Brizard’s initial changes to CPS

July 28, 2011 at 1:06 am 149 comments

Just noticed a couple Trib articles about some upcoming changes that Brizard is making.  I’m glad to see progress.  I think the idea of someone working with parent groups seems cool.  I hope it’s someone who knows the nitty gritty of working with a school.  I’m curious to see who the person is and what they’re background is.  Seems like a cool job.

I am not getting this addition of 2300 positions in magnet schools. Or maybe I’m having a hard time accepting data from the Trib after the 63K high school application number.

How does cutting the number of area officers improve principals’ access to information?  I’m not criticizing, I swear!  Just wondering….

Mini Superintendants

Brizard will tell Chicago Board of Education members Wednesday that the district will change the structure of its middle managers, whom some in the system call “mini-superintendents.”

The number of chief area officers will be pared from 24 to 19, renamed “schools chiefs” and grouped to include all the high school and elementary principals in a region so the chiefs can work to align curriculum.

“This is not about shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic,” he said. “It really is a different look. You’re not going to see the level of independence in the area as you saw in the past. We’re going to create a level of coherence within those areas.”  Brizard said the restructuring was to ensure that principals have better access to the information they need.  “For us, principals are the primary lever for change,” he said. “They are the primary lever for transformation.”
(As a note, the article states that Terry Mazany (the interim CEO before Brizard) had also suggested this, so a shout out to Mr. M.)

Full story:,0,7667856.story

Adding a position to work with Parent/Community Groups

With the new mayor’s emphasis on community engagement, Chicago Public Schools is adding an executive-level post to deal exclusively with parents and neighborhood groups.

But just as new schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard announced the position and a streamlining of the district’s leadership team at a school board meeting Wednesday, representatives of CPS’ newly created community-based groups asked whether the changes would mean a disbanding of their councils.

Chief Portfolio Officer Position

Brizard announced another cabinet position, a chief portfolio officer, who will oversee magnet, selective-enrollment and other new schools.


Despite a $612 million budget shortfall, the district will be adding 2,300 new slots at high-performing magnet schools, increasing Academy for Urban School Leadership teacher training academies by 35 percent and planning for a 55 percent increase in full-day kindergarten slots.

Full article:,0,3906719.story

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Learn about Classical Schools (and Decatur and Skinner North) Blue Ribbon Committee Presentation from the forums

149 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Grace  |  July 28, 2011 at 8:41 am

    H-mom has spoken at length about the general feelings teachers share regarding CAOs, now to be called schools chiefs. Brizard mentions “their level of independence” and this report doesn’t describe their current functions, priorities, deliverables or reporting line.

    However, it is important to note that Brizard has decided their common objective will be to align elementary and high school curriculums. This would help with the transition from 8th grade to freshman year, which I believe needs a good look, and to raise the percentage of kids who graduate high school.

    The Parent/Community Groups worked with James Dean, of the Community and School Relations dept, I believe. He might be wondering how this new position affects him.

    I don’t know about the 2,300 magnet number, either. Would that include the Lane tech A.C. numbers, which shifted existing h.s. seats down to 7th & 8th grade? Does it include the new seats at Jones CP?
    Might include the new Andrew Jackson school. Be nice to know.

  • 2. HSObsessed  |  July 28, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I read all the Trib articles in the last few days, as well as Chicago News Coop’s coverage (always good) but couldn’t get too excited over any of it. I like JCB’s quote about it not being shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic, but that’s what it feels like to me. When you follow news about a system as enormous as CPS for 10 years, you hear version after version of this kind of reorganization and supposed “shake ups”, but at least to me as merely an outside observer, none of it seems to make a huge difference.

  • 3. cps teacher  |  July 28, 2011 at 9:42 am

    As a CPS teacher (SE H.S.), I am not moved by any of the changes, with the exception of possible curriculum alignment. It’s bizarre that 10 high schools in one area (the current organization) may have 10 different curricula. I have been in a neighborhood school with possibly the worst scripted curricula I have ever seen, and then moved about 3 miles away to a school where teachers are collaborating and continuously revising to meet the needs of students. The CAO reorganization just seems like a name change. Anyone who has been in the system for more than 10 years has seen this happen more than once, and yes, it is just shuffling of chairs.

    I did not see where JCB is cutting at central office in order to come up with the extra monies to hire 4 new chiefs. The 2,300 number seems unlikely as well.

  • 4. Mayfair Dad  |  July 28, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Sounds like lipstick on a pig to me – hey, JC isn’t the only one who can throw down tired cliches!

    Making CAO 2.0s responsible for aligning elementary & high schools is long overdue. The articles I’ve read suggest JC plans to micromanage these positions to get the desired results (with Rahm micromanaging him, no doubt.)

    Two questions I have:

    1. How do these proposed changes compare to Terry Manzany’s recommendations?

    2. I have a hunch some of this is contingent on Race To the Top money or some other yet-to-be-named funding source. Does Rahm know something we don’t know?

  • 5. Grace  |  July 28, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Much better information on the 2,300 new magnet spots here in the sun times article — looks a lot like making “news” out of existing programs.

    M-F dad, you have a way with a cliche!

  • 6. RL Julia  |  July 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

  • 7. Grace  |  July 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Amen. RL J.
    Here is Steve Colbert riffing on conservatives who would deny poverty, a problem that is also shared by many “ed reformers” who think teachers use poverty and other social problems as an excuse.

  • 8. Grace  |  July 28, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Here is a very good story from the Reader’s Ben Joravsky on an Illinois art teacher who blogs on “education reform.”
    He’s the first to have posted the now-famous Jonah Edelman video.

  • 9. Junior  |  July 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Must every post turn into the Grace off-topic cut-and-paste?

  • 10. Grace  |  July 30, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Sorry if you have more to say about the Brizard changes? All ears!

  • 11. Grace  |  July 30, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    In case you missed this story.

  • 12. Hawthorne mom  |  July 30, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I know every new admin comes in a shifts the central office around, so I guess personally, it just seems like more of the same old same old. I would like to hear Brizard (and our union, our parents, our taxpayers and our teachers) talk a whole lot more about meeting the needs of individual students in meaningful ways. Things like one-to-one reading interventions offered outside the regular school day for the majority of CPS kids who just aren’t getting anything at home to help them along, and differentiation for the on level and above level kids. Until we start talking about how to help child A in school X and child B in school Y, its all just cosmetic changes.

  • 13. Hawthorne mom  |  July 30, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    should of said, “comes in and shifts”….

  • 14. Christine  |  July 31, 2011 at 7:57 am

    I saw a list of the 2,300 “new” magnet and selective enrollment seats and they were all projects that are already underway! Lane Tech, STEM Magnet School, etc.

  • 15. Grace  |  July 31, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Found it on Catalyst by Sarah Karp. Here’s an excerpt.

    “However, as Catalyst-Chicago has reported all of the magnet and charter schools, such the STEM Academy on the Near West Side, were approved by the Board of Education over the past school year.

    At the board meeting Wednesday, the board, CEO Jean-Claude Brizard committed to provide funding for the already-approved schools. Also, it is unclear whether the district will be adding more kindergarten slots or just providing additional schools with funding for the slots. As Catalyst-Chicago has reported, CPS has no policy to provide full-day kindergarten and only provides general operating funds for half-day programs. Principals who want to offer it must fund it out of their discretionary money. ”
    (Sarah Karp, Catalyst-Chicago)

  • 16. fwiw  |  July 31, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    FWIW, I see the Grace comment/links as providing a lot of context for whatever topic is posted at cpsobsessed. So, thanks from these quarters!

  • 17. Grace  |  August 1, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Thanks fwiw. B/c education is such a complex topic, i thought that providing links to related topics might be of interest… my fingers do the walking, sort of idea. Don’t mean to get carried away.

  • 18. CPSmama  |  August 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Grace, I too appreciate your links and cut-and-paste expertise. Junior has issues.

  • 19. Mayfair Dad  |  August 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I have named myself president of the Grace-cut-and-paste-random-education-links fan club. There is something about your unabashed wonkiness I find charming.

  • 20. Grace  |  August 2, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Dad, you have nailed me! In 25 words or less, no less. My kids would completely agree with your description of my unabashed wonkiness, but disagree, i’m afraid, about how charming it is. Thanks.

  • 21. Grace  |  August 2, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Now, here’s a guy who is charming, and no, I don’t mean Mitch McConnell. From Democracy Now.

