Welcome Back - For Now

Today’s education news includes BACK TO SCHOOL, contract negotiations/strike possibilities, and bubbling thoughts (hopes?) that Brizard will leave.  Let us know how the day goes, one way or the other, what you think will (or should) happen with the strike and the contract, and whether you think Brizard is to blame or not.SCHOOL START

School set to start Tuesday, but ‘there’s so much up in the air’ Sun Times: Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s signature longer school day and year kicks off Tuesday citywide amid the drama of a threatened teacher strike that could halt classes after only four days.

What’s new this school year in CPS Sun Times: What’s new this year at CPS • Longer day: For kids, the elementary school day will be 7 hours vs. 5 hours and 45 minutes last year; the high school day will be a half-hour longer (at 7½ hours) four days a week but nearly 40 minutes shorter one day a week. •


CPS, Teachers Union Strike Talks Continue Over Holiday Weekend Huffington Post: The holiday weekend hasn’t been much of one for Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools officials as their negotiations continue in an effort to reach a teachers strike-averting compromise.

Teachers rally; Lewis calls Emanuel ‘liar and bully’ Sun Times:  Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, rallying her troops as a potential teachers strike approaches, called Mayor Rahm Emanuel a “liar and a bully” during a huge rally this Labor Day afternoon at Daley Plaza. Thousands of teachers and public workers gathered in the Loop plaza before marching around City Hall.

Dynamiting the status quo Tribune (editorial): In July, leaders of the cash-starved Chicago Public Schools reluctantly returned $34 million in federal grant money targeted to develop a merit pay system for public school teachers.

Rally brings local groups out for Chicago teachers WBEZ:  Parents, teachers and labor groups joined in support of the Chicago Teachers Union in its testy negotiations with Chicago Public Schools.

Lifeline Schools Brace For Teacher Strike AP: District officials said they would chaperone students during the morning in 145 schools, and invited bids from community organizations to provide “positive activities” the rest of the day.

City Colleges reach labor agreement with teachers ahead of schedule WBEZ: Negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools continue to be tense.But City College teachers have just agreed to a six-year contract with Mayor Rahm Emanuel long before the deadline.


Emanuel gives Brizard a vote of confidence Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel today publicly backed Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, saying he’s doing “a great job.”

Brizard on the ropes? Tribune (editorial): The Tribune on Friday reported a stunner: Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard has gotten sharply critical reviews from the Board of Education and could be fired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Within hours, Emanuel denied he was about to push his schools CEO out the door.


For the Record: Social Justice High School Catalyst: Though the decision was not unanimous, LSC members said they recommended in the Spring that Kathy Farr be given a contract. CPS officials refused to grant her one. Then, on Aug. 7, Farr said she was told she no longer had a job. CPS officials would not comment on Farr’s removal.


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  • WHY MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FIRST STRIKE IN 25 YEARS: 1. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's No. 1 legislative priority was SB7, to make it easier to get rid of tenured teachers and make it tougher for the CTU to go on strike. 2. Mayor Rahm Emanuel stripped the CTU members of their previously negotiated 4% pay raise and tried to muscle through a longer school day immediately by offering bonuses (bribes) to teachers and stipends (payoff money) to individual schools. 3. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has bullied, belittled and betrayed CTU members (i.e..- CTU members got the gold mine and the students got "the shaft"). 5. Mayor Rahm Emanuel then took the $80 million that he stole from CTU members to pay the police retroactively, going back to 2009, about $70 million MORE than CPS had originally agreed to pay the police for their services in the Chicago Public Schools. 6. Mayor Rahm Emanuel still plans to attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte to build up his national clout. 7. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has instructed the Board a. limit the rights of the CTU. b. place restrictions on the CTU access to schools. c. increase the premiums for CTU members health insurance. d. stop granting "longevity' sick days. e. merit pay (differentiated compensation plan). f. stop step increases. g. unfair teacher evaluation process. h. new Board management rights that strip the CTU of any rights. P.S.- CEO JC Brizard, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is going to make you the "fall guy" & "scapegoat" and throw you underneath the bus (fire you) when he no longer has any use for you.

