WBEZ | Chicago Public Schools http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-public-schools Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en CPS budget cuts hit special education students http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-budget-cuts-hit-special-education-students-112512 <p><p dir="ltr">Phillip Cantor got called into an emergency meeting last week at the school where he teaches&mdash;North-Grand High School on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side. The district&rsquo;s central office had just sent over the budget for the coming school year.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We had some cuts at our school, but seemed to be doing better than other schools in our area,&rdquo; Cantor, who&#39;s chair of the Science Department, said. &ldquo;And then we realized when we got further into the budget, we were losing $318,000 specifically for special ed services.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">It would mean the school would have to cut about three special education teachers or six full-time aides.</p><p dir="ltr">Cantor said there&rsquo;s no way it would work.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re barely meeting the kids&rsquo; requirements now,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier this month, Jesse Ruiz, the vice president of the School Board who at the time was leading the district interim CPS CEO, announced that more than 500 special education teachers would be laid off districtwide. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the cuts, which included special ed, &ldquo;unconscionable and intolerable.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The move, he said, came after Chicago Public Schools conducted an 18-month review of services and staffing for students with special needs and found that even as enrollment in special ed was declining, the number of staff was increasing.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The long-term goal is for more students with unique learning needs to be able to receive services at their neighborhood schools,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">But the district has kept pretty quiet about how it&rsquo;s going about making changes to how special education is delivered.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;When we looked more closely, there was a line in the budget that said All Means All pilot,&rdquo; Cantorsaid. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">If you haven&rsquo;t heard of All Means All, you&rsquo;re not alone. The district made no formal announcement about it and some of the 102 schools now in the pilot didn&rsquo;t know they would be part of it until their budgets came. Last year, about two dozen schools were part of the program.</p><p dir="ltr">Internal district documents provided to WBEZ outline how the All Means All program is designed, and it&rsquo;s complicated, but boils down to what some call &ldquo;student-based budgeting for special education.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Principals get a lump sum amount for special needs students instead of specific staff positions. If that sounds familiar, it&rsquo;s because that&rsquo;s the way the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-principals-get-more-flexibility-likely-less-money-budget-107560">rest of Chicago schools have been funded</a> for the last few years. &nbsp;Principals get a lump sum for each student and then they decide what to do with it.</p><p>The internal document about All Means All did not list the actual per pupil amounts for students with special needs. CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner provided the following chart to WBEZ.</p><div><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-07-30%20at%2012.11.46%20AM.png" style="width: 100%;" title="" /></div><div><p dir="ltr"><em>*CPS refers to students with special needs as &ldquo;diverse learners&rdquo;. They get a base amount under the main student-based budgeting formula, reflected in the Column 2. Column 1 includes the flat amounts per student for additional special education services under &ldquo;All Means All.&rdquo; Added together, in Column 3, is the total amount a school will get for a student with special needs in each category. These amounts are being used at just 102 schools this year. The remaining 500-plus schools will continue to be staffed under the old formula, where the Board provides positions based on enrollment and need.</em></p><p dir="ltr">The system is meant to give principals more flexibility and bring the funding formula for special education in line with the formula for all students in CPS. Student-based budgeting is something many urban districts are using now. In theory, money follows students, creating a more equitable formula.</p><p dir="ltr">But its roll out in Chicago was not well-received, in part because it came at a time of financial crisis and at many schools, the total amount of funding has not been enough to cover existing programs and staff.</p><p dir="ltr">But having money follow students gets more complicated with special education, Cantor points out. That&rsquo;s because you can&rsquo;t easily change a student&rsquo;s schedule. It&rsquo;s dictated by a legal document called an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a process for changing IEPs, you can&rsquo;t just change it,&rdquo; Cantor said. &ldquo;It has to be done at a meeting with the parents with parent&rsquo;s permission.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Rod Estvan, education policy analyst with the disability-rights group Access Living, said there&rsquo;s a reason special education is expensive. Those IEPs outline, down to the minute, when students should be working with trained adults, like social workers, speech therapists, and certified teachers. The students may be deaf or dyslexic or have one of many conditions that make it harder for them to learn.