April , 2018

"For the Healing of Our People" Conference in Washington, D.C.  focuses on health, education, social justice ...
MBDA Recognizes 2014 National MED Week Award Winners WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Commerce's ...
Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- America's Next Natural Model is celebrating its 5th anniversary by taking the ...
Letters to Editors From: Council for a Livable World Later this week, Congress has the opportunity to ...
Live online business class to be held on Jan 25, 2014 at www.biznessfundingapproved.eventbrite.com Nationwide ...
Letters to the Editor                                                                                     With regard to Solicitor General (Elena) Kagan, I would support her nomination.  ...
WASHINGTON, DC – On February 29, 2016, President Barack Obama will present the Medal of ...
Mothers: Our Heroes Eternal Copyright 1994, by Juanita Bratcher   The extent of a mother’s love Can never be ...
Letters to Editors Petition to Congress: "Oppose the Schumer-Portman international tax proposal, a massive giveaway to corporate ...
  Charles Gray, CEO of ATuskegeeAudio.com   Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- In commemoration with the dedication of the ...

Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

CTU-Endorsed Candidates Victorious in Historic Triumph for Progressive Political Agenda

Posted by Admin On March - 22 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Eleven of 13 wins, two from CTU members, were in fiercely competitive, contested races for state representative, state senator, Illinois attorney general and Cook County board


CHICAGO, ILAfter Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed a record 50 schools in Black and Latinx neighborhoods in 2013, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said that the CTU would organize to change our city and county’s political landscape. Two years later, Emanuel was forced into a runoff, along with 18 aldermen, and CTU member and school counselor Susan Sadlowski Garza was elected alderman of the 10th Ward.

Last night, former mayoral contender, Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, was elected to Congress by a margin of more than 40 percent. CTU organizer and former Jenner Academy of the Arts and Westinghouse College Prep teacher Brandon Johnson defeated incumbent corporate lobbyist Richard Boykin to become Cook County Commissioner of the 1st District; community organizer Delia Ramirez won handily in the 4th District of the Illinois House, defeating three opponents to replace retiring State Rep. Cynthia Soto; and CTU member and Back of the Yards College Prep college counselor Aaron Ortiz defeated Dan Burke, the long-standing incumbent in the 1st District of the Illinois House, despite support from his brother, Ald. Ed Burke, who runs one of the oldest and most politically powerful ward operations in the city.

“What unites every one of these candidates is their commitment to public education, and their vow to put people before profits and the needs of the many before the greed of the few,” CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said. “We are proud that our members chose to support and put sweat equity into these campaigns, and we look forward to advancing this progressive wave in Chicago and across the state in November.”

Last night’s victories were the result of years of organizing for a just and equitable city and county, as educators, parents and public education activists drew a line in the sand following Mayor Emanuel’s mass school closings five years ago. Since then, coalitions have worked to build a solid infrastructure to push past the politics and policies that shield billionaires like Gov. Bruce Rauner from paying their fair share; defeat the lie of right-to-work promulgated by right-wing ideologues; dispute the unfair characterizations of retirement security; and support the need for democracy in Chicago Public Schools.

Last night’s victories were about the people who need public schools and the county health care system fully funded and resourced. Voters in Chicago and Cook County pushed back on austerity—and won.

CTU rank-and-file members interviewed, endorsed and worked tirelessly for candidates who respect and support public educators, and demand that the rich pay their fair share of taxes. These champions of public education are prepared to fight in Chicago, across Cook County and downstate in Springfield for the rights and dignity of our students, their families and the future of all of Chicago’s people, not just a handful of wealthy elites. Among the CTU-endorsed winners are:

  • Bridget Degnan, Cook County Board Commissioner in the 12th District
  • Incumbent County Board Commissioner Larry Suffredin in the 13th District
  • State Sen. Kwame Raoul, an advocate for public education, who triumphed in his primary race for Illinois Attorney General
  • State Rep. Theresa Mah, who ran uncontested in Illinois House District 2
  • Lamont Robinson in Illinois House District 5
  • Rep. Sonya Harper, who ran uncontested in the 6th District
  • Incumbent State Rep. Kelly Cassidy in the 14th District
  • 19th District State Rep. Robert Martwick
  • Incumbent State Rep. Mary Flowers in the 31st District
  • 8th District Illinois Senate candidate and labor activist Ram Villivalam, who handily beat three opponents, including incumbent Sen. Ira Silverstein

Each of these candidates supports an elected, representative school board, fair and adequate funding for public education across the state, and a progressive income tax that will end the financial burdens that have put so many Illinois residents on their heels. Their victory is a victory for our students, their families and all of Chicago’s residents.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctunet.com.

