Happy New Year's Eve / New Year's Day!

1dinner-partyAMCHave a great dinner party / quiet night / TV marathon. 

Don't forget the pickled herring / Hopping John or whatever.

It was a great /awful year -- let's hope 2010 is the same.

See you on Monday (assuming I can make it that long).

/ Alexander

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  • Booting out Marilyn as Union President is my wish for 2010. Teachers need to take back the union from the Daley plantation enablers.

  • Yes, please get rid of Marilyn Stewart. We need an articulate union leader who cares about the members. The schools are still a mess and special education is in shambles. CTU is well aware of problems withn the e-IEP yet no grievance has been filed on behalf on severely overworked special education teachers.

    Ron Huberman needs to sub in a special education self-contained room one a week. He would be appalled.

    At an IEP goal writing workshop recently held, the presenter stated that it is taking her a minimum of 8 hours to complete an IEP(she is knowledgeable). This is ridiculous. The suburban teachers have had electonic IEPS for years and it has minimized mindless, redundant paperwork so they are able conncentrate on preparing lessons etc.ISBE has come into schools on the watch list and stated that the IEPS need to have a narrative regarding current academic function which is to be taken from the CIM information regarding standardized testing. The joke is, we, as inclusion or resource teachers are not allowed access to CIM. We do not have access codes. My principal has been trying to remedy this situation since September. I am trying to complete this cumbersome IEP for an initial evaluation on my home computer and I am not able to complete major portions of the IEP because I am not allowed access to this data. This was brought up at the inservice in December to an OSS representative but nothing has been done. Now,I suppose I could refuse to complete this, file a grievance based upon CPS not allowing me to meet the demands of my job description or put the onus on the case manager who would then have to finish this IEP by using an administrative code to access the test data-meanwhile the school would be out of compliance,the child would not receive services.....this is one of the many reasons there is a long term shortage of special education teachers in CPS.

    Hire Rod Estvan as head of OSS-maybe he would do things the right(moral, ethical, legal) way and CPS would not be leading the pack in due process cases.

  • I love the idea of hiring Rod as the head of OSS. I think he would be the best one that we've ever had! SPED teachers take a lot of the blame for problems in the special education system but I think the majority of them are extremely hard working and want to be advocates for their students. Unfortunately that is difficult if not impossible under the CPS system. The state needs to step in and force modifications but my experience is that they are unwilling to really do anything.

  • Why should BEW do more? She makes big money and will retire fat! No reason to NOT just sit there and watch Ron crash and burn. BEW is only a place holder, keeping the AA community in its place!

  • Happy New Years, Alexander, et al! Alexander, I want to thank you for keeping this blog fresh and exciting. I really appreciate your direct approach and willingness to push back, look under the rocks and speak truth to power. May you and District 299 have a very prosperous New Year.

  • I have known reasonably well all the directors of what is now OSS from Tom Heir to Ms Grant-Mitchell, I have also had several discussions with Ms. Dusky. Running OSS is really a hard job, that wears everyone down that does it. But I do think you cannot be fearful of your losing your job and do what needs to be done in CPS to educate students with disabilities.

    But if Mr. Huberman called me tomorrow and asked that I try to run OSS, I would accept with numerous qualifications. One that I have a three threeyear written contract, so that if I was fired CPS would still have to pay out the contract; two I would have to be granted the right to publicly object to the CPS Board to the implementation of policies I believe are bad for students with disabilties and their teachers; three that all contracts with vendors I signed off on be investigated by my own staff reportable only to me; four that I be given the right to object on the record to charter and contract renewals and approvals in situations where there is no or limited evidence of effective education for students with disabilities; five that the ARRA dollars (Obama stimulus dollars for special ed) be used for innovation and improvement and not to pay for existing teacher's salaries; six that principals who directly refuse to implement IEP plans for disabled students and attempt to transfer out disabled students without formally requesting additional services from CPS be subject to disciplinary action; and six that the CPS budget reflect the reality of special education teaching positions in schools and no special education administrator, including the Chief Officer, be paid more than the highest paid special education teacher currently working in a school with real students.

