Thursday, September 27, 2012

preliminary feedback from petitioners on school questions for Mayor Emanuel

Thursday late afternoon I sent an email to approximately 8,000 people asking them to provide feedback on questions for Mayor Rahm Emanuel about issues related to Chicago Public Schools. When I returned home about midnight there were approximately 530 responses.

The following questions got the most positive feedback:

  • What data are you using to support your confidence that charter schools out perform traditional public schools? Are you aware of the studies that say charter schools mostly perform about the same as traditional public schools with more charters under performing than over performing?
  • What should be done to reduce or stop TIF districts from diverting money from CPS to the City of Chicago?
  • To what extent are schools and teachers getting blamed for problems in families and the community? Students get tested in school, but in many ways these tests are measuring the totality of their experiences. How can government provide better support for families and communities? How is it best to separate the effects of the teacher and the effects of things the teacher has no control over?
  • If a school has a weak or incompetent principal, are you concerned that teachers will be evaluated inappropriately? What should be done to protect against this?
  • What is the standard for evaluating whether charter schools are effective? If charter schools fail to meet performance standards are they subject to being closed and eliminated? Or will long-term contracts guarantee investors a revenue stream even if charter schools perform poorly?
  • In recent years Americans have seen more and more public services “privatized”, often on terms unfavorable to the taxpayers. Should the charter school movement be seen as part of the larger privatization movement? If not, why not?
  • Why do TIFs divert money from schools that often ends up going to developers?
  • Can you think of more productive ways to spend the money that went into advertising? Spending that would be more beneficial to CPS students?
  • What would you say to Chicagoans who would rather have a BOE accountable to the voters than to the Mayor?
  • What should be done to reduce class size? How much of a priority should this be?
  • How are principals evaluated? Have you improved the system of evaluating principals?
  • What has been done to make sure the good teachers fired as part of school closings get rehired?
  • What would you say to people who say school closings and charter schools impose instability on communities and neighborhoods?
  • Why aren't charter school teachers automatically part of the collective bargaining agreement with CTU?
When asked, "Should there be a petition directed at President Barack Obama about Chicago Public Schools, the "education reform" movement and the recent contract negotiation?" 38.3% said "yes", 26.8% said "no" and 34.8% said "not sure".

Which wards provided the most responses?

19th (O'Shea)--23
40th (O'Connor)--20
47th (Pawar)--19
32nd (Waguespack)--16
49th (Moore)--16
33rd (Mell)--15
49th (Osterman)--15
44th (Tunney)--12
1st (Moreno)--12
4th (Burns)--11
5th (Hairston)--11
39th (Laurino)--11
2nd (Fioretti)--10
36th (Sposato)--10
46th (Cappleman)--10
35th (Colon)--9
38th (Cullerton)--8
50th (Silverstein)--8

The following wards have provided two or fewer responses so far:

3rd (Dowell)
9th (Beale)
10th (Pope)
11th (Balcer)
15th (Foulkes)
16th (Thompson)
17th (Thomas)
18th (Lane)
20th (Cochran)
21st (Brookins)
22nd (Munoz)
23rd (Zalewski)
24th (Chandler)
28th (Ervin)
31st (Suarez)
34th (Austin)
37th (Mitts)

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