PaulDunbar | Chicago Reader

Recent Comments

Re: “CPS has libraries—but where are the librarians?

Other facts to consider about Latin's student-to-faculty ratios:
8:1 in the lower, middle and upper schools,
7:1 in senior kindergarten, and
6:1 in junior kindergarten.

Yet an approximate 30:1 student-to-faculty ratio in CPS is acceptable.

Madness!

Posted by PaulDunbar on 07/16/2014 at 10:07 PM

Re: “CPS has libraries—but where are the librarians?

@ The original IAC,

The very issue is how "underutilization" was determined. It was determined according to an approximate 30:1 pupil-to-teacher ratio. Mind you, packing students tightly into classrooms with such numbers does not create an optimal learning environment. The best pupil-to-teacher ratio is between 15-20:1. Further, at private schools like the Latin School, the average class sizes in grades 1-4 is 28; in grades 5-8, it's 18; and grades 9-12 is 14. The pupil-to-teacher ratio at Latin is 8:1. At the University of Chicago Lab School--where Mayor Emanuel sends his children--the average class size in the High School is 18. The average class size for grades 3-5 at Lab is 23.
Educators at Latin and Lab know that smaller class sizes are part of creating a successful learning environment. This knowledge isn't esoteric; it's axiomatic. CPS administrators have the same knowledge as the Latin and Lab educators but choose to do things contrary to this axiom. Why?
Why is it okay to pack Black and Latino children, who are as you accurately stated the majority of students in CPS, on top of each other in classrooms? If your counter-argument to my question is budget constraints, then my response to that is why can't the CPS leadership effectively lead and demonstrate successful, effective management of the resources at their disposal for the benefit of students who need an education the most? The reason, in part, is due to intervention by politicians, as jimbo so effectively explained. It started with Rich M. Daley and is continuing under Emanuel. Both implemented policies that are destroying the public school system by cannibalization with charter schools. Both have supported the mismanagement and wasting of valuable tax dollars to fund the system. In fact, Richie and Huberman single-handedly created the Chicago Teachers pension crisis through underfunding. By contrast, before Daley took over CPS, the pension fund was fully funded. This self-created "crisis" is now the reason for our public school woes.
Hence, when you mismanage a school system in which the majority of students are Black and Latino, your actions will harm those students. In the least, you are incompetent. At the most, you are nonchalant and unsympathetic regarding the effects of your mismanagement. Therefore, the consideration of racism and prejudice within this paradigm is entirely reasonable. In the case of CPS, I believe it's a combination of all of the above: incompetence, nonchalance, the absence of sympathy and racism. After all, there are VERY FEW charter school in white neighborhoods.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by PaulDunbar on 07/16/2014 at 10:03 PM

Re: “Mayor Rahm to Von Steuben: No toilet paper for you!

Jimbo and CPS Teacher hit on something that all Chicago citizens need to take to heart--especially the parents of CPS students. He highlighted that Mr. Emanuel says one thing and does another. He says one thing publicly, and another privately. It is plainly evident that this mayor, this school board--and the ones that preceded them--don't give a damn about our public school students. They continually experiment on our children with failed policy after failed policy. How can this school board (and mayor) justify the termination of experienced teachers along with the hiring of inexperienced teachers, in the name of improving our kids' education opportunities? Furthermore, the training of new teachers in CPS has historically been horrendous and egregious, at best. New teachers are more likely to produce academic gains in their students under the guidance and mentorship of experienced teachers. Small classroom sizes and experienced, well-trained teachers are proven to produce academic gains in students, yet the CPS school board and administration have historically executed plans that are diametrically opposite to what works for students.
Therefore, not only does this mayor, school board and central administration not care about our students, their patent and intentional lies and misinformation reveal a more sinister motivation: they are purposely sabotaging our public school system and the education of hundreds of thousands of Black and Latino students. This isn't conspiratorial gibberish I speak. This is a lucid and rational analysis of the facts, of critically comparing the words and rhetoric of this public school team against their actions. Sadly, the words and actions are sorely incongruent with each other.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by PaulDunbar on 06/21/2013 at 10:18 AM

