On Religion, The Media and Life as a 20-something in Chicago

Archive for 2012|Yearly archive page

Are U46, D300 teachers cheating on student test scores? (Between the Bylines)

In Uncategorized on March 27, 2012 at 11:46 am

In this week’s blog post on The Courier-News’s Between the Bylines blog, I used The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s database of school district’s standardized test-score shifts over the past four years to see if teachers are cheating on students scores in the school districts I cover.


U46 teachers seek mediation in lengthy contract negotiations (Sun-Times Media)

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm

U46 teachers seek mediation in lengthy contract negotiations (Sun-Times Media)

ELGIN — The Elgin Teachers Association has requested mediation after more than nine months of contract negotiations between the teachers union and School District U46, according to ETA President Kathy Castle.

That’s more than 215 hours of negotiations, according to U46 Chief of Staff Tony Sanders.

And those have occurred over 42 meetings — each a minimum four hours — on weekends, on Presidents Day, on Veterans Day, even over the winter break, added UniServ Director Joyce Houston.

That’s the longest those negotiations ever have continued, Castle said Monday’s school board meeting.

More than 100 people, many wearing Illinois Education Association buttons, attended that meeting, prompting it to be moved from the board room to the much-larger second-floor auditorium at the U46 Education Center, 355 Chicago St.

“I think it comes back to — and it’s been in several of the issues — we certainly are in a difficult time without a lot of resources and with a great deal of need,” Castle said.

For the rest of the story, visit


ECC chief looks at legislative concerns (Sun-Times Media)

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm

ECC chief looks at legislative concerns (Sun-Times Media)

Area districts split over higher dropout age (Sun-Times Media)

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Area districts split over higher dropout age (Sun-Times Media)

State seeks to waive No Child Left Behind standards (Sun-Times Media)

In Uncategorized on February 22, 2012 at 9:35 am

State seeks to waive No Child Left Behind standards (Sun-Times Media)

Is there such a thing as “Superman” when it comes to turning around public education? Here’s what I learned in writing about what makes an A+ teacher.

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2012 at 10:33 am

From the Storyteller (Sun-Times Media)

Late last month, Dorothy Rouse sat around the small table with three second-grade students, workbooks open in front of them. Rouse held up a fourth book, her fingers following the letters in the words on the page. “We’re going to sound it out and then say it fast,” she said. “Sound it out: Mmm. Aaa. Ddd. Say it fast: Mad.” And then, “Camila, what is it?” Camila Guardado, 8, brightened and answered: “Mad!” Rouse has thought a lot lately about how she works as a special education resource teacher at Highland Elementary School in Elgin. That was part of the process to earn her National Board Certification, an advanced teaching credential that teachers nationwide can earn in addition to the required state license. That process requires educators to complete assessments and several portfolios that reflect their practice over several years. School District U46 recognized nine teachers who recently were certified at a Board of Education meeting last month. That brings the total number of certified teachers in the Elgin district to 60, according to U46. But those teachers aren’t the only ones reflecting on what works in their classrooms, as the Center on Education Policy estimated in December that 48 percent of all U.S. schools did not make the Adequate Yearly Progress outlined in the federal No Child Left Behind Act last year. That’s an all-time high and an increase from 39 percent in 2010, according to the CEP Web site . President Barack Obama has offered waivers of those NCLB requirements for states that adopt education reforms and implemented the Race to the Top program to reward states for making reforms. And Governor Pat Quinn referenced a number of recent “education reforms (that) put the children of Illinois first” in his state of the state address earlier this month. But Rouse said, “Legislation can’t dictate what a good teacher is.” What does make a good teacher, she said, “is different in different places.” “You have different needs in different places. Bartlett has different needs (than Elgin). The result is the same: Achievement. Just getting there is different.” Rouse, Dundee Middle School teacher Kristine Pizzolato and Mooseheart Child City & School teacher Jennifer Antonson each have been recognized by their school districts, as well as the Kane County Regional Office of Education and other organizations. Each teaches in very different communities. And each shared what has worked well for them in their combined 45 years in the classroom. For the rest of the story, visit The Courier-News. Photo credit: Michael Smart

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2012 at 10:31 am

Storyteller: A+ educators show and tell what it takes to succeed (Sun-Times Media)

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2012 at 11:15 pm

I forgot how happy the Puppet Bike makes me! puppetbike.com

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Best street art ever?

In Uncategorized on February 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm


Following up on our post from yesterday, which quoted Amanda Hess’s article that shows that “the media is male and getting maler,” here is an excellent post from GOOD which shows what you can do to have more women published and promoted. 


Recently, a female GOOD staffer was commiserating with a male journalist about the dearth of female bylines in major American magazines. She suggested a solution: He should speak to the editors of these magazines—people he knows personally—about how awesome she is. She was on the phone with a highly regarded editor within a week, discussing the possibilities for freelance work.

Reading big statistics, it’s easy to place yourself in a bystander role. You acknowledge that women are underrepresented in your industry—particularly if you work in mediadesign, or tech. You know that they are far less visible, and probably paid less, than men of equal experience. You’re frustrated at how difficult it sometimes seems to fill your workplace or panel discussion with enough women. But what have you ever done about it? 

PROMOTE WOMEN. It’s time to stop lamenting and start doing. Here’s how:

1   Think of three women in your industry who are underpaid, underemployed, or under-noticed. Women who are rising through the ranks more slowly than their male peers. Women who are really great at what they do but haven’t been recognized as up-and-comers yet.

2   Think of three powerful people (of any gender) in your industry who you know personally and who are in a position to hire or assign to women.

3   Compose an email to each of those powerful people individually and recommend a specific woman they should meet, hire, or otherwise work with.

  Email those women and tell them you’ve recommended them. We haven’t provided a form email by design—a genuine, original email is what counts.

Put your email where your mouth is. Use your network. Endorse women today. Then boost the signal. Women, share your stories about infiltrating male professional networks. Facilitators, submit your own accounts of giving women a leg up. Submit your stories here on GOOD’s Tumblr, on Twitter with the #promotewomen hashtag, or in the comments on our site. We’ll compile your stories and publish them as inspiration.

We have the power to end the gender gap. Take five minutes and send three emails to do something about it.

If you are looking for a female reporter to promote… cough, cough.