Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: March 12 – March 18, 2022

“Changing the Course: Building An Antiracist Education” Episode Three

Athletic director and student athletes at Baker College Prep talk on video podcast about anti-racism in education, created by Noble Schools

By The Noble Schools

“In this episode, we talk to Kelsey Taylor, the Athletic Director at Baker College Prep, and two student-athletes at Baker. Taylor touches on what it means to be an Athletic Director and how athletics play a role in creating an antiracist experience for our students. She also discusses how the changes in Noble’s policies affect how students engage with athletics and other extra-curriculars at Noble. Lastly, we hear from two student-athletes at Baker, Dashia and Christian, on how they feel about the changes and how it has changed their experience of growth through athletics and finding community in high school.”


The great mask debate continues on CPS’s first mask optional day

By Susie An, Kate Grossman for WBEZ

“Martha Rodea’s daughter wanted her kindergarten teacher to see her whole face on Monday, the first time in more than a year that Chicago Public Schools students could go without a mask in class. But Rodea wants all three of her children to mask up at school. “She did tell me ‘Mom … I want to smile at my teachers. I want them to see me smile,” Rodea said as she picked her children up Monday from McAuliffe Elementary in the Hermosa neighborhood on the Northwest side. “But I still told her that it’s best for her health and for her grandma. Her grandma is high risk. If she gets sick, the last thing I want is for her to end up in the hospital because of something that we could’ve prevented.”

In Chicago school budgets, federal COVID relief pays for existing staff

By Mila Koumpilova for Chalkbeat

“At Perkins Bass Elementary on Chicago’s South Side, principal Carolyn Jones has welcomed an infusion of federal COVID relief dollars that brought a second school counselor, a new social and emotional learning curriculum, and classroom technology upgrades. But at some Chicago schools, principals are questioning why a good chunk of the $2.8 billion in federal funding the district received for use over three years is paying for existing staff — and what the district is doing with the money it is saving as a result. Data obtained by Chalkbeat shows the district swapped out millions in these federal pandemic relief dollars for state and other funds previously budgeted for educator and support staff salaries and benefits. The district has previously spelled out plans to pay for existing positions with the money. But the campus-level data through January from the district’s accounting system is the first glimpse at real-time spending midyear, and it took some school leaders by surprise. District officials have said that steering federal relief dollars toward teachers and other staff allowed it to pump more money into campus budgets this school year. Some principals say they have felt and appreciated the extra budgetary breathing room they got despite steep enrollment losses, which typically would result in cuts to their school per-pupil allocations.”

Chicago aims to revamp its admissions policy for selective enrollment schools

By Mauricio Pena for Chalkbeat Chicago

“Chicago Public Schools plans to change its highly competitive selective enrollment school admissions to make the process more equitable for low-income students. Under a recently unveiled proposal, the district could do away with its ranking system for the highly sought-after schools — a change it would roll out for the 2023-2024 academic year. The effort is meant to provide more opportunities for low-income students from under-resourced communities to enroll at the district’s selective enrollment elementary and high schools, which offer rigorous curriculums and are among the highest-ranked schools in the state and in some cases in the country.”


Illinois teachers would be able to use sick days for mental health. Will it help?

By Samantha Smylie for Chalkbeat

“This series seeks to amplify efforts to better support the wellness of students and school staff during this challenging comeback year. Teachers like English teacher Briana Morales worked overtime to support their students through two years of disruptions and emotional upheaval during the pandemic. Now, Morales wonders who will help those exhausted teachers. The fifth-year teacher at an alternative high school in East St. Louis District 189 in southern Illinois has provided academic and mental health support for students reeling from coronavirus issues, as well as gun violence and poverty that predate the pandemic. In summer 2020, she attended funerals for three of her students who were killed in shootings. “In the fall of 2020, I had to just bounce back because my students still needed me at that time. But I had no time to process what I needed for myself,” Morales said. “On top of that no one even asked me, ‘What do you need?”