The folks at Done Waiting are highlighting a Chicago event that happened last week that put hundreds of parents in front of authorities to call for better choices in children’s education.The meeting happened on the heels of a City Board meeting about Chicago Public Schools admission and selection requirements. The big news from this meeting: “For the 2011-12 school year, school performance is added [to selection criteria]. The new policy will be in place for a year, then revisited.” It’s not clear from the story’s writing how that criterion fits into school choice, so if anyone knows, please give us a shout.

Here is the Chicago Tribune story they link to, below.

My only qualm with the call for more charter schools and different admissions rules is that some people were calling for more time spent in the classroom. I think a longer school day can be necessary, and certainly, we do need to rethink the length of the school year. But, we need to spend more time with teachers to work out how the time spent in the classroom can be utilized in different ways. Take a read about the interesting Chicago move:

The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday approved changes to the entrance policy for the city’s premier schools, a move intended to ease admissions for students who live near low-performing schools.

It was one of the last developments shaped by Ron Huberman, who attended his last board meeting as the city’s schools chief.

After a federal order banned race as a key admissions factor to the city’s selective enrollment and magnet schools, CPS last year adopted a new formula for selective enrollment and magnet schools. It began basing decisions in part on socioeconomic information from the census tract where an applicant lived, in an attempt to maintain racial integration and stress economic integration. It considered median income, adult education, percentages of single-family homes and homeowners and the percentage of children living in non-English-speaking households.

For the 2011-12 school year, school performance is added. The new policy will be in place for a year, then revisited.

Speaking before the board, Huberman urged officials to maintain focus on key areas he has prioritized, which he called “game changers.” Those included lengthening the amount of time kids spent in the classroom, keeping kids away from violence and keeping an open mind when considering options for troubled schools or adding charter schools.

“I can think of no greater challenge and no greater reward than trying to improve the educational system here in Chicago,” Huberman told the board.

Before the board meeting, a group held a rally and called for more charter schools and other education options for Chicago children.

“It’s time for you and I to demand excellent education for every child,” the Rev. Michael Pfleger said.

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