National Urban League: Education is the Civil Rights Battle of this Generation

Posted by Admin On March - 14 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Meeting of Governor, Civil Rights Leaders and Clergy “Encouraging”


ALBANY – The National Urban League today joined other civil rights leaders and clergy in calling for equitable education funding and transparency in New York’s state budget.

“More than six decades after the Supreme Court declared that segregation has no place in public education, America still fails to provide an equal opportunity for all students,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “Schools in poor communities in New York are underfunded. New York State needs an education funding formula that corrects inequity, and a commitment to transparency so New Yorkers can hold leaders accountable.”

Morial said students of color are much more likely to attend schools where three-quarters of the students or more are poor or low-income, and poor districts with a higher proportion of students of color have been shown to receive substantially less state funding than comparably poor districts that have more white students.

The clergy and civil rights representatives who gathered at the Capitol today met with Governor Cuomo and said they were encouraged by his commitment to address educational equity in the next budget.

Referring to a statement yesterday by New York State Budget Director Robert Mujica, Morial said, “The National Urban League agrees with Governor Cuomo’s position that chronically low performing schools should be the state’s priority for attention and funding. Morial agreed that the state’s approach to funding must acknowledge that there are two separate education systems in the state, “not public and private, but one system for the rich and one system for the poor.”

The National Urban League recently launched No Ceilings on Success, a national campaign to hold states accountable to their plans for achieving educational equity under the Every Student Succeeds Act. For more information, visit www.naturbanleague.org

“The nation needs a deliberate focus on ensuring that underfunded and under resourced schools, communities and students receive what is necessary to achieve both educational equity and excellence. Simply focusing on the total amount spent on education does not specifically address inequity, nor does it ensure that students get what they need to be successful.” Morial said.

Agenda Announced For State Board of Education Meeting March 14 in Springfield

Posted by Admin On March - 12 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced the following schedule for its regular business meeting at 10:30 a.m. March 14 in Springfield.   

View the information packet for the meeting at https://www.isbe.net/Documents_Board_Meetings/March_Board_Packet.pdf.

All State Board of Education meetings are accessible to persons with disabilities. Persons planning to attend who need special accommodations should contact the Superintendent’s office no later than one day prior to the meeting. Contact the Superintendent’s office at the State Board of Education by phone at (217) 782-2221, TTY/TDD at (217) 782-1900, or fax at (217) 785-3972.

Chairman James Meeks may call for a break in the meeting as necessary in order for the Board to go into closed session.

This meeting will be audio cast on the internet at www.isbe.net.

State Board of Education Meeting

March 14, 2018

10:30 a.m.


100 N. First St., Springfield



I.      Roll Call/Pledge of Allegiance

A.   Consideration of and Possible Actions on Any Requests for Participation in Meeting by Other Means

II.    Public Participation

III.   Resolutions and Recognition

A.   Illinois Arts Education Week Poster Winners

IV.  Presentations and Updates

A.   Student Advisory Council Final Presentation

V.    Superintendent’s Report – Consent Agenda

A.   *Approval of Minutes

1.    Plenary Minutes: February 14, 2018

B.   *Rules for Approval

1.    Part 1 (Public Schools Evaluation, Recognition, and Supervision)

2.    Part 25 (Educator Licensure)

3.    Part 33 (Programs for the Preparation of Superintendents in Illinois)

4.    Part 252 (Driver Education)

C.   *Contracts & Grants Over $1 Million

1.    Intergovernmental Agreement with Sangamon-Menard Regional Office of Education #51

D.   *Spring Waiver Report

End of Consent Agenda

E.   Financial Profile

VI.  Student Success/School Quality Indicators

VII. Discussion Items

A.   District Oversight Update

B.   Legislative Update

C.   Budget Update

D.   Evidence-Based Funding Update

E.   ESSA Update

F.    Teacher Workforce Project Update

G.   Other Items for Discussion

VIII.        Closed Session

IX.  Approval of Closed Session Minutes

X.    Announcements & Reports

A.   Superintendent’s/Senior Staff Announcements

B.   Chairman’s Report

C.   Member Reports

XI.  Information Items

A.   ISBE Fiscal & Administrative Monthly Reports (available at https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Illinois-State-Board-of-Education-Fiscal-and-Administrative-Reports.aspx)