Re: “Mayor Rahm's Chicago—in black and white

@Tower,

The biggest and most obvious flaw in the case for under-utilization is the student/teacher ratio per class. CPS asserted that the utilization ratio standard was 30 students per class. Academic research has clearly stated that smaller class sizes are better for the instructional environment, and especially so for students that have additional challenges to their academic life, as is the case for many CPS students. This is proven, in part, by the recent U.S. News & World Report listing of the nation's top high schools. In Illinois, a cursory glance will prove that the top high schools in Illinois have a student/teacher ratio no higher than 20. Furthermore, I am so bold as to rightly assume that a 30-student ratio certainly doesn't exist at the University of Chicago Lab Schools, where our mayor chose to send his own children for their education. Moreover, according to a recent Reader article, the U of C Lab Schools are more teacher-friendly than CPS. Therefore, Lab's attitude toward its teachers and the excellence of the education is no mere coincidence. That is by design.

The case for school closings according to this utilization number is nothing less than a sham and a further erosion and destruction of the education of our city's children. My analysis is by no means a journey into hyperbole; it is a rational conclusion derived from reason and rooted in facts. The school closings and the utilization argument is especially harmful to the children who need it most. And Emanuel calls himself an education mayor. Yeah, right.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-03…

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-…

http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/uofc-…

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by PaulDunbar on 05/16/2013 at 10:28 PM

Re: “Standardized testing overkill at CPS

John Barker, the chief accountability officer for CPS, isn't concerned that standardized tests sometimes force teachers to teach to them. “My philosophy has always been that if it's a good test, teach to it.”

This comment alone is shocking and a testament to the dilapidation and erosion of educational leadership within CPS. The purpose of education is to teach and develop the academic skills necessary for critical thinking and reasoned expression. A strong and effective public educational system is essential for a vibrant democracy. Put simply, teaching to a test doesn't have anything to do with critical thinking and reasoned expression but everything to do with indoctrination.

15 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by PaulDunbar on 03/29/2013 at 12:30 AM

Re: “County board prez: Why are we closing schools and packing the jail?

IAC,
Thank you for your feedback regarding the TIF numbers. I appreciate it and will take that into consideration. However, let's discuss the utilization issue. CPS claims that the proper utilization number is a class size of 30 students. Much educational research asserts that smaller class sizes of 15-20 students create an ideal learning environment. Further, without meaning to be cheeky (though I am with this next comment), you can rest assured that Rahm's children aren't in a 30-student classroom at the U of C Lab School. There also aren't 30 students in a classroom at Francis Parker or Chicago Latin. Therefore, if these creme-de-la-creme private schools don't have such high numbers in their classrooms--and they have a strict and logical rationale for how they structure their classrooms--why should we believe and assume that this classroom size for CPS students is acceptable? Moreover, many CPS students have issues that the private-school students don't; those issues could be better addressed within smaller class sizes. This concept of utilization isn't even pedagogically sound, but this is how CPS decided to couch the issue of closing schools to cover this budget deficit. Though this is the story that they're sticking to, I'm loathe to believe that this is the real cause, especially given all of the lies that CPS has told over the decades up to this point. Ultimately, I'm pissed that I can't come up with a better alternative to cover this deficit, which is the basic issue here. But my being pissed won't help a damn to the children and people who will be hurt the most by this decision. Thank you again for your insight, IAC. (FYI...I wasn't trying to be sarcastic. Your feedback was truly valuable and cogent.)

Posted by PaulDunbar on 03/28/2013 at 10:36 PM

Re: “County board prez: Why are we closing schools and packing the jail?

Read Ben Joravsky's series on TIFs to learn, in part, why CPS has budget issues. I don't believe the problem is utilization. If you study the property tax revenues received by CPS over the years, my bet is that we'll find that they have steadily decreased over a time of increased real estate development. Therefore, the increased tax revenue from these increased assessments went to the real estate developers and not CPS. TIFs are nothing but a Ponzi scheme, and our students are suffering. But rahm won't tell you that. Read the TIF articles.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by PaulDunbar on 03/26/2013 at 12:51 PM

All Comments »

Favorite Places

  • None.
Find places »

Saved Events

  • Nada.
Find events »

Saved Stories

  • Nope.
Find stories »

Custom Lists

  • Zip.