Whitney Young Teachers Rank 4th In Absences

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Colleagues not at school today?  Kid saying he's got a substitute -- again?  The industrious folks at Fox Chicago News have come up with a database of teacher absences at Chicago schools from last year and a list of best and worst schools -- including Whitney Young as the 4th worst.

Worst: Albert G Lane Tech High School 1,945, Marie Sklodowska Curie Metro H  1,636, Thomas Kelly High School 1,558. Whitney M Young Magnet HS 1,271, Hyde Park Career Academy 1,129.  Best: Immaculate Conception School 0, Lionel Hamptn Fin/Perf Art Sch  1, Nancy B Jefferson Alt School 1, Oliver S Westcott School 1, St Stanislaus-St Boniface 1.

How does your school rate?  Find out how often teachers are absent from your child's school and compare with other CPS school by clicking here.  You can search by school or grade level.  Alas, you can't search by teacher name. NB There are probably some problems with the data and with the analysis.  School size doesn't appear to be factored in, for example, though numbers of teachers are listed.   


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  • Alexander, your post is painfully misleading.

    The numbers you cite are the total number of absences with no regard to school/staff size. At least Faux news had enough integrity (ha ha) to list percent weekly absences.

    Your three "worst" schools for teacher absences are Lane Tech, Curie, and Kelly. Those also happen to be, by significant margins, the three largest schools in CPS.

    Deceptive at best. And not appreciated by a teacher at one of those schools with perfect attendance for 5 straight years.

  • feel free to do the percentages if you want to.

    seven teachers out on average at whitney young per day = more than 5 percent per day (nearly 8 percent on friday).

    not awful but not great, either.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:


    As a Whitney Young High School teacher, I am very disappointed in your "sensationalized" posting regarding teacher absences. I do not know how these statistics were compiled, but I have to ask if A) Advanced Placement conferences were taken into account -- our school has the largest and most successful Advanced Placement Program in the City and arguably the State and each year, our AP teachers attend --at the Board of Education's urging, an annual AP conference -usually held at Triton College on a school day. We also have members "miss school" for such events as the Academic Decathalon ---our School has won the State of Illinois Academic Decathalon more times than all other schools in the State of Illinois combined--coaches of that team annually attend the National Competition with our team--substitutes are required... Our teachers also attend National choir and band competitions that require that we have substitutes...

    Again, I do not know the criteria that FOX news used to create their list, but my guess is you don't know either.

    I only ask that before you disrespect all of the teachers of CPS, and closer to home, my colleagues at Whitney Young, that you review the criteria used to evaluate teacher "absences."

    You may argue that you are not a reporter of the news, but merely a relayer of such news, generated by others, but I think you are responsible for the headlines you create. That being the case, I would argue that it is your responsibility to scrutinize the claims of any news organization prior to your publication of those claims, especially those hell bent on undermining public education.

  • you CAN do a run by percentage on the fox site, it turns out --
    south shore school of tech, collins, multicultural?, robeson, percy, and simeon all come out highest percentagewise for big high schools, and turner-drew, frazier, fermi, hefferean come out worst percentagewise for big elementaries.


    percentages are higher (worse) for elementaries than for high schools, from an initial glance.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Please be careful, that's the Robeson Achievement Academy, not big Paul Robeson High School, WBEZ made the same mistake. All the data is messed up... consider the source!

  • You list in your post that Immaculate Conception is one of the 'best". However the Fox database also says that IC has zero (0) teachers. The more important numbers are the breakdown by day and the percentage of faculty.

    But perhaps more importantly, what happens in the classroom when teachers are absent? At my previous school, a teacher being absent meant that students were sent to the lunch room. My current school provides subs at least and most are very good. They follow directions well.

  • Mr Saxenmeyer's data is flawed. Several schools are listed as having only 1 teacher (three list zero!) but there are corresponding absences for those zero teachers (?)

    Whitney Young lists 138 teachers and has about 2200 students. Taft & Kelly have similar number of students, yet have 173 and 199 teachers, respectively? That doesn't make sense.

    Not very compelling to say the least-

  • In reply to yomama:

    Kelly High School has 3195 students, which is substantially more than 2200. This explains its 199 teachers.

  • In reply to yomama:


    I looked up my school and had to wonder how the word absent is defined.
    A couple of weeks ago we had almost 25% of the staff absent on a Friday
    But almost all of them were at some sort of training, some as far away as
    Los Angeles. Almost the entire math department was out for agile mind
    Training and lots of sped staff were off to learn the electric iep .Does the list
    Of absent teachers include these people?