XII. Adjourn

Six Former Employees of Chicago Post-Secondary School Indicted for Allegedly Swindling Federal Financial Aid Program out of Millions

Posted by Admin On March - 6 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL — Six former employees of a non-profit Chicago post-secondary education institute schemed to enroll fake students in classes as part of a conspiracy to swindle federal financial aid programs out of millions of dollars, according to an indictment returned in federal court in Chicago.

The six defendants were employed at the Chicago campus of the Center for Employment Training, a California-based institution of post-secondary, non-degree, vocational and technical education with campuses throughout the country.  From 2005 to 2013, the defendants applied for and obtained federal grants and loans for students who were ineligible to receive the funds, the indictment states.  One of the purported students was marked present at CET classes even though the student was deceased at the time, the indictment states.

The scheme caused the U.S. Department of Education to disburse to CET millions of dollars in fraudulent financial aid, the indictment states.

The indictment was returned Thursday.  It charges the defendants with one count of conspiracy to fraudulently obtain federal financial assistance, one count of fraudulently obtaining federal financial assistance, and three counts of wire fraud.  The defendants are MARIE PICKETT, 59, of Chicago; JANIE BLAKENEY, 63, of Chicago; DEBORAH WILLIAMS, 58, of Chicago; JENNY MORALES, 36, of Cicero; HEATHER SMITH, 43, of Cicero; and TAMAURA BALARK, 45, of Chicago.  Arraignments in federal court in Chicago have not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; and Thomas D. Utz, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General’s Midwestern Regional Office.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Mitchell.

According to the charges, Pickett served as the Director of CET’s Chicago campus; Blakeney was the Admissions Advisor; Williams and Morales were Financial Aid Officers; and Smith and Balark were instructors in the Medical Assistance Program.  As part of the conspiracy, some of the defendants created and furnished to the Department of Education phony Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications on behalf of purported students who were not eligible to receive financial aid because they had not graduated from high school or received an equivalency certificate, the charges state.  For one purported student, the conspirators created a fictitious diploma that fraudulently alleged the student had graduated from a Chicago public high school, the indictment states.  The fictitious diploma was then placed in the student’s CET file in an effort to meet the Department of Education’s requirements for financial aid, according to the indictment.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while the financial assistance fraud counts carry a maximum sentence of five years.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Source: FBI

Decision by Mayor’s Hand-Picked Board to Close Black Schools is Assault on Democracy

Posted by Admin On March - 1 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Proxies for mayor add insult to injury by voting to close Black schools on last day of Black History Month, in another round of attacks on educational rights.


CHICAGO, ILThe Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement today in response to the decision by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand-picked school board to close five Black schools over sweeping community opposition. CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey can be cited for attribution:

Today we saw the naked hand of political repression reach out from the mayor’s office, when Rahm Emanuel’s hand-picked board ignored the passionate pleas of students and parents and voted over sweeping community opposition to close another five Black schools. To add insult to injury — and drive home the racist character of these closures — the board voted this travesty on the last day of Black History Month.

It was truly gut-wrenching to listen to elementary and high school students beg this board, sometimes through tears, to protect rather than annihilate their school communities. Other students were full of anger, saying repeatedly that the board would never do to a white school community what was being done to them today. Students who were barred from the board meeting occupied the lobby of school headquarters, then took their protest – and their anger – to city hall, where they held another impromptu rally to oppose this mayor’s racist school policies.

Yet this school board ignored them – just as the school bureaucrats and the mayor who dictates their actions ignored parents, students and community residents four years ago, when Emanuel instigated the largest wave of mass school closings in U.S. history. Four years ago, the burden of those school closures fall overwhelmingly on the shoulders of Black and Brown students. Today was no different.