</p><p dir="ltr">Federal law dictates students in special education must also be spending as much time as possible in regular classrooms. Creating schedules that fulfill both requirements can be a nightmare for principals.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;These are not easy choices that are being thrown down on principals to make,&rdquo; Estvan said, noting that many principals do not have any background in special education.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;CPS will, over the course of the school year, be forced to reallocate additional staff to schools and open positions,&rdquo; Estvan predicts. &ldquo;Whether or not they can fill them or not is another question that late in the year.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">District spokeswoman Emily Bittner said the district is working closely with principals at these 102 schools on scheduling special needs students most efficiently. She said an 18-month review of special education found that the number of students with special needs in district-run schools declined 3.4 percent over the last five years, but staff serving them increased 13 percent.</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier this month, in announcing the cuts, then CEO Ruiz said the changes coming with All Means All would save $42.3 million.</p><p dir="ltr">Bittner said CPS would make sure schools have enough staff to work with special needs students and will absolutely meet all students&rsquo; IEP requirements, as outlined by law. She said the overall funding for special education is decreasing by five percent and still remains 14 percent of the district&rsquo;s total budget.</p><p dir="ltr">But some still are worried that the shift in the formula could still give principals and staff mostly bad choices.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think that&rsquo;s going to lead to a lot of pressure on principals and teachers to do the wrong thing in order to get services for their kids,&rdquo; said Kristine Mayle, financial secretary for the Chicago Teachers Union and a former special education teacher. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re already hearing they&rsquo;re trying to take kids out of self-contained classrooms and put them into regular ed classrooms. I fear that across the district, kids are going to be moved into placements that are not appropriate.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The All Means All program also includes a financial bonus for schools who successfully transition students out of special education or move more kids into mainstream classrooms. Bittner said the intent is to better prepare special needs students for life beyond school, when the same services aren&rsquo;t guaranteed.</p><p dir="ltr">CPS is in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-emanuel-warn-deep-cuts-layoffs-school-district-112301">a financial crisis</a> and it&rsquo;s looking everywhere to cut costs. Nothing is off-limits. Not even special education.</p><p dir="ltr">But Cantor, the teacher at North-Grand, thinks that&rsquo;s a big legal risk that could cost the district in the long run.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to become more expensive when they do this because parents are going to sue,&rdquo; Cantor said. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s going to be massive lawsuits. There&rsquo;s going to be massive settlements. We&rsquo;ve seen this over and over in the city. It&rsquo;s this short-term managerial thinking that&rsquo;s going lead to long term costs for the city.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Right now, CPS can&rsquo;t really afford any more unexpected costs.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-budget-cuts-hit-special-education-students-112512 Chicago school board approves building sales, more borrowing http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-school-board-approves-building-sales-more-borrowing-112454 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/boardofed_bv.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-22ce59dd-b7f5-51e7-251c-f476b14f7ab9">The Chicago Board of Education sold three vacant school buildings for about $8.5 million and approved up to $1.2 billion in borrowing at Wednesday&rsquo;s monthly meeting.</p><p dir="ltr">Typically, the school board approves a budget in July, but principals were given individual school budgets just last week. A complete budget must be passed before students go back to class in September.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The budget process this year has been delayed for a variety of reasons,&rdquo; said David Vitale, outgoing president of the Board of Education. Those reasons include a push for pension reform in Springfield and ongoing contract talks with the Chicago Teachers Union.</p><p dir="ltr">But Chicago Public Schools has been dealing with a structural deficit for several years, a truth not lost on Vitale during his last meeting on the school board.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;For what it&rsquo;s worth, that funding problem was identifiable from the day I sat down in this chair,&rdquo; Vitale said, listing some of the contributing factors: ballooning pension payments, decreasing federal and state funding, and skyrocketing debt payments.</p><p dir="ltr">Vitale said the school board hasn&rsquo;t been &ldquo;ignorant&rdquo; or &ldquo;sitting back, waiting for disaster to happen,&rdquo; but he argued its power is limited, saying, &ldquo;all we can do is advocate to others to, frankly, give us more authority to tax.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The board, under Vitale&rsquo;s leadership, voted to raise property taxes to the legal limit every year for the past four. But it still hasn&rsquo;t been enough.</p><p dir="ltr">In June, the board approved a $1.1 billion line of credit that will expire at the end of August. The move was done to ensure CPS could make payroll. This week, the board approved another $1.2 billion in long-term borrowing.