Tag Archives: education

Many Students Fail to Profit from For-Profit Colleges










By: Julianne Malveaux


Many Students Fail to Profit from For-Profit Colleges

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, about 1.7 million people will receive their bachelor’s degrees, and another nearly 750,000 will receive associate’s degrees this May and June. The numbers have been rising over the past 10 years, with 22 percent more receiving bachelor’s degrees (the growth in women’s degrees is faster than that of men), and 12 percent more associate’s degrees (again, with the degrees awarded to women growing faster than those awarded to men).

Too many of these students will graduate with heavy debt. While the data suggest that the average student graduates with about $30,000 of debt, the fact that some students have no debt at all makes the number even higher. African American students are nearly twice as likely to graduate with debt as Caucasian students. And it is often much harder for African American students to find jobs than it is for others. Still, a college degree makes a difference in life chances and lifetime earnings, which is one of the reasons that public policy has focused on postsecondary education.

Students who have attended for-profit colleges go to school with the same hopes and dreams as those who attend traditional not-for-profit-universities. They attend schools such as Kaplan, DeVry and Corinthian because they want to improve their education and find better jobs. They go into debt, and seek grants because they believe the investment is worth it. And too many of them have been sold a bill of goods.

Corinthian Colleges, Inc. had more than 77,000 students at its peak, although those numbers have dropped since then. Their students, in 2012-2013 were mostly adults who worked full time, mostly minority (51.8 percent), and mostly low-income enough to qualify for Pell Grants (72.9 percent). According to one source, these students borrowed more than $7,600 each year to pay for their education.

Corinthian is among the for-profit schools that depend on the federal government for their income stream. They direct them to apply for Pell grants, push them to seek federal student loans that have subsidized interest rates, and encourage them to get bank loans with higher interest rates. They tell students that these loans are worth it because it will help them get better jobs later.

The federal government has been scrutinizing Corinthian and other for-profit colleges for years, especially because they have found that these colleges often exaggerate their success in placing students in better jobs. Now, Corinthian Colleges have shut down, leaving more than 16,000 students stranded. These students have used up semesters of their Pell grant eligibility (which is capped at 12 semesters), and have thousands of dollars of debt. If they are mid-degree, they face the challenge of trying to transfer credits to another college. While there may be some relief for these students who owe money, others will either be forced to repay debt or imperil their credit standing.

Is Corinthian the exception, or is it the rule in the world of for-profit colleges? We know that these colleges target adult learners, and market to minority populations. More than half of the students at Corinthian were students of color, and at many of the other for-profit colleges the enrollment of minority students exceeded 30 percent. We know that these colleges rely on tuitions for their profit, which means that when they find students who qualify for Pell grants, it boosts their bottom line.

According to the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS), at least 60 percent of the students enrolled in the top six for-profit colleges received Pell grants. Corinthian topped the group with nearly 73 percent of their students receiving Pell grants, but ITT Technical Institutes was not far behind with a 71.8 of their students receiving Pell grants. In comparison, 39 percent of the students at public colleges, and 34 percent at private nonprofit colleges have Pell grants.

Some for-profit colleges do a better job than Corinthian, and many have not run into trouble with the federal government. Still, because taxpayer dollars are being used to finance these colleges, they must be more carefully scrutinized both by the federal government and by accrediting associations. Furthermore, the Corinthian debacle is a warning to students who might get a lower cost and better education by going to a public university or to a community college. Before enrolling in one of these colleges, students need to consider other options, and also check on the placement records these schools like to brag about.

Students of color are especially vulnerable to the hype these colleges offer. They say they provide opportunities and jobs, but too often they don’t. They market to those at the periphery; those who believe their lives would be significantly improved with education. Their lives can improve with more learning, but the students must beware of for-profit colleges that often promise more than they can give, and push students into debt. The closing of the Corinthian Colleges, Inc. is a cautionary tale for those who choose for-profit colleges as the gateway for their hopes and dreams.




