Outsourcing Turnarounds

Today's education news includes stories about the contract negotiations, school safety and discipline, changes in the CPS turnaround and closure process, and a mishmosh of other topics. Perhaps the biggest news is the Brizard admission that CPS wants to get out of the outsourcing business (finding more groups to supervise the process rather than doing it in-house.) Anything I missed or came out after I posted this?  You know what to do.

CONTRACT

What's next for CPS/CTU negotiations? WBEZ:  So far, negotiations have focused on issues related to compensation, like wages and benefits. But the union hopes that the strike authorization vote will push CPS to negotiate on other issues related to working conditions, like class size.  Under state law, the district gets to decide whether or not such issues are “permissive subjects of bargaining.”

Chicago's School Showdown Wall Street Journal: Chicago public schools are running a $700 million deficit, yet the union is demanding a 30% pay raise over the next two years along with some other contractual ...

Rahm's Longer School Day Tearing an Elementary School Apart Ms. Katie's Ramblings:  According to the principal, Carmen Mendoza, at the latest Local School Council meeting, in order to afford the extra supportive staff (4 new classroom aides) needed to monitor the mandated recess 2 teaching positions will be lost.

SAFETY

VOYCE unhappy with CPS' new student code of conduct Tribune: A student advocacy group that's been working with Chicago Public Schools on a new student discipline code likes some of the concessions the district has made ...

How Many Murders Happen on Chicago Weekends? Chicago Magazine: Whenever crime spikes, weekend shootings make the news. But what constitutes a peaceful Chicago weekend, and how many homicides makes an unusually violent one?

Supporters of CPS anti-violence effort fight for funds Tribune: Describing the recent spike in violence across the city as an "epidemic," supporters of Chicago Public Schools'anti-violence initiative for students most at-risk ...

TURNAROUNDS/CLOSINGS

Brizard: CPS office will no longer run turnarounds WBEZ: Chicago Public Schools is changing who turns around failing schools.  CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard unexpectedly told a group of school community groups over the weekend that the district’s Office of School Improvement would no longer do school turnarounds.

Task force: Brizard will attend July 19 meeting Catalyst: In addition, parents and local school council members raised questions Monday about whether students at Price Elementary, which is closing, received their promised support services and transition plans. As a result, the task force adopted a motion asking for AUSL leaders to appear before it and present their plans.

MISC

David Axelrod: No role in firm’s deals Sun Times:  Another Axelrod-founded firm — AKPD Media and Messaging — recently produced ads critical of the Chicago Teachers Union, which is embroiled in a contract dispute with Emanuel. AKPD oversaw Emanuel’s ad blitz during his mayoral campaign, and the firm is a paid consultant to his political committee, state records show.

Why Einstein Was Not Qualified To Teach High-School Physics  NPR (blog): When my wife tried to make a mid-career switch to teaching math in the Chicago Public Schools, I no longer needed a hypothetical example.

Chicago officials say schools have long way to go WBEZ:  The head of Chicago Public Schools says the nation's third largest district has a long way to go, even after the district's projected graduation rate is the highest on record.The graduation rate is projected at more than 60 percent this year.

Study shows half of school districts have a year’s worth of cash Sun Times:  More than half of Illinois’ 800-plus school districts have more than one year’s worth of operating cash on hand, suggesting some downstate and suburban school systems might be able to shoulder part of the funding burden for educators’ pensions.

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  • SB

  • The CPS anti-violence effort must continue, but in these times of crisis budgeting, the fact that, "the district is trying to do it more efficiently," is evidence that common sense is at work. The question of whether those tens of millions of federal dollars (our tax dollars) spent in the last couple of years were done so efficiently and effectively, should be examined very carefully, though. Also, the fact that, "CPS is also trying to intervene earlier with troubled students when problems first emerge." is further evidence of common sense at work, finally. Spending all of that money, almost exclusively on saving high school students, ignored the sad fact that by the time at risk students get to high school, it may be too late. Too many don't even make it to high school, so the real battleground is in elementary and middle schools. Unfortunately, those are the schools that don't get enough of the special programs, trained teachers, counselors, and social service providers that are needed to make a real difference those troubled lives.