The reality is that this mayor and the school bosses he appoints don’t give a damn about the well-being, education or future of this city’s working class Black and Latinx students. Quite the opposite. This mayor, like the mayor before him, has ratcheted up school privatization, disinvestment and nakedly racist funding policies that undercut working class students of color. Emanuel’s proxies today rubber stamped a longstanding racist cycle of disinvestment in Black neighborhoods. The mayor controls the school board — and mayoral control continues to drive these policies, while shielding the board from repercussions for their actions.

Twice, now, the Illinois House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to end the mayor’s choke-hold on the school district and provide for an elected, representative school board in Chicago. Yet the legislation remains stalled in the Illinois Senate. It’s time for Senate leadership to take the path of democracy and justice, and join the House in granting the largest school district in the state the same democratic rights enjoyed by the rest of the state.

The vote to close these schools – to acquiesce once again to the mayor’s pitiless and failed school policies – has reignited a fire for democracy that will leave Emanuel’s reputations in tatters and the seats of his current board members empty. We’re asking every Illinois resident to contact their state senator and demand for Chicagoans what every other school district in the state has: an elected, representative school board that provides residents with the democratic control and accountability we deserve. And we will continue to fight school privatization, school closings and so-called phase-outs on the ground with our members, our parents, our students and this city’s growing grassroots movement for educational equity, in what is evolving into one of the great civil rights battles of our time.

Faked Support for School Closures Underscores Why Chicago Needs an Elected, Representative School Board

Posted by Admin On February - 27 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS


Emanuel school execs used contractors, cronies to fabricate support for closing Englewood public high schools, covering up years of chronic underfunding and neglect of school communities.


CHICAGO, IL — The following statement can be attributed to CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey:

“Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times’ story on ‘suspect support’ for closing Englewood’s neighborhood public high schools confirms what we’ve been hearing for months: that CPS has again used politically connected vendors and their cronies to fabricate phony support to shut down schools that serve Chicago’s Black and Brown students. We’re not surprised –Emanuel’s hand-picked CPS executives used paid protesters to push his racist 2013 school closures, as well. To put it bluntly, it’s more important to Emanuel to spend public dollars manufacturing fake consent than it is to invest those precious funds into improving our kids’ educations.”

“Emanuel’s contempt for Black students extends to National Teachers Academy (NTA), where three years ago he began plans to push out this low-income community of Black students to benefit South Loop real estate interests. At the same time, Emanuel has continued to undermine neighborhood schools in communities of color with deep budget cuts and chronic neglect while funneling public dollars to private charter operators who skim off millions of additional dollars to pay their own ‘management’ salaries. In Englewood alone, the mayor has cut a colossal $8.3 million from neighborhood high schools in just the last three years. The message is clear: Poor Black and Brown students don’t matter.

“It’s time to end the failed education policies that Emanuel pushes by either faking community support for school closings, as he has in Englewood, or simply refusing to listen to the appeals of Black school communities like NTA to save their schools. Yet Emanuel appoints every single member of CPS’ board of education, who rubber-stamp his racist, classist education policies. Emanuel dictates who will run CPS. His latest round of school closures and displacements mirrors his 2013 closures, where he ignored sweeping public pleas to save critical community anchors in some of our most neglected neighborhoods. Emanuel has orchestrated devastating school policies, from imposing lethal budget cuts while expanding charters and co-locations to slashing support for special education services for low-income Black and Brown children. He has appointed a series of failed CPS CEOs, two of whom have been forced to resign, although regrettably only one is serving prison time for their crimes.

“At the root of this problem is an utter lack of democracy or public accountability in our school system – a deficiency that allows Emanuel to refuse to invest in the neighborhood public schools of Black and Brown children. But Chicagoans – unlike voters in every other school district in the state – have no say in who serves on the board of education.

“Without an elected school board that is accountable to Chicagoans, our residents have no way to prevent the actions of a mayor who cares more about the interests of his donors than the working class people of this city. It’s time to ensure that our schools are run with transparency, honesty, fiscal responsibility and decency. It’s time to end Rahm Emanuel’s indifference to our students’ futures. It’s time to shut down CPS’s insider contracts and ethical failures. It’s time to put the needs of our students and their families first. State legislators can give Chicagoans the power to change our school system for the better by stepping up and passing legislation that secures the basic right that our residents have long demanded: the right to elect a representative school board that can check this mayor’s neglect of children of color.


