Tag Archives: Chicago Public Schools

Support Chicago teachers refusing to give the ISAT standardized test

[via Pauline Lipman]


Please sign attached letter of support for Chicago teachers refusing to
give the ISAT standardized test. Teachers at Saucedo elementary school in
Little Village (serving mainly Mexican children) took the courageous stand
to support parents who are opting out of the test by refusing to
administer it. CEO Barbara Byrd Bennet sent teachers a threatening memo
threatening any teacher who boycotted the test with being fired and having
her license revoked. Nonetheless, teachers at a second school have just
joined the boycott. Please add your name to this letter. We need a strong
national showing now. Testing will begin next week so we need to move on
this now. The letter will be posted on numerous websites and may be read
at press conferences at the schools. (more background below)


Thank you for your solidarity.


Pauline Lipman
Professor, Educational Policy Studies
College of Education
University of Illinois-Chicago
1040 W. Harrison, MC 147
Chicago IL 60607-7133

CPS has announced that this year the ISAT test has no impact on students’
grade promotion or admission into selective programs. The ISAT is no
longer part of the “school performance policy” nor will it be used to
evaluate teachers. CPS’s claim that the ISAT is aligned to Common Core
standards is dubious at best since the PARCC exam, which is being designed
to measure performance on those standards, has been years in the making
and has yet to be released. The ISAT will not help teachers understand
their students or improve instruction for them. Because CPS has not
provided any valid reason to give this test hundreds of parents have opted
their children out of this test.

February 28, 2014



As university faculty whose responsibilities include preparing future educators, we support the action of teachers at the Saucedo Elementary School in Chicago who are refusing to administer the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT). Over a decade of research shows that an over emphasis on high-stakes standardized tests narrows curriculum, creates social and emotional stress for students and families, drives committed teachers out of the profession, and turns schools into test-prep factories with principals forced to comply as overseers—especially in low-scoring schools. We understand assessment as the process of gathering evidence about learning, from multiple sources, so that teachers can better support student learning. The ISAT, in contrast, contributes virtually nothing. CPS no longer uses the ISAT for promotion, graduation, or eligibility for selective-enrollment schools and is phasing it out after this year. It is not aligned with Common Core State Standards—which, regardless of how one sees them, Illinois has already adopted—and does not help teachers improve student learning. The pre-service teachers with whom we work are demoralized about a future of teaching in such a test-driven atmosphere. We teach our students—future educators—to stand up for their students, families and communities, and to take principled stands for social justice. That’s what the Saucedo teachers are doing. We applaud them and stand with them.


Pauline Lipman, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
Rico Gutstein, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education

Rouge Forum Update: Uprising in Oakland After the Electoral Shell Game

Rouge Forum Update: Uprising in Oakland After the Electoral Shell Game

Uprising in Oakland Ca Against Racist Murder of Oscar Grant: 8:50 p.m. Friday. Police make arrests after declaring unlawful assembly Police have arrested at least 100 people for unlawful assembly, though some could face other charges for throwing rocks and other crimes. At least 16 people have been processed on 6th Avenue between East 17th and East 18th streets, police said. A block away from the area where the arrests were made, about 40 people gathered and chanted, “Let them go, let them go,” and took pictures of those under arrest with cell phone cameras.

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Little Red Schoohouse

Army Wants to Eat the Youngest, Targets Grade Six to Nine: CYBERMISSION! Civilian and uniformed Army personnel will serve as CyberGuides, on-line experts who will communicate over the web, and Ambassadors who visit schools to promote the competition and award prizes to Regional winners. How does the Army benefit from this? The Army is indebted to our American communities for their support. This is one way the Army can give back to America, by helping youth learn more about the areas of science, math and technology…Each student on the first-place state winning team will receive $1,000 in U.S. EE Savings Bonds. Students on second-place state winning teams will receive $500 in U.S. EE Savings Bonds. Each regional first –place winning team will receive $2,000 in U.S. EE Savings Bonds and a trip to compete at the NJ&EE in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. National first-place winners receive an additional $5,000 in U.S. EE Savings Bonds.

