Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Housing For Teachers (In Baltimore)


  1. It would appear there are actually developers with more than one brain cell. Granted, it wasn't a comprehensive story what tax breaks did the developers receive? I think it's safe to say the residents will have some disposable income to spend in the neighborhood which should help small businesses and employment in the area. (Unlike the target market for the luxury apartments of Wilson Yard.)

  2. I wonder how many Subway's, Game Stops, and Nail Salons are part of this developments "business incubator." Gotta love those buzzwords, Helen!

  3. There's always lots of talk by our politicians about the importance of sound education and good teachers, yet those two receive so little of our tax dollars and are always short of cash (unlike Chicago TIFs, which can receive 68% of property taxes with no accountablility) to accomplish good works. So what our government is unable to do, or, more accurately, unwilling to do, our private citizens must do. Because, after all, private citizens don't do enough with our hard earned money when we pay 68% of our property taxes for Helen's playground and wasteful spending. 68% that should be going toward schools and our children's education.

  4. I don't know what city you live in, but the teachers in Chicago, and the school system in Chicago gets plenty of money.

    The failings of the Chicago school system have more to do with the kids(and by extension their parents) that attend them.

  5. The killer is not that Helen touts the WY housing to be for mostly teachers, police, and nurses. It's that the press doesn't dare challenge this lie. I'm wondering why the silence? Is it because like Ben Jarovsky, they believe Helen can't be lying because she claims to be an advocate for the poor and advocates for the poor never lie?

  6. Eagle,

    CPS is hurting for cash.

    Hubes projected a $475M deficit in the CPS' $5.4B budget.

    Then again, he always seems to pull that number out when talking budgets.

    I think the larger point being that why are were paying for a stacked and failed housing model with moneys which should be rightfully going to the schools?

  7. yo,

    The CPS' cash problems are their own doing. That place is a black hole of funding. You poor more money in, get no results, and then CPS comes back and says they have a budget shortfall.

  8. That may be right, windy, but that doesn't mean that the "fault" is the students and their parents. CPS has been failing families for a long time. Even recent improvements are not helping kids across the board. There are lots of neighborhood schools in which the kids are being left behind by an abysmal system that is not coming close to meeting their needs.

    CPS really does need more money but it needs to get to the classroom level in innovative ways. We've got to get city leaders to focus on the kids and keep the political favors and made-up jobs out of the school system. That is where the money is being wasted.

    BTW: WBEZ is having a fantastic program on the CPS all this week. Kids from all backgrounds are really inquisitive and excited about learning in their early years. What happens to some kids in CPS so that the excitement is gone by the time the reach high school?

  9. windy...was that a Freudian slip? (Your use of the word "poor".)

    While I agree that CPS is top heavy and between the bureaucracy and the unions there's an awfull lot of least its going to more than one developer.

  10. Look, we're not fixing education until we accept the fact that the kids are the problem, and the kids are the problem because they don't have very good parents. Once we can accept that, we can approach the real problem, which is, how do you educate children who have terrible parents?

    I've had numerous friends leave industry to go back and teach in CPS, and everyone of them left either to get back into industry or to go to the suburbs because they couldn't take the kids. They were unruly, foul mouthed and horribly behaved. In CPS schools a large percentage of the day is spent on discipline, this doesn't happen at New Trier.

    Both my parents were presidents of their teachers' unions back in Philly,and they both left teaching because the kids had just become too much. Thats 30 years of experience for each of them, so either they're old and crotchety, or the kids really are getting much worse.

    My dad likes to tell this story that happened during his last year of teaching; one of his students was failing high school algebra and the mother was upset. So there was a sit down with my dad, the student, the mother and the principal and the mother demanded 15 things that my dad had to do to help this kid out. She expected nothing of her child. Anecdotal I know, but it was the last straw for pops.

  11. I agree that what you describe is certainly part of the problem for the schools, WCE. I just get a little riled up when people just say "throwing more money at it won't fix it" when it is true that kids in poorer areas in Chicago get less of a total share of state + local dollars per student than in wealthier areas. This inequity is not just in Chicago but all over the US and mostly has to do with the role of local property taxes paying for education. This issue is surely on the radar now (especially after a number of states' supreme court rulings) but more money would still help kids if we can figure out how to get it into the classroom in the form of improved materials, curriculum development, increased resources for special ed and teacher training. (I am sure you know all of this since your parents were in education.)

    In addition, some kids just have so much stacked against them that the schools are going to be overwhelmed if we don't try to deal with it. While I agree that sometimes it is the parents who are these kids' problem, the blame game gets us nowhere and sometimes these parents got a crap public education themselves! Personally, I find it immoral to see how much money ends up getting wasted by adults when these kids need so much. School is their best shot at a better life.

    Ron Huberman seems like a quick study but I doubt he is going to be able to get Mayor Daley to give up his TIFs for the sake of the schools. Every year that we wait for change is another group of students not getting what they need and it will affect how successful they are later in their education and in life. It's not right.

  12. President Obama last night repeated something he remembered hearing from a college professor . . . "Blame goes to a few, but responsibility goes to all."

    I taught in the inner city school of Houston and it was a nightmare. In my 5th grade class, I had some who didn't know any subtraction and some on 1st grade reading level. Assigning homework was an act of futility. A child from another class would wander in and pick fights with the kids in my class. When I broke up a fight where he was pounding a kid's head against the sidewalk, he later got mad and pelted our entire classroom with rocks. I locked the door so that the kid couldn't get in, and got in trouble for breaking the fire code. One of my students was sexually molested right outside my classroom door. It goes on and on and on. No one could really learn much of anything under this environment. Windows were broken and most of the textbooks had been destroyed long ago. Library books? ha ha ha ha ha.

    I experienced battle fatigue as a teacher there. I later taught in a school that was a little bit better, but even that was tough. One of my 5th grade students was picked up for prostitution. She was 11. One boy in my class had been kicked out of home for awhile, and we later learned that the man he had been living with was having sex with him.

    This probably goes on from generation to generation to generation. The problems are complex and so are the answers. The schools that seem to do well have much longer school days, have something that gives these kids some hope, and require lots and lots of structure and accountability. Schools with lower poverty rates are often times better, but there are some outliers that do well in high poverty areas.

    Sassy, you mentioned WBEZ. It's an eye-opener for many about addressing the high dropout rate in high schools. With just a little over 50% graduating, our society is in a lot of trouble if we don't find a better way of addressing this. There's no magic bullet answer, but whatever we're doing now isn't working so well.