Family Focus: Nurturing Children, Strengthening Families




Family Focus: Nurturing Children, Strengthening Families

Family Focus helps Chicago-area families living in low-income communities give their children the best possible start in life. Family Focus helps families gain the confidence and skills to be the parents they want to be. By offering customized classes, support groups and referral services in a welcoming and caring environment, Family Focus helps families help themselves while building a relationship based on equality and respect.

Family Focus concentrates on the needs of young children (0 -5 years) but provides services to children of all ages. The community-based support services build upon families’ inherent strengths and help young children by providing their families with the skills and support they need to thrive – principles of the Family Support Movement. Family Focus proactively customizes programs to the needs of the communities served. These community specific programs are culturally appropriate to ensure the best outcomes. With a strong focus on the needs of infants and their families, they address the unique issues faced by parents with young children, pregnant and parenting teens, grandparents raising grandchildren, estranged fathers and families exposed to violence. The specific needs of immigrant families are also addressed with a comprehensive range of programs and services. In addition, Family Focus helps families connect to a wide range community services and health care providers and provides after-school programs for children in 40 Chicago-area schools.

Family Focus hires staff from within the communities served and doesn’t charge for most services. This contributes to the community-building process and helps them forge strong collaborations with families, community agencies, health care providers, etc.


What They Do in Your Community Every Day

Our mission is to promote the well-being of children from birth by supporting and strengthening their families in and with their communities. To that end, here are some examples of what we are doing every day in and around Chicago:



Early childhood services often begin during the pre-natal stage, continuing until the child is ready for preschool. If quality early childhood education is not accessible to the family, we will continue to serve the child until age 5. On any given day, you will find one of our dedicated staff members:


•  Visiting the home of a new mother to discuss her baby’s nutritional, social and emotional needs, so that she has the information needed to care for her child.

•  Working with a toddler at one of our centers and assessing his or her developmental benchmarks and school readiness.

•  Meeting with a teen mother about her plans to enter college, so that she will have the ability to be a good mother, while continuing her education to ensure her ability to support her child in the future.

•  Facilitating a parenting class where parents can learn from one another and build a cohesive network of support.



Family Focus’ efforts extend to supporting children and youth ages 6-18 by providing enriching activities that encourage development, self-confidence and the ability to create positive relationships. On any given day, youth in our community schools, summer camps and afterschool programs will:


•  Work with a Family Focus tutor to help them complete homework assignments and fully grasp their lessons.

•   Join a robotics club and work as a team to build and program robots, while developing their STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

•  Take part in a music, theatre and arts program such as performing in a poetry slam, which gives them a creative outlet for personal expression.

•  Read books with their parents at a family literacy night, designed to increase parental involvement in their child’s education.



All parents want to be good parents, but may lack the knowledge and resources. At Family Focus, we encourage parents to be active participants in their own education. By helping parents achieve their own personal academic and career success, we can impact the lives of their children. Through classes, support groups, and family events, we help parents gain the skills and confidence to be successful. On any given day in one of our community centers you will find:


•  New immigrant parents in one of our citizenship classes or English as a Second Language (ESL) courses reduce their sense of isolation and gain greater understanding of how our society works.

•  A young mother attending General Education Degree (GED) courses or financial literacy training so that she can find a job and properly manage a budget to support her family.

•  A father returning from prison who is attending Family Focus’ fathers support group so he can reconnect with his children and get access to job fairs.

•  Grandparents who have full custody of their grandchildren seeking healthcare options and referrals for both minors and themselves.


There are 7 Family Focus locations in the Greater Chicago area, including Englewood, Lawndale, Cicero/Hermosa, Evanston, Highwood/Highland Park, DuPage and Aurora.






