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The [Wednesday] Papers

"To earn a high school diploma, Chicago high school students would have to take chemistry and physics in addition to biology, under a new proposal unveiled Tuesday by Chicago Public Schools officials," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

I took none of those as a student with pretty stellar grades at my affluent, highly regarded suburban high school. I did take philosophy, though. We did have basic science courses, but those were my worst. This is (another) an ill-considered proposal.

"If the tougher requirements are approved as expected Wednesday by the Board of Education, students entering high school in the 2018-19 academic year would still have to earn at least three science credits - but they would have to be in biology, chemistry and physics classes."

Wait, the board is voting on this today?

Unveiled on Tuesday, up for a vote on Wednesday.

Today's lesson is twofold, kids:

A) Introduce a potentially controversial policy proposal as close as possible to the actual vote by a handpicked board to ensure that "debate" be neutered.

B) Use it as a distraction from an even more controversial proposal that has had time to gain critical traction, though no one expects the handpicked board to buck the mayor on it.

Seventh paragraph:

"In addition, the board is poised to adopt a new requirement that would prevent high school students from graduating unless they can prove they have plan in place for college, a trade school or a job."

I've written about the folly of that plan here.

See also:


Now, I can't say for sure whether the new science requirements were "unveiled" just a day before the board vote for a reason, nor can I say for sure that they are being used as a distraction from the mayor's graduation plan policy. But in any case, it's insufficient notice to the public - particularly when the board's vote is pre-determined and real debate is impossible.


"High schoolers already take three years of science, but the new policy concentrates that specifically on biology, chemistry and physics, requiring students to achieve one credit in each course in order to graduate," Chicago Tonight reports, without a single critical voice. "Chief of Teaching and Learning Latanya McDade said the district wants to encourage students to enter Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers, as those are growing at three times the rate of non-STEM fields."

Ah, STEM, I figured as much. Please, people, do your homework.

See also: Stemming STEM.


"It's not clear how CPS will be able to implement the science curriculum plan. Just two-thirds of district high schools currently offer the science courses that will be required, officials acknowledged to reporters on Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

"It's not known how much money the financially distressed district would have to invest in capital expenses such as upgraded classroom laboratory space to make the plan work. Teachers may need additional certifications to teach new science courses, officials said.

"It will often be up to principals facing slim budgets to prioritize spending in their schools to comply with all the new requirements, officials said."

Just let the principals figure it out.


"Under current requirements, students must earn one credit in biology and a total of two credits in some combination of chemistry, earth and space science, environmental science and physics."

That seems not only perfectly reasonable, but preferred. Those are the choices I would want my kid to have - more, even!


"Teachers at Amundsen High School in Ravenswood decided to jump in and change their science offerings for this fall, a year ahead of the mandate, said Principal Anna Pavichevich," the Sun-Times reports.

"The changes to what constitute the lab class and what didn't will require us to shift things around a little bit. We will be flexible and make the necessary adjustments as required."

But, she added, "some teachers are going to have to go back and take extra classes to get certification."

Pavichevich also lamented the loss of other science offerings - Amundsen has offered environmental science as a rigorous lab course where students also plant gardens, tend to butterflies and keep bees on the grounds of the school at 5110 N. Damen.

"I think that given the state of the world," she said, "environmental science is pretty important."

You'd think Rahm would agree.


Back to DNAinfo:

"In addition, high school students will have to take a financial literacy class that prepares them 'with the knowledge and skills to make empowered financial decisions.'"

It's almost too easy to say, but I'll say it because it's already on everybody's minds: it's the school board and City Hall that should be required to take this class.


To Raise Your Hand:






I also never got to this excellent Sarah Karp story for WBEZ, so now's a good time (if not too late): Few College Counselors At CPS Add Uncertainty To Post-Grad Push.

"The average Chicago high school has significantly fewer counselors than experts recommend, a WBEZ analysis has found, raising questions about Mayor Rahm Emanuel's new plan to require every student to graduate with firm post-high school plans.

"There's one counselor on average for every 296 high school students, according to records from Chicago Public Schools. That figure excludes the city's public charter schools . . .

"CPS' understaffing problem has moved to center stage now that Emanuel and CPS leaders want every public school senior to produce a college acceptance letter or proof of a job offer in order to graduate. The Chicago Board of Education is expected to vote on the new requirement in the next few months.

"Despite the understaffing, CPS isn't planning on hiring beyond the school's district's 265 counselors, prompting many educators and students to wonder whether this new graduation requirement will work."

Go read it all.



Comcast Sics Its Legal Goons On Net Neutrality Advocates.


CEO Pay Climbed Faster Last Year, Up 8.5 Percent.


Everything That's Wrong With Politics In One Convenient Location.


Civil War Battle Recreated Near Naperville For Some Reason.


Northwest Side Neighborhood Blindsided By Blackhawks Hockey Rink.


A sampling.





The Beachwood Tronc Line: Daily briefing.


Posted on May 24, 2017

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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