Sick Day Giveback For Arne?

Today's education news includes more on longer school days, teacher pensions, a call from the Tribune editorial page for Arne  (and others, too, right?) to pay back the $50,000, speeding cameras get green light, and proposals to slow down the closing process. Plus violence in Englewood and junk food in schools.  Oh, and Quinn and Brizard toured Chicago Ag HS.

Longer school day not so easy Southtown Star:  That's probably a given if the CPS plan is to be accepted by the Chicago Teachers' Union, which isn't likely to agree to have some members working a longer day than others.

Pension changes likely to mean frugal teacher contracts State Journal Register:  Cullerton said current pension funding is unfair because Chicagoans pay the cost of their teachers’ pensions via their local property taxes and then pay again, through state income and sales taxes, for the pensions of downstate and suburban teachers.

Sick, sick, sick Tribune:  More than 300 CPS principals and administrators each grabbed more than $100,000, cashing out unused sick days and vacation days, from 2006 to 2011, the BGA reported.

Quinn green-lights speed-camera plan for Chicago Tribune:  Gov. Pat Quinn gave Mayor Rahm Emanuel something he wanted Monday: the power to use cameras across nearly half of Chicago to nab speeding drivers and fine them as much as $100.

Chicago lawmakers file bills to rein in school closings, class sizes Catalyst:  State Rep. Cynthia Soto (D-Chicago), chair of the task force, has proposed HB 4487, which would bring all closings, consolidations and phase-outs on facilities to a screeching halt through the 2012-2013 school year. Another bill, posted for a hearing in Springfield this week, was filed by state Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) and seeks to force CPS officials to “testify every year before the General Assembly” concerning the district’s budget request for the following fiscal year, including “plans to build or repair schools and to close or consolidate schools.”

Violence Weighs Heavily in Englewood CNC: Even as violent crime has declined across much of the city, Englewood remains a battlefield. The Seventh Police District, which patrols most of Englewood, led the city in homicides last year with 60.

Chicago's Youth Violence Epidemic: A Victim of Success? ChicagoMag:  Chicago's youth violence numbers remain terrible, both in comparison to broader homicide trends and in comparison to our peer cities.

Junk foods widely available at elementary schools AP:  Junk food remains plentiful at the nation's elementary schools despite widespread efforts to curb childhood obesity, a new study suggests.


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  • Mayor Emanuel comes out against sick day payouts but can't do much about unionized workers NBC Chicago story here

  • Dozens Of Complaints Filed Against Pilsen Principal « CBS Chicago

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Visit . Principals like this do exist. The house of cards is crumbling!

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    Regards to the longer school day, have there been many stories about how this affects special education? I spoke with some CPS teachers recently, they say every single IEP in all of Chicago will need to be rewritten (reconvene the IEP team to adjust the minutes.) Sped teachers are being told they have until the end of the year to adjust them all, but the final decision about what's actually happening with the time has still not been decided and likely will not be decided anytime soon (How many minutes for Literacy? Math? etc?). They will probably all need to be redone at the beginning of the year once things are decided. Are all schools having this problem? What a logistical nightmare!

  • Yes, we have been told that as of February 14, 2012 we must write/rewrite the IEPs for these imaginary minutes...this is illegal...minutes must be real....supposedly, we will get paid (40 pieces of silver?) to perform theses illegal acts....parents don't need to be at the meeting! ....what does CTU say about this newest ploy to use the children with disabilities to say " Oh! we must have a longer day 15% of our students now have the extra minutes on their IEPS....the common sense approach would be to wait until we know the actual minutes and pay the special education teachers to come in to school early...but I digress, there is no common sense at CPS..

    Rod Estvan is the best thing to happen for teachers, especially special education teachers in CPS... I learn much more from him than I have ever learned from CPS...if he was running OSS....Oh well! I digress again...he has a brain....never will happen....clueless wonders are now running CPS....


  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Brizard, walk away before it gets more embarrassing! Brizard is a laggard. When explaining to Chicago Tax Payers what they are paying for in regards to his salary, it seems it is only for privatizing schools.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    The IEP re-write just sounds like paperwork. I think calling it illegal is a little dramatic.

  • This is the same attitude which caused CPS to lose the Corey H. case....that was just paperwork, too.

  • Dear westlooper.

    IEP's are legal documents subject to the law and common decency.
    What seems like paperwork is in reality a tremendous undertaking . the IEP has been the basis for many lawsuits because they were incorrect.Nobody would commit to buying a house without a deed ,or buying a car using blank loan papers.All IEP's are now electronic requiring the use of special software, and only accessible at certain times.Changing all of them without knowing how much time to allocate is is typical Board of Ed incompetency.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Makes sense that the original IEP is a very important document required by the law. But modifying IEP to take into account extra time just seems like a purely (or largely) bureaucratic exercise that has much less to do with the substance of the document than the paperwork.