    Thousands rallied on Saturday in support of public education and teachers’ unions in Washington, D.C. The “Save Our Schools” rally was organized to criticize the Obama administration’s education reform policies, which have emphasized initiatives including No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. Among the speakers to address the crowd was the actor Matt Damon.

    Matt Damon: “As I get older, I appreciate more and more the teachers that I had growing up. And I’m not alone. There are millions of people just like me. So the next time you’re feeling down or exhausted or unappreciated or at the end of your rope; the next time you turn on the TV and see yourself being called overpaid; the next time you encounter some simple-minded, punitive policy that’s been driven into your life by some corporate reformer who has literally never taught anyone anything, please, please, please know that there are millions of us behind you.”

  • 22. Grace  |  August 2, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Everybody feeling warm and fuzzy? Now for wonky. : )

    Rod Estvan (major league wonk) and veteran teachers discuss ISATs.

  • 23. Grace  |  August 2, 2011 at 10:06 am

    From Catalyst today. Wouldn’t you like to have one of these teachers at your school?

    Dozens of Chinese teachers are in Los Angeles for a nine-day crash course to prepare them for what they consider the opportunity of a lifetime: to teach Mandarin in American schools. (Los Angeles Times)

  • 24. Anonymous  |  August 2, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Is it just me or is anyone else wondering about the value of learning Mandarin? Granted, I think its a beautiful language visually (I don’t care for the sound of it). And I know that far more people on the planet speak it. However, the languages that seem to bind us together are still Spanish and French — at least in North and South America.

    I say this because I have a cousin who learned Russian fluently in the Cold War era. She even became a professor of Russian literature. She had a great career start, but now? She’s struggling to find work in what was once an “in demand” field.

    Of course, I think learning any language is wonderful. So, I’m not against that language being Mandarin. I’m just wondering if it’s a trendy language as opposed to being a truly useful one.

    In other words, I’m not jealous of the NY kids and their Mandarin teachers. I’m okay with the fact that my kids are learning French at their school and that it’s the only language offered. At least they can order for me off a French menu.

    But since I LOVE Chinese food more than French food … hmmm. Maybe I need to rethink this. LOL.

  • 25. Junior  |  August 2, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Oh, c’mon. Let’s keep the conversation on serious educational topics:

  • 26. Mayfair Dad  |  August 2, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    @ Junior. Well played, sir.

  • 27. Anonymous  |  August 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    OMG. Seeing that video reminded me why I can’t dance today. We had no moves back then!! Just swingin’ our arms. Life was so easy …

  • 28. Grace  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:19 am

    Matt Damon 7-29 interview on education reforms by Gotham Schools. (brief)

  • 29. Grace  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:26 am

    On HuffPo, what the Tribune didn’t report.

    “There’s a debate smoldering, just out of the media spotlight, behind the scenes of Chicago public policy. The debate is between supporters of charter schools — with names like Pritzker, Zell, and to a certain degree Brizard and Emanuel — and believers in reforming the traditional public school model. A simple request, made this week by the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, sheds some light on this debate: what’s at stake, who’s involved, and where both sides stand.”

  • 30. Grace  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:37 am

    Like cps-obsessed, the HuffPo reporter dug into the Stanford (CREDO) study entitled “Multiple Choice: Charter School Performance In 16 States.”

    “That study compared charter schools to public schools by pairing each student at a charter with a student from the neighborhood school he might have otherwise attended who is similar demographically, racially, socioeconomically, and in age. It then compared how charter students performed in comparison with their “twin” students in CPS schools.

    The results in Chicago were that overall, charter students showed no changes in their math scores compared to their traditional-school counterparts. They showed a slight but statistically significant growth in reading.

    As with everything in this debate, though, it’s not that simple.
    African-American and Latino students showed significant relative losses at charter schools in Chicago, in both reading and math. Low-income students overall, however, showed growth in both areas. Explaining the results to The Huffington Post, CREDO researcher Macke Raymond said that this implies that Chicago’s charters are particularly good at dealing with white students in poverty, a population that she said was larger than she’d expected.

    The data is ambiguous enough that either side can draw conclusions from it. What it certainly isn’t, though, is a clear mandate that Chicago’s charters are blowing its traditional schools out of the water.

    For Don Moore, (Designs for Change) that ambiguity is proof enough.

    “Emphasis should not be on investing money and energy in starting more charter schools that turn out not to achieve on average any better than the average public school,” Moore said. Instead, the focus should be on finding the best practices of public schools that succeed against the odds, and helping spread them throughout the district.

  • 31. Grace  |  August 3, 2011 at 5:47 am

    Chicago has tried the top down model of Education Reform. It hasn’t all been roses but it has given us some good tools to work with. The best schools in Chicago have the following school-reform characteristics:
    • Parent-led Local School Councils, which select their principals
    • Principals with four-year performance contracts negotiated by the Parent-Led Local School Council
    • Unionized teachers

    1. Expanding the numbers of Parent-led Local School Councils and giving them better training in budgeting, hiring and curriculum customization would seem to be a cost-efficient and effective way to improve schools. PURE and Designs for Change have both done excellent work on how to get this done.
    2. There should be an elected school board in a publicly funded campaign model so that everyone can participate and because the effectiveness of LSCs argues for more public participation not less.
    3. The Mayor should not be implementing Performance Counts legislation (IL SB7) because it will do real damage to our educational system.
    4. Expanding the Community School Model as envisioned by the Annenberg Institute and as carried out in not-enough neighborhoods in Chicago.
    5. The Mayor should expand programs like the College Bridge Program that lets CPS juniors and seniors acclimate to college while earning college credits and fulfilling high school electives at no cost to students. Chicago Public Schools, through its partnership with Northeastern, assumes the cost of tuition, textbooks and public transportation expenses.
    6. The call for longer school days never stops. It’s as if some has decided that going to the same dysfunctional system longer will work. A better question would be what defines a quality school day? How much reading, writing, math, history, physical education, science or civics can anyone learn or impart in 45 minutes, with 20 minute lunches and no recess for younger kids? More of the same is idiotic but that’s our plan — 90 more minutes of exactly the same thing.

  • 32. CPSmommy  |  August 3, 2011 at 7:45 am

    I agree with Grace…the longer school day with more of the same thing is unlikely to enhance learning outcomes. Rather, I believe that a stronger partnership with the parks district to expand after school options should be explored. After School Matters is great, but not accessible to enough kids. I think there should be a combo program available at troubled schools to provide physical activity, tutoring/homework help, and a healthy snack. Why not bring park district staff right into the schools and have teachers help with tutoring/homework on a rotating basis?

    So now my big beef has to do with the CPS budget woes. Here is a portion of a recent CBS article:

    “But hanging over their efforts to get the word out were the negotiations with teachers over their cancelled 4% raises and other efforts to balance the budget, which in June, showed a $712 million deficit.

    That shortfall was whittled down to $600 million in July, and now, CBS 2 has learned, it stands at around $300 million after unspecified cuts.

    A balanced budget is due by Friday.”

    How on earth did CPS cut $300M…pretty much overnight? I really believe a lot of the financial catastrophe is manufactured and I am a bit surprised that more media outlets don’t pick up on this theme…I mean come on, how can we believe any of their numbers?

  • 33. HSObsessed  |  August 3, 2011 at 7:53 am

    @24 Anonymous, I agree. People overestimate how much knowledge of a foreign language will help in a career. It just depends which career, which language, level of fluency, etc., and language ability doesn’t make up for lack of technical experience in a field.

    Specifically for Mandarin, people underestimate how much higher the learning curve is compared to learning another European language. Each Chinese character has to be memorized, to one extent in order to recognize it (read it), and to an even deeper level to be able to reproduce it (write it). Also, Mandarin is a tonal language, where your tone of voice can completely change the meaning of the word, sometimes to comic effect, but often simply to make your statement nonsensical for Chinese speakers. BTDT.

    Having said that, I still think that studying a second language is really important for ancillary benefits like encouraging international travel/living and broadening a person’s outlook, and even because it makes you more sympathetic to people in the US who are less than fluent in English.

  • 34. Grace  |  August 3, 2011 at 8:19 am

    CPS Mommy, i thought that i read everything, but how did i miss that the CPS deficit has improved by $300 million?

    I do believe Emmanuel meant it when he said never let a crisis go to waste. Especially a manufactured one.

    How else to explain cutting the 4% teacher raise, and laying off hundreds of teachers?