  • In reply to yomama:

    The data is flawed--they are counting teachers who are absent due to required workshops and professional development.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    How do you know this? It is an assertion made by others in these comments, but it is not evident from the data. Are teachers required to take a day off to attend a school event, a workshop or professional development? My spouse is a CPS employee who has workshops, professional development and other school events and the only days she is absent is when she calls in ill.

    So, again, you're making a statement, where is that statement based?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    If we assume that first, teachers are exposed to a higher incidence of illness due to their charge, and that the there is validity in the errors reported, by which I mean that the system is counting personnel on assignement to workshops and so on, as being absent. We can conclude first that a higher rate of absenteeism is likely in this profession and second, that even accepting the criticism of the data, why are some schools significantly higher than other schools? The number of development days and other professional out of building assignments must be about the same in each school.

    So, again, why is the data so different from school to school?

  • In reply to yomama:

    how long will it take Stewart to put out a PR and call FOX news to tell them their data is VERY flawed? Plu, how did FOX get this data, who gave it to them and did anyone explain it to them--did they bother to ask? No wonder why i do not watch fox news!

  • In reply to yomama:

    i think the data came from cps -- how do schools gather and report teacher absences, anyway? is it all centralized or is there some actual data collection going on?

  • In reply to yomama:

    right now it is centralized on the CPS--very goofed up--payroll system. So teachers will be out for professional development--it is not a true absence from school, but it is an 'abscence' in kronos--the payroll system, but NOT reported against the teacher's bank of benefit days. So FOX got numbers, but why should CPS expalin? Why should FOx ask? The stats are wrong since they should only count teachers who take A days for sick time or PB days for personal business. CPS probably gave FOx teacher absent numbers when teacher are on jury duty too. BAD Fox--no scoop here.

  • In reply to yomama:

    Whoa . . .some schools are not listed! How did they get omitted? FOX is claiming you can search the database for "ANY" Chicago Public School. I heard this claim on the 9:00 PM news.

  • In reply to awbolden:

    If the data came from CPS it's no surprise there are omissions and inaccuracies. CPS doesn't even know how many schools they have. At the budget hearings this summer CPS presented different numbers from one night to the next on how many schools were in CPS. Part of the problem is that CPS doesn't even have a working definition of what a "school" is.

  • In reply to awbolden:

    The information on Fox website is incorrect. The number of teachers absent each day is more than the amount of teachers in the building. There is only 30 teachers in the building. How can 70 teachers be absent on Monday? 50 on a Tuesday? 38 on a Wednesday and so on? Fox is inaccurate.

  • In reply to Ateacherwhowonders:

    I believe these are totals for the year. Still inaccurate, though.

  • In reply to Ateacherwhowonders:

    One last point:

    Because the data of charter schools are hidden from public view, while public school data is open and available, it will be impossible to have an honest discussion about teacher attendance rates as they apply to CPS and Charter schools unless all attendance data of charter schools are made availabe. It is important to note that charter school attendance rates (student and teacher) are compiled by the charter schools themselves and are subject to internal manipulation. Since charter schools do not use the same criteria as CPS-- the attendance data is certainly not compiled by the same people -- legitimate comparisons between CPS and Charter Schools are not possible without full disclosure of all relevant data and an explanation of how it was compiled.

    That said, I would not be surprised to hear Fox News, the Civic Committee and other promoters of the "privitization" of our schools (i.e. the "Parking Meterization" of our schools) proclaim the Charter Schools teacher attendance rates are superior to those of CPS. It won't matter to the privitization folks that the teacher attendance rates of Charter schools are "self-reported" and do not use the same methodology of CPS.

    If such proclamations are forthcoming, I hope District 299 and others will press for a full review of all data (student and teacher) from the charter schools. If instead, Charter school operators use the Nixonian "limited hang out" of information, I hope credible news organizations will point out such flaws to debunk any false claims.

  • In reply to JayRehak:

    You are assuming a Fox News effort to hide data. A vast right wing conspiracy perhaps? Your analysis begs proof. Do you have the data for the charter schools? Are you willing to post it?

  • In reply to JayRehak:

    Shame on Catalyst for promoting this article rather than looking at how data was gathered and given AND reported. Catalyst is savvy and experienced (one hopes) enough to know that when CPS puts out data, esp. anything dealing with $, that it will be wrong. And that FOX news is not know for intelligent reporting.
    AND why did this not go before the dataman himself Ron Huberman and his Huberteam before release? Ron wants BAD data out there? Ron wants CPS to realease BAD data? This smacks of CPS PURPOSELY lying to make CTU teachers look bad--though kudos to Ms. Resnik for realizing stress causes illness for teachers.
    The story should be that(other than FOX 'journalists' are stupid,) no one checked it out. I took our schools real data and compared EVERY day of teacher absences--guess what? These CPS number were WAY off when it came to true teacher absences. Even Jury Duty counted against our school. Idiots!

