Are Chicago Public School teachers overdeveloped?

Today begins a three week stretch in which my sons will go to school for only three days a week. This week, Veteran’s Day is Friday the 11th but the school added a “Professional Development Day” on Thursday. The first three-day week. Next week report card pick-up is on Thursday and traditionally on report card pick-up day there’s no school for the students. Fine. But they added yet another “Development Day” next Friday. The second three-day week. In a row. The following week is the Thanksgiving holiday, so I suppose that’s excused. But still. Three three-day weeks in a row? It prompted one of my sons to ask at dinner last week, “I worry our teachers will be overdeveloped!”

I don’t know where he gets it.

Adding ninety-minutes to the school day seems like an awful lot and as I stated previously I’m on the fence about it. What’s a card-carrying union member CPS parent to think? Although, I’m starting to lean in a new direction. What if instead of adding time to the school day, my kids just spent more days in school? It would mean they wouldn’t have to travel to and from school in the dark quite as often. They would have more time at home for homework or other extra-curricular activities. And it would have the added benefit of not having so many overdeveloped teachers, which , I don't know, kinda sounds like something there should be medication for.

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  • It gives one pause as to what the PD is for. If it's for common core, isn't that just a pacing issue, as the standards shouldn't be the basis for recreating the content (unless it's the interpretation of what the standard means)?
    If it's content, isn't that what should have been learned in college? If its delivery, isn't that what schools of education are for?

    Maybe it's not the school districts (administration and teachers/union) that need reform, but the schools of education. Why are we not hearing more about reform from SOE?

  • In reply to LTwain:

    Wow. Not too many PD gaps in your education LTwain! What an insightful, eloquent and intelligent comment. Thank you!!

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    As the wife of a CPS teacher, allow me to explain what my husband, who works in special education, does on PD days:
    * Runs through evacuation drill procedures on how to get students in wheelchairs from the fourth floor to the first floor in the event the elevator isn't working (and if your kid is in a wheelchair, wouldn't you be glad they took the time for this training?).
    * Conducts training sessions for his peers (after attending an all-day training session himself) on how to use a new electronic report system implemented by CPS.
    * Department meetings to discuss new initiatives (when else do you imagine entire departments have time to meet? During the lunch hours they don't take?).
    * Meetings to discuss new rules and regulations, new curriculum guidelines, etc. It's not like you graduate from college and the education system stays static. Some legislative body or school board is always coming up with a new tune for teachers to dance to and this information needs to be downloaded somehow.

    I can appreciate how those who don't work in education can be mystified, when in the corporate world, there's always time for another meeting--in fact, that's all I ever seemed to do in my corporate jobs. Teachers spend their entire work day in front of students, let's not begrudge them a few days to actually keep pace with ongoing developments in their profession (hence, the name, professional development).

  • In reply to Patty Wetli:

    Hi Patty,
    Thank you so much for your enlightening comment! You're right, those of us who don't work in education are mystified by all the staff development and teacher-in-service dates. Since my kids started at CPS, I've been surprised by how many partial weeks they have. I have to admit I'm relieved to learn the teachers are actually working for our children on the days my kids have off and that these days off don't involve junkets at taxpayer expense or worse, ouija boards (g).
    I hope you know that as A City Mom, I'm mostly tongue-in-cheek about most everything I write and I'm not terribly serious about being concerned about these days off. I just thought what my son said was funny.
    What I am serious about though, is thanking you profusely for taking the time to write. I always appreciate a great comment!

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