WBEZ | Education http://www.wbez.org/news/education Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago High Schoolers Launch Website Against School Food http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/chicago-high-schoolers-launch-website-against-school-food-113980 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Foodfight.png" alt="" /><p><p>Two years ago, something pretty revolutionary happened in Chicago Public Schools.</p><p>The district made every meal in nearly every CPS lunchroom free for every student.</p><p>The idea was to end the mountains of <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-01-13/news/ct-met-cps-lunch-fraud-20120113_1_free-lunches-reduced-price-lunches-lunch-applications">sometimes fraudulent</a> lunch paperwork, move lunch lines faster, reduce stigma on low-income kids and make it easier for everyone to get a school meal.</p><p>Given the new federally subsidized program, officials expected to see a big bump in the number of kids who take the meals.</p><p>But that&rsquo;s not at all what happened.</p><p>Instead, that number dropped by about a million lunches in the first year and more than 800,000 in the second, according to CPS records (The drop did accompany enrollment declines in the district but outpaced them).</p><p>So what happened? Why would so many kids reject food that had become completely free for everyone?</p><p>&ldquo;Because that food is disgusting,&rdquo; said one North Side high schooler who recently talked to me in a lunchroom while munching Flamin&rsquo; Hot Cheetos with a Powerade. She didn&rsquo;t want to share her name.</p><p>Junior Shirley Hernandez will share her name. She&rsquo;s one of the honors civics students (taught by Roosevelt High School&rsquo;s Tim Meegan) who this month launched the <a href="https://rhsschoollunch.wordpress.com">School Lunch Project </a>website and a <a href="http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/petition-to-improve-school?source=c.em.cp&amp;r_by=14594209">petition </a>to change food in the district. Students complain of brown lettuce, soggy gray broccoli, plastic found in burgers and frozen, mealy fruit.</p><p>They say it&rsquo;s unhealthy, unappetizing and overly processed.</p><p>&ldquo;We want bigger portions, more nutritious food and [food] partly handmade from scratch,&rdquo; Hernandez said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a human right to have decent food, not the lowest quality of food.&rdquo;</p><p>If CPS and its caterer Aramark (which also arrived two years ago) can&rsquo;t produce better food, the Roosevelt students say they want permission to eat off campus or even go home for lunch as other Chicago students have done in the past or currently do.</p><p>As it stands today, the students are presented with a menu of mostly processed fast food dominated by pizza, burgers and chicken patties. And Roosevelt civics student Duyen Ho believes this could create problems for their long term health.</p><p>&ldquo;The fact that we eat fast food every day is going to affect us in the long term,&rdquo; said Ho. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to affect us a lot.&rdquo;</p><p>Recent changes to the National School Lunch Program have required that the meals deliver less fat and sodium and more fiber than previous lunches. But CPS records show that the three most frequently served entrees &mdash; pizza, cheeseburgers and chicken patties &mdash; are still <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/cps-reveals-only-ingredients-its-chicken-nuggets-arechicken-nuggets-109963">full of preservatives, fillers, stabilizers and additives.</a></p><p>The School Lunch Project website details these ingredients, shares links to research materials (including some written by this reporter) and offers a gallery of sometimes graphic lunch photos. So far the site has gained attention and comments from parents, students, teachers and a even a supportive CPS principal. &nbsp;</p><p>The CPS central office sent a statement to WBEZ saying &ldquo;the health and wellness of our students is among our top priorities, and we will look into the students&rsquo; questions about their meals.&rdquo;</p><p>Aramark, for its part, says it became aware of the website through social media and is &ldquo;looking into it with CPS and the principal.&rdquo; &nbsp;But the company said it had not heard about the specific complaints listed on the site from staff or students directly.</p><p>Still, this week the Roosevelt students plan to take their protest beyond the online world. They&rsquo;re planning a schoolwide lesson on school food Wednesday followed by lunch boycotts among upperclassman Thursday and Friday. Next Monday, they say, they plan to take the lunch boycott schoolwide, and even to partnering schools.</p><p>CPS and Aramark get a $3.15 federal payment (that they share) for each school lunch a student takes, so thousands of students brown-bagging it for even a day could cost them several thousand dollars.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s especially important for young people in Chicago &mdash; where we see so much corruption, cronyism and nepotism &mdash; that they learn how to make change within large organizations,&rdquo; said Tim Meegan, who&rsquo;s taught at the Albany Park school for 14 years. &ldquo;This is just one of many diverse tactics that we are trying to teach young people so they are fully equipped to participate as citizens in a democratic society.&rdquo;</p><p>Meegan&rsquo;s not your average mild-mannered instructor.This year he <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-33rd-ward-lawsuit-met-20150303-story.html">ran for alderman</a> in the 33rd ward, backed by the Chicago Teachers Union. And last month some of his students <a href="http://chicago.suntimes.com/news-chicago/7/71/1014017/roosevelt-high-school-students-walk-out-protest-cuts">staged a walkout</a> to protest budget cuts in the district. Meegan says he asked his five civics classes to come up with a project to work on this year. Across the board, he says, they wanted to work on changing school lunch.</p><p>The Roosevelt lunch protest adds to a chorus of complaints about school food that have appeared this year in the <a href="http://www.hancockhs.org/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=374953&amp;id=0">Hancock High School newspaper </a>&nbsp;and by CPS students who&rsquo;ve shared photos of their <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23dishorditch&amp;src=typd">lunch on Twitter</a>.</p><p>Still, few CPS food protests have garnered this level of attention. Tim Meegan says last week he got a call from the city&rsquo;s school board asking to arrange a meeting with the civics class students. &nbsp;</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a food and health reporter for WBEZ. Follow her at </em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"><em>@monicaeng </em></a><em>or write to her at </em><a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org"><em>meng@wbez.org</em></a></p></p> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 08:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/chicago-high-schoolers-launch-website-against-school-food-113980 Local Free Community College Plans May Be Template for U.S. http://www.wbez.org/news/local-free-community-college-plans-may-be-template-us-113970 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/7658219802_47c3c12d9d_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>CHICAGO (AP) &mdash; An economic engine. A jumpstart for lower-income students. A partnership with businesses to groom a workforce. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-proposes-publicly-funded-community-college-all-111368" target="_blank">The idea of free community college has been touted as all these, by President Barack Obama</a>, Democratic presidential candidates, and some Republicans.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The idea is to curb student debt and boost employment by removing cost barriers. Educators are split on its merits, with some worrying the push could divert students away from four-year schools. And some proposals could cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars, and may still leave students with debt.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But thousands of high school graduates have just started community college for free, with the first batch enrolled in independent first-year programs in Tennessee, Chicago and soon Oregon doing so under different price tags and philosophies &mdash; offering templates of how a federal program might look and potential glitches.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;My family wasn&#39;t going to be able to support me financially,&quot; said 19-year-old aspiring doctor Michelle Rodriguez, who&#39;s taking classes for free in Chicago after concluding that even with in-state tuition and a scholarship a state university would be tough. &quot;I&#39;m the oldest. I&#39;m the first generation to go to college.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tennessee is at the forefront, with over 15,000 students enrolled in what&#39;s characterized as a jobs program. Chicago has just under 1,000 recent graduates in its City Colleges plan, with a push toward getting students into four-year schools at a discount. Oregon is accepting applications for next fall, with as many as 10,000 applicants expected. Other states are watching and considering their own programs.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Cost is bound to be a contentious issue, especially with strapped state and municipal budgets.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Chicago&#39;s Star Scholarship &mdash; a signature Mayor Rahm Emanuel initiative &mdash; is the most generous. Beyond tuition, it picks up books and transportation. &quot;All I have to worry about is ordering my books on time, getting my homework on time and studying,&quot; Rodriguez said. The price tops $3 million for the inaugural class.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tennessee, which this year relies on roughly $12 million from lottery funds, is a &quot;last dollar program&quot; &mdash; paying what federal aid doesn&#39;t cover, with an average of $1,165 a person. Related costs are up to students. For now, Oregon has set aside $10 million, and will cover up to the average tuition of $3,500 annually per student.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Obama has floated a $60 billion nationwide plan calling for two years of free community college available to most anyone with a family income under $200,000 who can keep a 2.5 grade point average.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Republicans criticized the cost, and at least one presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has said it&#39;s a bad concept. But Republican Jeb Bush likes the general idea and has supported Tennessee Promise. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both have proposed affordable college plans, and Sanders has introduced legislation to make four-year public universities free.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Using public dollars for such programs is relatively new. Organizers studied plans utilizing private dollars as a model. Graduates from Kalamazoo, Michigan, have had free tuition available at some public colleges for a decade. Philanthropists have run a similar Knoxville, Tennessee, fund since 2008.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Still, Democratic state Sen. Mark Hass, who pushed the Oregon Promise, had a hard time convincing his own party of benefits. He went to the economics.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;To make a business case out of it, you look at the social costs that some of those people would likely incur on the way to poverty,&quot; he said. &quot;A year of community college is a lot less than a lifetime on food stamps.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>GOP-led Tennessee, which has all 13 of its community colleges participating, saw an 18 percent enrollment bump at technical colleges, according to Mike Krause, executive director of Tennessee Promise.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;This is a jobs conversation,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>With most students in Tennessee and Chicago just finishing their first semesters, it&#39;s early for data on dropouts, higher degrees or job placement. Education experts, though, say the Tennessee and Oregon models could still leave students with debt.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Students from low-income families, even when getting their tuition paid for, still have substantial shares of their cost of attendance to cover,&quot; said Debbie Cochrane, research director at the nonprofit Institute for College Access &amp; Success. &quot;They&#39;re not borrowing for tuition. They&#39;re borrowing for costs beyond tuition.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That organization says 69 percent of 2014 college graduates left school with outstanding student loans, which averaged $28,950.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Octavia Coaks, an 18-year-old in Chicago, said she feels lucky that her parents, a nursing assistant and railroad engineer, don&#39;t have to borrow more.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I have a sister in college, they&#39;re (already) taking out loans. I don&#39;t want to put that kind of burden on them,&quot; said Coaks, who wants to study forensic science.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Setting the qualification parameters is one way to define the program. Unlike Obama&#39;s plan, the state and Chicago programs are limited to recent graduates.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tennessee has no grade requirement. Oregon will require a 2.5 average. Chicago requires a 3.0 GPA.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman said that level is a signal students &quot;have the persistence and dedication to their studies needed to succeed in college.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Some researchers worry the program could divert students, at least initially, from four-year schools.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Typically, students who have a 3.0 are already going to go to college,&quot; said Sara Goldrick-Rab, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who studies such programs. &quot;It doesn&#39;t usually change who goes to college, it might change where they go.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But many in the Chicago program say they&#39;re trying to complete general requirements and then transfer. A dozen Chicago-area colleges say they&#39;ll offer scholarships to Star Scholars. Chicago graduate Oscar Sanchez, 18, says he&#39;s inspired by his older classmates in community college.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;If they&#39;re putting that much effort, why can&#39;t I?