WBEZ | students http://www.wbez.org/tags/students Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en StoryCorps: Bilingual pre-school teacher describes the state of education in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-bilingual-pre-school-teacher-describes-state-education-chicago-111267 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/kksc.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Iveth Romano teaches pre-school in Chicago and many of her students are bilingual. She came by the StoryCorps booth recently to speak with producer Katie Klocksin about the importance of supporting kids who are learning two languages.</p><p>&ldquo;Most of the parents don&rsquo;t speak English,&rdquo; Romano said. &ldquo;But most of our teachers who have a Bachelors&rsquo;, they are American, so they just speak English.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I remember once a girl she just peed her pants and started crying,&rdquo; she continued. &ldquo;I was in another classroom but I heard the girl say that she wanted to use the bathroom, in Spanish. But [none] of the teachers understood what she said. They (didn&rsquo;t) pay attention to her and she just peed on her pants and started crying and they gave her a timeout.&rdquo;</p><p>Romano says she has a lot of examples like that. She says she sees situations like that once per week or twice a week.</p><p>Romano pushes all her students to learn English and Spanish. In her classroom, they say their ABCs in both languages.</p><p>Sometimes, though, parents are oblivious to what&rsquo;s going on - good or bad - in the classroom.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not because people are bad. Or they don&rsquo;t know how to say &lsquo;thank you.&rsquo; I think it&rsquo;s more that they&rsquo;re tired. Sometimes you don&rsquo;t really know what kind of job they have. Sometimes they have two different jobs in one day. So that [does] not make me feel bad that they don&rsquo;t say &lsquo;thank you.&rsquo; They don&rsquo;t say nothing. They just take the kid and leave. I understand. Sometimes they look really tired.&rdquo;</p><p>Teaching can be stressful, Klocksin said, but &ldquo;there&rsquo;s obviously a lot of rewards to it too. Why did you go into this?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Cause my son is four years old,&rdquo; Romano said, &ldquo;And he used to attend a Head Start but I just moved him to a Catholic school because here in Chicago. The education in the public schools is really difficult in this moment.&rdquo;</p><p>Romano says two of the neighborhood public schools closed, so classrooms that used to have twenty kids are now thirty-five or forty kids.</p><p>Romano says her son is doing better now.</p><p>&ldquo;His behavior&rsquo;s completely different,&rdquo; Romano said. &ldquo;He looks more happy. He looks more confident.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-bilingual-pre-school-teacher-describes-state-education-chicago-111267 CPS tries composting pilot program http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-tries-composting-pilot-program-110277 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/compost.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Still not sure why you should compost your food waste? Just ask a second grader at Blaine Elementary School in Lakeview.</p><p>&ldquo;Because the other food that you throw away that you think you can&rsquo;t compost, has to go to a landfill and that&rsquo;s not good,&rdquo; says 2nd grader Chloe. &ldquo;It makes all these gases that are really bad.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;After we compost this, we take it to this big composting station (and) it will go into this special microwave and then it will turn into this rich soil so we can put it in some places in the environment,&rdquo; adds her classmate Harrison.</p><p>These second graders are pretty much right--except about the microwave part. They learned this as part of an 8-week pilot program that&rsquo;s got Blaine students collecting their lunch scraps every Friday this spring and sending them off to a commercial composter.</p><p>Partners in the program include the Chicago Community Trust, Loyola University, Seven Generations Ahead and Blaine parents. The final partner is CPS&rsquo;s office of sustainability.</p><p>This was surprising, since less than a month ago -- in response to a Freedom of Information Act request -- the district told WBEZ that it neither &ldquo;performs waste audits, nor knows of any schools that do.&rdquo;</p><p>But today, the district acknowledges that there have actually been many such assessments in the district.</p><p>Blaine did theirs before starting the pilot and, according to parent Adam Brent, found huge potential for diverting trash from the landfill. .</p><p>&ldquo;We came up with about an 88 percent diversion of total waste stream that would not go to the landfill &nbsp;if we separated out the food waste and the liquids,&rdquo; Brent explained.</p><p>These numbers match up closely with those from audits across the city that show that roughly half of all milk is discarded while 25 to 30 percent of all food on the tray. One recent Harvard study indicates that 60 to 75 percent of all vegetables served in schools also end up in the trash.</p><p>CPS says it&rsquo;s aware of the problem and encouraging schools to come up with creative solutions. Among these are dozens of on-site composting programs that have sprouted up all over the past decade.</p><p>Jen Nelson has been working on the issue for five years as Seven Generations&rsquo; Zero Waste Program Manager. She calls on-site composting program a good first step, but notes it can only really tackle fruits and vegetables.</p><p>&ldquo;But when you can look at opportunities for commercial composting you can all of the sudden get to the meat and dairy and bones and much larger volume of that food waste,&rdquo; Nelson said.</p><p>For instance, the day we visited Blaine, compost bins were full of half-eaten pizza that would&rsquo;ve otherwise ended up in the landfill. &nbsp;</p><p>Still, the 45 pounds of scraps that Blaine collects each week represent a drop in the bucket. The project&rsquo;s primary goal is to figure out how to expand commercial school composting in Illinois, a state where it&rsquo;s still much cheaper to send scraps to the landfill.