PSAT for 2-14-12: Call Brizard again! Plan to come see Monty! Waivers!

For Public Schools Action Tuesday (PSAT) today,

1) Parents 4 Teachers is asking you to help keep the pressure on CPS CEO Brizard about school closings and turnarounds. Call today 773-553-1500. I plan to fax my message to him at 773-553-1501. Some points to mention are below.

2) Plan to come to the forum, “Winning the Testing Battle/ Overhauling NCLB/ESEA” at UIC with FairTest’s Monty Neill tomorrow, Wednesday Feb. 15, at 6 pm. in the Cardinal Room at UIC’s Student Center East (701 S. Halsted at Polk, public parking in structure across Halsted).

3) Consider providing testimony  to ISBE on the ESEA waiver request they propose to submit to the US Department of Education. They never give us much time to do this – the proposal has only been posted for a couple of days here but the public hearings are tomorrow, Wednesday, 2/15, in Schaumburg and Thursday, 2/16, in Berwyn. Details here. Written input can be submitted (see previous link for e-mail address) but it has to be in by 5 pm Friday Feb.17. The proposal itself is due Feb. 21.

ISBE is supposed to give evidence to the feds that it has listened and adjusted its proposal in response to public input, so it’s not a complete shot in the dark.I have not had time to prepare anything yet but I’ve taken a quick look. True to past behavior, ISBE is pledging more standardized testing including making the 8th/9th grade EXPLORE test and 10th grade PLAN test mandatory.

4) It’s Valentine’s Day! Hug a teacher – or any other real education advocate!!!

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Re: your call to Brizard on school closings and turnarounds, you might mention some of the following points (sources are here):

  • New Consortium research shows that the positive effect of turnarounds in elementary schools is very small, and there is negligible improvement in the high school turnarounds.
  • One expert said of the turnarounds, “Shifting students and changing labels is not a legitimate way to improve a school.”
  • The numbers of experienced African-American teachers like you are plummeting in the turnarounds while the numbers of inexperienced white teachers is climbing.
  • The 10 AUSL schools also had an overall enrollment decline in special education students of 14.9% between 2006 and 2010. The district wide decline during the same time period was 3.9%.
  • Meanwhile, turnarounds are very costly. While all reform models have been implemented with additional money, turnaround efforts require the largest investment from the district. For example, AUSL elementary schools receive $1.5 million more than their neighborhood counterparts during the first five years of turnaround and an additional $420 per pupil each year. For high schools, AUSL receives $2.4 million more than their neighborhood counterparts over the course of five years and an additional $500 per pupil each year. Aren’t you supposed to be trying to save money?

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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.
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