&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 13:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/local-free-community-college-plans-may-be-template-us-113970 How To Talk To Kids About Thanksgiving http://www.wbez.org/news/how-talk-kids-about-thanksgiving-113949 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gobble.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457242128" previewtitle="Parent and child hand turkeys have a heart to heart."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Parent and child hand turkeys have a heart to heart." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/24/thanksgiving-turkeytalk1_custom-c5fac29b7022215b40a6cfb12f8198e75c75e7d1-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 386px; width: 620px;" title="Parent and child hand turkeys have a heart to heart. (LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div><div><div>You know the drill: Trace your hand, then add the details. Two feet, a beak, a single eyeball. Color it in, and voila! Hand becomes turkey.</div></div></div><p>You know the rest too: The Pilgrims fled England and landed on Plymouth Rock. The native people there, the Wampanoag, taught them to farm the land. In 1621, they sat down together for a thanksgiving feast, and we&#39;ve been celebrating it ever since.</p><p>It&#39;s a lesson many remember from childhood, but the story has some problems.</p><p>There is evidence, in the form of a colonist&#39;s letter, to suggest the feast did happen, but the holiday didn&#39;t take off nationally until the civil war, when writer Sarah Hale advocated for it as a way to unite the country.</p><p>And, of course, it leaves out what happened to native communities over the next few centuries.</p><p>Bettina Washington, the Wampanoag tribal historic preservation officer, says it&#39;s crucial to acknowledge what happened. &quot;It&#39;s not a pretty history by any stretch of the imagination,&quot; she says, &quot;but we need the story to be told truthfully.&quot;</p><p>Each year, elementary teachers across the country search for the best way to address the elephant &mdash; or turkey &mdash; in the room.</p><p>There isn&#39;t a guide: Social studies standards vary by state. Most are intentionally vague.</p><p>In many states, Thanksgiving is not explicitly mentioned in the standards. And yet children bring their lives into the classroom, leaving educators to decide how to tackle a holiday fraught with broken treaties and forced exodus.</p><p>Here are some of their strategies.</p><p><strong>Shift the focus</strong></p><p>When the 20 or so second-graders enter Crystal Brunelle&#39;s library, she keeps the lesson simple.</p><p>&quot;Other people celebrate Thanksgiving besides us. Some people have turkey,&quot; says Brunelle, a library media specialist at Northern Hills Elementary in Onalaska, Wis. &quot;Others may celebrate in a different way or not at all.&quot;</p><p>Brunelle tells her class: &quot;Lots of cultures have a holiday to give thanks and many cultures celebrated a thanksgiving prior to the Pilgrims.&quot;</p><p>She focuses on the distinct ways different cultures show gratitude, from China to Mexico. And she makes sure to include readings from the nearby Ho Chunk Nation and books written by native authors &mdash; a challenge considering&nbsp;<a href="http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp">just 20</a>&nbsp;of the 5,000 children&#39;s books published in 2014 were written by Native Americans.</p><p>Brunelle says second grade is a critical time.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a time when they&#39;re still forming their opinions and they are very open and accepting of others,&quot; she says. &quot;I don&#39;t want to miss that time. Later is too late.&quot;</p><p><strong>Make connections</strong></p><p>Rebecca Valbuena has been teaching mostly third and fifth grade for 27 years. She has seen the whole range when it comes to teaching Thanksgiving.</p><p>&quot;I know school districts that are very tight and there are no holidays. Other schools, they&#39;re talking about how nice it was for those natives to share their meal,&quot; says Valbuena, who coaches teachers in the Glendora Unified School District in California.</p><p>Valbuena says one timely strategy is to connect Thanksgiving to the Syrian refugee crisis.</p><p>&quot;Make it relevant to today,&quot; she says. &quot;Turn it into a lesson of what a pilgrim really is. These people left looking for freedom. It&#39;s a really strong connection to people of the past.&quot;</p><p>Bettina Washington, of the Wampanoag tribe, agrees that making connections is key but says it can be as simple as emphasizing that all students have ancestors.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re not using clay pots anymore. We use a stove just like you. We&#39;re still here,&quot; Washington says. &quot;Where were your ancestors from? What were they wearing and how were they cooking? It&#39;s very important to make that connection.&quot;</p><p><strong>Emphasize critical thinking</strong></p><p>Brunelle and Valbuena both say Thanksgiving is an opportunity to get students to ask questions and focus on multiple perspectives.</p><p>&quot;We want to teach children how to be historians,&quot; Valbuena says. &quot;We talk about reading the book but also reading behind it: Who&#39;s the author, what&#39;s the message, and what&#39;s their motivation?&quot;</p><p>With her fourth- and fifth-grade students, Brunelle pulls out a history textbook and asks students to examine the portrayal of Native Americans.</p><p>&quot;We see Native Americans in a particular way and then we don&#39;t see them again. They disappear,&quot; Brunelle says. &quot;We talk about that and look to see who is missing.&quot;</p><p>For Washington, that disappearance is what matters most. No matter how you teach the complicated history of Thanksgiving, she says, keep students talking about it.</p><p>&quot;We always get called in the month of November and then we&#39;re not here the rest of the year,&quot; says Washington, but she added: &quot;The positive thing about this time of year is that we are thought of. That opens the door to greater learning and understanding.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/11/25/457105485/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-thanksgiving?ft=nprml&amp;f=457105485" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 16:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-talk-kids-about-thanksgiving-113949 Does It Pay To Pay Teachers $100,000? http://www.wbez.org/news/does-it-pay-pay-teachers-100000-113905 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/100kteachers-rschuette-final-0cf41fe800556292024168ff9bfa10375d465f89-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Once all but unattainable, a six-figure salary is a reality for a growing number of teachers." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/18/100kteachers-rschuette-final-0cf41fe800556292024168ff9bfa10375d465f89-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="Once all but unattainable, a six-figure salary is a reality for a growing number of teachers. (Ryan Schuette/NPR)" /></p><p>We&#39;re brought up to believe our teachers are modern-day saints. Just look at how we portray them in the movies and on TV. From&nbsp;<em>Dead Poets Society</em>&#39;s iconic Mr. Keating to resourceful LouAnne Johnson in&nbsp;<em>Dangerous Minds</em>, we reinforce time and again that teaching is a noble calling.