Tag Archives: School Reform

Is Your School Built on a Native American Burial Ground?

18 Sep

ImageThere are a few things I’ve learned from watching movies that I think provide valuable lessons for anybody thinking of running an urban school district.  It may be easy to slam this easily acquired knowledge as being insufficient.  We’re sending a whole lot of people off to run big school districts whose knowledge comes from watching Freedom Writers.

The first thing I learned is that you never build on an Indian Burial ground.   IF you do this, your school will undoubtedly be haunted.  If you have seen Poltergeist, you can already see some of the liability issues with students getting trapped in television sets and being chased by ghosts who want to do them harm.   Fortunately, I am reasonably confident that CPS would not knowingly build a school on a Native American burial ground.

Building a school on an old toxic dump would also be a horrible idea.  If you watch movies like Erin Brockovich you are probably more worried about students and teachers developing serious maladies,  If you watch movies like The Toxix Avenger, you are more concerned with rampaging students who are mutated by the toxins.  Unfortunately, CPS seems ready to ignore reports of toxic waste in order to construct a build a new school near the Indiana border.  A new school is seriously needed in the area to fight overcrowding, but I would like to think that safety would be a consideration.

Rahm Emanuel Discusses Plans to Build School on Possibly Toxic Site

“Preliminary environmental tests conducted last year at the proposed construction site found unsafe levels of chemicals in the soil and a leaking underground gasoline storage tank, reports the Chicago Tribune.”

Emanuel Defends School Additions, Improvements after CPS Closures

“It marked the third straight day that a mayor who closed nearly 50 public schools, most of them on the South and West Sides, has announced plans to build new schools and expand existing ones.”

Singing the Praise of CPS Teachers (Despite Everything)

“I asked folks if they had any good stories from their schools, and parents were happy to oblige. You know why? Because most folks love their schools. They love the community culture of their schools. They love the opportunities the schools offer. They love the kindness, empathy, and professionalism of their teachers. They love their grant-writing, penny-wringing, hope-clinging principals who never say die.”

State Board of Education Could Lift Cap Size for Special Ed

“A possible vote could lift those limits, and mean that a teacher could have 17 students requiring special attention in a class of 35. That idea scares Laurie Viets, whose 4-year-old son is autistic, and goes to Beard Elementary School on the Northwest Side. The school exclusively serves special needs children.”

The Hidden Truth Behind Teach for America’s Political Empire

“At a college-wide block party on Aug. 29, grad students and local teachers passed out leaflets reading, “Why would CEHD partner with an organization that claims that working class students of color do not need well-trained, career teachers?” Several were approached by the dean, who called the leafletting “inappropriate” and threatened to call campus security if they didn’t stop.”

Did This Little Election Strike a Big Blow to Education Reform

“The Vallas allies who lost last week were Democrats endorsed by the state Democratic Party and town Democratic committee and backed by the mayor. In a nearly 10-to-1 Democratic city, the primary winners are all but guaranteed to win the November elections and team up with Working Families Party members to form an anti-Vallas majority on the nine-member school board.”


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.””