All articles by Sharon Schmidt

OPT OUT NEWS: Explosion of resistance to ISAT testing program grows as Drummond Elementary teachers vote to boycott the testing program that begins Monday

Surrounded by parents, students, fellow teachers and reporters, teachers from Chicago's Drummond Elementary School proudly announced on the afternoon of February 28, 2014, that they were joining their fellow teachers at Saucedo Elementary School in . . .

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CPS backs off on some threats against teachers, parents, and children in ISAT boycott

In a February 28, 2014, 5 p.m. email communication, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools, backed off from the threats of retaliation to teachers boycotting the ISAT and the children whose . . .

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Rally at Network office supports teachers boycotting ISAT... '

A rally of 200 parents, teachers, students and community activists was held outside the "Network 7" office of Chicago Public Schools on the afternoon of March 10, 2014, as teachers and parents continued the largest . . .

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OPT OUT NEWS: CORE Saturday forum at South Shore library expands resistance to ISAT testing

The Opt Out movement and resistance to high-stakes testing continued to expand and grow in Chicago over the last weekend in February 2014 with forums and discussions at different locations and telephone organizing taking place . . .

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OPT OUT NEWS: Explosion of resistance to ISAT testing program grows as Drummond Elementary teachers vote to boycott the testing program that begins Monday

Teachers at Chicago's Drummond Elementary School announced at a February 28, 2014 press conference that they had voted to boycott the ISAT testing program that begins in Chicago's public schools on Monday. At an afternoon . . .

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Charter high schools slated for Northwest Side are supposedly to 'relieve overcrowding' — but the high schools in that area are not overcrowded!... Belmont Cragin community voices strong opposition to new charter schools

The almost unanimous opposition to charter school expansion on Chicago's Northwest Side was clearly in evidence at the CPS hearing on January 7, 2014 on the Intrinsic and Noble Street charter schools proposals. Intrinsic proposes . . .

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Protesters demand a no vote by the Board on January 22 on all charter proposals. They oppose Noble's construction near Prosser... 'They didn't even wait for the Board to vote!'

Despite the fact that the the Chicago Board of Education’s vote on Noble Network’s proposed charter high school at 5357 W. Grand doesn’t take place until Jan. 22, construction has begun on the new high . . .

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Overnight vigil against charter proliferation begins

The overnight vigil at the Chicago Board of Education in protest of the expansion of privately held charter schools at public expense has begun. Parents, student and community allies are out tonight in the cold . . .

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Students oppose charter high school proposals

The following is my presentation to the Chicago Board of Education on Dec. 18 about my students opposition to the proposed charter school expansion on the Northwest Side.

Good afternoon. My name is . . .

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Belmont Cragin community voices opposition to proposed Noble St. charter high school at town hall meeting

Spurred on by the Thursday, October 17, 2013 Chicago Plan Commission Meeting at City Hall — in which the commissioners* will vote on a proposal by Noble St. Charter Network to build a new high . . .

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'If CPS has $8 million for Noble, CPS has money to reverse the budget cuts, and teacher layoffs in Belmont-Cragin’s neighborhood schools...' Students protest proposed Noble St. charter high school on northwest side

"Is that right? No!" students from Roosevelt, Prosser, and Steinmetz high schools yelled at a press conference today in front of City Hall. CPS cut millions from their schools, and is now planning to fund . . .

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VALLAS FACTS: Paul Vallas failed to improve test scores, but doubletalked on the issue

[Editor's Note: The following article first appeared in Substance in March 2002, and was published on line in the first issue of Substance to go up at the Web on the "old" Substance Website (www.substancenews.com). . . .

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VALLAS FACTS: Resume padding and doubletalk about his 'teaching' experience and certification began in Illinois a long time ago... By the time he ran for Governor in 2002, Paul Vallas had been getting away with padding his resumé for a long long time

{Editor's Note: The following article was published originally at www.substancenews.com in March 2002 while Paul Vallas was running for the Democratic Party nomination for Governor of Illinois. As part of his campaign material, as reported . . .

