WBEZ | Arne Duncan http://www.wbez.org/tags/arne-duncan Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Pritzker would join growing list of Chicagoans in White House http://www.wbez.org/news/pritzker-would-join-growing-list-chicagoans-white-house-106970 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP766081941098.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Even before Penny Pritzker was nominated to be Commerce Secretary, her detractors had been accusing President Obama of cronyism for even considering her for the job.</p><p>Pritzker, a billionaire Chicago businesswoman, has long been a political ally and big fundraiser for Obama. And if her nomination is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Pritzker would be far from the first Chicagoan to leave the Windy City for the Obama White House.</p><p>The city&rsquo;s reputation for political nepotism has made Obama&rsquo;s hometown appointments an easy target for his critics. But one expert on Obama presidential patronage suggested presidents are wise to promote from within their inner circle.</p><p>After all, Obama helped win election in 2008 with the help of two top advisors, Chicagoans David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett. Once in office, he tapped former Chicago Public Schools chief Arne Duncan to be Education Secretary, University of Chicago economist Austan Goolsbee to be a top economic advisor, and two successive chiefs of staff to muscle through his agenda &ndash; current Mayor Rahm Emanuel and William Daley, brother to the former mayor, and all are Chicagoans.</p><p>Then there&rsquo;s Rabbi Sam Gordon, of Congregation Sukkat Shalom, in north suburban Wilmette.</p><p>Gordon was appointed last month to the board that oversees the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, one of hundreds of presidential appointments that don&rsquo;t get much press coverage.</p><p>So how&rsquo;d he get it?</p><p>Not likely from the $1,000 he&rsquo;s donated to Obama&rsquo;s presidential campaigns.</p><p>&ldquo;Last time I checked, I&rsquo;m not a major donor, that&rsquo;s right,&rdquo; Gordon joked.</p><p>But Gordon says he did know the president at the genesis of his political career, adding that his daughter even volunteered on one of Obama&rsquo;s early State Senate campaigns.</p><p>So the president already knew Gordon was plugged into the Jewish community &ndash; and, yes, the Chicago connection helped him get the unpaid appointment, he said.</p><p>&ldquo;I wouldn&rsquo;t know the president if it weren&rsquo;t for Chicago,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I mean, that&rsquo;s one of the great things about being in Chicago, uh, and the great things about a community that is so open and where people can know each other so well.&rdquo;</p><p>Not everyone buys the power of Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think it really has too much to do with a geographic location,&rdquo; said Louis B. Susman, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Susman was a top political fundraiser for Obama before getting his ambassadorship &ndash; the kind of cushy posting that&rsquo;s often seen as a reward for top political allies.</p><p>But Susman says that&rsquo;s not the whole picture.</p><p>&ldquo;Look, obviously you appoint people that have worked hard for you, but he&rsquo;s not going to appoint people that he doesn&rsquo;t think can do the job,&rdquo; Susman said of the president.</p><p>Both Susman and Gordon represent two typical types of presidential appointees: The long-time supporter and the political loyalist, said Vanderbilt University&rsquo;s Dave Lewis, who has studied patronage in the Obama White House.</p><p>There is always the risk of bad political optics and the impression of insider dealing when presidents appoint from their own political circles, Lewis said. It&rsquo;s not uncommon: Lewis said President Clinton had his appointees from Arkansas, and President George W. Bush tapped Texans.</p><p>Lewis called Pritzker a &ldquo;triple threat,&rdquo; because she was not only an early Obama supporter and a prolific fundraiser, but her business acumen makes her a good fit as Commerce Secretary.</p><p>&ldquo;And you wanna reward people who have publicly supported you for a long time because that sends the right signal to other people who are considering whether or not to support you, and she fills all of those criteria,&rdquo; Lewis said.</p><p>And, Lewis says, the Chicago connection doesn&rsquo;t hurt, either.</p><p><em>Alex Keefe is a political reporter for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter at <a href="http://twitter.com/akeefe" target="_blank">@akeefe</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 03 May 2013 09:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/pritzker-would-join-growing-list-chicagoans-white-house-106970 Secret [redacted] clout list for Chicago Public Schools http://www.wbez.org/news/secret-redacted-clout-list-chicago-public-schools-106846 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP081113041115.