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Articles Archive for November 2017

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[17 Nov 2017 | No Comment | ]

Take this headline from a recent piece at NBC News: “Science proves kids are bad for Earth. Morality suggests we stop having them.” (Ah, “science.” If I had a dollar for every headline that claims that “science proves” this or that batty premise, I could probably buy NBC News and hire a bunch of winsome kids to write endearing articles that might make a semblance of sense. But I digress.)

Read more from Heather Wilheim

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[16 Nov 2017 | No Comment | ]

From the Washington Post
Broadcaster and model Leeann Tweeden said Thursday that Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) “forcibly kissed” her and groped her during a USO tour in 2006, saying that “there’s nothing funny about sexual assault.”

“You knew exactly what you were doing,” Tweeden wrote in a blog post for Los Angeles radio station KABC, for whom she works as a morning news anchor. “You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed.”

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[15 Nov 2017 | No Comment | ]

Alabamans get to vote yes or no to senate candidate and accused pedophile Roy Moore, who joins the endless parade of producers, actors, journalists, professors and others accused and probably guilty of rape, assault or harassment.
Most have no impact on me other than generalized contempt. But I’ve had personal reactions, apart from disdain, to some of these characters. Certain figures prompt an emotional or intellectual question: Should I boycott or make exceptions and forgive?
Take Bill Cosby–whose comedy and mutual love of jazz I enjoyed. I rarely watched his TV show, …

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[15 Nov 2017 | No Comment | ]

Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord doesn’t represent us. The American people are #StillIn the fight for climate justice. pic.twitter.com/z40o6uncFG

— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) November 15, 2017

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[15 Nov 2017 | No Comment | ]

The Senate’s tax bill appears likely to include a repeal of Obamcare’s individual insurance mandate. https://t.co/mtYb8mE6sr

— MarketWatch (@MarketWatch) November 15, 2017

Chicago »

[14 Nov 2017 | Enter your password to view comments. | ]

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

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[14 Nov 2017 | No Comment | ]

Do charter schools really perform better than regular, non-selective public schools, particularly in the crucial high school years?

Researchers have been battling over that for years, and now a new report from the University of Chicago’s Consortium on School Research comes down solidly in the middle of that debate, appearing to give charters an edge, but one that doesn’t always hold up and one that strongly varies with the quality of the charter involved.

The consortium took a look at Chicago charters and how they performed compared to regular Chicago Public Schools high schools, using data from 2008 to 2013. What was particularly interesting is that they went beyond the usual––and usually inconclusive––comparison of test-score data and examined factors such as class attendance, grades and college enrollment and college completion rates.

The first finding deals with the quality of the “raw material.” In other words, did charters get the cream of the crop, as it were?

The answer: Not really.

In grade school, test scores were “similar or lower” than in regular schools, but the charter students tended to attend class more often in grade school, suggesting they on balance were better motivated than their peers.

Once in high school, the students had teachers who, on balance, had more trust in each other than those in non-charter, non-selective high CPS high schools. The schools typically had more requirements for grade-level promotion and graduation, teachers were more willing to try innovative approaches, and students found classes more academically challenging, the study found.

On the other hand, students were more likely to transfer out of a charter than a regular school, with 24.2 percent of charter kids transferring during high school, compared with 17.2 percent of those in non-charters.

Back on the plus side, charter students had better attendance and test scores in high school, on balance, adjusting for background differences, the study found. But when it came to acquiring good study habits, the charter students were at “comparable” levels to their peers. And their graduation rate was 2 percentage points lower, perhaps because promotion requirements were higher.

Charters clearly seem to do a better job getting young people to college. Adjusting for background and incoming-skill differences, the four-year college enrollment rate was significantly higher high among charter grads, 45.1 percent versus 26.2 percent. The margin was even higher relative to admission in top selective colleges and universities: 7.2 percent compared to 2.2 percent.

However, the report underlines, “Not all charter schools are the same. There was considerable variation among these schools on key student outcomes, including test scores, college enrollment, and college selectivity.”

In other words, parents beware. Good advice in a city in which 22 percent of high school students now are in charter schools.

Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Charter School Network, says the report is proof that his members are doing the right thing.

“The charter school movement’s focus on college placement and college persistence is paying off,” he emailed me. “These data indicate that charter schools are proving what is possible when high schools focus on college success. We are equally pleased to see that the district has adopted similar tactics that are yielding improvements broadly across the city. That is in fact what the charter movement is about.”

Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey sees it differently.

“Since the start of the Emanuel administration, resources have flooded into charter networks at the expense of traditional, neighborhood schools,” he said in a statement. “Charter administrators also cherry-pick the students they see as the most promising and discard those they deem as ‘problems,’ so comparing achievement in charter high schools to achievement in traditional high schools is a non-starter because the playing field is far from uneven. It’s definitely not an apples-to-apples comparison, and not even apples-to-oranges at this point.”

No formal reaction from CPS yet, but I’ll add one if I get it

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[14 Nov 2017 | No Comment | ]

* Press release…
Chris Kennedy received the endorsement today of Lori E. Lightfoot, chair of the Police Accountability Task Force and leading advocate for police reform and accountability.
“Lori’s long been a champion of fairness and equality, and the city of Chicago is a better place because of her leadership. Lori fearlessly speaks truth to power […]

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[14 Nov 2017 | No Comment | ]

Between 1997 and 2014, the U.S. Treasury has paid $15.2 million in 235 awards and settlements for Capitol Hill workplace violations, according to the congressional Office of Compliance. https://t.co/ZsUGRgC8QG— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) November 14…