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Friday, June 27, 2014

Sun-Times: CPS announces more than 1,000 staff layoffs

This is certainly an interesting if not a shocking development:
Before releasing its budget recommendations for the 2014-15 school year or enrollment projections, Chicago Public Schools announced staff layoffs on Thursday for 550 teachers and 600 other school staffers.

Added to the 147 staffers (including 76 teachers) who already got pink slips at three schools confirmed for a turnaround, 625 teachers and 671 other school employees are now looking for work.

CPS began notifying approximately 1,150 employees on Thursday that their schools would not retain them in the fall due to falling projected enrollment. That’s about half the number who got pink-slipped last year in the wake of a historic number of school closings, and district officials said on Thursday they believed that like last year, about 60 percent would be rehired at other CPS schools.

“The staffing changes are driven by declining student enrollment at each of the affected schools,” said schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Since the district doles out a set amount of money per child enrolled, fewer students lead to budget cuts, she said. The 550 teachers, she said, represent the lowest number of annual teacher layoffs in the past five years. And some help has been available for schools who have asked for it, she said.

The Chicago Teachers Union said the layoffs also mark the fourth time in the past five years in which more than 1,000 CPS employees lost their jobs in the summer. All of the teachers and at least 250 of the other staffers are CTU members.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What if I was a graduation speaker?

The school year is over and the class of 2014 - wherever they went to school - has since graduated. Many have listened to the messages of their commencement speaker. I've always imagined myself as a commencement speaker, but what would I say.

My last semester at Morehouse College I took a public speaking course  and our last assignment was the formal speech. It was in fact written with myself in mind, that is what if someone gave the speech that I gave in class to students such as myself back then.

Well who knows, but a pep-talk is never a bad thing. Indeed that was the basic title of my speech. At this point I'm too lazy to pull it out of my files and recite it for you. What can be done is that the rough speech is about me encouraging students to seek help when possible as to figure out what you can do with your lives. It's something that I've been entirely too proud to do myself too often.

When it was time to graduate high school I wasn't sure what was next. College was the next logical step but I had little idea and wasn't seeking much information on that path. My interest even before graduating 8th grade at Bennett School was the military, however, my parents didn't encourage that path due to my good grades at Harlan High School.

The problem was I was never entirely confident in those grades because I achieved them too easily back then. I was never an honor roll student in elementary school and while fortunes do change if you weren't already a student who often achieved high marks how does one overnight get high marks at the next stage of their educational careers?

All the same, the message to students is always consider the future. Don't freak out, and always remember there are people out there who will help you along the way. The key is to reach out to them if you need a nudge in the right direction. That was a message I figured out late, but no matter where you are in life you will need help along the way.

BTW - Published at exactly 10 AM on June 24th, 2014. According to these graduation tickets the exact 20th anniversary of my 8th grade graduation.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

2014 Children Summer Series at Studio Movie Grill

Click image to go to SMG page
A few years ago under the ownership of ICE Theaters, the Chatham 14 on 87th Street had a film series called "KidsRule Summer". Well things change and under new ownership - this time Studio Movie Grill - the Chatham 14 now has "Children's Summer Series". Although it had started as of late May 2014 it will continue through August

Thursday, June 19, 2014

9th Ward community meeting NEXT TUESDAY

UPDATE JUNE 18, 2014 @ 3:21 PM: I erroneously wrote in the title that the community meeting was on Tuesday night which was June 17th. My apologies for the confusion, I had been alerted to this mistake via e-mail to The Sixth Ward where this was also posted. The rest of the post is correct as the meeting is on June 24th, which is next Tuesday!

For those of you who reside in the 9th Ward tonight is Ald. Beale's monthly community meeting. It was posted to our FB page and is worth sharing here on the blog as well:
  • 9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale and City Department Representatives present a 9th Ward Community Meeting

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014
    6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

    Pullman Presbyterian Church
    550 East 103rd Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60628

    For More Information: Please Call the 9th Ward Office at 773.785.1100
    Thanks to Rev. Eddie L. Knox, Jr. and Pullman Presbyterian Church for their community support!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

DNA Info: Morehouse College Graduate Seeks To Become Chicago's Youngest Alderman

Corey Hardiman by DNA Info Wendell Hutson
I wrote about this young man this past March when he brought a group of students from his alma mater - as a graduating senior at that point - to the south side of Chicago for a spring break service project. Now he wants to unseat 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale and DNA Info profiles the recent college graduate:
"I know people may think I am too young and inexperienced and that I won't be able to raise enough money to put fourth a good fight but that's what they said (in 2008) about President Barack Obama," Hardiman told DNAinfo Chicago Monday. "If he was able to do it then so can I."

