CTU DEALS PASS HOUSE The Chicago Teachers Union achieved an early-round victory Nov. 21 when the Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill, 105-8, that rolls back some restrictions imposed on the union’s bargaining rights that have been in place since 1995. At press time, the bill was poised for consideration in the Senate, where sources predict it will face significant opposition from Republicans. An attached measure to double the number of charter schools in Chicago to 30 sweetens the deal, however. The union and charter school proponents favor the measure.

NO MORE INTERVENTION In October, the School Board removed five high schools from intervention status and placed them back on probation. The board conceded that the high schools—Bowen, Collins, DuSable, Orr and South Shore—had not resolved “the problems that caused chronic low student performance” but had made steps toward academic improvement. This year, the schools will each receive $100,000, will be monitored by central office and will get reading and instructional supports from area instructional officers. … The board also modified its intervention policy to spell out steps to monitor and support post-intervention schools. The policy stipulates that former intervention schools may be placed back on intervention, or even face closure, if their test scores slip too low or if they fail to get off probation within three years. The board had previously modified its intervention policy last spring. (Catalyst web site May 2002)

MOVING IN/ON The Spencer Foundation has named economist Michael S. McPherson, president of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., as president. He is a nationally known expert on the relationship between education and economics. His predecessor, Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, left Spencer in July to become dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. … The School Board’s Monitoring Commission for Desegregation Implementation, which evaluates the city’s efforts to integrate its school faculties and students, has lost three of its commissioners. Ellen Douglass, Ronald DeNard and Roxanne Ward have left the commission for personal reasons, and were expected to be replaced by the February board meeting.

PRINCIPALS The following acting principals have been awarded four-year contracts: Bertha Buchanan, Phillips High/Wells Prep; Elizabeth Gonzalez, Chase; Shirley Woodard, King. … Arthur Slater, an Area 9, Region 3 director, and former assistant principal at Hyde Park Academy, is the new interim principal at Kenwood Academy. … In October, the board issued a warning resolution to Eloise Shumpert, principal of Wright, one of the schools being investigated for test cheating. Shumpert was not accused of wrongdoing, but board officials cited her for lax test security.

GATES GRANTS The Chicago High School Redesign Initiative has suspended its grant making and will focus its efforts on five new small high schools that it already funds at Bowen, Orr and South Shore. The new schools were created with grants awarded after the first round of requests for proposals. But none of the small schools proposed in a subsequent round were selected, and a date to accept third-round applications has not been set. The High School Redesign Initiative is supported by a five-year, $12 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and $6.2 million from local funders. … In October, the Gates Foundation announced a $4 million grant to create four small charter high schools in the city over the next three years. The Chicago Charter Schools Foundation, which already operates one charter school with six sites, plans to stagger school openings beginning fall 2003 through 2005.

AT CLARK STREET Careda Taylor resigned as principal of Kenwood Academy and will now serve as a special assistant to Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins. Taylor will be responsible for assessing student achievement at schools with mid-range test scores. … Jobi Petersen was named director of special projects for the Office of Accountability, where she will be responsible for coordinating efforts to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act. … Cheryl Nevins, acting director of the board’s labor relations department, has been permanently appointed to the post. … Jenny Nagaoka, a research analyst at the Consortium on Chicago School Research, is the new project director for the CPS Student Development Planning Initiative. Among her duties will be leading a new task force that will examine ways to better serve foster children and other highly mobile students. (Catalyst November 2002)

FINAL BLOW In October, the board dropped a multi-million dollar technology consulting contract with Arthur Andersen and hired KPMG Consulting for $2.9 million instead. However, the agreement with KPMG stipulates that it will hire the Arthur Andersen staffers who have been working on the project.

Compiled by Catalyst staff

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