  • In reply to andresdurbak:

    I retired in 2006, Mr. Durbak, and thought that you did an admirable job handling security for D299 through your time as head of security. My job involved special education supervision at both elementary and high schools and I was housed at the Region One Office in those days. Your reputation was wonderful. You are so right . . . the time to catch the issues is in the elementary and middle school years when the children are vulnerable to being manipulated by adults or teenagers. The shortage of social workers, counselors, and nurses is a travesty in a system where children bring a multitude of issues to school. These support personnel have been taken for granted and often undermined by those who choose to cut in this area in order to save money.

    And . . . I must add that the Corey H lawsuit and implementation has disappeared and worse abuses are taking place in special education than those which brought about the lawsuit years ago. I am horrified and disgusted by the fact that LRE is misunderstood and has been subverted in the name of "full inclusion" which is illegal. Where are ISBE's monitors? I hope that some read the blogs on this site.

  • Who really is AKPD Message and Media, the firm which placed $100,000 radio and TV ads on WBBM-AM, WGN, WGCI, WVON and several other stations for Democrats For Education Reform, urging teachers and parents to tell their children teachers to vote "No" on the CTU strike authorization vote? The firm's executives say they help their clients (Democrats For Education Reform) to get their stories out by using media relations, message development, advertising, social media and constituency relations. David Axelrod founded AKPD Message and Media that recently produced ads critical of the Chicago Teachers Union, which is embroiled in a contract dispute with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Board of Education. AKPD oversaw Rahm Emanuel's ad blitz during his mayoral campaign, and AKPD is a paid consultant for Emanuel's political committee. AKPD continues to pay David Axelrod for selling his stake in AKPD. AKPD owes David Axelrod $2 million, to be paid over four years, after David became a White House aide. AKPD is housed at the same River North address, Suite 404, as ASKG and Axelrod Strategies, the firm David Axelrod founded before leaving for the White House.

  • That's it, I'm done voting for Democrats. Sure, Republicans are horrible,but they are actually slightly less destructive for public educators. This makes me want to puke.

  • Re: McPherson - I find it hard to believe that the principal didn't have any other options than laying off 2 teachers. Schools received extra money to pay for staff to supervise recess. She is free to hire whoever she chooses with the money - parents, part-timers, or she could even pay existing staff a little extra to supervise. Supervising recess certainly doesn't require hiring 4 full time classroom aides. It is an odd choice.

    Also since extra money was provided, what is she doing with it if she is still laying people off?

    Lastly, you do NOT need an extra endorsement to teach 5th grade departmentalized. That does not start until 6th. Even if they did need it, she could just have her teachers sign something saying they are working on the endorsement and they could stay.

    Again, it sounds like the principal is just using this as an excuse to get rid of people.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You are wrong. First--you can't just 'sign' something and then teach. This is not allowed anymore. At our school we had to give up $70,000 of instructioal funds and lose a position just to pay for recess! We got extra money,sure, but budget and Brizard are playing a game with this money--knowing that positions to cover recess wourl cost and others would be lost, JUST to cover recess.
    Media story--how much is the new recess costing?--look into it, the public will be outraged. Recess last year cost nothing!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    We have had teachers placed into endorsement-required positions at our school who were given time (1-2 years, I think?) to get it done while continuing to teach.

    Regardless, you don't need a middle school content area endorsement to teach 5th grade.

  • "From what I have seen, it appears as if things are moving towards a sped certified teacher or a bilingual certified teacher becoming the primary gen ed teacher and delivering ALL services to the entire room without any additional help. Schools will be able to get around having to provide some services by doing this. If you don’t have to pay extra pull out or push in sped teachers, you can save a ton of money. It is definitely moving that way in Bilingual/ESL, many teachers will lose their positions unless they are either ESL or bilingual certified by the fall of 2013. The BOE is telling principals to only hire people with those certifications. The gen ed teacher will have to do it all, meaning kids will get less services. Which I think most people understand truly cannot be done. Things have always been bad for sped and bilingual kids in Chicago and now more than ever." Post at cpsobsessed.com. Is this true? Happening now?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Currently because of an existing ISBE rule interpretation a fully cross certified teacher who has a general education certificate and special education endorsements cannot provide services to students with disabilities pursuant to their IEPs in their general education classrooms. Currently those disabled students who legally should have services provided inside a regular education classroom must have a co-taught model, which is extremely costly.

