Spring Vacation Countdown

What do you want to talk about this weekend?  How well or poorly your Pulaski-shortened week went?  Daylight Savings (don't forget!)? The court decision on school closings? LSC nominations? The joys of this year's ISAT testing (last week or this)? Days until Spring Vacation (10, unless you don't really count ISAT days)?




Leave a comment
  • Judge's 'dry, cold' decision says lawsuit will not block school closings - chicagotribune.com http://ow.ly/9zpaj

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Judge says lawsuit will not block school closings - chicagotribune.com http://ow.ly/9A0QC

  • YouTube Finds a Way Off Schools’ Banned List - NYTimes.com http://ow.ly/9zqaB

  • Forum: Stand for Children doesn’t get it - Southtown Star http://ow.ly/9zqcJ

  • Group asks school board to survey all CPS parents on need for 7.5-hour day - Chicago Sun-Times http://ow.ly/9zDm3

  • No opt out policy for ISAT; parents just keep children at home - Substance News http://ow.ly/9zNBD

  • Only track E has 10 days until Spring Break...all the rest of us have 15.

  • thanks, loserboy -- it's true i was jumping the gun.


    don't forget daylight savings!

  • Unfortunately, CPS is a one size fits all district. Since at least 85% of the students do need a 7.5 day, that is what it will be.
    Here is another consideration: teachers are paid a salary based on a negotiated schedule. You can't have a teacher at Elementary School A being paid X dollars for 6.5 hours and teachers at ES-B being paid the same salary for 7.5 hours. Say the teachers at ES-A are on site for 7.5 hours, but they spend that hour in professional development instead of instructing students as the teachers at ES-B would be doing.
    Teachers working 90 extra minutes with no increase in salary is one thing, but one group working 90 minutes and another group only working 30 minutes for the same pay really is not going to fly.
    The parents in Ward 19 are knocking their heads against a wall that will not budge.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I don't agree with this statement: "Here is another consideration: teachers are paid a salary based on a negotiated schedule. You can't have a teacher at Elementary School A being paid X dollars for 6.5 hours and teachers at ES-B being paid the same salary for 7.5 hours." Public Act 097-0008 more commonly know as SB7 allows CPS to force the CTU to have what ever working hours the Board of Education determines is appropriate and it does not require each school to have uniform working hours.

    115 ILCS 5/4.5 (a) specifically eliminates CTU's collective bargaining rights over the length of the school day at the determination of the CPS Board. It is my understanding that CPS has elected to not bargain over the length of the school day during the current labor discussions. There is no rule that requires CPS to enter into a wage and benefit based contract with the CTU that requires a uniform school day among all schools or a uniform wage scale for all teachers based on having the same hours of work.

    In fact if the majority of higher performing CPS schools had a shorter school day there is no reason to believe that the teachers at these schools would not accept a different wage scale than teachers at lower performing schools with a longer school day. These schools are after all simply put the best jobs in the system and would have no problem at all in filling slots.

    I would also add that the IL Supreme Court decision in CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION, LOCAL No. 1, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, Appellee, v. THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO et al. Appellants, fundamentally elininated most tenure rights of CTU teachers. Basically CPS could layoff even tenured teachers at these higher performing schools with shorter working hours if they did not accept a lower wage scale than those teachers working the longer day at lower performing schools. Any laid off tenured teachers, based on the Supreme Court decision are entitled to no process at all in which they have a meaningful opportunity to demonstrate their qualifications for
    vacant positions with the Board, unless that is negotiated in the upcoming contract.

    Just for the record I am not cheering that CPS now has these vast powers, but we need to realize CPS does not have to be a one size fits all school district based on labor contracts. Based on Public Act 097-0008 that is not a legitimate argument for forcing the longer day on schools and families that do not want it. CPS is forcing this issue based simply on bureaucratic instincts reinforced by the Mayor's less than fexible approach to this issue.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, you are right!