</p><p>These teachers are heroes, we&#39;re told. It&#39;s hard to imagine them even thinking about money.</p><p>But their real-life counterparts aren&#39;t getting rich, either. The average pay for a teacher in the United States?&nbsp;<a href="https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_211.60.asp">About $56,000</a>, usually higher in urban districts, lower in rural ones. Add the fact that salaries fell in recent years, and it&#39;s probably no surprise that more teachers are leaving the profession, with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/08/19/432724094/teacher-shortage-or-teacher-pipeline-problem">fewer entering it</a>.</p><p>And yet, here and there, in a few places around the country, some teachers have attained what has long been considered a mark of success in this country: a six-figure salary.</p><div id="res456506598" previewtitle="Once all but unattainable, a six-figure salary is a reality for a growing number of teachers."><div><div><p>One place you can find them is Washington, D.C. After 14 years teaching in the nation&#39;s capital, Hope Harrod is closing in on that magic number.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;I didn&#39;t expect to make the kind of money I&#39;m making now,&quot; she says.</p><p>Sure, $100,000 doesn&#39;t put you up there with hedge-fund managers. But it&#39;s still good money.</p><p>These days, paying teachers that much is &quot;unusual, but not rare,&quot; says Dick Startz, an economist with the University of California, Santa Barbara. And it&#39;s becoming less rare every day.</p><p>The teacher shortages and pipeline problems are leading some school districts back to the drawing board &mdash; or chalkboard, rather. And increasingly, one of the things on the table is higher pay &mdash; even six figures.</p><p>In most places, reaching that magic number still means getting there the old-fashioned way &mdash; with a master&#39;s degree and 10 or 20 years on the job. And in places like New York state, salaries are given a hefty boost simply because the cost of living is higher, too.</p><p>So what&#39;s new? A growing number of districts are looking to change that pay structure. The goal: Give teachers, even younger teachers, the chance to earn more. Reward them not for seniority or advanced degrees, but for how well they teach.</p><p>Startz called these strides a &quot;very small step&quot; in the right direction. &quot;If we want a large set of people to do a job relatively well, we have to pay them relatively well,&quot; he said.</p><p><strong>&#39;It&#39;s A Really Good Feeling&#39;</strong></p><p>Until a few years ago, Hope Harrod made better than the national average for a teacher, but nowhere near six figures. The 40-year-old educator, who teaches fourth- and fifth-graders at John Burroughs Elementary School in Washington, says that changed in 2010. That was the year Michelle Rhee, then the city&#39;s schools chancellor, upended teacher compensation in the nation&#39;s capital.</p><p>Rather than advance teachers solely on the basis of seniority or education, the city school system rewards performance, with an evaluation system that involves classroom observations, test scores and other criteria.</p><p>Now, Harrod earns a salary close to that $100,000 mark.</p><p>Not that she teaches for the money: &quot;I love watching kids move through their thinking,&quot; she told us. &quot;I love to hear them talk to each other about the ideas that they have.&quot;</p><p>Still, she says, recognition matters. &quot;I feel like I&#39;m very much in a system that&#39;s honoring me in a way that other systems don&#39;t honor other teachers,&quot; she said.</p><p>She doesn&#39;t use that salary to buy a Mercedes-Benz or a home near Embassy Row. Instead, she said, she uses it to put away money for savings and help give her dad a more comfortable retirement.</p><p>And, as with many other teachers, some of it goes right back into her job so that Harrod can help her students.</p><p>&quot;Now I can spend money on my classroom and do that without worrying about bills for the rest of my life,&quot; she added. &quot;It&#39;s a really good feeling.&quot;</p><p><strong>Where Other Teachers Can Make Six Figures</strong></p><p>This year, 765 teachers in the D.C. schools earned $100,000 or more, including bonuses. The salaries stem from a program called Impact Plus that Rhee negotiated with teachers&#39; unions.</p><p>Essentially, the contract was a trade: more money for important concessions. Teachers agreed to competitive performance evaluations and the loss of tenure protections in return for the chance to increase their base salaries and receive bonuses.</p><p>&quot;We were trying to do something that had never been done before,&quot; Rhee explained in a recent phone interview.</p><p>Half a decade later, more districts around the country are considering or adopting performance pay. In February, the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/report/2015/02/17/106584/do-more-add-more-earn-more/">identified 10 school districts</a>&nbsp;revising their pay schedules and boosting teacher pay.</p><p><strong>The Bigger Debate</strong></p><p>So, if the benefits of paying teachers more seem straightforward, why isn&#39;t the six-figure salary &mdash; the one that doesn&#39;t take three decades to earn &mdash; catching on in most other communities?</p><p>For one, the issue may be wading into performance pay, a sticky subject for those who feel evaluations could be unfair to teachers or make schools themselves more competitive.</p><p>Diane Ravitch, a New York University professor and longtime critic of Rhee and performance pay, said the trade-off simply isn&#39;t worth it for most districts.</p><p>&quot;Teachers always want more pay,&quot; she said, adding that she feels &quot;it&#39;s most important where kids are poorest and neediest.&quot;</p><p>Even Rhee cautions against a cookie-cutter approach. Not all school districts are created equal, she said, and officials need to conduct evaluations and consider issues of pay and performance carefully.</p><p>Higher pay isn&#39;t &quot;the end-all, be-all&quot; for teachers, Rhee said. &quot;But it is one way that makes them feel really good about the work they&#39;re doing and helps them feel valued.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/11/19/455378792/does-it-pay-to-pay-teachers-100-000?ft=nprml&amp;f=455378792" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 16:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/does-it-pay-pay-teachers-100000-113905 Cullerton to Chicago Teachers Union: “Of course this would avoid a strike” http://www.wbez.org/news/cullerton-chicago-teachers-union-%E2%80%9C-course-would-avoid-strike%E2%80%9D-113805 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cullerton.JPG" alt="" /><p><div>Chicago Public Schools has laid off round after round of teachers and other employees over the past couple years. Thousands are gone. District officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel warn: If the state doesn&rsquo;t do something by February to help CPS with its $500 million budget hole, there&rsquo;ll be even more layoffs.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>John Cullerton is a Chicago Democrat and state Senate president. &nbsp;He says he has a plan, and that plan--outlined in <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=318&amp;GAID=13&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;LegId=84279&amp;SessionID=88" target="_blank">Senate Bill 318</a>-- has something for everyone, including lawmakers, the governor, school districts &nbsp;and unions. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s what a compromise is,&rdquo; Cullerton said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what a package is.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But there&rsquo;s a hitch. Some of the very people Cullerton wants to help - Chicago teachers - their union is not on board.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know the logic of the teachers&rsquo; union being opposed to the bill,&rdquo; Cullerton said. &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s maybe because, you know, the Board of Ed is for it and, therefore they have to be against it. That&rsquo;s all I can figure, you know? The mayor&rsquo;s for it, they&rsquo;re against it because they had a fight with him in the past.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-teachers-strike-after-talks-fail-102287" target="_blank">Remember the 2012 teachers&rsquo; strike?</a> That&rsquo;s the fight Cullerton is referring to. And there&rsquo;s been talk of a second teachers strike under Emanuel over the district&rsquo;s current finances.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Of course this would avoid a strike,&rdquo; Cullerton said. &ldquo;There wouldn&rsquo;t be any need for them to lose their pension pick-up in their contract negotiations. There wouldn&rsquo;t be any layoffs. I don&rsquo;t know what else they&rsquo;re striking about.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Three-eighteen is not about stopping a strike. Three-eighteen is about destroying our school system,&rdquo; said Stacy Davis Gates, the legislative coordinator for the Chicago Teachers Union.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Davis Gates is referring there to something Cullerton himself wants the bill to accomplish. &nbsp;Along with peppering Senate Bill 318 <a href="http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/7/71/851622/cullerton-introduce-federal-funding-bill-property-tax-hike" target="_blank">with things like</a> a property tax freeze to get Gov. Bruce Rauner in, and teacher pension payments for Emanuel, Cullerton added a remake of the state&rsquo;s school funding formula--one of his own major goals. He says under the way state government currently gives money to schools, poor districts like Chicago don&rsquo;t get the money they should and wealthier districts are getting more than they should.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>So Cullerton&rsquo;s bill puts an expiration date on the current way Illinois funds schools. In effect, he says he wants to end a bad system to make way for a better one. But Davis Gates with the Teachers Union says the union has a big problem with that. You can&rsquo;t end school funding first coming up with a way to replace it, she argues.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;This bill, again, is irresponsible,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;You cannot say that we are providing a solution to a problem when you eliminate the entire revenue stream to the school district.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The teachers union also wants big things that aren&rsquo;t in Cullerton&rsquo;s bill, like a new income tax system and an elected Chicago school board. &nbsp;In the meantime, the clock is ticking on Chicago Public Schools. District leaders say they have only a few months before cuts will be necessary - right in the middle of the school year.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Becky Vevea contributed to this story. She is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can follow her @WBEZeducation.&nbsp;</em><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him @tonyjarnold.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 13:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cullerton-chicago-teachers-union-%E2%80%9C-course-would-avoid-strike%E2%80%9D-113805 Your school shapes how you think about inequality http://www.wbez.org/news/your-school-shapes-how-you-think-about-inequality-113801 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/school-inequality_custom-99a663b90c86786f3d3b4b3dbe1f61e744183c3b-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455355841" previewtitle="Two students passing through each other to get a glimpse of another way of life"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Two students passing through each other to get a glimpse of another way of life" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/09/school-inequality_custom-99a663b90c86786f3d3b4b3dbe1f61e744183c3b-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 354px; width: 620px;" title="Two students passing through each other to get a glimpse of another way of life. (LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>Ask yourself this question: <em>Were you aware of inequality growing up?</em></p><p>Your answer may depend in part on where you went to high school. Students at racially diverse schools, particularly black and Hispanic students, are more tuned-in to injustice than students going to school mostly with kids that look like them.</p><p>That&#39;s one of the main threads of a new book by Carla Shedd, an assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Columbia University. In&nbsp;<em>Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice</em>,&nbsp;Shedd goes straight to the source: the students at four Chicago public high schools. She even let the kids pick their own pseudonyms.</p><p>Two of the schools were largely segregated: one had no white or Asian students. The other two were fairly diverse &mdash; by Chicago standards &mdash; one with about a third white or Asian students and the other, a magnet school, with more than half.</p><p>Shedd followed the schools from 2001 to 2011, a turbulent decade when the city demolished its infamous high-rise public housing units and began closing public schools in large numbers.</p><p>I spoke with Shedd about how school segregation can damage a student&#39;s sense of self.</p><hr /><p><img alt="Unequal City cover" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/bakertaylor/covers/manually-added/unequal-city_custom-e4c22271c64c0ef421fdf85be815ee8c507f32cf-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Cover, Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice, by Carla Shedd" /></p><p><strong>Let&#39;s jump right in. What did the students have to say?</strong></p><p>Black and brown kids going to their neighborhood school, many of them didn&#39;t have the concrete experiences to know that maybe their experiences are unequal. Those kids are very different from the kids who leave their neighborhood and go to a school downtown and sit with classmates very different from them. They see what&#39;s similar and they see what is different. This is mind-blowing for 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds who are making sense of who they are. It will form their perceptions of opportunity.</p><p><strong>So what does that look like from the student perspective?</strong></p><p>Both Alex and TB live on the South Side of Chicago in all-black neighborhoods. Alex travels all the way from the South Side to just north of Chicago&#39;s downtown for his school. He has a racially mixed group of friends and his experiences confirm both his privilege and his disadvantage.