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This is the &ldquo;<a href="http://www.ilcampaign.org/mayor-daley-defends-secret-school-admissions">secret log</a>&rdquo; that Arne Duncan&rsquo;s administration kept to manage requests by public officials and other connected Chicagoans seeking to get their children into the city&rsquo;s elite grammar and high schools, many of which admit students only by test score or lottery. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/how-much-demand-there-chicago-charter-schools-no-one-knows-106418">Recent figures show </a>that at some of the schools there are 20, 30, or even 50 times more applications than available seats.</p><p>In 2010 the Chicago Tribune first <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-03-23/news/ct-met-cps-admissions-0323--20100322_1_schools-chief-arne-duncan-principals-david-pickens">reported </a>that Arne Duncan&rsquo;s office had kept a list of &nbsp;VIPs seeking favors to get kids into coveted schools, and that it included &ldquo;25 aldermen, Mayor Richard Daley&#39;s office, House Speaker Michael Madigan, his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.&rdquo;</p><p>This week, Crain&rsquo;s is reporting that likely GOP gubernatorial candidate <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130424/BLOGS02/130429892/bruce-rauner-clouted-kid-into-payton-high-school-sources-say">Bruce Rauner got his daughter clouted in</a> to elite Walter Payton High School, where one in three students come from private grammar schools. One of the entries on this log may be his.</p><p>News about the log, plus investigations by the Chicago Public Schools Inspector General and, reportedly, federal investigators, prompted the district under CEO Ron Huberman to implement a centralized admissions system, a tightened principal discretion system and audits that are supposed to flag suspicious admissions.</p><p>A top Duncan aide who maintained the list told the Chicago Sun-Times this was <a href="http://www.ilcampaign.org/node/1007">not a backdoor way </a>into the city&rsquo;s most coveted schools. He said many of those requesting assistance didn&rsquo;t get it.</p><p>This is the first time the actual log has been made public. WBEZ obtained the redacted log through an open records request, with assistance from the Illinois Attorney General&rsquo;s Public Access Counselor. It took nearly a year to obtain.</p><p>Names of parents requesting admission for their children are redacted. The only names not redacted are those of elected officials, high-level school or city officials, or other individuals who forwarded requests to Arne Duncan. Requests coming directly from Duncan appear as &ldquo;AD&rdquo; on the log. Petitions from Duncan&rsquo;s wife appear as &ldquo;KD&rdquo; on the log. &nbsp;</p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/137985829/CPS-secret-clout-list" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View CPS secret clout list on Scribd">CPS secret clout list</a> by <a href="http://www.scribd.com/WBEZ915" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="1.64745011086475" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="420" id="doc_62470" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/137985829/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-1pruxoc60z9k1ce97ymt" width="620"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 15:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/secret-redacted-clout-list-chicago-public-schools-106846 Cayne Collier: Does Arne Duncan need a parent teacher conference? http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-15/cayne-collier-does-arne-duncan-need-parent-teacher-conference-96396 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-14/3548577209_bc59df9ef0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-14/3548577209_bc59df9ef0.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 200px; " title="Arne Duncan at a hearing in 2009. (Flickr/House Committee on Education)">Comedian Cayne Collier takes a look at a new investigation by the Better Government Association that reveals that the city is losing money handing out back vacation pay to employees. But according to Collier, these payouts might have a silver lining we're not looking at. Read an excerpt or listen below:</p><p><em>Halfway through the school year, Chicago Public Schools has already made headlines: by announcing a $700 million deficit, by rescinding - in light of the deficit - an expected four percent pay raise to teachers this year, [by engaging in a] drawn out public battle with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who seems like he'd give half a finger from his other hand to make the school days longer.</em></p><p><em>Well now comes this: Late last week, the first report by the Better Government Association's <a href="http://www.bettergov.org/ill-gotten_gains_at_cps_unused_sick_days_pay_off/">Education Watch Series</a>, revealed that since 2006, CPS paid out $265 million for unused sick and vacation days, with the largest chunk, $227 million, going to longtime employees for days accrued over two to three decades. That's a lot of time.