Emanuel vs Garcia Run-Off April 7th

By: Naimah Latif
Staff Writer


Emanuel vs Garcia Run-Off April 7th



Mayor Rahm Emanuel To Face 

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia In An April Run-off Election

Despite the frigid, below-freezing temperatures, on Election Day incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his four challengers, Bob Fioretti, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, William “Dock” Walls and Dr. Willie Wilson, all hit the ground running, doing radio interviews, phone canvassing, and shaking hands with voters across the city in an effort to get their supporters to the polls. By the end of the night, it was Chuy Garcia who was hot on Mayor Emanual’s heels, capturing 155,545 votes, for 33.9% of the vote to the Mayor’s 208,305 votes, for 45.4% of the vote, forcing the Mayor to face him one on one in an April 7, 2015 run off election.

Mayor Emanuel, flanked by his supporters, which included Congressman Bobby Rush and Congressman Luis Guttierez, claimed victory over his opponents, but acknowledged that the battle was not yet over.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” he stated. He again repeated his campaign theme that he has improved education in Chicago by extending to a full day of school for Kindergarteners and has increased the minimum wage for workers. He emphasized that to finish the job he started he needs four more years, appealing to voters to support him in the inevitable runoff election.

A victory celebration was in progress at Alhambra Palace Restaurant, where second place winner Garcia declared, “Nobody thought we’d be here tonight. They wrote us off.  They said we didn’t have any money, yet they spent millions attacking us. Well, we’re still standing. And we’re gonna win!”

If the music mix at his victory party of Latin music, Calypso, Reggae, R&B, Jazz and Funk was any indication of the demographics of Garcia’s supporters, apparently “Chuy” managed to capture a large slice of the young, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Chicago population. It was certainly enough to

give him a decisive lead over the other three challengers. Willie Wilson came in third place with 48,660 votes, or 10.6% of the vote, Bob Fioretti finished in fourth place with 33,911 votes or 7.4% of the vote and William Dock Walls finished in last place with 12,692 votes or 2.8% of the vote.

Garcia supporter William McNary, Co-Director of Citizen Action Illinois,  stated, “I truly believe our community’s will be safer, our children will learn better and all people, not just the wealthy, will be able to prosper with Chuy Garcia as Mayor. He’s the real deal. There are now 2.5 million residents in Chicago. We need a mayor who will work for all of us, We are building a new coalition of people of every ethnicity and every neighborhood. We have to make sure we go after the real money and not go after each other.”

Successfully building a coalition of disgruntled citizens seems to have been the winning campaign strategy. Garcia asserted that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s failure garner 50% of the vote was a clear sign that Chicagoans are ready for a change. “I remember reading the words of a famous Civil Rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer. She said ‘I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.’ Now the people of Chicago have spoken. They said ‘I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.’”

As usual, election day in Chicago had its share of irregularities. Several polling places got a late start and as a result, had to remain open until 8:00pm. Early in the day, candidate Willie Wilson challenged the poll opening delay, going to the Board of Elections with his lawyer to file a complaint about the problems that denied a number of citizens the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

Despite his third place finish, in his concession speech, Dr. Willie Wilson was upbeat. Surrounded by his wife and supporters, which included Congressman Danny Davis and former State Senator Ricky Hendon, Wilson noted that through his Mayoral campaign,” I now have a whole lot of friends that I didn’t have before. I learned a valuable lesson.”

Bob Fioretti, having given up his Aldermanic seat to run for Mayor,  expressed disappointment that more of his supporters did not make it to the polls. While weather may have played a factor in the turnout, Fioretti seemed not to have distinguished himself as a clear viable alternative, capturing a little more than 7% of the vote. He reiterated his campaign theme that Mayor Emanuel has done a poor job of providing for the needs of Chicago’s citizens, and it is time for a change in leadership.

Finishing with a little under 3% of the vote, William Dock Walls admitted he expected to make a better showing. Looking ahead to the April 7th primary, while reiterating his opposition to Rahm Emanuel’s policies, he stopped short of endorsing Garcia, saying they’ll have to have a conversation first.

“You ask about an African American/Latino alliance. We always support them, but they never support us,” Walls asserted.”We first need some type of reciprocity.”

