Protesting Duncan

“Outside the hotel, several dozen people protested school closings
Duncan made in his previous job. Called the Caucus of Rank and File
Educators, the group carried signs that said such things as “Duncan is
Flunkin,'” the Tribune reports.

Thankfully, the protest came in between downpours. While my husband and about 45 teachers, parents and students were outside marching, I was cozy and dry inside the breakfast with my new bud, Bill Daley, who is breakfast sponsor Advance Illinois’ co-chair with Jim Edgar. Arne waved at me while chewing a bagel. Miguel DelValle promised me that he would fight to assure that the assessments to which Advance Illinois’ recommendations are tied will include formative assessments and not just standardized tests. 

That’s the crux of the matter, as I wrote yesterday in my critique of the AI report. If assessment in Illinois isn’t radically changed (there, I used their words!) the rest will be an unmitigated disaster. But that’s not the change they are pushing for, and, aside from one comment about needing multiple assessments, it’s not what Arne talked about.

No, Arne was all about charters and turnarounds, even though he admitted that there are not enough good models.”We
have to increase our capacity across the country” for creating new
schools. “Some will work, some won’t,” he said.

Wow, $5 billion and we’ll still just be experimenting and trying to hit on some things that might work.

Arne’s whopper of the day

Arne repeated his whopper about North Lawndale College Prep’s graduation rate (claiming it to be 97% when it is really 46%), and he did it during the Q and A session when the school’s co-founder, AI executive director Robin Steans, was standing right next to him. So, we don’t have enough good models, and we have to lie about the ones we promote as good models. But it sounds as though Arne wants quantity and not quality when it comes to turnarounds and charters/   

Later, at the demonstration, I handed out two fact sheets, “Dodge-ing the Truth” and “Problems with Illinois charter schools.” Please share the facts with your friends and family – don’t let Arne fool you!

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.