In the News ~ Oct. 6

Rockton teachers, school district meet with federal mediator
(WREX (NBC) 13 Rockford © 10/08/2014)

Another local school district finds itself embroiled in a labor dispute with its teachers. The Rockton School District announced it is meeting with a federal mediator to negotiate a new contract with the Rockton Teachers Association.


Waukegan talks end for the night with no deal to end strike
(Chicago Tribune © 10/08/2014)

The dispute between teachers and board members at Waukegan District 60 continued this evening, with talks breaking down and no set time to return to the bargaining table, officials said. The teachers at the far north suburban school district began the strike on Thursday after negotiations failed to break an impasse on issues like salary, health benefits and employee working conditions.


Waukegan Teachers Strike Continues
(Progress Illinois © 10/08/2014)

Contract negotiations broke down Tuesday night between the Waukegan Teachers’ Council and the town’s board of education. As a result, schools in the district will remain closed Wednesday.


Union leader details Waukegan teachers’ side of the strike
(Lake County News Sun © 10/08/2014)

While rallies and picket lines have produced big crowds across Waukegan since teachers went on strike Oct. 2, Mike McGue has been behind the scenes in negotiations on behalf of the union. The president of the Lake County Federation of Teachers has helped in the teacher’s pursuit of a pay increase, protection of its health insurance plans, the addition of clear anti-bullying procedures and …


Freeport School District aligns curriculum with Common Core
(Freeport Journal Standard © 10/08/2014)

Freeport School District administrators and teachers are busy this year aligning curriculum to Common Core learning standards recently adopted by Illinois. The goal is to improve student achievement and ensure that students are better prepared for either college or a career after high school, said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Patrick Hardy.


Common Core problem: No textbooks for some Freeport High School students
(Freeport Journal Standard © 10/08/2014)

Freeport High School students taking algebra, geometry, biology, chemistry and physics this year don’t have textbooks. That’s because administrators haven’t found books for those subjects that are aligned with Illinois new Common Core learning standards. In the case of math textbooks, administrators have been unable to find texts that employ integrated math a blend of algebra, geometry and …


Voters Will Decide Whether To Consolidate Catlin And Jamaica School Districts
(WAND (NBC) 17 Decatur © 10/08/2014)

Voters in two Central Illinois counties will decide whether to consolidate two separate school systems come Election Day. Less money from the state already forced cuts in both the Catlin and Jamaica school districts. “We’ve unfortunately had to reduce one math teacher and one science teacher,” said Catlin CUSD #5 Board President, Jeff Fauver.


Retirement approved for controversial Batavia teacher
(Arlington Heights Daily Herald © 10/07/2014)

The Batavia school board Monday approved the sudden retirement of high school social studies teacher John Dryden, who was disciplined in 2013 after advising students about the right to not incriminate themselves before distributing a survey about behavior. Dryden notified his union representative Oct. 1 that he wanted to retire; it was his last day in the classroom.



CTU President Karen Lewis ‘not well,’ but union mum on details
(Chicago Sun Times © 10/08/2014)

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is “not well” but under top-notch medical care, the union said Tuesday, refusing to detail the health crisis that has landed Lewis in the hospital. For the second straight day, the CTU was all but mum when pressed for details about Lewis’ condition. “She’s not well. But she’s under great medical care and evaluation,” CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin wro…



Elected school board to be litmus test for aldermanic candidates: grassroots groups
Grassroots activists want every voter and alderman to weigh in on giving Chicago an elected school board, a question that has been on the ballot in selected precincts but that proponents now want on the ballot citywide.

CPS won’t consider new charter proposals this year
In what some observers consider a political move, CPS officials say they won’t ask the board to approve any new charters for 2015. However, seven charters that were already approved could potentially open this coming fall.

Hancock to become a selective admissions school
The news that CPS plans to make Hancock High a selective enrollment school was met with some anger by an organization that has spent the last three years working to improve the neighborhood high school.