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    OMG. That is soooo wrong, WestLooper. Hope you don't have a kid with a disability.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    It's probably not obvious if one's not intimately involved with the education of children and youth with disabilities, but the MINUTES are a big deal and MUST connect with the optimum supports, goals, etc., in the IEP for the student. Without this careful connection, more harm can be done to the student.

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    In reply to WestLooper:

    It is illegal, any change to the IEP requires a reconvening of the IEP team including the parents/guardians. There is a complicated and complex legal process for this and it sounds like Sped teachers were told to ignore it.

  • In reply to KatieO:

    I don't claim to be an IEP expert, but suggesting that adding some time to the school day requires a "complex legal process" for students with IEPs still strikes me (and I suspect most lay observers) as overly bureaucratic.

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    In reply to WestLooper:

    It's a bureaucratic and logistical nightmare. In order to change the minutes correctly (legally), an IEP meeting should be held for each student. It can be really hard to arrange these meetings and most are scheduled weeks in advance to accommodate parent schedules. Parents can opt out of being there, but need to come in and put that in writing.

    Let's say a Sped teacher has 16 students on her caseload, then that's 16 meetings to attend. If the parent doesn't show, it has to be re-scheduled. Any teacher that attends the meetings will need to have a sub for the time they are out of their classrooms. And really, to do this right, it might be a good idea to add some new goals to account for the extra time.

    Sounds like some schools are just going ahead and arbitrarily changing minutes without going through the whole process. And that's technically against the law. Parents would have the right to sue over an action like changing a legal document without their written permission. (State and Federal law, that is. This is not just CPS.)

    Of course, it doesn't really matter since it will all need to be changed again next year anyway. No one thought this through. Dumb.

  • In reply to KatieO:

    Thanks for the explanation. Do you think there is any value to the process for the purpose of accounting for the new minutes?

  • With all due respect and not trying to be a smart ass I must say to Welstooper that they are not only wrong but cannot be familiar with an IEP.

  • CPS does not care about whether the minutes are met or one at my school is meeting the minutes either the direct service minutes or the consultative/collaboration...yes we have reported this...the response...more students...huge workloads....remember CTU and CPS have not sat down and hammered out the J-Car provisions...only district in the state that ignores J-Car yet CPS is now worried about the minutes....makes me very suspicious...when we added 15 minutes to the school day in 2003(?) we asked about the minutes and the IEP and were told ..."don't worry about it" now we are expected to sit down and complete "mythical minutes" based upon a nebulous longer day timeframe...well let's see, we will add 30 minutes to Social Studies for this student and 30 minutes of Math for this student along with 40 minutes of language arts for this schedule comes out in September after the strike math, no language arts, but wait we have 30 minutes of board games and 30 minutes of art and 30 minutes of P.E.....whoopeee let's redo the IEP again!!! The parents will love it.

    anniesullivan It was easier teaching Helen Keller than the CPS dolts.

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    In reply to Anonymous:

    Thanks for the replies. It's just as I thought. Too bad Sped teachers' time is being wasted doing this crap instead of actually teaching the vulnerable children they work with. CPS could've taken more time to implement these changes appropriately. Instead, they push through these bad ideas just to try and make the union take a political hit. Disgusting...

  • There is dissent page on the e- IEP-use it!

  • Case managers and clinicians were told that parents should sign wavers and the IEPs would be done after school, there was money to pay people to stay. Where did that money come from? How do you deal with the logistics of getting the team to stay after school? Why are we revising IEPs to reflect minutes that aren't scheduled to be provided until September and will probably have to be rewritten anyway?

  • This is illegal...where is the dashing duo from the law department? What advice are we getting? from OSS...from CTU....we refuse it is insubordination but we know this is illegal....what are our rights?

  • What CPS is attempting to do with revising IEPs is legally appropriate to the extent that a longer school day encompases different service delivery minutes for some students. For example at grades 3-5 reading/writing instruction will come September take up to 120 minutes in a school day. If the student is recieving co-teaching services or self contained services in these academic areas the longer time has to be accounted for in these students IEPs or else the district could face litigation over denial of what is called FAPE. If the student requires only modifications during these 120 minutes and no direct services probably an IEP revision before implementation of the longer school day would not be legally required for that specific academic area.

    It would be impossible for schools to revise all of these IEPs at the start of next school year, so it makes some sense that the process is going on now with the implimentation date set for September. There is nothing illegal about this as far as I can see. Now each individual child may be faced with new issues come September that may or may not require an amendment to the new IEP, that can be done as necessary or not done which would again put CPS at risk to be taken to due process for procedural violations.