    I and Access Living as an organization believe that this makes no sense.
    I raised this issue directly with CEO Brizard on May 29 and Ms. Jennifer Cheatham on April 27. I also raised this issue with ISBE Superintendent Koch earlier in the year, who to be honest talked around the issue. Specifically we asked that CPS file a formal waiver request with ISBE for several selected schools to allow these cross certified teachers to provide direct services to students with IEPs requiring them in general education classrooms. As of today as far as I can tell no such waiver request has been submitted.

    The proposal I made to CPS for using cross certified teachers would not apply to students requiring any type of separate services in either a full self-contained setting or a pull out resource class. I am aware that there is a possibility of abuse and that IEP teams could be steered to place more disabled students into general education classrooms with cross certified teachers where their disabling condition is too severe to make it legally appropriate without many additional supports being in place. However, overall educational research shows that for less disabled students academic performance is higher in general education classrooms than in separate settings.

    Currently special education costs are under the microscope across the nation and in Illinois. Given the fiscal crisis of the State I would expect that there will be a move to an educational approach utilizing more cross certified teachers as a rational cost saving measure. But as the existing ISBE rule interpretation stands that will not happen. Both myself and Access Living as an organization are strong supporters of universal design in education that we hope will break down barriers between special education and regular education.

    I know of no plan where the "gen ed teacher will have to do it all" as your post indicates. The only plan or discussion on this issue has been the one we have raised with CPS. If principals are seeking out to hire only cross certified teachers then I think they are probably wise, but as far as I can tell there is no directive telling them to do that.

    Overall these cross certified teachers are more likely to be able to implement a response to intervention (RTI) system for those students who are in academic danger. Currently the RTI process is broken down in many CPS schools and in other schools in the state. You may feel free to cut this post and paste it to cpsobessed.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod with all due respect to you--of course Koch talked around the issue. How could you expect anything else. he has done little for special ed--even when he headed special ed.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    We have schools in CPS where all of the IEPS were rewritten to reflect ONLY full inclusion-no pull-out. The idiots at CO are spewing this " full inclusion drivel" and teachers and case managers are drinking the Kool-aid. Some are drinking so much that they are now inebriated and can not think straight. Some SPED teachers love being in a gen ed room and performing the role of an aide. A special education teacher who is assigned to five gen ed rooms is not able to provide much to either the student or the even the gen ed teachers. Add to this the amount of subbing SPED teachers do and it is no surprise our SPED students demonstrate little or no growth on tests. The gen ed teachers are expected to do it all because the SPED teacher is rarely with the students. Is there a written plan "to have the gen ed teachers do it all?" As usual CPS does not have this in writing but yet it is becoming the norm.

    Rod, would you mind rethinking this.? I understand that less disabled students do better in gen ed rather than a separate setting. I don't understand why a mildly disabled student would need a separate setting. Very few of my students would be classified as mildly disabled-most are mor than three years below level. Pull-out to a separate setting for 40-50 minutes a day has been very beneficial at my school. Yes, it is more work for the SPED teacher because of the extra lesson planning but our students thrive in this setting. We made AYP according to ISBE and our students do show overall growth on individually administered diagnostic tests.

    anniesullivan

  • In reply to district299reader:

    First off I agree with anniesullivan's statement : "A special education teacher who is assigned to five gen ed rooms is not able to provide much to either the student or the even the gen ed teachers."

    At the elmentary school level this is a reality at many schools. The best way to deal with that reality is to allow fully cross certified teachers to provide services to students within the general education classrooms for whom this would be legally appropriate. I have had enough cases where what Ms. Sullivan has described has happened and plenty of cases where both the general education teacher and special education teacher gave evasive answers when under direct examination at due process hearings about actual service provision.