</p><p dir="ltr">CPS Chief Financial Officer Ginger Ostro insisted the amount of money was simply an estimate and should be considered &ldquo;a cap&rdquo; or &ldquo;limit&rdquo; to what the district can issue in bonds.</p><p dir="ltr">The Board will have to approve actual bond sales in September or October, Ostro said.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">Revenue from school sales</span></p><p dir="ltr">Board members on Wednesday also approved the sale of three vacant schools that were shuttered in 2013, providing a small windfall of cash for its struggling budget.</p><p dir="ltr">Liza Balistreri is in charge of real estate at Chicago Public Schools and outlined the sales of Near North Elementary in Noble Square, Overton Elementary in Bronzeville, and Von Humboldt Elementary in Humboldt Park.</p><p dir="ltr">Near North is being purchased by Svigos Asset Management for $5.1 million. It will be used for residential and commercial development, Balistreri said. Svigos also purchased the old Peabody Elementary for $3.5 million. There was some <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/charters-might-move-closed-cps-schools-112063">controversy around Peabody</a> earlier this year when a public charter school rented space in the building. Previously, district officials had said no closed school would be used as a public school.</p><p dir="ltr">Von Humboldt is being bought by IFF Von Humboldt LLC for $3.1 million and will be redeveloped to include a day care, housing for current and retired public school teachers, office space, and a cafe. There was a higher bid for the massive school, but it did not line up with what the community wanted, CPS officials said.</p><p dir="ltr">Overton is being sold to Washington Park Development Group for $325,000 and will be used for counseling, career training, housing or retail space.</p><p dir="ltr">Newly-seated board member and former CEO of BMO Harris Bank Mark Furlong told Balistreri he wants to see the district pick up the pace when it comes to selling its vacant property.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been a couple years,&rdquo; Furlong said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve gotta find a way to accelerate the sale of these buildings so that we can bring cash into the classrooms.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Balistreri said seven or eight more buildings are almost ready to go out for bid.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">Shuffling at the top</span></p><p dir="ltr">There were several new faces in the board chamber on Wednesday.</p><p dir="ltr">David Vitale remained in the president&rsquo;s chair, but was flanked by new mayoral appointees Furlong, Dominique Jordan Turner, Gail Ward, and longstanding member Mahalia Hines. Ward and Hines are both former CPS principals, and Jordan Turner runs the Chicago Scholars Foundation, which works with first generation, low-income, college-bound public school students in the city.</p><p dir="ltr">Rev. Michael Garanzini is also officially a new member of the board, but was not present Wednesday because he was travelling, Vitale said. Incoming Board President Frank Clark sat in the audience.</p><p dir="ltr">Interim CEO Jesse Ruiz remains in his post through the end of the week, and then will return to serving as vice president of the school board. He took a moment to thank Mayor Rahm Emanuel for giving him the responsibility to manage CPS, and, in Spanish, he thanked the community for its support.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Muchísimas gracias a todos,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">The son of Mexican immigrants, Ruiz is the only Latino among the top leadership at CPS, despite the fact that Latino students are the largest ethnic group in the district -- at 46 percent and growing.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Replacing Ruiz as schools CEO is mayoral confidant and former head of the Chicago Transit Authority Forrest Claypool. Janice Jackson will serve as Chief Education Officer and Denise Little will take on the role of senior adviser to the CEO.</p><p>Claypool will earn $250,000 annually, while Jackson and Little will make $195,000 and $180,000, respectively. Claypool and Jackson&rsquo;s salaries are comparable to those of their predecessors, but Little&rsquo;s is a new position with no precedent for salary.<br /><br /><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can reach her at <a href="mailto:bvevea@wbez.org">bvevea@wbez.org</a> and follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 17:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-school-board-approves-building-sales-more-borrowing-112454 Chicago aldermen call on school district to hire more Latinos http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-aldermen-call-school-district-hire-more-latinos-112419 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/cps.PNG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Members of the Chicago City Council&rsquo;s Latino Caucus are calling on the school district to hire more Latinos as teachers, principals, and administrators.</p><p dir="ltr">The push comes after WBEZ <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/why-are-latino-teachers-such-minority-cps-112399">reported on the gap</a> between the percentages of Latino teachers and Latino students. Data shows the percentage of Hispanic teachers is crawling upward, but not enough to keep pace with the rapidly growing Hispanic student population. Latino students now make up the largest ethnic group in Chicago Public Schools, at 46 percent.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We knew the trend was sort of creeping up on us, and I think we were at that point where we can&rsquo;t wait any longer,&rdquo; said Alderman George Cardenas,12th Ward and chair of the Latino Caucus.