  • So, your kids don't need the longer day but the "other " 85% do? What about improving the quality of the day we already have? Trusting principals to implement the longer school day is a recipe for disaster.
    Finally, if you think PD doesn't constitute working you have never had to sit through the mundane, low-quality PD CPS teachers are often subjected to.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Headache 299
    Susan Zupan does a great job reporting the 19 Ward meeting


    It’s a good read from top to bottom.

    I don’t know how many readers have had the opportunity to come into face-time with vapid Dr. Cheatham – she’s certifiably dizzy! I mean completely! As for her four part ‘instructional framework’ with Objective, Modeling, Guided Practice & Independent Practice, she took it directly from Madeline Hunter.

    Madeline Hunter had eleven parts: Objective, Standards, Anticipatory Set, Teaching: Input, Teaching: Modeling, Teaching: Checking for Understanding, Guided Practice, Closure, Independent Practice, Materials and Duration.

    Hunter had eleven parts, Cheatham has four. And if you have ever met Cheatham, or had the grace of speaking with her, you just might notice, like her version of Hunter’s plan, she’s missing 7 essential pieces.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Okay George . . . is readership down? It was a hate piece and not an inspired one. Reading between the lines, the 19th ward parents don't look very good --- seems they think they're special. Maybe they want to succeed from the district?

    On another point . . ..Why do commenters on education personalize professional disputes to such a degree that everybody is denigrated and intelligent debate gets drowned out.

    Jennifer Cheatham is an intelligent, thoughtful educator who cares about students and teachers and has done wonderful work in this district. She has done much to moderate the extremes from both sides on the most controversial issues facing the district. She does not deserve this misogynistic sucker punch from a mean-spirited commenter lurking in the cyber shadows.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Dear district299reader

    You called me George, and later you call me a “mean spirited commenter lurking the cyber shadows”…
    I probably wouldn’t have bothered responding, but you seem to be jumping between two contradictory conjectures. First I’m George, then I’m Anonymous

    You also write ‘why do commenters on education personalize professional disputes…”
    Well, I don’t know? Why don’t you tell me? Why did you assume that my name was George?
    Why did you ask “is readership down?” Why are you making personal and group attacks on the readers and writers of Substance?

    So let’s throw a wild dart and guess that you were, a bit pejoratively, suggesting that I was George N. Schmidt. Last I checked, George N. Schmidt is a reporter and publishes his name.

    Which brings us back to your comment about ‘mean spirited commenter lurking in cyber shadows’ –
    The comment suggest that you are a bit contemptuous of anonymous blogging…I do admit, I don’t publish my real name

    So then, are we to assume that your actual name is district299reader?

    I mean, that IS your real name? Isn’t it?

    First name: District - Middle Name: 299 - Last Name: Reader - Nickname: Hypocrite.

    Maybe I got that backwards: Nickname District, Last Name Reader, etc,…

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Wow - really powerful. Look, calling out a self-promoting "reporter" for directing people from one blog to another is not the same thing as a calling a respected female professional "dizzy." That's not a hard lesson. Learn it.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I'm sure Jennifer is a nice lady and all, but looking at her profile on the CPS website she appears to be a career educrat whose efforts squeeze the joy out of teaching. These people seem to think teaching should be first reduced to a series of charts, graphs, checklists and standards that must be tirelessly cross-referenced before a teacher can actually teach. They sell complexity where it is not needed. By making a relatively simple process more complicated they justify their own positions.

    I'm not saying she doesn't have much experience in the classroom, but like a lot of 30-something educrats she has a long resume and teaching is at the very bottom. Maybe I'm wrong on that, but rarely do you see real classroom veterans pushing complex edu-speak "solutions".

    "Her expertise lies in developing instructional alignment and coherence at every level of a school system aimed at achieving breakthrough results in student learning."

