Weekend Open Comments

All week long we've been talking about the school day, the CTU conflict with CPS and vice versa, and a bunch of other things, but there's probably a lot of other things going on that are just as if not more important or interesting.  How did the first full week of school go, for example?  How's your new teacher, principal, colleague, office-mate? Anything that the news is missing, or that I've neglected to put up here?  Let us know.  Either way, enjoy the weekend.  Remember you can comment anonymously (see instructions at the top), use your real email but not your real name (the email doesn't show up), or create a fake email and use that.

Filed under: Communities & CBOs


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  • I would love to talk about my first full week at school, but I can't. I was one of the summer lay off victims. Never thought after 12 years teaching in CPS that I would miss my kids and colleagues as much as I do.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I know how you feel. Same here..I can't tell you about the first week. I was layed off also. So much for CPS saying they won't make cuts in special education. My collegues have kept in touch and told me how hard and unfair it is to the students. Fifty-two kids with IEPs from K-8 and only two teachers. Not to mention an autistic child new in kindergarten, low-functioning, and the Board denied him a para! Wow, and we're bad teachers, and the Board wants what is "best" for the kids of Chicago.

  • In reply to displacedteach:

    I'm sure Emanuel and Brizard are concerned about the sped students' civil rights and education access being denied. Right?

    Hmmm. The sound of silence.

  • In reply to displacedteach:

    I am very sorry you lost your job. I am in SPED, also. I keep hearing these awful stories about huge caseloads in CPS. The parents of the childern at your school need to file due process. I am sure your co-workers can put them in touch with advocacy groups/attorneys who do this pro bono.

    Please retype your posting in the SPED central section of this blog so that all SPED irregularities can be tracked.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    There is no such thing any more as a case load. ISBE removed the concept from the rules over Access Living's objections and the objections of numerous advocates for students with disabilities. There are now for the most part class sizes and these class sizes are only for each period of time.

    So whether or not the practice at any one school is in violation of the state rules depends on how many children with IEPs the special education teachers is responsible for at a particular moment in time not based on a total case load.

    I am not defending the practice or whether or not it is good for students, but that is the new rule.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I do understand what you are saying BUT the suburbs do not have the workloads we have because the districts sat down and hammered out J-CAR rules so that two teachers would never be responsible for 52 students and UNLESS half are consultative the situation is impossible.

    We are told not to write in consultative/collaboration minutes on the IEPs because we can not show the time yet in order for inclusion to work we must consult with either other providers and the gen ed teachers.

    I am not meeting my minutes and I refuse to decrease minutes to meet CPS' needs -it is the child's needs
    I need to be concerned about but it seems as if this situation since the J-CAR ruling has become uglier and uglier with CPS reducing staff to child ratio at a rate which I have never seen in all my years with CPS.

    Also, I have not seen the clinicians' workload increase since J-CAR just the SPED teachers...why is that?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Anyway you look at it, the kids are getting the shaft. I think about my students everyday and wonder how they'll make it through this school year. I had a handful of kids who really needed that extra support: checking in with me in the morning; coming in early so they can get organized or get that little bit of extra help and now they have nothing. It's sad and pathetic, not to mention it really angers me when I hear video bytes about how the teachers got raises and the kids got the "shaft". Yeah, they did, but it wasn't me who shafted them. It was the wonderful BOE and the system that did it to them.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Because the rule only applied to certified special education teachers not psychologists, speech therapists, social workers, etc.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to displacedteach:

    Both of the SECAs at our school were "let go" because they weren't bilingual. One of them was a one-to-one aide to an Afro-American child. The other one was servicing children that had no stipulation in their IEP for a bilingual aide. Our school is approximately 56% Hispanic and 43% Afro-American.

  • Here's a tidbit: I have heard from colleagues at a couple of schools that high schools are getting the extended day "offer" dangled in front of them, too. Apparently 60 minutes, and of course, no plan for the time -schools can supposedly decide how to spend it. Look, we know the extended day is likely a done deal for next year, but this push after school has started is just plain unprofessional and makes the system look like it doesn't know it's right hand from it's left. Kids need structure, and this isn't how to provide it. Really, just how well thought-out will any extra time be if it is rushed into like that? Needless to say, I have also heard that the teachers are not taking the bait.
    And to the displaced teachers above: You are in a difficult situation, but try to stay positive and keep looking. I was in your position a while back, but ended up at a great school.

  • Alex, you overlooked cuts at the Network/Area offices. My understanding is that a letter went out and all the coaches are done as of Oct. There will only be 5 positions remaining in the Networks. I am wondering if you have heard anything about the new structure...also what will happen with SSA's?

  • In reply to Charlie:

    Glad the bilingual coordinators and SSAs are going. Waste of time and money. One smart move--love to see them back in the classrooms and cover all the requirements they tell us about but will not help us with them or even give us wrong information.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Our SSA is useless and could not teach in a self-contained room if her life depended on it but she has a lot of nasty comments to make about other teachers. Please put her in my school-poetic justice. We will be only be too happy to tell her that the child who is not toilet trained does not need a SECA, and that she should read her college behavior management book so she can handle the child who is threatening to kill the other children and to hurry up and complete 35 page IEPs for her 16 children. On second thought, don't put her at my school, the children have been abused by this woman enough.

  • In reply to Charlie:

    Dear Charlie, yes I heard the same thing. Everyone's last day in the Network?Area offices is October 15th. Their health and benefits end on October 31st. There is the school chief and 5 positions. But here is the kicker, the area people that CPS liked, they told them to turn in an applications by noon on Monday (everybody was fired that Friday) and they were able to get a new position! Don't you just love CPS!

  • Please tell me the Area 11 SSA has been sent packing...I am so tired of receiving incorrect information from her...her level of ineptitude is embarrassing...CPS keeps moving her from various geographic areas due to principal complaints but like an old ex she just keeps hangin' on...

  • Please, we will not miss the SSAs because they are superfluous.
    We need one to one aides not more bureaucratic layers.

  • What's up over at Catalyst's website?A redesign? It seems the blog postings there no longer show comments. That was the most interesting part. Any ideas?

  • Hi... Thanks for noticing. This is not an entire redesign, just changing to an easier to use web publishing format. The comments will be returning. It is just a kink that need to be worked out. Let us know if you notice anything else that needs fixing.

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