Friday, April 5, 2013

Talk on the street

Congressmen Danny Davis and Bobby Rush lead walking tour to dramatize the daily trip students will have to make to their receiving school. Safety is a major concern of parents around the proposed closings. 

A cabbie who works 125 Clark St. tells me that in addition to the latest round of closures, CPS plans to open 14 new high schools next year, of which 12 will be charters.  One is actually called "Social Justice" (not to be confused with the real  Greater Lawndale High School for Social Justice on 31st and Kostner).  The other two schools are an IB school  and a school for the medical professions.

Cabbie's comment: "The madness has yet a new tentacle."


EdWeek blogger Marilyn Rhames is not a mathematician. But she can add. And when she does, the number behind Chicago school closings (and openings) just don't add up.
So I'm left to wonder, What does CPS really have up its sleeve? The district is obviously not being transparent about how it plans to attack its deep debt problem. We know what its five-month plan is—closing 54 schools, co-locating 11 others, turning around six. But we also know that the closures would do nothing to fix the district's immediate money mess.
“The wider repercussions of the Atlanta case are very troubling,” says Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators. “The problem is that any school systems that have accomplished great turnarounds of schools are going to become suspect, and people will assume that there must have been some cheating involved.” -- EdWeek 
EdWeek'S Leslie Maxwell writes:
The Atlanta scandal, along with allegations of cheating on standardized tests in other school systems, such as the District of Columbia and Philadelphia, have helped fuel a backlash against standardized testing and the high-stakes sanctions and rewards attached to the results.
Yes, and well it should, so long as we keep looking at standardized test scores as the only, or even the main measure of school or district success. That's not to say that we can't make great improvements in schools and measure those gains using authentic assessments and evaluation techniques. But real, long-lasting turnarounds can only come with major and coordinated efforts to improve the living conditions of children and families, outside of school. Until then, poverty will continue to be the main thing that test scores are measuring.

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