Gay, transgender students seek more support
A young woman is honored for her work with the Walter Payton High School Gay-Straight Alliance. Only 56 of more than 100 Chicago high schools have such groups.

Take 5: Charter slow down, striking teachers and public education in politics
Among the items in Take 5, Catalyst looks at how many charter schools have been opened under Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Take 5: Reaction to Hancock change, City Colleges free ride and feds issue equity guidelines
A blogger wants to know why the North Side gets brand-new selective enrollment high schools, while the Southwest Side gets an old school with some renovation. Also, Mayor Emanuel says the city will provide scholarships for CPS students to go to City Colleges.



Dist 299


Keep 25 Year-Old LSCs, Or Dump Them?


No real news on Karen Lewis’ health other than that she’s still in the hospital. LSCs are 25 years old (should we keep them another 25 years?).  Oriole Park is crowded.  The kidney donor has to move from Evanston or lose his job. Nationally, there are education issues on state ballots in 11 states and Baltimore unions and administrators are moving to process teacher misconduct cases more quickly.




Emanuel fleshes out pre-election plan for expanded preschool Chicago Sun-Times: “Early childhood education helps create a strong foundation that benefits students throughout their entire education,” Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett was quoted as saying.




Karen Lewis’ health scare puts mayoral contest in flux Chicago Sun-Times: It would apply to women, too, of course, even strong-willed teachers union presidents gearing up for a campaign for mayor. CTU President Karen Lewis’ hospitalization for as-yet unspecified health concerns continued to reverberate Tuesday.


CTU: Karen Lewis being evaluated at hospital Chicago Tribune: Emanuel spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said Monday that “the mayor wishes Karen well, and that she makes a full and speedy recovery.” Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for the Chicago Public Schools, said district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett “is keeping Karen in …


Chicago Teachers Union mum about Lewis’ health scare Chicago Sun-Times: For the second straight day, the Chicago Teachers Union refused to spell out the health crisis that landed its president Karen Lewis in the hospital. “Nothing yet,” CTU spokesperson Stephanie Gadlin wrote in a text message to the Chicago Sun-Times.




Emanuel allies block elected school board question from city ballot Chicago Tribune: Ald. Joe Moore, 49th, at a City Council meeting last year, is pushing a nonbinding referendum question that would ask Chicago voters to weigh in on employers being required to offer paid sick leave.


Chicago’s Local School Councils ‘Experiment’ Endures 25 Years of Change EdWeek: Chicago’s experiment in local democracy was not completely unique. But the Windy City’s school governance model was unusually strong because it gave local parent-majority boards the power to hire and fire their school principals.




In Chicago Public Schools classrooms, 36 is a crowd Chicago Reader: Just so you know, Oriole Park is one of the bright lights in the Chicago Public Schools constellation—a high-scoring neighborhood school whose student body is largely made up of the children of cops, firefighters, and teachers.


Foreign language push features new state credential Chicago Tribune: Chicago Public Schools expects to announce its plans for the biliteracy effort next month, spokesman Joel Hood said. DuPage’s Glenbard Township High School District 87 plans to participate, said spokeswoman Peg Mannion.


Schools move to protect athletes, but they don’t provide trainers Chicago Tribune: When Georgia public high schools were asked five years ago to devise a policy to govern sports activities during periods of high heat and humidity, one school’s proposal stood out: It pledged to scale back workouts when the heat index reached 140.


Kidney donor’s CPS job in jeopardy – again CLTV: A man who generously donated his kidney to a grocery store clerk in 2010 nearly lost his job as a social worker after Chicago Public Schools realized he lived in Evanston. He thought he had been given a waiver when CPS decided he could keep his job. But now a different CEO at CPS says “rules are rules.” He either has to move to Chicago or lose his job.




Education Measures on Ballot in 11 States EdWeek: The initiatives could have a significant impact on school funding, class sizes, the use of technology, and teacher evaluation and tenure systems. Voters in Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and New York will see proposals that would increase funding for public schools paid for through a new tax or bond.


