Should Chicago Teachers Have To Live In Chicago?

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It's an age-old question for Chicago, which is one of few big cities to require teachers to live inside the city limits.  Teachers complain about it.  Once in a while they get caught living outside the city and have to move or leave their jobs.  The recession in making jobs scarcer and the city more expensive.  And now State Sen. Steans has introduced language [Residency Bill SB 3522 (Amendment 1)] that, with the support of the CTU, would remove that requirement.  Does it have a chance?  Would it make a real difference over all?  Why would the Mayor let this happen?  

CALL TO ACTION!

Residency Bill SB 3522
(Amendment 1)

CTU Supports
Sponsor:  Senator Heather
Steans

SB 3522 sponsored by Senator Steans has amended SB
3522 to have the CTU residency language added.  Please call
Senator Steans to thank her for carrying our Residency
Bill.  Also, call the Senate Executive Committee and tell
them to SUPPORT SB 3522.  If you have a personal story,
share it!

Talking Points:
As a condition of employment with the Chicago Public
School (CPS) System, teachers hired after November 20, 1996, are
required to live within the Chicago city limits.  If the
newly hired teacher does not live within the city limits upon
being hired, he/she must do so within six months of being
hired.  If this is not done, the teacher will be
terminated.

Currently, CPS seeks to fill thousands of teacher
positions, but is unable to do so.  The pool is limited
because those highly qualified, certified teachers who may want
to apply do not because, for whatever the reason, do not or
cannot live in Chicago.

Also, newly hired teachers are considered
"Probationary" for their first four years of employment. 
During these four years, the teachers can be terminated without
cause.

CPS seeks to recruit the best and the brightest for
its students. However, because of the potential teacher's zip
code, he/she is unable to teach in Chicago without residing
within the city limits.

Many graduates incur large amounts of student loans
during their schooling.  Upon graduation, they seek
employment, but reside with their parents for a few years. 
If their residency is outside of the Chicago city limits, they
are unable to teach in Chicago Public Schools.

Finally, Chicago teachers are the only teachers in
the entire state that are prohibited from residing outside the
city in which they are employed.  We are only requesting
parity with our peers across the State.

Committee

Position

Last
Name

First
Name

District

Phone

Senate
Executive

Chair

Silverstein

Ira I.

8

217/782-5500

Senate
Executive

Vice-Chair

Hendon

Rickey
R.

5

217/782-6252

Senate Executive

Burzynski

J.
Bradley

35

217/782-1977

Senate Executive

Clayborne

James F.

57

217/782-5399

Senate Executive

Cullerton

John J.

6

217/782-2728

Senate Executive

DeLeo

James A.

10

217/782-1035

Senate Executive

Harmon

Don

39

217/782-8176

Senate Executive

Jones

John O.

54

217/782-0471

Senate Executive

Lightford

Kimberly
A.

4

217/782-8505

Senate Executive

Munoz

Tony

1

217/782-9415

Senate Executive

Pankau

Carole

23

217/782-9463

Senate Executive

Radogno

Christine

41

217/782-9407

Senate Executive

Righter

Dale A.

55

217/782-6674

Comments

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  • After reading the bill I believe the time to move should be changed to the length of the provbationary status. It would allow students to stay at home if they grew up inthe suburbs and give them time to find the right neighborhood and pay some bills.

  • I never hid the fact that I live in Palatine, frankly I thought I was grandfathered, but I missed the cutoff date by a few months. Alas, January 16,2010, I recieve an e-mail stating that I am in violation of the CPS residency rule. Wow! After 13 years of commuting almost 2hours a day, many times a lot longer, CPS finally notices that I dont live in the city. O well, say goodbye to the "much needed black male teacher" who came early to tutor, worked afterschool, Saturday school, coached basketball,football,track,chess; took busloads of students to Bulls, Sox, Cubs, Wolves,Chicago Rush games on my own time, and mostly, my own dime.Ive worked in the toughest schools on the south and west side and I always took on the toughest classes and students. My students test scores were always better than the year before. Well CPS, if I gotta go, I gotta go. Hopefully some surburban school district can find a place for the likes of me.

  • I feel that teachers should live where they want to live. One of the reasons for living in the city is that the income comes back into the city. The problem is that the city has become expensive in some areas. The inexpensive areas can create a long commute and this cost money in productivity and fuel, not to mention that public transportation has been cut. Teachers moving out can cost the city money, but how much? Will Daley's clout stop this bill?
    - Sam

  • I would be so happy to see the residency requirement lifted. My family can't afford a single family home in a Chicago neighborhood that is safe, but could in a nearby suburb. I love the children of Chicago and would prefer to live right down the street from my students, in order to build better relationships with their families. Unfortunately, my school is not in an area I want my children to experience life in. Lift the requirement and keep an excellent teacher!