</em></p><p><em>The story made national headlines when the report showed that U.S. Secretary of Education and former CEO of Chicago Public Schools Arne Duncan, when leaving for the White House in 2009 after seven years in that position, took with him $50,297 in unused vacation pay by benefit of this policy.</em></p><p><em>Somebody needs a parent teacher conference.</em></p><p><span class="filefield_audio_insert_player" href="/sites/default/files/cayne collier.mp3" id="filefield_audio_insert_player-125739" player="null">cayne collier.mp3</span></p><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a><em>&nbsp;is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It's always at 3 p.m., it's always on Saturday, and it's always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine&nbsp;<em>needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.org/thepapermachete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 15 Feb 2012 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-15/cayne-collier-does-arne-duncan-need-parent-teacher-conference-96396 Education secretary supports longer school day http://www.wbez.org/story/education-secretary-supports-longer-school-day-91806 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-09/photo.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says a longer school day in Chicago is a no-brainer.</p><p>The secretary was in Chicago on Friday as part of a national bus tour to promote state education reform. Duncan spoke on a panel with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on the last stop of his trip.</p><p>Duncan told reporters he wishes he could have made the school day longer when he was the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, as it is "hugely important."<br> <br> "To have Chicago have the shortest school day and the shortest school year amongst other big city urban districts, that's not a badge of honor. That's something we should be ashamed of," Duncan said.&nbsp;</p><p>The Chicago Teachers Union has said it's concerned about the quality of a longer school day. The union has said CPS could be violating union contracts by negotiating directly with teachers and has<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/union-takes-legal-steps-against-cps-over-attempts-lengthen-school-day-91725"> filed legal action against the school district. &nbsp;</a><br> <br> Mayor Rahm Emanuel said there isn't any problem with individual schools voting for a longer school day.</p><p>"I think it's empowering parents, empowering children, and empowering teachers, since the teachers are taking the vote. They have the process to make that decision as is defined in the contract. This is exactly following the contract as drafted," Emanuel said.</p><p>Emanuel has offered financial incentives to schools and teachers to lengthen the day, and five schools have agreed to work outside the union to do it thus far.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 09 Sep 2011 22:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/education-secretary-supports-longer-school-day-91806 Duncan supports Indiana’s school reforms http://www.wbez.org/story/duncan-supports-indiana%E2%80%99s-school-reforms-91729 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-08/duncan-PTB-0909-7.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Indiana’s schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has been getting a lot of heat for his state’s aggressive move to take over five poor-performing schools in recent weeks.</p><p>Even as recently as Thursday afternoon, Bennett was in Gary to once again defend the state’s decision to replace management of Roosevelt Career and Technical Academy with that of a privately run company.</p><p>But the Republican Bennett got some reassurance that Indiana’s on the right path -- most notably from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Bennett said he spoke to Duncan just days before he announced the state of Indiana would be taking over the five schools, including four in Indianapolis.</p><p>“Secretary Duncan didn’t say ‘Tony, is it popular?’ He didn’t say, ‘Tony, will you be getting push-back?’ Secretary Duncan said it’s the right thing to do. And if people want to hear what I think, have them call me,” Bennett said in introducing Duncan at a Thursday evening event at the Radisson Hotel in Merrillville, about an hour south of Chicago.</p><p>Duncan visited Merrillville as part of his bus tour of Midwestern cities. The former Chicago schools CEO gave the keynote address at the One Region, One Vision initiative put on by the Northwest Indiana Quality of Life Council. More than 300 of the region’s movers and shakers in business, higher education and economic development attended.