Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: January 15 – January 21, 2022

Noble Schools Launches New Video Podcast Series About Anti-Racism in Education

By The Noble Schools

“Noble Schools is jumping into the podcasting game to tell the story of our anti-racism work in education through authentic interviews with staff, students, alumni, and families. We’re introducing “Changing the Course: Building An Antiracist Education”, a monthly video podcast series hosted by Nicholas Jones, our Manager of Student Culture & Support here at Noble. Every month, Jones will be talking with a guest, each coming from different places and roles in our school network, to shed light on our journey of anti-racism from different perspectives.”


COVID-19 pandemic worsens hiring woes at Illinois schools, with 88% of districts reporting teacher shortages in new survey

By Karen Ann Cullotta for The Chicago Tribune

“Nearly 90% of Illinois school districts statewide are struggling with an alarming teacher shortage that has reached a crisis level during the COVID-19 pandemic, officials with an organization of regional superintendents said Tuesday. The escalating statewide teacher shortage, which officials said is expected to worsen in the coming years, was reflected in the results of a fall survey of more than 660 Illinois school districts by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools. With the organization’s study of the teacher shortage now in its fifth year, the most recent survey data illuminate how during the pandemic, Illinois schools are increasingly struggling to recruit qualified teachers, while also witnessing veteran educators retiring earlier than anticipated because of “tremendous stress,” said Mark Klaisner, IARSS president and executive director of a regional office known as West40, which serves school districts in West Cook County. “At first teachers thought the pandemic was going to last six months, then a year, and now we’re knocking on the door of 24 months, so I can’t blame them,” Klaisner said.”


Chicago Public Schools students stage walkout over return to in-person learning amid lackluster COVID precautions

By Darcel Rockett and Alice Yin for The Chicago Tribune

“Classes might be back in session for Chicago Public Schools, but students are worried about the health consequences of that return. This week the Chicago Teachers Union voted to approve a COVID-19 agreement with Chicago Public Schools on Wednesday, formally putting an end to their latest dispute over school safety, but some students decided to participate in a walkout at their respective schools to protest what they feel is a lack of classroom safety amid the pandemic. The Chicago Public Schools Radical Youth Alliance (Chi-Rads) led the walkout at 12:30 p.m., which culminated in a 1:45 p.m. rally that involved at least 500 students outside CPS headquarters at 42 W. Madison St.”


As Chicago passes omicron peak, CPS looks to shorten quarantine to five days

By Mauricio Pena for Chalkbeat Chicago

“As the city passes its omicron peak, Chicago Public Schools is considering a move to shorten its quarantine rules for unvaccinated students from 10 days to five days. District CEO Pedro Martinez said Wednesday that the district was working to revise changes to quarantine policy to align with updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which in December recommended isolation for five days, and wearing a mask for an additional five days when around others. “By next week, I will be able to give you a very clear timeline,” Martinez said. “Absolutely, we are going to be adopting that, but I want to make sure we do it right,” The move comes as Chicago restarts school operations after a standoff with its teachers union over safety measures that closed campuses to students for five days. Staffing shortages at schools due to COVID illnesses helped galvanize teachers, who voted to work remotely. The district refused. Chicago Public Schools is working with the city’s health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady to identify and understand operational logistics and putting a plan in place at schools, Martinez said. Following changes to federal guidelines in December, school districts across the country are wrestling with the question of how long to quarantine students. Philadelphia schools Wednesday adopted a five-day quarantine. The Illinois State Board of Education last week aligned its quarantine guidance with the CDC, shortening isolation from 10 to five days as of Jan. 11. In October, Chicago schools previously shortened its quarantine rules from 14 to 10 days for unvaccinated students.”