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VALLAS FACTS: Was Paul Vallas ever really a teacher? NO. 'It all depends on what your definition of 'Is' was then, sort of... Did Paul Vallas 'teach' and how much does it matter (except to show that he's a liar)...

[Editor's Note: Back in 2002, when Paul G. Vallas was still warm following his dumping by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (June 2001) from the position of "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools, Substance . . .

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Boardwatch: Parents can protect their children from excessive testing by opting out of CPS tests

At today's Chicago Board of Education meeting I spoke about testing and the costs of the school closings. The following are my prepared remarks. Good afternoon. My name is Sharon Schmidt. I am a CPS . . .

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Boardwatch: Parents can protect their children from excessive testing by opting out of CPS tests

I spoke about opting out of excessive standardized testing and the costs of the school closings at the April board meeting. The following are my prepared comments. Good morning. I am a CPS parent and . . .

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Major forum on testing features CTU President and Seattle High School Resistance leader on March 19 in Chicago

The Chicago Teachers Union continues its "Pencils Down" program of resistance against the misuse of testing and the regime of high-stakes testing with a March 19, 2013 forum on Chicago's south side featuring CTU president . . .

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'Out of a possible 810 students, the administration of Seattle's Garfield High School was able to test only 118...' Teachers and students who boycott tests speak of their experiences at CTU 'More Than a Score' forum

CTU President Kaaren Lewis, Seattle teacher Jesse Hagopian, and several other speakers “enlightened, inspired, and energized” participants at a special community forum on standardized testing, said one teacher who spoke at the end of the . . .

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Seattle test boycott update: Supt. backs down... Victory for the Garfield teachers and other MAP boycotting schools in in Seattle!!... No teacher will be disciplined!

Seattle schools supt. Jose Banda has backed off on his promise to discipline teachers who boycotted the MAP test and has additionally agreed to scale back the use of the MPA with students. The teachers . . .

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CTU and allies fan out at seven locations across Chicago in opposition to looming closings... CTU helps North Austin residents speak out against the threat to their neighborhood schools

North Austin residents who spoke with canvassers from the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) gladly signed a petition calling for a moratorium on school closings and turnarounds. Several residents of the area surrounding Lewis Elementary School, . . .

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Diane Ravitch at Lane Tech Monday, October 15, at 4 p.m. speaking on how testing and choice are undermining education

The Chicago Teachers Union is sponsoring a forum with historian Diane Ravitch at Lane Technical High School, 2501 W. Addison Ave., Chicago, IL beginning at four p.m. after school on Monday, October 15, 2012. Admission . . .

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New York Times notices growing movement to opt out children from testing

With most of the state of Texas and a growing number of public school districts moving to end the regime of high-stakes testing that has characterized the corporate "education reform" movement for the past two . . .

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Club Lago supports teachers, offers free food to CTU members!

Guido and GianCarlo Nardini, owners of Club Lago, 331 W. Superior, will offer free to CTU members through the duration of the strike.

“Club Lago stands in solidarity with Chicago’s educators in their . . .

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Powerful rap praises Chicago teachers

"Chicago Teacher" by Rebel Diaz, produced by DJ ILLANOIZ, written and performed by G1 and RodStarz, and released today on the Rebel Diaz website, covers the highlights of the Chicago Teachers Union strike and . . .

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Veteran activists discuss militant history of Chicago Teachers Union

Four long-time union activists shared how the CTU fought for its contracts and how the strikes in the 1960s through 1980s produced big gains for CTU members, at a CORE forum on Chicago’s northwest side . . .

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CTU pickets Track E schools with 'informational pickets', August 20-24

Chicago Teachers Union launched a city-wide campaign of informational picketing at Track E schools today to highlight ongoing disputes with the Chicago Public School system over a lack of resources and deteriorating labor talks.
. . .

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Chicago Tonight continues blacklist against George Schmidt, lies to CTU about reasons for canceling him

Chicago Tonight and the Chicago Teachers Union planned for CTU budget consultant George Schmidt to appear on Chicago Tonight on July 10 to discuss the CPS budget with CPS Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley. See . . .

