WBEZ | Education http://www.wbez.org/news/education Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Students of Wheaton College Plan a Fast for Solidarity http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-10/students-wheaton-college-plan-fast-solidarity-114791 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Wheaton_Flickr_Carl&#039;s Captures.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Wheaton College students will embark on a hunger fast after a scheduled reconciliation for professor Larycia Hawkins. The school halted its termination process of the tenured professor and both agreed to part ways.&nbsp;Odette Yousef, WBEZ Northside Bureau Reporter, gives us an update.</p></p> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 14:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-10/students-wheaton-college-plan-fast-solidarity-114791 Education Magazine Takes Readers Inside Chicago’s Biggest Charter Network http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-09/education-magazine-takes-readers-inside-chicago%E2%80%99s-biggest-charter <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Noble Charter_Flickr_US Dpt Edu.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Public Schools are at a critical moment. CPS took out more than 700-million in high-interest bonds last week, and they&rsquo;re talking about 100-million in cuts. Meanwhile, the teachers union is talking about a possible strike, and student numbers continue to decline.</p><p>As this all unfolds, Noble, Chicago&rsquo;s largest charter school network, keep moving forward with expansion plans. Catalyst associate editors Melissa Sanchez and Kalyn Belsha take us inside the Noble charter network, where one out of every 10 kids in the CPS system get their&nbsp;education.</p></p> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 20:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-09/education-magazine-takes-readers-inside-chicago%E2%80%99s-biggest-charter Confused About Your Student Loans? You're Not Alone http://www.wbez.org/news/confused-about-your-student-loans-youre-not-alone-114773 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/grad.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Americans have about $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. And there&#39;s yet another&nbsp;<a href="https://lendedu.com/blog/January-student-loan-survey">survey</a>out that shows students in this country are confused about their loans, in the dark when it comes to knowing what they&#39;ve borrowed, uncertain about how to pay them back.</p><p>I&#39;ve written before about how&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/11/16/415212006/did-you-know-you-can-lower-your-student-loan-payments-i-didnt">I was one of those people</a>. My federal student loans were a constant source of stress, and after doing the math I figured I was paying more than 30 percent of my income every month in loan payments. And because of high-interest rates, I was deeper in debt than when I graduated.</p><p>And then came my epiphany, courtesy of President Obama and his 2014 State of the Union address: &quot;We&#39;re offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to 10 percent of their income,&quot; the President said.</p><p>That opened my eyes to the opportunities out there, and to the importance of keeping informed about your rights and options.</p><p>Loan servicers, the companies that manage student loans for the Department of Education, don&#39;t have a mandate or incentive to tell borrowers about these programs. And borrowers don&#39;t get to choose their servicers, either.</p><p>And so, with that in mind, here are three of the best sources for information that can help if you&#39;re having trouble paying your loans, or you&#39;re just confused about how the process works.</p><p><strong>Tips For Recent Grads</strong></p><p>Did you know that different loans have different grace periods, or that there are opportunities &mdash; in some cases &mdash; for loan forgiveness? No? Well, the Institute for College Access &amp; Success&nbsp;<a href="http://ticas.org/content/posd/top-10-student-loan-tips-recent-graduates">has a tip sheet</a>&nbsp;for recent grads to explain these and other key points that can help you make good decisions.</p><p><strong>A Tool For Knowing Your Options</strong></p><p>The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has built a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/paying-for-college/repay-student-debt/">question-by-question tool</a>&nbsp;for getting you more familiar with your loans and understanding how you can pay them off. That&#39;s no matter if your loans are federal &mdash; through the government &mdash; or private through a bank.</p><p><strong>Calculating Repayment Options</strong></p><p><a href="https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/mobile/repayment/repaymentEstimator.action">Studentloans.gov</a>&nbsp;has a helpful payment estimator to figure out which of the (many) repayment plans might be best for you. Enter your annual income, your remaining loan balance, your interest rate, and let the machine do its magic. These are just estimates, but can be very helpful.