Wednesday, April 29, 2015

THE WATCHDOGS: Feud threatens UNO schools | Chicago

THE WATCHDOGS: Feud threatens UNO schools | Chicago:

THE WATCHDOGS: Feud threatens UNO schools

Posted: 04/29/2015, 09:00pm | 
The Soccer Academy High School was built next to this elementary school that UNO also built with state money on the Southwest Side of Chicago. | Brian Jackson/Sun Times
A bitter split between the scandal-plagued United Neighborhood Organization and the charter school chain it founded could leave parents scrambling to find a new school for thousands of children come fall, the head of UNO is warning.
In a letter Wednesday to Chicago Board of Education Chairman David Vitale, UNO CEO Rick Cerda said the separately incorporated UNO Charter School Network owes his group nearly $3 million in management fees.
“This has put our non-profit under severe financial pressure,” Cerda wrote.
He told Vitale UNO “will be forced” to sell four buildings that are home to six schools unless the charter network pays what it owes his community group and also agrees to an unspecified “transition agreement.”
He said conflicts between UNO and the charter chain “raise a question as to whether the UCSN schools will continue to operate as they do today.”
“UCSN parents need to know if their children will be attending their same school in the fall or if they need to scramble to find a new place for their children,” Cerda said in the letter, which he also forwarded to the charter network’s teachers and staff.
The UNO Charter School Network has 16 schools — all in Chicago, all chartered by the Board of Ed and largely government-funded — that serve about 8,000 students, largely from Latino families on the Southwest Side and Northwest Side.
The charter board members say they’re ready to take over management of the schools when their contract with UNO runs out at the end of the school year and called Cerda’s letter “misleading and laced with factual inaccuracies.”
They say they stopped paying UNO because the community group hasn’t shown them what it’s doing with the money and because of a new “investigation of possible criminal misconduct at UNO,” according to records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Founded as a community organization, UNO began operating charter schools in 1998, taking advantage of increased public funding for privately operated charter schools. The UNO schools get tens of millions of dollars a year from the Chicago Public Schools.
Under a longstanding management deal, the charter network pays 10 percent of its budget to the UNO community group to run its schools.
For years, both organizations were led by longtime UNO leader Juan Rangel, a shrewd political operator who was co-chairman of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first campaign for mayor in 2011. The groups shared offices and most of their board members.
But they appointed separate boards and Rangel was forced out after a 2013 Sun-Times investigation that revealed UNO paid millions from a $98 million state school-construction grant to companies owned by two brothers of Rangel’s top aide. House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, engineered the grant.
Last year, the charter board notified UNO’s new leadership it wouldn’t extend the management agreement — worth more than $6 million a year — beyond this school year.
Starting last fall, the charter network cut the payments it made to UNO, citing a refusal to provide “proper detail or justification” for the fees UNO got, records show.
On March 27, Richard Rodriguez, who heads the charter schools’ board, told Cerda the network was halting the payments entirely, citing accusations of “improper cash payments or bribes from an UNO vendor” to an UNO official. Rodriguez wrote that he understood the allegations were being investigated by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, demanded details and said the THE WATCHDOGS: Feud threatens UNO schools | Chicago:
Charter Schools - Dividing Communities since 1991

PARCC Changes Info on Its “States” Page to Encourage Other “Assessment Solutions” | deutsch29

PARCC Changes Info on Its “States” Page to Encourage Other “Assessment Solutions” | deutsch29:

PARCC Changes Info on Its “States” Page to Encourage Other “Assessment Solutions”






It seems that the PARCC consortium website has undergone a subtle change at some point between April 6, 2015, and April 15, 2015.
The change I noticed is to the PARCC consortium website page entitled, “PARCC States.”
Here is how the page used to read (April 6, 2015, archive):
PARCC: A State Look
Active PARCC Governing Board states* collectively educate more than 12 million public K-12 students. The PARCC states include some of the highest performing states in the nation, and many are on the leading edge of education reform – including a number of winning Race to the Top states.
Our Goal
These states came together through a shared commitment to develop a new way of testing – far more rigorous than in the past, far more engaging for students and far better suited to measuring student understanding, reasoning and ability to apply concepts.
By working together, the PARCC states can collectively design a more high-quality assessment that builds a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students’ progress toward this goal from third grade up, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support.

 *In addition to the active governing board states, Pennsylvania is a “participating” state, which means that it is interested in the consortium’s activities, but has made no decision about using the PARCC assessments.
Find your state in the list to the left of this page to see the latest on your state.
Now, compare the above language to the “PARCC States makeover” that happened at some point between April 6 and April 15:
PARCC States
A hallmark of the PARCC consortium is state involvement. PARCC states make policy and test design decisions and are in control of their assessment. Classroom teachers, principals, curriculum directors and other educators, as well as experts and state education agency staff from PARCC states have actively participated in developing and implementing the PARCC assessments. Students in 13 states are participating in the 2014-2015 administration of the PARCC tests: ArkansasColoradoDistrict of ColumbiaIllinoisLouisianaMarylandMassachusetts,MississippiNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkOhio, and Rhode Island.
PARCC states and Parcc Inc., the nonprofit project manager for the PARCC states, works with test vendors, states and other education entities interested in offering assessment solutions that include PARCC content.
Note: New York did not administer PARCC tests in 2015, and Louisiana has no 2015 contract for Pearson-vended PARCC.

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 4/29/15

Special Nite Cap - Catch Up on Today's Post 4/29/15


Special Nite Cap 

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