Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: August 1 – August 7, 2020

CPS backtracks and moves to all-remote learning for fall, but officials say they won’t be ‘cobbling things together’ like last spring

By Hannah Leone, Sophie Sherry, John Keilman, and Claire Hao for the Chicago Tribune

“After weeks of defending a proposal to reopen Chicago Public Schools this fall, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Janice Jackson announced Wednesday that the new school year will begin with remote learning instead. But it will feel different than in the spring, when CPS was “cobbling things together,” Jackson said. Attendance will be mandatory, the district will revert to normal grading, and educators can go to schools and teach in real time from their classrooms, she said. “There will be more of a traditional infrastructure that you see in a school setting; we’re going to stand that up in a remote setting,” she said. “… Teachers have to be available throughout the entire day to educate students.” Jackson said a final plan will be released Friday.”

Home Schooling Interest Skyrockets As Parents Say No To School Reopening Plans

By Susie An for WBEZ

“Minus the idyllic road trip, a growing number of parents in Illinois are like Busse and are pulling their kids from school for at least the first half of the year or are considering it. This comes as schools have been rolling out their plans for the fall, with some backpedaling in recent days and switching from some in-person learning to all remote as COVID-19 cases have grown. While the risk of contracting COVID-19 is a concern, some families also worry this school year may lack consistency. Parents are exploring a number of options, like joining up with a small cluster of students and sharing a private tutor or taking the full responsibility as an at-home teacher.”

Here’s what a virtual school day will look like for CPS students this fall

By the Chicago Sun-Times

“When school starts next month for more than 300,000 CPS students, all classes will be held remotely, the district announced Wednesday. Officials promised fall learning will be different from the spring, when remote learning systems were put into place virtually overnight, and CPS had trouble getting many students to log on for a very limited amount of live instruction. How the school day will break down will vary depending on grade level, but CPS released a snapshot of how days will vary for elementary students and high school students.”

Chicago schools agreed to pay school police officers full salary and pensions. That’s now under review.

By Yana Kunichoff and Sarah Karp for Chalkbeat and WBEZ

“In the midst of a heated debate last year about whether police officers should work in Chicago’s public schools, district leaders agreed to pay up to the full salary and benefits of staff assigned to the $33 million program, even though they are police department employees. Chalkbeat Chicago and WBEZ have learned that the school district agreed to pay $152,000 per police officer and $172,000 per sergeant on a 12-month contract. School is in session for 10 months, and officers have other police department duties during the summer months and other times they are not in schools. On Wednesday, in response to months of reporters’ questions and multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, Chicago Public Schools said that it will only pay for the time the police officers and sergeants worked on the school program and it won’t be charged for the months when school was closed due to COVID-19.”

State Rep. LaShawn Ford Calls For End To History Teaching Until Marginalized Groups Are Better Represented

By CBS Chicago

“An Illinois state representative on Sunday called for the end of history classes in Illinois schools until “appropriate alternatives” are developed. Speaking at the Robert Crown Center in Evanston, state Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) said current history teaching overlook the contributions of Blacks, women, the Jewish community, the LGBTQ community, the Latinx community, and other groups. “It’ll cost us as a society in the long run forever when we don’t understand our brothers and sisters that we live, work, and play with,” Ford said. Ford is calling on the Illinois State Board of Education and all local school districts to take immediate action by removing current history books and curriculum he says “unfairly” communicates history.”