The common concerns about education, public safety, and economic development will need to be addressed with the intention of creating fairness and equity across the board, Walls said.

However, Garcia supporters were energized as they watched election returns. Pia Rizza, featured in the 2012 Reality TV show “Mob Wives of Chicago” which aired on VH1, was among the enthusiastic crowd celebrating what they felt was a promising victory.

“I’m very excited that Chuy won!” She exclaimed. “He ‘s a real Chicagoan, he grew up in the Back of the Yards, near Bridgeport, where I grew up. I think he’ll really help with the safety of Chicago, that’s what I think the big issue will be in the runoff. Everybody needs safety.”

Garcia said he has called all of the other Mayoral Candidates and expects to sit down and discuss strategies for victory in the April 7th runoff. The wealthy, influential class has run the city for too long, he asserted.

“Now, the rest of us have spoken and we have something to say.  The bus drivers , the train operators, the police officers, the health care responders, the block club leaders, the community organizers, teachers, working moms and dads,” he said. “This city deserves a Mayor that puts people first, not special interest. I will be that Mayor.”


25th Annual MLK Scholarship Breakfast Pushes Empowerment Through Education



Rev. Jesse Jackson and Fourth grader Nazeeh Shahid a winner in the recent PUSH Excel Oratorical Competition. Photo by: John L. Alexander

The release of the movie Selma and the protest of racial violence in Ferguson and other cities across the country provided the backdrop for the discussion at this year’s 25th Anniversary of the PUSH Excel Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast held Monday January 19th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Chicago.

“As we enter the new year of 2015 and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act with blood and pen, we are not only seeing our voting rights under attack by the Supreme Court, Republican Governors and Republican controlled state legislatures – with little defense by Democrats and a Congress that is not fixing the damage done by Shelby – but we see that all of the civil rights gains we made through the struggle 50 years ago are now under attack 50 years later,” stated PUSH Founder Rev. Jesse L. Jackson.

The MLK Scholarship Breakfast, as always, was well attended by City, State and Federal elected officials and aspiring elected officials, who mingled with notable business executives, media personalities and community activists, all who came to pay tribute to Dr. King and help raise money for scholarships. Among those in attendance included newly elected Governor Bruce Rauner, outgoing Governor Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and mayoral hopefuls Jesus “Chuy”’Garcia, Alderman Bob Fioretti, and William “Doc” Walls. Emmy Award winning news anchor Hosea Sanders of ABC News served as Emcee.

Preparing young people with the skills that lead to empowerment is the thrust of the PUSH Excel Program, noted PUSH Excel President Dr. Julianne Malveaux.

“Dr. King said intelligence is not enough. ‘Intelligence plus character is the goal of true education.’ Our goal at PUSH Excel is to develop and support young people who are educated in the King tradition – young people with character and discernment,” she said.

In addition to the words of tribute by dignitaries and the video presentations on the life of Dr, King, the highlights of the breakfast were the presentations by dynamic young people who shared their creative talent and intellect.

Poet and performing artist J. Ivy, author of the new book, “Dear Father: Breaking The Cycle of Pain” gave a moving presentation that reflected the spirit of a new generation of activists.

But a young man who brought the audience to its feet and truly captured the mood of the times was fourth grader Nazeeh Shahid, with his presentation of Howard Beale’s speech from the movie “Network.” Nazeeh, a winner in the recent PUSH Excel Oratorical Competition, articulated the frustration of a people feeling neglected by an insensitive, greed driven government.

“I want you to get up out of your chair, go over to the window, raise it up, stick your head out and yell ‘I’m mad and I’m not going to take it anymore!” he declared to thunderous applause.

The Dr, Martin Luther King Scholarship Breakfast is a fundraising event that has helped put hundreds of students through college over the years. It enables people to invest in youth as they matriculate through college, giving students the resources they need to graduate and help manifest Dr. King’s Dream in their lifetime.



The Education of Dr. King




“Intelligence plus character is the goal of true education.”

