In the News ~ Sept. 5

House Democrats quietly meeting on school funding – A panel of top Democratic House lawmakers has been quietly meeting to discuss a proposed overhaul of Illinois’ dated school funding formula, which, if approved, would direct more state money to poorer rural districts at the expense of wealthier suburban districts. Members of the group told The Associated Press the meetings came at the behest of House Speaker Michael Madigan …


Belvidere teachers and board say ‘very little’ accomplished in mediation so far

(WREX (NBC) 13 Rockford © 09/05/2014)

Very little — that’s what the Belvidere teachers union president said was accomplished after hours of negotiations with a federal mediator Wednesday night. The union and school district agreed to enter mediation after contract talks ended this summer with no agreement.


Highland school district on verge of strike
(Belleville News-Democrat © 09/04/2014)

Teachers in Highland are on the verge of going on strike after six months of failed negotiations for a new contract. The district’s superintendent says the teachers’ request is “unrealistic” and would cripple current programs. According to the Illinois Education Association, 97 percent of teachers in District 5 have voted to authorize a strike.


Mundelein teachers rally for competitive salaries

(Mundelein Review-September 4, 2014)

Disgruntled teachers at Mundelein School District 75 rallied with students and parents on Sept. 3 for a one-mile march from Carl Sandburg …


Parents Take to Facebook to Complain About Heat at Galesburg …

(WGIL Radio News- September 4, 2014)

Parents Take to Facebook to Complain About Heat at Galesburg High … At Galesburg High School, dealing with the summer heat as school …


Schools challenged by new menu rules
(Quad Cities Dispatch Argus Leader © 09/05/2014)

Quad-Cities students found changes in their lunch and breakfast menus this year due to new federal requirements that districts serve healthier food. As of July 1, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act required food heading to students’ trays to meet several federal criteria, including containing a significant amount of whole grain, fresh fruit or vegetables.


Dist. 158 parents concerned that kids can access porn on tablets
(Arlington Heights Daily Herald © 09/04/2014)

Parents came to the Huntley-Algonquin School District 158 board meeting Thursday to express frustration after they say their children were able to access pornographic images on school district-issued computer devices.


No cell towers at Dist. 203 schools
(Arlington Heights Daily Herald © 09/04/2014)

Cellphone towers will not be coming to the property around two junior high schools in Naperville Unit District 203 any time soon. A proposal from AT&T to install towers at Kennedy and Lincoln junior highs has been withdrawn, officials said Thursday. “Our superintendent will always bring alternative revenue sources to the board that he thinks are viable for our community …


Teacher admits making in-school bomb threat
(Crystal Lake Northwest Herald © 09/05/2014)

A western Illinois woman faces up to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to threatening to blow up the high school where she taught special education. Michelle Lynn Smith, 36, of Jerseyville pleaded guilty this week to a felony count of conveying a false threat. She remains jailed, pending her sentencing on Dec. 15. Authorities say Smith left a computer-generated …


Former Calhoun High teacher pleads guilty to bomb threat
(Alton Telegraph © 09/04/2014)

A former Calhoun High School teacher has pleaded guilty in federal court for leaving a note in a restroom threatening to blow the school up. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced this week that Michelle Lynn Smith, 36, of Jerseyville, pled guilty to a one-count indictment charging the offense of conveying a false threat. On April 29, a…


Professor Bary Malik: A man with a brilliant mind

PROFESSOR F. Bary Malik, an internationally renowned physicist, died on … Dr. Malik had an illustrious career as a researcher and teacher.

(Obituary attached to this email.)



Dist 299


Lewis Disinclined To Step Down Fr. CTU Gig


Today’s big news is that CTU prez Karen Lewis told Catalyst that she doesn’t think that she’d have to resign from her job if she ran in order to handle labor negotiations (a question teachers raised in a recent forum). Plus: TFA teachers are more diverse racially than traditional teachers over all (nationally).  Superintendents don’t really matter, according to a new report (though they’re nice to beat up on). Universal preschool rolled out pretty well in NYC this week. A relative handful of Newark parents boycotted school because the district’s new universal choice program didn’t work for them (and they hate Cami Anderson).


Take 5: Karen Lewis questions Catalyst: Lewis told Catalyst she’s been asking herself the same questions but said that it’s important to remember that “union negotiations are done by a very large group of people. It’s not just me at the table.” At the moment, she says, she has no intention of resigning from her CTU gig. That’s a matter she first needs to discuss with both her executive board and the House of Delegates. “This issue is kind of like putting the horse before the cart,” she says.