The aspiring politician, who is a member of Salem Baptist Church, said he is scheduled to speak at 6 p.m. Monday to residents at the Altgeld Gardens public housing complex on the far South Side, which is part of the 9th Ward.

"I am going to speak to residents to let them know their opinion matters to me and I want to hear their concerns regardless if they are a registered voter or not," Hardiman said. "Ever since I graduated from high school I have always wanted to enter politics to make a difference in my community."

In 2010 after graduating from George Corliss High School as a Gates Millennium Scholar, where Beale is also an alumnus, Hardiman predicted at Mayor Richard M. Daley's annual interfaith breakfast at U.S. Cellular Field that he would run for mayor after finishing college.

"Well, maybe I was aiming too high at the time," Hardiman said. "But I certainly think it is a realistic goal."

Among the biggest issues facing the ward, Hardiman said, is public safety, education and economic development. While he praised Beale, 46, for "finally" getting a Walmart store in the ward, he said much more needs to be done on an economic level.

"If we could get President Obama's library to the far South Side that would create unlimited opportunities economically," Hardiman said. "Gone are the 'ma and pa' businesses in the 9th Ward and we need to bring back those small, family-owned businesses."
Here's an FB page if you wish to follow his campaign for 9th Ward Alderman.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

DNA Info: Metropolitan Family Services To Host A Jazzy Fundraiser in Roseland
If you're looking for some events add this to your calendar via DNA Info:
The nonprofit Metropolitan Family Services, which provides social services to needy families, is hosting an annual Jazz at the Met fundraiser featuring live jazz from local performers at its far South Side office.

Music will be provided by local DJ Mike Burns and jazz artists The Beverly All-Stars featuring Liane Williams and Margaret Murphy, Jamiah On Fire and The Red Machine, and Russoul.

The event runs from 3-7 p.m. Saturday, June 21 at 235 E. 103rd St. Tickets, which are available online, are $50.
This event takes place no more than one block away from Bennett School!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Black Enterprise: Morehouse College President Talks ‘Education Crisis’ Facing Young Black Men

I'm sorry about missing this article from March 2014. Black Enterprise magazine interviewed the President of Morehouse College Dr. John S. Wilson. He discusses the education crisis amongst Black males:
BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke to Dr. Wilson about the crisis that faces young black men and what role HBCUs like Morehouse can fill to change the direction. Here’s what he had to say:

When you speak of the cradle-to-prison pipeline, what are some of the things that can be done?

The first thing we have to do is recognize that it’s a very serious issue—some would call it a crisis—and something needs to be done. You may think that goes without saying but it’s not. There’s a numbness that people in this country—black and white and around the world—have to what’s going on with the African American male. If other groups had the kind of educational data profile that the African American male has, it would be nothing short of a crisis. But for some reason, too many people find it tolerable or natural in some way.

So, I think recognizing that it is a critical issue that goes to the productivity and security of this country is step one. Step two is developing a sense of urgency once you recognize it; and step three is organizing to get better data about it and exchange a best practices designed to do something about the challenge. In the midst of all that, we need what we haven’t had and that’s a shining beacon on the hill—an institution that’s recognized worldwide as the destination of choice for men in general and in particular African American men and that’s Morehouse College.

What can be done on a personal level?

First, I think the steps that I outlined are relevant for individuals as well as institutions. Number two, parents can address the cycle by ensuring that their sons are exceptions to the general rule. And even if you’re not a parent, there are many organizations that care about this issue and you can align yourself with them and you can become involved— politically and otherwise.

I was very pleased that the President of the United States announced a “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative designed to get at this. I think some people have recognized that. I think the President is making an attempt to sound an alarm that there is a crisis.
It's worth reading the whole interview although it seems relatively short and there are two other published questions that Dr. Wilson was asked. What more do we need to do to keep our young men out of jail and keep them in school?

While I'm sure Dr. Wilson and others want to see more young men go on to achieve that undergrad degrees, what can we do to ensure our young men will achieve their high school diplomas?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Maintaining the closed Shedd School...

These pictures were shared on May 22 in the Bennett-Shedd Elementary School FB group. Then wrote in the comments that the grass had been cut by that Sunday afternoon. Then on the afternoon on June 5, 2014 I took a few snapshots with my phone outside of Shedd School.

I got more than just taking pictures of cut grass. I think putting gang graffiti on a school building abandoned or not is vulgar in the worst way!

 The pics below was taken near the school's front entrance and shows some gang graffiti. Very vulgar findings on a former place of learning. Here's hoping someone can take command of this building and be able to keep this school's grass cut and and vandalism off this property.

UPDATE June 7, 2014 @ 1:55 PM Crossposted to The Sixth Ward