–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



As he labored for social, civil and economic justice, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was extremely concerned both about the educational inequities that were a function of segregation, and about the purpose and quality of education. As early as 1947, as a Morehouse College student, he wrote an article, The Purpose of Education, for the Maroon Tiger, the college newspaper. His article is as relevant today as it was then.

Today, much of the focus of education is on passing standardized tests; and while educational measurement is important, Dr. King suggests that these measures are insufficient. In his article, he pondered the meaning and purpose of education. He wrote that “Education must enable a (person) to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life.”

King was critical of the results of specific aspects of education when he wrote, “education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think, incisively and to think for one’s self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices, and propaganda. A great majority of the so-called educated people does not think logically and scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths.”

True in 1947, but even more so today with 3-minute commentary passing for news, and some classrooms the site of propaganda delivery. Some Southerners still believe that the South won the Civil War, and they fly the confederate flags to honor it, and teach this falsity in their classrooms. A friend who lives in Georgia said nearly half of her junior high school-age daughter’s U.S. history curriculum covered aspects of the Civil War.

From that perspective, young King was quite critical of segregationist, their intelligence, ad their prejudice. “The late Eugene Talmadge, in my opinion, possessed one of the better minds in Georgia, or even America. Moreover, he wore the Phi Beta Kappa key. By all measuring rods, Mr. Talmadge could think critically and intensively yet he contends that I am an inferior being. Are these the types of men we call educated?”

King said that intelligence is not enough. He said, “Intelligence plus character is the goal of true education.”

We must develop and support young people who are educated in the King tradition – young people with character and discernment. We cannot do this work without a consciousness of people who are committed to breaking down educational barriers, closing the achievement gap, improving the quality of schools and access to education. But while other countries are increasing their commitment to education, the United States is cutting back.

Said King, “The most dangerous criminal may be the man (person) gifted with reason, but no morals.” How moral is it to consign millions to low wages, refusing, even, to increase the minimum wage. How moral is it to cut food stamps and jobs programs in the name of economic growth, although many are still suffering? The art and science of politics is about compromise, but how do we compromise with people’s lives and well-being?

There ought to be a floor under which no citizen is allowed to fall. Wages, health career, education, and access to housing should not be bargained over, but automatically given. Too many of our legislators are educated, but lack morals. It is shameful to watch them celebrate the shredding of the safety net.

Budget cuts have made education less obtainable than ever. While many parents hire coaches to help their children write essays and complete their college applications, working class parents don’t have the money to do this kind of hiring.

The American School Counselors says that many states mandate a ratio of between 500 and 750 students per counselor. Even at the lower number, a counselor can spend just an hour per student per semester, hardly enough to get advice about college attendance, the filling out of applications, and other matters. Some states have no mandate at all. They include (but are not limited to) Florida, Illinois, Kansas, and Kentucky. Unless parents or civic organizations are willing to step up, some students face major barriers to college attendance and career preparation.

President Obama says he wants the US to be a leader in world education. Others could care less about the education of too many students. Those who fail to care about the next generation are, in Dr. King’s words, “dangerous criminals.”

Let’s celebrate the King holiday with a commitment to close the achievement gap and to improve the quality of education in our nation.

CPS Announces Launch of “Reinvestment Schools” To Help Transform District’s Highest Need Schools

CHICAGO— Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced today that twenty-two “reinvestment schools will receive direct support from the newly created Office of Strategic School Support Services (OS4) to provide guidance and tools to increase these schools’ overall performance. CPS Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Barbara Byrd-Bennett created OS4 as an integral piece of her five-year action plan, “The Next Generation: Chicago’s Children.” The action plan lays out District priorities aimed at providing every child in every neighborhood across Chicago with a rigorous, high-quality education that prepares them for success in college, career and life.

“Even with exhaustive efforts, sometimes school leaders, teachers and school communities need the guidance and support of their District leaders to help them reach their full potential,” said CEO Byrd-Bennett. “OS4’s reinvestment strategy presents a monumental, ground-breaking shift in the way the District supports high-need schools. It is an important opportunity to partner with schools that both need support and are ready and able to do the intensive work needed to put themselves on a path toward success.”