    Second I agree with you that there are some schools that are throwing numerous students with disabilities into regular classes without appropriate supports written into their IEPs. But whose fault is that? There is no question that case managers are under pressure not to write IEPs with extensive services and supports in regular classrooms, there is also no question that pull out resource programs at schools with limited resources can only take so many students, and I think it is also true that the effectiveness of resource programs is highly dependent on the quality of individual teachers. I also have major reservations about what CPS calls continuum classes, i.e. self contained rooms that are also servicing less disabled students for less than a full day or even one period a day.

    But none the less the IEP needs to be written for the needs of the child whether or not the school can actually make good on those services. I have seen IEP teams do this even when faced with a principal that wants to contain these services. If teams do this then at least the parent has the possibility of litigating the issue.

    We are faced with a very grave problem on a state scale in relation to special education and that is our costs are eating into regular education programs. Our children with disabilities have a legal right to services that non-disabled children do not have and on a state wide level I am begining to see what I would call a backlash against that entitlement. We ignore that reality at the peril of our children with disabilities.

    Within the confines of special education we have to attempt to make rational changes that will contain costs to the extent we can.

    Effectively I am arguing to CPS that in terms of fiscal support for special education it is required to both maintain effort (MOE) and meet the needs of students with disabilities.Using the ISBE analysis CPS formally meets federal MOE requirements, but honestly I have been trying to prove for years that it does not. I have also argued that CPS does not allocate sufficent funds to support quality programs for these children. The other side of this critique is that CPS needs to create cost savings and it has been looking in the wrong places. In particular forcing down the rates it pays for very disabled students placed in private day programs, or the closing of CPS special schools instead of increasing the quality of those schools are but two such examples. Using cross certified teachers to implment numerous IEPs would save many millions if it can be accomplished in a legal way. To do this CPS has to start small and carefully learn from practical experience, instead of its standard practice of jumping into the fire head first.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Our bilingual classes have 28, our mono-lingual have 32--in second grade! This is rediculous. Shame on Brizard and Rahm!
    How can they even wonder that CTU got 90%!

  • It appears many principals, especially at west side schools, gave out teacher ratings in the last week of school. There were an unusual amount of unsatisfactories handed out. Check the contract to see if your rights were violated. Did you receive an E3 or E1? Were you observed twice before receiving a low rating? Was remediation offered? Many administrators stumble on following protocol. If you think policy was not followed, get in touch with your union representative!

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    No help there. principals can give the unsat the last week of school. With any two observations--no need for e3-1 until next year. if there is a next year!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Oh yes there is help, page 93 states that the ratings must be given to the tenured teacher by the 37 week. Also, the principal must begin the steps of remediation three days after the E-3.

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    page smage--rating on 6/1-there is no full 2 weeks of school left after this. No need to give e-3 now--that will be done in Sept, if there's a job left.

  • Headache299
    The unusual amount of unsatisfactory ratings should come as no surprise. The writing has been all over the wall. CPS is preparing for mass teacher terminations, and I can almost guarantee that they will get away with it.

    Read carefully the language of REACH

    “Tenured Teachers who received a summative rating of excellent or superior in 2011-2012 will remain on the biennial cycle for the 2012-2013 school year”

    Sounds pretty clear!

    In other words, if your tenured, look out, and anything less than a rating of excellent and you’re gone.

    And, if you think CPS actually cares whether or not your evaluation actually reflects your true performance, think again.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    grow up==If you are a good/great teacher, why would a good/great principal get rid of you? Time for those teachers who are of low quality, teach at a low lazy level and act as if teaching is a country club--to step us. REACH is very specific--study it and grow. You will keep your job. Otherwise--you are wrong--you need 2 unsats over 2 yrs in a row- then you go. Longer than e-3 process now-no?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to district299reader:

    I haven't met any of the teachers you describe. I have met plenty of situations where an administrator bases a rating on whether you are a union rep, or a 30 sec observation or whether the network office demanded a low rating or whether you would let the admin flirt with you.

    I also have had a few great admins who gave me thoughtful feedback and shared some insights to improve teaching.

