In the News ~ Oct. 23

Skokie school remains closed as police continue threat investigation – A Skokie middle school will remain closed for a second day as authorities investigate a series of threatening Instagram posts delivered to sixth-grade students. Messages on the website of McCracken Middle School said while no new posts have appeared, canceling classes Thursday would allow Skokie police to continue their investigation and increase security at the school before students return.


Illinois schools using emergency response system
(Decatur Herald and Review © 10/23/2014)

Five school districts in Illinois are testing an emergency response system that gives first responders instant access to information such as building layouts before, during and after a crisis. The Illinois Association of School Boards is sponsoring the pilot project involving the use of the “NaviGate Prepared” security system. The system stores school information on the Internet…


Fourth officer joins schools
(Danville Commercial-News © 10/23/2014)

Danville District 118 school board members agreed Wednesday night to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the city to add a fourth resource officer in the school district.


Panhandle Board Oks Audit, Change Orders
(Hillsboro Journal News © 10/23/2014)

An audit report, the district assessment report, change orders for the new building at Raymond Grade School and a 45 minute delay highlighted the October meeting of the Panhandle Board of Education as board members met at the Lincolnwood High School Library on Monday, Oct. 20.


Farmington schools to install solar panels
(WICS ABC 20 (Springfield) © 10/23/2014)

The Farmington school district is installing a $1.8 million array of solar panels on a district building to conserve energy and reduce costs.


District 87 considers property tax increase
(WJBC AM 1230 Bloomington © 10/23/2014)

District 87 is beginning to look at ways to trim its budget deficit, and one option is raising property taxes. A presentation at Wednesday night’s school board meeting highlighted a possible two-percent property tax increase by 2016, which would raise the overall tax rate to just below …


Vote to merge school districts
(Danville Commercial-News © 10/22/2014)

High school students in the Catlin and Jamaica districts in southwestern Vermilion County know each other pretty well. They formed an athletic co-op about 20 years ago, and the Salt Fork teams still are going strong.


Auditor says Quincy School District’s financial profile score worse than last year
(Quincy Herald-Whig © 10/22/2014)

An auditor says the Quincy School District’s financial profile score worsened a little in the past year, but the district continues to be in relatively good financial health. Auditor Valerie Flynn told the School Board’s Finance Committee on Tuesday that the district’s financial profile score dropped from 3.45 last year to 3.10 this year but the district still remains in “review” status — the …


Two District U46 employees to be honored by ISBE
(Elgin Courier News © 10/22/2014)

School District U46 employees Casey Lauinger and Philip Church will be recognized at the Illinois State Board of Education Those Who Excel banquet in Normal later this month, according to a press release from the district. They were selected among 91 recipients from across the state. Lauinger serves as an Occupational Therapist and Church is a Biology Teacher at Bartlett High School


Four ISU grads up for Ill. Teacher of the Year
(Bloomington Pantagraph © 10/23/2014)

Illinois State University has a 1 in 3 chance that Illinois’ 2015 Teacher of the Year will be one of its own. Four of 12 candidates will represent ISU when the award is presented at Saturday’s Illinois State Board of Education “Those Who Excel” Banquet at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.


CPS wants to delay new standardized test, even though state says no
(Chicago Sun Times © 10/23/2014)

Chicago Public Schools is seeking to delay the full implementation of a new standardized test until next year, though state education officials already told the head of the district “no” several months ago.



Dist 299


What To Make Of CPS Enrollment Figures?


Enrollment is down over all, which we already knew but IB, STEM, and alternative schools are on the rise, says Catalyst, and NW Side schools remain overcrowded according to DNA Info. What do you make of that? Meantime, CPS reiterated its desire to delay a new test (but was already told no). And the first of the closed buildings (Peabody) is being sold, along with the CPS headquarters. In These Times has a profile of CTU’s Jesse Sharkey. EdWeek notes that teachers unions and reform organizations sometimes support Republican candidates and even support the same candidates in midterm races that are projected to generate record political spending.




