In the News ~ Sept. 15

Highland teachers reject contract offer  – Teachers in southwestern Illinois’ Highland School District rejected a contract offer Sunday, so their strike will continue. The teachers voted 140-20 against the offer, the Belleville News-Democrat reported.


Highland teachers reject contract proposal; no school Monday

( – © 09/15/2014)

The union and the district had agreed on a tentative deal Saturday. However, it all fell apart during Sunday’s vote, so the classrooms at Highland High will remain empty Monday. The teachers rejected the deal 140 to 20.


Highland teachers overwhelmingly reject proposed contract

( – © 09/15/2014)

The vote on Sunday evening by the Highland Education Association to rebuff the contract proposed by a federal mediator means a strike that began Thursday will continue. It was unclear when classes might resume in the 3,000-student district or when a new …


Highland teachers reject contract offer, strike continues

(Belleville News Democrat – © 09/15/2014)

Highland teachers voted 140-20 Sunday to reject the latest contract offer, meaning the two-day-old strike will continue. The tentative agreement recommended by the federal mediator included a $750 one-time stipend, but did not include …


Highland Teachers Reject Contract

(CBS Local © 09/15/2014)

The school bells won’t be ringing in Highland, Illinois on Monday, after all. By a vote of 140-20 on Sunday, members of the teachers union in the Highland School District rejected a tentative agreement reached Saturday evening.


Highland students want strike to end

(KSDK – ‎Sep 13, 2014‎)

Teachers in Highland, Illinois, will meet with the Highland CUSD 5 school board on Saturday. The meeting will be the first since teachers went on strike on September 11, forcing the cancelation of all classes and school activities.


Apparent carbon monoxide leak sends dozens of North Mac students to hospital

(Springfield State Journal Register © 09/15/2014)

About 60 students have been taken to hospitals in Springfield after an apparent carbon monoxide leak at North Mac Intermediate School in Girard. All of the students, mostly middle school-aged, were conscious and talking as they were being loaded into ambulances, said North Mac superintendent Marica Cullen.


What’s The Best Way To Help Kids In Struggling Schools?
(WUIS 91.9 PBR (Springfield) © 09/15/2014)

Who Illinois voters choose to be their next governor could make a big difference in how Illinois funds schools, and even where students can go to get an education.


Give Illinois students a choice
(Chicago Tribune © 09/15/2014)

This academic year we are sending 258,580 Illinois children into schools that will fail to bring 60 percent of them to grade-level by June. Of those who do graduate from high school in four years, fewer than 20 percent will be considered college ready. And that’s with funding to public schools in excess of $13,000 per student (not including state funding for after-school programs,


View from QCA: Who’s to blame for plight of Illinois school districts?
(Quad Cities Dispatch Argus Leader © 09/15/2014)

Riverdale is my home district. Are taxpayers in the Quad-Cities aware of the impact of the loss of federal and state funding for our school districts? Our Constitution in Article V states: “The State has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education.” In Illinois, local districts are paying 61 percent of the cost of education, with the state paying 29 percent.


State grant provides additional fruits and veggies to Waukegan elementary school
(Lake County News Sun © 09/13/2014)

A $34,350 grant from the Illinois State Board of Education’s Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program is providing an extra helping of veggies and fruits on Tuesdays and Thursdays to students at Carman-Buckner Elementary School in Waukegan. The school is one of more than 200 in Illinois to be awarded the grant, which helps kids eat healthy as well as teaches them about nutritional meal choices. 


Karen Lewis Says Fioretti’s Candidacy Will Have ‘No Bearing’ On Her Decision
(WBBM TV CBS 2 Chicago © 09/14/2014)

(CBS) The candidates were out in force at the Mexican Independence Day in Little Village and a lot of the attention went to someone who isn’t even a declared candidate yet if ever: CTU President Karen Lewis. Lewis arrived early and shook hands and posed for pictures. 


Dist 299 

Newark Visit, Fired Custodians, & 10th Day Enrollment


Hi, all:  The news of the day includes coverage of Karen Lewis in Newark (where an educator won the mayoral election
recently — but not control of the school system), news of the custodians being fired, and concern at some schools like Goethe where the 10th day attendance projections haven’t been met yet (deadline’s today!). Plus lots of national news about ed tech and privacy, plus school districts getting tanks from the Pentagon.




CTU President Karen Lewis meets with Newark Mayor WGN-TV: The Chicago Sun-Times reports Chicago Teacher’s Union President, Karen Lewis, another possible candidate for mayor, was in Newark, New Jersey over the past few days. She was talking with Newark’s mayor, who also had a background in education.


