Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Student protests hit Rahm's favorite charter chain

Julie Woestehoff, of Parents United for Responsible Education, speaks at a rally and march to call for an end to what they call “appalling” disciplinary policies at some schools. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times
The mayor's favorite charter school franchise was the target of a parent and student protest yesterday. A FOIA report obtained by PURE, the Advancement Project civil rights group and a student group called VOYCE,  revealed that the operators of Noble Street Charter Network have pocketed nearly $400,000 by fining mostly low-income parents for their children's minor rules infractions. Violations included, not sitting up straight to carrying “flaming hot” chips.

This type of behavior modification approach has become standard fare in many privately-run charter schools like KIPP, which is infamous for making offending students wear dunce caps or signs around their neck reading "miscreant."

At yesterday's press conference community groups released released the data on Noble Street's policies. Hundreds of students and their parents then marched on City Hall.
Donna Moore labeled the fees a “hidden tax.’’ She said her son was forced to repeat freshmen year at one Noble Street high school based mostly on minor infractions — like running a pencil along the edge of a desk and not “tracking the teacher’’ with this eyes -- that did not endanger school safety or disrupt class. Moore said her son has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and a stress syndrome that make some Noble rules oppressive. -- Sun-Times
Emanuel recently hailed Noble Street for having the “secret sauce’’ to success. Noble’s disciplinary policy is “not a secret, but it’s part of our sauce,’’ CEO Mike Milkie said Monday. Milkie has drawn the ire of parents, students and other district educators in the past for his anti-LGBT policies, like banning the student Gay/Straight Alliance. 

VOYCE students donned chefs caps to poke fun at Emanuel’s comments, chanting during the news conference that, “Zero tolerance should not be allowed. Oooh, that’s not the right sauce.” Carrying signs reading, “It isn’t Noble to push out students,’’ they then marched on City Hall, demanding a fairer disciplinary policy from Noble Street and Chicago Public Schools.

Later addition: 

From today's L.A. Times:
Activists press council to ease truancy fines
Rally at Van Nuys City Hall urges lawmakers to revise policy allowing LAPD to cite students who are late to school. The ACLU says the law unfairly targets Latinos, blacks and low-income students.

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