.  By Monday, September 30th please change all past zeros to the lowest possible grade designated for each grade level as identified in the staff handbook.”

In effect, the principal has banned grades lower than 50% at his high school.  The Principal admitted to this teacher that he had been under pressure from the Southwest Area Office to make this change.   Now, I personally give students no lower than a 50% on assignments with the exception of missing assignments.   I do this for mathematical reasons to allow students a chance to recover from a bad test.  However, if a student wants credit for a project or homework assignment, I don’t think it is unfair to require the student to actually do the assignment.  However, I believe teachers should have the right to set standards for their own classrooms.  These policies should originate in the classroom and not in the principal’s office and certainly not at the area office.

This isn’t the only area of fuzzy math in Chicago this week, however.   CPS enrollment is dropping fast and it’s probably no wonder.  When you sabotage the neighborhood schools where most families send their children to school, you shouldn’t be surprised when they respond by looking elsewhere.  However, charter schools in Chicago have been claiming a waiting list of 19,000 students.  Lost in all the hand wringing over CPS’s decline in enrollment this week was the fact that the city’s charter schools have 1,000 students less than projected in the CPS FY14 budget.   It seems to me that if they’re on a waiting list, they should be enrolled when an opening occurs.  Then again, if I had students on a waiting list I probably wouldn’t be spending big money in marketing my charter school like so many of them do.

Of course none of this is any wonder with Mathematician in Chief Rahm Emanuel in charge–he of the $1 Billion CPS deficit that neither grows nor shrinks depending on what savings or expenses are found.  The TIF plan continues to work as intended, siphoning off money from school children to give basketball arenas to private universities and liquor stores to felons.   Of course, Rahm’s new safe passage program seems to make the news every day or two.  

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4 Responses to “CPS Continues their “Fuzzy” Math”

  1. Rod Estvan September 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    You comments were on the money. Also I found it ironic that the credit for turned in assignments could not be assigned very low values based on low quality or lack of effort on the part of the student. To be honest when I taught at Calumet H.S. prior to its closing and conversion to a charter I admit I did exactly the same thing in order to reward those students who were at least doing assignments. As it was even with that break I was some years failing 60% of my students many of whom missed massive amount of school days and could pass no tests at all.

    Here is the irony because many of us at Calumet had so lowered our standards we were correctly accused of having low expectations for our students and it led to Calumet’s eventual closing. Now we have networks that supposedly are in place to increase standards ordering schools to do the same thing those of us at old Calumet were closed for doing.

    Rod Estvan

    • Teacher October 1, 2013 at 3:08 am #

      I won’t say where my school is or if its a high school or elementary. However, we were told to do about the same thing. A few years ago I would have been in trouble of doing the “above 50%” rule…now I have to? Yet once again we are being held to a HIGH STANDARD on REACH, while CPS changes the games and rules daily! I HAVE to GET OUT

      • A SE Parent October 12, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

        Hmmm…as a parent I can agree and disagree with this policy. My child’s enrollment in a selective enrollment high school from an okay performing magnet school has colored my views a bit. For instance, if homework isn’t turned in at the beginning of class then it’s a zero. I can agree if you didn’t do your homework then you should receive a zero. My kid did his homework but mistakenly put it in the wrong folder and tried to turn it in at the end of the same school day & the teacher wouldn’t take it. Couldn’t he just have lowered it a letter grade but I would have gladly accepted 50 instead of zero. Mind you this was his first zero for homework so I know the teacher clearly knows my child regularly does homework. He has also received some bad grades on some 4 question quizzes and rather than 0 or 25 it would be must easier to recover from a 50.

  2. alexanderrusso (@alexanderrusso) September 30, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    can we see the email?

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