Karen Lewis in Jersey to talk to Newark educator-turned-mayor Chicago Sun-Times: Possible mayoral hopeful Karen Lewis last week traveled to Newark and apparently took part in a series of meetings and seminars, including with the city’s mayor, who happens to have a bit in common with Lewis.


Teachers Union Heads Get First-Hand Look at NJ School-Reform Hot Spots NJ Spotlight: The other was a stop in Newark by the head of the Chicago Teachers Union, the woman who led the nation’s largest teachers strike in decades. While the visits were not coordinated — the two unions are not affiliated — but the timing of the two events




Hundreds of school custodians to be laid off Catalyst: CPS head of Asset Management Leslie Norgren insists that the No. 1 goal of contracting with the private companies is to make the buildings cleaner. She says the second objective is to save money and the third is to make principals lives easier.


Chicago Public Schools to lay off 476 custodians Sun Times: The Chicago Public Schools will lay off 476 custodians this month, a district official said Saturday. The custodians will be notified of their job status by Sept. 30, CPS spokeswoman Leslie Norgren said.




No-homework policy improves home life for younger students at one CPS school Sun Times: Hamilton Elementary has replaced homework for kindergartners, and first- and second-graders this year with PDF — play, downtime and family time — along with lots of reading for fun.


Watchdog Accuses Chicago Public Schools Of Violating Open Records Law CBS: The problem might be the whole school system – a district with a $5.6 billion budget, more than 650 schools. more than 400,000 students, and nearly 42,000 employees – has only one person handling all FOIA requests.


Give Illinois students a choice Chicago Tribune: If we have great teachers in every classroom and funding to the tune of $13,000 per student per year, then how do we account for the ISBE statistic that less than half of Chicago Public Schools students meet state standards and only 26 percent are …


2 Chicago area schools named for Obama family Northwest Herald: School officials with District 163 in Park Forrest announced Friday that the Beacon Hill school in Chicago Heights has been renamed the Barack Obama School of Leadership and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Forest Trail.


Goethe Elementary Seeks Students as Enrollment Deadline Looms DNA Info:  A Logan Square elementary school needs to enroll at least eight students by Monday night, or risk losing tens of thousands of dollars in funding.




Strained ties cloud future of Deasy, LAUSD LA Times: The controversy engulfing Los Angeles Unified’s $1.3-billion technology project has inflamed long-held tensions between the Board of Education and Supt. John Deasy, who is questioning whether he should step down.


New York City Charter Schools Test New Rent Rules WNYC: Ascend is among the first wave of charters seeking to take advantage of a state law approved in April that requires the city to give charters free space in public school buildings or pay their rent.




For Teachers, Many Paths Into The Classroom … Some Say Too Many NPR:  One in five newly hired teachers has skipped university preparation for teaching. Indiana is the latest state to make entering the classroom easier.


Room for Debate: How to Diversify Teaching NYT: What can be done to make a career in education more attractive to men and people of color?


Ready To Work WNYC: Next, we’ll spend time at a vocational school in one of America’s wealthiest school districts in Lexington, MA. Then: a trip to Nashville, where failing schools have been turned into so-called “career academies” that focus on technical education.




With Tech Taking Over in Schools, Worries Rise NYT: Parent groups and privacy advocates are challenging the practices of an industry built on data collection, and California has passed wide-ranging legislation protecting students’ personal information.


Schools move toward ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies to boost student tech use Washington Post: His iPhone is on his desk, out in the open, and Joshua Perez’s teacher does not take it away. Instead, she asks the eighth-grader and his classmates in honors geometry at Argyle Magnet Middle School to Google the words “vertex form parabola.”


Using tablets to teach reading Marketplace: We’re kicking off a week-long series on how technology is changing reading.




San Diego School District’s New 18-Ton Armored Vehicle Creates Stir NPR: The mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP, will have teddy bears in it, school police officials say. The MRAP is a piece of military surplus equipment that’s worth around $733,000.


California School Cops Received Military Rifles, Grenade Launchers, Armored Vehicles HuffPost: A Los Angeles Unified School District spokesperson who requested anonymity confirmed school police received the gear noted in the report. The district, which has 400 sworn officers, has been receiving military weaponry since 2001, the spokesperson said. 