    I just want to teach the kids well, and not be threatened constantly.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Xian Barrett:

    also, jealous teachers who hate certain someone, will create stories against them, and take them to the principal. Principal will believe the lies and go after that poor hated teacher.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Headache299
    Exactly! REACH is very specific, verbatim: “Tenured Teachers who received a summative rating of excellent or superior in 2011-2012 will remain on the biennial cycle for the 2012-2013 school year” Therefore, practice what you preach: “study it and grow”

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I think I will bite this time only Like I have written before I wish
    District299reader would stop hitting the pipe, or take their meds.
    Here are some reasons I know of that great teachers were fired.
    actually ways were found to oust these teachers ;

    being too black, being too white.
    cutting in on the principals harem.
    opening a window, closing a window
    Refusing to coach a team.
    I could go on and on but one thing is for sure Dist299reader
    is a shill.When they write their name and school I will respond again.
    nobody who ever taught ,even a couple of years in CPS would
    ever write such nonsense as they wrote today. Such bullshit must be ignored not prompted.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Headache299
    Absolutely…commonly the very best teachers are fired! I have spoken to a few who are now hesitant to file an Application for Salary Lane Adjustment just for fear of being targeted as a budget cut.

    And teachers have good reason as last year vet teachers were ‘transitioned out’ as cost cutting measures…and as usual, the local media drum-beating of ‘average’ teacher salaries will be a recurring story all summer…the latest was from CBS Chicago news anchor Dana Kozlov, although it may have been Linda Lutton who was the first in this years’ cycle of “teachers already make too much money” style of reporting.

    Her May 24, 2012 ‘people on the street’ interview closes with:

    LUTTON: Hay, how much do you think a teacher makes, average?
    RAYMOND: I have no idea. Maybe about $40,000 a year, something like that?
    LUTTON: Average - $71,000!
    RAYMON: That’s pretty good!! Then what are they striking for?

    Linda failed to report that it takes ‘average’ 18 and 19 years with a masters-degree plus to earn that salary. And certainly no word from Lutton that Brizard, Cheathem, Barbara Byrd-Bennet, Becky Carroll and a batch of other cps tapeworms, having only been in the system a couple years or less, make about $21,000 a frigging month!

    Linda Lutton says average cps teacher salary is $71,000 per year
    Illinois Interactive Report Card reports $71,236
    Medill Reports say $73,486

    Greg Hinz originally wrote $76,450, then later on 6/9/12, wrote “Teachers now make an average of $69,000”

    Chicago Mag.com wrote 20 years experience and a doctorate earns $88,680.
    At least Chicago Mag.com had the courtesy to mention years of experience plus graduate credits… not a single hack Tribune, Sun-Times, Crain, Chicago Tonight or WTTW, WBBM report reality.

    So now, after the long regurgitation of press-released reports, Dana Kozlov replays ‘salary figures provided by CPS have the highest average salary of any city in the nation.’ And the usual, “A Chicago Public Schools spokesperson said average pay for teachers, without benefits, is $76,000”. Yes… Dana actually quotes ‘without benefits is $76,000’…

    How much does Dana ‘want a cracker’ earn for her record, rewind and replay reporting? What is an average CBS teleprompter ‘read-aloud’ salary?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Do you suffer from panic attacks ?

    I was answering your assertion:

    grow up==If you are a good/great teacher, why would a good/great principal get rid of you?

    My point is that many a great teacher was ousted from a school because of personal reasons.There classroom excellence was the last thing some principals care about.
    The urban myth about how hard it is to fire a teacher is just that
    a myth. How did teacher compensation enter the discussion?

  • In reply to rbusch:

    With "proper" documentation and a "low" rating... a principal can fire just about anybody... Some schools fire 3 to 4 or more teachers every year... Next question...

