Monday, October 23, 2017

But can that virtual finger painting go on the refrigerator?

Brad Newman, left, and Christine Lee prepare food at the Bennett Day School on West Grand Avenue in Chicago. 



     Food is a lesson that lingers.
     I can't recall much about the learning being doled out at Fairwood School in 1966. Something about Henry Hudson, something about pilgrims.
     But lunch is still very clear. I can see those metal pans of boiled hot dogs, the Borden ice cream sandwiches, frozen hard in industrial deep freezers. A dime apiece; a nickel for half a sandwich.
     Lunch is still important, judging from the Bennett Day School, a new private elementary on West Grand Avenue.
     "It's part of a dialogue between the students and teachers," said director of admissions Amanda McQuade, noting teachers eat with their students, teaching them how to converse and conduct themselves. Eating is carefully integrated into the curriculum; for instance, kindergartners eat in their room.
     "At this age, going into the cafeteria was way too over-stimulating for them," said Sara Violante, a senior kindergarten teacher. "We eat five to six kids at a table, one teacher at each table modeling how to interact with each other, engaging in conversations. It's definitely worked very well, especially having three teachers in the classroom."


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16 comments:

  1. It's great to see kids get a quality education. Three classroom staff for 16 kids? Bravo.

    But, and it's a big but, providing tax payer resources for private schools is a dreadful, steal for the poor to give to the rich, scam. If wealthy people want to send their children to expensive private schools that is their prerogative. We shouldn't have to subsidize it however.

    When public schools are in such dire straights, giving vouchers and tax breaks to private schools is an insult to every struggling parent in the state. It is no different than a rich guy dodging the draft with a note for burn spurs while poor kids die in battle.

    Tax payer resources must go to public schools, not a school with a chef trained at Charlie Trotters. If Rauner want to "Invest in Kids", he should stop siphoning taxpayer money from public schools into private, rich guy schools.

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    1. The system seems to be saying to poor, struggling parents - "what are you whining about. If you don't like your public school just start your own - then we'll help you out"

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    2. Exactly right! It's hard not to read this and just be sickened by the kind of privilege on display. $27K for private school buys your child "a conversation with faculty" and modeling of behavior - go figure. Of course the free market creates better options...the only problem is that it only creates better options for those who can afford them. Everyone else can go fuck themselves.

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    1. If it's not available to all children, it's not "an alternative to Chicago Public Schools." Giving tax money to private schools flunks the basic fairness test: If you take my money, you have to be willing to take my kid.

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    3. When you "rebate actual paid taxes" to someone so that he can then turn around and use it to pay private school tuition, you are giving tax money to that school. The fact that it passes back through the hands of the taxpayer is irrelevant.

      As for "crybullying" over something you can't afford, that's exactly what parents are doing when they use tax money for private school tuition. They can't (or don't want to) pay all the tuition themselves, so they cry for tax money to help them out.

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    1. "Substitute teach in your local CPS schools, I have"

      Yoda, why are you doing anonymous posts?

      And why are you using a free shirt metaphor out of context? The free shirt here is going to a rich guy who gets a tax break for the tuition he chose to pay.

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  4. I hate to be a jerk, but if this column by our host here at EGD doesn't prove that the evil and hated (by Rauner, et. al.) unions aren't running the content at the Sun-Times, I don't know what will... On the other hand, I suppose this also fits well into the "We report; you decide" mold.

    Great to hear that the private equity investor can use his accumulated scratch to create a school from scratch, so that his own offspring have a convenient educational haven to eat really good pizza, made from scratch, for lunch. The pizza in our school cafeteria sucked, but we liked it! Unfortunately, my school had neither the foresight, nor the means to bring in the San Marzano tomatoes. Sad!

    Uh, I guess I've decided -- I'm with Mr. Fisher and Mr. Scribe.