</p><p dir="ltr">Cardenas said the Caucus wants to meet with CPS leadership on a monthly basis.</p><p dir="ltr">Freshman Alderman Milly Santiago, 31st Ward, said the lack of Latino teachers in the CPS has always been low and called on the district to adopt a new formula for recruiting bilingual teachers.</p><p dir="ltr">She also took Emanuel to task for not appointing any Latinos to top positions in the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/mayor-rahm-emanuel-names-top-aide-run-chicagos-schools-112400">most recent leadership shake-up</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The most recent appointment of the new CPS school board also leaves the Latino community in another disadvantage with only one Hispanic member,&rdquo; Santiago said in an email. &ldquo;This is not a fair balance nor a good democratic process when it comes to managing the future of our children&#39;s education.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Cardenas cited data from the Illinois State Board of Education that lists just 4.8 percent of all teachers in CPS as Hispanic. However, the year before, the <a href="http://iirc.niu.edu/Classic/District.aspx?source=About_Educators&amp;source2=Teacher_Demographics&amp;districtID=15016299025&amp;level=D">percentage of Hispanic teachers</a> hit a record high 15.1 percent.</p><p>CPS officials couldn&rsquo;t explain the discrepancy with its own numbers, but said the numbers on their <a href="http://cps.edu/About_CPS/At-a-glance/Pages/Stats_and_facts.aspx">website</a> are more accurate. According to district data, 18.6 percent of the CPS teacher workforce is Hispanic. WBEZ has a pending FOIA request for a school-by-school breakdown of teacher demographics.</p><p><a href="http://educationnext.org/the-race-connection/">Research</a> has shown that racial diversity among teachers impacts the academic achievement of students.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can reach her at <a href="mailto:bvevea@wbez.org">bvevea@wbez.org</a> and follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 17:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-aldermen-call-school-district-hire-more-latinos-112419 Morning Shift: July 17, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-17/morning-shift-july-17-2015-112417 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/215158185&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">The Chicago Public Schools have a new man in charge. We talk about teachers&#39; reactions to the change. Plus, Chicago baseball has reached the halfway point of the season, so we take a look back at the first half, as well as what lies ahead for the Cubs and White Sox. Also, this weekend is the 33rd annual Japan Day celebration in Arlington Heights. Finally, we enjoy the music of St. Louis singer/songwriter Beth Bombara.</span></p></p> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 12:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-17/morning-shift-july-17-2015-112417 Chicago Teachers Union unhappy with Claypool's appointment to head of CPS http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-17/chicago-teachers-union-unhappy-claypools-appointment-head-cps <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/classroom Bryan McDonald.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/215157800&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Chicago Public Schools has a new top dog. Forrest Claypool is a longtime city official. He ran the Parks District in the 1990s, oversaw the CTA during Mayor Emanuel&#39;s first term, and in April, became the mayor&#39;s latest chief of staff. Now Claypool will take on what he calls the biggest challenge of his career &mdash; running the schools during a time of serious financial hardship. The district faces a $1.1 billion budget gap. So, what do teachers think about the changes at the top? We speak with Jesse Sharkey, Vice President of the Chicago Teachers Union.</span></p></p> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 12:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-17/chicago-teachers-union-unhappy-claypools-appointment-head-cps Morning Shift: July 16, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-16/morning-shift-july-16-2015-112406 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/215013132&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">The Cook County board approved a 1 percentage point sales tax hike that goes into effect January 1...and many businesses and governments near the county line fear they&#39;ll lose out to adjoining counties. A South Side art gallery has gained global attention for a controversial installation about Ferguson. 20 years after the deadly heat wave that killed more than 700 people in Chicago, system changes and safeguards have been put into place to try to avoid a future disaster. Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams released their debut album.</span></p></p> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-16/morning-shift-july-16-2015-112406 Mayor Emanuel chooses Forrest Claypool to lead Chicago Public Schools http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-16/mayor-emanuel-chooses-forrest-claypool-lead-chicago-public-schools <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Logo-Chicago-Public-Schools.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/215012653&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Last night, news reports began swirling that Mayor Emanuel has tapped his new chief of staff Forrest Claypool to lead the Chicago Public Schools. CPS board member Jesse Ruiz has been filling in as CEO after Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigned when federal authorities began investigating a $20 million no-bid contract that went to Byrd-Bennett&#39;s former employer SUPES Academy. We speak with WBEZ political reporter Lauren Choolijan.