The city’s public schools are making remarkable progress on graduation rates. U.S. News & World Report: Former U.S. Education Secretary William Bennett in 1987 famously declared Chicago public schools to be the “worst in the nation,” and exhorted parents to consider private schools.


Crime coverage in Chicago may be too good Poynter: Kotlowitz noted that WBEZ reporter Linda Lutton, who was in the audience, was lucky to get substantial time to work on the Harper High story, a luxury relatively few full-time journalists are granted.


In Illinois , preschool access worst for Latinos Hechinger Report: The findings are particularly stark for Latino children, only 40 percent of whom attended preschool in Illinois at most recent measure, compared with 58 percent of white children and 55 percent of black children. In Chicago, preschool enrollment was lowest on the northwest and southwest sides, both predominantly Latino, and highest on the affluent north side.


Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett Announce Students Receive eNews Park Forest: Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett today announced that CPS’s 2014 graduating class received nearly $800 million in scholarship offers.


Opinion: UNO Charter’s Troubles Just Don’t Seem to Stop NBC Chicago: … amid news the group is being audited by the IRS over $37 million in bonds issued in 2011 for UNO Charter School Network, which has 16 campuses across the city that receive a total of about $50 million a year in funding from the Chicago Public Schools.


Kudos to hundreds of employees behind
the scenes at Chicago Public
Schools Chicago Tribune: As families and communities focus on students and teachers in the beginning weeks of school, I’d like to offer a shout out to the many hundreds of employees behind the scenes at Chicago Public Schools.




NEA Ad Buy Slams Republican in N.C. Senate Race on K-12 Spending PK12: The National Education Association launched a seven-figure TV ad buy Friday in North Carolina, slamming GOP Senate hopeful Thom Tillis for education spending cuts that occurred under his watch as state House Speaker. See also.


Former MPS board member Chris Stewart to blog for Education Post Minn Post: Chris Stewart has left his position as executive director of the African American Leadership Forum (AALF) to become director of outreach and external affairs for a new national education reform communications effort.


Teach for America has faced criticism for years. Now it’s listening — and changing Vox: From the outside, Teach for America looked defensive, but internally, it was engaged in profound self-exploration and self-critique.


The Myth Of The Superstar Superintendent? NPR: Superintendents make almost no difference when it comes to student success, according to a new report.


American Kids Will Spend An Average Of 943 Hours In Elementary School This Year Five Thirty-Eight: Only in Chile, Israel and Australia do elementary school students spend longer in class each year than their U.S. counterparts.


America’s Schools Could Be More Efficient If Teachers Were Paid Less: Report HuffPost: GEMS Education Solutions, an education consulting firm, released its “Efficiency Index” and an accompanying report on Thursday, ranking the return on investment for 30 different nations’ education budgets. The index “treats the educational system as if it were a company which attempts to obtain an output,” according to the report.




New Jersey Parents And Students Boycott First Day Of School HuffPost: A group of parents and students in Newark, New Jersey, boycotted the first day of school on Thursday to protest a new system that reorganized the state-run district this year. See also NJ Spotlight


Suspensions and expulsions down in D.C. charter schools Washington Post: The expulsion rate for D.C. public charter schools in the past school year was about half of what it was two years before, and the rate of out-of-school suspensions decreased by about 20 percent in one year, according to a report released Thursday.


The Battle for New York Schools NYT: The fight between two liberal crusaders with profoundly divergent ideas about how to aid and educate the disempowered.


NYC Mayor Takes Victory Lap as School Opens with Expanded Pre-K WNYC: Visiting schools in all five boroughs, he touted his success in rapidly expanding pre-kindergarten and putting access to quality education at the top of his political agenda.


These Kids Grew Up With The Woods As Their Only Classroom NPR: Ben Hewitt’s sons do not follow standardized curriculum; there are no tests or grades. He is a member of the “unschooling” movement.


Why Flunking Exams Is Actually a Good Thing NYT: To learn how to study, start by bombing a pretest.


Some Private Schools Begin Mandatory Drug Testing NBC News: Students at three Cleveland, Ohio private schools are giving up a lock of hair as mandatory drug testing gets underway.



Political News


Pension case may move to fast track
(Decatur Herald and Review © 09/05/2014)

The future of a controversial overhaul of state employee pension systems could be determined faster than expected. Sangamon County Judge John Belz said Thursday that an earlier court decision that blocked changes to retiree health insurance premiums could provide a roadmap for how the pension case will be handled in the coming months. In July, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that…


Rauner’s minimum wage stance under question
(Crystal Lake Northwest Herald © 09/05/2014)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s stance on the minimum wage is again under scrutiny. The Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday the businessman once favored eliminating Illinois’ minimum wage.