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    1. I too am with Mr. Fisher and Mr. Scribe...reluctantly. Reluctantly because of the complexity of the problem. Giving Bruce Rauner a huge, huge benefit of the doubt, I can see where he's coming from: strip the system of all unnecessary expenses, such as pension payments, seniority raises, patronage hires, burnout maintenance, and there'd be plenty of money to education our kids adequately, if not to the standards, culinary and academic, of Bennet Day School. However, if the citizens of Illinois breach the contracts we've made with Chicago teachers, chaos would result, not improvement. The rich will pay to educate their own children, not anybody else's. The equivalent in teacher/pupil ration in public schools is only found in Special Ed and of course, the right is doing its best to limit if not eliminate it.

      john

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  5. firstly Rahms kids don't go to a charter school they go to lab. secondly Illinois does not have a school voucher program. third people who own homes and choose to send their kids to private school pay twice for the privilege fourth the city has spent millions over the last decade to repair and build new schools. fifth its not the teachers fault they make decent money and have good benefits. they deserve it. its tough work.
    my kids have gone to both public and private schools in Chicago. many chicago public schools are terrible but there are many good ones. the whole circumstance can easily be complained about but get your facts straight. if people want to live in the city instead of moving to a lily white burb, but not send their kids to public school, who are we to judge? the comments today seem mostly off the rails.

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  6. A lot of the opinions expressed here seem to be based on misunderstandings of how the Invest in Kids Act works. Seventeen other States have implemented similar programs. Rich people and corporations can donate money to a qualified non-profit scholarship program, and receive an Illinois tax credit of 75% of the donated amount. They can't take the charitable deduction on their Federal Tax Return. Children from low to moderate income families are eligible for scholarships, which are scaled based on family income. When awarding scholarships, non-profits must give priority to low-income students, and students in districts with poorly performing public schools called focus districts. Children from rich families are not eligible. The scholarships can't exceed the Illinois average annual student cost of $13,000. The Chicago Public Schools have an abysmal track record for many decades, especially in low income neighborhoods. Poor families love their children and want them to receive the best education possible. The Bennett Day School looks good, but even with a scholarship it will still be out of reach for most. There are other private schools more affordable like Montessori or Parochial Schools. The important thing is parents will have an alternate to CPS if they so desire.

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  7. The Illinois tax credit of 75% for donated money is money that would have been in the state coffers. It is disingenuous to suggest it won't affect the bottom line of the state and public schools. We have a school system. Our tax resources should go into that school system.

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    1. Let's do all the math and see how it works. Say a wealthy person or profitable corporation owes a lot of taxes to Illinois, and has a million dollars available. They can just apply the cash towards the tax they owe, and be done with it. Or they can donate a million dollars to a qualified scholarship program, enter one million on a new line on Illinois Schedule ICR, the next line will say multiply by 75%(.75), in this case $750,000 would be entered. This amount goes on a new line in step 7 of Form IL-1040. They will then owe $250,000 in taxes, so if they elect to make the charitable donation, they will be out of pocket $1,250,000. I expect a large majority of taxpayers will ignore this option. But there are kindly souls like Bruce Rauner who care about the future of disadvantaged Illinois children, and won't mind paying the extra money.
      On the other end will be recipients of the scholarship, I'll guess the average award will be $5,000 to $7,500. That means one less student for the Illinois public school system to deal with, and they will be ahead the amount it would have cost to educate the kid $13,000, minus the amount of the scholarship awarded times 75%. It doesn't matter what we think about it, it's a pilot program set to be active for five years. I hope it works out. Perhaps with a little more competition the public schools will have an incentive to do better than graduating high school students with an eighth grade education.

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    2. a wealthy person owes " a lot of taxes" , how much ? a million dollars? lets say. if they choose to donate a million dollars that will reduce their tax burden? yes? how do you know after donating the million they will then owe any particular amount? when we didn't say how much they owed in the first place? lets say it was that million. the amount of tax owed will be reduced, reduced , so there would be less in the coffers, yes? the state loses out on that cash, whatever amount that is

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