</p><p>But if Nelson has her way, that won&rsquo;t be the case for long. She serves on the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition aimed at making composting as attractive in Illinois as it is in states like California. And she says that getting groups like CPS on board, could be key.</p><p>&ldquo;I spoke to a gentleman who owns a compost facility out of state and his comment to me was &lsquo;wow, if Chicago Public Schools were doing commercial composting I would site a facility near Chicago as quickly as I could because it would be worth it. I could make money from that&rsquo;.&rdquo;</p><p>If and when all of the pieces fall into place, Nelson estimates that the district could divert more than 13,000 tons of its CPS cafeteria waste from the landfill each year. &nbsp;</p><p>But the physical matter of waste reduction is just part of the story. This spring, Nelson trained dozens of teachers in a new &ldquo;zero waste&rdquo; curriculum (in alignment with Common Core) that will roll out to CPS classrooms in the fall.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been having a lot of fun training teachers and giving them really cool hands-on activities like making a model landfill and model compost in a two liter bottle,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;The students can build it and observe the differences between the two systems and see why things can biodegrade in one and not in the other. It&rsquo;s an exciting opportunity to help teachers really bring it into the classroom.&rdquo;</p><p>Finally, Nelson says an even broader goal is to plant the seeds for a new healthy crop of what she calls &ldquo;zero waste ambassadors.&rdquo;</p><p>And from the words of the precocious second graders at Blaine, it sounds like this crop is well on its way to taking root.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng">&nbsp;<em>@monicaeng</em></a>&nbsp;<em>or write to her at&nbsp;<a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org">meng@wbez.org</a></em></p></p> Wed, 04 Jun 2014 10:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-tries-composting-pilot-program-110277 The movie that brought Naperville face to face with its teens' drug use http://www.wbez.org/news/movie-brought-naperville-face-face-its-teens-drug-use-109332 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jeff%20Cagle.1_0.jpg" title="Kelly McCutcheon and Jack Kapson (Jeff Cagle)" /></div></div><p>During the 2011-2012 school year, three students from one public high school in west suburban Naperville died from drugs. Kelly McCutcheon was a senior at Neuqua Valley High School at the time, and she started asking her classmates questions about their drug use. The project turned into a documentary that stunned the well-to-do, family-focused community.</p><p>Kelly had enlisted a high school junior, Jack Kapson, &nbsp;to help with sound recording, and together they videotaped more than 20 students talking about their experiences using heroin and other drugs.</p><p>Their project was filmed starkly and informally in backyards and bedrooms and cars. The filmmakers kept the footage away from parents, teachers and police. Kelly and Jack declined to be part of this story, but they gave me permission to use any part of their movie and quote from students they interviewed.</p><p><strong>Library agrees to host Naperville&rsquo;s first look&nbsp;</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/95L 400.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Naperville's 95th Street Library hosted the screening (Bill Healy)" /></div><p>Kelly and Jack asked Naperville&rsquo;s 95th Street Public Library to host the first screening of the film, which they called, &ldquo;Neuqua on Drugs.&quot;</p><p>John Spears directed all of Naperville&rsquo;s public libraries at the time. &ldquo;The filmmakers were working on it up till the very end,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And that was one thing we were nervous about, because we hadn&rsquo;t seen it either. Given all the potential legal ramifications of showing this, we were really putting a lot of trust in two high school students.&rdquo;</p><p>Library officials agreed to two showings on Wednesday evening, May 30, 2012. Advertising went out, and soon after, irate parents started calling..</p><p>Spears, the library director, remembers one phone call in particular. He received it at his desk the day before the scheduled screening. It was a parent on the other end, telling Spears, &ldquo;You cannot show this movie. It&rsquo;s going to be the destruction of my&hellip;. it&rsquo;s just&hellip;. We will sue.&rdquo;</p><p>The library decided to go forward anyway.</p><p><strong>The screening</strong></p><p>The evening of the first screening, adults and teenagers filed into the library auditorium and people waited outside for the second showing.</p><p>&ldquo;There were many, many glitches that night,&rdquo; said Denise Crosby, a longtime columnist with the Sun-Times suburban papers, including the Naperville Sun. &ldquo;There were people gathered outside waiting for the next session and there were people inside for this session and there was a long delay. But [the audience was] there for the long haul&hellip;. They wanted to see it.&rdquo;</p><p>Among the hundreds of people who came to the library that night were the principal from Neuqua Valley High School, a counselor from a nearby middle school, and a reporter from the local television station. Managers from Naperville&rsquo;s other libraries came in to deal with the overflow crowd.</p><p>The young filmmakers had altered the &nbsp;voices of some speakers they videotaped, &nbsp;and a few kids in the film tried to mask their faces. But most participants were fully visible. And, according to accounts from people who were there, &nbsp;many of the participants were seated in the audience.</p><p>&ldquo;When it finally did get started,&rdquo; Denise Crosby said, &ldquo;there wasn&rsquo;t one person that was not glued to that documentary. There wasn&rsquo;t sound being made at all.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jeff Cagle.5_0.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Jack Kapson waits for video to render during an hour-long delay before the first screening (Jeff Cagle)" /></div></div></div><p><strong>The kind of thing parents heard</strong></p><p>&ldquo;The first time I tried heroin... I&rsquo;d probably say sometime during my sophomore year.