Friday, October 30, 2015

Saying 'No' to Nobel charter expansion

A few of the many Catalyst alums (including me) with Linda Lenz
Congratulations again to Catalyst on its 25th anniversary and to friend and departing Catalyst founder and publisher Linda Lenz,

Tuesday night's party for Linda at the House of Blues was great fun. It brought together the whole gang from the first wave of Chicago school reform. Back in the day -- pre-Gates, pre-mayoral control of the schools -- there was room at the reform table for a broad range of activists from corporate reformers to black community activists to the CTU. Never again shall that twain meet, except of course, at Linda's farewell party. Cautious hugs and hand shakes. Very funny to this participant/observer.

Here's Linda's retrospective on Chicago school reform.

Teacher/Principal Retention Rates are a strong indicator of school quality. This finding is based on data just released by the State Board [Warning: You should take all data coming from ISBE with a grain of salt]. The best schools generally have highest retention rates and the lowest rates of teacher attrition. Those schools serving the district's poorest kids have the lowest retention rates. Charters are generally the worst when it comes to keeping their faculties intact.

The Sun-Times reports:
As for the city's growing charter sector, ISBE couldn't say how many staffers have cycled through each school, because in many cases, the numbers were not broken out by campus.
Urban Prep's [charter school] chief academic officer Lionel Allen couldn't believe his three campuses showed, for a second year, zero teachers remaining, saying, "We continue to be frustrated by the incorrect data that are reported for our schools and the lack of transparency around how these metrics are calculated."

Me too, Mr. Allen. Me too.

Lindblom students protest charter expansion.
A SmallTalk Salute goes out to Lindblom H.S. students who, along with some teachers, marched in protest over the Board's awarding Noble Network a competing charter school in the Brighton Park neighborhood. They marched to the Bank of America and then to Ald. Raymond Lopez's office to let them know their dissatisfaction.

They may not have known that Ald. Lopez has been openly opposed to the Noble charter in his area. Maybe he should invite the students over for lunch and let them know that he stands with them on this issue.

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