    Did you read that TFA will have 400 new graduates ready for CPS schools this fall? It represents a huge increase.

    I likewise can’t explain how our media don’t cover education very well, except for the fact that the Trib’s owner Sam Zell doesn’t like unions.Like charters.

  • 35. Grace  |  August 3, 2011 at 8:19 am

    This one is better.

  • 36. Mayfair Dad  |  August 3, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Re: the longer school day.

    Let me go on record saying I support the mayor on this; there are numerous studies that confirm our kids are being left behind and would benefit greatly from more instruction time. A longer school day includes time for music, art, foreign language and physical education. And yes, keeps kids off the street and away from gangs. There is no downside for our children to have a longer school day, only downside for teachers who will have a longer work day. Boo flippin’ hoo.

  • 37. Grace  |  August 3, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Dad, let’s take a step back and ask CPS what is the plan and how much is the funding for the longer day?

    Then — after all that is beautifully clear and indicates to real services for our kids — I’ll join you in bashing teachers who don’t want to work longer hours for no pay.

  • 38. Grace  |  August 3, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Speaking of funding for a longer day, The Task Force on TIF Reform met last Thursday in Bronzeville. It is the only meeting the new group has planned, unfortunately.

    Here’s something from Curtis Black, who attended.

    “Amisha Patel of the Grassroots Collaborative called for shutting down the LaSalle Street TIF district, calling it an “egregious misuse of public funds.” The city should declare a TIF surplus and return $200 million from dowtown TIFs to the tax base, she said.

    She called for dedicating $100 million to affordable housing and pulling CPS out of the TIF program. ”Given the economic crisis that we are in, it makes no sense that the city holds on to over $850 million in tax dollars, while our communities are struggling,” she said.

    TIF funds “shouldn’t be going to make rich corporations richer” while class sizes are increasing, said Kristine Mayle of the Chicago Teachers Union.

    Wendy Katten of the Raise Your Hand Coalition expressed disappointment that, despite promises of reform, the city just approved $7 million for an upscale grocery store in Greektown.

    CPS’s share of that money would have provided music or language programs for 50 elementary schools with 25,000 students, she said.
    “Our schools are in dire need of the tax money that is being diverted from them, and our children can no longer afford to lose teachers and programs,” she said.

    Katten called for sunsetting TIFs “that have served their purpose” and restricting new TIF designations to blighted areas. She urged the task force to consider removing CPS from the TIF equation.

    In the 47th ward, where she lives, “we have million-dollar homes and six TIFs diverting money from schools,” she said. “It’s a shame.”

  • 39. Mayfair Dad  |  August 3, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Grace, Illinois needs education funding reform. Chicago needs to give TIF money back to the schools and the parks. And our kids need a longer school day.

    None of the above should be influenced by the mayor’s ongoing review of the compensation/pension benefits for municipal employees including teachers. Teachers – along with firemen, police, streets & san, water department,etc. – are paid with my tax dollars and the city is in a financial crisis. I WANT my mayor to be aggressive in pursuit of a fair and equitable contract for all city employees. I want no-nonsense changes to union work rules. I want McCormick Place to enact reforms because without a thriving McCormick Place we are doomed to become the next Detroit.

    Do you think the finacial crisis is bogus, a political ploy? I don’t believe that for a second. Chicago is in deep sh*t, sister.

    Rahm is doing exactly what he said he would do if elected, and that’s why we voted for him.

  • 40. Matt Damon  |  August 3, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Has this site become Grace’s personal soap box? Is there no escape from district 299? Miss the days when CPS Obsessed moderated and kept the discussion on track (at least as much as plausibly possible)

    Even Jason Bourne did not take this much bureaucratic pounding.

  • 41. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 3, 2011 at 9:25 am

    What Mayfair Dad said. It’s not teacher bashing to ask teachers to do what everyone in the private sector has to do: suck it up in hard times and be accountable for the work that they do.

    Do we talk about “accountant bashing” or “HR staff bashing” or “retail store manager bashing”? No, no we do not.

    We already know two things: CPS is not good enough for the mayor’s kids. Lake View High School is not good enough for your kids. But we’re all supposed to just smile and nod and say “everything would be just great if we could just get those pesky charter schools to go away!!! And give all teachers above-market raises just for showing up!!!!!”

    I don’t think so. Blaine may be just super, everyone may be fighting tooth and nail to get into Whitney Young, but the rest of the system needs some serious work.

  • 42. cps Mom  |  August 3, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Thanks Mayfair Dad. We are being short changed again on getting more learning time because that has now become a bargaining chip thanks to CTU. For the schools that are “fixed” there is not enough time in the day to do all that is needed for a superior education. For the “broken” schools time is needed to boost learning and to keep kids safe.

    The charters started 8/1 extending their school time even further. They should get the funds they need.

  • 43. mom2  |  August 3, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I’m 100% with Mayfair Dad on this one, too. Sorry Grace.

  • 44. Grace  |  August 3, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Good morning Viet Nam!

    BTW, I was speaking to the CPS deficit. It was halved somehow recently by $300 million. I’m saying I’m skeptical about that number.

    CPS drops the teachers’ raise and we go from $712 mln to about $600 mln.

    Brizard talks about spending more funds for kindergarten, and adding 2,300 more magnet seats, and the deficit is goes down by $300 million.



  • 45. RL Julia  |  August 3, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Recently was invited to a parent/student focus group held by some Brizard consultants. One of the questions they asked us was what we would we want to see if the school day was 90 minutes longer – how would we want to fill the time. Currently, because it is so short, I think the school day has a slightly frantic, manic feel. Teachers don’t have enough time to meet, collaborate, teach, kids (generally) don’t have enough time to really engage deeply and they do miss out. They don’t learn as much as kids in economically and racial similar schools in the burbs (think Evanston in this case). Just ask my kids – they’ve noticed the difference -and brought it up to me.

  • 46. cps teacher  |  August 3, 2011 at 10:38 am

    No matter how you look at it, the whole thing is a mess. Why are they talking about longer school days in August? Suburban schools have their children programmed, teachers know what they are teaching and everything is ready to go at this stage of the game. Chicago needs to stop using failing urban schools as models. Turn to Hinsdale, Wilmette or the Lab school to see what does work. Longer school days are not the answer.

    To say that teachers need to “suck it up” is one of the most bizarre statements I have heard in a long time. I would love to see you say that directly to your child’s teacher. I already work in my school building from about 6:30 to 3:30 (for which I am paid for 6.25 hours). I usually work at home another 10 hours per week.. If my school work day is increased, I will not be putting in the additional hours for which I am not paid. Ask your childrens’ teachers about the real length of their workdays. Furthermore, there is no accountant bashing because they get paid for the work they do. I don’t question my accountants bill.. I don’t ask my childrens ped or my mechanic for a discount rate because I want to pay for less.

    I am a member of the PTA of my childrens’ school (suburban) and there is panic when any word of teacher salary cuts or anything of the like is mentioned. We know that you need to pay for good teachers. Teachers are not the problem with the system.

  • 47. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 3, 2011 at 10:47 am

    The day that someone in Wilmette complains that their child’s school day is too long is the day that I’ll believe that longer school days do not matter.

    And yes, I know that you need to pay for good teachers. But what should you pay for bad teachers? Your child’s pediatrician is carrying a huge amount of malpractice insurance. If your mechanic or accountant does a bad job, you won’t go back. They don’t get paid just because.

    Now, here’s my question for you: if we got rid of charter schools and gave all teachers 4% raises just for showing up, would Lake View High School be good enough for your kids?

    And, uh, CPS teacher, how did your kids get into a suburban school if you are teaching in CPS? Can you explain to us how city residents can send their children to schools outside of the city? I’d really like to know.

    I keep mentioning Lake View for three reasons: first, it’s my neighborhood high school. Second, it’s Rahm Emanuel’s neighborhood high school. Third, it is one of the best of the neighborhood high schools. And yet, I don’t see a lot of people here committing to it, no matter how much they defend CPS.

    So what do we do about that?

  • 48. cps teacher  |  August 3, 2011 at 11:02 am

    The solution to systemwide problems is certainly not a 4% salary increase for teachers. Let’s be realistic. But there is not progress to be made when we are not supporting those who are working hard. I don’t know how to support charter schools when their #’s are no better than neighborhood schools. What’s the point? Why not put the money into neighborhoods?

