The Weekly Ed Update- 3.3.17

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CPS partially rolls back budget cuts

Last Friday afternoon CPS announced they would “unfreeze” $15M of the $46M in funds they planned to cut from schools with high low-income populations. This followed intense community pushback against cuts which disproportionately hit Title I schools and the announcement that 16 of 18 members of CPS’ own Latino Advisory Council quit.

Sun-TimesUnder pressure, CPS restores $15M for its poorest schools

Our statement on the return of these funds

You can see how your school is impacted here: 
DNAinfoCPS Midyear Cuts: Here’s the Latest School-by-School Breakdown

A few days later, CPS announced school might end on 6/1 if the state doesn’t come through with funding for CPS.

If you recall, CPS started the school year with a $215M hole in the budget that they said would be filled with state funding. This funding was supposedly contingent on a backroom deal between the Governor and Springfield legislative leaders, but no one can verify this, and the money hasn’t come through. CPS says they are still short $129M and may try to meet part of the deficit by shortening the school year by three weeks. The state could fine the district for a school year that's too short; but on balance, the district would still spend less.

WTTW’s Chicago TonightCash-Strapped CPS Files Motion, Threatens Shorter School Year

WBEZ: CPS Admits State Fine For Ending Year Early Could Reach $60 Million

Despite all this chaos, another 17 charter operators plan to apply for 20 new charter schools

As we’ve been saying for years, CPS should stop approving charter schools at the same time they make yearly—and now semi-yearly—budget cuts to existing schools, as enrollment drops steadily. Yet, they continue to put out requests for proposals when they don’t have to. They do have to review proposals that they receive, but they do not have to invite operators to apply.

You can see the list of schools that want to apply here, many in areas where schools have closed, all in areas where existing schools have seen massive budget cuts.

Sun-TimesCharter operators propose up to 20 more schools in CPS

Standardized testing update

Many parents have asked us which test is being used for current 7th graders for selective enrollment admissions. Janice Jackson stated at the January 2017 Board meeting that NWEA MAP will be used again this year and that CPS will give parents notice if there is a change (i.e. before the 30th day of the coming school year.) Thanks to parent Catherine Francis for going to the BOE meeting to get this information, which was not previously shared publicly, from CPS.

You can watch video from this interaction at the January Board of Education here.

In addition, the PARCC window opens Monday, March 6th, in CPS. All students may refuse the PARCC; no school, district or state has ever lost money due to low participation.

And, while last year CEO Claypool said in a written directive to schools that students could hand in a written note of refusal, we are hearing from some schools that CPS is not allowing it this year. We are trying to clear up confusion on this matter. If you are told your child is not allowed to refuse the test, verbally or in writing, please let us know at or via 413-OPTOUT.

Our 2017 Testing Toolkit

In other news

Sun-TimesCPS privacy breach bared confidential student information

LA TimesEducation Secretary Betsy DeVos is getting some very bad news about her favorite thing, school vouchers

Sun-TimesRahm Emanuel goes public with plan to build Englewood HS

Chicago ReporterChicago school funding crisis exposes steady gutting of neighborhoods

WBEZ: Pastors, Savvy Connections and Chicago Schools: How One Private Company Raked in $50 Million

Note: This is the second part of a series looking at the costs of Chicago’s alternative schools.

CPSuccess to brighten your day!

Gale Elementary school garden: ‘We grow kids’

Amundsen High School’s engineering lab

Austin High School students make mouthpieces for trumpets- video of musicians

Franklin Elementary community creates a seascape mosaic

Mariachi at Calmeca Elementary

Please submit your #cpsuccess here! And follow us on Twitter here.