</p><p>Alex went on a shopping trip with his friends to the mall downtown. So, he&#39;s in a mixed group of friends, they&#39;re doing something social, and a store security guard believed that one of their group members was shoplifting. The guard approached them and pulled out the three black kids in the group and told them they had to leave. Alex was really stressed by it.</p><p>And the contrast is TB. He has been searched but not arrested multiple times. He still thinks the police are fair. I asked him, &quot;How do you feel when this happens?&quot; And he says, &quot;Doesn&#39;t this happen to everyone?&quot; It&#39;s almost normal for him. TB&#39;s school can&#39;t confirm that what he experiences is not the norm for everyone else.</p><p>So, students of color in segregated schools might be less aware of inequality, but in diverse schools, they might be overwhelmed by it. Where&#39;s the balance?</p><p>With kids in segregated schools, I talk a little about dosage. If they have a lot of these experiences with police &mdash; they&#39;re being stopped and searched &mdash; they&#39;re a little less naive. But for those who this hasn&#39;t happened to so many times, they see it as normal. It&#39;s almost protective in a way.</p><div id="res455803212" previewtitle="Click to subscribe!"><div data-crop-type=""><strong>What about the kids at more diverse schools, like Alex?</strong></div></div><p>In terms of the larger burden for other young people, it&#39;s also something that could be positive, to think about challenges, to think about inequality. It&#39;s a burden, but it&#39;s an important skill set that prepares them later on for inequality with a different face, for working in corporate America and being the only minority or walking down the street and having to disarm people who think they&#39;ll be robbed.</p><p><strong>How does this affect white students?</strong></p><p>There&#39;s a Filipino student who named himself Joaquin. So, Joaquin said after he leaves school, it&#39;s like different species go off into the world. You see the black kids go to a bus or a train line. You see the white kids walking to their homes, some of the most expensive real estate in the city, and the Hispanic kids going to the Brown Line to go to the West Side where they live. He talks about the flows of people at dismissal being so striking, because in school, he doesn&#39;t see that clash of species, as he called it, until everyone is dismissed.</p><p>That&#39;s a very different experience for white students and perhaps Asian students. Otherwise in Chicago, they wouldn&#39;t necessarily have to be in a diverse environment, in light of the options they have for private and parochial schools. It&#39;s almost an anomaly that they&#39;re getting to interact with a diverse group of students. Otherwise they could just be in their segregated lives.</p><p><strong>Is your book an argument for integration?</strong></p><p>I&#39;m not saying kids that go to all-black schools can&#39;t have a great educational experience, but the resources are so starkly divided across these types of schools that are more racially homogeneous, and that&#39;s the problem.</p><p>On the integration front, the positive is not just putting people of different races next to each other, but it also opens up different experiences and perspectives so they can share with one another and think within and across whatever boundaries there are: race, class, gender. It gives them a fuller sense of how the world works.</p><p><strong>What should we take away from your book?</strong></p><p>It is providing some nuance to how young people understand themselves in the world, and it&#39;s also having their voices heard.</p><p>I want [readers] to think concretely about how what happens in school at this formative age shapes the lives of these young people, and it shapes the America we&#39;ll have.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/11/14/454858044/your-school-shapes-how-you-think-about-inequality?ft=nprml&amp;f=454858044" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 11:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/your-school-shapes-how-you-think-about-inequality-113801 Paying for college in era of soaring student debt http://www.wbez.org/news/paying-college-era-soaring-student-debt-113788 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1112_graduation-cap-624x416.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_96000"><img alt="A 2015 graduation cap. (Pixabay)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1112_graduation-cap-624x416.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Paying for college can be harder than getting into college. (Pixabay)" /><p>For many graduating high school students and their families, paying for college can be harder than getting in. From scholarships to sky-high tuition, financing high education seems like it&rsquo;s getting more complex every day.</p></div><p>As part of <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/tag/student-loan-debt-series" target="_blank">our series on student loan debt</a>,<em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/12/how-to-pay-for-college" target="_blank">&nbsp;Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s</a></em> Jeremy Hobson asks two counselors for tips on planning for &ndash; and paying for &ndash; college.</p><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Tips For Families Worried About College Costs</strong></span></p><p>By <a href="https://twitter.com/lisamicele" target="_blank">Lisa </a><a href="https://twitter.com/lisamicele" target="_blank">Micele</a></p><ol><li><strong>Save anything you can for college.&nbsp;</strong>Families often believe that saving will hurt them with financial aid. The penalty for saving (especially when in the parent&rsquo;s name) is very minimal.&nbsp;<a href="http://studentaid.gov/" target="_blank">StudentAid.gov</a>&nbsp;is a great place to start to learn about the federal student assistance programs and eligibility requirements.</li><li><strong>Just do it! File the financial aid forms when applying to college and don&rsquo;t make assumptions.</strong>&nbsp;There are no income cut-offs. It is a formula that takes so many factors (other than income) into account.</li><li><strong>Complete NET PRICE CALCULATORS early</strong>&nbsp;and have conversations about ability &amp; willingness to pay early as a family too. These calculators are found on each college/university website. You can also do EFC (Expected Family Contribution) calculators at the Big Future College Board&nbsp;<a href="https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/paying-your-share/expected-family-contribution-calculator" target="_blank">website</a>.</li><li><strong>Don&rsquo;t be afraid to call the financial aid office at a college and ask questions.</strong>&nbsp;Ask them how accurate their Net Price calculator is (some are better than others) and discuss your outcome from this calculator starting junior year of high school. Get the name of the financial aid officer and talk with the same person. They are there to help you and they appreciate early &amp; proactive conversations. In spring, when a senior is then making the final May 1st decision, any conversations about the aid package or a potential appeal will go thru the financial aid office. Now you will have someone specific to call, if needed.</li><li><strong>Merit aid does still at exist at some colleges.</strong>&nbsp;Do your research.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.collegedata.com/" target="_blank">CollegeData.com</a>&nbsp;is a great site to use &mdash; under the &ldquo;Money Matters&rdquo; tab for each college.