    I don’t know how you can send your children to suburban schools if you live in the city, and how is this question related to anything? I have been with CPS long enough to be able to live outside of the city. The location of my home is not related to how committed I am to the success of my students.

    From my viewpoint, the problem with LV is the safety factor, no? This has NOTHING to do with teacher quality. I know someone who has worked at LV for almost 25 years and she says she worries about gangs everyday.

    For what it’s worth, I am a CPS graduate, hold graduate degrees and love my job.

  • 49. cps teacher  |  August 3, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I forgot one more comment. Brizzard has eliminated the AMPS program from CPS. This takes away certain autonomy from many of the schools that are discussed on this blog. Does anyone else worry about the threat of increased testing that may occur with loss of this status?

  • 50. cps Mom  |  August 3, 2011 at 11:27 am

    If the working hours are 6:30 to 3:30 why is it a problem to spend some of that time actually working with students?

    In order to get the results that we have at our top schools I see an inordinate amount of homework and learning time wasted in class reviewing that homework. I would like to see the learning back in the school taught by professionals rather than at home. There is just not enough time in the day for that, period. No ones “fault”, just what we’ve evolved into. The number of days off – horrendous. More time in class would bring greater productivity decreasing time on everyone’s part spent outside of class. And yes – the studies all echo the same. Globally, our education system is behind because of this one factor alone.

    I find it incomprehensible that any CPS parent would not want to further learning time in school (unless, of course your kids are not in CPS). Our family has benefited greatly by superior teachers that do not have their eyes on the clock. I’m truly sorry that there is no money for pay extras – but I still demand what’s best for my child in the limited time that the kids in general have in the system. Times are tough for everyone.

  • 51. cps teacher  |  August 3, 2011 at 11:41 am

    @50. I have students sitting in my classroom starting at 7am. I get there the half hour earlier for prep time. This is the best time for more direct instruction for children, at a smaller ratio of me to them, rather than having the 35 kids in the classroom.

    I agree with you about using time for instruction. Those superior teachers should be compensated. CPS continuously claims “broke” but unless you are in the system, you have no idea what waste occurs. I have personally been forced to teach a curriculum that cost over 1 million dollars, required horrid professional development (where teachers were taught to dumb down the material) required “coaches” who really didn’t do anything. This program recently disappeared into the land of “oops this didn’t work.” I personally saw a pile, about 20 feet in diameter or textbooks, paper, workbooks, cd’s,etc. that were dumped because of change programs. When I asked if I could have someone from a neighborhood school come with me to pick through to rescue usable material, I was told to stay out of that room and consequently,, found that garage area locked.

    There are soooo many problems and such horrible waste. The system is broken and unfortunately the childen suffer. The patronage, mismanagement of funds and all around waste are, to me, the greatest problems the system faces, not the teachers.

  • 52. Grace  |  August 3, 2011 at 11:53 am

    cps teacher, I commend you for your commitment.
    Me and Matt Damon. 😉

  • 53. RL Julia  |  August 3, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I am not convinced that the AMPS program being taken away will really change much to be honest with you. AMPS schools seemed to be granted in a somewhat arbitrary (?) manner – I am not saying that the schools that were given AMPS status didn’t deserve it – they most certainly did/do. It’s just that there were a lot of other schools who could have been AMPS schools as well who weren’t chosen and/or were denied. The last time my school made an application we were told that there were too many other schools in our region and thus our application would not be considered. While AMPS status would have been nice, I don’t think not having AMPS status really has held the school back any…

    r.e. CPS Teacher – I don’t think that where you live relates to your professional commitment to CPS, however it does say something about either the Chicago housing market or your feelings about the general quality of education CPS is capable of delivering. The personal and the professional are different things but you are still saying something – which is that for you, living outside of Chicago is better for you/your family than living in Chicago. To be honest, as a City employee who has to live in the city , I have somewhat mixed feelings about your freedom to opt-out of having to deal with the “system” as it would be but whatever, power to you. I have no idea if I would leave if I could…

  • 54. Mayfair Dad  |  August 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Food for thought, lest anyone thinks I am hating on teachers – I’m not. I think great teachers are underpaid. My problem is with CTU protecting underperforming teachers, because that’s what unions do: protect the members, even the weak members.

    Speaking of underperforming, Jay Cutler earns approximately $23,200 for every pass he throws – only 60% of them are caught. To me it is insane that society does not place a higher value on education as a profession.

  • 55. Grace  |  August 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Should be valued, but Duncan says states are cutting about 300,000 teachers this year.

  • 56. Lady in Waiting  |  August 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I’m waiting for this too, from CPS admin:

    “…let’s take a step back and ask CPS what is the plan and how much is the funding for the longer day?

    “Then — after all that is beautifully clear and indicates to real services for our kids — I’ll join you in bashing teachers who don’t want to work longer hours for no pay.”

  • 57. cps Mom  |  August 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Teacher – the feeling of many CPS parents is that there are some great teachers deserving raises when we have the money. Blanket raises to all does not accomplish this, only hinders the effort. Debate over how much the deficit is does not change the fact that it exists. The hope is that the new chief will examine the “oopsies” and make changes. I can’t see how a certain amount of change won’t happen by default given that there are no funds.

    I agree any civil servant, including teachers, needs to stop moaning about pay levels at this time when there are so many under and un-employed and companies with payroll freezes for 3 years now.

    We agree – can’t wait to see some major overhauls.

  • 58. Lady in Waiting  |  August 3, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    “I likewise can’t explain how our media don’t cover education very well, except for the fact that the Trib’s owner Sam Zell doesn’t like unions.Like charters.”

    Chicago reporters seem to understand CPS very little. Even the education reporter on WBEZ and — mind-boggle — a lot of the coverage in Catalyst. There are soooo many reasons, but it exhausts and depresses me to even think about them.

  • 59. Angie  |  August 3, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    @48. cps teacher: “From my viewpoint, the problem with LV is the safety factor, no? This has NOTHING to do with teacher quality.”

    Say what? This has everything to do with the teacher quality. By the time kids get to LV High, they have already been going to school for 8 years. So why haven’t they been taught to behave properly, respect the teacher authority and value learning?

  • 60. cps teacher  |  August 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Are you implying that it’s the teachers job to teach a child how to behave properly? to respect authority? to value learning? Granted, there are spectacular teachers out there who really can get to a student and change them forever. However, if you don’t know how to accomplish this at home, things are not going to go well for your child. Would you like to teach differential equations while I teach your kid to speak nicely? Your statement is a clear example of why kids are so screwed up by the time they get to school.

    Overall, I agree that a blanket raise does just does not work. But there is a protocol to get rid of bad teachers. Principals just need to follow it. Yes, it’s paperwork and followup, but I have seen it done and done successfully. As I have said before, those writers on this board represent a small population of what teachers have to deal with. If all parents were as dedicated as those here (at least most of them), CPS would NOT be the system that it is.

  • 61. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I say, let’s give the spectacular teachers huge raises, And let’s fire all the teachers who say “I can’t do anything with these kids because their parents are defective.” If the kids who go to Lake View and most CPS high schools are unteachable, then the teachers certainly don’t deserve raises. Heck, we don’t even need teachers if kids are unteachable. Put them in a room with the television on, if a teacher cannot add any value.

    (This, by the way, is how I think CTU supporters regularly shoot themselves in the feet.)

    And seriously, is anyone in CPS teaching differential equations? Do you teach at Northside, cps teacher? I was under the impression that that was upper-level college math, taken mostly by engineers and science majors, and not at all the same as differential calculus, which itself is rarely taught at the high-school level. Am I mistaken?

  • 62. Grace  |  August 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    @ 57, cps mom.
    “I agree any civil servant, including teachers, needs to stop moaning about pay levels at this time when there are so many under and un-employed and companies with payroll freezes for 3 years now.”

    I’m sure you didn’t want to imply that teachers have been immune to our great recession?

    Ben Joravsky has gone into the difficulties Chicago teachers face, last year and this. Many hundreds of Chicago teachers are newly unemployed. They will be replaced by 400 much cheaper and much less experienced TFA-ers. TFA-ers are short-timers who sign up for a 2-year commitment. They often have grad school in mind as a next step. This turnover keeps salaries low and reduces future pension obligations for school districts. Most children do better with experienced teachers.

    @ 59 Angie.
    Years ago I asked the very impressive and experienced head of gifted ed for the Hinsdale school district about whether a school imparts morals to children. She said without hesitation, “Children get their morals from home. Period.”
    I’ve never heard a better answer.

