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April 02, 2013

Numbers Don't Lie: Why Closing 54 Schools Won't Fix Chicago's Money Mess

The promise of lowering CPS'$1 billion deficit was the primary justification for proposing to close 54 neighborhood schools. Unfortunately, the math is not adding up.

October 17, 2012

Chicago Public Schools: Change We Can't Believe In

Change is hard, especially for the Chicago Public Schools. We have had five CEOs of the school system in the past four years. Arne Duncan. Ron Huberman. Terry Mazany. Jean-Claude Brizard. And now, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, or B3 as her nickname goes. At least we finally got a woman in the top spot!...

September 19, 2012

Chicago Teacher Strike Over, But Bigger Problems Persist

I would be hard pressed to find someone in Chicago who isn't relieved that the teacher strike ended on Tuesday night. After months of contentious negotiations and a seven-day walk-out, the spirit of old fashioned compromise finally set in. The Chicago Public Schools got a few reforms it wanted and t...

September 12, 2012

Honk If You Don't Support A Teacher Strike in Chicago

For the past three days my morning drive to work has become a bit awkward at two stop signs. As I inch closer to the intersections near two different schools, I am beckoned by a throng of teachers in red shirts holding picket signs, chanting, and banging on the metal guard rails that line the sidewa...

September 05, 2012

As Chicago Teacher Strike Looms, I Celebrate a Great Lesson

I did it. Yesterday I publicly revealed my blog to my students. I set up the LCD projector and taught the Smiley-Face Trick of "Repetition for Effect" using my post about my second-grade Ms. White, who wrote me off. All four of my writing classes applauded at the end of the lesson. It was the grea...

July 18, 2012

Teachers Play A Mean Game of 'Would You Rather?'

Last year during a staff professional development, we played a fun little game called Would You Rather? A moderator asked a series of ridiculous questions and the staff had to choose between two distasteful options, indicating our choice by moving to either side of the room. Let's play a few rounds...

July 11, 2012

Raise Your Hand If You Earned Your Summer Break

My summer break started just a week ago. As a charter school teacher, I work all year round. Our summer break started after Independence Day and I'm back to work in mid-August. Yes, I'm at work when the dog days of summer first start barking, and I'm back to work long before those dogs have a chance...

June 13, 2012

Closing Argument: Chicago Must Finish What It Started in Education Reform

On May 23, Indiana school principal Faren D'Abell guest blogged about why he took his own child out of Chicago Public Schools and moved to another state. D'Abell had the resources to "get out" of a low-performing school system, but he understood that the average student in large urban districts have...

June 06, 2012

The Secret Lives of Black Teachers

This weekend, I am hosting a spiritual conference for teachers of all pedagogical preferences, political persuasions, and ethnicities. It is designed to allow educators of like faith to pray together and to encourage us to express an aspect of our personality that we often conceal from our peers at ...

May 30, 2012

For At-Risk Students, School Mother Knows Best

I'm a "school mom" to two unrelated African American boys at my school. It's a term of endearment, and the card I use when I really want them to listen and do what I say. I code switch and speak to them in a tone and vernacular that they are accustomed to hearing at home. Sometimes, I just give them...

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