Illinois Outpacing the Nation in Increasing Low-Income Students’ Participation in Advanced Placement

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS


Chicago Public Schools named national AP District of the Year


SPRINGFIELD, IL – Data released by the College Board show Illinois’ efforts to improve students’ access to Advanced Placement (AP) are paying off. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) covered a portion of the AP exam fee for all students who qualified as low-income in 2017. The fee reduction resulted in an 11 percent increase in the number of low-income students taking AP exams over 2016 levels – well above the 7 percent national increase and three times greater than the 3.6 percent average increase in states that did not provide funding.

Success on AP exams can earn students early college credit, potentially making college more affordable or allowing students to take more advanced or elective courses. In May 2017, the state’s public and private high school students earned a 3 or higher on 141,383 AP exams. Illinois’ AP program delivered a total potential cost savings of $192,576,370 for students and families in a single year, assuming an average rate of three credit hours granted per AP exam by colleges and universities at an average of $454.03 per credit hour.

“We have tremendous human capital in Illinois,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “Closing gaps in opportunity and support for our students drives economic and social growth for our communities. The success of our AP program shows what happens when we invest in equity.”

The College Board also named Chicago Public Schools the national AP District of the Year among all large-sized school districts in the United States and Canada. The College Board selects one AP District of the Year for each category of districts (small-, medium-, and large-sized) based on an analysis of three academic years of AP data. Illinois school districts have won AP District of the Year awards in five of the past eight years – a testament to Illinois’ efforts to maximize college and career opportunities for all students.

ISBE has requested an appropriation of $2 million in fiscal year 2019 to continue providing the fee reduction for low-income students and making AP participation possible for all students. The agency also has requested $1 million to expand the AP program to additional schools through teacher professional development and assistance for students to enroll and succeed in AP courses. Part of this funding will support the Lead Higher Initiative, whose partnership with Illinois aims to enroll 100,000 low-income students and students of color in AP and International Baccalaureate courses.

Additional highlights from Illinois’ AP successes include:

·         23 Illinois school districts made the class of 2017 AP District Honor Roll. (Full list available at https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap-district-honor-roll-8th-annual.pdf.)

·         Illinois is outpacing the nation in increasing the number of Hispanic students taking AP exams. Hispanic students’ participation increased by 12.1 percent from 2016 to 2017 in Illinois – compared to 8.8 percent nationally.

·         26.3 percent of Illinois students in the class of 2017 scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam during high school – up from 14.5 percent in 2007. Illinois ranks fifth in the nation for growth over the past 10 years in the number of students scoring a 3 or higher on an AP exam during high school.

·         38.9 percent of Illinois students in the class of 2017 took an AP exam during high school – up from 21.2 percent in 2007.

·         63.9 percent of AP exams taken by Illinois students in the class of 2017 resulted in a score of 3 or higher – compared to 56.2 percent nationally. (Individual students may take more than one exam.)

CTU to Mayor, Ally: Why are you Hosting Proponent of Trump-DeVos Education Privatization Plan for Puerto Rico?

Posted by Admin On February - 21 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Emanuel ally State Senator Iris Martinez to tour CPS charter with backer of what critics describe as nation’s most extreme school privatization scheme.

CHICAGO, IL—The CTU has learned that on Wednesday CPS charter operator Aspira will host a tour with mayoral ally State Senator Iris Martinez and Abel Nazario Quiñones, chair of Puerto Rico’s Senate Education Commission. Quiñones is touring cities in the region that include Chicago, Indianapolis and Milwaukee to advocate for sweeping – and draconian – school privatization in Puerto Rico. Right-wing Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosselló proposed the plan earlier this month in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Maria and a debt crisis that hedge funds and heavyweight investors have used as a pretext to eliminate or privatize public services, public pensions and public civic projects.

The Rosselló/Quiñones proposal mirrors Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ policies to expand school privatization, and mimics the pillaging and privatization foisted on New Orleans’ public school system after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. Critics have called Rosselló’s and Quiñones’ school privatization push “Katrina on steroids” – a sarcastic nod to former CPS boss Paul Vallas’ massive school privatization program when he ran New Orleans’ school district in the wake of Katrina.