</span></p></p> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-16/mayor-emanuel-chooses-forrest-claypool-lead-chicago-public-schools Mayor Rahm Emanuel names top aide to run Chicago's schools http://www.wbez.org/news/mayor-rahm-emanuel-names-top-aide-run-chicagos-schools-112400 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/claypool flickr cta web.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is turning to a long-time friend and familiar face around City Hall to head the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools: Forrest Claypool.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve worked with some of the country&rsquo;s great cabinet secretaries at the federal level,&rdquo; the mayor said Thursday morning. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve worked with a number of people at different levels of corporate America, but I&rsquo;ve never seen a manager with Forrest Claypool&rsquo;s capacity for leadership.&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel announced a number of leadership changes Thursday for what he calls a &ldquo;new chapter&rdquo; of the district&#39;s future. He said while attention is traditionally paid to the CEO, the current challenges that the district faces can&rsquo;t fall on just one person. It needs a &ldquo;team.&rdquo;</p><p>The other members of that team include: Frank Clark, incoming president of the Chicago Board of Education, replacing David Vitale; Denise Little, senior adviser to Claypool; and Janice Jackson, Chief Education Officer, a position left vacant in 2012 after Barbara Byrd-Bennett was promoted to the top job.</p><p>Byrd-Bennett <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-schools-chief-resigns-amid-federal-probe-112114">stepped down</a> as head of CPS in June amid a federal probe involving her former employer, SUPES Academy. That company was quietly awarded a $20.5 million no-bid contract in 2013, just after the CPS closed 50 schools.</p><p>Both Byrd-Bennett and Jean-Claude Brizard, Emanuel&rsquo;s first schools chief who left after the teachers&rsquo; strike in 2012, came from outside Chicago.</p><p>Claypool is the opposite, as he&rsquo;s served at the head of multiple city agencies, like the Chicago Transit Authority and the Chicago Park District. He&rsquo;s also been a mayoral chief of staff three times: Twice with Mayor Richard J. Daley, and most recently under Emanuel. Claypool and Emanuel have been friends since their <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/who-was-25-year-old-rahm-emanuel-108327">twenties</a>, when they worked together on political campaigns. The mayor said it was with &ldquo;some trepidation&rdquo; that he allowed Claypool to leave his office, but that he was the &ldquo;right person at the right time to help lead CPS at this moment.&rdquo;</p><p>Known for cleaning up financial messes, Claypool takes over the top CPS job at a critical time. The district is dealing with a $1 billion dollar deficit in the next fiscal year, and recently <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-school-budgets-reflect-dire-finances-112364">announced </a>major cuts to schools.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll deal with what we can deal with...and that is to manage the system as best as possible. I&rsquo;m committed to bringing the best people, the best and the brightest, and providing every level of support, in every conceivable way to our hard-working teachers and principals who are on the front lines every single day,&rdquo; Claypool said.</p><p>The district is also in the middle of contract negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union.</p><p>CTU President Karen Lewis said she spoke with Claypool Wednesday morning and told him to &ldquo;Run, Forrest, Run.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I think the job is probably almost undoable, to be perfectly honest, at this point,&rdquo; Lewis said.</p><p>Lewis called Claypool &ldquo;a fixer&rdquo; and told reporters she figured he would be the next schools chief when union leadership met with him last week.</p><p>Claypool will officially begin his new job at the end of July, alleviating school board Vice President Jesse Ruiz of the interim role he&rsquo;s filled for the past three months. Emanuel thanked Ruiz for his personal and professional &ldquo;sacrifice&rdquo; in a very &ldquo;challenging moment&rdquo; for the school district.</p><p>Ruiz will return as vice president of the school board. But he&rsquo;ll no longer be seated next to current board president David Vitale. Instead, Frank Clark will take the top seat on the Board of Education.</p><p>Clark, the former CEO of Com-Ed, is a familiar name. He chaired the <a href="http://www.schoolutilization.com/">Commission on School Utilization</a>, which suggested that CPS had the <a href="https://docs.google.com/a/schoolutilization.com/viewer?a=v&amp;pid=sites&amp;srcid=c2Nob29sdXRpbGl6YXRpb24uY29tfGNvbW1pc3Npb24tb24tc2Nob29sLXV0aWxpemF0aW9ufGd4OjRiNzFjMWEyNGIxZWU0YmU">capacity to close 80 schools</a>. Ultimately, CPS decided to close 50. After the closings, Mayor Emanuel promised he wouldn&rsquo;t shutter any schools for five years. Asked Thursday, Clark said he doesn&rsquo;t see that changing.</p><p>&ldquo;The short answer is no,&rdquo; Clark said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t see any need for any additional closures at this point.&rdquo;</p><p>Clark is also the co-founder and namesake of Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy, a public charter school on the west side run by the Noble Network of Charter Schools.</p><p>The replacement of Vitale drew speculation that it was related to the unanimous vote on the no-bid contract that he oversaw and that ultimately cost Byrd-Bennett her job. Others pointed to a series of <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/cpsbonds/ct-chicago-public-schools-bond-deals-met-20141107-story.html#page=1">Chicago Tribune articles</a> about debt swaps made under Vitale during his tenure as Chief Financial Officer in the late 2000s.