</p><p>Duncan said he’s familiar with the track record of poor-performing schools in Northwest Indiana cities such as Gary, Hammond and East Chicago. He said schools in more affluent suburban areas are doing better, but they need improvement, too.</p><p>“It’s true that the school system here in Northwest Indiana has been described as balkanized. You have some of the top-performing schools in the state in affluent areas. You also have some of the lowest performing schools in the urban cores. But in my view those differences are actually exaggerated,” Duncan said. “The higher performing schools in the region are not doing as well as some people might think. At the same time, the performance of low performing schools are not as ‘entrapped’ as some residents may believe.”</p><p>Duncan spoke shortly before President Obama was to have delivered his major jobs creation speech before Congress.</p><p>Duncan said better education can be a catalyst for economic growth because some employers in Northwest Indiana, a five-county region of more than 800,000 residents, complain about not having enough skilled or educated candidates to hire.</p><p>He challenged educators on every level – from elementary to college – to do better at preparing students for success.</p><p>“Successful reform requires tough-minded collaboration, not confrontation. Complacency, clinging to the status quo and continued tinkering around the margins will not solve Northwest Indiana’s sweeping educational challenges,” Duncan said.</p><p>Those challenges in Northwest Indiana, he said, include elevating career- and college-readiness among high school students; developing a more robust college-going culture; encouraging innovation; and providing the highest quality of math, science and technology instruction.</p><p>Bennett said that Duncan, an appointee of Democratic President Barack Obama, proves that improving education is not about politics.</p><p>“Our children do not walk into our schools with D’s and R’s stamped on their tails,” Bennett said. “Secretary Duncan has probably been the model of bipartisanship at the national level. Secretary Duncan is a man who believes that we have to tackle the most important issue as it pertains to the future of our nation. And that is the issue of building a college and career ready workforce that rivals anywhere else in the world.”</p><p>Duncan’s bus tour will visit Milwaukee on Friday before wrapping it up in his hometown of Chicago in the late afternoon.</p></p> Fri, 09 Sep 2011 03:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/duncan-supports-indiana%E2%80%99s-school-reforms-91729 Potential model for education reform hits snag in the Illinois House http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-06/potential-model-education-reform-hits-snag-illinois-house-86152 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-06/Lightford_013_Display.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/house/" target="_blank">Illinois House</a> is considering an education bill with an unusual background. The legislation involved four months of intense negotiations among parties that are often bitterly divided: Teachers unions, school administrators and business groups.</p><p>The bill sailed through the Illinois Senate; now it goes to the House.&nbsp; If it becomes law, a sea change may lay ahead for teachers in Illinois.</p><p>But after months of crafting consensus, things recently began to shift. Reporter Kristen McQueary joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to talk about whether the bill could be derailed.</p><p>Reporter Kristen McQueary covers state government for WBEZ and the <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/author/kristen-mcqueary/" target="_blank">Chicago News Cooperative</a>.</p><p><em>Adulture's Music Button: Adulture, "Gary's Theme," Pleasure and Pressure 3 (Solid Bump Records)</em></p></p> Fri, 06 May 2011 13:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-06/potential-model-education-reform-hits-snag-illinois-house-86152 Turnaround school gets turned around again http://www.wbez.org/story/turnaround-school-gets-turned-around-again-85474 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-20/Sims.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama and congressional leaders may be trying to cut the federal budget, but they’ve agreed to pour more than a half-billion dollars of new funds into Race to the Top, the president’s signature education program. It aims to turn around low-performing schools by taking steps like bringing in an outside group to replace the staff and run the school. Education Secretary Arne Duncan helped pioneer that model as Chicago schools chief. The city now has 12 turnaround schools. But their record is mixed and Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has not said where he stands on them yet. A school near Chicago’s Garfield Park shows that the turnaround strategy is anything but a panacea.</p><p>MITCHELL: When classes change at Orr Academy High School, Tyese Sims drops everything and joins a dozen security guards patrolling the halls. She’s the new principal. And she keeps an eye on all three floors.