Vallas Renews Quinn Campaign Attack On Rauner’s Minimum Wage Stance
(WBBM TV CBS 2 Chicago © 09/04/2014)

Gov. Pat Quinn’s running mate on Thursday was leading the charge over the latest reports Republican challenger Bruce Rauner’s past support for reducing the minimum wage.


Rauner’s Previous Minimum Wage Stance Comes Back To Haunt Him
(Chicago Chicagoist © 09/04/2014)

Until recently, Illinois Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner has done a good job leading incumbent Pat Quinn in the polls, simply by talking loud and saying nothing. With the latter, Rauner’s campaign has worked overtime to ensure their boss has uttered nothing of substance and sticking to the script that he wants to shake up Illinois politics.


Rauner Pulls a Romney In Minimum Wage Confession
(Chicago WMAQ (NBC) 5 © 09/04/2014)

While Gov. Pat Quinn subsists on minimum wage in what some view as an election-cycle PR stunt, his Republican rival Bruce Rauner’s past statements on the issue continue to haunt the Winnetka venture capitalist. …


Is Bruce Rauner too rich to be governor?
(Chicago Tribune © 09/04/2014)

Is Republican Bruce Rauner too rich to be governor of Illinois? Yes, said Democrat Paul Vallas, campaigning for lieutenant governor with incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn. And there it was, public affirmation of what has become the center of Quinn’s campaign, that Rauner is too rich to run. Vallas backtracked a few minutes later, but his words had wings and they flew across Illinois. …


Quinn’s camp critical of Rauner’s wealth
(Crystal Lake Northwest Herald © 09/05/2014)

Illinois’s gubernatorial race turned to the question of whether a candidate’s personal wealth should be a qualifying factor in holding public office with the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate saying Thursday that Republican Bruce Rauner is too rich to be governor.


Wealth, minimum wage pop up in governor race
(Dixon Telegraph © 09/05/2014)

Illinois’s gubernatorial race turned to the question of whether a candidate’s personal wealth should be a qualifying factor in holding public office, with the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate saying Thursday that Republican Bruce Rauner is too rich to be governor.


Chuck Sweeny: Gov. Pat Quinn gets a thumbs-up, thumbs-down on 2 vetoes
(Rockford Register Star © 09/05/2014)

You’re familiar with the effort in the state Legislature to return the Illinois Tollway and freeways in the state to their designed speed limit of 70 mph. We who advocate traveling the speed for which the roads were designed thought we’d won when a law passed last year that we thought did that.


Vallas slams Rauner’s plan to tax consumption
(WJBC AM 1230 Bloomington © 09/05/2014)

Gov. Pat Quinn’s running mate is slamming Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s plan to tax consumption items like groceries and medicine. Speaking at the Kroger on North Main Street in Bloomington Thursday …


IL Governors Race: Quick-Give Gov Mumbles Some Discounted Cheese With His Rauner Whine
(Chicago Now © 09/04/2014)

Have you caught the latest from the Quinn Camp? Yes. I’m talking about Governor Mumbles mowing the lawn with the hand push mower. Nice touch for all the tree-huggers pulling the Quinn Lever in November, eh? What a guy, huh?


Quinn the Lawnmower man
(Chicago Tribune © 09/04/2014)

This cartoon is based on Governor Pat Quinn’s latest campaign commercial. Which has the governor mowing a lawn to illustrate how he has cut state government. Which, of course, remains massive and unwieldy….


Gov. Pat Quinn’s ultimate Democratic stunt
(Chicago Tribune © 09/04/2014)

Gov. Pat Quinn has now perpetrated the ultimate Democratic stunt. No, he is not moving into Cabrini Green like former Gov. Jane Byrne did all those years ago. Instead, the governor who says that he has created thousands of jobs and trimmed the budget — yet still has Illinois in the dumpster — is living on minimum wage for an entire week.


This may be a good time to elect a successful person like Rauner
(Chicago Tribune © 09/04/2014)

Gov. Pat Quinn is currently spending money on TV ads to inform us that his opponent, Republican Bruce Rauner, is a successful, wealthy man. That is very true. May I point out that Jack Kennedy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Michael Bloomberg, Mitt Romney and many other wealthy, successful men performed very well in their political jobs.