Political News


Illinois Rep. David McSweeney warns about teacher pension cost shift attempts
(Crystal Lake Northwest Herald © 09/13/2014)

A local lawmaker is taking a pre-emptive step in the event that the General Assembly attempts in the coming months to shift the cost of teacher pensions to local school districts. House Resolution 1267, filed Wednesday by state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, opposes the idea of moving pension costs of the retirement systems for public school and university teachers from the state to …


Gov. Quinn has lead in new election poll
(Chicago WFLD (Fox) 32 © 09/12/2014)

Governor Pat Quinn’s allies at the Democratic Governors Association released a new voter opinion survey that puts Quinn in the lead. The poll has Quinn at 43%, Republican Bruce Rauner 40% and Libertarian Chad Grimm 5%. With an error margin of five full percentage points, the poll actually indicated the race is a statistical tie.


Quinn captures lead, not hearts, poll finds

Chicago Tribune – ‎Sep 13, 2014‎

Rauner also has run an ad on suburban cable TV aimed at women, stressing his support for abortion rights and education funding and his vow not to alter Illinois’ same-sex marriage law. White suburban women are viewed as a swing-vote demographic …


Illinois governor’s race: Lots of money and attention, little substance – ‎Sep 13, 2014‎

Rauner’s campaign website, for example, lists a wide range of substantive topics — education, jobs, government reform, taxes — and in some cases, offers minute details on his plans to address those issues. The education section is a wide-ranging and …


AFSCME sets course for November election

Some 500 local union leaders from across the state met in Peoria on Saturday at the Council 31 PEOPLE Conference to make candidate recommendations for the November general election. Conference participants reaffirmed the union’s commitment to doing everything possible to defeat Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.


Kadner: Mike Madigan problem can’t be ignored
(Chicago Daily Southtown © 09/14/2014)

What does Gov. Pat Quinn suggest we do about the Mike Madigan problem? Of all the questions that have been asked so far in this campaign for governor, that may be the most important, yet it goes unaddressed. Madigan was first elected speaker of the House in 1983 and, with the exception of two years (1995-96) has served …


Edgar support for Rauner could be key to victory
(Sterling Sauk Valley News © 09/15/2014)

I’m not sure why, but the surprise appearance by former Gov. Jim Edgar at the Illinois State Fair’s Republican Day last week didn’t generate much media coverage.  Despite the fact that Edgar is a Republican, this was not an easy “get” for Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner. I’m told it took weeks of careful wooing and negotiations through one of Edgar’s old cronies.


Rauner education plan raises eyebrows

(Bloomington Pantagraph © 09/15/2014)

Proposals to tie teacher merit pay to student test scores and alter tenure policies to make it easier to fire bad teachers are among the most recent education ideas being pushed in Illinois by Bruce Rauner, the Republican businessman challenging Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn this fall.


Election 2014: Illinois business climate key issue in governor race
(Rockford Register Star © 09/13/2014)

The business climate in Illinois is either on a steady and dependable rebound or still beset by storms on multiple fronts. More than just a glass half-empty or half-full conundrum, the issue of how attractive it is to set up shop in the Land of Lincoln has been a driving issue in the race for governor, alongside the lingering question of whether the state is losing businesses to its neighbors.


Finke: Jersey governor one to talk about economics
(Peoria Journal Star © 09/14/2014)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came to Springfield last week to stump for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. The timing was certainly interesting. It is, of course, obligatory to trash Gov. Pat Quinn’s economic record when campaigning for office as a Republican. Christie certainly got his shots in, like saying Quinn’s loftiest economic goal is getting an increase in the minimum wage,…


Bernard Schoenburg: Be careful when they talk of property taxes
(Springfield State Journal Register © 09/14/2014)

For better or probably worse, the property tax system in Illinois is complicated. But in campaigns or big speeches, it can sound less so.  A key point is that, while the state can set some limits, it is local governments, not the state, that impose and collect property taxes.


Rauner dislikes Vallas’s ties to Chicago
(WJBC AM 1230 Bloomington © 09/14/2014)

Bruce Rauner has problems with the ties to Chicago of Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Paul Vallas. Rauner is trying to portray Vallas as a machine politician, due to his former tenure as …


You’re paying rent for empty Springfield homes
(WJBC AM 1230 Bloomington © 09/14/2014)

Illinois state constitutional officers are costing taxpayers thousands of dollars a month in leases for Springfield residences, but they aren’t living in the capital city. The Illinois News Network obtained lease agreements for each of the state’s constitutional officers and topping the list is both Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka …


Optimism remains, but concerns abound for Illinois’ business climate
(Peoria Journal Star © 09/13/2014)

The business climate in Illinois is either on a steady and dependable rebound or still beset by storms on multiple fronts. More than just a glass half-empty or half-full conundrum, the issue of how attractive it is to set up shop in the Land of Lincoln has been a driving issue in the race for governor, alongside the lingering question of whether the state is losing businesses to its neighbors. …


Erickson: Need a state job? Get those political connections
(Bloomington Pantagraph © 09/14/2014)

The pitiful thing about a recent inspector general report on hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation is that, despite decades of outside legal action and the creation of an entire bureaucracy designed to enforce ethical behavior in state government, it showed that there are still barriers in place for qualified people wanting to work.


