Contract, REACH, G-Mail, YouTube

Straight from the horse's mouth:  CPS has a new collective bargaining info page, teacher evaluation info page (which it's calling REACH), and Google@CPS info page (about the email transition). There's also this new YouTube channel with this video town hall with JCB and CPS communications staffer/ interviewer Alex Sobol where JCB  talks about the extended day rollout.  (One thing you might not know is that the extended day effort is being supported by the National Center on Time and Learning, a nonprofit funded by the left-leaning Ford Foundation.)


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  • Man, for a filtered, screened, and scripted segment that was incredibly awkward.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Exactly what I thought. I wonder if he ever gets tired of the canned answers. The only time he went off script, he admitted he was in favor of vouchers. Would love to hear what he really thinks. It would be so much more interesting than this mindless repetition.

  • "Great!" "Fantastic!"- The "Beard" is weird.

    Eight questions- five from whites, three from African-Americans, and none from Latinos. Two of the questions from African-Americans came from Woodlawn Community School parents- a school heavily connected to the clouted Woodlawn Organiztion.

    CPS is only 10% white.

    C'mon Beardo, you and your attempts at astroturf are lame. Nobody is buying this stuff.

  • The National Center on Time and Learning has been a waste of time and learning for CPS leaders. Yeah right, serve 1000 students lunch in their classrooms to save instructional time--and who watches the students as they eat, since on LSD, teachres will be at lunch during that time?
    Another--limit student toliet time. Right! Since schools feed students 2 meals-breakfast and lunch, and CPS does not give larger schools enough or clean toliets for students to use (there is always a line of students 'holding it',) students have to go to the toilet Na. Center. They do not have adult bladders!

  • The National Center on Time and Learning is a fraud. A bizarrely-named organization with an incredibly narrow focus pops up in 2010 and all of a sudden is the "go-to guy" for union busters looking to increase work but not pay. Check out NCTL's list of donors- Gates and the usual eduprenuer suspects.

  • let's not cherry- pick. funders include The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Ford Foundation, Gabrieli Family Foundation, Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Noyce Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

    gabrieli and davis have been around a long time -- davis goes way back to secretary riley's time in the USDE

  • Interesting comment from Seth Lavin's "Wonks" blog this week. On rumors that Mr. Brizard is on his way out:

    "I believe city hall’s lost confidence in Brizard but that getting rid of him would mean stomaching too big an admission of too big a mistake. My understanding is that they see his role as like an external affairs director, with actual strategy and leadership coming from elsewhere. Where exactly is unclear: Cawley? Swanson? Vitale? New CoS Boik? Also the two new hires, Byrd-Bennett and Mascitti-Mille, are people Brizard has worked with and knows. Why would they come in if Brizard was going out?"

    And this on the Donoso departure:

