Catalyst Chicago

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Independent reporting on urban education since 1990 2015-10-05T16:59:12Z
Updated: 11 min 26 sec ago

Take 5: Pension pickup, vanishing vendor lists, Noble proposal

August 13, 2015 - 9:31am
About 2,100 non-union employees at CPS will lose their 7 percent "pension pickup" over the next three years and now the district wants to gradually phase out this contribution for teachers. Meanwhile, City Colleges are consolidating degree programs to save money and Noble has withdrawn another charter high school proposal.

Montefiore now a school without students but, says CPS, it is not closed

August 12, 2015 - 3:46pm
The district's last remaining specialty elementary school for students with profound emotional and behavioral disabilities isn't shutting down, CPS says. But there are no more students or staff at the school, except for an assistant principal and a clerk.

Budget outlines layoffs, cuts to special ed

August 10, 2015 - 8:35pm
CPS released its 2015-2016 budget, and began issuing nearly 1,500 pink slips to teachers, support staff and other employees in the district. In addition, teachers say the district has quietly shut down the Montefiore Specialty School despite a five-year moratorium on school closings.

Back to drawing board for contract negotiations

August 7, 2015 - 4:33pm
CTU leaders say they were close to reaching a one-year labor agreement that would have included no raises but retained the so-called "pension pick-up." In addition the tentative deal would have barred CPS from opening any new charter schools without union approval.

Principal independence: Easier said than done

August 7, 2015 - 3:00pm
Studies on previous attempts to give principals greater autonomy in both Chicago and New York City found they had little impact on student achievement.

Take 5: Budget uncertainty, charter withdrawals, another online test

August 6, 2015 - 1:17pm
It now seems unlikely that financial help from Springfield will arrive before CPS releases its full budget early next week. The news comes after CEO Forrest Claypool called for Chicago teachers to pick up the full cost of their pension contributions if a plan to consolidate state and city pension funds doesn't work out.

Comings and Goings: Grumman, Steans

August 4, 2015 - 4:07pm
Robin Steans leaves Advance Illinois to focus on her family’s foundation, while Cornelia Grumman moves from the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute to the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

More autonomy for top-performing principals

August 3, 2015 - 5:35pm
CPS is resurrecting an Arne Duncan-era program that will give 25 principals more freedom from red tape in running their schools, managing their finances and attending network meetings.

City, district leaders pivot from National Board Certification

July 31, 2015 - 3:00pm
Helping teachers achieve National Board Certification, the U.S. teaching profession's highest honor, became a Chicago priority in the early and mid-2000s. Since then it has taken a back seat to other pressing issues. Studies have shown that board-certified teachers outperform their peers, but the research falls short of offering a way for certification to drive teacher quality more broadly.

Later school start: complications with a silver lining?

July 31, 2015 - 11:28am
Students at the 56 high schools that will start classes later this school year foresee problems with after-school activities and jobs, but a researcher says they may learn more.

82 schools getting new start and end times

July 30, 2015 - 5:31pm
CPS released new start and end times for 82 schools on Thursday, a change that's part of $200 million in cuts the district announced earlier this month.

Take 5: Special ed cuts, child care worker pipeline, using closed schools

July 30, 2015 - 11:07am
When CPS officials announced earlier this summer that more than 500 special education staff would be laid off districtwide, they gave few details about how the services would be continued. Part of the plan, it turns is out, is a pilot program called All Means All, which essentially provides student-based budgeting for special education. WBEZ […]

Charters start seeing full payments, but lower federal funding after CPS error

July 29, 2015 - 10:41am
Charter schools got mixed news this week: the rest of their first-quarter payment has begun to flow, but they have to revise their budgets after a CPS error led some federal funding to be too high.

Arne Duncan’s past, present and future with Chicago

July 24, 2015 - 3:39pm
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan got his start in Chicago and maintains strong ties here. Catalyst has covered his track record as CEO of CPS, examined the local effects of federal policy during his tenure, and perhaps caught a glimpse of his future after his Washington days end.

More politicians step out to oppose charters on Southwest Side

July 23, 2015 - 10:24pm
In front of an estimated 1,000 community members, several local politicians declared their support for a burgeoning anti-charter movement on the Southwest Side.

Comings and Goings: New network chiefs, principals

July 23, 2015 - 2:40pm
Two CPS deputy chiefs are being promoted to network chiefs and several principals are changing schools.

Take 5: School sales, CEO salary, kindergarten suspensions

July 23, 2015 - 10:48am
A newly reconstituted Board of Education voted to take on an additional $1.2 billion in new borrowing; CEO Forrest Claypool will work without a formal contract.

Audit of bilingual services coming to all schools

July 22, 2015 - 7:45pm
Citing longstanding issues, outgoing interim CEO Jesse Ruiz says CPS will audit funding and programming for English language learners at all schools, including charters. UNO schools are already under scrutiny, though officials the district's motives.

New forms for LSC evaluation of principals, more borrowing on tap

July 21, 2015 - 8:10pm
The CPS Board of Education will vote Wednesday on $1.16 billion in new borrowing and a new principal evaluation for Local School Councils that places a greater emphasis on school performance.

Southwest Side principals rally against Noble charter

July 21, 2015 - 4:02pm
About a half-dozen Southwest Side principals have stepped forward to protest publicly a bid by Noble charter schools to open two campuses in their area – a move that mirrors a North Side protest earlier this summer.


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