    Hmmm. Breakthrough results. Somebody is always trying to sell an education miracle. What are these "breakthrough results" she has achieved? Michelle Rhee achieved breakthrough results too, until they were shown to be false.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I met a few people who worked with cheatham when she was in charge of area 9.
    Nobody mentioned any breakthrough results in student learning, and nobody described her as one who ‘cares about students and teachers’. So what exactly is the wonderful work that she has done for this district? I have never met her, but I have read about her every now and then on this blog, and she is usually described as someone who doesn’t think to have enough materials for her professional development meetings. I read the Zupan report and she seems like just another cps mouthpiece

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You mean "secede," I believe. Big difference.

  • We have had so much student and parental violence at Oliver Wendell Holmes School that I wonder how and why our school is allowed to remain open. Teachers are put into constant harm’s way from the lack of Administrative leadership. We have active gang affiliations and participation in the classrooms and on school grounds. We have constant fights, threats to teachers, damage to teacher’s cars, (one teacher’s car was even stolen by a student who only got a few days of suspension). We have had physical assaults to our assistant principal who was knocked down twice and had to be off from work for two weeks, and our principal who was pushed after a girls’ basketball game because she attempted to break up a fight. There is absolutely no respect for authority.

    The students come to school “high” or get high while in school and become totally belligerent, non-compliant, and unmanageable. Calls for help are ignored and if we are lucky enough to get the students out of the classroom, they are brought back to the classroom because our principal tells us she has no place to put them. There are no consequences, perhaps because she herself is afraid of what the students may do to her. Instead, she reminds us that “no child can be left behind” and that every child needs to have an opportunity for learning (even if they are disrupting the learning process by provoking a fight with other students or harassing and threatening their teacher). Upper grade students were running wild throughout the building all during our first week of ISAT testing. They simply ran out of their classrooms, with no express purpose. I cannot imagine what our second week of testing (this week) will be like.

    We have one police officer who comes on duty at lunchtime and leaves shortly at dismissal. We also have a quasi-security person who only sits at the front desk, and will tell you her job is not to break up a fight or remove students from your classroom. Calls to her will go unanswered. With the level of violence at this school, we clearly need two uniformed police officers, or one full time officer to protect the teachers from the violence in their classrooms, in the hallways, during transitional time, and especially when teachers leave the building. The reason why we have limited coverage is because our principal has chosen not to report all of the incidents that have taken place. No one knows what we are really going through and she chooses to keep it that way for the sake of saving her job. I have to keep my classroom door locked at all times for fear of students coming in with malicious intent.

    This principal definitely needs to be “walked out” and new Administration with a backbone needs to finish out this school year. If we, and especially myself, can make it until June with the state of being at Oliver Wendell Holmes, it will truly be a miracle. I am completely fed up and ready to give it all up!

  • I totally empathize with your situation, as I went through the exact same ordeal at the South Side elementary school I taught at, which is one of those being reconstituted under OSI. You and the other staff should not have to deal with these issues. Call the police for any misconduct, call your ISL or network chief, as well as the 5th Floor at 125 every day. Document everything you see. Take your days. Central Office will take note if you keep harassing them.

  • A lot of people may get offended by this but unfortunately I feel this is the truth. Urban school districts are filled students with a lot of issues that are best handled by administrators who are black males. When troubled black male youth are in control, you have control over the whole school. The black female administrator is respected far less than the black male administrator. An angry black male is not going to be controlled by black female. They will end up suspending the black male as the only option left. This is one of the reasons why black males get suspended more. Do a study on black male suspensions and I will predict that schools run by black females have a significantly higher rate of suspension of black males.

    The Chicago Public Schools biggest mistake is believing they can resolve the educational issues that come with poverty through improved curriculum and instruction. As a result, they try to hire principals who have a strong C & I background. This will not work, never has, and never will.

  • My school is "lead" by a black male who is respected by no one- teachers, parents, students, you name it. If you are hard working, fair, and committed you will have respect regardless of your race, ethnicity, or gender.

    To the teacher from Holmes. When a serious incident occurs call 911. The response is totally different than when one goes through the school police officer who is often there to suppress reports of violence rather than prevent them.

Leave a comment