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Summary of Research Studies on Renaissance 2010

February 24, 2010 0 comments

Research findings: A growing body of research indicates Chicago’s Renaissance 2010 plan to close, phase out, consolidate, or turn around schools and turn them over to private charter school operators or selective enrollment schools does not benefit low-income students of color.

  • Students have been transferred from one low-scoring school to another; overall the moves did not significantly affect student achievement.
  • Renassaince 2010 leads to exclusion of vulnerable students, increased school violence, disruption of teaching and learning, disruption and demoralization of receiving schools, destabilization of students and communities, and displacement of teachers.
  • CPS charter high schools are not performing significantly better than CPS neighborhood high schools, while enrolling less special-need, ELL, and low-income students.
  • Students and communities disproportionately affected are low-income African American and Latino.
  • School closings are concentrated in gentrified and gentrifying areas.
  • Case studies of schools proposed to close for under-enrollment indicate that CPS uses flawed enrollment data.
  • There has been little genuine participation of parents, teachers, students, or communities in decisions affecting them.
  • R2010 schools’ governing bodies are not open to public scrutiny.
  • Charter schools nationally tend to be more racially segregated than regular public schools.
Recommendation: Freeze Renaissance 2010 and implement a school/community-centered school transformation process.

1. Students as Collateral Damage? Preliminary Study of Renaissance 2010 School Closings in the Midsouth.
P. Lipman, A. Person, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, February 2007. http://www.uic.edu/educ/ceje/papers.html As a result of school closings and student transfers, teachers, administrators, and parents in Midsouth receiving schools reported: a) lack of necessary resources, staff, and professional support; b) disruptive and demoralizing climate; c) negative effects on teaching and learning; d) problems with safety and discipline; e) schools were “set up for failure” due to a history of declining resources and lack of support from CPS. 
2. Public Accountability and Renaissance 2010. Parents United for Responsible Education, 2008. http://pureparents.org/data/files/FOIAreport11-16-08.pdf Two-thirds of R2010 schools failed to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests for basic information about their governing bodies in 2008. Information from the schools that did respond showed that only 5% of their governing body members were parents. 
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In Support of Phillips High School

Check out this powerful statement by John Schmitz, a Phillips High School Teacher and longtime member of Teachers for Social Justice. Phillips is on the list to become a turnaround school and give over to the AUSL.
Why resist it? Simple – the accusations against us are false and our cause is just.
We at Phillips high school do not have a “dysfunctional” school as some of the powers that be have suggested. Quite the contrary – despite facing tremendous challenges - the Phillips faculty provides our students with an emotionally supportive and academically demanding environment. The students themselves have said so in polling data from CPS’s 2009-2010 High School Directory. 
86% of Phillips students reported having “supportive teachers and staff at school.” This places Phillips in the top 10% of all CPS high schools (9th out of 98 high schools). It also places Phillips ahead of all 7 of the elite, selective college prep high schools in this category.* 83% of Phillips students report having “academic rigor at the school,” placing Phillips 27th of 98 schools or in the upper third of all CPS high schools in this category. 
This is merely statistical evidence of what is self evident to those of us who work at Phillips or anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in the building that the faculty and staff at Phillips care about the students as learners and individual people. The genuine concern the adults at Phillips have for its children has provided the impetus for quality instruction and the creation of numerous programs and activities that benefit the students, especially their social and emotional needs.

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Fighting the Meeks Anti-LSC Bill & Supporting Ren2010 Moratorium

February 16, 2010 0 comments

The Sun-Times recently released an article about the Anti-Local School Councils Meeks Bill, which would strip a vital source of remaining democracy in our school system.

Here follows a message from PURE (Parents United for Responsible Education) regarding the Meeks Anti-Local School Councils Bill and Renaissance 2010 Moratorium Bill. 

Two things you can do right away:
  • Fight the Meeks anti-LSC bill -- Strategy meeting tomorrow, Wednesday Feb. 17, 6 pm, at Mollison Elementary School, 4415 S. King Drive (and get LSC training credit for 7-8 or -9) - sponsored by the MidSouth Education Committee.
  • Call on City Council Education Committee members to sign on to the R2010 moratorium resolution and call for a hearing on the resolution BEFORE the Feb. 24th Board of Education meeting. 
Here is the list of Education Committee members' contact info.
Here is the language of the moratorium resolution on R2010.
Here is a sample letter to the members which includes evidence of R2010's failure. 
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CURRICULUM: Something is Wrong: Exploring the Roots of Youth Violence

February 1, 2010 0 comments

Project NIA, the Chicago Freedom School and Teachers for Social Justice have partnered along with other volunteers to develop a curriculum guide in order to contribute to the ongoing efforts by young people and their adult allies to analyze the root causes of youth violence and to create local solutions.

At a time when frustration is running high and many are expressing a sense of powerlessness in the face of pervasive violence, this curriculum guide is an offering intended to make a positive contribution to the dialogue about violence in the lives of young people.

Download the Curriculum

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