Weekend Suggestion Box

What's on your mind, or should be on ours, besides the things we're already talking about like waivers, central office cuts, and all the rest?  This is the place to talk about or suggest new or different topics that aren't getting the attention they deserve.  I'm also still looking for a handful of always-important topics that should have their own page like the SPED Central page above.  Should we have a page for CO stuff, or for charters, or for CTU issues?  I'm open to your ideas.  Not everything that's going on in CPS is suited to a fast-moving attention-deficit blog format.

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  • How many displaced teachers are still out of work?
    Why are we still hiring teachers?
    Why are we hiring provisionally certified teachers especially in special education when so many special education teachers are out of work?
    Why doesn't CPS investigate the south side school where 28 teachers/ESPs have left?
    How many veteran teachers have signed up to retire in 2012?
    Does CPS have a plan in place to replace these teachers?
    How does a teacher find out how much money his school gets for special education?

  • good questions! a few more:

    How bad can this get? The public sentiment toward teachers is downright frightening. Will our union hold together? Are we doomed? What is the worst case scenario for our pensions? I have over 30 years and it has never been this bad.

    The only upside - I think Rahm is a one-term mayor. The unions will turn on him they way he turned on us.

  • Did you see Mary Mitchell's column about CTU? After the mayor cursed out Lewis, Mitchell said we need to be bullied. Even she is against us. Lord have mercy.

  • Those are great questions. I would like answers to them also. It is such a shame because our students need social workers, nurses, speech therapists and OTs. Our speech therapist has a caseload of 73 students! Come on. Who can drive to 3 schools, service the students and do all that paper that is required? The teachers at my school do not know what is going on at all. No one reads this blog or Substance that I can tell. We should be part of the planning of a longer day and we should be asked what we need. Rahm has no clue what inner city students need much less their families. How about showers, washers and dryers for a start!

  • Dear Alexander, you should post Ben Joravsky's article in the current Chicago Reader Newspaper entitled "Mayor Emanuel's guide to union busting: just do it for the kids". Ben writes, "But don't let anyone fool you-this fight over the school day is not about kids. It's a political power play by a crafty mayor who's looking to undercut the teachers union, one of the few sources of potential opposition left in this town. He vowed that he would lengthen the day if elected. He didn't talk about what students would do with that extra time, since he didn't actually know. Nor did he show any interest in hiring more art, music, and drama teachers so the extra time would be particularly worthwhile. He and his sidekicks in the central office of the Chicago Public Schools have miraculously discovered enough money in their budgets-the one they could only balance by raising property taxes-to give teachers a one-year, 2 percent raise (bonus or bribe) if they break from Lewis and vote for the longer day. It's amazing how they always manage to find a little more fat in a budget that's been cut to the bone. By pressuring teachers to vote to waive the union contract and work the longer day, Emanuel is urging teachers to break ranks from their union at the very moment the union and board are sitting down to negotiate a new contract to replace the existing one that expires next June. But then, like I was telling you, this really isn't about the kids. It's about adults using kids to amass more power."

  • Dear Alexander, there are two press release by the CTU website that you should also post. The first one is entitled "115 elementary schools ignore cash incentives and threats and vote "no" to wavier". Chicago-A confidential school-by-school analysis conducted by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) reveals that teachers and other classroom professionals at 115 elementary schools voted down the longer school day waiver ballot proposed by the school board. There are 454 elementary schools in Chicago. Only 13 have volunteered (strong armed) to participate in the longer school day experiment. At least 115 CPS elementary schools have taken "informal straw polls" or wavier votes in which teachers voted against the extended day. The remaining schools met the program with silence and indifference. A formal complaint filed with the Illinois Education Labor Relation Board will be heard in mid-October." The second press release is entitled "Disproportionate Number of Teacher Lay Offs are Black and Latino". The majority of school teachers recently laid off by the Chicago Board of Education are people of color, and hardest hit are African (American) teachers in schools serving African American students, according to a new analysis released today by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). An analysis of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) layoffs show 55 percent of teachers who lost their jobs this past year are people of color. The data are especially troubling because according to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), blacks make up only 30 percent of all public school teachers. Given the push for a longer, better school day neighborhood schools need more teachers not less."

  • In Sunday's Chicago Tribune article entitled, "Layoffs unfairly target black teachers, "The Chicago Teachers Union says that while fewer than 30 percent of teachers in CPS are African-American, they represent more than 40 percent of those getting pink slips this year, either for budgetary reasons or because of enrollment declines. Latino teachers, who represent 15 percent of teachers in CPS, make up about 12 percent of layoffs, union officials said. Union President Karen Lewis said, however, that the disparity of teachers being laid off from low-income neighborhoods represents a "disturburing trend" that has consequences for students who look to their teachers as "role models for achievement and success." "With unemployment soaring in the black community (latino community), why is CPS exacerbating this crisis by getting rid of experienced and valuable educators in the first place?" Lewis asked. CPS issued 1,000 pink slips to teachers in August, about 140 linked directly to budgetary cuts and the rest due to overall enrollment declines in the district."

  • The stat left out of the info above is what percentage of CPS teachers 10 and 20 years ago were black. More telling.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Dear Anonymous, that is true! Please add that information.

  • Herman Cain is in the house! While the wonderful Democrats here in Chicago stand still and allow for this attack on teachers and unions, Herman is moving right along. How about this! strong, black, Republican presidential candidate. What a great time to turn the democrat politicans in Chicago to turn unions against the democrats, wow.

  • You might want to check out Mr. Cain's stance on education. He favors vouchers, charter schools, etc. He is not a huge fan of teacher's unions. While I like some of his ideas, I'm not so sure that he wouldn't try to weaken teacher and other unions.

  • That sounds a bit like what is happening across America now.

  • The Chicago Public Schools has 536 elementary schools of which 52 elementary schools are charter schools or .097%. CPS has 140 high schools of which 38 high schools are charter schools or .271%. Rahm wants more charter schools to break up the union and more charter schools are coming at the expense of the neighborhood schools!

  • You mean 9.7% and 2.7%. RP =/ RMT.

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    Actually you mean 9.7% and 27%, thought my correction looked wrong.

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    Yes!

  • An interesting read over at Substancenews.net:

    a review by Richard Rothstein of Class Warfare, by Steven Brill

    Citation: Rothstein, Richard. (2011 September 1) Grading the Education Reformers: Steven Brill Gives Them Much Too Easy a Ride. Education Review, 14. Retrieved [Date] from http://www.edrev.info/essays/v14n8.pdf, Brill, Steven. (2011) Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools., NY: Simon & Schuster., Pp. 496 ISBN 978-1451611991, Education Review http://www.edrev.info]

    http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=2633&section=Article

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