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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:32pm
Mon Nov 4, 2013

CPS Students Dress Like Zombies, Protest The 'Death Of Public Education' (VIDEO)

Excessive testing is taking the life out of education, according to a group of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students who dressed like zombies and marched from the district’s headquarters in Chicago to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office at city hall Friday evening.

Calling themselves “the learning dead,” the students, organized by the Chicago Student Union (CSO), protested the “death of Chicago’s public education system.”

While proponents of standardized testing say it helps to close the achievement gap, roughly a dozen students claimed on Friday that high-stakes testing takes up valuable instruction time and negatively impacts student learning.

“I love to learn, but because education officials put so much emphasis on standardized testing — they use it to measure school success, measure teacher success, measure student success — teachers are forced to teach to the test and that really limits what we can do in the classroom,” said Charlie Murphy, 16, a junior at Lane Technical College Prep High School and member of the CSO.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
11:36am
Wed Oct 23, 2013

On 50th Anniversary Of CPS Boycott, Activists Prepare To Mobilize Against Educational Inequalities (VIDEO)

The 1963 boycott of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) wasn’t just about achieving the rights for black children to sit next to white children in classrooms. The fight against educational segregation was also about gaining equal access to resources so that every student was given the same opportunity to learn. A group of panelists who analyzed the parallels between educational access in 1963 and the present day on the 50th anniversary of the boycott say the fight for equality still rages on.  

In Chicago, many African American students still attend “separate but unequal” schools, according to members of the Tuesday night panel.

“Today we’re still fighting for educational equity, albeit in a different political climate,” said Elizabeth Todd-Breland, a professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Our children today still do not have equal access to state resources and this is not primarily a question of diversity, but a problem of economic and racial justice.”

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
5:15pm
Wed Oct 2, 2013

CPS Opens Door For More School Closures

Following the decision to embark on the nation's largest round of school closures at one time this academic year, the Chicago Public Schools have opened the door to the possibility of breaking the district's promised five-year moratorium on school closings. As required by the Illinois School Code, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett released a set of guidelines for school actions, which are required by law no later than October 1. The full set of proposed actions for the upcoming school year are due by December 1.

In the proposed set of guidelines released by the district, CPS is hoping to quicken the closure of schools that are already in the process of being phased out. The district also wants to the ability to shutter schools that pose a "safety hazard presented by the physical condition of the" building. The same criteria could be used to propose consolidations and phase-outs.

The district says the five-year moratorium on school closings that Byrd-Bennett promised last year in exchange for a four-month extension on announcing school actions for the current academic year only applied to closures related to academic performance and utilization.

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