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Substance reporter George Schmidt to be on public TV 'Chicago Tonight' show at 7 p.m. July 10

Substance reporter (and founding editor) George Schmidt will be one of the guests on the WTTW television "Chicago Tonight" show at 7:00 p.m. on July 10, 2012. The show, which will also include guests Linda . . .

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CTU rejects independent fact finder report

The Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates voted unanimously to reject a contract negotiations fact finding report issued by Independent Fact Finder Edwin Benn. While the report proposed a fair salary increase for teachers, . . .

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MEDIA WATCH: Sun-Times shows its anti-union, teacher bashing bias in choice of parent source for its July 22 'strike' story

The venom of one wealthy parent of a selective-enrollment high school student trumped the informed and active concern of a parent leader for the entire Chicago public school community in the Sun-Times, Sunday, July 22, . . .

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MEDIA WATCH: George Schmidt appearance on Channel 9 (WGN) TV from July 16 now available

Less than a week after WTTW Chicago "public" television blacklisted Substance reporter and Chicago Teachers Union consultant from its "Chicago Tonight" show, Chicago's superstation, WGN TV, invited the union to send an expert to talk . . .

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CTU/CPS interim agreement decreases CPS previously announced teacher work day hours, opens positions to displaced teachers

CTU President Karen Lewis announced that an interim agreement signed today with CPS was "a win for students and teachers and para professionals and clinicians." The agreement addresses teacher work day hours, 500 new . . .

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Final push for elected school board petitions this weekend

Although the campaign for an elected, representative school board took a hit in City Council when a ward ballot advisory referendum sponsored by 10 aldermen was blocked on July 23, the petition drive to get . . .

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CTU to hold strike authorization voting beginning June 6

Karen Lewis and the officers and members of the Chicago Teachers Union announced at a packed press conference on Friday afternoon, June 1, 2012, that the union will conduct its strike authorization referendum during the . . .

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In order to skip the ISAT, parents need to keep children at home during testing

My husband George Schmidt and I are going to keep our son Sam (a ten-year-old fifth grader at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy in Chicago) home during ISAT testing this week and next week. The tests . . .

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Some family reasons for skipping the ISAT

I will not allow my son Sam take the ISAT this year because there are no good reasons for him to do so. High-stakes tests, like the ISAT, pressure children. They label and stigmatize them. . . .

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Raise Your Hand community forum pushes parent and teacher activism

Since Mayor Rahm Emanual and Chicago public schools chief Jean Claude Brizzard announced the longer day for next year, many parents and educators have been in reactive mode, said Wendy Katten, co-founder of the . . .

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Support Our Libraries... Today (February 6) is the 'Library Call-In Day' to the Mayor's Office

Why should teachers join Chicago's librarians in calling the Mayor's Office on February 6? Teachers aren't the only public servants Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been trying to bully in his foul way. He's also . . .

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Marquette Park march on Martin Luther King holiday challenges CPS attack and 'turnaround' proposal for Marquette Elementary School

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 16, 2012, nearly 300 people protested with the Chicago Teachers Union against the Board of Education’s plan to “turnaround” Marquette Elementary school. Students, teachers, parents, CTU officials, and . . .

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Anti-union, privatization groups pushed the fifth annual 'New Schools Expo' January 28 at Soldier Field

After months of Robo calls and public service announcements and a week of preliminary “news” reports announcing the event, Chicago Public Schools finally held its “New Schools Expo” at Soldier Field’s United Airlines room on . . .

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Hollywood scripting for Chicago's corporate media — or simply a lengthy infomercial? How Rahm Emanuel staged a media event to promote 'turnaround' by the AUSL crowd at 'Morton School of Excellence' on November 29

Everyone who spoke at the lengthy November 29, 2011, media event at Morton Elementary School, 451 N. Troy in Chicago, announcing six schools slated for "turnaround" under the management of AUSL (the Academy for Urban . . .

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Padilla, Wohl, and Ward win for Chicago teacher pension fund trustees... CORE candidates win CTPF election

CORE's TIna Padilla and Ray Wohl were elected to the two teacher seats on the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF) board of trustees. Kevin Huber, executive director of the fund, announced the results of the . . .