</p><p>As we&#39;ve&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/06/26/412870161/5-ideas-to-ease-the-burden-of-student-loans">pointed out before on NPR Ed</a>, there are five income-driven repayment plans from the Department of Education &mdash; most of which come with a chance for loan forgiveness. Recent findings show that, often, when borrowers do manage to find out about these plans, figuring out how to get into and stay in the programs can be another headache.</p><p>That conclusion&nbsp;<a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/newsroom/cfpb-concerned-about-widespread-servicing-failures-reported-by-student-loan-borrowers/">is from the CFPB</a>, which asked for comments from the public last year. It was the first time borrowers had a place to report their experiences with their loans and their servicers. And they had a lot to say: The bureau got more than 30,000 comments.</p><p>Borrowers reported &quot;a wide range of sloppy, patchwork practices that can create obstacles for repayment,&quot; the bureau said. Many people reported that their records were lost, or customer service didn&#39;t have the latest information. That&#39;s just the beginning. The bureau suspects that problems with servicers have left borrowers vulnerable to scams.</p><p>Reading through the comments, it seems all too familiar. I&#39;m one of the 10 million borrowers who have seen their servicer change in the past five years.</p><p>Mine changed without notice when I tried to enroll in the&nbsp;<a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service">Public Service Loan Forgiveness</a>&nbsp;program. Then my records were lost and my payments more than doubled. Every time I spoke to someone in customer service, they had a different idea of how to fix the situation.</p><p>But I&#39;ve been diligent. I&#39;ve lowered my payments and I&#39;m on the road to loan forgiveness. While I once wondered if taking on so much debt to work at a nonprofit news network was worth it, I now think it was.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/02/07/465556666/confused-about-your-student-loans-youre-not-alone?ft=nprml&amp;f=465556666"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 10:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/confused-about-your-student-loans-youre-not-alone-114773 Here's What People are Saying About Barbie's Diversity Makeover http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/heres-what-people-are-saying-about-barbies-diversity-makeover-114739 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/barbie.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="The latest Mattel Barbie dolls created to increase representation and diversity." class="img" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/02/04/showimage-dcba5ca0711a65fdb56c1d308ff0470d707434c2-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="The latest Mattel Barbie dolls created to increase representation and diversity. (Courtesy of Mattel)" /></p><p>Last week, Mattel announced that Barbie is getting a makeover. A whole bunch of them, in fact. As last week,&nbsp;33 new Barbie dolls are available for purchase through the website, in three new body types &mdash; petite, tall, and curvy &mdash; and seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, and 14 &quot;face sculpts.&quot; We rounded up some sharp thoughts on this news, ranging from what this means for Mattel&#39;s bottom line to whether an widely hyped debut of Barbie&#39;s new looks is really a step forward.</p><p>Over at&nbsp;<em>The Atlantic, </em>Megan Garber&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/01/barbies-hips-dont-lie/432741/">says</a>&nbsp;the move is smart business strategy on Mattel&#39;s part, given its past&nbsp;<a href="http://nypost.com/2016/02/01/barbie-sales-strong-for-toymaker-mattel/">four years of sales declines</a>. Given that the company&#39;s 2015 line of racially diverse dolls, called the Fashionistas,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/news/dow-jones/TDJNDN_2016020112545/mattel-revenue-grows-as-barbie-sales-increase.html">seemed to help</a>, this latest move seems like a good bet. Here&#39;s Garber:</p><blockquote><div><p>Mattel&#39;s expansion of Barbie&#39;s look...represents the basic, hopeful idea that diversity is valuable not just for diversity&#39;s sake (or,&nbsp;<a data-omni-click="r'article',r'link',r'14',r'432741'" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/01/magazine/has-diversity-lost-its-meaning.html?_r=0">as Anna Holmes recently put it</a>, as a kind of grudging obligation). Diversity is&mdash;much more pragmatically, much more transformatively &mdash; good business. If consumers can see themselves in their dolls, Mattel has calculated, they will be more likely to purchase those dolls.</p></div></blockquote><p>As essay by Bene Viera of&nbsp;Fusion&nbsp;suggests that for a lot of families, the politics of playtime are real, and deserve to be taken seriously. She&nbsp;<a href="http://fusion.net/story/262148/new-barbie-curvy-curly-hair/">recalls</a>&nbsp;the lengths her mother went through to pick out her toys:</p><blockquote><div><p>Although the original waifish, blonde hair blue-eyed Barbie reigned supreme on toy store shelves, I only had black Barbies. This was very important to my mother, so important that if a store didn&#39;t have any black Barbies she would drive to another that did. She never explained why &mdash; and I never asked &mdash; but as an adult I understand that she knew it was crucial for me, a black girl coming of age in the 90s, to own dolls that looked like me. I am thankful she was proactive in making sure I saw myself reflected in the dolls I played with. Because whether people want to admit it or not, toys do shape how children view themselves.