Editorial: Struggling Illinoisans need opportunities, not gimmicks
(Quad Cities Dispatch Argus Leader © 09/04/2014)

Gov. Pat Quinn is drinking water instead of ice tea at restaurants this week. What do you suppose the couple with two young children struggling to make it on minimum wage jobs will make of such hardship? The Democrat governor also told reporters he had to make do with graham crackers for dinner because of his pledge to eat on less than the $79 it’s estimated a minimum wage worker in Illinois has …


Cross suggests lawsuit could force balanced budget
(Decatur Herald and Review © 09/05/2014)

The GOP candidate for state treasurer said he’ll drag lawmakers and the governor into court if they approve a budget that isn’t balanced. At a news conference in the Capitol, state Rep. Tom Cross said if he’s elected treasurer, he’d have the legal standing to file a lawsuit arguing that an unbalanced budget violates the state constitution.


Influential education group announces endorsements
(Bloomington Pantagraph © 09/05/2014)

An influential education reform group is announcing its endorsement and financial backing of nearly two dozen Illinois legislative candidates in the November election. Stand for Children is an Oregon-based education reform group that was instrumental in the passage of a 2011 law making it tougher for teachers to strike and for performance evaluations to be a major factor …


Protesters Detained in Chicago Minimum Wage Rally
(Chicago Press Release Service © 09/04/2014)

Hundreds of fast food workers and their supporters planned rallies in their “Fight for 15″ campaign for an increased minimum wage. Nineteen protesters were detained and cited Thursday morning after blocking an intersection on Chicago’s south side in a continued fight for an increased minimum wage.


After Arrests, Chicago Fast Food Workers To Continue Protests At 2827 S. Cicero Ave
(Indymedia Chicago © 09/04/2014)

Chicago Fast Food workers were arrested this morning after engaging in civil disobedience in front of a McDonald’s and Burger King



National News


Moto bets it’s the right time for wearables

Motorola   Mobility will start selling the Motorola 360 watch today, a device that puts a   few of the essential functions of your smartphone on your wrist. Crain’s John Pletz reports   on the company’s effort to reinvent the watch, and offers his review   of Moto’s newest gadgets.

Google and AbbVie: Why not Illinois?

Why   does northern California get to host AbbVie’s new endeavor with Google that seeks   cures for ailments that shorten the human lifespan? Illinois has plenty of the   things the West Coast offers. We just don’t have the same reputation yet, writes Crain’s Joe Cahill.

First movement for CSO’s new chief: building a 21st century orchestra

Crain’s Shia Kapos talks   with Jeff Alexander, the newly named president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra,   who’s looking forward to traveling the world as part of the symphony’s strategic   plan to find exposure in front of more audiences.

Will advertising overkill threaten Wrigley Field tax credits?

The   Chicago Cubs are counting on $75 million in federal tax credits for the Wrigley   Field renovation. But as the Chicago Tribune notes,   the National Park Service, a manager of the tax program, has expressed concern   about advertising overkill at the ball park.

How EPA rules are making dirty Illinois coal popular

Bloomberg explains   why Illinois basin coal is sought after by utilities forced by federal laws and   EPA rules to install scrubbers in their power plants.

Walgreen worries about drug labels after system crash

After   a recent system crash, Walgreen had to scramble to notify thousands of customers   who had their prescriptions filled during that time that errors might have left   their labels unreadable. More from the Wall Street   Journal.

WGN radio host Roy Leonard dies at 83

Roy   Leonard, one of Chicago radio’s most durable broadcast stars, died yesterday at   Evanston Hospital, following a short illness. Read more about his legendary career   from the Chicago Tribune   and the Sun-Times.

Untitled team cooks up plans for Graham Elliot space

The   team behind Untitled has formed a new hospitality group and plans to open a restaurant   called Oak & Char in the vacant Graham Elliot restaurant in River North. Crain’s has details.

Your View: Jane Byrne doesn’t deserve this

Northwestern   senior lecturer Bill Savage questions the honor involved in naming the notorious   Circle Interchange after former mayor Jane Byrne. Who wants their name tied up   with a Chicago bottleneck that inspires road rage? Read more in Crain’s.

Why Stroger is good training ground for war zone medics

Because   the Navy doesn’t have any trauma training facilities in the U.S., the Navy is   sending its doctors, nurses and medics to Stroger Hospital, a Cook County facility   that, in its own way, stands in the middle of a war zone, writes the Associated Press.


