Chicago Public Schools names top education leader

Chicago Tribune –

A Chicago-born product of the city’s public schools, Janice Jackson grew up one of five children who were regularly drilled on the importance of education by their parents.

“I would just say my father was an extreme proponent of a quality education,” Jackson said in a brief interview Thursday after being introduced as the new chief education officer for Chicago Public Schools. “He pushed us to receive a quality education.”
Chicago school board’s new head brings business, political experience
Jackson assumes a role last filled by Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who held it for several months before becoming the district’s CEO in the fall of 2012. Byrd-Bennett resigned earlier this year amid a federal investigation linked to a no-bid contract the district awarded to one of her former employers.

Denise Little, a longtime district official who most recently was Jackson’s supervisor, was named a top education adviser to Forrest Claypool, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new district CEO.
“My goal is not to make as much of a splash, as it is to understand what everyone’s role is in this complex ecosystem.” If you can’t articulate a rationale for what you’ll do for an organization in crisis beyond that, you do not deserve the job. More, your job does…

While Claypool’s chief task will be fixing the district’s broken finances, Jackson and Little will be responsible for articulating and implementing policies and procedures for educating close to 400,000 students.

Claypool, Jackson said, will make needed operational and managerial changes, leaving her to oversee the district’s day-to-day academic operations. She said she is proponent of Common Core curriculum, the district’s teacher evaluation system and its efforts to cultivate better school leaders.

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Posted in Illinois Common Core | Leave a comment

Republicans Defeat Dem Attempt To Control Global Warming Lessons In Schools

Daily Caller –

Senate Republicans soundly defeated an attempt by Democrats to get the federal government more involved in state’s Common Core standards by setting up a grant program to develop or improve “climate science” curricula in schools.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey proposed the grant as an amendment to the “No Child Left Behind” reform bill that would fund school districts that “develop or improve climate science curriculum and supplementary education materials.” Markey’s amendment was handily defeated in a 53 to 44 vote. Republicans were joined by three Democrats in opposing the amendment.

“If you like Washington, D.C. getting involved in Common Core in your state, you’re going to love this amendment because it gets the federal government involved in creating a curriculum for climate change in your local high schools and other schools,” Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, the sponsor of the Senate education bill, said while debating the Markey amendment on the Senate floor Wednesday.

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Breitbart –

Another fight may be on the horizon in the House of Representatives, as Republican leaders seem poised to again try to replace the controversial No Child Left Behind law with the Student Success Act, a measure that has proven to be just as unpopular with conservatives.

The Hill reports that freshman took to the House floor Wednesday to call for a vote on the bill.

“We need to continue our work on this bill,” Costello said. “We owe it to our colleagues who have worked for months on the bill and underlying policy.”

In his May 29 memo, House Majority Leader noted H.R. 5 would be considered in June:

Additionally, the House is expected to resume consideration of H.R. 5 the Student Success Act (Kline) in order to restore local control in elementary and secondary education. Our education system is failing too many students who are trying hard to succeed. By reducing the federal role and increasing freedom in education, we can give our children the opportunity they deserve to achieve their dreams.

McCarthy added the timing for consideration of the measure would be relayed as soon as possible.

As Breitbart News reported in late February, GOP leadership pulled the Student Success Act from the House floor after it was determined the legislation lacked sufficient support. Grassroots conservative parent groups seeking to eliminate federal involvement in education voiced concerns that the rewrite still required excessive federal intrusion into the right of states to set their own education policies.

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Posted in No Child Left Behind/ESEA | Leave a comment

Illinois House passes opt-out bill aimed at PARCC testing

Chicago Sun-Times –

Illinois House members advanced a bill that would give parents a formal way to opt out of state tests such as the controversial Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

House members voted 64-47 with one person voting present. The measure now moves to the Senate.

The extensive debate over the bill on Tuesday spun into a broader discussion over how lawmakers believe the state’s only standardized test is deeply flawed. Lawmakers expressed frustration that the state remains on the hook for a four-year, $160 million contract to a firm to administer the test.