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Thank you rbusch
    Actually, I am one of those teachers that received an unsatisfactory on Jun 1st w/o any warning. No write ups, cautionary notice....no observation. I transferred to this school and wasn't aware of the "politics" at the school while being one of the youngest. This school lacked current information. I provided updates and handouts/information which I received from my former co-workers. Apparently I should not have done that.
    She literally wrote under weaknesses (as a teacher) that " I walk around w/ a know it all attitude and do not assist w/playground duty." Needless to say I filed a grievance. My 10 yrs prior I have only received an "excellent" rating, the comments were ridiculous and unprofessional and she did not follow procedure/protocol.
    She is scheduled to retire June 30th so I don't know how this will turn out. I was very tempted to email our Network Chief of Schools regarding the matter but wasn't sure if that would be considered "overkill" while displaying a "know it all" attitude.

  • In reply to unknown teacher:

    Buck up my friend.There are still some principals out there
    who would look at your circumstances,and ratings.
    Realizing the situation you were in ,and hire you in
    a heartbeat.Clout has no memory after a rotten principal
    is retired those in their inner circle are in worst shape
    than you are.Apply now to othewr schools.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    I appreciate the encouragement and positive vibes :)
    Guess now I will try and navigate the new HR4U site, where they have hidden the e-bulletin, and put my feelers out.....

  • Is it true that Brooks HS principal Dr. Dushon Brown was walked out last Friday? Is it also true that South Shore principal Dr. Beryl Shingles was moved from South Shore to Dyett? If these changes did occur does anyone know why?

  • In reply to sammy:

    Dear Sammy, it is true that Dr. Beryl Shingles is no longer the principal at South Shore. I'm not sure where she is now however. According to the CPS upper leadership, CPS wanted to go in a different direction.

  • And isn't Morgan Park H.S. still looking for a principal?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Dear district299reader, yes, Morgan Park H.S. is still looking for a principal along with 90 other Chicago Public Schools looking for a principal.

  • Didn't CPS offer $25,000 for principals from out of state to come to CPS? Where are they?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Come on RP--MPHS has been looking for a principal for a while. The LSC really screwed up. The students do not deserve this; LSC deserves what they got in this mess they made.
    As for $25K--it ain't worth it to come to CPS as a principal. You could have your job today and it is gone tomorrow- you're screwed and you ahve a family--screwed evenmore. hey--what happened to Bacelleri--the wonderboy that they gave southloop to,then jumped to CO then jumped out of CO only to resign... ? There's an example of new leaders (?) going badly.
    he had it good at southloop--scattering out all those minority kids to get test scores way up...it improved the 'hood, didn't it.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Yes district299reader, MPHS has been looking for a principal over a year because of the LSC. I don't know where these $25,000 out of town principals are if they are here.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to sammy:

    Be aware of Dr Shingles. What ever school she lands, she will hand pick and label "the outstanding teachers (in her imagination)" and will pamper them, to win their loyalty. Then, she puts together a student council. She will sit with them, buy them subway, and remind students who are the outstanding teachers. From that point on, she lets student council to vent on the teachers who are not consider in her mind, "outstanding teachers." When she remains unimpressed with those independent teachers, she will have students, write reports on those teachers who she doesn't like. She will put those teachers on the spot during staff meetings, and humiliated them in public.

  • this is a couple of weeks old and unconfirmed but suggests that at least some teachers might have been sending CTU materials home with kids. has this been confirmed? no idea.

    Dear Ravenswood-Ridge Administrators,

    It has come to my attention that some teachers may have sent or
    intend to send CTU communications with students. Please be reminded
    that it is against CPS policy.

    Proactively, communicate to all of your teachers that this activity is
    inappropriate and will not be tolerated.

    Please email Ramiro if this has occurred at your school and to what extent.

    I am confident that many of you understand this is illegal -please be diligent in assuring that your teachers are not acting independently
    of your authority as principal or against CPS policy.

    Thanks,

    Craig [Benes]

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Alexander Russo:

    The fact that CPS is talking peace but sending propaganda materials home with parents and robocalling the crap out of us and the parents while criticizing us for the same is beyond hypocritical.

    There is a difference though--if we were to send home materials, they're paid for with our own dues.

    When CPS uses materials and money to bust the union, they are using our own tax dollars against the welfare of the students they are supposed to be serving.