Enrollment data reveal trends for neighborhood schools, charter schools Catalyst: Officials pointed out that the steep 3,800 drop in the student population wasn’t the most dramatic in recent years:  Four times during the past decade enrollment has fallen more sharply, by 5,000-plus students. A Catalyst Chicago analysis of the data reveal some important enrollment trends: IB, STEM impact; Alternatives up, some charters down.


Northwest Side Schools Remain Some of the City’s Most Crowded, Data Shows DNA Info: Taft High School remains the most crowded high school in the city.




CPS says it wants delay for new test, but was already denied in July Catalyst:  CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett asked ISBE for the delay in a letter in June and, in July, ISBE sent back a letter denying her request. What’s more, the Department of Education does not decide which tests districts should use, so it is unclear what Byrd-Bennett would request from them. She told the board she wanted “concurrence from the federal government by Thanksgiving.” Federal officials referred questions to the state department.


CPS Looks to Replace Midterm Testing Chicago Tonight: Today, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said she’d be requesting the state allow the district to continue with a pilot study of PARCC, before fully implementing it district-wide. “I firmly believe in tests, I actually do,” Byrd-Bennett said.


CPS asks feds for delay on new standardized test Chicago Tribune: Chicago Public Schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett said Wednesday that she’ll ask the federal government to delay the rollout of a new and controversial state exam for grade school students this spring.


CPS wants to delay new standardized test; state already said ‘No’ Chicago Sun-Times: And yet Chicago Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett told the Board of Education at their monthly meeting Wednesday that she still wants to delay the PARCC, which long has been scheduled to replace the Illinois Standard Achievement Test and Prairie State.


See the Sun Times’ liveblog from yesterday’s meeting here:  CPS Board meeting considering dropping enrollment, selling HQ




Karen Lewis’ Replacement at the CTU Has a Message for Rahm Emanuel In These Times: Though Sharkey doesn’t yet have much of a relationship with Mayor Emanuel, if his gutsy 2012 debate with Emanuel ally, venture capitalist and current Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is any indication—in which Sharkey blasts Rauner’s anti-union, corporate education reform agenda—Rahm’s life is not about to get any easier when it comes to dealing with the new head of the CTU.


Education-Focused Campaign Spending Crosses Party Lines PK12: In Illinois, teachers’ unions gave more than $775,000 to Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Kirk Dillard. Dillard, an ALEC member, ended up losing a close primary to Bruce Rauner, a businessman and newcomer to politics.




Protesters Claim CPS Ignored Lead Paint For 5 Years At Rogers Park School CBS Local:  Members of the Chicago Light Brigade protest outside Chicago Public Schools headquarters, claiming the district took five years to begin cleaning up lead-based paint contamination at Gale Elementary Community Academy.


CPS sells first shut-down school Chicago Tribune: Children walk past the school zone speed limit sign outside Peabody Elementary School, 1444 W. Augusta Blvd.,




Early Voting Kicks Off In Maryland As Candidates Spar On Schools WAMU: As the statewide races build toward a climax, Marylanders looking to vote before Election Day can cast their ballots starting Thursday morning at locations throughout the state.


Obama Administration Clarifies Anti-Bullying Protections For Students With Disabilities HuffPost:   This week, Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon sent a letter with new legal guidance to the nation’s public schools in an effort to clarify that federal anti-bullying protections extend to about 750,000 more students than schools think.




Don’t believe everything you hear about the New Orleans charter revolution Hechinger/Lens: As public school students settle into the school year, they can’t seem to shake off a bit of inaccurate national attention: The belief that New Orleans has the country’s first all-charter school system. That’s wrong on two counts. The city still has a handful of traditional public schools, and the array of more than 70 charter schools can hardly be called a system, though that’s beginning to change.


Immigrants’ School Cases Spur Enrollment Review in New York NYT: Officials will determine whether districts have discouraged undocumented immigrant children through rigid enrollment requirements.


New Orleans public school teacher evaluation results, 2014 The Louisiana Education Department released teacher evaluation results Wednesday. New Orleans results were below the state average. 7 percent of teachers were considered ineffective and 21 percent highly effective.