</p><p>SIMS: I run up these stairs every day, all day.</p><p>MITCHELL: I bet you’re in pretty good shape.</p><p>SIMS: I guess!</p><p>SIMS (to students): Excuse me. What are we doing? Keep it moving.</p><p>MITCHELL: Almost every student in sight is wearing a school-issued polo shirt, either black or gold.</p><p>SIMS: Come on. Hurry up. 30 seconds.</p><p>MITCHELL: By the time the tardy bell rings, the halls are empty again.</p><p>SIMS: You don’t hear loud noises coming out of the rooms. It’s quiet. It’s calm.</p><p>MITCHELL: Orr Academy is undergoing its second turnaround in three years. In 2008, Chicago officials consolidated three small high schools that had occupied the building. To run the new Orr, the district contracted a nonprofit group called AUSL. That’s short for Academy for Urban School Leadership. AUSL brought in new teachers and staffers and a new principal. But student test scores after the first turnaround remained dismal. And Sims says there were other problems.<br> <br> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://public.tableausoftware.com/javascripts/api/viz_v1.js"></script></p><div id="tableau_hide_this" style="width: 654px; height: 634px;">&nbsp;</div><object class="tableauViz" style="display: none;" width="654" height="634"><param name="host_url" value="http%3A%2F%2Fpublic.tableausoftware.com%2F"><param name="name" value="PSAEscoresatOrrandpredecessors/Dashboard1"><param name="tabs" value="no"><param name="toolbar" value="yes"><param name="animate_transition" value="yes"><param name="display_static_image" value="yes"><param name="display_spinner" value="yes"><param name="display_overlay" value="yes"></object><noscript>Dashboard 1 <br /><a href="#"><img alt="Dashboard 1 " src="http:&#47;&#47;public.tableausoftware.com&#47;static&#47;images&#47;PS&#47;PSAEscoresatOrrandpredecessors&#47;Dashboard1&#47;1_rss.png" height="100%" /></a></noscript><div style="width: 654px; height: 22px; padding: 0px 10px 0px 0px; color: black; font: 8pt verdana,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><div style="float: right; padding-right: 8px;"><a href="http://www.tableausoftware.com/public?ref=http://public.tableausoftware.com/views/PSAEscoresatOrrandpredecessors/Dashboard1" target="_blank">Powered by Tableau</a></div></div><p>SIMS: When I came before — profane language, being disrespectful to peers, being disrespectful to other adults — I did see it. It was just something I wanted to change.</p><p>MITCHELL: Now AUSL has changed Orr’s principal again. The group brought in Sims in the middle of the semester. During her first month, the school gave students 310 out-of-school suspensions. A handful resulted from behavior the district calls “very serious” — things like assault, alcohol use and vandalism. Most suspensions concerned infractions like tardiness, disobedience and disruption. Sims says she also dropped almost three dozen students for poor attendance.</p><p>SIMS: If we’re really preparing them for the real world, there’s no way we can keep a job and, with missing this number of days and being tardy, they’ll think, ‘Wow, my high school didn’t prepare me. This was acceptable there, but now I’m in the real world and it’s not like that.’</p><p>LANG: When you’re first starting something new and you’re changing, people have to take it seriously.</p><p>MITCHELL: AUSL’s Debbra Lang oversees Orr and two other high schools the group runs for the Chicago district. Lang says AUSL is applying what’s called the broken-windows theory. It’s a way some police try to keep the peace by focusing on low-level offenses like vandalism. Lang says the approach works for schools, too.</p><p>LANG: The precursor to fighting is often a slew of curse words. And so we would much rather intervene — deal with the cursing — rather than having it lead to fighting. What we’re really encouraging is an environment where learning can take place.</p><p>MITCHELL: Not everyone is happy about that encouragement. 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett got so many calls about Orr Academy’s latest turnaround that he held a community forum with Principal Sims. She got mixed reactions there from parents...</p><p>MOTHER: Two-day suspension for ‘damn’ — for the words — I think that that’s a little harsh.</p><p>GRANDMOTHER: I like your approach to what you’re doing at the school with the children. They need to have some respect.</p><p>FATHER: My son comes home suspended two days. Where was that phone call to the parents?</p><p>MITCHELL: ...and from teachers and counselors.</p><p>TEACHER: The history at Orr has been inconsistency. You take your kids to Whitney Young, they know on Day 1, ‘I can’t curse in class.’ This year, we’re getting that message half-way into the third semester. That’s where you’re going to get push-back from students.</p><p>COUNSELOR: I’ve never seen Orr any better than it is now. You can walk in that school — I would ask anybody to walk in that school and just walk around.