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Cost and abuse of Chicago testing becomes major issue during and following the September 28, 2011 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education

[Editor's Note: This article also appears on the September 2011 Substance Home Page].
With the intention of alerting the public to the problems with the CPS testing program and to obtain Board financial information, this . . .

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CPS standardized testing program is excessive and experimental, and just how expensive?

With the intention of alerting the public to the problems with the CPS testing program and to obtain Board financial information, this reporter spoke at the September 28, 2011, Chicago Board of Education meeting.
. . .

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CPS elementary students take over 100 standardized tests

Some of the tests administered to elementary school students and high school students are listed on the CPS website: http://research.cps.k12.il.us/cps/accountweb/Assessment

The reality is that testing varies by area. For example, on the website . . .

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SOS March on Washington gives thousands a chance to shout the truth

After years of suffering test-based education policies that include school closings, job losses, student pressure and grade retention over test scores and loss of valuable education opportunities — teachers, parents, and students from throughout the . . .

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Use Your Teacher Voice video campaign launched by Chicago teacher Adam Heenan

Since Chicago teacher (blogger, organizer and Substance reporter) Adam Heenan launched “Use Your Teacher Voice,”
a video campaign on August 15, the You Tube campaign has been promoted by GOOD . . .

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Students opt out of CPS tests

For more than a year, my husband George Schmidt and I have been opting out our son Sam from the Chicago public schools’ excessive testing program. Any student may opt out of the Scantron Performance . . .

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How to opt out

It’s simple — say ‘no’ and send a good book to school with your child.




However, parents will face resistance from principals. We spent much time listening to our son’s . . .

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100 + unnecessary tests

The testing schedule in the Chicago public schools varies by school and area. What follows, though, is a typical schedule, as specified on the CPS research and evaluation website. To know exactly which tests will . . .

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Sam's perspective: 'It's the right thing to do'

George and I have had many conversations with Sam about school and testing. I knew he was over tested because he told me. We had not received information about testing from the school when he . . .

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Junket will cost thousands of dollars while Chicago school board says it's broke... BYOB bus trip, resort accommodations for Area 26 new teachers to learn 'Rubicon Curriculum Mapping'

Several dozen Area 26 first-year teachers will be attending professional development in curriculum mapping Tuesday, March 8 through Thursday, March 10 at the Sawmill Creek Resort in Sandusky, Ohio. The trip begins Tuesday afternoon with . . .

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Diane Ravitch stirs overflow crowd in CTU lecture

It was a little after noon on March 12, 2011, and while many from Chicago were downtown at the St. Patrick's Day parade and many others had gone to Madison, Wisconsin, for another massive rally . . .

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CTU postpones House of Delegates meeting until Friday, February 2, 2011

The Chicago Teachers Union announced in mid-afternoon on Tuesday, February 1, that the House of Delegates meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 2, at the Operating Engineers union hall (South Grove Street) has been postponed. The . . .

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Labor Beat releases 'Corporate Media and the Pillage of Public Education' showing how reporters for Chicago's corporate daily newspapers and TV distort news to fit the corporate narrative against unions and teachers

Chicago's Labor Beat on August 3, 2010, announced that it has just released its latest study, 'Corporate Media and the Pillage of Public Education.' The video, which is 27 minutes long, features Chicago Teachers Union . . .

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'Hey Barack!... Race to the Top Is a Crock!' Organized by CORE, Chicago teachers and others protest Obama's education policies during August 5, 2010 Chicago visit

Chicago's Labor Beat covered the CORE demonstration against Race To The Top during Barack Obama's visit to Chicago and has produced another video scoop covering a major Chicago story. This time, the Labor Beat video . . .

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O. A. Thorp parents and 38th Ward alderman Tom Allen protest elimination of all-day kindergarten

In the hope that Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman and the Board of Education would reverse their decision to cut full-day kindergarten, parents from O. A. Thorp Scholastic Academy, 6313 W. Warwick, . . .