&rdquo;</p><div>&ldquo;They were like snorting it and I snorted like some Adderall and they were like if you can snort Adderall you can snort this. It&rsquo;s basically like the same thing&hellip;. You&rsquo;re trying to be like happy and just like not worry about anything but you are like stressing about all these little things, and when you get high that just goes away so you can just like chill.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s gives you a really strange comfortable feeling. A feeling that everything around you is okay. It&rsquo;s kind of like a false sense of security.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Denise Crosby, the newspaper columnist, &nbsp;says that for the two kids who made the film, &nbsp;&ldquo;This really was them screaming at the community: Look. Stop. Putting your head in the sand.&rdquo;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jeff Cagle.4_0.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(Jeff Cagle)" /></div></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>One mother&rsquo;s experience</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For another woman in the audience that night, the film was particularly painful.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Amy Miller&rsquo;s daughter Megan had died four months earlier from heroin. Megan was eighteen and a student at Neuqua when she died. The filmmakers had contacted Amy Miller beforehand to let her know that some of their interviews included stories about Megan.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And still, Miller says she wasn&rsquo;t prepared for what happened when a girl in the film talked about going to see &ldquo;Alice in Wonderland:&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" jeff="" neuqua="" on="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2_2_0.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Amy Miller watches the first showing of 'Neuqua on Drugs'." /></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Megan was grounded at the time &ndash; but she convinced her mom to let us go if her mom came too. And so her mom sat on the other side of the movie theater and we were just tripping balls. Like we were sweating so bad and Megan had drawn a giant heart over her eye with eyeliner &lsquo;cause she was the Queen of Hearts and she drew stripes on my face because she was the Cheshire Cat.&rdquo;</div><div>&ldquo;I had no idea,&rdquo; Amy Miller told me when I talked with her recently. &nbsp;&ldquo;And here they were rows behind me in the theater and they took acid to watch the movie. And this is the first I&rsquo;m hearing about this, sitting in the library among hundreds of people, and the girl was in the row behind me and she leaned forward and apologized to me&hellip;. And that was pretty tough, you know? That was really hard. I was angry. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. It was like my daughter, I didn&rsquo;t know her.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Library head John Spears said that feeling of disconnect was common among adults the evening of the screening, and for a long time. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the one thing &nbsp;I heard over and over and over from everyone is: How could this have been happening and we didn&rsquo;t even know it?&rdquo; Underneath their confusion, he says, was shock. There was a sentiment among some people in Naperville that &ldquo;these kinds of things don&rsquo;t happen here.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I spoke to dozens of people in Naperville and I asked everyone, &ldquo;Did this harsh film make a difference?&rdquo;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Dvdsss.jpg" style="float: right;" title="The shelf life of the documentary remains to be seen (Bill Healy)" /></div></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The high school principal pointed to a student-led discussion program, which he says was being created at the same time students were making the documentary. Neuqua&rsquo;s also part of an innovative pilot program specific to heroin--it&rsquo;s a project of &nbsp;the Robert Crown Center for Health Education. That program is in two middle schools that feed into Neuqua, too.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A parent group recently got money from the city to create parent conversation circles.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Naperville police track where users live and sometimes do surveillance on kids buying drugs on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side.</div><div>Early on in my reporting, Jack Kapson - the young filmmaker who helped create &ldquo;Neuqua on Drugs&rdquo; - said heroin was still a problem in Naperville, though he thought it had gone back underground since the film was released.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In 2013 so far, &nbsp;Naperville has had three confirmed heroin deaths&mdash;down from six in 2011. Police stress, however, that the number of overdoses means kids are still using as much as they did in recent years.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Columnist Denise Crosby says it&rsquo;s a mistake to think &ldquo;Neuqua on Drugs&rdquo; was one high school&rsquo;s story, or even Naperville&rsquo;s story. &ldquo;People started looking at this as &ldquo;Oh, this is Neuqua Valley on drugs. So that&rsquo;s Neuqua&rsquo;s problem.&rdquo; And that&rsquo;s just simply &ndash; again I cannot reiterate that enough &ndash; that is simply not the case. Yeah, Neuqua was the epicenter for this. But this issue is in all of our high schools. It&rsquo;s everywhere. In all of our communities.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The film, she says, should have been titled, &ldquo;Your High School on Drugs.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Bill Healy is an independent producer. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/chicagoan">@chicagoan</a> and on <a href="http://billhealymedia.com">his website</a>.</em></div></p> Tue, 10 Dec 2013 02:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/movie-brought-naperville-face-face-its-teens-drug-use-109332 Daley Academy students illustrate effects of gun violence http://www.wbez.org/news/daley-academy-students-illustrate-effects-gun-violence-109013 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 5.29.18 PM.png" alt="" /><p><p>On September 19th, 2013, 13 people were wounded in a shooting at Cornell Square Park in Chicago&#39;s Back of the Yards neighborhood. Directly across from that park is Richard J. Daley Elementary Academy &mdash; a school that&#39;s been affected by gun violence not just in the park, but all over the neighborhood.