The test’s length, along with technological problems, has prompted groups of parents across the state wanting their children to sit out. But there’s no clear way for parents to communicate to teachers about their desires to opt out and there’s nothing on the books laying out alternate activities for students who opt out. Some schools adopted “sit and stare” policies that has students who opted out sitting idle for up to 11 hours, lawmakers complained.

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Posted in Common Core Testing, Illinois Common Core | 1 Comment

Who organized suburban Chicago PARCC boycott?

Daily Herald –

Across the suburbs, hundreds of students are opting out of the new PARCC tests. While it’s not clear if the objection is coming from students, parents or both, it does seem to be an organized effort.

“It is our belief that the PARCC participation decision in some buildings was a parent- and student-led effort,” said Northwest Suburban High School District 214 Superintendent David Schuler.

Enough students have refused to take the test in District 214, that it likely will not meet the 95 percent testing threshold set by the state, Schuler said Thursday night. At other suburban districts, there were more isolated examples of boycotts.

Schuler addressed the issue at Thursday night’s school board meeting, saying that while the staff has encouraged students to take the test, many across the district’s six high schools refused, echoing a nationwide trend of students boycotting the newly implemented testing.

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Posted in Common Core Testing, Illinois Common Core | Leave a comment


Breitbart –

The superintendent of the Watchung Hills Regional High School District in New Jersey has confirmed that she sent an email to fellow superintendents Tuesday about her concern that education publishing giant Pearson is “monitoring” children’s social media accounts for possible leaks about the Common Core-aligned PARCC tests.

On Friday, Bob Braun, a former leading columnist for The Star Ledger in New Jersey, posted on his blog and Facebook page an email superintendent Elizabeth Jewett sent to colleagues regarding Pearson’s monitoring of social media posts by students in her district. The email reads:

Good morning all,

Last night at 10PM, my testing coordinator received a call from the NJDOE that Pearson had initiated a Priority 1 Alert for an item breach within our school. The information the NJDOE initially called with was that there was a security breach DURING the test session, and they suggested the student took a picture of a test item and tweeted it. After further investigation on our part, it turned out that the student had posted a tweet (NO PICTURE) at 3:18PM (after school) that referenced a PARCC test question. The student deleted the tweet and we spoke with the parent – who was obviously highly concerned as to her child’s tweets being monitored by the DOE. The DOE informed us that Pearson is monitoring all social media during PARCC testing. I have to say that I find that a bit disturbing. – and if our parents were concerned before about a conspiracy with all of the student data, I am sure I will be receiving more letters of refusal once this gets out (not to mention the fact that the DOE wanted us to also issue discipline to the student). I thought this was worth sharing with the group.



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Posted in Common Core Testing, Corporate Involvement, Data Collection | Leave a comment


Illinois Review –

CHICAGO – Parents and state lawmakers are calling on the Illinois General Assembly to allow parents of public school students to have some say in their children’s education. They’re asking the legislature to allow them to opt out of state-mandated academic tests such as the controversial PARCC testing.

The State Board of Education notified schools that students themselves may refuse to take the PARCC tests, but no provision is in place for parents to opt their children out of the testing.

Illinois public and participating private schools will begin this week administering the PARCC testing associated with the “Common Core” curriculum. Beginning with grade 3, up to 20 hours of instructional time will be used to administer the required tests.

At the behest of frustrated parents, freshman State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) introduced HB 306 to allow parents to refuse the tests on behalf of their children. Guzzardi’s bill passed out of committee, and he and the bill’s co-sponsors are optimistic they will be able to gather the needed 60 votes to pass the bill out of the House.

“It’s not only the PARCC testing parents are concerned about. There’s a growing and widespread frustration with the broader regime of standardized tests,” Guzzardi said at a press conference Monday.

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Posted in Common Core Testing, Illinois Common Core | Leave a comment
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