  • I'd love to see aldermen and committeemen be forced to send their kids to Chicago Public Schools. THEN we'd see changes. So, until this double standard is gone, I'm not sure why teachers have to comply.

  • I did not become a teacher for the pay.I actually enjoy my job. If I dont find a job as a teacher somewhere, then so be it. I do not have kids, 2 dogs and 3 cats. Maybe I should run for Mayor.........O, I would have to live in the city, right? No thanks, too much corruption,graft,taxes,etc. I think I will plant flowers instead.

  • I understand the thinking behind the residency requirement, but as was pointed out above, one could live in the south suburbs in essentially the same community that the school is in, and be fired for it, while another teacher is commuting from Lincoln Park to Washington Heights and complying with the requirement.

    That being said, I don't understand why the union is hooking up with the Steans sisters and their movement to push out experienced teachers just to get a residency requirement lifted. It doesn't matter where we can live if we don't have jobs, does it?

  • I am a CPS teacher and I love my job. Nevertheless, I will leave if the residency requirement is not lifted. My three children all go to a Chicago Public School, albeit a magnet school. Their school is excellent and wonderfully diverse. It is the type of school I always wanted my children to attend. However, high school is just around the corner and there are NO acceptable public high schools in my area (Kelly? Tilden? No thanks). I am not catholic so I am not interested in having my children indoctrinated nor am I willing to gamble that my kids will get accepted into a magnet high school. The Chicago neighborhoods that have good high schools are totally out of my price range. I live in a relatively safe neighborhood by Chicago standards. Even so, my kids can not ride their bikes down our street because of the gang bangers that live at the end of the block and the small time drug dealer that lives across the street. Last summer some guy shot a bullet through my first floor window. So if this is the type of life I have to look forward to living in Bridgeport, then I say, "No thanks". I feel guilty to leave my students because they do need me and I adore them but I can no longer sacrifice my family's happiness and safety.

  • In reply to RayJay:

    Re: Kelly
    A few years ago the U of C did a study of student academic growth over four years at every CPS high school. The top 5:

    Northside College Prep
    Whitney Young
    Jones College Prep
    Lincoln Park
    Kelly High School

    Kelly also has...

    *the highest teacher retention rate among all CPS high schools
    *IB, AP, & honors programs and classes
    *AVID
    *world travel clubs
    *performing arts in band, orchestra, chorus, and drama
    *an elite debate team, often considered the best in the city
    *the #2 chess team in the city
    *an annual musical theater production
    *social justice clubs
    *After School Matters programs in flamenco dance & lifeguarding
    *science, math, and writing clubs
    *peer mentoring
    *student cultural organizations
    *a Mariachi band
    *a major Radio/TV facility and program
    *tech courses, including network design offerings
    *a computer tech club
    *an active poetry club
    *an improv troupe
    *graduates at colleges like Northwestern University, DePaul, Denison, UW-Madison, DePauw, Carleton, etc.
    *a popular dance club
    *martial arts
    *extensive sports programs
    *large numbers of ACT prep courses
    *constant and accessible free tutoring
    *a very strong staff of both veteran and newer teachers
    *etc., etc., etc.

    I grew up in the suburbs and also teach at Kelly. I only wish I had the kinds of opportunities Kelly offers, both academic and extracurricular, when I was in school.

  • In reply to RayJay:

    I was unaware about the U of C study. If it's accurate, there's a strong argument that Kelly is the best school in the city. I mean, the fact that schools that handpick students who perform well on tests continue to perform well on tests is not nearly as impressive as an overcrowded neighborhood school with open doors performing so well...

