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Mike Klonsky
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Blog Entries by Mike Klonsky

SB-7 Clears the Way for New Assault on Chicago's Teachers

Posted June 15, 2011 | 13:43:43 (EST)

"This is not a bill to attack the teachers." -- State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood

Whenever a bill's sponsor has to introduce it in this way, you can only assume that's exactly what it is.

SB7, which was just signed into law this week by Illinois Gov. Quinn severely weakens...

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An Interview With Deborah Meier on the Small-Schools Movement

Posted May 11, 2011 | 14:36:25 (EST)

Deborah Meier is considered the founder of the modern small-schools movement. She is a veteran educator (I know. That's considered a negative these days). Deb taught for many years in inner-city schools in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York. She founded the Central Park East Schools, the first of the teacher-led...

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Rahm Still Believes in Texas 'Miracles'

Posted May 5, 2011 | 14:37:36 (EST)

"The data shows that the longer you stay in the classroom learning, you'll learn more..." -- Rahm Emanuel

While you mull that one over, I want to know who the genius was that told Chicago mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel to model his school reform initiative after Houston, Texas? It's...

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Chicago Schools CEO Choice Shows Problem With Mayoral Control

Posted April 21, 2011 | 15:33:00 (EST)

"I wanted an entire new board, an entire new corporate suite because what's happening today both on the finances and the educational scores -- needs to be shaken up. And what I know in my heart [is that] the people of the city do not think we're doing what we...

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Chicago's CEO Short List: Brizard Sounds Like Perfect Candidate for Rahm

Posted April 12, 2011 | 20:23:01 (EST)

The Chicago Tribune reports that Rahm Emanuel's short list of outsiders for new schools CEO includes current Rochester superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard. This, even though Brizard, the latest through Rochester's revolving door of school bosses, just recently signed a three-year deal. After all, he's ONLY making $235,000 in Rochester...

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Common Core Curriculum -- Who's on Board? Who's Not?

Posted April 8, 2011 | 12:48:42 (EST)

"What is it, precisely, that we expect all educated citizens to have learned? What explicit knowledge, skills, and understanding of content will help define the day-to-day work of teaching and learning?" -- A call for common content

What brings liberal policy wonks and teacher union leaders together with corporate reformers...

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After Nearly a Decade of No Child Left Behind We're approaching 100 Percent 'Failure'

Posted March 11, 2011 | 12:58:31 (EST)

The stated purpose of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act was to make every student in the U.S. proficient in reading and math by the year 2014. The way to get there was by identifying and punishing "failing schools" -- those that were unable to make Adequate Yearly Progress...

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Robert Gates' Epiphany and the Fate of Public Education

Posted March 4, 2011 | 12:06:26 (EST)

"In the ensuing decades, a large, permanent military establishment emerged as a result of the Cold War -- an establishment that forged deep ties to the Congress and industry."-- Robert Gates in 2008

Secretary Gates, successor to Donald Rumsfeld, has led our ever-expanding military-industrial complex through both Bush and...

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President Obama, Where Are You on Teachers Union Rights?

Posted February 24, 2011 | 05:51:43 (EST)

"There's a bully pulpit there that the president has, and it needs to be used, I don't think you can turn the cheek on this one." -- Rep. Raul Grijalva (D., Ariz.), a co-chairman of the House Progressive Caucus.

Forbes is calling this "the final battle in...

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Civil Rights Advocate Payne Appointed CPS Chief Educator

Posted February 11, 2011 | 12:48:57 (EST)

Interim Chicago schools chief executive Terry Mazany has appointed Charles Payne, a University of Chicago sociology professor and author of So Much Reform, So Little Change: The Persistence of Failure in Urban Schools to the position of chief education officer. Payne is a long-time social-justice advocate who also authored one...

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Now That the Residency Issue Is Done With...

Posted January 29, 2011 | 00:45:00 (EST)

How about some tougher questions for Rahm?

Some day we may learn the real story of how deep-pockets Rahm Emanuel and his powerful political patrons were able to swing that unanimous state Supreme Court decision putting his name back on the ballot. Writes Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown:

For...
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If You're Looking for Change, Rahm Is Not Your Guy

Posted January 18, 2011 | 13:04:47 (EST)

If you liked the scandal-ridden Daley machine, you will love Rahm Emanuel as mayor. And why not? Daley and Rahm both move in the same inner circle politically and financially. Rahm's campaign offers voters little more than a continuation of Daley's policies and management style, including management and control over...

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Emanuel's New Campaign Slogan: I'll Hammer Teachers

Posted January 12, 2011 | 12:30:55 (EST)

"Chicago teachers are not underpaid."-- Rahm Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel is back campaigning again after an extended vacation in Thailand. He must be worried over the prospect of not simply being able to waltz onto the 5th floor of Chicago's City Hall without serious opposition. The press is even starting to...

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The Year They Began Calling Poverty and Homelessness an 'Excuse'

Posted December 29, 2010 | 11:26:03 (EST)

"We don't use poverty as an excuse for low achievement." -- Springfield, Ill. School District 186 Superintendent Walter Milton, Jr.

2010 wasn't a very good year for public education -- or public anything, for that matter.

A so-far jobless economic recovery has seen a sharp rise in child...

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Can the Philanthropic Billionaire and the President of the AFT find common ground?

Posted December 24, 2010 | 12:35:15 (EST)

"You know, a quarter of our teachers are very good. If you could make all the teachers as good as the top quarter, the U.S. would soar to the top of that comparison." -- Bill Gates

Someone should probably point out to Mr. Gates that his statistical approach to teacher...

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Making the Case for a New Direction on Teacher Evaluation

Posted December 7, 2010 | 15:39:53 (EST)

The most conservative wave of teacher bashing in recent history emanates, not just from the Republicans, but from Barack Obama's Department of Education and his secretary of education, Arne Duncan as well. A carry-over from Bush-era No Child Left Behind, Duncan's version of school reform now focuses mainly on re-inventing...

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Other Voices Coming Through in Mayor's Race

Posted November 30, 2010 | 13:20:53 (EST)

For the past month in Chicago's media, it's been all Rahm, all the time. With a loaded campaign war chest, a connection to President Obama, and a scattered and dollar-poor opposition, Emanuel has found his return to Chicago surprisingly easy going.

But this week, cracks began to appear in...

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School Reform in the Ownership Society

Posted November 24, 2010 | 01:36:31 (EST)

Diane Ravitch calls them the Billionaires Boys Club (BBC) with the likes of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and power philanthropist Bill Gates leading the pack. They know only one way to exercise their power -- from the top down, allowing little if any room for questioning or dissent. They...

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Two More Reasons to Get Rid of Mayoral Control of the Schools

Posted November 16, 2010 | 17:07:56 (EST)

Need some good reasons to end mayoral control? I've got two for you -- Bloomberg and Daley. Their narrow self-serving political agendas have left both of their autocratically-run school systems in chaos.

With Daley's announced retirement and a week to go before Chicago schools chief Ron Huberman's departure, the mayor...

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Charters and the New Version of Two-Tier Education

Posted November 10, 2010 | 18:50:10 (EST)

Those who have followed the work of our Small Schools Workshop over the past 19 years, know that we are not "anti-charter." Many charters emerged from the early small schools movement that we helped create. We originally saw small schools and charters as ways to push for changes and offer...

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