    "I’ve got everyone’s coverage below, but the most illustrative piece here was Robin Robinson’s Friday-night interview with Brizard, just after the announcement (
    Robinson pushes Brizard, voicing the troubling implications of Donoso’s ouster. How should we feel about all this upheaval among newly hired CPS leaders? Was this related to Donoso’s clashes with peers and staffers? Who actually picked the team—Brizard or Rahm? Do personnel disappointments change anything about how CPS’ll pick leaders going forward? Who actually fired Donoso? Is Donoso’s exit a setback?
    Brizard speaks calmly, mellifluously, answering all her questions without saying anything. He doesn’t acknowledge Donoso’s exit was a firing. He doesn’t even acknowledge it’s a problem. Most surreal-ly, when Robinson says of Donoso’s departure “what went wrong?” Brizard, sounding vaguely surprised, says “nothing went wrong.”
    It’s just a lie. A disrespectful lie if you actually expect parents to buy that. You don’t fire half the team you recruited 11 months ago because nothing’s wrong. Something is very wrong.
    Remember the drum-banging when Rahm first named his new school administration? Trib, last April— Barbara Radner said of Rahm’s new CPS appointments: 'It's kind of like a president announcing his Cabinet… It's not 'where's the CEO?' It's 'what's the big picture?' He's filled in the executive suite, and no one's ever done that before.'
    Now, as that team collapses, Brizard’s quietly dispatched after close of business on a Friday to give a 5-minute interview in which the main message is ‘everything’s great.’
    So infuriating. So deceitful. So cowardly.
    Brizard and Rahm keep saying principals are the critical school reform lever because school accountability rests at the feet of the leadership. I agree. They also say reform requires us to be clear-eyed and courageous in calling out what’s not working instead of lowering standards or sweeping problems under the rug. Agree again. If these men cannot look their own failure in the face and call it failure then they’re no reformers. And if they’re able to call it failure privately (which the shake-up indicates) but won’t acknowledge that publicly then they’re not public servants.
    Rahm told a school reform conference in San Francisco this week: 'failure is the most important thing in your life.' I buy that. I said last week that the shake-up 'could end up being a really good thing. If they replace the original folks with the right new team there’s still plenty of time to create long-term school improvement wins for Rahm and for kids.'
    We need reform but we need reform that’s built carefully, built to last and built by all of us together. The old team wasn’t taking us there. Maybe a new one will. But all of that only works if Rahm’s administration is mature enough to speak openly.and humbly about its own challenges and failures. They have to build a leadership team that can last if we’re supposed to believe they can build reform that will last. Everything Rahm says he wants for children and schools—results, accountability and no spin—his own administration has to demonstrate. Please, lead that way. I’ll follow."

  • In reply to district299reader:

    UGH... Emanuel (stop calling him Rahm, Daley was never "Richard") is not interested in improving schools, get that through your head. He is trying to institute corporate reform, not real education reform based on research and experience. He is a union buster who is pushing privitization of public assets. Once you realize that, his actions make sense.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I never liked calling him Richard either, I preferred calling him Dick.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The outrage, I always understand; the surprise, never.

    As for Rahm’s team being mature enough to speak openly? I don’t think this has anything to do with maturity. The only maturity they are concerned with are the maturity dates and interest on their investments. This has nothing to do with school improvement. It’s about moving their business plan forward; moving money out of the classroom and into their own pockets, and by the way, they are doing a great job at it.

    And as for the shake up ‘could end up being a really good thing. If they replace the original folks with the right new team there’s still plenty of time to create long-term school improvement wins for Rahm and for kids.’

    don’t hold your breath – the replacements are meant to be worse

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Whispers among senior managers in 125 are Donoso was pushing forward the "reform" agenda harder than Brizard was comfortable with and she was largely running the district day to day. To the point where business leaders started to wonder what Brizard was doing all day (probably a fair question); Saenz was replaced because she voiced her frustration that she couldn't manage a district strategy when one doesn't exist and Rose actually cared about community engagement, something not appreciated when communities can just be paid off for support. Brizard is imploding, he has pushed out most of competent people and expect he will be out as soon as bargaining ends. Byrd Bennett looks like replacement candidate to me.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Dear Seth, Emanual, Cawley and Vitale are running CPS.

  • The CPS Collective Bargaining Information Page is really very interesting. I would recommend in particular that CPS teachers and staff read carefully the Glossary of Key Terms in particular “Section 4.5 Subjects of Bargaining.” As I have stated repeatedly on this blog much to the legitimate distress of CTU members and some union officials, the union cannot legally strike over any work rule changes imposed by CPS because of SB7. Interestingly the CPS states on its new web page that it has “has exclusive decision making authority” over all work rules based on SB7. That is not the actual language of the law, but in truth CPS can impose legally without bargaining any work rules it wants to once the current contract ends.

    SB7 is in so many ways a really bad law and it limits what the CTU can do with a strike action. Effectively all that can be done is to leverage wages and benefits in a hope the CPS will agree to bargain over work rules. That is what bargaining over the impact of work rule changes means. I honestly do not think that many teachers understand this fully and it needs to be explained before teachers vote to strike.