    Do you think I have the Job?

    Have a happy New Years I am off to do some night sking in Wisconsin under the lights and a little partying.

    Rod Estvan

  • Rod, all of your conditions are reasonable. Good for you for pointing them out. But your point about people can't be fearful and do good work sums up why CPS is such a disaster now. Who/what is left on a sinking ship?

  • Hopefully in the New Year people start standing up to protect the Children of Chicago. Being afraid of losing your job is not an excuse it is a cop out and blood money.

    Happy New Year
    John Kugler

  • In reply to kuglerjohn:

    Vote out Marilyn from Union President is a one concrete thing that teachers can do to start off the year in February. We need a union that will "out" Daley and Huberman with their games.

  • In reply to kuglerjohn:

    Ron, I think your conditions are wonderful but no I don't think you have the job. CPS does not appreciate people who stand up for the students.

    Best wishes for the New Year to everyone.

  • In reply to kuglerjohn:

    Best wishes to everyone.I was recently told that Marilyn is perceived as a "bad name recognition".Do you think that UPC will still support her as a President?Interesting.I helped her to be voted in and I regret.
    I strongly believe that CTU members should work together,otherwise the public schools system in the City will disappear quickly.

    Chris
    Reassigned teacher,Il certified Director of Special Education ,School Chief Business Official,HS teacher.

  • In reply to kuglerjohn:

    I am completing an initial e-IEP. I am concerned that the minutes are not correct which means the case/work load is not correct. I am recommending that this student receive 300 minutes of pull-out services a week and and receive 400 minutes of services in his general education classroom. The percentage CPS gives on the new e-IEP is 17% because OSS has the computer set up to ONLY count the amount of time student receives services in a separate setting. They use a bell to bell schedule so I guess lunch/washroom/recess counts as instructional time. Students below 20% are treated like the old resource numbers before J-car We do not appear to receive credit for the inclusion time nor the consultive/collaborative time so our case/work loads are treated like resource numbers. Maybe this explains why we have caseload/workload numbers in the 20s in our inclusion programs. The suburbs do not have inclusion case/work loads like CPS.

    The regional monitor came in and audited our school and focused on mundane items not these obvious case/workload violations so I can only assume this is another deliberate attempt by CPS not to open positions in special education.

    I have been waiting since June for the CTU, the Corey H. monitors or ISBE to rectify this situation and it is apparent that nothing will be done until a parent files due process.

  • In reply to kuglerjohn:

    "until a parent files due process."

    How likely is that to happen at your school?

  • In reply to kuglerjohn:

    Parents are quickly becoming aware that due process is free and will likely get them more/better services for their child-CPS will tuition out to a setting in the suburbs with a bus door to door which is always better than an overcrowded self-contained CPS placement in a classroom without a certified teacher, no one to one aides and a spotty transportation system-let's not even mention how unsafe some of our self-contained settings are......a letter came out from OSS today that there are 630 unqualified teachers in CPS and half of them are in the self-contained special education programs.......why would a parent not file due process?

    Tenured teachers need to empower the parents with this information because CPS does not value its experienced special education teachers and could care less when we bring up these issues at local and district meetings. Teachers can not file due process only the parent and CPS relies on parental ignorance to continue the lack of services for our students.

  • In reply to anniesullivan:

    Everyone knows that Daley's CPS experiment is a debacle. Daley is responsible for this debacle. With the debacle getting exposure despite the lock down on information it leaves a lot of people with bad taste in one's mouth, a stench! While more money is needed but the society, the public, foundations, don't want to ante up money for the Daley CPS debacle. Who wants to spend money on the Daley Train Wreck? If CPS was in general a true high performing school district most areas, I figure society would ante up the money because they knew their tax money and foundation money was going to spent on something that works. As long as Daley hires folks like Huberman who follow Daley's Ren 2010, we will have a disheartened and tired public who will not want to bring the funds necessary to meet the needs of the students. Teachers, we need to boot Marilyn Stewart from office. We don't need fear tactics. We need to save public education. Out with Marilyn Stewart. That is one concrete thing that teachers can do.