</p></div></blockquote><p>Over at Jezebel, Kelly Faircloth&nbsp;<a href="http://jezebel.com/mattel-cant-update-barbie-without-running-into-updated-1755665384">brings up</a>&nbsp;an interesting point: what if giving a curvy Barbie to a chubby child ends up doing more harm than good?</p><blockquote><div><p>It&#39;s unquestionably positive for girls to see a wider array of skin colors and body types represented positively. A more diverse Barbie is a good thing. But it&#39;s impossible to separate my personal response to this development from the fact that I was a Barbie-loving chubby child, and &mdash; as&nbsp;<em>Time&nbsp;</em>alludes to &mdash; my reaction to being singled out with a gift of the &quot;curvy&quot; Barbie might very well have been absolute devastation.</p></div></blockquote><p>Following Eliana Docketerman&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://time.com/barbie-new-body-cover-story/">exclusive interview</a>&nbsp;with Mattel in&nbsp;<em>Time&nbsp;</em>on the new Barbies,&nbsp;Jill Filipovic, also at&nbsp;<em>Time</em>, steps back to&nbsp;<a href="http://time.com/4196777/barbie-feminist-filipovic/">ask</a>&nbsp;a bigger picture question &mdash; whether the dolls are skinny or curvy, white or brown, are we really okay with what the Barbie brand represents?</p><blockquote><div><p>One pointy-toed step forward, though, is hardly a giant leap for womankind. Barbie is a literally objectified woman, not a superhero or an action figure but a plastic lady notable because she&#39;s pretty. And she remains a quintessential &#39;girls&#39; toy,&#39; Patient Zero in the pinkification pandemic that has infected toy stores for two generations and now prominently segregates &#39;girls&#39; toys&#39; (Dolls, Arts &amp; Crafts and Bath, Beauty &amp; Accessories on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.toysrus.com/shop/index.jsp?categoryId=2255956">ToysRUs.com</a>, for example) from &#39;boys&#39; toys&#39; (Action Figures, Video Games, Bikes &amp; Ride-ons).</p></div></blockquote><p>Speaking of representation and toys, Lego also took steps towards increased diversity last week, unveiling a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/jan/27/lego-unveils-disabled-minifigure-promobricks-nuremberg-toy-fair">new figurine that uses a wheelchair</a>. Unlike the hoopla around Barbie&#39;s new look, Lego was pretty low-key about its new toy, and Morwenna Jones at<em>The&nbsp;Independent</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/with-their-new-disabled-figure-lego-has-approached-diversity-issues-in-a-very-different-way-to-a6848846.html">compares</a>&nbsp;the two approaches:</p><blockquote><div><p>But unlike Barbie&#39;s new range, unveiled with an exclusive in&nbsp;<em>TIME&nbsp;</em>magazine and more press embargoes than Barbie has convertibles, Lego&#39;s latest character was simply placed in the middle of a busy park scene, sitting in his wheelchair as if it were the most natural thing in the world.</p><p>As other companies make grand, sweeping gestures towards their commitment to diversity, it&#39;s this that might just be the biggest step forwards.</p></div></blockquote><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/02/05/465317939/roundup-heres-what-people-are-saying-about-barbies-diversity-makeover?ft=nprml&amp;f=465317939"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 15:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/heres-what-people-are-saying-about-barbies-diversity-makeover-114739 What it Means That the High School Diploma is Now a Moving Target http://www.wbez.org/news/what-it-means-high-school-diploma-now-moving-target-114722 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/movingtarget.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>About three months ago, Bill Nelson got an unusual phone call.</p><p>Nelson oversees data and assessment for the Agua Fria Union High School District in southwest Phoenix, Ariz. The call was from a former student, who left the district back in 2011.</p><p>He was &quot;not quite a graduate,&quot; Nelson recalls. At the time, the young man had failed part of Arizona&#39;s high school exit exam, called the AIMS.</p><p>But in 2015, Arizona rescinded the AIMS requirement, and made that retroactive. So this former student was in luck.</p><p>After Nelson looked up his records, he was able to issue a new transcript and diploma, making the young man eligible for a steady, relatively well-paying job as a miner in Colorado. &quot;He was really very happy,&quot; Nelson says.</p><p>Which raises&nbsp;<a href="http://apps.npr.org/grad-rates/">a question NPR Ed has been exploring</a>&nbsp;for some time: What does it mean to graduate from high school?</p><p>The answer used to be fairly straightforward: Pass a given number of classes in a few core subjects, and you&#39;re good. Or if you didn&#39;t make it, you could take a test called the GED for a second chance.</p><p>That simplicity has more recently been replaced by a whole lot of confusion. The GED has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/01/27/464418078/lowering-the-bar-for-the-new-ged-test">two competing high school equivalency tests now,</a>&nbsp;for example.