Adding Non-Teaching Staff To LSCs

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I'm told that there's a proposal working its way through the legislature to add a non-teaching staff member to the composition of local school councils (LCSs) and that this is a bad thing because it would undo the parent majority that has made LSCs such an important part of the success of so many Chicago schools.  Is that right?  Do LSCs really matter any more, given how many schools are on probation and how many LSCs are under the thumb of their principals?  What's so bad about having a clerk or aide or even a crossing guard on an LSC, anyway?  Seems sort of snobby to leave them out.  Read below for all the details, then tell me how wrong I am.
Here's the email:

Did you know the effective operations and parent majority of LSCs
are currently under attack?
HB6017 calls for
adding "one member" of "non-teaching staff" to serve on every LSC. It
has already passed quietly, unnoticed in the House, and there is a
Senate hearing on it tomorrow, Thursday April 29 at 3:30 PM
.
While teacher aides, who do have contact with
children are included in this description, so are office clerks, truant
officers, computer technicians, driver education teachers, stadium
directors, audiometric and vision screening technicians and library
assistants. And the law is written so vaguely that it could apply to the
security guard, the bus monitor, the lunchroom manager, the janitor,
etc. 
Please urge your constituents to contact their
Senators to take this bill off the table. 
This
legislation was proposed by the CTU (Chicago Teacher's Union), who also
represents dues-paying "non-teaching" members. The fact that the CTU is
framing this as an issue of equity and lack of inclusion is
disingenuous when (1) they neglected to point out the existing voting
rights of staff to legislators and (2) no LSC, parent or community input
was sought in regards to HB6017. 
The IL School Code specifics clearly that all
non-teaching staff that work more than 2.5 days per week in an
attendance area are eligible to vote in the teacher LSC election. If
this doesn't happen consistently across the city, this is an awareness
problem, not a legislative issue.
Adding a 12th member to elementary LSCs will create
gridlock with an even number of voting members, hindering effective
operations of all LSCs. CPS, who we know is already not crazy about
LSCs, is not-so surprisingly quiet on their position to HB6017. 
The bill (and its intent) supports having an office
clerk serve on the LSC. This the same clerk who is supposed to report on
the finances to the LSC and is going to serve as oversight for his or
herself? This is a clear conflict of interest. 
See PURE's blog post on this and note the Senate
Education committee members: 
See text of bill (underlined):
As PURE points out, this would obliterate the parent
majority on LSCs -- or, the constituency with the most at stake in a
school community. 
I am thoroughly disgusted
that at a time when the CTU should be decking their time and resources
to lobby for fixing school funding so that the education and futures of
the city's children are not at risk that they choose instead to curry
favor with their "non-teaching" dues-paying members. With the impending
budget cuts, soon there will be no one left in the schools but the
office clerk, an engineer, a security guard and a janitor.
Please share and encourage action. 

Comments

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  • If it's true that parents right now have a guaranteed majority on the LSC, that's a bad thing. It only reinforces the idea that schools are only for those attending them, and have little to no use to anyone not using them.

  • Actually it doesn't address it at all. My concern, if it's true, and I've not verified the LSC law, is that all of the community all over Chicago is paying for the schools. Everyone has an interest in how the schools are run, not just the parents. In fact, I do not believe that the parents are always the most tightly aligned with the school and society's primary goal.

    This is why I support an elected school board (with teeth) for all of CPS.

  • I have to wonder if anyone who is bashing LSC's and their importance have ever taken the time to serve on an LSC. The disfunctional LSC's are the exception to the rule. A well run LSC can bring enormous benefits to the school, staff, parents and entire community. Our LSC literally had to save or program when CPS put in unqualified acting principal. I'm sorry but I truly think that the teacher representatives can adequately represent the interest of the non-teaching (janitor, teacher aid, clerical, cafeteria staff,etc). They have a voice, they vote for the teachers (and they are often also parents so they vote there too). Indeed in schools where there are large numbers of non-teacher staff they can have a profound influence (for better or worse) on the teachers that are selected.

  • To help the parents on the LSC understand what is needed in a classroom.