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Letter to members of the Board of Education regarding the end of all-day kindergarten at O.A. Thorp

Sharon Schmidt
5132 W. Berteau Ave.
Chicago IL 60641
(773) 725-6182; smgschmidt1@aol.com
www.substancenews.net

Wednesday, May 25, 2010





We are asking the Board members and CPS administrators to quickly rethink . . .

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CORE leads vote count

CORE is leading the CTU vote, with approximately 75 percent of the votes counted. At 10:15 p.m. tonight the American Arbitration Association released the following numbers:

15,215 votes counted
UPC: 6,201
CORE: 8,261
. . .

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Lewis thanks supporters at June 12 press conference

In her first press conference as the newly elected president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis promised “the beginning of the end of scapegoating educators.” “We will be working day and night for you,” . . .

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THE HOME STRETCH: CORE speaks to Steinmetz on May 18

Jesse Sharkey, CORE candidate for vice president, and Howard Heath, former CTU vice president, now on the CORE slate as a delegate to the AFT, spoke to a handful of high school teachers at Steinmetz . . .

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SEA caucus, Hajiharis campaign kick-off attracts crowd

Approximately 100 supporters attended the School Employee Alliance (SEA) caucus campaign kick-off event and fundraiser on April 23, 2010, at the Chicago Ale House, 2200 W. Lawrence. The SEA caucus presidential candidate Theodore Hajiharis spoke . . .

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As ISAT and PSAE loom, Chicago needs to establish parents' and children's rights in all CPS testing programs

I delivered the following presentation the the Chicago Board of Education at its February 24, 2010 meeting, during public participation. The italicized portion indicates the presentation, followed by a description of what followed. A group . . .

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CORE testing task force begins work on activist agenda at January 20 founding meeting

The Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) "Testing Task Force" met for the first time on January 20, 2010. Convened by CORE after reports from the teachers union of British Columbia that the union . . .

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Research shows academic, physical and emotional benefits of recess

Students, parents, and teachers know from personal experience that children need unstructured breaks in their day. Research also has proven the physical, emotional, academic, and social benefits of recess. For information, see any of the . . .

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Will 'Dallas v. CTU' be the next expensive legal mistake from Marilyn Stewart? Substance editor George Schmidt wins $166,000 after four-year legal battle against Stewart's 'You're fired!'

On June 12, 2008, Substance editor George N. Schmidt received a check for $166,774.38 signed by Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart following a four-year legal battle in a case that became known as “Schmidt . . .

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University of Arizona... Substance editor receive 'Dr. Kenneth Goodman in defense of good teaching' award

Substance editor George N. Schmidt received the Kenneth S. Goodman “In Defense of Good Teaching” award on March 8, 2008, at the University of Arizona in Tuscon. The university’s Department of Language, Reading and Culture . . .

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'The Read Aloud Handbook' inspires parents and teachers

Jim Trelease’s “The Read Aloud Handbook” lays out the evidence for reading aloud to children — at home and in the classroom — in a highly accessible book (2006, Sixth Edition, Penguin Books, 340 pages). . . .

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'Real Men Read' program aims to motivate CPS boys and girls to love books, enjoy reading

Thousands of children and many of their mentors celebrated the culmination of the first year of the Real Men Read program May 30 at a picnic on Northerly Island. During the Real Men Read program, . . .

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'It's time for the children of Chicago to play!'... Recess bill passes Illinois House of Representatives

A bill introduced to the Illinois General Assembly by Representative Mary E. Flowers, requiring the Chicago Board of Education to provide recess for elementary students, passed the House of Representatives 111 to 5 on May . . .

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'Educator Roundtable' holds first meeting in Atlanta... Loud 'No!' to No Child Left Behind

While the nation’s news media attempt to claim that the range of opinion on the federal “No Child Left Behind” law ranges from “modify it” to “keep it as is,” there is a growing movement . . .

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Chicago report shows perils of NCLB sanctions against schools, teachers





Test-driven reforms of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act have been tried and failed in Chicago, according to a report, “Chicago School Reform: Lessons for the Nation.”
. . .

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