</p><p>And in the past decade, high school exit exams have passed quickly in and out of vogue. Half of states required them in 2012. This year? Only 13.</p><p>As&nbsp;Education Week&nbsp;<a href="http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/01/27/states-move-to-issue-high-school-diplomas.html">reported last week</a>, when states get rid of these exams, the question naturally arises: Why leave students without a diploma, when the test they failed is no longer required?</p><p>The newspaper reported that Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, California and Alaska, along with Arizona, have so far passed laws to allow students who failed some of these tests to get their diplomas anyway.</p><p>The change could profoundly affect the lives of tens of thousands of people. The difference between a high school graduate and a high school dropout is a<a href="http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/median-weekly-earnings-by-education-gender-race-and-ethnicity-in-2014.htm">&nbsp;37 percent increase in weekly earnings on average</a>.</p><div id="con465054803" previewtitle="Related NPR Stories"><p>But making the switch is resource-intensive. In Georgia, some of these students&nbsp;<a href="http://getschooled.blog.myajc.com/2015/03/30/governor-signs-bill-today-enabling-8000-georgians-to-receive-high-school-diploma/">should have graduated up to 20 years ago</a>. In California, reports say, schools and districts are<a href="http://www.scpr.org/news/2015/11/09/55511/thousands-stopped-by-exit-exam-may-qualify-for-dip/">responding unevenly</a>&nbsp;to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_28948354/state-exit-exam-suspension-gives-hope-thousands-seeking">logistical nightmare</a>&nbsp;of tracking down former students who have long since gone on with their lives. In Texas, the state education agency had to rule on the eligibility of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Wylie-Senior-Deemed-Ineligible-for-Graduation-Based-on-Texas-Senate-Bill-305935721.html">just one student.</a></p></div><p>In Agua Fria, Bill Nelson&nbsp;<a href="http://kjzz.org/content/139559/former-arizona-high-school-students-who-failed-aims-getting-retroactive-diplomas">set up a hotline&nbsp;</a>for students to call and dug into student records going back five years. He did it all on his own initiative, with no extra resources from the state. He mailed 40 diplomas out just three months after the change in the law.</p><p>The issue is clearly complicated. As we&#39;ve reported,<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/12/15/459821708/u-s-high-school-graduation-rate-hits-new-record-high">&nbsp;increasing high school graduation rates</a>&nbsp;is a national priority, reinforced by federal law. At the same time, the Common Core is supposed to be enforcing higher &quot;college and career ready&quot; standards. But constantly changing requirements make it harder to believe that any consistent standard is being maintained.</p><p>&quot;The requirements for a high school diploma vary from state to state and even from district to district,&quot; says Russell Rumberger, a professor of education at UC Santa Barbara who has studied the high school diploma extensively. &quot;This means that the knowledge and skills students possess when graduating, and hence their level of preparedness for college and careers, also vary.&quot;</p><h3>More On High School Graduation</h3><div><div class="bucketwrap image medium" id="res465055600" previewtitle="NPR Ed Grad Rates Project" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 40px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: 14px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; position: relative; float: none; width: auto; clear: left; overflow: hidden; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><div class="imagewrap" data-crop-type="" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; position: relative; text-align: center;"><a href="http://apps.npr.org/grad-rates/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(109, 138, 196); -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; text-decoration: none;"><img alt="NPR Ed Grad Rates Project: apps.npr.org/grad-rates/" class="img" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/31/screen-shot-2016-01-31-at-12.42.10-pm-f6ca9141e512437c30f99971b4c69a728484c893-s300-c85.png" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 10px solid; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; max-width: none; display: block; width: 310px; height: 231px; float: left;" title="NPR Ed Grad Rates Project" /></a></div><div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/02/01/464850639/what-it-means-that-the-high-school-diploma-is-now-a-moving-target?ft=nprml&amp;f=464850639"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 10:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/what-it-means-high-school-diploma-now-moving-target-114722 Chicago Public Library Forgiving Fines http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-08/chicago-public-library-forgiving-fines-114747 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/6363562459_7399ee3c3e_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>We&rsquo;ve all been there. You check out a book from the library. The due date comes...and goes. And you forget to return it. Another day goes by and another--and pretty soon, you&rsquo;ve racked up a fair amount of fines.