    Understanding what can be achieved by striking in the current situation probably is the first step to winning any strike if it comes to that. Let’s be clear here, I am not telling teachers not to vote to strike, but rather to understand the limits their union has legally been placed under and the limits of what can be achieved by a strike given this law. The CPS on this website has laid it out very clearly.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Then, SB7 needs to be changed, and on September 4th, reject benefits and wages.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Dear Rod

    Unfortunately I do understand SB7 and its effect.
    But there are other laws regarding local conditions that
    have been ignored by both the Board and Union.
    Passing a law to govern the lives of thousands
    of students and teachers was done in less than two
    weeks as I remember. But there are other laws governing torts and liability that have been passed over the years to protect the same teachers and students that are not being enforced. Thousands of building code violations exists in our schools.
    As you know thousands of educational mistakes and downright fraud also exist.If the union stepped back and admitted the effect of SB7 .Then chose a different Path of, say , hiring underemployed lawyers to seek out and replace grievances with Law suits .In some large schools perhaps attorneys could replace union delegates.These on the ground advocates could do students and teachers a lot of good.
    Teacher gets hid in the face with a penny, immediate law suit, a botched IEP staffing same thing file that day. Let the attorney keep a percentage of the awards.That is our reform

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, I agree. I also find this information most interesting. The only hope that the CTU has is to strike and hope the disruption will be more than Emanual can tolerate. Then and only then will the CTU get a fair contract (Agreement).

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, as you understand the law, does this mean that the board can tell teachers that they no longer have duty free lunches? I know that is a huge issue over recess supervision right now and I'm wondering if the board will force it.

  • Headache299
    From Chicago Independent TV, June 11, 2011
    Education activists in Rochester, New York, warning Chicago about Jean-Claude

  • Hey. I joined the chicago now site just so i can partake in some of the rather engaging back and forth on this blog. However, based on my occaional observations, it sure seems like district299reader seems to primarily be engaged in a conversation with him/herself. Apologies d299r.

    I have a bit of an inside with the cps team and can say that from what I've heard widely is that Donoso's exit was just a matter of time. She turned out to be a bit of a disaster of someone to work with. Fortunately she had a pretty broad leadership team who did most of the day to day work, so the cedo team is in pretty good shape. Jennifer Cheatham and Steve gering are top notch - and Cheatham oversees programming and instruction so longer day and common core are owned by her as is a slew of other important programs. Jamiko rose was a bad pick from the start. She may have been a community organizer but she didn't have a clue what to do with community groups or how to organize at cps. Clergy, community leaders and others all called for her resignation - even to those of us on the outside. Make no mistake that she had to go. Andrea Saenz was not the right fit for chief of staff. She seems bright but not everyone is cut out for that spot. She certainly didn't seem to have a command of the office as a chief of staff should.

    I'm not really concerned about the changes as they were a long time coming - I heard months ago that Andrea was on her way out and they were waiting to find the right person to take the chief of staff spot. For anyone who has worked in a large organization with new leadership it takes time to work out wrinkles and people who seem good on paper don't always work out. All I know is that cps is better off without Donoso and Rose.

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    Dear 299ReformedMinded, I heard the same things you write about in regard of Donoso and Rose. Keep writing, it seems like you are talking to the right people at 125 S. Clark or you are from 125 S. Clark. P.S.- That's where I get my information from.

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    This point of view comes as a surprise to me, although you do sound credible. I have heard nothing but horror stories about Cheatham, at least--this from principals and some of the more functional 125 Clark St. dept. heads. I've also met her and found her to be fairly typical mix of 1 part incompetence, 1 part fear of discovery, 1 part self-protective manipulation. If you talk to any principal about the implementation of the longer day and year you will not find much confirmation of your positive view of Cheatham's handling of it. everyone she deals with is confused and frustrated and afraid to tell her the truth or give her constructive feedback. Until I read your message, I thought she was at best put there specifically to create destructive interference and bring about a crisis.

  • In reply to anotherreader:

    The POV comes as a surprise to me as well… reads more like a posting from the CPS ‘communications staff’

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    Cheatham was woefully unprepared when she spoke to parents at Morgan Park a few months back. It was actually embarrassing watching her although she did not seem to be totally aware of her obvious shortcomings. Remember though she is DOCTOR Cheatham afterall. Don't forget that title...

