The Weekly Ed Update- 4.7.17

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Leadership transition time for RYH this summer

Our Executive Director, Wendy Katten, recently announced she’ll be stepping down, but staying on to co-lead RYH’s sister org, RYH Action in September. Jennie Biggs and Joy Clendenning will serve as co-interim directors as RYH searches for a new executive director.  

Both Jennie and Joy are former high school teachers (Jennie in science and Joy in social studies and bilingual ed) and have been instrumental in building our org with Wendy and other parents. Wendy announced this on FB this week, and the media picked it up. You can read her announcement here and a message from our board about her departure here.

Sun-TimesRaise Your Hand founder steps down from CPS work to move to burbs

Hyde Park HeraldHyde Park education activist to lead Raise Your Hand as interim co-director

Mayor proposes new requirements for high school graduation

This week Mayor Emanuel announced that he wants high school students to provide acceptance letters to colleges, jobs, internships or the military in order to get their diploma. Yes, you heard that right.  Will there be guidance counselors added back to schools to assist these students for this new requirement? No word on that yet. Having a post-grad plan is beneficial for students. Mandating they have one without providing supports to develop it, not so much.

Sun-TimesBrown: CPS needs a Plan B to help kids meet new graduation hurdle

TribuneEmanuel wants to add a CPS graduation requirement: Get acceptance letter

ReaderRahm Emanuel should drop his absurd CPS graduation scheme and fund public education

CPS to continue using NWEA MAP as high-stakes test next year

CPS announced last Friday that it will not phase out the NWEA MAP test for next school year as they had originally planned because of PARCC’s uncertain future in IL. MAP will continue to be the high-stakes test for CPS elementary schools for school level rating, teacher evaluation, promotion and selective enrollment admissions.

Sun-TimesElementary students still will ‘double test’ as CPS keeps NWEA

Because PARCC is state-mandated for federal school accountability policy, CPS will also administer PARCC next year. Illinois has one more year in its four year contract with Pearson for PARCC.

We think it’s good news that CPS will not make PARCC high-stakes, but, nonetheless, MAP was never designed for the high-stakes decisions it is being used for. CPS should be dismantling failed policies like test-based promotion, altogether, no matter what happens at the state level with PARCC.

Competency-based education coming to CPS

The IL State Board of Ed announced the first cohort of districts selected for a pilot of Competency-Based Education. Six CPS high schools will be part of the pilot; the state has not appropriated funding to implement the pilot yet, but is asking for $1M for next year.

WTTW’s Chicago Tonight: CPS, ISBE partnering on new competency based learning pilot

Education Week: Illinois High Schools to Explore Competency-Based Graduation Rules

Note: Competency-based education (CBE) is frequently used as a synonym for online curriculum and has been heavily promoted by ed privatization orgs, including the Gates Foundation, International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and the Clayton Christensen Institute.

We recommend this backgrounder on CBE from Anthony Cody, educator and co-founder of the Network for Public Education, as a good place to start learning about what the implications of CBE may be for IL and CPS:

Washington Post’s Answer Sheet: The newest fad in education — and why some teachers find it troubling

In other news

BPNC youth showing amazing leadership on ed issues:

U of C’s The GateGetting Used to the Failure
South Side WeeklyStudents United in Power: High school activists in Brighton Park continue a familiar fight in the Trump era

The HillDeVos appears with Pitbull at his Miami charter school

Education WeekHere's How Some States' ESSA Plans Address Testing Opt-Outs Note: IL plans to penalize schools with low participation by lowering their Tier rating and after three years of low participation, a school will be labeled as "consistently underperforming", but there's no specific requirement in ESSA to do this. (See Fair Test for more info on what other options states have.)

Pro PublicaCamelot Under Siege. Update on districts' responses after the Pro Publica/Slate exposé of allegations of physical abuse of Camelot students

Upcoming events

DePaul University College Of Education’s Spring Education Issues Forum:

Advancing Democracy and Justice in Public Education in the Trump/DeVos Era

Keynote Speaker: Kevin Kumashiro, former Dean, University of San Francisco, School of Education

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
5:30 to 8:30 PM
DePaul University Student Center Room 314
2250 North Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
Please register online here