</p><p>But Emanuel scoffed at that, saying it was Vitale&rsquo;s idea that a new CEO start off with a new school board president. The mayor said he was at first reluctant to accept Vitale&rsquo;s resignation, adding that he had to go swimming a few times before he made the final decision.</p><p>The other two appointments were less challenging &mdash; both are veteran educators in CPS. Denise Little will be a senior adviser to Claypool. She was most recently Chief of Network Offices, middle management that oversees clusters of schools that are grouped by geography. In 2012, she ran one of those networks on the west side, but was promoted by Byrd-Bennett to take on the new central office role. CTU&rsquo;s Lewis said Little was involved in contract negotiations in 2012, but hasn&rsquo;t been at the table in the most recent talks.</p><p>Janice Jackson also ran one of CPS&rsquo;s networks on the west side. Before that, she was a principal at Westinghouse College Prep and Al Raby High School, and a history and economics teacher at South Shore. A graduate of Hyde Park High School, Jackson said the decision to take the position of Chief Education Officer was &ldquo;not professional, but personal.&rdquo;</p><p>Jackson was cited as one of five &ldquo;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-10-05/news/0910050158_1_lifeway-foods-chicago-public-schools-timeline">influential young Chicagoans</a>&rdquo; in the Chicago Tribune in 2009.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is WBEZ&rsquo;s Education reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezeducation">@wbezeducation</a>. Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s City Hall reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mayor-rahm-emanuel-names-top-aide-run-chicagos-schools-112400 Why are Latino teachers such a minority in CPS? http://www.wbez.org/news/why-are-latino-teachers-such-minority-cps-112399 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/jessieruiz.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">There are thousands of vacancies every summer at Chicago Public Schools. Who gets hired is changing.</p><p dir="ltr">The percentage of black teachers saw a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/why-are-there-fewer-black-teachers-cps-112385">double-digit decline in the last decade</a>, the percentage of white teachers has seen exponential growth, and the percentage of Hispanic teachers is crawling upward.</p><p dir="ltr">That slow increase of Hispanic teachers comes at a time when Hispanic students make up the largest ethnic group in CPS, at 46 percent.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I am a proud graduate of Chicago Public Schools and I can honestly say that &hellip; I did not have any Latino teachers,&rdquo; said Cristina Pacione-Zayas, education director at the nonprofit Latino Policy Forum, who attended CPS in the late 1990s.</p><p dir="ltr">Compare that to when current CPS teacher Henry Gomez was in school in the 2000s. He rattled off a list of his elementary school teachers&mdash;all but two were Latino. He attended a bilingual gifted program at Pulaski Elementary, so it&rsquo;s possible his experience was the exception, not the rule. At Lane Tech, where he went to high school, he could only think of three teachers who were Latino.</p><p dir="ltr">The discrepancy isn&rsquo;t lost on CPS interim CEO Jesse Ruiz, who is Latino.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think diversity is important,&rdquo; Ruiz said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s something I&rsquo;ve championed all my career. I think if we don&rsquo;t seek out diversity then we miss out in having some of the best talent possible.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">Problems with the numbers</span></p><p dir="ltr">District-wide numbers are publicly available from several sources. Data from the Illinois State Board of Education lists 4.8 percent of all teachers in the city as Hispanic in 2014.</p><p dir="ltr">The year before, the <a href="http://iirc.niu.edu/Classic/District.aspx?source=About_Educators&amp;source2=Teacher_Demographics&amp;districtID=15016299025&amp;level=D">percentage of Hispanic teachers</a>&nbsp;hit a record high 15.1 percent.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s such a significant drop that you wonder if there was a typo,&rdquo; Pacione-Zayas said.</p><p dir="ltr">Illinois State Board of Education spokeswoman Megan Griffin said the numbers were &ldquo;based on the self-reported data that CPS supplied.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">CPS&rsquo;s <a href="http://cps.edu/About_CPS/At-a-glance/Pages/Stats_and_facts.aspx">website</a>, however, lists 18.6 percent of the teacher workforce as Hispanic.</p><p dir="ltr">District spokesman Bill McCaffrey couldn&rsquo;t explain the discrepancy. He said the raw numbers from the human resources officials show an increase over the last four years. McCaffrey said there were 4,039 Latino teachers this year, up from 3,868 three years earlier. CPS employed just over 22,500 teachers last year.</p><p dir="ltr">CPS denied a FOIA request filed by WBEZ in May that asked for a school-by-school breakdown of teacher demographics, saying it was unduly burdensome. A revised request is still pending.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">Local efforts to diversify teachers</span></p><p dir="ltr">No matter the data source, one thing is true: Latino teachers are the minority among CPS teachers and their growth is not keeping pace with the rapidly growing Latino student population.</p><p dir="ltr">There are programs trying to change that.