Tag Archives: Chicago Public Schools

Without a Passed Bill This Week, Chicago Must Announce School Closings by Saturday

No matter where you live in Illinois, your legislators will hear from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week. Emanuel’s Chicago Public Schools desperately wants a change in state law so it will have until March to decide which of up to 120 schools it will close as it struggles to balance its budget. If lawmakers don’t pass a bill this week, the district will have to announce all closure plans by Saturday


What Not To Do?: Follow The CPS Example

All Illinois school districts should study Chicago Public Schools as an example of what not to do. It needs to close more than 100 schools, but its CEO acknowledges it first needs to gain “trust, respect and transparency” among parents. Bad policy over the years has created a toxic relationship between the school system and those it is supposed to serve.



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Brizard’s Departure Resonates Beyond Chicago Politics

The departure of Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard is a story that resonates well beyond the Chicago city limits. It’s another chapter in the ongoing story of implementing new state education reforms.

Brizard Out as Chicago Public School CEO

Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, one of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s top hires, resigned Thursday after 17 months on the job. He was the school system’s fourth CEO in four years and leaves in the wake of a seven-day teachers’ strike during which Brizard largely was absent.


Charter Schools on the Rise In Chicago. What happens to the Shrinking Publics?

Chicago appears poised for a big increase in charter schools as it decides what to do with around 100 schools whose shrinking enrollment makes them targets for possible closure.

Retirement Benefits for Teachers

Cuts to cost-of-living adjustments must happen now to insure retirement benefits are there when current teachers retire, says the head of the state’s largest pension plan, Illinois Teachers Retirement System. Without a change, TRS chief Richard Ingram warns, “’It’s likely that benefits are impaired today, that we’re looking at the possibility in the future of not being able to pay them.” One-fourth of TRS benefit payments are for COLAs, Ingram tells Crain’s Chicago Business. 



Chicago Teachers Union vs. Emanuel

The Chicago teachers’ strike made Chicago the focus of national attention as a powerful Democratic mayor squared off against an equally powerful teachers’ union. Today the Chicago Teachers Union is set to vote on the contract at the center of the strike. Whether Mayor Rahm Emanuel or the CTU “won” is open to debate. Who didn’t win? Students, who lost seven school days. 

Labor Issues

 “The district will be hard-pressed to make the budget adjustments necessary to close an estimated $1 billion budget gap for fiscal 2014. In particular, the duration of the recent CTU strike demonstrates that labor issues may continue to be a ratings factor.” Moody’s Investor Service, which last week downgraded Chicago Public Schools’ credit rating for the second time since July.

Rahm Eyes Expanding Charter Schools

With Chicago students back in the classroom, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is free to push ahead with a key component in his effort to reform the city’s public education system — the expansion of charter schools. Chicago’s charters reported a higher graduation rate for the year ending in June 2011 than CPS did — 73.8% to 60.6%, according to state and CPS records.

A Civic Federation report found that most local networks were in good financial health, and it found that charter schools tend to spend a smaller percentage of their expenses on instruction than CPS. Researcher David Stuit, a consultant to charters and other public schools, said the ability for charters to operate more cheaply is made possible by the charter workforce, which is typically nonunion and tends to be made up of young, entry-level teachers. But many of them leave due to the lack of potential for income growth.

Appendix F of the second report by Mayor Emanuel’s ethics reform task force is a diagram showing how alleged violations of the city’s current ethics ordinance are investigated and resolved. The task force members call it “the spaghetti chart.”

According to the Tribune editorial board, it’s migraine-inducing. Suffice it to say, the process is complicated — needlessly, deliberately complicated. What goes in may never come out, and you, the taxpayer, are supposed to take it on faith that alleged ethical breaches are being vetted rigorously and dealt with properly. A new process, streamlined and more transparent, is recommendation No. 38 in the task force report. The mayor’s office will draft a proposed ordinance based on those suggestions. The changes would go a long way toward fulfilling Emanuel’s promised ethics reforms, but only if he fights all attempts to water them down.

Where do things stand with the CTU Strike?

Reboot Our Schools – Confused over where things stand on the CTU strike? No one knows for sure when it will end. But parents have two chances in the next two days to see the strike end. The union’s House of Delegates could vote Tuesday afternoon to suspend it, or a judge on Wednesday could grant a city motion and halt it.

If the two sides had a deal, why didn’t the House of Delegates call off the strike Sunday? Because they had the “framework’’ of a deal. The delegates wanted to see more written contract language and get feedback from the teachers they represent before deciding to lift the strike. The roughly 800 delegates will have that chance at a meeting that begins at 3 p.m. Tuesday. The Chicago Sun-Times answers more FAQs.

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