How One District School Is Tackling English Language Learning WAMU: Teaching students for whom English is a second language can be a challenge, but a specialized program at Cardozo Education Campus is making it work.



Political News


Rauner in metro-east: ‘Lot of baloney’ in IDOT hiring
(Belleville News-Democrat © 10/23/2014)

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered a court-appointed monitor to review hiring problems at Gov. Pat Quinn’s Department of Transportation, a setback for the Democrat running for re-election largely on how he navigated Illinois away from ethical problems. Quinn’s opponent in the election, Republican Bruce Rauner, said during a campaign stop Wednesday in O’Fallon that the ruling is a major


Strict oversight on state hiring
(Champaign News Gazette © 10/23/2014)

A breach of trust in an important state department cannot and will not be ignored. A federal judge this week made an obviously correct decision to put a monitor in place to oversee hiring at the scandal-ridden Illinois Department of Transportation. But our public officials don’t always make common-sense decisions. So it’s worth pointing out that Chicago-based federal Magistrate Sidney Schenkie…


Point-Counterpoint: Gov candidates and the economy
(Champaign WCIA (CBS) 3 © 10/23/2014)

The next governor will face the worst budget crisis in history, WCIA asks both campaigns how they will fix the Illinois economy. Both candidates were offered a chance to sit down and participate; each given a month to find a time and place. Republican Bruce Rauner did, but Democrat Pat Quinn did not. We were able to speak with a spokesperson for the campaign. Both campaigns say the…


Operating Engineers Local 150 helps Grimm to help Quinn
(Chicago Daily Southtown © 10/23/2014)

I wasn’t hugely surprised when Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers contributed $30,000 this month to Chad Grimm, the Illinois Libertarian Partys candidate for governor. After all, Local 150s president, Jim Sweeney, was out in front of the push to beat Bruce Rauner during the Republican primary election in March.


Rauner can’t run state like a business
(Chicago Daily Herald © 10/23/2014)

Rauner can’t run state like a business About your endorsement for Rauner. Governor candidate Bruce Rauner wants to run our state like a business unfortunately; government is a service not a business. Mr. Rauner can’t fire the other elected officials. He can’t outsource the prisons or the roads and public transportation and schools like he did by sending American jobs


Increase minimum wage, but make employees responsible
(Chicago Southwest News-Herald © 10/23/2014)

I am all for an increase in the minimum wage, but I am also all for making employees who deal with the public more responsible, more qualified and more respectful. Yes, I am talking about you, employees at places like McDonald’s, Burger King, White Castle and even the U.S. Post Office, where I am constantly insulted by the lack of attention from the employees …


Scandal or not, Bring on that federal monitor
(Chicago Sun Times © 10/23/2014)

So now a federal monitor will oversee all hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation, with an eye toward warding off political patronage and favoritism. This could be the best news for IDOT — or at least for taxpayers who pay the price for inefficient government — since they fixed the downtown Spaghetti Bowl interchange. Political patronage has a miserable way of hanging on Illinois,…


Sun-Times reporter Dave McKinney resigns, calls time off ‘house arrest’
(Chicago Tribune © 10/23/2014)

Longtime Chicago Sun-Times political reporter Dave McKinney resigned from the newspaper Wednesday, saying he was pulled from his beat by bosses of the paper’s editor and publisher Jim Kirk and was placed under what he described as house arrest as possible retaliation for co-authoring an unflattering article about Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. In his resignation letter to Michae…


Tribune poll: Rauner, Quinn in dead heat
(Chicago Tribune © 10/23/2014)

With less than two weeks until Election Day, the race for Illinois governor is a dead heat as Republican challenger Bruce Rauner has made significant inroads among suburban voters, especially women, a new Chicago Tribune poll shows. The survey found Rauner with 45 percent support and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn with 43 percent. That’s within the poll’s 3.5 percentage point margin of error. Little-k…


Judge appoints special monitor to investigate IDOT patronage hiring
(Chicago WFLD (Fox) 32 © 10/23/2014)

