Archive | December, 2012

Fordham Institute Names Karen Lewis Education Person of the Year

31 Dec


The Fordham Institute is a right wing organization that pushes education privatization policy.  So why would they name Karen Lewis person of the year?  From the article it seems that they are warning reformers that they face resurgent teachers unions nationwide.  Whether you think that’s a good thing or not, you can’t deny that something changed.  When the teachers went out on strike in September, you had a lot of people pulling for them.   I still remember wearing my CTU shirt one night as I was about to get on the train at LaSalle Street Station.  There was a panhandler there and I told him honestly that I had no spare change.  He told me, “That’s alright.  You guys don’t back down.   Don’t let that Mayor roll over you.”   I thanked him and went to my train realizing that it wasn’t just parents and city workers who were behind the CPS teachers.

Karen Lewis; The 2012 Education Person of the Year

“While Lewis appears unlikely to be able to challenge Randi Weingarten as leader of the AFT anytime soon, she is giving voice to many educators who feel frustrated by Weingarten’s reform-y talk and rhetorical concessions. We should expect a more strident unionism, especially in the cities, in the years to come.”

Chicago Teachers Pension Fund to Review Investments in Arms Companies

‘Rehak noted that the review was prompted by the recent massacre of children and teachers at Sandy Hook elementary school. Ashford reminded the trustees that children of the same ages are dying regularly in Chicago because of guns in the hands of criminals’

Laws of Physics Can’t Trump the Bonds of Love

“When you start talking about physics, you start to wonder, ‘What is the purpose of it all?’ ” he said in an interview. “Kids started coming to me and asking me those ultimate questions. I wanted them to look at their life in a little different way — as opposed to just through the laws of physics — and give themselves more purpose in life.”


Jackson Potter Explains Turnaround Lawsuit

30 Dec



2012 is about to come to an end, but not without some last news for the old year.   Most of the news is national, but Jackson Potter’s letter to the Sun-Times does a nice job of summing up the Chicago Teachers Union’s position on the new lawsuit by 2 CPS teachers and the CTU over racial discrimination in turnarounds.

Let’s Not Permit Plutocrats to Run the Schools

“For the last eight years, more than 100 schools have been shuttered and replaced with non-union, politically connected charter schools that have largely underwhelmed the public with their mediocre performance. Parents, students and teachers have been treated like pawns in a chess game where they had no voice or choice in the matter.

Charter Schools Now Big Business Nationwide

“The number of education management organizations has exploded on the national scene — for-profit groups growing from five in 1995-96 to 99 in 2010-11 and nonprofit organizations growing from 48 in 1998 to 197 in 2010-11 — according to the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder.”

Should Poor Kids get Art and Music in School?

“VERONICA BARBOSA: I wish we could have art and music in the school, but at the same time if you want your child to have that in their life, you can make the effort to try and get it, like, after school or on the weekends.

Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher that Changed his Life

“When Cruitt returned to school, Doyle waited until all of the other children left the room at the end of the day, and told him that she was there if he needed her.

“Then you bent over and kissed me on the head. It was really the only time someone said to me, ‘I know what you’re feeling, and I know what you’re missing,’ ” Cruitt says. “And I felt, in a very real way, that things really would be OK.””

Happy New Year!

30 Dec

CPS Triumerate

It has been a most eventful 2012 for CPS and I think we all had better buckle our seat belts because 2013 is going to be a bumpy ride.  The longer day, the teacher strike, and now the school closings have been the big stories this year and it really seemed like a shame to me that there was no real local forum where Chicago Public School parents, teachers, and taxpayers could discuss everything that was going on.

I am setting up this blog as my attempt to give everybody a place to share their thoughts, opinions, and experience from a Chicago perspective and without snippy comments.   I will police the trolls, but people who respectfully disagree with each other will be encouraged to participate.  Sometimes, challenging our own beliefs is the best way to learn.

I’ll be posting news stories for comment on as close to a daily basis as possible.  In the meantime, while I’m getting moved in here, tell me what the most memorable part of 2012 was for you in the Chicago Public Schools.   For me it’s probably been the forums.  Whether it’s been the longer school day or the school utilization commission, it seems like I’ve been going to a lot of meetings this year.