Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss – November 22nd through December 6th

The Latest Elevate Chicago & Partner Blogs

What to say if your family thinks you have Betsy DeVos on speed dial

By Elevate Chicago

“We know that if you’re reading this you care deeply about the importance of a great education. You may even consider yourself a champion for progressive values and social justice causes. Even so, Thanksgiving is rolling around, and you’re dreading that moment when Aunt Karen or Uncle Joe asks you or your school has Betsy DeVos on speed dial. That’s a joke, but all kidding aside – most of us have a family member or a friend who thinks charter schools are bad for public education. Or a tool for a Republican agenda. Or something else that doesn’t represent the hard-working educators who are a part of your school community. Here is what you can say during those uncomfortable moments when you find yourself defending your support of charter public schools.”

Junior Sheriff’s Explorer Program at Catalyst Circle Rock

By Elevate Chicago

“How did this program get started? It came to me to bring a program to Catalyst that would help with self-discipline, structure, and building inner character.  I first talked with the Sheriff’s office about a potential partnership, Sheriff Tom Dart said, “That’s a great idea, let’s do it.”  Over a series of meetings, we mapped out the partnership and started putting the program together.  The purpose of the program is to sufficiently support scholars to reach their full potential.”

Important New Research on the Positive Impact of Noble Schools Presented by MIT Researcher in Chicago

By the Noble Network of Charter Schools

“Last Thursday, as CPS parents are in the final critical weeks of high school registration decisions through the GoCPS system, a panel of education experts discussed new research published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which found that Noble high schools boost achievement sharply for students just below the cutoff for selective enrollment schools. Similar peers who ultimately attended selective enrollment schools experienced less academic growth.”

Get to Know: Rauner College Prep

By the Noble Network of Charter Schools

“How would you describe Rauner College Prep? Rauner might be small, but here you can get a great education. Teachers care about their students and always try to find different ways in which the students can improve. What I love the most is that even when some teachers don’t share the same culture or background with the students, they will always try to open their minds to new perspectives/ideas.”

Charter Chatter

CTU president is wrong; charters are nonprofit

By Andrew Broy for The Chicago Sun-Times

“For someone whose organization represents teachers, one would think Jesse Sharkey would do his homework before making inaccurate statements about public schools in Chicago. In his recent op-ed, Sharkey calls for an end to school choice programs that allegedly “allow charter operators to profit.” A cursory review of state law or CPS policy reveals that all charter public schools in Illinois are nonprofit. But Sharkey knows that. He simply prefers to pander rather than inform.”

A model for FAFSA support

By Matt Niksch for Crain’s Chicago Business

“At Noble, we wholeheartedly agree that helping high school seniors help themselves is vital, as John Atkinson’s commentary wisely notes (“Only 67% of Illinois high school seniors file for federal aid. That needs to change,” Oct. 30). Illinois has taken steps to ensure all high school graduates complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, but barriers remain. At Noble we have a model for other districts to replicate. The key is completing the FAFSA during the school day with students, utilizing the expertise of teachers and counselors.”

D’Angelo McDade Named New VP Of DePauw Student Government

By Katie Hunger for The DePauw 

“DePauw Student Government (DSG) announced today that sophomore D’Angelo McDade will be the new DSG vice president…In the announcement email, McDade wrote, “I am dedicated to ensuring that we as students not only have a seat at the table in important conversations, but also ensure that we are the conversation,” he said. “This can only be achieved when we as a community stand in unity to redefine and restructure what DePauw means and is to us.” McDade is the executive director of Chicago’s Peace Warriors who some may know for the speech he delivered at a March For Our Lives event in Chicago in 2018 aimed at demanding stricter gun laws.”

Six things to know as the Illinois state board takes over as a lifeline for charters

By Yana Kunichoff for Chalkbeat

“Charter schools in Illinois that suffer setbacks locally will lose a route of appeal when the state charter commission shuts down next summer. But they’ll gain at least a partial recourse with the Illinois Board of Education.  The state board is planning how it will take over the charter commission’s controversial work of reviewing some charter appeals, after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill abolishing the commission.”