To support reinvestment schools, OS4 will directly provide both school leaders and teachers with intense and comprehensive professional development tailored to the specific needs of each school. Recognizing the critical role played by Local School Council members and parents in supporting school improvement, OS4 will also provide these groups with professional learning opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills in best practices to increase student achievement. The style of support involves embedded coaching and training for school leaders and staff that will help them sustain the new practices and improve performance beyond the three-year program. These professional development resources and tools will be designed in collaboration with a cross-functional CPS team, representing our Network and Teaching and Learning staff, and will be leveraged as a core District resource for all schools.

The reinvestment schools program is an early intervention support effort for high-need schools that aims to prevent putting in place drastic, late-stage, school-level interventions in the future. To find schools meeting the OS4 criteria, CPS conducted a comprehensive and inclusive selection process that centered on input and recommendations from Network Chiefs as well as a review of each school’s performance indicators and attributes. OS4 criteria primarily focused on input and recommendations involving Level 3 and Level 2 neighborhood schools; schools located in communities historically impacted by school consolidations; and high-need schools with trajectories indicating that dramatic improvements in school climate and student performance are necessary. Network Chief recommendations, together with school performance indicators and attributes, directly informed CEO Byrd-Bennett’s determination in selecting which schools were ready and able to commit to a whole school transformation process starting in the 2013-14 school year.

CEO Byrd-Bennett has identified twenty-one reinvestment elementary schools and one reinvestment high school. Each reinvestment school will be responsible for meeting or exceeding annual school-specific benchmarks established by the CEO and will remain subject to the District’s performance policy. OS4 will partner with reinvestment schools for up to three years, and all of OS4’s supports and services are designed to build the capacity of each school’s ability to sustain school improvement following its work with OS4.

OS4 will also oversee the implementation of the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. This program currently covers 15 secondary schools that were selected for SIG by the Illinois State Board of Education. As required by SIG, each SIG school is paired with an external lead partner that is responsible for managing the implementation of the grant at the school level. SIG funds are used to pay for all costs associated with the lead partner.
A full list of reinvestment schools follows.

Chicago Public Schools has 403,000 students in 681 schools. It’s the nation’s third-largest school district.

OS4 2013-14 Reinvestment Schools
-Ira F. Aldridge Elementary School
-Arthur R. Ashe Elementary School
-Alice L. Barnard Computer Math & Science Center Elementary School
-Jacob Beidler Elementary School
-Lorenz Brentano Math & Science Academy Elementary School
-William H. Brown Elementary School
-Edmond Burke Elementary School
-Andrew Carnegie Elementary School
-George Washington Carver Primary School
-Crown Community Academy of Fine Arts Center Elementary School
-Leif Ericson Elementary Scholastic Academy
-Esmond Elementary School
-Charles G. Hammond Elementary School
-Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School
-Scott Joplin Elementary School
-Lawndale Elementary Community Academy
-George Manierre Elementary School
-Morgan Park High School
-William C. Reavis Math & Science Specialty Elementary School
-Jackie Robinson Elementary School
-John M. Smyth Elementary School
-Telpochcalli Elementary School


Members Sit-In, Speak Out During Rally and March

In an act of civil disobedience, more than 120 members of the protest organizing unions UNITE HERE Local 1, SEIU Local 1, the Grassroots Education Movement and the CTU staged a sit-in in the southbound lanes of LaSalle Street outside of City Hall during Thrusday’s rally and march. Among those led away by police and issued citations for “pedestrian failure to exercise due care,” according to attorney Pat Calihan, were SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff and nearly 40 members of the CTU, including Vice President Jesse Sharkey and Recording Secretary Michael Bru
Here are a few words from the detainees:

“It is an obscene travesty for them to refer to what they’ve been doing as a civil rights movement, so now, we are going to show them what a real civil rights movement looks like, and what a real civil rights movement feels like.” —CTU Recording Secretary Michael Brunson