Ed. Dept. Churn Brings New Faces to Key Initiatives PK12: We’re closing in on the twilight of the Obama administration and, at this point, many of the folks originally in charge of major initiatives, including Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind Act waivers, and School Improvement Grants, have left the building—literally.


Common Core tests now a ticket out of college remedial classes Seattle Times: A new agreement among the state’s public colleges will raise the value of a couple of Washington’s high-school exams.


How School Lunch Became the Latest Political Battleground NYT: Inside the Obama administration’s standoff with Republicans, the food industry and the nation’s lunch ladies over the future of the cafeteria.


With Black Students, Some Schools Are More Ready to Punish Than Help NYT: My son’s school seemed to see him as a bad child, not a child with needs the school could help to address.




Study: New York preschool push benefits wealthier families first WPost: The push to provide universal preschool to the city’s 4-year-olds has so far disproportionately benefited children from middle- and upper-income families, according to a report released Wednesday that the mayor’s office is disputing. See also WNYC.


Union president addresses Baltimore County school board about length of time for misconduct investigations Baltimore Sun: The head of the Baltimore County school administrators union said the majority of misconduct cases against administrators can “be resolved more expeditiously.”


California Prep School Shaken by Arrests of Headmaster and Woman, 21, on Drug Charges NYT: Thomas Woodrow Price, headmaster of Branson School in Marin County, Calif., was found with heroine, cocaine and enough methamphetamine for the pair to be accused of possession of that drug for sale.


Political News


Poll: Quinn Leads Rauner By 4 Points
(Progress Illinois © 10/08/2014)

A new Reboot Illinois/We Ask America poll shows that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has a 4-point lead over GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, at 44 percent and 40 percent, respectively.  Six percent of those polled supported Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Chad Grimm. Eleven percent of the respondents were undecided.


Polls indicate Quinn is weak outside Chicago
(Sterling Sauk Valley News © 10/08/2014)

OK, so what we’re going to do today is discuss some congressional races that you may or may not care about in order to talk about the governor’s race, which you probably do care about, since you’re reading this column.


Michelle Obama campaigns for Illinois governor
(Quad Cities Dispatch Argus Leader © 10/08/2014)

First lady Michelle Obama campaigned Tuesday for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, headlining a small fundraiser and rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She told attendees she intends to cast a ballot for Quinn, in part because of his record on families. The Chicago Democrat stressed his push to raise the minimum wage and help working people.


Michelle Obama at Gov. Quinn rally: ‘Let’s get this done’
(Chicago Sun Times © 10/08/2014)

Wrapping up an unusually personal appeal to re-elect Gov. Pat Quinn, first lady Michelle Obama demanded — but in the way friends speak to friends — “So let’s get this done,” coming home Tuesday to lead a get-out-the-vote drive to benefit the entire Illinois Democratic ticket.


Hillary Clinton to Give Two Speeches in Chicago Today
(Chicago WMAQ (NBC) 5 © 10/08/2014)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is scheduled to be in Chicago on Wednesday to deliver two speeches. …


Opinion: Facing Trouble, Rauner Campaign Finds the Gutter
(Chicago WMAQ (NBC) 5 © 10/08/2014)

Did Governor Pat Quinn really kill 95 children?  To hear Republican rival Bruce Rauner tell it, Quinn is directly responsible for the deaths of 95 children …


Political fictions no stranger than reality — but at least they’re less depressing
(Chicago Tribune © 10/08/2014)

In an early scene on Madam Secretary, a kinda Hillary Clinton political soap opera on CBS, our heroine mucks horse manure out of a barn. As played by Tea Leoni, Madam Secretary is a former CIA-analyst-turned-professor in the Virginia horse country, in jeans and boots. She holds a pitchfork in her hand. And bits of straw and road apples cling to the tines.