In Chicago, Ron the Con Huberman Gives Up the Ghost: Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman tried to argue against Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, point by point, during the October 27, 2010 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. Lewis had criticized the Board for wasting teachers’ time and taxpayers money on a plethora of tests, expanded this school year out of the school system’s area offices. Huberman posed as a test expert, trying to refute Lewis’s critique of the Scantron and DIBELS tests, promising to meet with her to discuss the matter further. A week later, Huberman announced his resignation… by George N. Schmidt.

CSU Bosses to “Vote” on 15.5% Fee Hike (that would be a 242% Increase since 2002). No student vote taken, natch. The California State University Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on a 15.5 percent student fee increase next week.”The chancellor’s office is proposing to increase tuition in a two-step process to support 30,000 students this spring and give students and families more time for financial planning,” CSU spokesman Erik Fallis said on Monday.The fee increases will be taken up by the financial committee on Tuesday and by the full board on Wednesday.The first phase is a 5 percent mid-year fee increase, which will take effect in the beginning of spring. The second is a 10 percent fee increase starting in 2011-12 academic year. If both phases are adopted, fees for full-time undergraduate students will be about $4,779 by fall 2011, a 13 percent increase from this year.

Online Mis-education Is Cheap and Even More Alienating than Face to Face Test Prep! Good for Capital, bad for people but Some Profs Suck up To It: Across the country, online education is exploding: 4.6 million students took a college-level online course during fall 2008, up 17 percent from a year earlier, according to the Sloan Survey of Online Learning. A large majority — about three million — were simultaneously enrolled in face-to-face courses, belying the popular notion that most online students live far from campuses, said Jeff Seaman, co-director of the survey. Many are in community colleges, he said. Very few attend private colleges; families paying $53,000 a year demand low student-faculty ratios.

Colleges and universities that have plunged into the online field, mostly public, cite their dual missions to serve as many students as possible while remaining affordable, as well as a desire to exploit the latest technologies….The University of Florida has faced sweeping budget cuts from the State Legislature totaling 25 percent over three years. That is a main reason the university is moving aggressively to offer more online instruction. “We see this as the future of higher education,” said Joe Glover, the university provost….
“Quite honestly, the higher education industry in the United States has not been tremendously effective in the face-to-face mode if you look at national graduation rates,” he added. “At the very least we should be experimenting with other modes of delivery of education….

“I would prefer to teach classes of 50 and know every student’s name, but that’s not where we are financially and space-wise,” said Megan Mocko, who teaches statistics to 1,650 students. She said an advantage of the Internet is that students can stop the lecture and rewind when they do not understand something.

Rouge Forum Update continues here.

Rouge Forum Update: Support Oakland’s 4/29 Strike! March on Mayday!

Open Letter to March 4th Activists: “The central issue of our time is the rapid rise of color-coded social and economic inequality coupled to the promise of perpetual war, this challenged by the potential of mass, class-conscious, resistance. If the above paragraph is wrong, completely baseless, then save time, stop reading, as most of what follows flows from it.”

Substance News Censored by Chicago School Bosses: For several days in April 2010, Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman, or one of his top aides, ordered and monitored the suppression of traffic on the SubstanceNews Web site by putting a “block” between teachers and others in Chicago’s schools and access to the site.

California Community College System on the Brink: “As some students are blocked from state universities, the community college system has trouble absorbing both them and the laid-off workers who are going back to school for retraining. All are trying to fit into a community college system that lost $520 million in state financing over the last academic year, about 8 percent of its overall budget.”

Duncan To Detroit: You’re On Your Own: “But these issues have to be worked out at the local level. We want to be supportive of change, we want to challenge the status quo, but again this has to be worked out at the local Detroit community.”

Kenneth Burnley of DPS Fame Moves To Alaska (avoiding prosecution): “Kenneth Burnley, the former CEO of Detroit Public Schools, has landed a new leadership post — in Alaska. The Mat-Su Borough School Board unanimously selected Burnley on April 24 to become superintendent of the district with 16,600 students and 44 schools. Burnley led Detroit Public Schools, now down to 85,000 students and 172 schools, from 2000-05 during the state’s takeover of the district. He is working at the University of Michigan under a fellowship.”

