Reorganization Plans for Chicago’s Schools

[Just as California is announcing its new plans for education reorganization, HERE COMES CHICAGO! Call it the 2010 Winter Olympics Sweepstakes to get the gold medal in educational reaction.  Here are two items describing Mayor Daley’s grab bag. Look carefully at the options the new program gives us — see link at end of the second story — and imagine the placement of the cosmetology academy, who is the intended audience. Enough said.]

Daley welcomes students back, announces reorganization

Monday, January 04, 2010 — ABC Channel 7 news

Logo of Chicago Public Schools

January 4, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — Mayor Daley welcomed students back from the holiday break Monday morning at a school on the South Side.

He announced a re-structuring of the Chicago Public Schools career and technical education programs.

The city plans to reorganize 250 non-standardized career programs into 80 college and career academies at 35 high schools over the next seven years.

The academies will open at 11 high schools in the fall. The curriculum will be based on industry standards, improved certification opportunities and more work-based experiences for students.

(Copyright ©2010 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

[Meanwhile, at a station known as WGN/Channel 9 the breaking news is reported by Hal Dardick thus:]

CPS retooling career programs to include ‘middle skill’ jobs

January 4, 2010 12:38 PM

Chicago Public Schools is revamping its career programs to better prepare students to get jobs in an emerging workforce that will be replete with “middle-skill” occupations, Mayor Richard Daley announced today.

Under the restructuring, career and technological programs will be consolidated into fewer high schools, where the levels of training will be ramped up. Students also will be able to apply to take part in career programs of their choice, even if they are not offered in their own neighborhoods, Daley said.

“In today’s economy, it is essential that we graduate students with the skills they need to go directly into a good job and a long-term career,” Daley said, speaking to students at Harlan Community Academy on the South Side.

He cited a recent study by the Workforce Alliance that concluded 45 percent of jobs by 2014 will be in so-called middle-skill occupations.

CPS currently offers 250 career and technical programs at 250 schools. During the next five years or so, they will be consolidated to 80 programs at 35 “college and career academies,” said Ron Huberman, the system’s chief executive officer.

“What you have is a much greater focus, both on the training of the teachers, the industry certification so that students leave with certificates that allow them to apply for competitive jobs,” Huberman said.

Students in the programs will still have to comply with core-curriculum standards.

“One of the most important tools that a student can have, in addition to attaining academic excellence, is the ability to apply those academics to make them both college and career ready.”

Daley said the announcement was one of several CPS initiatives to be announced in the coming weeks.

“Today, and over the next few days and weeks, we will announce new steps we plan to take to improve our schools at the next level, with Ron Huberman and (Chief Education Officer) Barbara Eason-Watkins,” Daley said. “We will talk about greater accountability, improved classroom learning, improving the quality of teachers and, importantly, how we plan to further reduce the horrible violence that unfortunately is needlessly killing our children.”

The first 30 academies will open in 11 schools this fall, Huberman said, and applications are now being accepted, with a Jan. 20 deadline. Information is at www.chooseyourfuture.org.

Hal Dardick

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