“While Emanuel is using Trump to try and bolster his poll numbers in the Latinx community, it’s clear that on the issue of public education these too are explicitly aligned,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “We ask a simple question: why is Emanuel ally Iris Martinez meeting with a leading advocate of Rosselló’s right-wing Trump/DeVos privatization agenda – what teachers and critics are calling the worst school privatization proposal in history? Both Emanuel and Martinez tread dangerous ground as they campaign for Latinx voters, who widely recognize that privatization is simply another form of resource theft that benefits the wealthy at the expense of working class families.”

Aspira’s management narrowly averted a strike by unionized employees last year – what would have been the first strike against a charter operator in the nation’s history. Sen. Martinez has worked for many years with Aspira management, who may be angling for a piece of the privatization pie in Puerto Rico. Island authorities had already shuttered hundreds of public schools before the hurricane, citing the need for ‘austerity’ to meet the demands of Wall Street creditors. Nearly half of Puerto Rico’s debt is interest and fees owed to some the nation’s most politically leveraged vulture hedge funds. Parents have had to battle the Puerto Rican governor relentlessly since Hurricanes Maria and Irma to try to prevent more school closures.

“This destructive privatization playbook is designed to enrich corporate privatizers, crush labor rights, and undermine public accountability,” said Sharkey. “In Chicago, Rahm is undercutting public education with every bogus strategy he can deploy: a rubber stamp board, school closings that hit poor neighborhoods the hardest, and endless charter expansion – no matter how crooked or incompetent the operator. Senator Martinez should understand that she’s mixing company with a proponent of a truly despotic school privatization agenda for Puerto Rico that is designed to transfer even more public resources into private hands. Whether school privatization is at play here in Chicago or on an island reeling from a massive natural disaster, the goals are the same: shut down public schools, transfer those public dollars to the coffers of private operators, gut workers’ rights and wages, and cut parents out of any meaningful voice in their children’s education.”

Like Emanuel’s school privatization policies in Chicago, the Rosselló/Quiñones proposal for Puerto Rico would push students out of special education, reduce physical education requirements and erode seniority for educators. The bill would decimate workplace rights for educators and open an unlimited market to charter operators in either new schools or converted public schools, with no limits on the number of charters or subcontracting of services. The proposed legislation fails to commit to current collective bargaining agreements, including health insurance for public education workers. The original proposal also included a voucher component that would strip additional taxpayer funds from public education, a proposal that has garnered massive public opposition and is expected to be included in a separate bill.

“We stand with our fellow public educators in Puerto Rico who are resisting Rosselló’s deal to enrich hedge fund ‘education investors’ at the expense of local students,” said Sara Echevarria, Grievance Director for the CTU. Echevarria went to public elementary and high school on the island, attended the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, taught on the island before moving back to Chicago, and has helped coordinate CTU relief efforts for Puerto Rico’s students. “Emanuel and Martinez must reject the Quiñones/Rosselló corporate education ‘reform’ agenda – an agenda that doesn’t give a damn about educating working class students – particularly Black and Latinx students – and instead seeks to turn public schoolchildren into private profit points and break the backs of workers’ unions. Emanuel’s allies – including hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin and the mayor’s former education mouthpiece, Illinois governor Bruce Rauner – stand shoulder to shoulder with other rabid privatization proponents and union-busters, from the Koch brothers to the Waltons. The problem with public education in Puerto Rico is the same problem we have here: a lack of resources. Our teachers are excellent, our schools produce outstanding graduates, but without resources and funding, schools struggle – here and on the island.”


2017 Illinois Science Assessment Results Now Available

Posted by Admin On February - 15 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

  Results fuel conversations about local successes in implementing new science learning standards


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released the school-, district-, and state-level aggregate scores for the 2017 Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) on the ISBE website at https://www.isbe.net/ISA. The second year of ISA results provides additional data to help educators and administrators identify local successes in implementing the new Illinois Learning Standards for science. 

The standards took effect in February 2014 and signaled a new era of science instruction. They encourage students to see science all around them. Students in classrooms today use scientific methods and tools to ask questions about phenomena, design experiments, and evaluate real-world sources of information. Educators act as facilitators, rather than lecturers, prompting robust student discussions and guiding students to direct their own learning. Illinois’ standards incorporate the national Next Generation Science Standards.