Ukraine, Rebels Sign Cease-Fire

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Friday that envoys from Kiev reached a cease-fire agreement with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine following months of heavy fighting that has killed about 2,600 people and displaced more than 1 million


Fewest Jobs Added in 8 Months

New government figures show the U.S. economy added only 142,000 jobs in August, substantially missing analyst expectations


Apple to Boost iCloud Security

CEO Tim Cook said the tech giant will strengthen its storage service’s security after nude celebrity photos leaked, but denies its servers were to blame


American Doctor Recalls His Fight to Survive Ebola

Dr. Kent Brantly had seen only one person survive Ebola since he started treating patients in West Africa, and then he tested positive for the disease himself. In his own words, here’s what it’s like to live through the virus’ worst-recorded outbreak


How Joan Rivers Killed It in Comedy Clubs

The TV personality, who died at age 81, brought a “real and personal” touch to standup that would redefine what comedy meant to American audiences; Rivers often seemed more determined than anyone to make it in show biz, and she would do whatever it took


Shaq Applies to Join Reserve Police Force in Florida

Retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal has applied to be a reserve police officer in Doral, Fla. and will now have to clear a background check, as well as pass the state’s officer-certification exam, before joining the department in Doral, about 13 miles west of Miami


U.S. Forms Anti-ISIS Coalition at NATO Summit

Secretary of State John Kerry and diplomats from 10 nations agreed to join forces and fight a militant group that has seized swaths of Syria and Iraq. Alongside the U.S. is the U.K., France, Australia, Germany, Canada, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark


Federer Through to U.S. Open Semis After Touch of Magic

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer came from two sets down, and staved off two match points in the fourth set, to beat surging Frenchman Gael Monfils on Thursday; the New York City crowd wanted this one badly and left the Arthur Ashe Stadium enthralled


Report: Hackers Hit in July

Officials said in a new report that the website for the federal health care exchange created by the Affordable Care Act was hacked in July but claim the infiltrators only reached the part of the site used to test code, and did not gain access to any users information


1 in 10 Girls Gets Raped or Sexually Abused

A UNICEF report released on Thursday indicates that 1 in every 10 girls around the world — or about 120 million in total — gets forced into sexual intercourse or other acts before the age of 20. Around 70 million girls ages 15 to 19 report being victims of physical violence


U.S. Launches Civil Rights Probe Into Ferguson Police

Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Thursday that the Justice Department will investigate the Ferguson, Mo., police to assess their use of force and analyze stops, searches and arrests, as well as other potentially discriminatory policing techniques


FSU Investigates Heisman Winner for Alleged Sexual Assault

Florida State University is investigating a claim that star quarterback Jameis Winston sexually assaulted another student in December 2012. Though the accusations became public in 2013, the school appears to have begun the investigation only in recent months



The Washington Post


Ukraine: Truce with pro-Russian rebels reached

Annie Gowen, Michael Birnbaum and Daniela Deane

The agreement with pro-Russian rebels, after several hours of talks in Belarus, raises the prospect of a respite in an increasingly bloody conflict.


Hiring slowed in August as U.S. added 142,000 jobs

The number of jobs snapped a six-month streak of hiring above 200,000 and resulted in the smallest gain in eight months. The jobless rate fell to 6.1 percent, the Labor Department said.


U.S. wins pledges from allies to help combat Islamic State

But the 10-nation coalition leaves questions on the scope of possible military force against the militants.


Flayed, demeaned . . . and still silent

COLUMN | Maureen McDonnell took the role of long-suffering political wife to a new level. It didn’t save either of them.


Verdicts are in. Other legal battles loom.

The McDonnells will now likely marshall their best arguments for lighter sentences and move toward appeals.


Loving Joan Rivers meant never having to say you’re sorry

CRITIC’S NOTEBOOK | The famously mouthy comedian never took to our era of apologizing.


The most and least obese states in U.S.

WONKBLOG | Just about all states in the South have obesity rates at or above 30 percent.


I know why Westerners are joining the Islamic State. I almost did, too.

POSTEVERYTHING | At 17, one man almost gave up his Catholic education to fight for the Chechens.


In NFL opener, the Seahawks pick up where they left off: With a blowout win
EARLY LEAD | Their rout of the Packers left no doubt that Seattle is the league’s best team.


Hillary Clinton: ‘Kissinger, the famous realist, sounds surprisingly idealistic’

REVIEW | The former secretary of state says her predecessor’s new book explains today’s challenges.



Word of the Day  Friday, September 05, 2014

Curlicue  \ KUR-li-kyoo \


  1. an ornamental, fancy curl or twist, as in a signature.