  • 63. Grace  |  August 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    @ 61 My children learned slope/intercept, systems of equations, etc. in a CPS middle school. Option isn’t available in neighborhood Catholic elementary schools.

  • 64. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Grace, that’s not differential equations. That’s pre-algebra. I’m happy to know the CPS middle schools teach pre-algebra, and I am truly surprised to know that Catholic elementary school students don’t have it. It’s a wonder that any of them get into SEHS, then, if they have not had pre-algebra.

    My question was about differential equations. CPS teacher says that it is hard to teach differential equations while also teaching children to talk nicely. And if there is a CPS school that teaches differential equations, I’d like to know about, because that would be incredible – an urban high-school teaching upper-level college math?

    And, to get on another of my big soapboxes, I think it would be really nice if all teachers were required to take some college-level math. Maybe not differential equations, but how about at least pre-calculus? Something a little tougher than “concepts and methods”?

    I know, I know: You don’t need to know anything at all about hard and scary math to teach elementary-school math! But you can certainly impart the idea that math is hard and scary and only for boys and nerds, if you are too afraid of math to take it yourself.

  • 65. Angie  |  August 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    60. cps teacher: “Are you implying that it’s the teachers job to teach a child how to behave properly? to respect authority? to value learning?”

    Yes, actually, I am. There are parents who refuse to teach their children these things, and don’t care about the education at all. So, the way I see it, the teachers who get these kids in their classroom at the ripe old age of 5 have two choices. They can give up and complain about the lack of parental involvement, or they can do something about it during the 6 hours they have these children captive at school.

    Well, there is also a third choice – leaving the job to prison guards instead, but I think we’ve seen how well that is working out.

    If we check the test results at the low-performing schools, it seems that teachers there don’t have much success teaching the differential equations, either. So,what do they have to lose by devoting some of the time to teaching basic life skills in addition to academics?

  • 66. Angie  |  August 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    @62. Grace: “Children get their morals from home. Period.”

    So does that mean that there’s no way teachers can help to break the cycle, and the children of “bad” parents are all destined to become thugs and gangbangers?

  • 67. cps teacher  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    CPSDepressed…you are right. I made a bad example with diff eq. This is definitely something that I do not teach, however, in an effort to make a point, I just reached at something. Apologies. However, I never implied that children were not teachable. What I do say is that if I get a kid at the jr level in my class and he has no respect for authority, education or himself, how do you propose I teach him the material i am required to teach him? As a society, we need to make parents acccountable so that children don’t get to that point. I have taught in a very “tough” school where I had minimal problems with behavior because of my expectations and classroom norms. However, again, because these kids were not taught these skills at home, they missed out on the material they should have been learning at school because I was busy teaching them behavior skills .Where do they ever catch up? Believe me, this is depressing for someone who cares.

    I definitely agree with you that all teachers should take higher level math classes.

  • 68. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I get frustrated because it seems like teachers want it both ways. They want to get paid and respected for making a difference, but they don’t want to be held accountable for not making a difference.

    What’s it going to be? Are teachers really and truly interested in improving education – even if it means lost jobs for bad teachers, learning new skills, and higher taxes – or do they just want to get more money while making lots of excuses?

    I’m a huge supporter of good teachers. I have no patience for whiners. Karen Lewis lost me when she brought up slavery.

  • 69. RL Julia  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    66 – Angie- well yes, actually, if there is no involved positive adult in a child’s life (before the age of five) the child probably will become gangbangers if only because gangs offer structure and a sense of belonging that such a kid might find attractive.

    I’d love to take a break from talking about what teacher’s should/could be doing and discuss in more concrete terms about what parents should be doing to prepare their kids for school. Its a two way street. Teachers can’t be held to a higher standard simply because they are paid and quite frankly if the parent can’t be bothered – why should the school feel obliged to take on the whole job of raising a kid.

  • 70. cps grad  |  August 3, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    When my mother went to a CPS school in the 40’s she had teachers who lined up students and checked each kids clothing and under their fingernails for cleanliness. One teacher insisted boys wear a tie in class, and kept a stash in her desk in case someone came without. Any kid that didn’t meet her standards was singled out. When my mother got caught chewing gum in class she was directed to wear it on the end of her nose. The kids sure did learn fast to obey and be good little soldiers. Parents didn’t complain in those days, but I wonder what would happen to that teacher in today’s day and age. How many of the parents on this board would be lining outside the principal’s office to complain. How fast would they be demanding that teacher be fired. Fast forward 40 years when my mother taught in the inner city where 1st graders use 4 letter words and swear openly at the teachers. Mom had hundreds of stories on how every attempt she had to discipline kids was undermined by a parent. “Don’t you tell my baby what to do,” and the like.

    Point is teachers hands are tied. The tools they have for disciplining kids are limited. It’s not like you can put the dunce cap on the class clown and put him in the corner anymore. You can’t single a kids out – it’s humiliating. We’ve come a long way on discipline in the classroom but consequently if a kid doesn’t have a respect for authority and teachers the day they walk in the school, there is very little a teacher will be able to do. Telling a kids not to swear isn’t going to do much if they already are insubordinate enough to do it in the first place.

  • 71. Angie  |  August 3, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    @70. cps grad: “Mom had hundreds of stories on how every attempt she had to discipline kids was undermined by a parent. “Don’t you tell my baby what to do,” and the like.”

    Maybe the principal should sit those parents down and explain to them what the school is all about, because they obviously did not learn it the first time around. Better yet, print out a list of school rules the students are expected to obey, and give it to every parent when they register their children, so that there is no misunderstanding later on.

    Seems to me that they had the right ideas about the disciplining in the good old days. Maybe it’s time to revisit them, because the new ways are not working so well.

  • 72. Grace  |  August 4, 2011 at 5:58 am

    @ 36, M-F Dad, It would seem to be obvious that a longer school day would raise scores.

    But it’s not so. See Rebecca Vevea “s story (Chicago News Coop) from June 2011 on ISAT scores. Charters longer school days don’t make for higher scores than the traditional public schools with their shorter day.

    Her analysis repeats what the Stanford (CREDO) study found.

    A longer day could provide wonderful learning opportunities that can’t be measured by standardized tests. It could inspire creativity, a love of the arts, and other things. It would help working families. It would keep kids safer.. All excellent reasons for a longer day, but it will depend on planning and funding.

  • 73. Grace  |  August 4, 2011 at 6:04 am!+Mail

    From De Paul Professor Mike Klonsky .. .an excerpt of what the debt deal will mean to education.

    “Some of my fellow school activists and progressive educators will take solace in the fact that the new debt bill all but kills any chance for an imminent reauthorization of No Child Left Behind and will likely deliver a death blow to Arne Duncan’s Race To The Top. Duncan’s only power over schools and resistant states was his ability to inflict punishment by means of the selective doling out of federal funds to bankrupt states and starving school districts. He was able to do this in the first round of RTTT because he had millions of stimulus dollars in his pocket. Now that money is gone. The T-Party was able to do, through forced budget cuts to Title I and IDEA, what conservatives have long dreamed of but couldn’t accomplish politically: to neuter or liquidate the Department of Education (especially with Democrats running it and in control of the federal trough).

    But the problem is, the possible demise of Duncan power means even more power for corporate reformers funded by giant philanthropists like Gates, Broad and Walton, who are accountable to no public, who don’t have to run for office or engage in legislative debates and still have Duncan around to run interference for them. A weakened DOE with fewer hammers in its toolbox won’t mean less test-madness or more power for local schools or classroom teachers — quite the opposite.”

    Read the rest at his blog.

  • 74. Grace  |  August 4, 2011 at 8:17 am

    A superintendent asks “Where is Average Yearly Progress for politicians?”

  • 75. Grace  |  August 4, 2011 at 8:20 am

    From Catalyst — Brizard to take questions on monthly call-in show.

    Beginning Monday, Aug. 8, Chicago residents can call or email WBEZ 91.5 FM with questions for Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard.

    “Schools on the Line,” a new monthly call-in show gives the public a direct line for discussion with Brizard. The program will air from 7 to 8 p.m. “

    I think this will be good! 😉

  • 76. Grace  |  August 4, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Emmanuel and Brizard rang a half-dozen doorbells in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood Tuesday to deliver the message that kids should start school on time.

