"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thoughts About the Chicago Teachers Strike - Part 2

Director of Private School Where Rahm Sends His Kids Opposes Using Testing for Teacher Evaluations

Rahm Emanuel's children go to Arne Duncan's alma mater, the University of Chicago Lab School. They have full time arts teachers, well stocked libraries, well paid teachers who are NOT evaluated using the students' test scores. That, however, is not necessary for the children of the 99% who go to public schools.
...Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel does not send his kids to public schools. Instead, Emanuel's children attend...the University of Chicago Lab School, where the annual tuition is more than $20,000...

...The Lab School has seven full-time art teachers to serve a student population of 1,700. By contrast, only 25% of Chicago’s “neighborhood elementary schools” have both a full-time art and music instructor. The Lab School has three different libraries, while 160 Chicago public elementary schools do not have a library.

“Physical education, world languages, libraries and the arts are not frills. They are an essential piece of a well-rounded education,” wrote University of Chicago Lab School Director David Magill on the school's website in February 2009.

One of the key sticking points in union negotiations is that Emanuel wants to use standardized tests scores to count for 40 percent of the basis of teacher evaluations. Earlier this year, more than 80 researchers from 16 Chicago-area universities signed an open letter to Emanuel, criticizing the use of standardized test scores for this purpose. “The new evaluation system for teachers and principals centers on misconceptions about student growth, with potentially negative impact on the education of Chicago’s children,” they wrote.

CTU claims that nearly 30% of its members could be dismissed within one to two years if the proposed evaluation process is put into effect and has opposed using tests scores as the basis of evaluation. They're joined in their opposition to using testing in evaluations by Magill.

Writing on the University of Chicago’s Lab School website two years ago, Magill noted, “Measuring outcomes through standardized testing and referring to those results as the evidence of learning and the bottom line is, in my opinion, misguided and, unfortunately, continues to be advocated under a new name and supported by the current [Obama] administration.”

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Chicago Teachers Union Strike. Parents and Teachers Take It to the Streets
The Chicago Teachers Union, parents and the children who educators have chosen to serve, want Americans countrywide to know, there’s a great deal of work to do to create the schools our students deserve. That includes:

  • REDUCE CLASS SIZE – The mayor has threatened to put as many as 55 children in one classroom!
  • PROVIDE SOCIAL SERVICES CHILDREN NEED – The school board refuses to hire more social workers, nurses and other clinicians at a time when youth violence is skyrocketing.
  • INVEST IN ALL SCHOOLS – The school board denies funds to schools in low-income neighborhoods. Our students need equal access to high-quality learning opportunities in every neighborhood school!
  • SUPPORT TEACHERS AS PROFESSIONALS – The school board so far refuses to give your school’s teachers, paraprofessionals, and others a fair contract.
  • STOP CHARTER EXPANSIONS, turn-arounds, and school closings.
For more good information about what the CTU is fighting for see Parents, Teachers Hold Forum to Outline What’s at Stake as CPS Strike Looms: ‘They Want to Create New Orleans in Chicago’

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Chicago Teachers Go on Strike
[Public schools] constitute 69 percent of all Chicago schools, but they have received less than 48 percent of...money for building maintenance, repair, and upgrading. In revealing contrast, nine selective-enrollment high schools (charter and magnet) that make up 1 percent of the total number of schools got 24 percent of the money spent on school construction projects...

A quarter of the [public elementary] schools have no libraries, 40 percent have neither either art nor music instruction, while many others must choose one or the other but can’t get both.

Mayor Emanuel sends his children to the private Chicago Lab School—where all of these “extras” are available.
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Chris Hedges: Dems Owe Chicago Public Teachers Support for "Most Important Labor Action in Decades"
...it really boils down to the fact that we spend $600-some billion a year, the federal government, on education, and the corporations want it. That’s what’s happening. And that comes through charter schools. It comes through standardized testing. And it comes through breaking teachers’ unions and essentially hiring temp workers, people who have very little skills. This is what Teach for America is about. They teach by rote, and they earn nothing. There’s no career. I mean, there’s quite a difference between teaching people what to think and teaching people how to think. And corporate forces want to teach people what to think. It’s a kind of classism. People get slotted. It’s vocational. And so, I see what’s happening in Chicago as, you know, one of the kind of seminal uprisings of our age. And if they don’t succeed, we’re all in deep trouble.

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Diane Ravitch talks about public education and the Chicago Teachers Strike.
For Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Education historian, Diane Ravitch, joins Kathleen Dunn to discuss the teacher strike in Chicago.

Guest: Diane Ravitch, historian of education, educational policy analyst, research professor, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University. Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education.

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Issues in Chicago teachers strike mirror concerns of some NWI educators
Neither Indiana State Teachers Association President Nate Schnellenberger nor Indiana Federation of Teachers President Rick Muir have been closely following the Chicago negotiations, but both say there are similarities regarding concerns about teacher evaluations.

"I personally applaud them for standing up on these issues," Muir said.

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Strike Is the Best Lesson Chicago Teachers Union Could Have Planned
Unlike its portrayal as a selfish bully in the 1% Chicago Tribune, the CORE-led CTU has been a partner to community groups fighting for quality public education. Now, hostile contract negotiations have opened a window for the union to elevate the anti-privatization fight to a national level.

As former CPS CEO Arne Duncan continues to spread the hollow gospel of corporate reform as the nation's secretary of education, and as his predecessor Paul Vallas preaches the same throughout South America, it's about time that Chicago, the birthplace of this failed faith, denounces it publicly.

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Thousands Rally in Chicago Teachers’ Strike, Pushing Back Against Corporatized Education Reform
...a lot of the education policy in this country comes from the top, from people that have little or no experience in a classroom, little or no experience in the low-income communities that are disproportionately affected by these reforms. And it was moving to see Chicago united behind the teachers, that are, you know, not just fighting for themselves, but they’re fighting for their students. And that’s something that a lot of people in Chicago and around the country are—have been waiting for and are really prepared to get behind.

...They are fighting the most powerful forces in the country that have an agenda of privatization of school closings, of increasing testing. But [the Chicago Teachers Union] is something to be reckoned with.
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Poll: 47% of Chicago voters support striking teachers
Chicago teachers are taking on the education agenda of the one percent, and that means they're taking a beating in the media. But a new poll shows that it would be a mistake to take negative headlines and criticism from pundits and politicians as representative of what Chicago voters think. It turns out that 47 percent support the strike, with 39 percent opposed.
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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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