  • In reply to district299reader:

    As Ivan Illich stated long ago in Deschooling Society, "Degrees do not guarantee competency."

  • In reply to district299reader:

    We at CPS, see this type of incompetence all too often. It is the toilet bowl theory and unless you work for CPS you have no clue how the obvious incompetence at the top wears one down. I am tired of responding to young sharp teachers who are appalled by this ineptitude when they are sent to professional development.

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    100% this person is either Cheatham herself, Becky Carroll or one of her minions. This, "hey I am just new here, but I hate Donoso and Rose, love Cheatham and Gering" is just sad. No one thinks Cheatham and Gering are "top notch." My guess is whoever wrote it knows, as I do, that Cheatham cries (literally cries) every time people say mean things about her here and this person just wants sad Jen to be just plain old mean Jen or I mean DOCTOR. Can we stop with the sniping between camps within 125? Just for a minute, oh wait, that is all anyone has been doing this year. Trying to blame everyone else, so when Brizard gets back from his fancy events and realizes nothing is getting done and the Mayor will be checking in soon, he kills someone else off to try and prove it wasn't his lack of leadership or lack of a strategy that is the real problem. How can you be a Chief of Staff when you have no strategy, when your boss would rather go to events than show up for work and he also prevents you from talking to the Mayor's Office or the Board who actual spend time trying to push forward the work? Rose came into CPS at the height of school action, actually wanted to engage the community and Brizard killed her off after 12 weeks because she didn't play the old Chicago game of paying off protestors and actually gave a crap what parents and communities want. Plus, everyone who works at 125 knows Cheatham wanted Donoso's job last year and her team sabotaged her all year until Cheatham was successful in ousting Donoso. We all know Donoso has gone through just about the same if not fewer direct reports than Brizard or Carroll. Is any of it abnormal during a leadership transition like the one we experienced last year? We all also know Becky Carroll plants comments on this blog all the time under various names. It is also pretty clear that Gering/Cheatham, IN TWO WEEKS as the two halves of CEdO, are driving several Chief of Schools to look elsewhere and probably exponentially more principals with Cheatham's wicked dictator mentality and Gering's clueless fumbling. If we are gonna start throwing stones and fabricating kudos, let's get it all out there. In my years at CPS, right now it is the biggest mess I have ever seen it.

  • In reply to Inside125:

    Dear Inside 125, PLEASE KEEP POSTING! You are writing the real truth! This is what all of my friends at 125 S. Clark have been telling me since the new leadership took over. All of the infighting and back stabbing. PLEASE KEEP POSTING THE TRUTH!

  • RP, I absolutely will when I can. I'm tired of reading posts that don't jive with what I hear on a regular basis. Hopefully what I do hear will shed light on some things. However, posting sure seems like it can be a full time job for some!

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    Dear 299reformedMinded, I agree. Keep posting when you can. Thanking you in advance.

  • Rod, we know that SB7 severely limits us. It's not as if teachers don't understand that point. The fact is, we are using what remaining leverage we have to take a stand against the madness!

  • I didn't know that my little post would cause such a fuss. Inside125, I'm actually not any of the people you mention above, but I have an opinion nonetheless. this is a forum for anyone to voice their thoughts on these issues. Sorry if you may not agree with what I say, but I'm going to keep on saying it. You should take your own advice and "stop the sniping".

  • Well, realize this- parents who have dealt with Cheatham are disgusted. You may be impressed by how she operates inside of 125, but for those of us on the outside she is severely lacking.

    This is not sniping, this is reality. A title and diploma from Harvard are meaningless if you are attempting to defend indefensible positions. Individuals with pedigrees like this have a severe deficit when it comes to realizing and admitting they are wrong.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Cheatham reminds me of those Ivy Leagers on Trump's The Apprentice show who crash and burn when real work with results and human interaction is demanded.

  • Anotherreader, I could be wrong about Cheatham but I've met her and didn't walk away with that sense. I haven't heard others speak of her in the way you describe, but I could be off.