  • 77. Hawthorne mom  |  August 4, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Angie, you can’t honestly believe a parent, who is blatantly “in your face” to a teacher would bother to listen to a principal. We are talking about people who disrespect ANY rules in place. One big problem is that schools are basically held hostage in the idea that they must educate all kids. That kids need to be in the classroom no matter how bad they are. And, if they have an IEP, you can’t suspend them beyond a certain number of days.
    I have literally had students threaten to “get” me after school gets out. (kids with gang ties, kids who brag about and show everyone their bag of drugs…..yes, really) My principals could do nothing about it. In fact, many times, teachers are pressured to hush up actual assaults against them by students. You know, because it “makes the school look bad” and all.
    Teachers and schools have essentially been stripped of their authority to give consequences. Detentions? Ha! What are jr. high and high schools going to do when the child refuses to stay? It isn’t like we can stop them from leaving. And if the parent doesn’t back us up, we’ve got nothing.
    It is like having a police force with no ability to give tickets, jail time or other measures.
    Yes, good teachers can promote good classroom management….but if and only if they have an administration and a parent body that backs them up. Especially in the 5th grade and up classrooms.

  • 78. cps Mom  |  August 4, 2011 at 9:30 am

    It’s very disheartening to hear a teacher say “your statement is a clear example of why kids are so screwed up by the time they get to school”.

  • 79. Anonymous  |  August 4, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I think we all can sit here and say we understand how “bad” some of the situations are in the poorest neighborhoods and that teachers should be part of the solution for turning kids around, but sometimes, it’s just not possible. While I do not have firsthand knowledge of teaching in Chicago, my brother taught in Baltimore at a time when 1 in 9 adults in the city were addicted to heroin. He taught 5th graders who had been selected for a special program to do exactly what we are talking about – a school which had recently been started to provide not only an education, but life skills, manners etc. He was absolutely disheartened when he realized that some of his students were past help – at 10 and 11 years old. His entire class (except for 2 students) had a known record of physical or sexual abuse. One fourth of his class had seen at least 2 (or more) relatives murdered in front of them. He, of course, lasted there for only several years – and he is not the type of person to quit things. Sometimes teachers can only do so much. No matter how fantastic they are. Actually, since then the school has had a lot of success stories – and here’s how – the students are at the school ALL DAY LONG. Scheduled classes, tutoring and homework help run from 7:45 am until 5pm. And, I believe students can stay until 7 if needed. There are only 12 – 15 students per class and they offer professional counseling for groups and individuals. We can’t expect teachers to work miracles without some sort of change and support within the system.

  • 80. Anonymous  |  August 4, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Just last night I was at our local playground (in Lincoln Park) and my son came up to me and said, “That baby just said the ‘b’ word.” Well, that “baby” (around 3 or 4) not only said that, but told her mom to “shut up” — and was encouraged to do so by the mom’s friend, with whom she was flirting the entire time.

    THIS is the behavior we’re talking about. And that child had at LEAST a year (I’m thinking two) of this kind of “parental influence” before reaching kindergarten.

    So, before we go expecting teachers to produce miracles and parents to be the answer, let’s take into account the abundance of so-called parents like these. This little girl’s mom was all of 14 years old. Her “boyfriend” couldn’t have been over 15. I don’t know if he was the father. He was certainly playful with the girl, I’ll give him credit for that. But, encouraging her to say, “shut up” and “B@#$”?

    But most of the moms and dads are kids themselves. What do they know? It’s not truly their fault that they can’t act like adults — because they’re not.

    And we expect teachers to undo 5 or more years of this? These kids need to be in school LONG before kindergarten. Children of these low-income, under-educated parents need to be in school at 2 or 3 at the latest. THEY need the full-day FREE pre-school I’ve seen parents on other boards fight over for themselves.

    I need that slap in the face every once in a while when I think of CPS as the world my children see. It’s not that at all in the vast majority of the system.

    God bless our CPS teachers. I wouldn’t want your job, but I’m glad you do.

  • 81. mom2  |  August 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    These recent conversations/posts are the reason why parents on boards like this are desperately trying to get their kids into SE schools or want schools that find other ways to separate some kids from other kids. It isn’t racists or evil or uncaring, it is just a fact that there are two very different types of students and families that want to send their kids to Chicago Public Schools (and all sorts of others in between). You simply cannot put them all together and expect anyone to be happy. The needs are totally different and no one should be expected to want or require less just so the other can have want they want or require.

  • 82. RL Julia  |  August 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I totally agree on the out of control parent count and the idea that teachers don’t have a lot of autonomy or resources to enforce discipline and order in the classroom – but overall one of the most disheartening things about CPS in general is that the entire system (with a few exceptions here and there) is so incredibly disrespectful. Central office is disrespectful of the work of the schools and principals. Principals are often disrespectful of teachers and parents and the whole system is disrespectful of students. I recently had the chance to meet with some high school students graduating from a charter school. One young man who was going to U of I in the fall – and who had been accepted to eight other schools spoke of his previous high and elementary schools as places where teacher ergularly and routinuely told him that he was stupid, that he wouldn’t amount to anything, that he was wasting their time – and then everyone was surprised when he was completely disruptive and truant? I hear of these kinds of stories too much.

  • 83. Angie  |  August 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    @77. Hawthorne mom: ” Angie, you can’t honestly believe a parent, who is blatantly “in your face” to a teacher would bother to listen to a principal. We are talking about people who disrespect ANY rules in place.”

    I’m talking about the parent who runs to the principal complaining that their child has been disciplined in class. If they won’t listen when they are told that these are the rules, so what? The principal does not have to listen to their complaints about the teacher, either.

    And what do you mean about disrespecting any rules? If this person walks into a jewelry store and demands free merchandise, are they going to get it? If they want to attend a baseball game, will they be allowed in without a ticket? I don’t think so. So why are they allowed to behave that way at school, in the presence of the security guards and police officers?

    “One big problem is that schools are basically held hostage in the idea that they must educate all kids. That kids need to be in the classroom no matter how bad they are. And, if they have an IEP, you can’t suspend them beyond a certain number of days.”

    I agree that this is a big problem. Older kids who have been allowed to misbehave for 5-7 years will not change overnight. If they have to be in the classroom, can that classroom be self-contained, with increased discipline requirements? Seems like this should be even easier for children who already have IEPs. If they are not studying, I’m assuming that they are not meeting their IEP goals, so maybe their least-restrictive environment should have a little more restriction to it.

  • 84. Anonymous  |  August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    “Older kids who have been allowed to misbehave for 5-7 years will not change overnight.”

    Yes. This is key. And so true. God, I wish I knew the answers! But definitely having much stricter rules in the early years can’t hurt, because younger kids are far easier to discipline and, more importantly, to mold.

    I remember having to sit up, hands folded, silent at my desk in kindergarten. Nowadays, a teacher might be accused of child abuse if she made such a simple request. Sounds funny, but, sadly, it’s not.

  • 85. RL Julia  |  August 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Actually, it really depends on the culture of the school . In my neighborhood school, the culture of disrespect and that kind of acting out really isn’t tolerated by anyone. None of the kids at the school act that way and staff and administration know that kids who transfer in mid-year from other places often have will have a run-in or two before they get the message that they are the only ones acting that way. Parents who come into complain or negatively discuss are often redirected mid-conversation/rant by the principal. Basically you can jump up and down and scream all you want but this administration is going to keep treating you and your child respectifully and not react to the emotion.

  • 86. Hawthorne mom  |  August 4, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    @ Angie, when I talk about parents and kids who don’t respect any rules, I am talking about the ones who will slash your tires when you make them mad….the ones who shoot at cops…the kid who brings in a bag of cocaine and shows it off to his friends in front of teachers…..the ones who spit in your face (yes, I had a kid spit in my face). And while the principal doesn’t have to listen to that parent’s complaint, it doesn’t solve the issue of the kid not following basic rules like not assaulting others!