Paying the price for making bad hires
(Crains Chicago Business © 09/13/2014)

I’ve seen that DGA poll, a friend of mine says about a survey showing Gov. Pat Quinn leading Bruce Rauner 43 percent to 40 percent. My friend says the Democratic Governors Association survey, released Sept. 11, shows big-time danger for the GOP challenger. Voters will move off him in droves when given the right nudge. What nudge would that be? Several, he says.


Former IDOT workers say Quinn’s campaign fears cost their jobs
(Quad Cities Dispatch Argus Leader © 09/13/2014)

Fifty-five workers who have been told they’re being laid off by the Illinois Department of Transportation claimed in a lawsuit Friday that they’re being fired to spare Gov. Pat Quinn election-campaign embarrassment over a hiring scandal. The Democratic governor’s administration fired the so-called “staff assistants” last month in an IDOT shake up over a state investigation …


AP: Quinn hired 60 percent of IDOT workers cited in ethics probe
(Quad Cities Dispatch Argus Leader © 09/13/2014)

Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration hired more than 60 percent of the Illinois Department of Transportation workers whose employment was deemed improper by a state ethics watchdog, a document released Friday shows. The list, released late Friday in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, shows 173 of the 245 people originally hired as “staff assistants &


Youth Perspective: Why should we bother to vote?
(Rockford Register Star © 09/13/2014)

Whenever youth and politics are brought up in a discussion, it is most commonly to lament the lack of participation among the youngest part of our electorate. Observers are right to lament. Statistically, young people vote less than our older friends and relatives in the electorate.


Forum: Rauner campaign should be ashamed
(Chicago Daily Southtown © 09/13/2014)

Unconscionable is the only word I can think of for Mike Schrimpf, spokesman for Bruce Rauner’s campaign for governor. To use an attack on our armed forces and the death of an American soldier for political gain is sickening.


Illinois Republicans rally at Peoria Riverfront
(WHOI (ABC) 19 Peoria © 09/13/2014)

Republicans rallied down on the Peoria Riverfront on Friday. …



National News


How a court ruling could boost   electricity prices 20 percent

The   court ruling would halt the long-standing practice of paying big power users   to reduce their demand during peak periods. Crain’s explains   how Chicago-based Exelon stands to benefit.

Meet the new foot soldiers in the   privacy wars

With   data breaches, the rise of social media and perceived risks of cloud   computing, cyberlaw is a booming business for Chicago law firms. Read Crain’s special   section.

State steps up effort to take land   for Peotone airport

After   years of dealing with willing sellers and absentee owners to buy land for the   proposed South Suburban Airport, the state of Illinois is preparing legal   action to force unwilling homeowners to sell — even though it’s still an   open question whether the project ever will get off the ground. Crain’s has more.

Three real estate companies, only   one bound for IPO

Blackstone’s   three Chicago companies are busy places these days amid a frothy real estate   market. Crain’s talks with   the group’s real estate boss about LivCor, Equity Office Properties Trust and   IndCor Properties, which is preparing for an IPO.

The long line for professional   licenses in Illinois

Recent   grads may think their biggest challenge will be landing full-time employment.   But some Illinois professionals are finding it’s even tougher to get their   hands on a piece of paper that allows them to do their job. Crain’s reports.

Pension adviser questions Walgreen   on board appointment

CtW   Investment Group, an adviser to union pension funds that have a stake in the   drug-store giant, called on Walgreen to provide more details about a change   in projected earnings and questioned its appointment of an activist investor   to its board. Reuters has more.

Boeing finding early success with   Chinese airline startups

About   20 startup Chinese airlines are proving a hot battleground for Boeing and   rival Airbus, which see each of the newcomers as the potential Southwest   Airlines or Ryanair of China. The Seattle Times has   more on the recent wins that have boosted the confidence of   Boeing’s sales team.

Big profit for Pritzkers off costly   Chicago FBI deal

A   deal for the federal government’s most expensive lease in Chicago produced   millions of dollars in profits for a development group that involves several   political insiders, included Penny Pritzker, according to a Chicago   Sun-Times/Better Government Association investigation.

