CPS will take another look at its new computer usage policy after hearing complaints from many teachers that the rules are too restrictive.
The policy requires teachers to store class-related content like web pages and videos on CPS servers, but only allocates 100 megabytes of storage to each teacher. That small amount of space can be quickly filled by just a few videos. And teachers would be barred from directing students to other sites not hosted on CPS computers – for example, a class blog hosted by the teacher.
Xian Barrett, a Julian High School teacher who attended the meeting, said the new policy, adopted last month, is having a “chilling effect on how teachers can use technology in classrooms, (and) discourages teachers from using the Internet in general.”
CPS chief Ron Huberman said the policy would be reviewed and tweaked, but did not provide specifics.
“I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from a lot of teachers that this policy is not going to work for them,” Huberman said in response. “And as a result we’re going to revisit it.”
Discontent in Bucktown
Yesterday’s meeting highlighted a growing rift between parents of Bucktown’s Pulaski Fine Arts Academy and neighborhood residents who want to see the school overhauled into an International Baccalaureate program.
About 50 parents and students of the school protested outside the CPS building before the meeting, holding signs saying “CPS stop segregating our children.”
“Our academy school jives very well with the International Baccalaureate program they want to bring in,” says Ana Rodriguez, who has children in third and eighth grades. Adding IB isn’t the issue, current parents say. It’s that in doing so, the current program, as well as its teachers and administrators, would be phased out over several years.
Currently, the vast majority of Pulaski’s students come from outside the neighborhood. And more than 90 percent of the student body is Hispanic, while only 30 percent of Bucktown residents are Hispanic.
“(IB) will increase the demographics and diversity of the school body to a nearly even mix,” says Bucktown resident Christina Nelson. Simply adding IB on top of the current fine arts curriculum would be merely a “cosmetic fix,” she says.
“The current school is not performing to the neighborhood’s standards,” Nelson says. About 75 percent of its students are meeting or exceeding state testing standards, school administrators say.
The Board of Education will vote on overhauling Pulaski at its September meeting.