A setback for Governor Pat Quinn in federal court Wednesday. A judge said he’ll appoint a special monitor to investigate the hiring of hundreds of patronage workers at the Illinois Department of Transportation. The IDOT jobs went to people with political or family connections, which violates the rules against patronage hiring. The judge’s order seemed to con…


Vice President Joe Biden to return to Illinois
(Crystal Lake Northwest Herald © 10/23/2014)

ROCKFORD – Vice President Joe Biden is planning a second trip to Illinois, this time to campaign for Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Democratic U.S. House candidates. Both Quinn’s and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos’ campaigns say the vice president is expected to headline an early voting rally in Rockford Oct. 27. The announcement follows Biden’s planned visit Wednesday to the Chicago suburb o…


Give Quinn another term
(Danville Commercial-News © 10/23/2014)

Give Quinn another term Editor: We working class folks need to be afraid of Republican gubernatorial Bruce Rauner. We do not need a Wisconsin-type governor, who stands against the middle class, who will work very hard to destroy our right to organize together to work for the improvement of our status. Some folks say our labor unions are not needed anymore. I believe just the opposite is true. I…


Vote Rauner for governor
(Danville Commercial-News © 10/23/2014)

Vote Rauner for governor Editor: My friends know I am a Bruce Rauner supporter, and I support him in his quest to be governor of our great state. They also know I supported him through the primary over three other candidates because each of them had been in office or the legislature for decades, and they had not solved our basic pension, jobs or state identity problems. I have the same objectio…


U.S. Senate Candidates Square Off in First Debate
(Harrisburg WSIL (ABC) 3 © 10/23/2014)

The candidates vying to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate met for their first debate Wednesday. Incumbent Democrat Dick Durbin and current state representative Jim Oberweis squared off in Chicago. Durbin has served in the Senate since 1997. The candidates weighed in on healthcare coverage, education, and job creation. The two also traded jabs over appealing to minority voters.  …


Endorsement for U.S. Senate: Dick Durbin
(Peoria Journal Star © 10/23/2014)

Two ideological opposites wish to have one of Illinois seats in the U.S. Senate. The Democrat who occupies it now, Dick Durbin, 69, of Springfield is seeking his fourth term. Another win would have the Senate Majority Whip that chambers number two leadership position, the highest rank for an Illinoisan in almost 70 years soon surpassing the late Everett Dirksen of Pekin


Our Opinion: Frerichs has the expertise to be Illinois treasurer
(Springfield State Journal Register © 10/23/2014)

In Wednesday’s endorsement for Illinois comptroller, we lamented the dilemma of two qualified, well-regarded candidates running against each other for one office in an era when so many voters are frustrated by a lack of strong candidates up and down the ballot. The Illinois treasurer’s race is plagued by the same problem, with two solid candidates seeking the same office.


Bernard Schoenburg: Local Rauner ad leaves out everything Springfield isn’t’ line
(Springfield State Journal Register © 10/23/2014)

There are at least two versions of an advertisement for Republican gubernatorial candidate BRUCE RAUNER, as would-be first lady DIANA RAUNER defends her husband against “false, vicious attacks. “In a version that ran on television in Springfield this week, Diana Rauner told viewers that “machine politicians will do whatever it takes to keep power,” but that her husband doesn’t owe anybody anything …


How do Rauner and Quinn plan to fix IL’s financial crisis?
(WHBF (CBS) 4 Quad Cities © 10/23/2014)

We continue to hear from the candidates for Illinois governor on the biggest issues in the race. The next governor will face the worst fiscal crisis in Illinois state history. So how do the Bruce Rauner and Pat Quinn campaigns plan to fix it? “Part of that blueprint means an increasing investment in education and in infrastructure. There’s been a lot of progress in the economy and in the…


Durbin, Oberweis face off in 1st US Senate debate
(WREX (NBC) 13 Rockford © 10/23/2014)

Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis are debating which candidate has the best plan to create jobs and improve the lives of Illinois residents. The candidates are meeting Wednesday for the first debate of the U.S. Senate race. Durbin says …


Gubernatorial Debate: How to Tackle the State Financial Crisis
(WTVO ABC 17 Rockford © 10/23/2014)

The next governor will face the worst fiscal crisis in state history. We asked them how they plan to fix it, and despite the economic crisis ahead, both campaigns said the state can’t stop investing in education and business. Part of that blueprint means an increasing investment in education and in infrastructure, says Rikeesha Phelon of the Democratic Governors Association.