Settlement eyed in suit over   Pepco-Exelon deal

Pepco   Holdings has reached a tentative settlement in a shareholder lawsuit   challenging its acquisition by Chicago-based Exelon Corp. The Associated Press has   more.

Remember Rose Records? Extinct   businesses kept alive on Facebook

The   days of Goldblatt’s and Wieboldt’s have come and gone, but DNAinfo talks with   one Chicagoan working to keep the memories of those late Chicago businesses   alive.


Feds Tackle the Terror Within

Attorney General Eric Holder unveiled a sweeping initiative to combat the threat of U.S. citizens joining terrorist organizations like ISIS, including new pilot programs that will have community representatives collaborate with religious leaders and the Justice Department


Hillary Winks at 2016 in Iowa

The former Secretary of State was greeted by fans wearing “Ready for Hillary” T-shirts at a historic Democratic launch pad in Iowa


Scottish Referendum Heats Up

Proponents and opponents of Scottish independence scramble for votes as polls show the two sides almost level just days before Sept. 18


Cops Detain Actress After 911 Call for Indecent Exposure

Los Angeles police say Django Unchained actress Danièle Watts was detained after officers were told about a couple involved in indecent exposure in a car; Watts posted a Facebook account of the incident, writing she had not done anything wrong


Microsoft Buys Minecraft Maker for $2.5 Billion

The third-bestselling video game in history is now officially part of Microsoft, which plans to continue to make Minecraft available on all the platforms to which it’s beholden now but has not explicitly committed to carrying forward hypothetical sequels or expansion content


Ray Rice to Appeal Indefinite NFL Suspension, Reports Say

The Baltimore Ravens star is reportedly set for an appeal based on the claim he was truthful during the probe into charges for striking his then-fiancée at a casino in February. Rice pleaded not guilty this spring to one count of third-degree felony aggravated assault


McDonald’s Is Giving Away Free Coffee for Two Weeks

From Sept. 16 to 29, participating U.S. locations will give one free small coffee per customer during breakfast hours — generally from around 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. — with the likely idea being that customers will buy accompanying breakfast items and keep coming back


Snowden Says NSA Collected Data on New Zealand Citizens

Documents released by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden purportedly show U.S. and New Zealand officials collected Internet data via underwater cables that connect New Zealand, Australia and North America


Apple: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus Preorders Broke Records

Apple said demand has been so high that it’s outstripped supply, to the extent that while a “significant” number of folks should receive their phones starting Sept. 19, when the phone officially goes on sale, many will have to wait until October to see theirs turn up


Here’s the Best Way to Get Someone to Quit Smoking

A new study shows that the graphic tactic, in which companies use images of cancerous lungs and other head-turning pictures on their cigarette packaging to terrify smokers into kicking the habit, might not work so well and instead recommend a different strategy


Hurricane Odile Slams Mexican Resort

A ferocious Category 3 hurricane slammed Cabo San Lucas early Monday with 125 mph winds and six months’ rain in just one hour, becoming the strongest storm to ever hit Mexico’s southern Baja California peninsula


Hundreds Flee 2 Raging Wildfires in California

The wildfires forced some 1,000 people to evacuate their homes, including one near a lakeside resort town that burned nearly two dozen structures; one blaze sparked Sunday afternoon near Oakhurst quickly charred at least 320 acres and is 20% contained


The Washington Post


Iran turns down U.S. request on Islamic State

The United States acknowledged the outreach, and said discussions with Iran will continue — underscoring Iran’s influence in the region.


Federal push to hire veterans is fueling resentment

As veterans move to the front of the hiring queue, civil servants and former troops are increasingly questioning each other’s competence and qualifications.


The Redskins’ dirty little secret

COLUMN | Jay Gruden believed that Kirk Cousins was running offense better than RGIII. Now the coach will get to see if he’s right.


As his views shift, Rand Paul seems less a purist and more a politician

The Kentucky senator is seeking to broaden his appeal, but doing so could hurt his outsider image.


Japan may soon learn the fate of its citizens abducted by North Korea

But some Japanese women who spent decades there against their will fear they’ll be forgotten.


Urban Outfitters apologizes for its red-stained Kent State sweatshirt

“Get it or regret it!” read the description for the shirt that was briefly for sale for just $129.


Marriott wants to give housekeepers a raise by urging guests to tip

A number of the company’s hotels will be providing envelopes in rooms to encourage guests to tip.


Why it pays to live near creative people — just not too many

What research from 17th-century classical musicians tells us about creative clusters.


Word of the Day  Monday, September 15, 2014

Flapdoodle  \FLAP-dood-l\


1. Informal . nonsense; bosh.