“The Board of Education and the mayor’s office are making these unilateral decisions without really coming to the people that are on the ground level. It’s the teachers, the teachers’ assistants and clerks that really know our buildings—that really know our schools and the needs of our kids. And I think that’s just shameful, that they’re not even talking to us about what’s best for our kids. Engage the people that truly do the work with kids and that really want to improve the school system, because we do it every day, and there’s no better expert than those of us on the ground doing it.” —Joshua Marberger, teacher at hit list school Fermi Elementary

“I don’t believe that anything’s being done to benefit the kids. Talking to the teachers at my school, I know that the schools that they’re sending out students to are not performing as well as our school. They’re sending our kids around, not caring about the distance they have to travel and not caring about their reception once they get into these buildings. Are they going to be welcome—are they even going to take the teachers? So yet again, African-American teachers are losing their jobs, and they don’t care. Do something to make the public believe that you’re doing something to benefit all students equally and equitably in Chicago.” —Tammie Vinson, teacher at hit list school Emmet Elementary
“When is this going to stop? If we do not fight now, we’re going to pay later. We must make sure that our community schools are not destroyed—our neighborhoods are not destroyed. If we sit idly by, all of this stuff comes tumbling down.” —Finola Burrell, CPS teacher and parent.


CPS Launches Charter Renewal Process to Close Underperforming Charters and Retain High-Performers

Chicago – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced the process and timeline for its comprehensive review of the District’s charter school contract agreements that end on June 30, 2013. This process is governed by Illinois State School Code. All renewal recommendations will be presented to the Chicago Board of Education for approval during the January 2013 Board meeting. Charter schools that do not meet the terms of their contract will not be renewed.

The charter contract renewal process entails a thorough and rigorous examination of key academic, compliance and fiscal management areas to determine each school’s renewal status recommendation and conditions for renewal, as necessary.

“Every school in every corner of the city, regardless of school type, must be held to rigorous accountability standards without exception to ensure all students have access to the high-quality education they deserve,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “We can and will take action on operators who have failed to meet the terms of their agreements.”
All charter operators must complete a renewal process at the end of their contract that includes the following phases:
Submit a renewal application to CPS
Review of renewal application by CPS officials
Participate in a school site visit so CPS officials can gather evidence for renewal recommendation, when necessary
CPS prepares final recommendation and shares with the operator
Renewal recommendation goes before the Board for approval
Following is the timeline for the 2012-2013 renewal process:
Conduct site visits, as necessary, to gather additional evidence for renewal – Through end of November
Renewal applications and school site visit findings review – Early to mid-December
Renewal decisions shared with charter operators – Early January
Public hearings – Early to mid-January
Board vote – January Board Meeting
To determine renewal recommendations, CPS officials consider several factors including academic performance data from ISAT, PSAE and ACT test scores, compliance data, financial management history and parent input.

The Board will enforce actions on low-performing charter operators, which include non-renewal of contracts or shortened contract renewals with conditions, which will result in charter school closings. CPS officials will conduct site visits at each underperforming campus to interview students, teachers, parents and administrators to understand why the school is not meeting the terms of its contract. If the Board accepts CPS recommendations to not renew a charter contract, the school will close at the end of the school year.

The following schools are currently up for contract renewal:

ACE Tech Charter School
Amandla Charter School
Aspira Charter School (Early College, Haugan and Ramirez campuses)
Betty Shabazz International Charter School (DuSable, Shabazz and Sizemore campuses)
Community Services West Career Academy
KIPP Ascend Charter School
North Lawndale College Prep (Christiana and Collins campuses)
Passages Charter School
Plato Learning Academy
University of Chicago Charter School (Donoghue, North Kenwood/Oakland, Woodlawn and Woodson campuses)

UNO (Casas, Fuentes, Homan Charter Elementary, Cisneros, Garcia, Paz, Marquez, Torres, Tamayo, Zizumbo, St. Marks, UNO Near West Elementary and UNO North Side Elementary campuses)
Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago

Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.