  • Here's a perfect reason why the Regular Joe isn't backing teachers. While, many teachers are hired to teach, PE teachers are hired to teach and coach a sport or multiple sports. Well, someone forgot to tell this to the people at Lane Tech College Prep:

    Question: How many Lane PE/DE teachers coach sports at Lane?
    Answer: 3 of 14

    Teacher/If they Coach a Sport at Lane/Sport Coached/Salary

    Mitchell ----Yes-------------------------------------Football--- ($82, 622)

    Hofman ---- Yes------------------------------------Bowling ---($73,255)

    Nobiling ------No---------------------------------------------------($74,277)

    Serantoni ----No----------------------------------------------------($84,911)

    Lollino --------No--------BANNED FRM COACHING------($85,993)

    Liatos ---------No-----------------------------------------------------($78,565)

    Eisenberg -----No----------------------------------------------------($85,993)

    Saffold ------- --No----------------------------------------------------($83,622)

    Pohlman -------No-----------------------------------------------------($63,024)

    Polki -------------No-----------------------------------------------------($85,308)

    Marchan -------Yes------------------------------------Track---------($82,462)

    Callahan -------No-------------------------------------------------------($63,024)

    Zepf --------------No------------------------------------------------------($69,162)


  • In reply to district299reader:

    Coaches no longer have to be teachers.You should know that.
    This policy has been in effect for years.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    That's NOT the point. Lane's PE teachers are finding ways NOT to coach at Lane after getting hired to teach AND coach. I highly doubt any of Lane's PE teachers is an innovator in PE/Health Education instruction and we're hired only because they're great PE teachers. And I say PE teachers because Lane's two DE teachers (Mitchell and Hofman) both coach in addition to their school day teaching responsibilities. So, only ONE Lane PE teacher (Marchan) coaches a sport at Lane of out (12) PE teachers.

    Also, 'non-faculty' coaches are required to have a coaching certification (most commonly an ASEP Certification) and none of Lane's have one.


    ASEP requirements for CPS:


    To check and see if your 'non-faculty' coach is ASEP certified, go to this link:


    Type in the coach's last name, city, and state. Then click search.

    Next, a list of names will most likely come up, try to locate your coach from that list.

    If you want to see the names of all non-faculty coaches in Chicago, just type in Chicago on the search page and click search

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Are you implying these coaches are getting paid to coach,
    but are not coaching? that is fraud.
    I know nothing about Lane but I know a lot of PE teachers who
    opt to teach drivers ed because you get more hours of work.

  • here's the CPS version of the first day back:

    CPS Schools Open Today for All of Chicago’s Students with the Full School Day
    All Chicago Students Benefit from More Quality Time in Reading, Math and Science and New Opportunities in Recess and Enrichment like Art, Music, PE

    Chicago – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, CPS Board Members and members of the CPS leadership team joined Track R school communities across the District to launch the new school year and the Full School Day, giving all students access to a quality day to help them succeed. Since reaching a landmark agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) on the full day in July, which included the addition of 477 new teaching positions, more than 140,000 kids who started school in August have been in the classroom benefiting from more quality time with their teachers. Today, more than 250,000 CPS students began the Full School Day with the start of Track R schools.

    On top of the 477 positions added through the Full School Day agreement, CPS schools have hired more than 700 additional teachers with new discretionary funding. To support a quality Full School Day, CPS allocated $130 million in additional discretionary funding to give principals and school communities the flexibility to structure a day that best meets the unique needs of their student body, including hiring additional positions.

    “This is a momentous day in the history of CPS as every child throughout Chicago now has access to a quality school day and year, putting them on a path to success in school and life,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, who welcomed students to their first Full School Day and rang the school bell at Roberto Clemente Community High School. “Every student deserves the opportunity to stay in the classroom and take advantage of all the Full School Day has to offer.”

    With the additional time provided by the Full School Day, all students at Clemente are receiving the equivalent of an additional full class period in math and English four days a week. Students who are on track to graduate at Clemente are also receiving an additional class period of enrichment including fine arts, health and wellness, AP supports, medical science and photography, and recovery options are now available to those who need extra help to get back on track to graduate.

    In July, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS announced that Clemente would be among five new wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate schools, transitioning in the fall of 2013 as part of the continuing effort to provide high quality school options for every student in every neighborhood across the City of Chicago.

    As Clemente illustrates, the Full School Day looks different at each school, as each principal and school community has been given the resources and flexibility to structure a quality school day that best meets the unique needs of their student body. At an average neighborhood elementary school such as Spencer Technology Academy, the students are receiving a daily average of:
    · 20 additional minutes in reading

    · 30 additional minutes in intervention with adaptive technology

    · 15 additional minutes in math

    · 10 additional minutes in enrichment

    · 25 minutes of recess (previously students did not have time for recess)