  • In reply to RayJay:

    I am very happy to hear that I am misinformed about Kelly High School. I guess I am guilty of basing my assumptions on what I have heard and on state report cards. You should know that I am not alone in my misconceptions. I don't know anyone in my neighborhood who has willingly sent their kids to Kelly. They have either sent them all the way to Kennedy, to Juarez, or to a Catholic high school. So...you need to get the word out - I am glad I know now -it makes me feel better knowing that my kids have better options. Nevertheless, my neighborhood is a real neighborhood and one that I have lived in for over 15 years. I have put a huge investment into my neighborhood. When I moved there, we lived next door to the head gang banger. The years my house remained vacant, made it a perfect hangout for them. Needless to say, there was alot of drug dealing going on and several shootings in front of my building. I worked with my community to solve our gang problems. I worked with caps, our alderman, and my neighbors. We had sit ins on gang corners and organized phone trees for when there was trouble. So I really resent it when xianb implies that I am fleeing the city. On the contrary, I have worked very hard to make it a better place and my kids know that and admire the fact that I never gave up. But you know what? That bullet that went through my window last summer just put things into perspective. I want my kids to know that it is important to work hard to acheive the things you want but I also do not want them dead. All I want is to be able to teach in the city without feeling like my family is being held hostage.

  • In reply to RayJay:

    Kelly is amazing, especially considering how overcrowded they are. I would send my child there if there were a chance for him to survive three more years of CPS. I dont blame you, though, for wanting to flee the neighborhood after the bullet hit your window.

  • In reply to RayJay:

    For teachers, I see no reason for a residency requirement. I can understand having it for safety personnel such as police officers and firefighters. That requirement was put in way back when people were concerned about massive middle-class flight out of the city. Fact is, today, that is not nearly as large of a concern.

    I really don't understand why a teacher who lives in Austin is going to be a lot better than one who lives just over the border in Oak Park or Berwyn.

  • In reply to RayJay:

    It seems to me that CPS teachers are not reading newspapers, or watching the news, because literally hundreds upon hundreds of suburban teachers will be laid off at the end of June this year. Among these teachers will be highly qualified special education, math, and science teachers. There may be no teacher shortages in Chicago in the near future because there will be a glut of teachers statewide and CPS could well have fewer positions.

    Most of the suburban layoffs are for first and second year non-tenured teachers, an example of this was the decision by Carpentersville District 300 yesterday to layoff 112 of these first and second year teachers in June. District 300 has 1,335 teachers so the cut is equal to 8.4% of that districts

  • In reply to RayJay:

    Please don't confuse CPS teachers with the CTU leadership.

    Talking to teachers in the schools, many are aware of both the lies of the budget situation and the problems with focusing on the residency issue in a time like this.

  • I don't see the problem with Kelly. We work with them frequently on a number of collaborations including our New Orleans trip and Exchange Neighborhoods. It seems like an outstanding school. Can't your children learn to improve their community rather than fleeing elsewhere?

  • Is it true that Francis Xaxier Ward School was founded with the help of Maggie Daley. Did she send her kids there? or possibly her grandchildren?

  • I think everyone has a right to their private life and if that includes a house in the suburbs, then so be it. Isn't teaching hard enough without an additional restriction on what for most people is a private matter?

    On the other hand, as a City employee (with a residency requirement), I do think that the residency requirement has probably spurred me to be a more active and involved community member than I might have been without the requirement. There are not many places in the city I could afford to move to that I would want to live in aside from my neighborhood and thus it is in my best interest to make sure my neighborhood is clean and safe and welcoming.

    Bottom line? I just don't want the really great 5th grade teacher at my kid's school who lives in Naperville to have to leave her job over this - she is irreplaceable!

  • I think everyone has a right to their private life and if that includes a house in the suburbs, then so be it. Isn't teaching hard enough without an additional restriction on what for most people is a private matter?

    On the other hand, as a City employee (with a residency requirement), I do think that the residency requirement has probably spurred me to be a more active and involved community member than I might have been without the requirement. There are not many places in the city I could afford to move to that I would want to live in aside from my neighborhood and thus it is in my best interest to make sure my neighborhood is clean and safe and welcoming.

    Bottom line? I just don't want the really great 5th grade teacher at my kid's school who lives in Naperville to have to leave her job over this - she is irreplaceable!

  • I think everyone has a right to their private life and if that includes a house in the suburbs, then so be it. Isn't teaching hard enough without an additional restriction on what for most people is a private matter?

    On the other hand, as a City employee (with a residency requirement), I do think that the residency requirement has probably spurred me to be a more active and involved community member than I might have been without the requirement. There are not many places in the city I could afford to move to that I would want to live in aside from my neighborhood and thus it is in my best interest to make sure my neighborhood is clean and safe and welcoming.

    Bottom line? I just don't want the really great 5th grade teacher at my kid's school who lives in Naperville to have to leave her job over this - she is irreplaceable!