</p><p>This week, Daley Academy hosted a special art show in partnership with the Illinois Coalition against Handgun Violence. WBEZ Reporter Lauren Chooljian visited the one-day-only exhibit, where a group of 25 seventh graders stood proudly behind their works, done in marker and ink, and all inspired by gun violence.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/lchooljian-0">Lauren Chooljian</a> is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</p></p> Fri, 25 Oct 2013 17:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/daley-academy-students-illustrate-effects-gun-violence-109013 Illinois House approves bill on comprehensive sex education http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-04/illinois-house-approves-bill-comprehensive-sex-education-106716 <p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-align: center;"><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/62307h6.jpg" style="width: 510px; height: 290px;" title="(Courtesy of ILHouse.com)" /></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Illinois students: Get ready for more banana condom demonstrations.</p><p dir="ltr">On Wednesday, the Illinois House passed legislation on comprehensive sexual education, a bill supported by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Illinois Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.</p><p dir="ltr">Sponsored by Rep. Camille Lilly, the bill seeks to reform the state of public education in Illinois, where 2008 statistics show that less than two-thirds of students receive comprehensive sex ed&nbsp;instruction. For advocates, &ldquo;comprehensive&rdquo; education covers four base topics: abstinence education, contraception, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections.</p><p dir="ltr">However, only 42 percent of schools provided instruction on how to obtain and use contraceptives, and less than a third of faculty members have received any kind of formal training on the subject. This leads to a culture where we not only don&rsquo;t talk about sex; we don&rsquo;t even know how to talk about it.</p><p dir="ltr">The proposed legislation, HB 2675, tackles this issue by creating curriculum standards for middle and high school students, providing them with information and resources to prevent STIs and unintended pregancies. The bill&rsquo;s language allows local districts to choose the sexual education curricula that&rsquo;s right for their schools and community and gives parents the option to unenroll their child from any courses they deem objectionable.</p><p dir="ltr">With this legislation, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago hopes to improve our state of sexual education. In a press release Wednesday, government relations director Ramon Gardenhire said, &ldquo;The General Assembly moved closer to providing students in Illinois access to information to make responsible decisions about their sexual health.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The vote passed in the General Assembly of the Illinois House with 66 votes.</p><p dir="ltr">Carole Brite of Planned Parenthood believes this broad support is a great sign of the bill&rsquo;s health. Brite stated,</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Today we are pleased that...the Illinois House voted to ensure that teens in Illinois have access to medically accurate, age appropriate, comprehensive sex education. This bill is a huge step forward in advancing the health and safety of young people in Illinois&mdash;while they are teenagers and throughout their adult lives&mdash;and we look forward to thoughtful consideration by the Illinois Senate.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">In her statement, Brite noted the importance of educating young students on sexual health, rather than providing abstinence-only education, arguing that sexual health leads to healthy choices. Brite said, &ldquo;Studies show that sex education that covers contraception and disease prevention results in teens who are more likely to delay sexual activity and use protection when sexual activity does occur.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Studies from the American Pediatric Association support Brite&rsquo;s claim. The APA has historically <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/8470845/ns/health-childrens_health/t/doctors-denounce-abstinence-only-education/#.UXAX71G7HD0">slammed</a> abstinence-only education, alleging that it leads to a higher risk of teen pregnancy and contraction of STIs. This is especially important at a time when the Center for Disease Control <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6102a1.htm?s_cid=mm6102a1_e">estimates</a> that 50% of American teenagers are sexually active. According to CDC, the United States accounts for the highest teen pregnancy rate among developed nations, leading to lower academic and economic achievement. Teen mothers are more likely to drop out of school and to have children who become teen mothers themselves.</p><p dir="ltr">According to Rep. Lilly, Illinois needs to take action to break these patterns, and the bill&rsquo;s passage is a great step forward for Illinois&rsquo; schools. Rep. Lilly said, &ldquo;As the discussion on the House floor made clear, it was time for us to modernize the basic curricula in Illinois for teaching sexual health education. If this measure becomes law, public school curricula will provide young people with tools and information necessary to grow and mature in a safe and healthy fashion.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Now that the bill has passed the House, comprehensive sexual education heads to the Illinois Senate, where Sen. Heather Steans plans to back it. The Senate passed a similar measure in 2011 that was never voted on by the House, and advocates are hopeful the measure will be ratified.</p><p dir="ltr">Khadine Bennett, the legislative council for the Illinois ACLU, believes the time is now for sexual education reform. Bennett said, &ldquo;We urge the Senate to act as soon as possible to move this important measure forward.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ issues in Chicago. You can follow Nico on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang">Facebook</a>, <a href="http://www.twitter.com/nico_lang">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://achatwithnicolang.tumblr.com">Tumblr</a>.