AM News: The Teacher Layoff "Shuffle"

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Thousands of teachers let go, but a lucky few rehired Tribune:  More
teachers are being laid off, and proportionately fewer are expected to
be called back than normal... CPS Foreign Language Classes Face Cuts Sun Times:  Elementary-age children would no longer have a chance to learn a
foreign language at their neighborhood public school under a
decision to dump "world languages" to save $3.5 million.. Student charged with having gun outside high school Tribune:  
17-year-old Chicago Public School student was ordered held on $20,000
bail today after she was charged with having a gun in her purse outside
Chicago Vocational Career Academy, officials said... Young Women's Leadership Renewal In Jeopardy Chicago Journal:  The
student body's scores on tests remain far below the
average for Illinois and even Chicago Public Schools, and the school
has been placed on state-defined academic watch status. Now, with the
charter school up for its five-year assessment, Sawyer says its status
is in jeopardy...  Voting in favor of bad schools
Tribune:  She
was a quiet, dignified African-American, perhaps early 40s. Her eyes
had spark and she seemed determined, both good signs. But the
desperation in her voice was overpowering.
"I need money to move."
I was just 23 years old then, a rookie management... Teachers at Chicago's first union-backed charter school reach tentative contract agreement
Catalyst:  The agreement calls for a significantly longer school day with daily
professional development, revamped teacher evaluation and a remediation
process that allows for quick dismissal of under-performing teachers....

Health eating and cooking classes on Chicago Park District menu
Tribune:  Elesabeth
Bacherta held up a large, thick-skinned fruit and asked the 14 kids
seated at a table and squirming with pent-up energy to guess what it
"Um, coconut?" offered one.
"No," she countered gently, "It's a papaya." It has the most vitamin C
of... TIF Boundaries Bother Parents Chicago Journal:  When
dollars from the city's tax increment financing districts are used to build schools, residents
living inside of the district funding the construction sometimes demand
their kids get access to the new facility... New education grads discouraged by Chicago-area prospects Tribune:  As
districts hand pink slips to teachers across the state, Wittenberg, a
senior at Illinois State University, is applying for jobs in Texas and
South Carolina because she said that school districts there are hungry
for teachers.

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  • THIS IS CRAZY!!! I've said it once and I'll say it again, don't believe the hype. CPS gave those numbers to the Tribune. They published it and now Thousands of teachers have lost their jobs??? PLEASE wake up people. Hooterman and his office are pulling all the punches to keep you scard to death. Thousands have not lost their jobs......this is a FACT!! As I said earlier in the week the alledged numbers and reporting is becoming more preposterous as the days go by.

    So now, cutting foreign language classes will save CPS 3.5 million??? But we've never heard how much money was saved from the 500+ layoffs.

  • Huberman and his staff took huge raises this year. Gotta pay for them somehow.

  • Ron Huberman, Chief Executive Officer for the Chicago Public Schools is a fool and a liar!

  • What side of town is school located??? Any school that has a budget that does not affect the full staff is a school that has received private money from a philanthropist or state/government grant. Some schools have grant money that will impact staff. Unfortunately most of those grants/donations do not reach certain areas.

  • Well said......

  • Thank you for saying this. I wrote a similar thing on NPN (Northside Parents Network) and got slammed as being "us versus them." That's not the case. But I, like you, truly believe that the playing field is not leveled at all. It is crazy to pour so much MORE into magnets and SEs for a select few and let the neighborhoods schools suffer. I've read on cpsobsessed that RGCs are also keeping full-day kindergarten and some are still able to keep class size down. How is this possible? IF they're "gifted" children, shouldn't they be able to handle a few more kids in their classrooms? It's programs like having Chinese that have made schools like Alcott more popular -- and better supported.

  • I'll give you six reasons:

    1. Lack of originality:
    Noted quality expert Joseph M. Juran has described Six Sigma as "a basic version of quality improvement", stating that "[t]here is nothing new there. It includes what we used to call facilitators. They've adopted more flamboyant terms, like belts with different colors. I think that concept has merit to set apart, to create specialists who can be very helpful. Again, that's not a new idea. The American Society for Quality long ago established certificates, such as for reliability engineers."

    2. Role of consultants:
    The use of "Black Belts" as itinerant change agents has (controversially) fostered a cottage industry of training and certification. Critics argue there is overselling of Six Sigma by too great a number of consulting firms, many of which claim expertise in Six Sigma when they only have a rudimentary understanding of the tools and techniques involved.