    Our system seems inclined to support the rights of individual students even when those “rights” clash with the rights of teachers and kids to have basic safety. It is really hard to suspend a kid. It is pretty much impossible to expel a student. I remember when a teacher’s leg was broken by a student. That kid was not expelled for that. Unbelievable! And yes, the LRE law needs to be changed, but until it is……and yes teachers need support from administrators, from central office, from legal, from cops…..but right now, in some high schools in our city, we don’t have that support. God knows, in schools like Fenger and Marshall and Crane, we don’t have the support of most of the parents!
    I strongly believe in giving kids chances. I think consequences need to be measured in terms of number of offenses, seriousness and the child’s age. And of course, love and support from staff, counseling, etc…..But at some point, someone has to have the authority to say enough. At some point schools have to be able to say, “no, you cannot spit in a teacher’s face….game over… are done….go get your GED and finish high school on your own. Or don’t. You lost the privilege of a public education.”
    Comments like what CPSdepressed wrote: “And let’s fire all the teachers who say “I can’t do anything with these kids because their parents are defective.” If the kids who go to Lake View and most CPS high schools are unteachable, then the teachers certainly don’t deserve raises. Heck, we don’t even need teachers if kids are unteachable.”
    Those comments, are ill-informed. First, kids at Lakeview are a cakewalk compared to most of the city. Let’s not kid ourselves…..Lakeview is a decent high school and doesn’t really belong in the same sentence with “most CPS high schools”. It might not be “good enough” for some people, but it isn’t a BAD school. And second, telling teachers who work in the worst situations, neighborhoods that most of us won’t even DRIVE through, that they should be fired because they can’t manage to teach Algebra with kids who are committing felonies on school grounds…..that’s just the stupidest thing I have ever heard. You can fire those teachers, and there are enough new grads without jobs that you could probably hire entirely new staff for most of those awful schools. But don’t expect different results unless some serious changes come from the system as a whole. (and definitely expect each school to have 30-40% of their staff quit in the middle or the year and need to be replaced with others, who in turn, if they survive until the end of the year, to also quit in June)

    I am saying this as a teacher who believes in the difference I bring to the table. I can and do get amazing results in Kindergarten no matter what they come in with. I believe in results and I will do literally ANYTHING to get them. But I also know, that the older they get, the harder it gets. And you couldn’t pay me all the money in the world to work at Fenger or Crane or the like. Not for a million dollars would that job be worth it.

  • 87. Mom  |  August 4, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Well, since we can’t pay enough (“all the money in the world”) to do what needs to be done, then guess we should just hang up our hats and give it up.

    Huh??! Not sure how that solves any problems.

  • 88. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 4, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    “they can’t manage to teach Algebra with kids who are committing felonies on school grounds”

    So are you saying that those kids are unteachable? That’s what it sounds like to me.

    I happen to think that all kids are teachable, but the teachers here seem to think that I am wrong. Am I reading that right?

    There are two things that CTU understands. First, the horrible parents who are the root of all problems in public education are also voters and taxpayers. You want a raise? Then you need the support of voters and taxpayers, and that actually includes defective human beings like me.

    Second, most voters and taxpayers in Chicago would like the schools to be better for all kids. If you tell them that certain kids are unteachable, then they are going to ask unfortunate questions, like why should we give people 4% raises if they are wasting their time as it is?

    So what is it? Are all kids teachable? Then let’s find out how to teach them. Are some kids just so horrible that it’s impossible to even try? They let’s write them off and save the tax dollars.

  • 89. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 4, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    that should be, “that CTU needs to understand”. You can be grammatically correct, but also nonesensical. Alas.

  • 90. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 4, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Nonsensical. It’s bedtime.

  • 91. cps teacher  |  August 4, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Hawthorne Mom: Thank You.

  • 92. Hawthorne mom  |  August 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Yes, I am saying some kids are unteachable in the current circumstances of how our school system is set up. 30 fifteen year olds in a classroom with 8 violent offenders? Yes, that kind of situation makes the kids unteachable. Put the ones who won’t listen to any single thing in a one to one situation with a skilled psychotherapist and an armed police officer? Possibly teachable. The other 20-25 kids who aren’t trying to harm anyone else? Teachable IF the violent kids are removed. If taxpayers could only watch a video of a Fenger class they’d be voting to pay those teachers double, not asking “unfortunate questions”. How many people see the beating death of Derrion Albert and say to themselves, wow, those teachers in that school, they don’t need ANY help?

    Are you saying teachers should be required to work in unsafe situations? Because that is what it sounds like. Are you saying teachers should be able to have total and complete classroom control without ANY administrative support? Without any back up from police? Are you saying it is OKAY for students to hit teachers? That is what it sounds like. Since you appear to say that, why aren’t you sending your kid to a school like that since it is just okay with you? If it isn’t safe for your child or my child then it isn’t safe for the adults working their either. And it isn’t safe for the kids who have even a small desire to graduate.
    #87, no we should not hang our hats up and give up. We need a radical restructuring of how violent, disruptive, and unruly kids are worked with in CPS. We need a dozen good alternative schools to work in very small groups with kids like the ones I referred to. We should stop believing that all kids are served well in the current model. And if a high school assaults a school staff member, they belong in jail and can continue their coursework from there.
    95% of kids in the system can be worked with. But the other 5% need something completely and totally different. They are unteachable within the current system.

  • 93. Hawthorne mom  |  August 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    And I don’t believe taxpayers really care enough to pay what it would actually cost to provide what is needed for our disturbed student population, you know, since taxpayers don’t even pay enough for me to have paper for my classroom and all. However, if anyone here wants to put their money where their mouth is, I am sure Urban Prep, will gladly take a donation. Even with all their problems, UP is still a slightly better option than the local CPS because at least there, they are allowed to remove kids who hurt other kids.

  • 94. Sped Mom  |  August 4, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Guys, the laws/regs already are there on the books and can be implemented to have each kid educated in the APPROPRIATE (yes, saying that loudly) educational setting if the kid has a disability covered by IDEA (the U.S. special education law). The general classroom of 35 kids is not always (maybe rarely?!) the best and LRE appropriate for such kids.

    So, I don’t agree that “LRE law needs to be changed” — because IDEA already provides for the Least Restrictive Environment APPROPRIATE (that part is so frequently left out!). I do agree, however, that everyone involved with educating the most difficult-to-educate children and youth must get the support they need to do it right. Has Brizard committed to providing this? He did promise to follow sped law, didn’t he? Is he willing to stop the abuses in CPS so both teachers, disabled students and the teachers don’t get harmed and all students do get educated in the needed/appropriate setting?

    This is completely true: “teachers need support from administrators, from central office, from legal, from cops…..but right now, in some high schools in our city, we don’t have that support.” Will Brizard step up to make it happen? It takes goo-gobs of resources (training, personnel, time/money, moral fiber, cojones). But, our society pays now, or will pays more later (prison $, etc.).

    Folks would probably have to read and learn a lot more about LRE (and remember the LRE reg’s “appropriate environment” part) to understand how it works — or doesn’t work — in CPS. There a lot to it. It seems to me that you have to be a front-line provider (such as a teacher in a high-needs school) or a parent of a kid with special needs to “get it.” So, I guess I really I wouldn’t wish the need to understand on anyone. But, knowing the law and the reality helps the discussion. If you’ve got the time and inclination, you could start by reading IDEA (I recommend reading the “Findings” section in html or pdf):

  • 95. Sped Mom  |  August 4, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Excuse typos. Long Sped Mom day.

  • 96. Hawthorne mom  |  August 4, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Yes, I agree sped mom. Maybe the law doesn’t need to be changed. Maybe it just needs to be followed. CPS blatantly disobeys sped laws (and others) constantly.

  • 97. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 5, 2011 at 6:19 am

    You know, it’s funny, I know a lot of teachers (outside Chicago) who vote Republican because they don’t want their taxes to go up, then get all upset when people want to cut their salaries.

    I am all for giving schools resources. But if certain kids are unteachable UNDER THE CURRENT SYSTEM, I don’t think it’s a good idea to give their teachers 4% raises just for showing up. I think it’s a better idea to spend money on things that would make a difference to make these kids teachable. Would better security make a difference? How about honoring the laws for special education? Or courses in manners, since that seems to be such a hot button?

    That’s what I’m saying. But clearly. CTU thinks that the most important thing is to protect jobs, get raises, and keep the school day and school year the shortest in the nation. I have a real hard time getting excited about that.

    And, I put my money where my mouth is, three ways. First, I give to our school’s “friends of” campaign, which pays for two teachers. Second, I honor the school supply list that calls for copier paper, tissues, and soap. Third, I donate to my church’s school supply drive. But if you’d rather I gave my money to Urban Prep, I could do that.

    And I guess fourth, I’m resigned to the fact that my property taxes are going to go up. I’m not fighting it.

    I still think teachers have been walking around complaining instead of making their case in a way that will get people to respond. CTU doesn’t seem interested in being partners with parents and students – let alone taxpayers – and that is really, really frustrating.