Emails show Quinn aides had political concerns over NRI in 2011
(Chicago Sun Times © 10/08/2014)

The Neighborhood Recovery Initiative has been a political liability for Gov. Pat Quinn since a state audit tore apart the grant program in February, but newly released emails show top aides to the governor worried about its potential political cost as far back as 2011. That’s when former Quinn chief of staff Jack Lavin, the governor’s former chief operating officer Andrew Ross and the director of …


Hearings Begin on Quinn’s Troubled Anti-Violence Program
(Chicago WMAQ (NBC) 5 © 10/08/2014)

Lawmakers are set to start a two-day hearing probing Gov. Pat Quinn’s troubled anti-violence program. The Legislative Audit Commission subpoenaed seven former Quinn…


Emails Suggest Quinn Aides Worked To Curb NRI Political Backlash
(Progress Illinois © 10/08/2014)

Emails received by the state’s Legislative Audit Commission, which is looking into Gov. Pat Quinn’s now-defunct Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, show that aides to the governor had concerns in 2011 about the political impact of the anti-violence program. The emails, which came from Quinn’s former chief operating officer Andrew Ross, suggest that Ross as well as Chris …


Attorney: Illinois needs monitor to oversee hires
(WJBC AM 1230 Bloomington © 10/08/2014)

A Chicago attorney and anti-corruption campaigner is stressing that a court-appointed monitor is needed to ensure the state’s Department of Transportation is in compliance with political hiring bans.



National News



Old Post Office owner plots next move

It   may include selling the sprawling West Loop property, or finding a new development   partner now that a joint venture with Sterling Bay has fizzled. Chicago Real Estate Daily   reports.

Why the heck were we celebrating the   Great Chicago Fire, anyway?

As   tough questions are asked about the pyrotechnical dud that was the Great Chicago   Fire Festival, Crain’s Joe Cahill wonders   why we would want to celebrate one of the worst disasters in Chicago history.

See the 20 Chicago projects that won   Kickstarter

They   range from an under-the-desk elliptical trainer to female-centric comic book porn.   Check out a slideshow of   the top-funded projects.

Steppenwolf leaders passing the baton  

Crain’s talks with Steppenwolf   Theatre Company about a generational shift that’s been occurring on   both the artistic and business sides of the Lincoln Park troupe.

Ace Hotel aims for full house in Fulton   Market

The   trendy Portland, Oregon-based hotel group has signed a deal to open a boutique   hotel on the site of a two-story warehouse in the Fulton Market district, sources tell Chicago Real   Estate Daily.

A first look at Virgin’s new bars and   restaurants

Virgin   Hotels, which is opening its first U.S. property in December in the Old Dearborn   Bank Building on Wabash Avenue, gives Crain’s a preview   of the hotel’s options for eating and drinking.

Allstate hikes rates on most Illinois   drivers

It’s   the second time this year that Northbrook-based Allstate is increasing rates on   a majority of drivers it insures in Illinois. Crain’s reports.

Quinn aides worried about political fallout   of anti-violence program back in 2011

Newly   released emails suggest top aides to Gov. Pat Quinn worried about the potential   political cost of the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative as far back as 2011. More from the Sun-Times.

— Meanwhile, Michelle Obama campaigned   in Chicago for the governor yesterday.

New buyer for empty Dominick’s? The city   of Chicago

The   city has “run out of patience” waiting for the owner of a South Shore shopping   center to find a tenant for the empty Dominick’s there, and is starting the process   that would allow the city to take ownership of the site. The Chicago Tribune reports.

How not to respond to a hacker attack

Illinois   Attorney General Lisa Madigan is more than irritated at J.P. Morgan Chase’s handling   of the recent hacker attack affecting millions of American households, and is   calling for a comprehensive response from the highest levels of government. Here is a video report from   First Business News. (Click on the image to launch the video.)