Mayor Emanuel Announces $1.25 Million Investment in Austin Polytechnical Academy

Returned TIF Funds from United Airlines Will Foster New Programming;
Efforts Directly Support Strategies from Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs;
Program Constructed with Complete Cooperation and Support of Labor Unions

Mayor Emanuel announced today that $1.25 million in recovered TIF funds will be used to create new state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing programs at Austin Polytechnical Academy, to train the workforce in Chicago’s neighborhoods and grow opportunity for the future of Chicago’s economy.

“Investing in our children and their futures is a key priority of my administration and this funding will allow thousands of Chicago’s children to get high-paying jobs in tomorrow’s workforce,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I’m proud to be able to reinvest these recovered TIF funds into a neighborhood program that will directly impact the lives of Chicago’s families and strengthen our city’s economy for the future.”

The $1.25 million in funding is Chicago’s share of the $5.6 million in TIF funds that was returned by United Airlines on Monday of this week. Mayor Emanuel has committed to use returned TIF funds to support investment in the city’s key priorities and neighborhoods.

Founded in 2007 by the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council, Austin Polytechnical Academy is a college and career prep high school with a focus on manufacturing and engineering. Students learn about careers in all aspects of the industry, from skilled production and engineering to management and company ownership — plus related sectors like intellectual property law. More than 60 industry partners work in conjunction with the Academy to provide students with mentoring, field trips, work experience, and other enrichment opportunities.
“Austin Polytechnical Academy has always been about training students to get good jobs so they can have productive, steady careers,” said Ali Muhammad, principal of Austin Polytechnical Academy. “This funding will allow Austin Polytechnical Academy to continue its evolution and adaptation to the modern economy, and we are pleased to be implementing one of the Mayor’s key goals.”

The financing will fund the following five programs:

o   The Austin Manufacturing Innovation Park – The goal of this program is to begin the exploratory phase of building a manufacturing campus in Austin that would help local manufacturers access innovation and new technologies as well as skilled workforce.
o   The Austin Polytech Career program – This program has an annual mission of recruiting partner companies to provide exposure to manufacturing careers through internships and other programming.
o   The Austin Manufacturing Training Program – This is a machining training and credentialing program for adults, that meets on evenings, weekends, and in the summer. 45 to 50 students will be in the program.
o   Elementary school outreach – This funding will include a budget for outreach to elementary schools to get students interested in pursuing STEM education, manufacturing training, engineering and technology.
o   The ACT bridge program – The ACT bridge program prepares African-American males, ages 18 and up, with the math and English skills needed for community colleges or the Austin Manufacturing Training Program (or similar training and vocational programs).

“This crucial funding will allow us to take a decisive step forward in establishing Chicago as a hub for advanced manufacturing and a national leader in this growing and crucial field,” said Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor and Co-Chair of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council. “I believe that by training our young workers and helping them into these apprenticeship programs, we will establish a base of leadership that will help Chicago move forward for years to come.”

The funding of an advanced manufacturing program is in line with a key strategy of the city’s overarching economic development plan, the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, produced by World Business Chicago at Mayor Emanuel’s request earlier this year. Ramirez, who is a member of the steering committee for the plan, is the leader of the sub-committee charged with implementation of that key strategy.

“Becoming a leader in advanced manufacturing is an important strategy with real potential for impact,” said Michael Sacks, vice-chairman of World Business Chicago. “The implementation of these funds to train Chicago’s youth is a major step toward this goal, and underscores the value of a comprehensive plan to coordinate Chicago’s growth.”

The funding of Austin Polytechnical Academy was met with praise from the Austin community.

“This is a wonderful program for the Austin neighborhood and the surrounding communities,” said Ald. Emma Mitts, 37th ward. “This is a great example of how we can develop partnerships between public and private institutions to provide opportunity for our young people to get world-class education and jobs.”