  • In reply to JayRehak:

    So, could the REAL story be: junk data in CPS? Under Ron's watch.

  • In reply to JayRehak:

    Wonder about the quality of the that "students at highest risk of being murdered" data, given this.

  • In reply to JayRehak:

    Track E schools do not appear on the list. They probably can't figure out how to count the scattered vacations that E schools have not as absences but legitimate time off school.
    Personally, I would have liked to see FoX News do other districts other than Chicago. Or at least a comparison of CPS to other nearby districts.

  • In reply to awbolden:

    Isn't this all just another snide way of trying to bash teachers again?

  • In reply to awbolden:

    full fox story online now -- including some harsh comments from the alliance and catalyst and cps:

    "It's an indicator of whether you have a healthy environment or you don't," said Steans.

    "Maybe some of the teachers need to go. Maybe they're burnt out," said Loraine Forte of Catalyst Chicago. "Something is wrong at a school or in a system that they feel so stressed out."

    A CPS labor relations officer, Rachel Resnick, agrees with Forte.

    "We need to find out how we can assist them better," Resnick said.


  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Now that I have read the entire FOX news story, it's pretty clear that it's all about bashing Chicago Public School employees. The Charter Schools don't seem to be listed on the Fox list, suggesting again that "accountability" is limited to flawed statistical analysis of CPS data for non-charter CPS schools.

    Again, Mr. Russo, I hope you press Fox News for an explanation of the methodology that was used to create such a "study."

    The folks quoted in the Fox story don't seem any moreaware of the criteria used to determine school absences than you do.

    Here are a few questions to consider: What constitutes an absence? Seminar? Coaching days? AP and other Conference Days? RH (Religious Holidays--days which teachers take an unpaid sick day to ovserve their religious traditions) Post Pregnancy leave days--that is, people take pregnancy leaves, and then legally take additional sick days when their leave is exhausted. Are any or all of these days considered absences?

    How does the CPS average absence number compare to schools in other districts such as New Trier and the wealthier suburbs?

    How does the CPS average compare to other large urban districts? Small rural districts? Student attendance v. teacher attendance?

    Finally, the Fox "News" article slams the neighborhood schools, while your article, using the same "information" slams Whitney Young, suggesting again that statistics can be sliced in any particular way to make anyone or any institution look "bad". I had hoped your website would be above this.

  • In reply to JayRehak:

    After watching the news report last night, I am inclined to believe the statistics are pulled from substitute teacher requests. Some teachers are actually present in the school for IEP meetings, leadership meetings, and other in-house training where a substitute teacher (visiting/adjunct faculty) is requested. If this is actually the case, the title should read "Substitute teacher requests" - not teacher absences.

    I'm willing to believe the database is counting teacher substitute requests. Is it possible for a school staff to report 0 absences in an entire school year? Highly unlikely. Is it possible to have 0, 1, or 2 substitute teacher requests? More likely.

  • In reply to JayRehak:

    The real story here is that our "data-driven" administration needs some assistance in learning how to compile and understand data.

    I love you Alexander, but at best, aren't you just playing tabloid journalism and at worst, aren't you just parroting back fudged numbers to attack people who work one of the toughest professions in the world?

    Personally, I have missed zero days in the last 3+ years. According to Fox and CPS' figures though, I would imagine I've missed 20-30.

    Numbers are fun though--according to the study, I would imagine that Charter Schools had no Board documented teacher attendance at all. :)

  • In reply to JayRehak:

    It is also very interesting that pro-charter organizations are all about "accountability" of public schools, their silence on the almost total lack of transparency of the New Schools Department and charter schools in Chicago, speaks volumes. What are we to surmise?
    Could it be that the whole Ren 2010 experiment has something to hide. Is Ren 2010 really about opening new patronage positions in education?

  • In reply to JayRehak:

    And Daley wants the Shackman decree lifted!?!?!

    Friends & family fund for Chicago aldermen
    Shadowy $1.3 million payroll helps them get around ban on patronage hiring http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-aldermen-payroll19nov19,0,280697.story

  • Alexander,
    Of course the largest schools like Lane would have the most absences. The faculty there is over 300. Some of those you deem the "worst" have the highest test scores in the city: Young, Lane, etc. Whatever the absentee rate, it hasn't affected the learning processes in those schools.

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