The Impact of the CTU Strike

Many CPS Teachers Miss Class On First Of Five Make-Up Days; ‘If The Teachers Show Up, They Show Up’

By Eric Cox for CBS

“Today normally would be the start of Thanksgiving break for Chicago Public Schools, but instead students are in class for the first of five makeup days after the teachers’ strike. CBS 2 has learned many teachers didn’t show up for school. The issue is proving to be a bigger problem at some school than others.”

General Education News

The New Conversation about Controlled Enrollment Shows How White Privilege Works in CPS

By Maureen Kelleher for Chicago Unheard

“Yesterday’s WBEZ story on the possibility that Chicago Public Schools will create a new controlled enrollment policy to address overcrowding in three coveted North Side elementary schools has a back story. I’m sure most of the North Side parents involved know nothing about. But I bet there are Southwest Side families who remember it clearly. I remember it, but from a distance. My colleagues would write about how the old controlled enrollment policy worked. Schools–mostly on the heavily overcrowded, predominantly Latino Southwest Side–were put on controlled enrollment as a last resort.

Friends of the Children Chicago Builds a Vital Bridge Between Families and Schools

By Maureen Kelleher for Chicago Unheard

“Phalon Carpenter knows a lot about kids, families and schools. After 10 years of working with tweens and teens incarcerated in Cook County’s Juvenile Detention Center, she is now an official “Friend” to eight kindergartners and first-graders on Chicago’s West Side, through Friends of the Children-Chicago. These aren’t just any old kindergartners and first-graders, though. Like all the Friends, Phalon spent six weeks working as a teacher’s aide in two West Side elementary schools. She was looking for kids who needed her. “We look for the kids who don’t come, are late, are shy or detached, are getting in trouble.”

English-language learners are matching, exceeding other CPS students: study

By Mitch Dudek for the Sun-Times

“Many students learning English when they arrive at Chicago Public Schools go on to not only match their peers, but surpass them academically, according to a new long-term study released Tuesday that flies in the face of previous research that showed the group far behind. The study by the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research followed the progress of 18,000 such CPS students — referred to as English learners (ELs) — from kindergarten through eighth grade. The study found that nearly 80 percent of CPS English learners achieved English proficiency by eighth grade, with the majority (76 percent) becoming proficient by fifth grade.”

Illinois Will Allow Prone, Supine Restraints on Children While Schools Learn to Phase Them Out

By ProPublica IL

“Amending emergency rules put in place two weeks ago, the Illinois State Board of Education says it will again allow schoolchildren to be physically restrained in positions it had banned, though only in crisis situations. The change comes after several schools said they could no longer serve some students with behavior issues because of the new restrictions, put in place after publication of a Chicago Tribune/ProPublica Illinois investigation that found overuse and misuse of “isolated timeouts” in public schools across the state.”

With Zero Students, Another Englewood High School Slated To Close

By Yana Kunichoff for Chalkbeat Chicago

“The only district-run school that Chicago intends to shutter this school year is one with not a single student. That’s according to the city’s proposal to close Hope High School, one of four schools that Chicago Public Schools decided in 2018 to phase out in Englewood, where declining enrollment meant that local high schools drew so little funding that they struggled to serve their students. Instead, the district said it would open a new high school to serve the whole area.”

Coat giveaway helps thousands of Chicago Public Schools students keep warm this winter


“More than 10,000 Chicago Public Schools students will stay warm this winter thanks to a big coat giveaway. Volunteers on Monday helped kids find the perfect fit at Nash Elementary School on the city’s West Side. It’s the 10th year that Wells Fargo has teamed up with Operation Warm for the annual event. The nonprofit said it aims to provide warmth, confidence and hope to children in need through the gift of brand new coats.”