    The implementation of the Full School Day encompassed a year-long planning effort to ensure a thoughtful, engaging, and seamless transition to the new Full School Day and year. Examples of preparation and supports schools received for the implementation of the Full School Day included:
    · Pioneer Schools piloted the Full School Day in the 2011-2012 school year, providing more than 22,000 students in 50 schools with additional time, primarily focused in core subjects like reading, math and science as well as enrichment such as art, music and PE. Lessons learned from Pioneer Schools were used to guide schools across the District in planning their Full School Day.
    · Extensive training and support has been provided to schools and networks by both Central Office and external experts such as the National Center for Time and Learning. This included more than 38 training sessions for principals across the District, as well as expert scheduling support provided to any schools requesting additional guidance.
    · Full School Day Planning Committees were convened at every school to engage teachers, LSC members, students, parents, community members, etc. in the planning process and implementation of the Full School Day.
    · Full School Day Guidelines that for the first time provide minimum benchmarks for instructional time provided to students to ensure they will receive quality time with teachers in core subjects like reading, math and science to better prepare them for college and career. Additional resources provided to support schools in implementing the Full School Day included the College Ready Guide and Recess Guide.
    · $130 million in additional discretionary funding to give principals and schools communities the flexibility to structure a day that best meets the unique needs of their student body, as well as 477 additional positions to support schools in implementation of the school day.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Would it be unreasonable to expect a data driven, full account how each school has used the extra minutes- exactly like the Spencer Technical Academy did above. I think that pulling each school's decisions on how it is using the longer day into the public light is necessary to make sure that school administrators (not just a handful) are being thoughtful and well organizaed on how it is being used.

    CPS...I dare you to do this. I don;t think the public would like to see what the average school is doing with this time.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Thank you Rahm for LSD—our Principal and AP are so busy doing daily lunch duty, they will have no time to come and observe for REACH.

  • Unions, Inequality, and Faltering Middle-Class Wages by Lawrence Mishel

  • Chicago Tribune says give JC time to prove himself, then why are teachers held to the fix it now or get fired standard? Children are only successful if they do well on the FIVE round-the-clock assessments they are told "its fun, really, just take it seriously" while they are tortured. Kids are not stupid, a test without time to learn is unreasonable and not accurate. And a test is not the only way to judge learning, just the easiest to put into a power-point.

    And for those in the private sector who don't "get" how hard this job is: Does your job flip-flop constantly with new and unrelated over-hauls every few months? Think working on a computer design one day and expected to be an expert on carpentry the next and then engine repair the next. CPS never keeps the same process for more than 3 years, yet pays millions for more untested unreliable technology and materials that never quite get delivered to the schools appropriately

  • Who's at a building with no AC??? Bet Rahm's kids don't have to worry about that!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Picture this...
    third floor classroom (of course no elevator)
    29 students (not complaining, last year had 34)
    morning sun beats in must keep shades down
    windows open (shades closed)
    one large industrial fan
    can't hear students, must yell over noise of fan
    students arrange materials all over desk to keep papers from flying
    I must turn fan off during whole group mini-lessons or shares the noise is deafening...
    water fountains run hot
    been in school now fourth week...
    yep, longer days of this are the answer!
    the schools our students deserve...

  • In reply to urbanteach:

    Last week it was hours and hours of empty Prep for REACH, NWEA, and Classroom Decorations: Prep for Instruction: zero. Now the kids are here and we still have no books for the kids.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The charter schools I've been in installed through the wall type AC in classrooms after CPS told them they couldn't (according to teachers).
    Not ideal, but not expensive and safe with proper power installed during rehab. Probably not particularly energy efficient, but the units only run for a few weeks a year.
    There's plenty of indicators that CPS is just too big to manage properly. The question is if Rahm and the board believe they can fix it. If they don't they will dismantle it as much as possible.
    Rahm may still be confident (or arrogant) enough to believe he can significantly improve poorly managed traditional schools. But I have faith the CTU can beat that confidence out of him so that Chicago, like most other cities, can move to rapid charter expansion.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn you are getting more and more curious. Somehow you equate opposition to CPS regulations, actually I think it could be a subsection of Chicago's massive and complex electrical code as it relates to schools, to the exclusive preview of charter schools. As a high school teacher, years ago at Calumet H.S., I put in a window air conditioner in my third floor classroom because it was so hot in September that my students just went to sleep except when attacked by bees and then they woke up running about the classroom.

    Actually some of my fellow teachers thought I was crazy because the heat put some of the most disruptive kids to sleep so teachers did not have to deal with them, to call that cynical would I think be an understatement. I was faced with the full furry of the CPS facilities department for my egregious actions. But believe it or not Donn, I was a CTU member in good standing at the time.

    None the less, we come to this statement in Donn's post: "There's plenty of indicators that CPS is just too big to manage properly. The question is if Rahm and the board believe they can fix it. If they don't they will dismantle it as much as possible. Rahm may still be confident (or arrogant) enough to believe he can significantly improve poorly managed traditional schools. But I have faith the CTU can beat that confidence out of him so that Chicago, like most other cities, can move to rapid charter expansion."

