Source: Carol Caref, Sarah Hainds, Pavlyn Jankov with assistance from Brandon Bordenkircher, Chicago Teachers Union Research Department, 2014
From the press release:
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) released today a report on the state of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) one year after the Board of Education (BOE) voted to close 49 elementary schools and one high school program, the largest, one-time school closing action in U.S. history and a decision made in the wake of massive opposition and protests throughout the city of Chicago.
The study, titled “Twelve Months Later: The Impact of School Closings in Chicago,” looks at what happened as a result of the mass school closings of 2013, and answers such questions as: Were CPS promises for receiving schools kept? How much money was saved? Did resources increase at affected schools? Have services increased for special education students at consolidated schools.
On May 22, 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked BOE shuttered 50 neighborhood school communities, “turned around” five schools and co-located 17 others. Faced with widespread opposition to this action, CPS promised hundreds of millions of dollars in capital improvements and transition supports for schools receiving students from closed schools. CTU examination of the evidence has found, however, that promises made to receiving schools were hollow in many cases and only partially fulfilled in others. Among the findings:
– Receiving schools are still disproportionately under-resourced compared to other elementary schools.
– Students were moved to schools with libraries, but funds weren’t available to hire librarians. Just 38% of receiving schools have librarians on staff, whereas across CPS, 55% of elementary schools have librarians.
– Computer labs were upgraded at receiving schools but only one-fifth of these schools have technology teachers.
– CPS touted iPads for all receiving-school students, but included few related professional learning opportunities for teachers.
– CPS spent millions on large-scale programmatic changes at 30 elementary schools, but the success and continued funding of STEM and IB programs remain to be seen….
Despite Community Pleas, Three Chicago Schools Slated for Privatization
Source: Kyle Lydersen, In These Times, Working In These Times blog, April 24, 2014
The Chicago Board of Education’s vote on Wednesday to convert three public elementary schools into “turnaround schools” run by the non-profit Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) was no surprise to most parents and teachers. The board has consistently voted to close schools or turn them over to private management—laying off most of the staff in the process—despite overwhelming opposition, anxiety and outrage expressed in heartfelt testimony by parents, teachers, students and elected officials at scores of public meetings…..Even before the April 23 meeting, the board members should have been well aware that public sentiment stood firmly against “turning around” McNair Elementary, Gresham Elementary and Dvorak Technology Academy, all of which are in predominantly African-American neighborhoods. …. AUSL already runs 29 Chicago schools with more than 17,000 students. Now it will take over the three elementary schools in the fall, and 147 employees, including 76 teachers, will lose their jobs. The school district says that the teachers will be allowed to reapply for their jobs and that about 60 percent of teachers laid off from turnaround schools receive positions somewhere in the Chicago public-school system by the next fall. But these jobs can be anywhere in the city, offering little consolation to parents who emphasized how teachers at neighborhood schools are like family to the students, especially since multiple generations have attended the same schools and even had the same teachers…..
Protestors Brave Sub-Zero Weather in Bid To Freeze Chicago’s Charter Expansion
Source: Matthew Blake, In These Times, Working In These Times blog, January 22, 2014
On Tuesday night, a few dozen die-hard Chicago Teachers Union members and students braved the bitter cold to hold an overnight candlelight vigil outside the Chicago Public School’s downtown headquarters, protesting the expansion of charter schools in the city. … In spite of the so-called polar vortex sweeping over the Windy City, a few dedicated souls even camped outside headquarters overnight until the CPS Board of Education arrived Wednesday morning to consider adding 17 new charter school campuses from eight separate charter networks. But the board, following the recommendations of CPS officials, voted to approve seven of the charter applications. … Despite the early promise of charters for labor, their faculties continue to be almost entirely non-union. Moreover, there is arguably little evidence charters improve student performance, while there is plenty to show charters weaken organized labor. Chicago began to build charters in 1997; they now make up 138 of the district’s 658 schools. The school board recently opened 15 new charter campuses after closing 48 neighborhood public schools in summer 2013…..
Chicago charter schools rake in thousands in ‘disciplinary fees’
Source: Traci G. Lee, MSNBC, January 3, 2013
As public funding for Chicago charter schools increases, so do questions about accountability and governance within these publicly-funded–but privately-run–institutions. According to the Chicago Public Schools’ 2013 budget, charter schools will receive nearly $483 million in funding, up more than 13% from funding in 2012. … But a recent report raises red flags on the lack of accountability at one of Noble’s charter schools. Marsha Godard, a parent at Chicago Bulls College Prep, told DNAinfo Chicago that she paid nearly $2,000 in fees to keep her son at school. … Godard’s son was fined for various offenses, including an unkempt appearance and not making eye contact. Other items in Noble’s strict student code include ”chewing gum, possessing soft drinks or energy drinks like Red Bull, eating chips, not tucking in a shirt after being warned and carrying a permanent marker.”
This is not the first time the Noble Network has received criticism for the fees. In February, parents protested the Noble Network for charging fees as disciplinary action. According to the Chicago Tribune, Noble raked in approximately $200,000 in disciplinary fees in 2011 and almost $400,000 since the 2008-09 school year….
CPS plans 60 more charters in 5 years
Source: Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Chicago Tribune, May 16, 2012
Chicago Public Schools plans to create 60 more charter schools over five years, which would increase the share of privately run charters to about a quarter of all schools in the district. The plan for charter growth, part of a larger proposal for 100 new schools over the same five years, is laid out in an application seeking $20 million for charter schools from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Right now the district’s 675 schools include 110 charters, which get tax dollars but are privately controlled. Private organizations also operate an additional 27 schools, 19 of which are managed by the Academy for Urban School Leadership….