Posts Tagged: Arne Duncan

Reforming the reforming in Chicago’s public schools

The U.S. Education Dept. will give the Chicago Public Schools $50 million that CPS will use to “turnaround” or “transform” eight troubled schools, reports Rebecca Vevea of the Chicago News Coop. A turnaround — one of the signature policies of Ed Sec. Arne Duncan — means replacing staff at schools that are judged to be failing. Vevea reports that these eight schools will probably undergo the less dramatic transformation, where the curriculum changes but teachers and administrators remain largely intact. (more…)

Illinois gears up for third race for ed grants

Illinois is one nine states eligible to compete for a third round of “Race to the Top” grants provided by the U.S. Education Department, reports Lisa Lambert of Reuters. Race to the Top was originally part of the stimulus bill but the 2011 federal budget called for a $200 million pool of money that will be distributed to winning state grant applicants.

Race to the Top is a signature program of the Obama administration as it has effectively provided incentives for states to adopt the education reform agenda of Education Sec. Arne Duncan. Duncan’s home state of Illinois is a model example of this: the state legislature recently passed a sweeping education reform bill that enables school districts to judge teachers on performance evaluations instead of seniority, and encourages charter schools.

Wisconsin and the perilous funding of early childhood ed

State government funding for prekindergarten education programs are down across the country, according to a study by the National Institute of Early Education Research at Rutgers University. But Erin Richards of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports they are up in Wisconsin. Given the evidence available about early childhood education, this is a good step — and one that may be rewarded by Education Sec. Arne Duncan.

As it did with health care, Wisconsin expanded investments in education under the leadership of Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle and a Democratic controlled legislature. (more…)

The great Chicago Brizard of 2011

The Chicago Tribune’s Joel Hood and Diane Rado have a damning report today on Jean-Claude Brizard — Rahm Emanuel’s choice to lead the Chicago Public School system.  Brizard’s tenure at the helm of Rochester public schools indicates that the once prosaic job of public schools chief is increasingly like being a professional sports coach (or bad state governor): Someone comes in promising great success and a winning culture and slinks away after a few years with no tangible improvements. This trend is not good for achieving the complicated education “reform” measures that Education Sec. Arne Duncan is trying to enact on a national level.

According to the Tribune, Brizard achieved something of the trifecta in bad public school system management: low-achieving students, failing schools, and upset teachers. (more…)

CPS, ed. reform continued

Yesterday I blogged that Education Sec. Arne Duncan is helping Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel find a new head of Chicago Public Schools. Today the Chicago News Cooperative’s Hunter Clauss lays out the specific budgetary problems facing CPS: an $820 million deficit and a proposal backed by outgoing CPS head Terry Mazany to raise the city’s property taxes in order to avert teacher layoffs and increased class sizes. Also at issue is whether CPS can provide its teachers the four percent salary increase that is part of their collective bargaining agreement.

Emanuel campaigned against the property tax increase, saying he prefers, “Reinviting city government so city government works for the taxpayers.” Sure. Emanuel and the next CPS head will have to move beyond platitudes and do at least one of two really unpopular things: raising taxes or laying off teachers.

The last thing Chicago Public Schools need is innovation

Arne Duncan

Joel Hood of the Chicago Tribune reports that Education Sec. Arne Duncan has consulted Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel about Emanuel’s choice for a new head of Chicago Public Schools. Emanuel will select what is to be the 3rd Chief Education Officer of CPS since Duncan left that post to join the White House in January 2009. The Chicago Public Schools show the messy reality of the education reform movement that Duncan champions. As both Education Sec. and CPS head Duncan has pushed forward a series of reform measures: Needed now is stable leadership to implement the reforms.

Duncan was replaced by Ron Huberman who was replaced by Terry Mazany who exited office with the sobering news that CPS had a $720 million deficit. (more…)

Lots of blanks to fill in on California’s education test

As California faces the prospect of barely imaginable cuts to its floundering public schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan appeared in Los Angeles Tuesday, calling for reform of the nation’s education reform program.

According to a story by Jason Song in the Los Angeles Times, Duncan criticized the so-called No Child Left Behind reforms as rigidly tied to raw test scores that are compared in a vacuum. Duncan, a proponent of so-called ‘value-added’ measures of assessment, called for the re-writing of the law before an education summit organized by United Way.

Under the method Duncan is pushing, teachers would be assessed (earn a raise or get fired), based on the difference between what statisticians assume a student with a given background should get on a standardized test and the students’ actual score. The difference between the assumption and reality would reveal how much a particular teacher helped or hurt pupils. (more…)

Yes, charter schools are public schools

The Chicago Math & Science Academy is a charter school that, since it opened in 2004, has received 80 percent of its operating expenses from Chicago taxpayers. Much of the other 20 percent comes from federal and state grants. But the school says it’s a private institution, the Chicago Tribune’s Joel Hood reports, because it has freedom over policy and personnel that traditional public schools don’t have. Chicago Math & Science may be making this argument so their teachers have a harder time unionizing. Regardless of the motivation, though, the idea that charter schools are not part of the government is preposterous. (more…)

Getting passionate about charter schools

Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah of the Chicago Tribune has an interesting piece on a wildly heated Chicago Public Schools board meeting yesterday where friends and foes of charter schools camped outside CPS headquarters at 5 in the morning, five hours before the meeting started. (more…)

Education reform: An urgent call to stop calls for urgency

Arne Duncan

James Nord at MinnPost writes up a critical speech by Education Sec. Arne Duncan, in this instance an address to the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Duncan criticized a lack of urgency by Minnesota political leaders and more specifically took the state for task for having yet to adopt a set of education “reform” policies favored by the Obama administration. (more…)