    Charter school networks are themselves becoming mini school districts, some are now bigger than most school districts in our state. Moreover, there is every reason to believe that charter school networks may be fiscally unstable in the long run even with reduced teacher salaries due to the fiscal crisis of the State of Illinois and the debt they have accumlated backed only by promised tuition payments. Some charters are poorly managed in a similar manner as is CPS, I think it's called bureaucracy, and all charter school networks are creating mini bureaucracies.

    The best thing that could happen to charter schools in Chicago would be for them to secede from the school district and create their own school district with a proportionate percentage of both state, federal, and local tax dollars going to a publicly elected charter board of education which would distribute the funds to individual charter schools. Such a body is supported in theory by some charter advocates, but is viewed with some trepidation by others because it could effectively destroy the rational for proprietary charter network administrations and educational management fees. The world is not so simple as Donn makes it out to be.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Dear Ron.

    I agree with you about the Charter Schools.But I think everyone
    is missing the point.Charters are nothing but a modern Parochial
    School System .the big difference is that they get tax dollars.
    The Charters can go to hell for all I care its the public schools
    that worry me.
    I was at Simeon when you were at Calumet.I taught in a building
    right out of East Europe I hate to admit this but we used to
    threaten kids with Calumet if they didn't shape up.
    I knew calumet had a better building a real good staff
    so what was the difference?
    Selective enrollment,pure and simple.That is the same reason the Charters are alive and well.Why are people so afraid to admit that it works.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, I think a basic test of a properly designed school system is if the Superintendent can recognize all of his principals when passing on the street.
    You last paragraph implies that charters are less efficient. It's hard to see evidence of that in Chicago.
    I don't know why simple things in CPS like providing all teachers with locking filing cabinets is a problem. But clearly putting many layers between the real decision makers and the teachers is part of the problem.
    I hope Chicago doesn't go half charter simply as a last resort after determining that the system, including the CTU, is unmanageable. I think that would just fill the city with new institutions that ultimately would have the same problems as the old. I hope what Rahm is planning is to consolidate some schools, and then continue only building new schools that are big ideas like Noble and STEM.
    But decentralizing through large charter expansion is also a defensible approach, IMO.
    Whatever the approach, the funding methods for many schools in Illinois isn't good enough.
    So Rod, on paper does a major school consolidation work? Political considerations aside, can the district reduce enough overhead through school closing to meaningfully reduce expenses?

  • In reply to Donn:

    Just closing down buildings and regrouping students saves money, but not huge money. Because once the students move they have to have a teacher too. Because of Chicago's population decline, especially in the black community, its going to happen regardless of the immediate cost savings. Whether its 100 schools more or less I have no idea.

    Charter schools in terms of cost factoring are not particularly efficient because of their lower overall pay scales. Without paying teachers on average sigificantly less than CTU teachers and in some cases discouraging older career teachers charter schools could not possibly keep their doors open. UNO for example not only pays teachers less it has on average larger class sizes than do CPS schools (look at UNO's 2011 ISBE report card AVERAGE CLASS SIZE as of the first school day in May).

    One reason UNO does this is because it owes so much money to bonds it floated with the support of the IL facilities fund. Other charter networks have almost zero debt, but they have also testified before the Illinois General Assembly that they face serious fiscal problems. Going 50% charter does not solve these problems for CPS, it just shifts the fiscal problems from a district level to the level of the charter network. Efficency can not be examined just as cost relative to educational outcomes, it also has to be looked at in terms of actual costs per student. Right now with start up costs included charters are not significantly cheaper than traditional schools unless one does not take into consideration outside funding. But they are cheaper none the less.

    There is more to this entire picture than test score improvement or academic gains. Education is also a major American and international bussiness, whether public, private, or hybrid. When the economy gets sick on a national and international scale so does education. Unless there is a significant economic turn around the funding for all of the education sector will continue to contract in terms of funding. While it can be argued this is short sighted it simply does not matter in the big picture when money globally is getting short.

    Politicans are simply trying to survive this situation and charter schools are being presented as an easy fix for urban education problems. What will likely happen if CPS goes 50% charter, which is a rumor I too have heard, is that a good number of these new charters will fail fiscally regardless of whether or not they are effectively teaching kids.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to district299reader:

    over 90 degrees in our school lunchroom all day, everyday. The little ones are passing out! Some big ones too!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    If his kids still attend the Lab school I don't think they are back in class until Monday Sept 10th, talk about "shortchanging" his kids. http://www.ucls.uchicago.edu/

  • MEDIA WATCH: Water's perspective calls out one of Rahm's lies... Will corporate media follow up on all those Rahm's been circulating for the past 17 months?

  • Food stamp usage hit an all time high in June

  • DC schools and teachers heads make joint announcement about merit pay results WPost http://ow.ly/duGqD

  • Is there a CPS area officer with an app on Scruff.com? May give whole new meaning to domestic partner-

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