</p><p dir="ltr">Henry Gomez entered the Golden Apple Scholars program in 2009, just after graduating high school, and is now teaching at Schurz High School. The <a href="http://www.goldenapple.org/funding-support-golden-apple-scholars">Golden Apple Scholars</a> program provides tuition assistance for students who attend one of more than 50 Illinois teacher preparation programs. They work with students over the summer and provide mentoring through the first and second years of teaching. In exchange, students who complete the program commit to working in a high need school for at least five years.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.growyourownteachers.org/">Grow Your Own</a> is a community-based program that recruits people of color to become teachers in low-income communities. It focuses on both young people and career changers and partners with traditional, university teacher certification programs. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">CPS itself <a href="https://chooseyourfuture.cps.edu/career-technical-education/cte-clusters-pathways/education-and-training/">offers career programs</a> in teaching and early childhood education at six district high schools&mdash;Curie, Simeon, Roosevelt, Phillips, Uplift and Wells.</p><p dir="ltr">And, interestingly, the <a href="http://noblenetwork.org/">Noble Network of Charter Schools</a> just launched its own two-year teacher residency program in partnership with a new graduate school, called <a href="http://www.relay.edu/">Relay</a>. Charter schools typically have whiter, younger teachers, but the new program exclusively recruits from Noble&rsquo;s largely Latino and black alumni base.</p><p dir="ltr">CPS CEO Ruiz thinks these programs and partnerships are promising.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We probably need more and districts themselves have to go out and promote these programs,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Maureen Gillette is the dean of the College of Education at Northeastern Illinois University, which partners with Grow Your Own and Golden Apple. She said there are all kinds of academic benefits for students who are taught by people of similar backgrounds. But also, for all students&mdash;white, black, Latino, or Asian.</p><p>By way of example, she says before she worked at Northeastern, she worked at a small liberal arts school on the East Coast and recalls a big uproar over diversity.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;One of the issues was that there were almost no African-American professors, but there were a lot of African-American custodial staff and a lot of African-American cooks in the kitchen,&rdquo; Gillette said. &ldquo;If that&rsquo;s the only place students see people of color, what message does that send?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">Overcoming barriers to becoming a teacher</span></p><p dir="ltr">Gillette is concerned about recent changes to state policy that are making it harder to increase diversity in the teaching staff.</p><p>&ldquo;In 2012, the state board of education raised the cut score on the Test of Academic Proficiency, which is the test that you have to pass to be certified,&rdquo; Gillette said. That <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/push-teacher-quality-illinois-takes-toll-minority-candidates-108601">pinched out a lot of promising candidates of color</a>. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Ruiz served on the Illinois State Board of Education just before that cut score was changed. He said he still doesn&rsquo;t think the drop in the number of candidates of color passing the licensing exam should be cause for concern.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think you have to sacrifice quality to find diversity,&rdquo; Ruiz said.</p><p>But Gillette worries the state is focused on the wrong thing&mdash;entry&mdash;when it should be more focused on support and development.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There is not a member of my faculty who doesn&rsquo;t want good teachers,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But the question is, does any of this make a difference in getting to excellent teachers? And I really don&rsquo;t think there&rsquo;s not a solid research base that the (new entry test) will help us get better teachers.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Pacione-Zayas from the Latino Policy Forum said the new requirements create a bit of a Catch-22.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Because you don&rsquo;t want to say, &lsquo;Let&rsquo;s lower standards so that we can have black and Latino teachers, you know, knocking down our doors,&rsquo; because in some ways, it&rsquo;s insulting,&rdquo; Pacione-Zayas said. &ldquo;We have those candidates. We have individuals who have those qualities. But we also have to acknowledge that there are barriers. And what do we do to support those individuals who are committed, who are passionate, who are disciplined to be able to overcome those barriers and obstacles?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">She says school districts have to think about how to get diverse students interested in being teachers at an early age. Then districts must prepare those students well academically, so those barriers won&rsquo;t shut them out.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can reach her at <a href="mailto:bvevea@wbez.org">bvevea@wbez.org</a> and follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 15 Jul 2015 17:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/why-are-latino-teachers-such-minority-cps-112399 Why are there fewer black teachers in CPS? http://www.wbez.org/news/why-are-there-fewer-black-teachers-cps-112385 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/black teachers.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated 7.15.15&nbsp;</em></p><p>A few weeks before the school year ends, Taree Porter leads word drills with her second graders and reads a Judy Blume classic amid the din of giggles.</p><p>Porter, a teacher for 14 years, is black and comes from a family of Chicago Public Schools educators.