Renaissance 2010 attacks on schools going forward... In February 25, 2009, Chicago Board of Education Agenda, CEO Huberman Asks Approval of all 22

Despite the protests of thousands of people and almost unanimous opposition from teachers, parents, students, community leaders and many politicians, the Chicago Board of Education is expected to vote at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 25, to close, consolidate, phase out or reconstitute all 22 schools recommended for radical changes last month by Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman.

On January 27, more than 1,000 people protested against the Chicago Board of Education's proposed "Renaissance 2010" changes in 22 schools, including at this afternoon march that at one point stretched three blocks and included more than 700 people (by a Substance count). During the following month, thousands of people protested the proposals and hundreds testified at hearings in opposition to the proposals. Nevertheless, the Chicago Board of Education will vote on Wednesday, February 25, to approve all 22 "Renaissance 2010" proposals, which have now been placed officially on the Board's agenda by CEO Ron Huberman. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The changes would affect more than 1,000 teachers and other school workers and more than 3,000 students.

The agenda for the Board of Education meeting, released at 10:00 a.m. on February 23 in accordance with the provisions of the Illinois Open Meetings Act. Items for the agenda are called "Board Reports" and are initiated either by the Chief Executive Officer (Ron Huberman) or other top officials of CPS.

The new Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools, Ron Huberman (above right) is recommending that all 22 schools targeted this year for "Renaissance 2010" changes (including six schools where all staff members are to be fired under a program called "turnaround") be closed, phased out, consolidated, or reconstituted. The agenda for the February 25 Board of Education meeting, which became available at 10:00 a.m. on February 23, contains 28 "Board Reports" all signed by Huberman furthering the "Renaissance 2010" plan. IN the photo above, Huberman is listening to testimony during the January 27 Board meeting in opposition to the proposals, which had just been initiated by CPS. Also in the above photo are (left to right) Board Attorney Patrick Rocks, Board member Peggy Davis, Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins, and Huberman. The Board Reports still have to be approved by a majority vote of the members of the Chicago Board of Education, which will meeting on Wednesday, February 25. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The agenda includes Board Reports approving each of the 22 school changes that were the subject of hearings between January 26 and February 14. The agenda also includes six Board Reports approving the vendors to do "turnaround" at the five elementary schools and one high school which are being recommended for reconstitution (in Chicago called "turnaround") this school year. In total, 28 Board Reports deal with the 22 schools that were the subject of the recent hearings and widespread protests.

The six schools facing "turnaround" are Bethune, Dulles, Holmes, Johnson, and Yale elementary schools and Fenger high school. Each of the Board Reports for reconstitution states that the entire staff, including the principal, of each school is to be removed and replaced. Each Board Report is headlined: "Reconstitute [name of school] school and remove and replace the [name of school] school staff, including the principal..."

Some of the marchers during the late afternoon march from the Chicago Board of Education at 125 S. Clark St. to City Hall at Clark and Washington streets on January 27, 2009. Despite the huge protests and the almost unanimous opposition to the proposed changes, the newly appointed CEO of the Chicago Public Schools has placed the changes, with his recommendation, on the agenda for the Board of Education's monthly meeting, scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. on February 25, 2009. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Throughout the month, protests that had begun during the Board of Education meeting on January 27 continued at each of the hearings on the "Renaissance 2010" proposals. There was not one hearing at which the majority of the people who testified spoke in favor of the changes. At several hearings, there was no public testimony in favor of the changes.

Six reconstitutions called "turnaround"

Six of the schools are being subjected to what the Board of Education has been calling "turnaround", but which is legally the process known as "reconstitution." Each of the Board Reports on the schools facing reconstitution reads essentially the same as Board Report 09-0225-EX3, which has the title (all caps in the original) "RECONSTITUTE JOHN FOSTER DULLES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND REMOVE AND REPLACE THE DULLES STAFF, INCLUDING THE PRINCIPAL."

The Board Report then reads as follows (all italic indicates that this is the exact word of the Board Report on the February 25 agenda):


That the Board of Education of the City of Chicago ("Board") approve the reconstitution of Robert John Foster Dulles Elementary School ("Dulles"), Unit 6860, 6311 S. Calumet, Chicago, Illinois and to remove and replace its staff, including the principal, effective June 30, 2009.


Statutory Authority: Pursuant to Section 5/34-8.3(d) of the Illinois School Code, 105 ILSCS 5/34-8.3(d) and following the opportunity for a public hearing, the Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools ("CEO") may recommend to the Board the reconstitution of a school on probation for at least one year for academic reasons. The authority to reconstitute a school under Section 5/34-8.3(d) of the Illinois School Code is not contingent upon a schools' [sic] NCLB restructuring status. However, pursuant to section 6316(b)(8) of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), 20 USC 6316(b)(8), schools failing to make adequate yearly progress for five consecutive years are subject to school restructuring measures. School restructuring may include significant changes in a school's staffing and governance, including reconstitution, to improve academic achievement in the school.

Procedural History: Public Notice, Public Hearings and Hearing Officer's Report and Recommendation. On January 13, 2009, the CEO gave written notice of his proposal to turnaround Dulles by closing the school in accordance with Section 5/34-8.3(d) of the Illinois School Code.




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