    3. Potential negative effects:
    A Fortune article stated that "of 58 large companies that have announced Six Sigma programs, 91 percent have trailed the S&P 500 since". The statement is attributed to "an analysis by Charles Holland of consulting firm Qualpro (which espouses a competing quality-improvement process)." The summary of the article is that Six Sigma is effective at what it is intended to do, but that it is "narrowly designed to fix an existing process" and does not help in "coming up with new products or disruptive technologies." Advocates of Six Sigma have argued that many of these claims are in error or ill-informed.
    A BusinessWeek article says that James McNerney's introduction of Six Sigma at 3M may have had the effect of stifling creativity. It cites two Wharton School professors who say that Six Sigma leads to incremental innovation at the expense of blue-sky work. This phenomenon is further explored in the book, Going Lean, which describes a related approach known as lean dynamics and provides data to show that Ford's "6 Sigma" program did little to change its fortunes.

    4. Based on arbitrary standards:
    While 3.4 defects per million opportunities might work well for certain products/processes, it might not operate optimally or cost effectively for others. A pacemaker process might need higher standards, for example, whereas a direct mail advertising campaign might need lower standards. The basis and justification for choosing 6 (as opposed to 5 or 7, for example) as the number of standard deviations is not clearly explained. In addition, the Six Sigma model assumes that the process data always conform to the normal distribution. The calculation of defect rates for situations where the normal distribution model does not apply is not properly addressed in the current Six Sigma literature.

    5. Criticism of the 1.5 sigma shift:
    The statistician Donald J. Wheeler has dismissed the 1.5 sigma shift as "goofy" because of its arbitrary nature. Its universal applicability is seen as doubtful.
    The 1.5 sigma shift has also become contentious because it results in stated "sigma levels" that reflect short-term rather than long-term performance: a process that has long-term defect levels corresponding to 4.5 sigma performance is, by Six Sigma convention, described as a "6 sigma process." The accepted Six Sigma scoring system thus cannot be equated to actual normal distribution probabilities for the stated number of standard deviations, and this has been a key bone of contention about how Six Sigma measures are defined. The fact that it is rarely explained that a "6 sigma" process will have long-term defect rates corresponding to 4.5 sigma performance rather than actual 6 sigma performance has led several commentators to express the opinion that Six Sigma is a confidence trick.

    6. It was designed for manufacturing inorganic products, not for educating amazingly complex children.

  • Wrong. Class size DOES matter:

    Myth: Reductions in class size have very little impact on student achievement.

    Reality: Studies have consistently identified a positive relationship between reduced class size and improved student performance.

    Results from the Tennessee Project STAR (Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio) study have continually demonstrated that reducing class sizes in grades K-3 to 13-17 students substantially increases children's reading and mathematics scores. These gains are particularly significant among minority and economically disadvantaged students. The Project STAR results have been confirmed by many other researchers, including those studying Wisconsin's SAGE (Student Achievement Guarantee in Education) Program, and in the CSR Research Consortium's early analysis of the California class-size reduction effort. As in Project STAR, students participating in the SAGE and California class-size reduction programs outperformed their counterparts in larger classrooms on standardized tests. In both the Tennessee and Wisconsin efforts, these benefits were strongest among African-American students who had larger gains than their white counterparts, again suggesting that reduced class sizes are a highly effective method of closing the "achievement gap" between black and white students.

    The Administration's proposal to reauthorize ESEA and the Class-Size Reduction Program represents an effort to expand the success of these programs in schools across the country. The proposal would focus class-size reduction on the early grades, 1-3, particularly in high-poverty communities that are most in need of support and where the research shows that dollars can have the greatest impact on student performance.

  • Not all schools get a big junk of discretionary money. SGSA is tied to free & reduced lunch and the amount per student has been reduced.

  • Anyone can take the results of a study and twist it. Class size does not matter when you have 30 students and add 5 more. This is what many are using for the basis of higher class size.
    Lower the class size to 15-20 and you will see great results. Add 7 more students to that class and the results will begin to drop.
    Of course no study takes into account the struggling, ELL, or special ed student.

  • It's just the anonymity conferred by the internet. It really doesn't have anything to do with teachers or any other profession. I've seen nastiness in just about every subgroup out there. If people were in a room, face to face, I don't imagine they'd be nearly as nasty as they are on the internet.

  • In reply to cermakRd:

    i agree. but sometimes there should be a little more productive contention in the room, face to face.

    Why is it considered bad form to call bad ideas bad? Why is it bad form to criticize other teachers? I've certainly known more than a few who deserved some criticism. And i've certainly heard a lot of ideas during my time at cps that deserved some hard criticism.

    The idea that i'll walk lock-step with any group, including my profession, is foreign to me. I have my education to thank for that.

    People need to grow thicker skin and learn that their feelings aren't nearly as important to the rest of the world as they've been led to believe.

  • I would think ability tracking would be a way to massively improve student achievement, particularly for students who arrive at school already prepared for their grade level.

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