No Rhee, No Funds for DC Schools–So Say the $ Tyrants: “Private foundations pledging $64.5 million for raises and bonuses in the District’s proposed contract with the Washington Teachers’ Union have attached a series of conditions to the grants, including the right to reconsider their support if there is a change in the leadership of the D.C. school system.
The leadership condition, set by the Walton Family Foundation, the Robertson Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and the Broad Foundation, makes it clear that they could withdraw their financial support if Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee leaves or is fired through the funding agreement’s expiration in 2012.”

Detroit Public School Gangsters Busted Again: “indicted for converting more than $3 million of district funds to themselves, friends and family, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Named in the indictment are Stephen Hill, 58, of Detroit, former executive director of the risk management office and Christina Polk-Osumah, 59, former risk management finance manager. Also named are Sherry Washington, 53, and Gwendolyn Washington, 66, both of Detroit, who are partners of Associates for Learning, a vendor hired to administer a health awareness program for DPS. The eight-count indictment unsealed today alleges bribery, fraud, extortion and money laundering committed between 2005 and 2006. Such crimes are punishable for up to 10 to 20 years in prison.”

Univ. of Wisc. Cancels 4/26 Antiwar Forum Over ‘Security Concerns’

Read the full Rouge Forum Update here.

Rouge Forum Update: March on March 20 and Mayday! Here’s to the Bogus Health Care Bill Met By Endless War!

Remember Proposals are Due, April 15, for the Rouge Forum Conference

Send Your Articles, Photos, Cartoons, for the RF News to Community Coordinator Adam Renner.

Links to Classic Rouge Forum Flyers:
“Got War?”
Justice or Barbarism
Shoot Moneybags, Not People

Always be sure you are right, then go ahead

On the Little Rouge School Front:

Colbert vs Foner: This was passed along by social studies good-guy Tony Whitson.
My favorite line (Colbert to Eric Foner): “They say that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. But, if you change what history was, doesn’t that solve that problem?”

Words Counted in the Ratt (Race to the Top) Literacy Plan:
-standards: 48
-assessment: 37
-reward: 34
-literacy: 19
-rigor: 16
-challenge: 15 (including new buzz phrase “challenge schools”)
-accountable/accountability: 14
-math: 11
-science: 10
-history: 7
-poverty: 7
-language arts: 5
-compete/competition: 4
-thinking: 2
-library: 1
-reading: 0
-writing: 0
-book: 0

Broad’s Bobb Named as Detroit Mayor by NPR on March 17th, Issues Plan to Close 45 Detroit Schools, Spend $70 million on Construction

Broad’s Errand Boy Bobb Demagogics it Up for Parents: Still, he said, he expects to eliminate approximately 2,100 jobs, continue to reduce health care costs and outsource as many options as possible in fiscal year 2010-11. There was a noticeable air of displeasure in the audience as Bobb said he plans to announce on Wednesday which 45 schools will close at the end of this school year.

Detroit Federation of Teachers Refuses to Join Suit Against Broad’s Bobb: “The Detroit Federation of Teachers voted Thursday against joining the lawsuit, with leadership calling it frivolous. However, the union did vote to file a complaint with the state ethics commission against Bobb for accepting the funds, said Keith Johnson, the president.”

The Official Program for the Gutting of Chicago Public Schools: Class Size to 37!

UTLA Boss Favors Revamping Tenure, Certification–Eats Breakfast With Broad: “I would have no problem with changing the tenure rules and extending probation. We should not take tenure away once you get it but [have] some form of recertification.”

Michigan Education Association Moves to Smother Direct Action Resistance—A Three Phase Action Plan to—vote (surprise)

NY Times OpEd–National Socialism for the Schools

The They Say Cut Back; We Say Fight Back Front:

March On March 30 Against the Empires Wars and Mayday Too: The Traditional Rouge Forum Mayday Flyer

On the Perpetual War Front: March on March 20th, Anniversary of the Invasion:

Key Data on the Iraq War Since the Invasion

Read more the Rouge Forum Update here.