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cappex.com/" target="_blank">Cappex.com</a>&nbsp;also allows you to search for merit aid at colleges that reward students for grades, test scores, talents, leadership, etc. regardless of parents&rsquo; income. Use&nbsp;<a href="https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/" target="_blank">College Navigator</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/" target="_blank">College Scorecard</a>&nbsp;in your research for colleges as well.</li><li><strong>Apply for scholarships using free search engines</strong>&nbsp;&ndash; completing all of the optional questions and portals as thoroughly as possible. NEVER pay for scholarship search services. These portals listed here are free. Students should complete multiple search engines.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.studentscholarshipsearch.com/" target="_blank">StudentScholarshipSearch.com</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fastweb.com/" target="_blank">Fastweb.com</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/" target="_blank">BigFuture.Collegeboard.org</a>are great places to start &mdash; to name a few.</li><li><strong>Apply for as many local scholarships as you can.</strong>&nbsp;Talk to your high school Counseling Office about such scholarships; search online; talk with civic centers / volunteer agencies in your hometown. Parents &amp; guardians should inquire with their employers about scholarship opportunities as well.</li><li><strong>Student</strong><strong> should plan for summer work to save for college and plan for a part-time job in college.&nbsp;</strong>12 hours or less while in college is very doable and data shows that having a job equates to better grades and time management.</li><li>If you do borrow student loans,&nbsp;<strong>go for the federal loans first</strong>&nbsp;over private loans; use repayment estimators; talk with the financial aid office at the college you are attending to budget and plan ahead for repayment.</li><li><strong>Use your community college</strong>.&nbsp;Summer classes that transfer to your college/university for credit can save you tuition dollars. Starting at your community college first may be the best fit for you as well.</li><li>Cut costs in college.&nbsp;<strong>Budget</strong>; make sacrifices now (yes &mdash; you can skip the latte); evaluate closely the meal / housing plan options in college. These are just a few examples. Search &ldquo;How to cut costs in college&rdquo; and many sites will offer you tips, budget templates, and words of wisdom from college graduates.</li></ol><p>Final words from Lisa Micele:&nbsp;Use these tools and tips to plan ahead, build a better college list, and put &ldquo;Financial Fit&rdquo; into your college discussions. You can do this! Good luck.</p></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 15:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/paying-college-era-soaring-student-debt-113788 Four charter schools push back against sudden closings http://www.wbez.org/news/four-charter-schools-push-back-against-sudden-closings-113767 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/3046431310_f756a4771b_o.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago wants to<a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/top-cps-official-charter-closings-should-not-be-a-surprise" target="_blank"> shut down four public charter schools</a> in what could be the fastest school closing decision the city has ever seen.</p><p>All four schools have been open less than a decade &mdash; one school is just about to graduate its first senior class. The schools are all on the city&rsquo;s South Side and serve mostly black and low-income children.</p><p>The school board passed a new policy 15 days ago, outlining which charter schools it deemed poor performing. A week later, district officials announced a list of four schools it wants to close at the end of this school year: Amandla, Bronzeville Lighthouse Academy, Betty Shabazz International Charter Schools &ndash; Barbara Sizemore, and Chicago International Charter Schools &ndash; Larry Hawkins.</p><p>State law allows districts to revoke a charter contract if the school doesn&rsquo;t meet performance standards set out in the contract. CPS has <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/charter-schools-surprised-new-cps-academic-warning-list-105797">put charter schools on a warning list</a> in the past. But the schools all say they were blindsided by the decisions and at how quickly the district is moving.</p><p>&ldquo;CPS has never moved this fast on anything,&rdquo; said Lamarr Miller, chairman of the board of Bronzeville Lighthouse Academy. &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s very political.&rdquo;</p><p>The school district insists the closures are about quality.</p><p><strong>The first &mdash; and last &mdash; graduating class</strong></p><p>A decade ago, a small group of teachers working at Robeson High School, then considered one of the city&rsquo;s &ldquo;dropout factories,&rdquo; &nbsp;started imagining a different kind of school.</p><p>Convinced they could do better, they opened a new high school right across the football field. They named it Amandla and started enrolling fifth graders.</p><p>&ldquo;We wanted to ensure that the students that we prepared for college were truly prepared to remain at college and be successful,&rdquo; said Sarah Brennan, one of Amandla&rsquo;s co-founders and now its Chief Operating Officer. &nbsp;</p><p>It was part of Renaissance 2010, an ambitious plan to open 100 new schools in five years launched by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan when he ran CPS.</p><p>Now, eight years later, Amandla is poised to graduate its very first class of seniors.</p><p>&ldquo;We haven&rsquo;t even seen our model to fruition,&rdquo; Brennan said &ldquo;This year is kind of it for us, like, what&rsquo;s going to happen to this group of kids?&rdquo;</p><p>Principal Alyssa Nickow is stunned CPS could close their school based on a school rating that does not even include graduation numbers.</p><p>&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t have a four-year graduation rate. We don&rsquo;t have college persistence. We won&rsquo;t have that for a couple of years,&rdquo; Nickow said. Both are metrics the city uses to determine how well a high school is performing.</p><p>Nickow admits they&rsquo;ve struggled recently. The district put them on an academic warning list last year, and although the school improved on the general school rating policy, that&rsquo;s not what CPS used to justify these four closures.</p><p><strong>Secret scorecards, no public hearings</strong></p><p>Of the four charters up for closure, three were put on notice last year and had to develop remediation plans. All three said they improved, moving up from the district&rsquo;s lowest rating.</p><p>&ldquo;One day last week, we were celebrating the fact that we did move from a level three school to a level two &nbsp;and the day after we celebrated, we got a letter saying that the board was planning to take action against the school,&rdquo; said Rodney Hull, principal of Chicago International Charter School&rsquo;s Larry Hawkins, also on the closing list.</p><p>Ironically, it was not that long ago CPS begged Chicago International Charter School to open the Larry Hawkins school after the beating death of student Derrion Albert raised questions about why the neighborhood had no open-enrollment high school.