Raising the minimum wage could change children’s lives
(Chicago Tribune © 10/22/2014)

I am a preschool teacher who works in a suburban school with middle class families who can afford to provide their children with every advantage in life. These kids have excellent health care, nutritious food, high quality child care and educational opportunities, stimulating books, toys and expeditions. My daughter, on the other hand, works with special education students in their teens whose


Federal Judge Orders Hiring Monitor For IDOT
(WBBM TV CBS 2 Chicago © 10/22/2014)

A federal judge has ordered a court-appointed monitor to investigate hiring at Gov. Pat Quinn’s Department of Transportation. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier told attorneys Wednesday that the monitor would help compliance of a decades-old political hiring ban. The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by an anti-patronage attorney in April alleging improper hiring practices….



National News


Major convention bolting Chicago over   hotel room dispute

The   Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society show, which   had committed to holding its annual conference and exhibition in the city in 2015   and again in 2019, will break its deal for 2019 and move the convention to Orlando.   Crain’s reports.

Poll shows Rauner, Quinn locked in dead   heat

With   less than two weeks to go, the governor’s race has tightened as voters become   more focused on the campaigns, and both Republican Bruce Rauner and Democratic   Gov. Pat Quinn bombard the airwaves with tens of millions of dollars’ worth of   negative attack ads. Here’s more on a new Chicago Tribune poll.

The cool chemistry of flame-resistant   clothing

In   2007, two Marines were killed in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb exploded, melting   their polyester undergarments onto their skin. After the deaths, a Chicago company,   Drifire, got to work developing clothing that would protect others from burns   like those. Crain’s has the firm’s story.

Ken Griffin: Wife’s claims are devoid   of merit

Citadel   CEO Ken Griffin has filed a legal motion to dismiss his estranged wife’s recent   requests for “unfettered” access to his homes or that he pay for her   personal expenses. Read more from Crain’s Shia Kapos.

Is Chipotle really all that healthier   than McDonald’s?

The   calorie count of a burrito outweighs a Big Mac, yet Chipotle retains a healthy   halo. MarketWatch takes a look at the battle that’s   starting to reshape the fast-food industry.

Abbott, Mylan mum on changes to inversion   deal

Analysts   and banking experts say changes that North Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories and   Mylan made to the terms of their $5.3 billion deal were almost certainly aimed   at protecting tax gains in the so-called “inversion” deal, according to Reuters.

Ebola forces hospitals to consider the   previously unthinkable

The   Ebola crisis is forcing the American healthcare system to consider withholding   some medical interventions because they are too dangerous to doctors and nurses   and unlikely to help a patient. Reuters talks with doctors in Chicago and around   the nation.

Zells donate $10 million to Ounce of   Prevention

Real   estate developer Sam Zell and his philanthropist wife, Helen Zell, have donated   $10 million to the organization for at-risk children. It’s the largest individual   gift in the Ounce of Prevention Fund’s history. Here’s Crain’s story.

CPS chief wants delay of new controversial   exam

Chicago   Public Schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett said yesterday that she’ll ask the federal   government to delay rolling out the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness   for College and Careers test for grade school students this spring. The Tribune reports.

Parents, which college savings plan to   choose?

Morningstar   has a new list for parents looking to save for college, with ratings of the largest   college savings plans available. Check out this video report from First Business News.   (Click on the image to launch video.)