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well, the Chicago Public Library is taking a gentler approach.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For the next two weeks, it&rsquo;s offering amnesty to anyone who has fines from overdue or lost materials. Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon explains how it all works.</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 09:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-08/chicago-public-library-forgiving-fines-114747 City Colleges Faculty Votes No Confidence in Chancellor http://www.wbez.org/news/city-colleges-faculty-votes-no-confidence-chancellor-114713 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/8006733896_fa7542b739_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Faculty at the City Colleges of Chicago are saying they have no confidence in Chancellor Cheryl Hyman.</p><p>Faculty Council President Jennifer Alexander, an early childhood development instructor at Richard J. Daley College, presented the declaration of no confidence at a board meeting Thursday morning.</p><p>&ldquo;We are exceptionally concerned that our chancellor&rsquo;s actions are destroying our mission, the values and the integrity of the City Colleges,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Alexander said faculty discontent has been brewing for some time, largely in response to sweeping changes that have been part of the school&rsquo;s &ldquo;Reinvention&rdquo; initiative. That effort, launched under Hyman six years ago, aims to increase the number of degrees attained, strengthen job placement and promote career advancement for students.</p><p>Under the Reinvention plan, the system of seven community colleges has relocated academic programs, changed tuition incentives and undertaken significant capital investments. In public comments at the meeting today, faculty said they were especially concerned about the recent decisions to raise tuition for international and part-time students, and to shorten the registration period for classes.</p><p>&ldquo;Both of these actions limit student and community access to high-quality programs, and violate the mission of the City Colleges of Chicago,&rdquo; said Alexander.</p><p>Early in the meeting, Hyman addressed the Board of Trustees, laying out the school&rsquo;s successes and saying that when she was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2010, the network was suffering a &ldquo;crisis of confidence.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Six years later I am pleased to report our metrics are up across the district and City Colleges has been hailed as a national model,&rdquo; said Hyman. &ldquo;A City Colleges of Chicago credential equips our graduates with the skills to succeed.&rdquo;</p><p>Regular attendees of board meetings said the gathering was atypical, as dozens of leaders spanning civic, political, higher education and community organizations -- including Congressman Bobby Rush -- turned out to speak pointedly in support of Hyman. Several students, too, shared their comments, including a foreign student who said he supported the decision to raise tuition disproportionately for international students like himself.</p><p>Melanny Buitron, a student at Wright College, said a personal meeting with Hyman in 2011 compelled her to attend City Colleges after graduating from high school. &ldquo;She told us (her) story, about how she attended City Colleges and how she got to where she is now, which I respect a lot,&rdquo; said Buitron, &ldquo;because at a young age, as an undocumented student, I said &lsquo;If she could do it, so could I.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>But faculty members say that other students have been affected adversely by decisions that Hyman and the City Colleges board made.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re closing vibrant programs at certain colleges and only going to offer them at certain colleges,&rdquo; said Alexander. &ldquo;So nursing was taken away from Daley College -- it was closed. And now they&rsquo;re saying they&rsquo;re going to close child development at Daley College, and that those students would have to go to the North Side...My concern is that my students are not going to be able to do that, and I don&rsquo;t want to lose my students.&rdquo;</p><p>Alexander said she already did lose some of her students as a result of a sudden and unexpected tuition hike that the school announced over the summer.</p><p>Kim Knutson, an associate professor of English at Wright College, says the consolidation of academic programs to certain campuses will further reinforce the city&rsquo;s existing patterns of segregation. She points to the decision to move transportation programs to Olive-Harvey College, and Culinary and Hospitality services to Kennedy-King College, both on the South Side.</p><p>&ldquo;So, you live on the South and Southwest side, you can be a truck driver, you can be a cook, you can work in a factory. That&rsquo;s pretty much it. They kind of decided that&rsquo;s what you&rsquo;re destined for,&rdquo; said Knutson. &ldquo;And Harold Washington gets all the business and professional services. Great, but why can&rsquo;t you now take accounting if you grew up in one of the more impoverished areas? We&rsquo;re already talking about populations that are not privileged to begin with and now they&rsquo;re further parsing it and acting like they don&rsquo;t know&hellip; It&rsquo;s really unconscionable.