</p><p>Just 15 years go, 40 percent teachers in CPS schools were black. Today, it&rsquo;s 23 percent. Many black students are segregated into majority black schools&mdash;like National Teachers Academy in the South Loop, where Porter teaches.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/why-are-latinos-teachers-such-minority-cps-112399" target="_blank">Why are Latino teachers such a minority in CPS?</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>The fact that she&#39;s among a dwindling demographic isn&#39;t lost on Porter. And all this change didn&rsquo;t occur in a vacuum. Modern education reform in Chicago started in 1995 and ramped up in the following years.</p><p>&ldquo;What I noticed was the recruitment of non-black teachers outside of the state of Illinois and even within the state,&rdquo; Porter said. &ldquo;Somewhere midway in my career I think I noticed that there were a lot of alternative certification programs popping up. People did alternative certification but didn&rsquo;t last long once they became full-fledged teachers. And a lot of times they had to work in inner-city schools with African-American children and it seems no matter what the training, they weren&rsquo;t prepared.&rdquo;</p><p>The face of Chicago Public Schools teachers is changing: the teaching workforce is whiter and less experienced. Meanwhile, most of the students in Chicago&rsquo;s public schools are Hispanic and African American. Black enrollment has gone down, but black students still make up 39 percent of the district.</p><p>Chicago Teachers Union researcher Pavlyn Jankov says more and more schools are like Porter&rsquo;s -- mostly black students, mostly white teachers. And he said it didn&rsquo;t happen by chance.</p><p>&ldquo;It lines up with the huge proliferation of charter schools and those schools along with the AUSL turnaround schools are mainly responsible for the staff who are predominately teachers with perhaps one to five years experience and predominantly white teachers,&rdquo; Jankov said.</p><p>He said, at the same time, the numbers also show how stubbornly the segregation of teachers and students holds on.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve looked at how the percentage of schools across CPS that are segregated on both ends in terms of schools that have a majority black teaching staff and a hyper-segregated black student population has actually maintained despite the fact that there&rsquo;ve been these closings,&rdquo; Jankov said.</p><p>He said the number and percentage of schools where there are virtually no staff or no students who are African American has increased a lot too. In just the last decade the number of schools with fewer than a 10 percent black teaching staff jumped from 69 to 223. Schools with no black teachers soared from 10 to 50.</p><p>Of course, school policies aren&rsquo;t the only thing going on. There also may be fewer black teachers because other professions have opened up to African Americans.</p><p>Dominic Belmonte, president and CEO of the Golden Apple Foundation, has another theory.</p><p>&ldquo;If you are a person of color with a 25 ACT and you&rsquo;re a high school senior, there are avenues for you that are everywhere that are saying come hither, come join us in law, come join us in business, come join us in finance where the ground will be padded down for you, where you can have internships,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;...and here we are in the teaching corner, saying, &lsquo;Come here where no one believes you&rsquo;re doing a good job. Come on over here where you are distrusted and belittled and maligned.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>At one point, approximately half of all black professionals across the country were teachers. In the era of Jim Crow, African Americans had to staff schools that were all black. Teaching became a pathway to the middle class.</p><p>Northwestern University sociologist Mary Pattillo says the decline of black teachers has consequences inside and outside the classroom.</p><p>&ldquo;When you have big teacher layoffs or you have a decline in the number of black teachers, that could destabilize some of the neighborhoods that are most well-known as Chicago&rsquo;s black middle-class neighborhoods -- places like Chatham and Pill Hill and parts of South Shore and parts of Auburn-Gresham, and those kind of neighborhoods could be negatively affected by declines in the teaching profession,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>For children, Pattillo said, the value of a teacher who looks like you can play into some of the most rigorous ways we measure teaching and learning.</p><p>&ldquo;The demographics of the teaching profession is very important. A number of studies have begun to show that having a teacher of one&rsquo;s own race can boost all kinds of education outcomes. Can boost scores on standardized tests, those kind of things,&rdquo; Pattillo said.</p><p>Second grade teacher Porter said she hasn&rsquo;t had honest conversations with teacher friends or colleagues about race in the classrooms.</p><p>&ldquo;Because most of my friends are African American, we don&rsquo;t talk about race as it relates to teaching and our decision to teach or even decision to leave the field. I think the decision for people to leave the field is not based on race. It&rsquo;s based on the conditions and things that have seemingly nothing to do with race but the political nature of it sometimes takes us back to race,&rdquo; Porter said.<br /><br />Circling back to race is common&mdash;and important&mdash;in a school system of mostly black and brown students.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Clarification:&nbsp;National Teachers Academy is a training school for teachers who go into turnaround schools.&nbsp;</em></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a>&nbsp;Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p></p> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/why-are-there-fewer-black-teachers-cps-112385