</p></p> Thu, 18 Apr 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-04/illinois-house-approves-bill-comprehensive-sex-education-106716 Crowds descend on downtown Chicago to protest school closings, 127 ticketed http://www.wbez.org/news/crowds-descend-downtown-chicago-protest-school-closings-127-ticketed-106311 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/8596861162_a734e7f296_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><object height="338" width="601"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633103902875%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633103902875%2F&amp;set_id=72157633103902875&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633103902875%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633103902875%2F&amp;set_id=72157633103902875&amp;jump_to=" height="338" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="601"></embed></object></p><p>More than 100 people were cleared away by police at a Wednesday rally protesting Chicago Public Schools&#39;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-proposes-closing-53-elementary-schools-firing-staff-another-6-106202">proposal to close 54 schools</a>.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/civil-disobedience-revs-against-school-closings-106353" target="_blank">A group including teacher union officials, parents, janitors, lunch ladies and ministers sat down in front of City Hall. </a>Police asked each individual to leave. When they refused, police led them away.</p><p>The Chicago Police Department says it ticketed 127 people. At the rally, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis called the closings a &quot;land grab and a power grab,&quot; and said they were part of an attempt to privatize the school system. For more on the rally, see WBEZ coverage <a href="http://www.wbez.org/civil-disobedience-revs-against-school-closings-106353" target="_blank">here</a>.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday stood by the district&#39;s decision to close schools, saying <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-addresses-race-chicago-school-closure-plan-106325" target="_blank">the status quo is not working</a>.</p><p>Prior to the protest, the CTU had been training parents, teachers and community organizations in civil disobedience and had said it planned for 150 people to be arrested . &nbsp;A <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/441102002634744/">Facebook </a>announcement for the rally warned, &ldquo;They want to shut down our schools, we&rsquo;ll shut down the city.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago&rsquo;s pubic schools are out for spring break this week, leaving students and teachers free to join in the rush-hour rally, organized by the teachers union and a coalition of other unions and community groups.&nbsp; Chicago Public Schools erected barricades Monday outside its headquarters in preparation. &nbsp;A spokeswoman said that&rsquo;s common practice in situations where the district gets advance word of a protest.</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago Public Schools is also <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/leaked-memo-tells-principals-keep-eye-school-closings-protesters-106301">preparing principals for acts of civil disobedience</a> at their schools, though not necessarily today. A memo sent to principals at closing schools lists lockdowns, walk-outs, sit-ins and &ldquo;Occupy&rdquo; actions as possibilities. It outlines &ldquo;overall guidelines for the prevention of civil disobedience&rdquo; and suggests principals &ldquo;be approachable and supportive to feelings of unrest, anxiety, or dissatisfaction.&rdquo; It also instructs principals to &ldquo;observe and report all information regarding possible protestors, locations, dates and times,&rdquo; and to note which community organizations or news organizations are present.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-proposes-closing-53-elementary-schools-firing-staff-another-6-106202">In addition to closing 53 elementary schools</a> and one small high school, the district wants to completely re-staff six additional elementary schools. It is also proposing 23 schools share 11 buildings beginning next fall; some of those are new schools that will just be opening.</p><p dir="ltr">The district says closing the 54 schools will offer students a better education because it will allow scarce resources to be spread across fewer schools. Many of the schools slated for closure have fewer than 300 students. For the first time in more than a decade of school closings, CPS is saying it will put significant money into receiving schools, promising students air conditioning, libraries with new books, &ldquo;learning gardens&rdquo; and iPads, along with social workers and counselors to help students adjust.</p><p dir="ltr">The teachers union has said it wants no schools closed, and parents at the individual schools slated for consolidation have brought up their own concerns, from longer walks to school in winter weather to fear for their children crossing into rival gang territory.</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier this month in Philadelphia, 19 activists were arrested at a meeting where the Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted to close 23 schools; the head of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, was among those arrested. The Chicago Teachers Union says Weingarten, who appeared at rallies here during the teachers strike in September, is not expected to be in Chicago today.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Linda Lutton is an education reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/wbezeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 11:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/crowds-descend-downtown-chicago-protest-school-closings-127-ticketed-106311 Why do college students cheat? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-09/why-do-college-students-cheat-102466 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP612514602326.jpg" title="A cheating investigation at Harvard University calls us to ask why so many students cheat. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)" /></div><p>Harvard University found itself in the news thisweek when <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/sports/ncaabasketball/harvard-cheating-scandal-revives-debate-over-athletics.html?pagewanted=all">125 undergraduates, many of them varsity athletes, were accused of cheating on a take-home exam</a>. But the accused at Harvard are hardly alone: Donald McCabe of Rutgers University, who has been monitoring student cheating since 1990, reported in an article in <em>Time</em>&nbsp;Magazine that in a 2010-2011 survey, 62 percent of undergraduates admitted to cheating on exams or term papers.</p><p>I&rsquo;ve been teaching at the university level for over 40 years and I believe this number &mdash;&nbsp;62 percent of the students cheat or plagiarize &mdash;&nbsp;is somewhat of an exaggeration, and has to be put into context. I know from my years in the classroom that students will and do cheat. But, and this is an important but, it&rsquo;s not the case that 62 percent of all students are cheating all the time. The disappointing fact is that lots of students cut a few corners at least one, sought out inappropriate help, got someone to finish an assignment for them, paraphrased more than is usually allowed or faked a footnote or two. But my experience does not lead me to believe that the majority of students are cheating all the time. Teachers don&#39;t have to be constantly on guard or in an adversarial relationship with their students.</p><p>The &ldquo;exact number&rdquo; of students who cheat is less interesting to me than knowing<em> why</em> students cheat. On one level students cheat for all sorts of pedestrian reasons: not being properly prepared, issues of time management, the raw fear of failure. But there are darker and more alarming reasons as well.</p><p>Unfortunately, a lot of students cheat because they don&rsquo;t take college seriously. They feel that they are there because they have to be &mdash;&nbsp;to get a job and get on with their lives. Too many college students are totally bored with the academic part of the university experience. And, because they are bored, as Donald McCabe suggests, they feel that &ldquo;they can make their own rules.&rdquo; College for too many students is about social contacts, future business contacts or just plain fun, before they are slowed down by the responsibilities of adult life. Consequently, if they are bored and their interests really lie elsewhere, cheating makes sense.</p><p>I think all universities and colleges need to address this issue. When I was an undergraduate, (just after Guttenberg developed moveable type) cheating of any kind meant you were automatically dismissed from the university, end of issue. I know it sounds Draconian, and it is &mdash; I don&rsquo;t think it we should reinitiate this kind of policy. But I do know we have to do something. We need to change the college culture and, perhaps the place to start is to remind our students that no matter how much money their family has, college is a privilege and not an entitlement. Nor should college simply be seen as a job fair. It&rsquo;s about character formation. And do they really want to cheat on that?</p><p><em>Al Gini is a Professor of Business Ethics and Chairman of the Management Department in the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago.</em></p></p> Thu, 20 Sep 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-09/why-do-college-students-cheat-102466 Parents fight over pledging allegiance in schools http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-19/parents-fight-over-pledging-allegiance-schools-92184 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-19/rosenthal_custom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Residents are waving the flag in Brookline, Mass., both for — and against — the Pledge of Allegiance.</p><p>Courts have ruled that public schools cannot compel students to recite the pledge, so in Brookline, as elsewhere, the pledge is voluntary.</p><p>But critics say there's still pressure on students to conform, and they want the pledge out of the classroom altogether.</p><p><strong>A concern about peer pressure</strong></p><p>Brookline parent Martin Rosenthal says he is very patriotic. He proudly put his hand on his heart and pledged allegiance to the flag at recent community event. But, he says, the pledge has no place in the classroom.</p><p>"You're asking kids in school to take a loyalty oath in front of their classmates," he says. "I just don't think that's right."</p><p>Rosenthal says the pledge has no educational value and even flies in the face of the kind of critical thinking schools should be teaching. But, he says, he's most bothered by the peer pressure students may feel to recite it.</p><p>"It's like if you don't agree with the group, we're gonna ostracize you," he says. "If you don't swear allegiance, you're considered disloyal. That's what I'm getting."</p><p>Since he filed his proposal, Rosenthal says he's been assaulted by calls and emails that prove his point — messages like "Go <strong>****</strong> yourself you socialist pig," and "You liberal <strong>*****</strong> are ruining this country."</p><p>"I mean, I have a thick skin, but I don't think it's right to put 6-7 year olds in that situation — and the school committee doesn't get it," Rosenthal says.</p><p>School committee chair Rebecca Stone says no students have ever complained they were bullied for not pledging. And schools are very careful to make sure the pledge does not feel coercive.</p><p>"We don't have a problem," she says.</p><p><strong>Kids say they don't feel pressure</strong></p><p>At Brookline's Runkle School, as in most, the pledge is led once a week over the intercom.</p><p>"Nobody should be asked to stand, nobody should be asked to salute, or to place their hands over heart, they are not told how to respond," Stone says. "They are given the opportunity to hear and recite the pledge if they so choose."</p><p>After dismissal, outside another Brookline school, eighth-grader Noam Fink agrees that there is no pressure to pledge. In fact, she says, sometimes there's pressure not to pledge.</p><p>"I did it once," she says. "And I was one of three people standing up and it was awkward 'cause everyone was staring at you."</p><p>Pledging seems to be more common in the younger grades. Though, as fourth-grader Milena Kitterman puts it, it's up to you.</p><p>"If you wanna do it, it's cool to do it," she says. "But if you don't want to do it, you just sit in your seat and wait till it's over and it's no big deal."</p><p>She and classmate Kate Staff say they like pledging.</p><p>"It just feels very special to do it," Kitterman says.