    I have served as a parent when the LSC was first created. Now I serve as a teacher rep. I don't feel like I am wasting my time. Not back in 1989 nor now.

    The proposed added member would make the entire LSC a 12 voting board. That is 6 parents, 2 community members, 2 teachers, the principal and then this added member.
    When it comes to voting on important matters such as the Budget and SIPAA or hiring a new principal, you have the chance of being deadlocked. Not good when you are talking about the education of children who are our future.

  • Non-teaching staff are NOT under-represented when it comes to public schooling. CHILDREN are under-represented. Keeping the parent majority on LSCs helps balance that.

    Including non-teaching staff on all LSCs is NOT a move inherently designed to promote better educational outcomes for children. It is a move to provide value to Chicago Teacher's Union dues-paying members, whose economic self-interests can potentially run counter to that of educating children.

  • P.S. I truly hope the union members oust Marilyn Stewart in favor of a far more enlightened group to lead the CTU. Then hopefully we can have real discussions about equity, representation and collaboration between stakeholders.

  • I was working with my students on this bill and they said that they supported the adding of another group as "everyone should be represented", but wanted more student reps with voting power at the high school level.

    I'm not sure how I feel about the existing legislation. It seems like it'd be good to have more people who understand what is going on daily at the classroom level, but I understand what the parent advocates are saying as well.

  • Hurray for Anonymous posturing. Typical UPC fear environment.

    The amount of money saved by those referenda is minuscule compared to the money our leadership is squandering by lying down while our positions are cut and closed or when they are fined for breaking the law. Hey, the first referendum saves less money that it would save to simply stop paying the Mayor of whatever suburb to post cropped pictures of the leadership in glossy on every page.

    I think most of us had less problems with the referenda and more with the long-term style of our leadership to silence our voices and tell us how we are to vote instead of telling us why and letting us decide.

    xian from CORE

  • Huh? What? Huh?

  • And again with the anonymous making stuff up...

    All we asked for was that the union leadership do what every union in the country does--have a strike fund and committee ready in the event that we are put in a position that we might need to strike. It's not about striking--it's about having the basic competence to support our membership in being prepared for whatever comes us.

    Instead, we've been stuck with constant losses in our basic rights. This is why UPC's fliers are full of "accomplishments" like "we file a grievance for you once in a while" and "if we like you we might actually pick up the cell phone you pay for and call you back while you are fighting for your job against an unjust disciplinary sanction" and "I like pie" or whatever is on their latest expensive glossy diatribe. I personally was impressed that they found some really live maggots (meal worms?) for their photo shoot.

    In the meantime, they've given away our pensions--Marilyn actual said in our school, "Don't worry, no one in the room will be affected by the two-tier pension plan!" Our student teachers were not amused. And people wonder why "the younger teachers don't get unionism".

    They can't be bothered to actually do any research or challenge the board of education on much of anything of substance.

    We've lost every major piece of legislation, even while we are told to thank the main sponsors of these bills destroying our profession (who our PAC gives tons of money to--see Steans).

    Obviously, I think that CORE is already doing the best job on these issues of any of the caucuses, but I'd be happy to admit that any of the opposition caucuses is doing a better job than our "Oh crap, the dog ate our entire defense of our profession" union leadership.

    I'm sick of sitting in meetings with administrators and district leadership making fun of our union leadership and thanking them for their "work".

    I'm proud to be a CTU member; I'd like to be proud of our union leadership again.

    xian from CORE

  • All staff get two votes for two LSC teacher reps. This discourages representation of a minority viewpoint since they can elect a slate of two like-minded people. Parent majority promotes cross-pollination of views, conversations and collaboration with teachers and staff.

    Over the years, I've seen a minority of staff (but enough to be worrisome) not communicate with parents if they didn't "have" to. Against CPS rules, I guess, I call (and get calls from) teachers and staff on via cell and personal email. We've either developed a good working relationship or maybe they want my ear because I am on the LSC. Legislating more staff members on an LSC will fuel staff/parent divides, dissuade communication and at the elementary level, create a 12 member council that could lead to repeated 6 vs. 6 gridlock.

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