“The Illinois Science Assessment is one component supporting a high-quality, 21st-century science education,” said State Superintendent Tony Smith, Ph.D. “The new standards represent a shift in how students engage with and how educators teach science. The new standards make science more accessible, opening career and college doors for students. Districts and schools can put the ISA results in conversation with other assessment results and data to identify local successes in implementing the new learning standards and support continuous improvement.”

Districts and schools around the state are making progress toward closing the achievement gap between student demographic groups. The data show where schools and districts are supporting low-income students, English Learners, and students with disabilities in outperforming the state average for their demographic group and for the “all students” group in their grade level. Looking to the promising practices in these districts can inform continuous improvement across the state. Statewide ISA scores decreased slightly from 2016 to 2017. The pattern of performance across grade levels remained consistent. The statewide 2017 ISA results reflect a foundation of mastery in the “all students” groups in the fifth and eighth grades. Results in high school are lower than in the other grades, both in 2016 and in 2017. The statewide participation rate for the 2017 ISA increased from 93.1 percent to 94.4 percent.

The ISA was designed to reflect classroom experiences. The questions ask students to apply scientific knowledge and reasoning to real-world problems. This assessment pushes students to apply their knowledge in their responses, thus better preparing students for postsecondary and a career. The test is untimed, but designed to take approximately one hour. Each student’s score between 200 and 400 correlates to one of two performance levels: Proficient or Not Proficient.

Neither the 2016 nor the 2017 ISA results will count toward accountability for schools and districts. The percentage of students scoring in the Proficient performance level will contribute 5 percent of each school and district’s balanced accountability rating beginning with the 2020 administration.

An FAQ with additional information about the ISA, the performance levels, and the process for scoring the assessment is available at https://www.isbe.net/ISA.

OpEd: The Office for Civil Rights Needs to Listen to Teachers Like Me on School Discipline

Posted by Admin On February - 14 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS
Op-Ed By Tynisha Jointer

Tynisha Jointer

As a school-based social worker for over eight years, I know firsthand how punitive discipline practices impact students both in the short and long term. In the short term, students are often harshly punished-missing valuable instructional hours and, more often that not, fast-tracked to special education services. I’ve also seen long-term impacts in which students begin to view themselves as bad, aggressive and hopeless.

Currently, school discipline policies encourage staff to move from “What’s wrong with this student?” to “What happened to this student?”. Many of our students come to us with traumatic experiences that often manifests in public behaviors. And while traumatic exposure is not an excuse for inappropriate behavior, it can set the stage for a conversation that works to support the whole child.

Like all skills, positive behavioral skills also need to be learned. In Chicago Public Schools (CPS), students learn these skills through evidence-based social and emotional learning techniques and restorative practices.

Beyond the need for students to learn these skills, it is imperative that we as educators check our own personal and professional biases as it relates to the students we serve.

While most people come to the profession with the desire to educate children, we often do not consider how our personal experiences shape how we approach children and their families. We may let assumptions, preconceived notions or even ignorance guide our engagement or instruction.


Right before the new year, I, along with fellow Educators for Excellence, had the chance to share my experience on school discipline guidelines with Candice Jackson, the Acting Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

I had 4 minutes-and I poured my heart into each and every second.

While I didn’t feel like I represented the voice of all Black educators-or all educators for that matter-I was able tell my story, and share my experiences and hopes for how we discipline children of color.

I expressed hope that we would one day see the classroom as a shared space for learning and not one for adults to control children. I expressed faith in their leadership to continue to protect students through federal guidelines.

Lastly, I shared my greatest hope: that we as adults check our own biases and realize how they impact our work. While I understand that most teachers come into the profession wanting to teach children but as we should know by now you can’t teach them if you can’t reach them.

So I say to you fellow educators, your voice and story matters! As you grow in your profession, be open to having courageous conversations with colleagues and administrators about how we educate children. Reflect on your current practices, challenge yourself to be a student and allow yourself to learn from them. Seek to understand their traumas and adjust your approach accordingly.

I know none of this is easy and we may backslide in moments of frustration but you’re human and it’s OK. Just commit to being your best, and giving your best to your students. At the end of the day, our children are our future. So lets nurture them today.

This piece originally appeared on EducationPost.org.

Tynisha Jointer, LCSW, ME.d, is a Chicago native and product of Chicago Public Schools. Jointer is passionate about educating all children, staff and school leaders around developing a holistic approach to support student achievement.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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