    The Illinois State Board of Education is aware CPS is revising IEPs in relation to the longer school day for next year, each IEP can remain in place for one full year so long as that requirement of federal law (IDEA) is being honored there will be no objection to the process. If a school is changing IEPs without appropriate notification to parents or not holding an IEP meetings at all for such revisions it would be a violation of IDEA. If that is happening and any teachers are prepared to testify in a sworn affidavit to that issue Access Living would be willing to file an administrative complaint to ISBE on that specific school for specifically named students. I would recommend or probably require that more than one teacher familar with the named students and the alleged violation make a sworn affidavit to give weight to the claim.

    As special education teachers may know under the IDEA regulations they do have the legal right to file an administrative complaint against their employer over the issue IEP violations (The procedures for State Complaints can be found at 23 IAC 226.570.) One unique aspect about State Complaints is the fact that a person or agency may not only file a complaint about a single child,
    but can also file a complaint claiming a systemic problem (in other words, CPS's practices are not appropriate for a whole group of children). I think having an outside advocacy organization file the complaint with supporting documentation would be stronger than teachers doing so individually.

    As always I can be contacted directly about these kinds of issues at

    Rod Estvan

  • The problem Rod is we are revising now but for what? --there will probably be changes after summer and schools where parent input is strong, waivers of time will happen. Plus, some schools will have 120 minutes for LA while others will put more time instead in math or science--if a child transfers and CPS mobility is high, the IEP will need to be redone to fit a school schedule NOT students' needs.
    CEO and mayor have no idea the cost this will be--principals will be parfing for months while the student will go unserved. The parent wont complain since they are just trying to survive--content in their child getting two or more meals and a warm safe place to be during the day.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    There are also new issues in some schools with this anticipated changed schedule, especially with ED, regarding supervision during recess and not using denial of recess (and other specials) as punishment, should they be added. A lot of students with ED start fraying at the edges by late afternoon in school, so that might need to be addressed as well. And, so many co-taught delivered minutes are fake anyway even with the current schedule. So sad.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    CPS has a legal obligation to change the IEPs based on the uniform elementary school day, if they fail to act now they will be massively out of legal compliance come September. It will simply be impossible to change all of the IEPs at the start of the year.

    Do not get me wrong I am not arguing that CPS can afford the longer day, it can't unless it reduces its costs in other areas. The greatest cost savings possible for the district would be to reduce teacher and employee compensation, to offset any payments made for working longer hours. CPS will probably also save money on the pension cost projections because the Illinois General Assembly may very likely lower the requirement for being fully vested from 90% to 80%. This would reduce CPS's actuarial based payments into the pension fund each year for many years to come.

    Come next year if students with IEPs are not being serviced as anonymous believes is possible Access Living would be more than happy to work with teachers in getting these students legal representation to file due process against CPS. It goes without saying that teachers will have to be willing to testify against their own employer and they will have to put themselves at risk of charges of insubordination by advising parents to go to Access Living or other groups for help. The rule of thumb is in order to receive compensatory services the child will have to have been without services for at least 30 days, but 60s days is better for litigation purposes. If the parents do not act then nothing can be done.

    Rod Estvan

  • Why push for litigation or due process to parents--it only costs taxpayers more money and CPS just continues to do what it wants anyway....

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    CPS does not do what it wants anyway to families of children with disabilities who defend their children using the law. Families even in Chicago do not always win, but rational litigation over real violations will put CPS or any other school district on notice that your child's rights will not be violated with impunity. As to costing tax payers more money, litigation under the federal statute IDEA can not result in money damages. It can only result in additional services whether those are provided by CPS or a third party private provider.

    Rod Estvan

  • Of course, parents have to pay through the wazoo for their experts (other that the attorney) even if they win. Maybe that's changed? CPS seems to count on very few parents going this far.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I agree that CPS does count on very few parents going to due process and I agree to get a top lawyer it is not cheap. There are situations where probono lawyers can be gotten, but clearly there are more requests than there are free lawyers. An administrative complaint can be done for next to nothing however and sometimes the ISBE investigator does an excellent job.

    Rod Estvan

  • Rod--CPS will still do what it wants no matter who fights--so the 1 or 10 children that have parents who fight--so what? CPS is starving neighborhood schools--even successful ones for a reason--there is a school that has about 18% sped and the school has to buy a case manager from poverty funds--as CPS sends the students there for services and enrollment. While the charters do not take one.
    It is a put on. I live in Ashburn- now over 500 school students cross 4 lane 79th and kostner without a crossing guard--every school day. CPS took the guard away--but St Bede's gets one for 83rd and kostner--so what?

  • @nctq says CPS sick day policy is more generous than other districts, floats ideas for revamping the current system

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