U.S. Life Expectancy at New High

A new CDC report finds that a child born in America today will live longer than at any other time in history, with the average life expectancy rising to a record 78.8 years. Eight of the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. became less deadly in 2012


Gay Marriage OK in Idaho, Nevada

A federal appeals court declared gay marriage legal in Idaho and Nevada after the Supreme Court turned away appeals on banning same-sex unions


How to Protect Against Enterovirus

In the U.S., more than 500 patients have been diagnosed with the respiratory illness Enterovirus-D68, most of whom are children


U.S.-Led Air Strikes Fail to Stop ISIS

At sunset on Tuesday, the black flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria was flying on the edge of Kobani, a strategically important Syrian-Kurdish town on the Turkish border, despite President Obama’s pledge to destroy ISIS and the coalition’s air campaign


American Ebola Survivor Gives Blood to Sick Journalist

Dr. Kent Brantly, who contracted the disease in West Africa, has agreed to donate his blood to help treat NBC News photojournalist Ashoka Mukpo, who became sick in Liberia. Experts hope Brantly’s antibodies will kick-start Mukpo’s immune system


St. Louis Cardinals Beat L.A. Dodgers to Clinch Division

St. Louis pulled off a 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday and will head to the National League Championship Series for the fourth year in a row. The Cardinals overpowered Dodgers star pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who started Game 4 on short rest


2 Americans, 1 German Win Chemistry Nobel

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the work of Americans Eric Betzig and William Moerner and German scientist Stefan Hell, for the “development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy,” has “brought optical microscopy into the nanodimension”


Casey Affleck to Star in Film About the Marathon Attack

The Out of the Furnace star and Massachusetts native has reportedly signed on to star in and produce Boston Strong, a film about the deadly Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, based on the non-fiction book Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph Over Tragedy


Ebola Outbreak Could Cost West Africa $32.6 Billion

A new projection by the World Bank predicts the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa, already the largest in history, could result in a two-year $32.6 billion economic loss by the end of next year if it spreads to other countries in the region


The High-Stakes Struggle for Border-Crossing Kids

The thousands of children fleeing violence in Central America are desperate, but are they refugees? To win asylum — or refugee status — even they have to go beyond simply proving that they’re being truthful about terrifying experiences


Smoking and Drinking Raise Your Risk for Oral HPV

A new study found that people with higher levels of biomarkers for tobacco exposure in their blood and urine also tended to have a higher prevalence of the HPV strain that causes more than 90% of HPV-related throat cancers


NYPD Chokehold Complaints Highest in Decade, Report Finds

The number of complaints against the New York Police Department’s use of illegal chokeholds in the past year is the highest in a decade, according to a civilian-run agency tasked with investigating complaints against the NYPD


‘You Ready to Step Up?’

The deadly drug war in Long Island’s Hempstead ghetto is a harrowing example of free-market, laissez-faire capitalism, with a heavy dose of TEC-9s



Riots in Turkey Kill 19 Over Failure to Aid Besieged Syrian Kurds

Across the frontier, U.S.-led air strikes appeared to have pushed Islamic State fighters back to the edges of the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani



More: Gay Marriage Bans Fall in Idaho, Nevada After High Court Decision

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled the bans in Idaho and Nevada violated the constitution and cannot be enforced


China, Not U.S., is World’s Largest Economy, IMF Says

When it comes to purchasing power, the IMF says China pulls ahead of the U.S.


The Good, the Bud and the Ugly: What 20 Years of Research Teaches Us About Cannabis

Mostly, that we were right about weed back in 1993—it’s not great for you.


Twitter Sues U.S. Government on Surveillance Disclosure

The social media site wants to be able to disclose more detailed information on government surveillance of its users


Video: Leah McGrath Goodman on the Dark Money Flooding U.S. Elections

This year, the greatest amount of dark money, more than $50 million, has been spent on boosting Republicans and defeating Democrats.



J.K. Rowling Teases Fans on Twitter

Is a new Potter book coming out? Probably not.


Is Mitch McConnell Going Down?

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka thinks so

The Coal Country Contest That Will Decide the Senate



How the Blue LED Changed the World, and Won a Nobel Prize

From lighting your television screen to sterilizing polluted water,
how the new Nobel laureates’ inventions can change the world



Word of the Day  Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Wisenheimer  \WAHY-zuhn-hahy-mer\


  1. a wiseacre or smart aleck.