&rdquo;</p><p>Faculty members delivered a copy of their resolution to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s office after presenting it to the Board. A statement from that office praises higher graduation rates under Hyman&rsquo;s leadership, and says:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;The Mayor is committed to working with the Chancellor as CCC continues to provide an affordable pathway to a four-year degree while also expanding industry-aligned opportunities that provide great value to both our students, as well as to top employers seeking highly qualified candidates for the jobs of today.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>A statement from City Colleges&rsquo; Board said trustees remain &ldquo;impressed with the significant accomplishments demonstrated by Chancellor Cheryl Hyman and her unwavering commitment to preparing Chicagoans for the workforce and further higher education.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/city-colleges-faculty-votes-no-confidence-chancellor-114713 Chicago State Declares Financial Emergency, Eyes Job Cuts http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-state-declares-financial-emergency-eyes-job-cuts-114702 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/CSU-Zol87-flickr_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;(AP) &mdash;&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;State&nbsp;University trustees have declared a financial emergency at the troubled school that could make it easier to lay off employees.</p><p>According to the&nbsp;<a href="http://trib.in/1PlcXf2"><em>Chicago&nbsp;Tribune</em></a>, trustees at the predominantly black university on Thursday declared a type of emergency that in the academic world means the school faces an imminent threat to its survival that could require measures such as cutting faculty jobs.</p><p>The board also created a committee to decide on actions that could include layoffs and pay cuts.</p><p>Chicago&nbsp;State&nbsp;officials say the school will run out of money in March.</p><p>Public universities in Illinois have not received&nbsp;state&nbsp;funding since last summer because of the budget stalemate between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrats who control the General Assembly.</p></p> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 13:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-state-declares-financial-emergency-eyes-job-cuts-114702 Forrest Claypool on CTU Contract and CPS Cuts http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-03/forrest-claypool-ctu-contract-and-cps-cuts-114690 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/CPS-Chief-Flickr-WBEZ.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Things are not going well between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools. The <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-schools-announce-cuts-after-union-rejects-offer-114680">union rejected the latest contract offer </a>the other day after it looked like both sides were close to an agreement after more than a year of contract talks.</p><p>On February 2, the district <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-schools-announce-cuts-after-union-rejects-offer-114680">announced plans to cut 100 million dollars</a> in staff and spending to help address its long-term one billion dollar shortfall.</p><p>Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool joins the show to shed some light on the proposed cuts.</p></p> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 14:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-03/forrest-claypool-ctu-contract-and-cps-cuts-114690 Classroom Cuts Move Ahead, Absent a New Chicago Teachers' Contract http://www.wbez.org/news/classroom-cuts-move-ahead-absent-new-chicago-teachers-contract-114692 <p><div><p>The head of Chicago Public Schools is going to slash money from school budgets -- in a move that&rsquo;s escalating tensions with the Chicago Teachers Union.</p><p>It comes as the district is also trying to borrow more money from bond markets.</p><p>District chief Forrest Claypool sent a letter to union president Karen Lewis that said CPS would begin cutting $100 million from schools and would stop picking up part of the teachers&rsquo; pension contribution. He wrote that the changes could take effect in 30 days. &nbsp;</p><p>The union fired back, calling the move retaliatory.</p><p>&ldquo;This is clearly a retaliatory message because we didn&rsquo;t agree with what they came up with,&rdquo; Lewis said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not going to be bullied. We have provisions in our contract against bullying. We don&rsquo;t tolerate it in our schools with our kids.&rdquo;</p><p>Claypool said the cuts -- which could mean one position per school, on average -- could still be avoided if the two parties reach an agreement soon.</p><p>&ldquo;I would be the happiest guy around if next week we had an agreement with the teachers union and we could rescind the process on these steps,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We do not want to take these steps.