</p><p>"I feel like I'm really actually an American," Staff adds.</p><p>School committee chair Stone says many in Brookline want more of the pledge, not less.</p><p>"There is no question that this is a cherished, civic tradition — and cherished, civic traditions count for something," she says.</p><p><strong>A distraction </strong></p><p>Indeed the flap over the flag ricocheted all the way up to the candidates for president. Speaking on Fox News, Newt Gingrich was indignant.</p><p>"I would hope that any tax-paid school will say the Pledge of Allegiance, and frankly I'd wonder whether taxpayers ought to subsidize it if it's not going to teach people how to be patriotic and how to be pro-American," he said.</p><p>In Brookline, equally enraged residents are now hanging flags outside their homes in support of the pledge. Resident Sandra Maloney says people should stop whining about peer pressure.</p><p>"Grow up," she says. "Part of growing up is having pressure put upon you so that you are able cope with life as you get older. We are trying to teach our children to stand up for themselves. This is part of education."</p><p>But at home, where his phone has been ringing nonstop, Rosenthal says the harassment he's experiencing is more than just teasing on the playground. The public threats even prompted the police chief to get involved.</p><p>For all the vocal opposition, there's been relative quiet from the side of civil libertarians. Even stalwart Harvey Silverglate came down in favor of the pledge in schools, saying it does have educational value. He says letting students wrestle with whether or not to pledge is kind of like Liberty 101.</p><p>"Let me tell you something — in an un-free country it's very easy because the authorities tell you what you have to do," he says. "So in a constitutional democracy, of course it's hard because you have to make your own mind up. But we should really thank our lucky stars that's what we've got."</p><p>Silverglate calls the whole debate over the pledge a distraction. But thanks to the First Amendment, he says, it's a distraction people have a right to raise.</p><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Mon, 19 Sep 2011 15:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-19/parents-fight-over-pledging-allegiance-schools-92184 How (and why) those Rogers Park high schoolers made their anti-Rahm/pro-Miguel video http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-02-07/how-and-why-those-rogers-park-high-schoolers-made-their-anti-rahmpro-mig <p><p><iframe height="311" frameborder="0" width="500" allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/afonAiiMTm8" title="YouTube video player"></iframe></p><p>You&rsquo;ve probably seen the video that Chicago Public Schools students put together, attacking Rahm Emanuel and supporting Miguel del Valle for mayor. When it debuted on YouTube a little over a week ago, a lot of folks began to wonder if maybe it wasn&rsquo;t really all that grassroots, if the professionals at del Valle&rsquo;s campaign had nudged the kids to do their bidding. It&rsquo;s an awfully well done piece of politicking.</p><p>Well, it turns out that one of the counseling aids at Roger C. Sullivan High School, the video&rsquo;s home base if you will, is a former student and friend of mine. I asked Jacquelyn Rosa to tell me a little bit about how the video came about. This is what she said:</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&ldquo;Roger C. Sullivan High School, located on the far north side in Rogers Park, is where I work. This neighborhood Chicago Public high school, like the majority of high schools in Chicago, accepts all students.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Sullivan High school is not a selective enrollment school, there is no lottery; there are no admissions requirements. There is, however, a lack of resources; there are fights in the hallways, and high dropout rates. Worst of all, the students are made to feel on a daily basis that they don&rsquo;t matter; they are met with negative comments for attending their neighborhood schools. They are told to go elsewhere if they can, to travel hours away on public transit in order to receive a quality education. They are told that the school in their community is worthless. I cannot imagine being fourteen years old and trying to process this negativity for simply attending my neighborhood school.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&ldquo;It has also been through working at this very school that I have met some of the most amazing, dedicated and resilient young men and women. These students, regardless of their socio-economic background, have dreams of achieving a higher education much like students who attend charter and selective enrollment schools. Although they do not have the ubiquitous &lsquo;college prep&rsquo; attached to their school name, many of them know that ultimately college is where they are headed.<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&ldquo;Gerardo Aguilera, Alexandra Alvarez, and Cristina Henriquez are all juniors at Sullivan High School. <span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34);">These students&rsquo; efforts to mobilize their community to support Miguel Del Valle has been developing since Gerardo attended the mayoral forum for high school students put on by the non-partisan Mikva Challenge organization last month. Gerardo was inspired by what he saw and took it upon himself to research each candidate individually. What he discovered was that Miguel Del Valle was committed to improving the quality of neighborhood public schools.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal">&ldquo;On Sunday January 29th, a group of volunteers for the Miguel Del Valle campaign from the Northside got together in Rogers Park to canvass the 40th&nbsp;ward.&nbsp;&nbsp;The group included&nbsp;Roger C. Sullivan high school students Gerardo Aguilera, Alexandra Alvarez and Cristina Henriquez, as well as CPS graduates, Julissa Castaneda, Carlos Daniel Rosa, and Sandi Gutstein. We collectively identified and discussed key issues we thought Rogers Park residents might ask us when canvassing. We watched the January 27th&nbsp;WGN debate online and focused our attention on the issue that affected us all the most: education policy in the city of Chicago. Rahm Emmanuel and Gery Chico made it extremely clear that they both were in support of a charter school agenda. Neither candidate had a plan for fixing our broken two-tier public school system.