Canada Will Never Be Intimidated’

Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered prayers to grieving families following Wednesday’s attack outside Parliament by a lone gunman, who police say killed one soldier before being gunned down inside. Members of Parliament are expected to return to work Thursday


Felony Charges for W.H. Jumper

A man who was quickly apprehended after assaulting police dogs and climbing over the White House fence on Wednesday was charged on multiple counts


Connecticut Monitors 9 for Ebola

Nine people in Connecticut who may have been exposed to Ebola have been ordered to stay home for 21 days, the state’s Health Department said


Royals Beat Giants 7-2 to Take Game 2 of World Series

Kansas City trounced San Francisco on Wednesday for the team’s first win in a World Series game since beating St. Louis in 1985. The Royals haven’t won the series yet, but they did something more important: they showed why they belonged there


Corporations, Advocacy Groups Spend Big on Ballot Measures

Large companies and national advocacy groups are putting big dollars behind committees with benign-sounding names that support or oppose ballot initiatives on issues as varied as minimum wage increases in Alaska and recreational marijuana in Florida


North Carolina Releases Report on Academic Scandal

The University of North Carolina report details how a lack of oversight allowed the creation of so-called “paper classes” that student athletes were encouraged to take and in which they received high grades with “little regard” for the quality of their work


The Secret to Finding a Super Cheap Thanksgiving Flight

This year, like every year, there’s a lot of mixed messages on what to do if you’ve procrastinated on booking tickets for one of the busiest travel seasons. From checking smaller airlines to avoiding fares on Wednesday and Sunday, here’s a go-to information guide


Experts Assess Prospect of Ebola Falling in Wrong Hands

The virus is considered a bioterrorism agent — a “select agent and toxin” that has the “potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety.” But massive fines, jail time and a risk of deadly exposure may be enough of a deterrent


Coalition Air Strikes in Syria Have Killed 500

The U.S.-led air campaign designed to degrade and destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria has killed hundreds of militants throughout Syria — but it’s just a fraction of the group’s ground strength. Dozens of civilians have also died


U.S. Murder Suspect Unaware Filipina Was Transgender

A friend of murdered Filipina Jennifer Laude testified that the American suspect, who went out with the two on the night of the crime, didn’t know they were transgender. The witness made her statement during a Philippine Senate hearing on Wednesday


Mayor, Wife Tied to Disappearance of 43 Students in Mexico

Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo said he suspects that Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda are “probable masterminds” in the disappearance of 43 students after demonstrations on Sept. 26


Christian Bale Didn’t Even Audition for Steve Jobs Role

Christian Bale didn’t even have to audition to win the role of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs in an upcoming biopic, according to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who is adapting Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography for the big screen. Of Bale, Sorkin said: “he is gonna crush it”


Is There a Wayward Court in St. Louis County?

A new lawsuit challenges a much-criticized municipal court amid intense criticism of the county’s traffic ticketing system.



Jane Goodall’s Jungles

Jane Goodall, who rocked science with her chimps, is as important and mesmerizing as ever, but for a very different reason now.



The Crisis That Changed Pope Francis

Pope Francis was not always as unorthodox as now. In fact, for 50 years he was known as an autocratic hardliner, until a moment of crisis changed his world view



1976 Apple-1 Computer Sells for Record $905,000 at NYC Auction

A Bonhams auction of science objects put items like an Apple-1 computer, a Manhattan Project viewing window and a letter by Charles Darwin on the block


Hand Sanitizer Speeds Absorption of BPA From Receipts

The study raises the question of whether or not receipts should contain the endocrine-disrupting chemical.



Canada PM Vows Crackdown After Capital Shocked by Fatal Attacks

Stephen Harper vowed to redouble the country’s fight against terrorists abroad after a reported convert to Islam murdered a soldier and rampaged through parliament


China Seeks Closer Military Ties with Iran

China wants to have closer military ties with Iran, the Chinese defense minister told the visiting head of the Iranian navy on Thursday, according to state media


Remember the Abu Ghraib Torture Pictures? There are More That Obama Doesn’t Want You to See

His administration is fighting to keep 2,000-plus images from the public.



Taylor Swift Releases White Noise, Tops iTunes Charts

We’ve reached a new frontier in avant-garde and experimental music, and it’s thanks to Taylor Swift, of all people.



Word of the Day  Thursday, October 23, 2014

Exiguous  \ig-ZIG-yoo-uhs, ik-SIG-\


  1.  scanty; meager; small; slender: exiguous income .