  • In reply to anniesullivan:

    Due process is NOT FREE, unless you win. Otherwise you are responsible for paying the lawyer who represents you.

  • In reply to youknowwho:

    And even if the parent/guardian wins, the parent/guardian is the one stuck paying for their experts' testimony. It a battle of the experts.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    OK! OSS hacks! Stop flinging the guano! I know parents who have filed due process and have sat in on due process hearings and none of the parents/guardians paid-there are well known law firms who do this pro bono-not to mention the advocay groups-I never haeard of one having expert testimony-usually CPS is so wrong it is a given that the parens/guardians win...OSS needs to stop disseminating erroneous information and start giving services that follow the intent of the law.

  • In reply to anniesullivan:

    Well, someone needs to stop diesseminating erroneous information, but I think that person is you.

    When the IEP team consists of a case manager, special and general ed teachers, a psychologist, social worker, and nurse (all licensed) then CPS has a team of experts.

    A parent would have to assemble a like team of experts to counter what the CPS team has done. That costs a lot of money.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    You are assuming the "experts" recommend services to meet the needs of the child and the services are indeed given-if this were the case CPS would not have the highest amount of due process case in the state of Illinois. You need to read your local newspapers which have run stories on how poor special education services are in CPS.

  • In reply to anniesullivan:

    LOL CPS has the highest amount of due process because CPS has the largest amount of kids. You must not be a math teacher, hehe.

  • In reply to anniesullivan:

    The Family Resource Center on Disablities (FRCD) here in Chicago several years ago did a study of due process decisions in Illinois. They found that parents that represent themselves without counsel only win about 20% of the time, whereas parents who are represented have closer to a 50% chance of wining.

    Currently I do no do due process hearings for families, because Access Living does not have the resources to undertake these cases which can involve dozens upon dozens of hours. I will help families with mediation, and State of Illinois administrative complaints which are less time intensive and cost the families nothing. But there are many cases which require a formal hearing and can not be dealt with using these other approaches. The top special education attornies charge $250 an hour and want several thousand dollars for a retainer fee. There are also several less expensive attornies who are very good, there are some free resources for due process but there are waiting lines for these services.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, do you know anything about atty Carol Ashley? Her name came up at a conference last month about SPED students.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I believe Carol Ashley is with the firm Futterman, Howard, Ashley, Watkins, & Weltman. For fifteen years, the firm represented the Chicago Board of Education in United States v. Chicago Board of Education, 554 F. Supp. 912 (N.D. Ill. 1983) school desegregation lawsuit in which a consent decree was negotiated with the United States in 1980. This is the case that involved the magnet schools that we were all talking about several weeks ago. Eventually CPS began using the firm Shefsky & Frolich in that case. I had not heard the firm was taking cases against CPS.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Thanks, Rod. There was some disturbing information about her affiliation with a CPS school that was cooking the books regarding its SPED services. There's an investigation underway.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Teachers are not licensed...of course anyone who has any experience in special education would wonder why CPS has any due process cases at all .....with its huge law department and large contingent of OSS administrators who are supposed to check over placement decisions...one could also wonder why the Corey H. monitors refuse to remove CPS from their oversight..if all of these experts did right by the children they serve why would we have due process issues...anyone with any type of inferential skills would wonder how a system this large would continue to make such poor decisions regarding its special education children...one could forgive a small rural school system errors in special education delivery but not one as large as CPS...one also needs to wonder why the referral rate for special education is so low this year-another violation ...OSS needs to check the computer data

  • In reply to kuglerjohn:

    "630 unqualified teachers in CPS and half of them are in the self-contained special education programs"

    Isn't that a violation of No Child Left Behind? The "unqualified" part? Rod? Other sped front-liners?

  • 09

    Well in a little more than 4 hours 2009 will be history.
    It seems hard to believe that 10 years have passed since we
    All waited with bated breath to see if the world would stop
    Spinning on this night in 1999.

    My school has had 4 principals since then, almost
    all the people I started with in 1969 are retired.
    Time passes .I wish all my blog buddies a happy new year

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