</p><p>&ldquo;I thought (the closing announcement) was a mistake,&rdquo; Hull said.</p><p>But there was no mistake. Whatever improvement took place at Hawkins and Amandla last year, it was not enough.</p><p>A CPS spokesman sent WBEZ a scorecard for each of the four schools to justify closures. The documents show how three of the schools &mdash; Amandla, CICS-Hawkins, and Betty Shabazz - Sizemore &mdash; failed to meet certain goals in their remediation plans. The one for Bronzeville Lighthouse restated the school&rsquo;s low test scores and attendance.</p><p>But when WBEZ shared the scorecards with each school, they said they had never seen them before. The district confirmed it did not share these secret scorecards with the schools. CPS said the charters have access to all the same data that&rsquo;s on their scorecards and should have been monitoring their own progress.</p><p>Charters are not subject to a state law that would require at least three public hearings before a decision is made. The school board is scheduled to vote on three of the four proposed charter closings at its &nbsp;meeting next week. The vote on CICS-Hawkins will be taken in December based on the terms of that charter&rsquo;s contract.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/234370359&amp;color=ff5500&amp;inverse=false&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_user=true" width="718.551px"></iframe><strong>&lsquo;Closures are part of the game&rsquo;</strong></p><p>After closing 50 schools in a single year, CPS officials vowed they wouldn&rsquo;t close any more until 2018. But district officials say charters are not included in that moratorium.</p><p>Jeff Henig, a political science professor at Teachers College at Columbia University, studies school districts like Chicago that subscribe to a school reform model known as the &ldquo;portfolio district.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Like a stock portfolio, the district, on a regular basis, reviews which schools, which stocks are performing and sells off the low performers and purchases new performers,&rdquo; Henig says.</p><p>He said one of the appeals of charter schools is that they are usually easier to close down if they don&rsquo;t perform well. &ldquo;Closures are part of the game,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>The new CPS administration has <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/fight-over-charter-school-signals-philosophical-differences-how-schools-are-viewed-113541">come under fire</a> for opening two new charter schools at a time of huge deficits and declining enrollment. Now, they&rsquo;re sending a tougher message: telling charters they need to get better or &ldquo;pack their bags.&rdquo;</p><p>But Henig said it&rsquo;s problematic if administrators end up closing schools that may be doing a lot of good beyond what&rsquo;s quantifiable on paper. He also said the district should consider whether there are better schools for students to go to.</p><p>David Ireland, CEO of Betty Shabazz International Charter Schools, said both are issues for the network&rsquo;s Sizemore campus. He said CPS hasn&rsquo;t walked through the school since 2013 and is not considering the unique AfroCentric curriculum the school offers to families in Englewood.</p><p>&ldquo;It seems as though they&rsquo;re taking away choices and making these cookie-cutter kinds of options for children,&rdquo; Ireland said.</p><p>The fourth school, Bronzeville Lighthouse, was never on a remediation plan, but is up for renewal this year. CPS said the school has slipped the last few years and therefore won&rsquo;t be renewed.</p><p>Lamarr Miller, the board chair at Bronzeville Lighthouse, said the district cancelled a visit to the school just one day before announcing the closings.</p><p>&ldquo;If it was a situation where I did not see hope in our charter, I would not defend it,&rdquo; Miller said. &ldquo;The downfall is that you&rsquo;re going to potentially shut down a charter that&rsquo;s supposedly chronically failing, but then you&rsquo;re going to send them to another school that&rsquo;s failing even worse?&rdquo;</p><p>District officials said they will work with families to find better schools for the <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/south-side-students-face-multiple-school-closings" target="_blank">almost 1,000 students that could be affected by the closures.</a></p><p><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 08:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/four-charter-schools-push-back-against-sudden-closings-113767 Chicago schools commit to Thanksgiving StoryCorps project http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-schools-commit-thanksgiving-storycorps-project-113766 <p><p>The&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Public Schools system is joining an effort by the nonprofit, oral history project StoryCorps to have tens of thousands of students interview their elders over the Thanksgiving weekend and preserve the recordings in the Library of Congress.</p><div><p>StoryCorps said Thursday that&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;is the first major school district to commit to the Great Thanksgiving Listen.</p><p>The school system&#39;s Chief Education Officer, Janice Jackson, says she&#39;s excited about having students use technology to bring history to life.</p><p>StoryCorps founder Dave Isay announced the project in August. He&#39;s asking high school history teachers nationwide to have students record the audio interviews on a free StoryCorps smartphone application.</p><p>Recordings sent to the Library of Congress will become part of a publicly accessible archive at the American Folklife Center.</p></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/great-thanksgiving-listen-storycorps-113705" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Copy%20of%20SC%20GTL%20Text%20Mark_0.png" style="height: 227px; width: 620px;" title="" /></a></div></p> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 16:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-schools-commit-thanksgiving-storycorps-project-113766 More universities are adding drone programs http://www.wbez.org/news/more-universities-are-adding-drone-programs-113751 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/16645905601_b866e073ac_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_95672"><img alt="The Autonomous Flight Systems Laboratory at the University of Washington. (Tom Banse/Northwest News Network)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1106_drones-lab-624x414.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px;" title="The Autonomous Flight Systems Laboratory at the University of Washington. (Tom Banse/Northwest News Network)" /><p>If you want to go to college to learn how to design, build, fly or fix a drone, your time has come.</p><p>Colleges and universities around the country are recognizing that unmanned aircraft could become a key technology of the future.</p></div><p>But the murky and evolving regulations for flying drones present hurdles to getting hands-on piloting experience.</p><p>From the&nbsp;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/09/university-drone-programs" target="_blank"><em>Here &amp; Now</em></a>&nbsp;Contributors Network,&nbsp;Tom Banse&nbsp;of Northwest News Network reports.</p></p> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 12:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-universities-are-adding-drone-programs-113751