Monday, February 23, 2009

Creating a union at KIPP

Russo got this story right from one of the veteran teachers in the middle of the UFT's organizing drive at KIPP:

Everyone seemed hopeful and optimistic during summer meetings when they got back. The faculty revisited the KIPP core values, and did team-building exercises to bond founding faculty and new teachers like Nelson. "We all drank the cool-aid," says Nelson.

Once problems started coming up again in the new school year, however, the mood changed quickly despite the change in leadership. Teachers were "shut down" and told to talk offline whenever they raised issues at meetings, according to Nelson. But those follow-up conversations never happened. Other promises went unmet, including regular videotaped observations. "It was all talk," says Nelson. "Just talk."

The “quiet philanthropy” of Chaz Ebert

I heard Chaz Ebert read her film-critic- husband Roger's eulogy to the late Studs Terkel at his memorial, last month. But here's a story about her own special relationship with her alma mater, Crane High School, on the city's west side. What a difference in style from the dominating trend of philanthro-capitalism.

As part of the reunion activities, the alums are planning to take seniors to the Abraham Lincoln Library in Springfield, and they'll donate computers to parents of Crane students who complete computer training workshops provided at the school. "When I went back to the school, I was amazed by all of the programs the school offers," she said. "They have an autistic program. They have evening classes, and they are open on the weekends. It is just not the traditional school that I remember. (Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times)

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