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    If you haven’t heard people speaking of Cheatham this way, you are not way off…you are way way way way off.

  • Yup, you're off. Talk to any parent who has had to listen to her during a forum. CPS tries to spin things, but there are a lot of pissed off parents and dr. Cheatham has done nothing to satisfy them, rather she has actually made relations much worse.

  • D299r, Which parents? There are about 800,000 parents and guardians in the system. You'd need a pretty large sampling to say that parents at large dislike any single individual at 125 s Clark. The more I read through these comments it's obvious that there is a lot of bias and strong opinions among some of you, which is fine, but don't bash other people for having an opinion that differs from yours. The real problem with our school system seems to be that there are too many people pointing fingers and attacking one another - which is easy to do on a blog where we all hide behind the anonymity of an alias. Too much talk about who's doing what wrong and about parents or teachers. I thought a school system was supposed to be about kids?

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    299ReformMinded says:

    "I have a bit of an inside with the cps team and can say that from what I've heard widely is that Donoso's exit was just a matter of time. She turned out to be a bit of a disaster of someone to work with...Jamiko rose was a bad pick from the start. She may have been a community organizer but she didn't have a clue what to do with community groups or how to organize at cps. Clergy, community leaders and others all called for her resignation - even to those of us on the outside. Make no mistake that she had to go. Andrea Saenz was not the right fit for chief of staff. She seems bright but not everyone is cut out for that spot. She certainly didn't seem to have a command of the office as a chief of staff should."

    299ReformMinded then says:

    "The more I read through these comments it's obvious that there is a lot of bias and strong opinions among some of you, which is fine, but don't bash other people for having an opinion that differs from yours. The real problem with our school system seems to be that there are too many people pointing fingers and attacking one another "

    Really, 299RM?

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    Which parents? The ones who speak out. We have no way of knowing what the parents who don't speak, won't speak, have no opinion, or don't care actually think. Having said that, there have been auditoriums full of dissatisfied parents with few if any Cheathm cheerleaders.

    I am immediately suspicious of anyone who uses the tired cliche about it all being "about the kids". The people who use sanctimonious proclamations like this typically care little about children. Teachers, parents (and those of us who fill both shoes) spend our entire day with kids. We don't have to employ loaded talking points. We choose to educate children. We get it. What is good for us is good for our students and children.

    If Brizard, Emanuel, Cheatham et. al. truly cared about "the kids" they would pay credence to research and follow examples of truly successful public school systems worldwide. These mopes with their mantra of it all "being about the kids" are too obvious with their true anti-education, pro-business agenda. They have 20,000 CTU teachers who are experts on children and education yet they choose to listen to unqualified hacks like Duncan, Pritzker, Cawley, and the rest.

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    Which parents/guardians? Probably the "engaged" one that educators and school people keep saying they want more of. The ones who likely have specific expectations and encounters with CPS. The ones who'd take a bullet for their kids.

  • This is true. Our school team asked Dr. Cheatham's people for help. We were told no, we are too busy here and this is to go to the networks now. So network has some expensive people to help. Right? One who speaks English poorly-and the others who will not come to our school because they have to get approval first to come help us. They have been there for months and do NOTHING. Brizard is no leader. He is window dressing.

  • D299r it's obvious that you have a lot of personal angst directed at cps and are using this forum to vent those feelings. That's ok. But you do have a bias makes your comments sound very heavy handed. I wasn't vicious or heated in sharing my own observations and what I hear consistently from others. And I don't have any grudges either. I just call it like a see it.

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    You may not have realized that "District299reader is how one posts anonymously on this blog. You shouldn't assume that every response you get is from the same person. Many of us prefer to post anonymously, and yes we do tend to vent our feelings about the disorganization and somewhat ridiculousness (is that a word?) of the players at 125 S Clark. God knows, they are either making me laugh so hard, I think I may wet my pants, or making me so angry I could scream with their ineptness and total lack of being in touch with the actual reality of teaching in most of the schools in Chicago.

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