What we’re reading this week: April 13th

This week, we’re looking at how our brothers and sisters are organizing in charter schools, the struggle to find safe, affordable housing, and the ongoing need to fight segregation in our schools.

  1. Charter school union fight heats up : Charter schools are claiming private entity status in an effort to block teacher unionization efforts in Chicago.

    “At issue is whether a charter school is a public or private entity. The schools are publicly funded but privately run. Under state law covering public schools, the union is official. But the school wants to follow federal labor law governing private entities. That would force teachers to hold a vote on whether to unionize.”

  2. Kids poisoned by lead in CHA housing; landlords still got paid : The Chicago Housing Authority uses vouchers to move tenants into the private rental market, but hasn’t protected them from dangerous living conditions.

    “The CHA paid the landlords of those hazardous homes more than $5.6 million in federal rent subsidies after clearing them to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher program, the Tribune analysis found. Nearly $1 million of that amount was delivered to landlords while they faced housing code violations or lawsuits filed by another city agency, the Chicago Department of Public Health, over deteriorating lead-based paint in their rentals”

  3. African American Students More Likely to Succeed with Black Teachers : A new study has found that Black students who have teachers who look like them are less likely to drop out of school.

    “ ‘We show that by assigning a Black male to a Black teacher in the third, fourth, or fifth grades significantly reduces the probability that he drops out of high school, particularly among the most economically disadvantaged Black males’, a synopsis of the study reads. ‘Exposure to at least one Black teacher in grades 3-5 also increases the likelihood that persistently low-income students of both sexes aspire to attend a four-year college.’ “

  4. How we undercounted evictions by asking the wrong questions : FiveThirtyEight republished their piece on why our data on evictions in US cities is so limited.

    “The Milwaukee Area Renters Study (MARS), may be the first rigorous, detailed look at eviction in a major city. Interviewers…spoke to about 1,100 Milwaukee-area tenants between 2009 and 2011, asking them a battery of questions on their housing history. The survey has already fundamentally changed researchers’ understanding of eviction, revealing the problem to be far larger than previously understood.

  5. The New Champions of School Integration : DeVos’ Department of Education is killing off federal school integration programs. The Atlantic looks at some of the ways states and communities are fighting back.

    “The death of a small federal school-integration initiative is connected to a much larger concern that DeVos’s primary education-reform idea—using public money for private school vouchers—will produce poor academic results for students, and Balkanize students by religion, race, and class. As…noted in a new report, ‘voucher programs on balance are more likely to increase school segregation than to decrease it or leave it at status quo.'”

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About Lauren Dean

Lauren is a graduate student in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a research intern at the Chicago Teachers Union. Her research focuses on urban policy, equity, and labor issues. She edits A Just Chicago.

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