</p><p>MITCHELL: The alderman’s forum also turned out young people. An Orr Academy senior stood up and said she’d like a turnaround of some school staff attitudes.</p><p>STUDENT: Students curse out adults. Adults curse out students. The students are the only group of people being addressed for that.</p><p>MITCHELL: A community organizer spoke up for students who end up on the street.</p><p>ORGANIZER: This is not the first time where we had phone calls from parents, saying, ‘I feel like my kid is getting pushed out.’</p><p>MITCHELL: But Alderman Burnett urged everyone to give the school’s new leaders a chance.</p><p>BURNETT: We just lost a principal at Orr because they didn’t think he was doing well enough. So these principals, just like everyone else, have a duty to do things in order to keep their jobs too.</p><p>JENNINGS: This is a daunting task.</p><p>MITCHELL: Jack Jennings of the Washington-based Center on Education Policy says there’s not much evidence yet that the turnaround model works.</p><p>JENNINGS: These schools serve very poor students who bring the problems of poverty into the school — namely one-parent homes, sometimes parents being on drugs. These schools generally are in dangerous neighborhoods. Sometimes there’s a lack of security in the building itself. These schools have teachers that are frequently discouraged because they’ve tried to improve for years and they’re not being given adequate help. And a number schools do everything right and they still don’t succeed in turning around. And some schools that have become better, if they don’t receive assistance over a couple more years, will slide back and wind up in the same type of trouble [that they were in] before.</p><p>MITCHELL: Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel’s team didn’t respond when we asked whether he’d try to turn around more schools. This week he did announce that two AUSL officials would fill top city education posts. The turnaround approach isn’t the only vision for improving the nation’s worst schools. In Chicago, the teachers union suggests more social services for students and decent jobs for parents. Those remedies could be expensive, though. At Orr Academy, Principal Sims insists that simpler steps can go a long way.</p><p>SIMS: It’s just structures in place so we can have a safe, orderly environment for our students so learning can take place.</p><p>MITCHELL: Simpler steps like getting kids to class on time.</p><p>SIMS: Let’s go baby. Come on, let’s hustle.</p></p> Thu, 21 Apr 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/turnaround-school-gets-turned-around-again-85474 Education Secretary Arne Duncan is confident he'll have bipartisan support for reformed NCLB act this year http://www.wbez.org/story/us-secy-education-arne-duncan-85153 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-13/Arne Duncan_Getty_Chip Somodevilla.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan returned to Chicago on Wednesday to support increased funding for early childhood education. While in town, Duncan, the former CEO of Chicago's Public Schools, spoke with Eight Forty-Eight host Alison Cuddy about the reform and reauthorizaiton of the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as standardized testing and the future of Chicago's schools under Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel. Here's an edited transcript of their conversation:</p><p><strong>What's your vision for your hometown?&nbsp; We are still struggling with school reform in this city.&nbsp; Where do you think we should be headed?&nbsp; </strong></p><p>Absolutely, Chicago like probably every other big city - New York and LA and everyone else - has a long way to go, but I’m really hopeful about where Chicago is going to go. I’ve worked obviously over the past two years with Rahm Emanuel, who is the upcoming mayor. He has a huge passion for this work.&nbsp; He is going to spend a tremendous amount of his time and political capital on improving the quality of education. I think he is going to build a great management team and, you know, Chicago is not unique in having some real challenges and having a long way to go, but I think there is a real huge opportunity over the next couple of years for Chicago to go to the next level and, again, I’m going to do whatever I can to support the local leadership once that team's in place.</p><p><strong>In terms of what the next level is for Chicago, do you envision a system largely driven by charter schools?</strong></p><p>That's never the magic answer. For me the goal is: How do you significantly reduce the dropout rate? How do you increase the graduation rate? How do you make sure your high school graduates are college and career-ready?&nbsp; Great charter schools are part of the solution, and bad charter schools are part of the problem. Great traditional schools are part of the solution, bad traditional schools are part of the problem. And how do you improve great teachers and principals? How do you better engage parents? How do you create school as a community centers with the wrap-around services they need? And we just need more good schools in Chicago, and we need outcomes that continue to help students have an opportunity to fulfill their dreams.