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&ldquo;And then we all heard it. Rahm Emanuel said: &ldquo;When you take out Northside, and when you take out Walter Payton, the seven best performing high schools are all charters.&rdquo; With a smug smirk on his face, Rahm Emmanuel had insulted every Chicago Public School student with misinformation about the academic efforts of even the elite selective enrollment schools.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&ldquo;Alexandra Alvarez immediately caught the comment that Emmanuel made about the city&rsquo;s seven best performing high schools. &lsquo;What about Whitney Young and Lane? I thought they were on the top list? They&rsquo;re not charters,&rsquo; she said. Gerardo Aguilera then asked: &lsquo;We don&rsquo;t go to a charter. Does that mean that our school can never be a top school?&rsquo; Finally, the comment that sparked the students to create the &ldquo;Invest in Our Public Schools&rdquo; Youtube video came from Cristina Henriquez: &lsquo;I don&rsquo;t think Rahm Emmanuel cares about us. We don&rsquo;t go to a charter school. We don&rsquo;t go to a top school.&rsquo;</p><p class="MsoNormal">&ldquo;What initially began as Saturday morning canvassing session turned into a full-on action. The students researched and found several articles listing the top Chicago public schools (including the one they used as their source from the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>). Armed with a flip camera, the students set out to film a video that would not only expose the inaccuracy in Rahm Emmanuel&rsquo;s statement but let the rest of Chicago know that there are thousands of students that attend their neighborhood schools who deserve to be invested in, deserve to be acknowledged and rewarded for being students in their community. <span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34);">Their message is clear: Del Valle is the candidate who will invest in public education for all students who, like them, do not go to selective enrollment or charter schools.&quot;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34);">&quot;</span><span style="color: black;">The video was filmed, edited, and posted to YouTube on the same day.&rdquo;</span></p></p> Tue, 08 Feb 2011 05:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-02-07/how-and-why-those-rogers-park-high-schoolers-made-their-anti-rahmpro-mig Foreign language to become a priority in Chicago Public Schools http://www.wbez.org/story/news/education/foreign-language-become-priority-chicago-public-schools <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/studying.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In a move that could eventually expand dual language programs in Chicago Public Schools, the district announced Friday it plans to make learning a language a core part of its education program.&nbsp;</p><p>If the new initiative takes hold, thousands of Chicago students from preschool through 12<sup>th</sup> grade could be learning math, science and writing, not just in English, but in Spanish as well&mdash;regardless of what language they speak at home.</p> <div>&ldquo;This is a strong vision to say that all CPS students&mdash;over time&mdash;will be bilingual and biliterate,&rdquo; said Beatriz Ponce de Leon, head of the Bilingual and World Language Initiatives for CPS. &ldquo;We haven&rsquo;t said that before, and we haven&rsquo;t focused it in that way.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The district is running pilot dual language programs in four elementary schools this year. District officials could not say how many dual language programs the district will start, or where they&rsquo;ll be.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>A rethinking of the CPS&rsquo;s language education programs was recommended by <a href="http://cps.edu/About_CPS/FeaturedItem/Pages/BilingualEducationWorldLanguage.aspx">a commission</a> that included the two Latino members of the Board of Education, Clare Muñana and Alberto Carrero, Jr. They said the shift is needed as Chicago moves from a &ldquo;regional urban center to a first-rate global city.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Ponce de Leon says programs will begin in Spanish but could grow to include additional languages.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Last spring, many language programs were on the chopping block during the district&rsquo;s budget crisis. And prior attempts to build dual language programs in the district have lost steam. Ponce de Leon said the Board of Education is expected to consider a resolution at its December meeting that would formalize the district&rsquo;s new focus on language and commitment to producing bilingual and biliterate students.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>District officials believe the focus on language learning may also help improve academic achievement.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of research that shows that students that are fully bilingual and biliterate do better academically, and we want to capitalize on that,&rdquo; said Ponce de Leon.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Until now, Chicago has offered &ldquo;world language programs&rdquo; in 40 elementary schools, where students study Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic or other languages. In high school, students must study two years of foreign language. But those programs are not designed to make students bilingual.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Separately, the district provides bilingual education to thousands of students who speak a language other than English at home. Those students receive temporary instruction in their native language while improving their English.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Until now, the world language programs and bilingual programs have been run separately and served students with different needs. One goal of the new initiative will be to integrate the two models where possible.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>CPS will also create &ldquo;heritage language programs&rdquo; in between 10 and 15 schools to help students retain or &ldquo;reclaim&rdquo; languages spoken in their family.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div></p> Sat, 13 Nov 2010 06:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/education/foreign-language-become-priority-chicago-public-schools