&rdquo;</p><p>School budget cuts in the middle of the school year has been <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/no-plan-c-chicago-schools-brace-budget-cuts-114118">Claypool&rsquo;s Plan B</a> since last fall--as the district looked for ways to close its $480 million budget deficit. &nbsp;</p><p>Claypool&rsquo;s Plan A was to get help from other sources, including state lawmakers and teachers. Both have now clearly said no.</p><p>State lawmakers have made it clear there&rsquo;s no extra money coming from them, and<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/rauners-vision-chicago-public-schools-future-114545"> Gov. Bruce Rauner has continued to advocate for a state takeover and potential bankruptcy for CPS</a>. He even directed the state board of education to begin looking for Claypool&rsquo;s replacement.</p><p>&ldquo;The state should be able to take over the schools and manage those contracts properly,&rdquo; Rauner said.</p><p>State law would have to change in order for the state to legally take over Chicago schools.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Union rejects district proposal of a four-year contract deal. <a href="https://t.co/flEwutRcdp">pic.twitter.com/flEwutRcdp</a></p>&mdash; WBEZeducation (@WBEZeducation) <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation/status/694272840162480130">February 1, 2016</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On Monday,<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-teachers-union-rejects-serious-offer-district-114679"> teachers rejected</a> what both the district and union leadership considered a &ldquo;serious&rdquo; contract offer. It would have saved the district millions by having teachers pay more toward their health care and pensions, but it also promised to cap charter school expansion and give teachers more &ldquo;autonomy in the classroom.&rdquo;</p><p>But members of the union&rsquo;s 40-person big bargaining team, citing a lack of trust and what union president Lewis called &ldquo;weasel language&rdquo; on things like paperwork and standardized testing, unanimously rejected the offer.</p><p>The proposal also included a phase out of the district&rsquo;s pick-up of the teachers&rsquo; pension contribution. Typically, the district has picked up 7 percent of the 9 percent employee contribution.</p><p>Absent a compromise agreement, Claypool is now planning to do away with that pension pick-up in the next 30 days. Lewis said that move is against the law and the union could take the district to court over it and immediately call a strike.</p><p>Robert Bruno, a professor of labor relations at the University of Illinois, called Claypool&rsquo;s move an escalation, and explained that it could be what&rsquo;s known in bargaining as a gambit.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a kind of end move where you try to shake up the bargaining and you come up with a big play,&rdquo; Bruno said. &ldquo;It comes with high risk, but it can come with high reward.&rdquo;</p><p>The risk? A teachers strike.</p><p>The reward? An agreement in the next 30 days.</p><p>Or there could be an entirely different reward that could come from slashing school budgets right now.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CTUBigBargainingTeam.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Chicago Teachers Union Big Bargaining Team (WBEZ/Becky Vevea)" /></p><p>Claypool hinted that the budget cuts could also be sending a signal to Wall Street. On Wednesday, the district planned to borrow millions of dollars on the bond market.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we&rsquo;re sending a very strong signal here that we are going to right the fiscal ship and we are going to do whatever it takes,&rdquo; he said, when asked what if any role the borrowing played in making the cuts.</p><p>CPS had delayed a $875 million bond sale last week, saying they wanted more time to &ldquo;build the book,&rdquo; &nbsp;which is basically finding more investors willing to buy the district&rsquo;s junk bonds.</p><p>The abrupt move came shortly after Gov. Rauner first raised the question of bankruptcy.</p><p>Matt Fabian with &nbsp;Municipal Market Analytics said &nbsp;the governor&rsquo;s earlier statements definitely spooked the markets. I asked if that could be Rauner&rsquo;s purpose.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s just a big step, to say that he&rsquo;s actually trying to disrupt the bond deal. &nbsp;But&hellip; it could be,&rdquo; Fabian said. &ldquo;It is starting to look that way, isn&rsquo;t it?&rdquo;</p><p>CPS plans to use some of the borrowed money to make a payment on other debts, due February 15. Absent that money, the district may have to make more budget cuts.</p><p>That&rsquo;s not something either CPS or CTU would want, labor expert Robert Bruno noted.</p><p>&ldquo;Both parties are obviously invested in the ability to sell bonds,&rdquo; he added. But on the other hand, the cuts could push teachers to the picket lines.</p><p>&ldquo;We have a lot of our members that have already bought red, thermal jackets,&rdquo; Lewis said.</p><p>But she added that the union remains at the table with CPS, bargaining around the clock.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation"><em>@WBEZeducation</em></a><em>.</em></p><p><em>WBEZ reporter Dan Weissmann contributed to this report.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 12:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/classroom-cuts-move-ahead-absent-new-chicago-teachers-contract-114692