</p><p><strong>One of the ways we have measured success in schools is testing.&nbsp; And President Obama said recently that testing and too much teaching-to-the-test is punitive.&nbsp; It makes school boring for students.&nbsp; He'd like a scenario in which tests are given every few years to establish a baseline of student performance.&nbsp; That's not the plan under your educational model.&nbsp; What do you think about his comments?</strong></p><p>No, the President and I are absolutely consistent: where you have folks that are being overtested and when people are teaching to the test, that’s not helpful to students at all. Having a well-rounded curriculum is something that we want to invest a billion dollars in - not just reading and math, but in science, social studies and P.E and art and music and financial literacy and foreign languages and environmental literacy.&nbsp; We want a well-rounded curriculum.&nbsp; Many schools have walked away from that, in part, due to No Child Left Behind.&nbsp; We want to fix that law, and we want to do it in a bipartisan way and we want to do it before the students go back to school this Fall.</p><p><strong>We have done recent reporting that suggests many classrooms are really driven by testing at this point.&nbsp; So, how do you decide where over-testing is occurring?&nbsp; And how do you change that?</strong></p><p>Well, we do have districts where there [are] state tests, local tests, district tests - and when that kind of thing happens, that's when folks are getting carried away. For me, the point is not just an annual assessment, but formative, ongoing assessment - no stakes at all, but really giving teachers, students and parents real, concrete feedback to what they are learning, where they are struggling, [and] helping teachers differentiate instructions. [When] I look at high-performing schools, they are almost routinely using that kind of information to help students who are having a hard time either during a school day or after school or at home.&nbsp; And I think being much more thoughtful [with] this stuff is absolutely the way to go.</p><p><strong>How is ongoing 'formative assessment' different from testing?</strong></p><p>There are no stakes involved in it.&nbsp; And so there's [nothing] punitive...it's simply giving information to teachers as to what their are students learning so they have a real concrete sense on an ongoing basis [of] not what they are teaching, but [of] what the student is actually absorbing, what are they learning.</p><p><strong>As you mentioned earlier, we're overdue for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act.&nbsp; In terms of reforms, what do you think should stay? And what do you think should go?</strong></p><p>I think that aggregating data and looking at achievement gaps is hugely important<span style="font-weight: bold;">.&nbsp; </span>I think the country used to try and sweep those difficult conversations under the rug, and we need to have those tough conversations.&nbsp; But I think so much of the current law is broken.&nbsp; It's far too punitive. There are about 50 ways to fail and no rewards for success. The only reward for success is that you're not labeled a failure. That makes no sense whatsoever. The law is very, very prescriptive, very top-down from Washington. That’s crazy to me.&nbsp;</p><p>I always tell the story that when I ran Chicago Public Schools I almost had to sue the Department of Education to tutor our children in Chicago afterschool.&nbsp; That's crazy.&nbsp; Why should I have to fight the Department of Education to do that?&nbsp;</p><p>The law led to a dumbing-down of standards around the country, and it led to the narrowing of the curriculum that you and I talked about.&nbsp; That's by far the biggest complaint I’ve heard as I've traveled throughout the country from students and teacher and parents. So we have to fix all of those things.&nbsp; We have to make sure that we are rewarding great teachers, great schools, great districts, [and] great states that are raising the bar and closing the achievement gap. We have to shine a huge spotlight on success.&nbsp; We have to provide much more flexibility, not trying to trying micromanage things.&nbsp;</p><p>My grand bargain is that you hold people accountable to a high bar, but give them lots of room to create and innovate - and to let local educators make a difference in lives. So again, yes, reading and math are fundamental and foundational, but science, social studies, history, foreign language, dance, drama, art, music, physical education has to be the norm - and not just to high school students, but for young children.&nbsp; So, we think we can fix this law and do it in a common sense way and work in a bipartisan manner to get it done.