  • They shoudl have to live in the limits the same reasons other city employees must live within the city limits: you are more invested in your own community.
    We have several longer term teachers at our school who, therefore, were grandfathered in and this is what we get:
    a) conferences must end by 4pm so they can get home;
    b) they refuse to participate in ANY after hours programming, such as science nights, or reading nights
    c) they don't give a rat about improving CPS, after all, their kid went to New Trier and never had to worry about the public/private issues of the rest of the people who live in the city.
    So yes, they should continue to live in the City. Thanks for reminding me to write a note to Heather Steans about it.

  • You know, most teachers have this feeling about students: we love them like we love our own kids. I know I do. There may be a handful of slackers, and believe me, they need to be fired. But most of us, we really go above and beyond. We care deeply about the students and their families. We give hours and hours beyond the school day. Stop lumping all of us together in one basket. My family couldn't afford a studio apartment in Winnetka on my salary, so my kids would never attend New Trier. We are just looking for a high school that is not super competitive, but good just the same.
    The teachers who care, they care. And the ones who don't, don't. Where we live is not a measure of our love or our skill.
    We know the awful budget cuts coming down the line are going to hurt students in big ways. It is like watching a tsunami coming towards the school system and being unable to do much to help.

  • Rod, I agree with you!

  • What this really is about is veteran CPS teachers (expensive) vs new CPS teachers (inexpensive)! It's all about economic, so CPS can save money! P.S.- Out with the old and in with the new!

  • You will more likely lose your job IF the residency requirement is removed right now. Why did you buy a house so soon? You should have waited for tenure. You were lucky to get another position--there are 100s of teachers with tenure and mortgages who cannt find a job and will be dischreged in June and have health insurance for only 18 months with a monthly fee. Talk is that CPS will deny unemployment for these teachers since they can get jobs in charter schools.

  • I am not affected by the residency rule, but I don't understand why ANY teacher would be for it--especially as it stands. Doesn't it bother you that some of us can move ANYWHERE we want to, while others are forced to stay in the city. It is a totally discriminatory policy. If you are lucky enough to be in a high needs area, you can live where you want, but a teacher teaching in an area where there's a surplus of teachers HAS to live in the city. I can't believe that policy is even legal!!!
    Yes--this is a strange time to bring it up with all the other problems facing us--but it is ALSO a good time. The Board is going to have to give us some concessions if they expect US to make concessions. With a possible wage freeze facing us, and a raise in state income taxes, we will be losing income. We need some concessions in return, and I, for one, do NOT like the fact that the Board has the right to tell SOME (NOT ALL) teachers where to live. Their justification is flimsy to say the least. Many of the teacher that I know who do not live in the city are just as dedicated to the kids of Chicago as those that do. In addition, they are usually at school earlier than their city counterparts BECAUSE of their commute time. As to the idea that they should be taxpayers of the city, that is just hogwash. Who else besides city workers are expected to pay their own salary? It's ridiculous and to accept the flawed reasoning behind this law is unthinkable.

  • Its pretty simple. If you dont like the policy then get on monster.com, hotjobs.com, and start sending your resume to the suburbs. Go move to the suburbs you wish and work there.

    Could you imagine all the fustration you will save yourself.

    All I see above is a bunch of selfish teachers who want their cake and eat it too. Whats so complicated about that?

    I agree with the Mayor 100% on this one and I am glad he has the backbone to stand against the selfish, CTU! We in the city needs the money now more then ever!

  • By the way I went to CPS Schools and I remember the numerous teachers who came to school only for a paycheck? Others only because they could not get a job is some other profession and no interest whatsoever in teaching or really helping the students and communites they served. Ask them to stay after school and they complain. Many in the system with fat pensions because of CTU.

    Does anyone know what the % of CPS Teachers that actually send their kids to CPS Schools is right now? I would be its below 10%. Why would that be? Why do most send there own kids to private schools?

  • In reply to JoeyReed:

    Your description of your experiences in CPS is an indictment of failed principal leadership, not a commentary on tenure.

    Also, the average CTPF pension payout is about $35,000, hardly a fat pension in my book, but perhaps you consider that extravagant. And even though the CTU is currently corrupt, incompetent, and none-too-bright the pension system is also supported by the Chicago Public Schools and the state legislature. (And the CTU is by far the weak link in that trio.)

    I don't know what percentage of CPS teachers send their children to CPS schools. But, anecdotally, literally all the teachers I know send their own children to CPS schools. I have neighbors who send their children to private schools primarily to keep them away from the "riff raff", not really for academic or curricular reasons.

    But, if you want to blame all this on teachers, well, ok.

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