  • In reply to Xian Barrett:

    Well stated Xian. I wonder how much tax payer money CPS spent on all the calls, paper for the letters and hours to get Jean-Fraud's fallacious message sent out.

    Hey Mike Flannery, here is a real story of corruption.

  • In reply to Xian Barrett:

    Change.org: Stop Supporting Union-Busters

    Sign the petition at

    http://bit.ly/KispHk

  • MS

  • So what --a letter from Benes--CPS cannot control what is sent out by CTU or its members. Or what is said. Sick-tired of central office putting this crap on principals. Brizard lost control of this months ago. The strike vote was being discussed then too, and he and his people did not even know it. they are out of it and CTU knows it--better for CTU!

  • McPherson is pushing out highly qualified and experienced teachers. They are making cuts and blaming it on the longer school day while other neighboring schools are not making these cuts. Don't our students deserve the same quality education that other neighboring schools are giving? McPherson is adding a Spanish class for students at the expense of a National Board Certified regular ed teacher with 11 years of teaching experience with the board. Because of this decision that nobody wants split classrooms will be created in first, second, third and fourth grades. Class sizes are going up because they are getting rid of four teachers. These are also the teachers incidentally who are working hard to get the community involved in the school. They started all of the extra curricular activities at the school.

  • In reply to McPherson Parent:

    The NBCT teacher should not have so much experience and education--costs too much. McPherson has been dropping in student population-right? Tell the whole story. Drops in students are devastating to plain old neighborhood schools, plus recess --is VERY expensive!
    Other schools are making cuts too due to LSD and recess. It seems counterintuitive, but this is the Rahm & Brizard show.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    No schools in the area are not making cuts due to longer school day. McPherson is also claiming that they need to have a bilingual certified teacher in each grade level pre-k through 4th grade. According to CPS these teachers do not need to have a bi lingual cert. they can teach in these classrooms with an ESL Endorsement. All of the teachers that are being let go have ESL endorsements. Why are they being let go?

  • In reply to McPherson Parent:

    The LSC passed the budget for this school! Why has not the tribune exposed how many LSC members have NOT taken the training or refused to be finger-printed? Does not CPS keep this data? LSC have the responsibility for millions of $$ and the direction of the school. They do this without knowing their head from their ars. What are the numbers? Why will not the tribune find this out? Who or what are they protecting?

  • In reply to McPherson Parent:

    Just as you stated, your principal is just using the longer day as an excuse. Other schools are not laying people off to pay for the longer day, since the schools received extra money in their budgets to pay for supervision. If she is hiring full time aides just to supervise recess, that is a waste of money. Adding Spanish is another thing - foreign languages are great! But why would it lead to the loss of a veteran teacher? If she has to lay people off for financial reasons, the "youngest" in the building should go first. And split classrooms suck. IMHO splitting classes should always be a last resort - even if it means not having a Spanish teacher.

  • Where does CTU stand on this?: “Tenured Teachers who received a summative rating of excellent or superior in 2011-2012 will remain on the biennial cycle for the 2012-2013 school year”
    Even principals want excellent + teachers to be evaluated every year. Hear one REACH modual takes 23 hours and there are 6? of them!

  • Interesting story here in the Welles Park Bulldog about secrecy at McPherson Elementary School.
    http://www.wellesparkbulldog.com/news/lsc-review-gets-bulldog-in-conflict-with-schools-long

  • The longer school day does cost money, but it can be done without purchasing 4 full-time teacher assistants. I am purchasing 4 people for 3 hours a day for a flat rate of $8.00/hr instead of paying for an employee that I also have to pay benefits and the rest. As long as I keep their hours under 700/ yr I don't have to have them "staffed" with benefits. There are many more ways to think creatively about this situation. It seems to me that the principal wants to get rid of someone/s and this is an excellent excuse for that. There HAS to be a back story here that not everyone knows about, publically. Ms. Mendoza is intense, to say the least, and doesn't exactly have the best reputation for being supportive of her staff at large. I have heard for years that staff morale is not good and that she rules by fear. Not good for "business" when the community sees classroom sizes growing and beloved teachers leaving.

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