</p><p><strong>How confident are you that you will have bipartisan support for (the) reforms you just outlined?</strong></p><p>I’m hopeful. From Day 1, we have tried to work in an absolutely bipartisan way and I think the country feels a sense of urgency. We just have many other countries that are out-educating us. We have a 25 percent drop-out rate in this country. That’s a million young people leaving our schools for our streets. That’s just not sustainable. And we have about two-thousand high schools that are producing half of our nation's drop-outs. They are producing 75% of our drop-outs from the minority community - our African Americans, Latinos, young boys and girls.&nbsp; We can't have a strong country if that continues to be the norm, so I think everyone shares my sense of urgency.&nbsp; We are continuing to work together and to put in place common sense solutions: rewarding excellence, more flexibility, trying to make sure many more students graduate from high school and that they graduate college and career-ready. These things don’t have a political tone to them whatsoever.&nbsp; It's the right thing to do for our children, and the right thing to do for our country.</p></p> Wed, 13 Apr 2011 20:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/us-secy-education-arne-duncan-85153 Illinois schools to get $22M in federal funding http://www.wbez.org/story/arne-duncan/illinois-schools-get-22m-federal-funding-83920 <p><p><font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Federal officials say Illinois will get more than</span> <font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">$22 million for low achieving schools through a school improvement</span></font> <font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">program.</span></font></font></p><p><font size="2" face="Arial"><font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">School districts will have to apply to the state for the funds.</span></font></font> <font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">They must indicate that they'll try one of four school</span></font> <font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">intervention models.</span></font> <font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Those include a so-called turnaround model that will replace the</span></font> <font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">principal, existing staff and adopt a new governance structure.</span></font></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Another is called the &quot;restart model&quot; and entails converting a</span></font> <font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">school to a charter school under an education management</span></font> <font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">organization.</span></font></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says when a school is</span></font> <font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">performing at the bottom 5 percent in the state and isn't showing</span></font> <font size="2" face="Arial"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">signs of progress, something dramatic must be done.</span></font></p></p> Fri, 18 Mar 2011 16:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/arne-duncan/illinois-schools-get-22m-federal-funding-83920 Senior U.S. Department of Education advisor on education reform and union issues http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/senior-us-department-education-advisor-education-reform-and-union-issues <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2010-November/2010-11-08/teacher protest resize.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama has said he hopes the new Congress will find common ground when they meet in Washington next spring. But finding consensus on one divisive issue, education, is no small feat. Still, the stakes to do so couldn&rsquo;t be higher.</p><p>About half the kids who start high school in Chicago never finish. Lately one big focus across the country has been on improving teacher quality. But what exactly makes for a good teacher, and how do you encourage teacher development?</p><p>Someone who&rsquo;s helping to set the education agenda on the national front is the senior advisor to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Before taking his current post, <a target="_blank" href="http://www2.ed.gov/news/staff/bios/janderson.html">Jo Anderson</a> was the executive director of the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ieanea.org/">Illinois Education Association</a> &ndash; the state&rsquo;s largest teacher union.</p><p>He says teacher evaluation definitely needs an overhaul.&nbsp; Eight Forty-Eight<em>&nbsp;</em>spoke to Anderson to discuss education reform and how federal initiatives are playing out around Chicago and the state.</p></p> Mon, 08 Nov 2010 15:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/senior-us-department-education-advisor-education-reform-and-union-issues