  • 98. Angie  |  August 5, 2011 at 8:01 am

    @97. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor): “I am all for giving schools resources. But if certain kids are unteachable UNDER THE CURRENT SYSTEM, I don’t think it’s a good idea to give their teachers 4% raises just for showing up. I think it’s a better idea to spend money on things that would make a difference to make these kids teachable.”

    I agree. If these kids refuse to adjust to a regular education setting, then they should be placed into some kind of boot camp environment where cops and drill sergeants have enough authority to force them to obey the rules and change their violent behavior. And when they are housebroken, so to speak, then they can start working on math, science and other school subjects.

    BTW, where is the teacher’s union in all of this? I don’t see them proposing to hold the former teachers of these kids accountable for failing to teach the basics of the proper behavior and respect for the authority. I don’t see them threatening to strike because of the abuse some of their members are forced to endure from violent students. No, they are demanding more money and benefits and less accountability, while blaming parents, resources and whatnot for poor results.

  • 99. another cps mom  |  August 5, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I wonde what would happen if Rod Estvan ran CTU. Or CPS.

  • 100. magnet mom  |  August 5, 2011 at 9:24 am

    @98 I find your response scary. Let’s just close the schools these kids go to. We could save the money on the dead beat teachers and degenerate children. These kids need to get to work early selling matches or building their own favelas.

  • 101. cps teacher  |  August 5, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I can’t even imagine the public outcry if someone suggested putting all of those children in “boot camps.” NO politician in his/her right mind would suggest it. I’ve seen what happens when parents are told their child needs help.

    I agree that CTU has definite problems. However, I really don’t believe that their purpose is to protect “bad” teachers. They are protecting teachers as a whole and ensuring that teachers are fired according to proper channels.

    CPSDepressed- you used the term “just showing up” a few times in your posts. Is this something you see in your school regularly? Have you reported this to the principal? Don’t you think that the principal become accountable for having this person on staff?

  • 102. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 5, 2011 at 9:57 am

    What is the 4% raise in CPS based on? Is it based on demonstrated added value? Does it reflect the cost of replacing a teacher? Because as far as I can tell, all teachers get it just for showing up. Right? Or have I missed something.

    In the private sector, employers care about two things only: replacement cost and added value. That’s it. No one gets raises just because.

  • 103. cps Mom  |  August 5, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Which is it? I hear teachers saying that parents are the problem complaining about every little thing the teachers do or don’t do. Now @101 the principals are so responsible and all you have to do is go in and talk to them about it. HA!

    There are tough situations in CPS that is, fortunately, beyond anything most of us here (including teachers) do not have to deal with. Charters have many rules and regulations tantamount to wearing gum on your nose yet the complaint is that CPS can do equally well so why do we need charters. On the other hand I hear CPS teachers saying their hands are tied with how they can teach manners.

    My take from this – parents need a real forum to address real problems that effect their children, schools (like oh, say Charters) need to be stricter with problem kids and good teachers need support, recognition and a fair salary for their efforts.

  • 104. cps Mom  |  August 5, 2011 at 10:38 am

    typo alert – “have to deal with” not “do not have to deal with”

  • 105. Anonymous  |  August 5, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Since people seem so enchanted with comparing teaching and the private sector I’ll throw out a few ideas. I am in sales at an extremely large company. A person on the sales team is given a base salary and then a set goal to reach within a fiscal year. Your job security depends on a certain level of performance and then any extra results are compensated with bonuses. I was given a “territory” to sell to which had suffered extreme challenges from the current economy while others have prime territories where the economic effects were few. My set goal to meet is lower because even big business can understand that it is harder to sell in some places than others. Why is this not considered when looking at teachers? People want to judge teachers for results but want to make it a blanket goal across all positions without considering any other factor. Getting a freshman from Northside to read Moby Dick is NOT the same as getting a freshman from Fenger to read it. That is reality. Oh, and since we are still comparing a teaching job to others I’ll add this. In order to make my goal my company gives me the most up-to-date software, computers, sales manuals, current books and trade information, and a support staff. On top of that, I’m pretty certain that if anyone ever spat at another person in the workplace they would be removed.

  • 106. CPSmama  |  August 5, 2011 at 10:53 am

    @98- “If these kids refuse to adjust to a regular education setting, then they should be placed into some kind of boot camp environment where cops and drill sergeants have enough authority to force them to obey the rules and change their violent behavior”

    I have to take issue with your use of “refuse” b/c some of the “worst” kids have such a horrible home/neighborhood situation that they simply don’t have the skills to behave properly in school- they aren’t “refusing” – so to speak.

    The bigger question is: should the student’s inability to behave become the responsibility of the school/ teacher/principal? Is it part of their responsibility to “teach” those skills as well as math, reading, science? I think the answer may be different if you are dealing with a 6 yr old vs a HS age student. And are CPS teachers trained properly to teach these skills? If not- should they be?

    BTW-there are already alternative HS’s in CPS that serve your stated purpose.

  • 107. Angie  |  August 5, 2011 at 10:54 am

    @100. magnet mom: Yes, let’s close the schools that fail to teach the basics and fire the deadbeat teachers. No, let’s not send children to the streets. Instead, let’s send them to a new kind of school that can still help them before they end imprisoned or dead. What’s so scary about that?

    @101. cps teacher: I think the public can be convinced. Show them what is really going on at these schools, and how the things can be improved with the right intervention. Have PR people come up with a catchy slogan similar to “pulling a plug on Grandma”.

    The public does not protest when deaf, blind or autistic children are taught in a special education setting that can help with their specific condition. That’s all it is going to be in this case – a special education school that can address the problem these kids have.

  • 108. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 5, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Then, Anonymous, let’s set appropriate standards for teachers in different situations rather than having no standards. Your boss gave you a different target. That’s fine.

    If working conditions are the issue, then why is it the 4% raise that has CTU in such a huff? I don’t get it. And that’s what frustrates me.

    The people of Chicago want good schools, but they have the impression that CTU cares more about protecting incompetent teachers and handing out above-market raises to everyone, regardless of whether they do a damn thing.

    I am all for paying good teachers. I understand that not all schools are the same. I think that everyone does. So let’s do something about it.

    There is no parent’s union. Maybe there should be.

  • 109. cps Mom  |  August 5, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I completely hear you CPSD. Now our children will suffer because the 4% has become the fighting cry for CTU trying to influence any efforts to extend learning time.

  • 110. cps Mom  |  August 5, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Parents Union – great idea. Who really is looking out for the kids? I have seen parents literally petition to have teachers removed (more than once) with the result being that the offending teacher is given a slap on the wrist, still gets the pay increase, maybe shuffled to a different grade in order to provide some smoke and mirrors solution. Don’t tell me the channels are in place and all you have to do is the proper reporting.

    I want to make it clear that this is not a problem with the majority of teachers, who are great. One bad teacher can make it hell for children for one full year. With the job market as it is now, there are so many potentially fabulous teachers looking for employment it’s ridiculous to be saddled with teachers that do not have the qualifications, don’t care, treat the kids like they are stupid, tell them they will never make it, punish them with grades…. Just making a point that it exists (uncommon) and should not. As in any workplace it happens teachers are not immune – but they do effect our children.

    Once all the problems are solved then speak to us about blanket across the board raises. A system that is truly archaic.

  • 111. cps teacher  |  August 5, 2011 at 11:54 am

    CPSDepressed writes: “Which is it? I hear teachers saying that parents are the problem complaining about every little thing the teachers do or don’t do. Now @101 the principals are so responsible and all you have to do is go in and talk to them about it. HA!”

    No, I didn’t say that “all you have to do is go in and talk to them”. I asked if she reported what she saw. I just wonder how proactive some people are in trying to make change as opposed to sitting here bitching about others. There has to be a system of checks and balances. If teachers are just gettting a slap on the wrist and being moved around, I hate to tell you, but the adminstration may also be to blame for that.

    Furthermore, there isn’t just one problem. Yes, there are bad teachers, but there is bad admin, problems at central office, waste, patronage, etc. Teachers I know are smart enough to identify the entire system is faulty. Personally, I would rather see the blanket raise than cheat my childrens’ good teachers out of what they deserve. Maybe this is archaic, but it was part of the contract.

  • 112. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 5, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Nope, I didn’t write that. @103 CPS Mom did.

    And yes, of course you would rather see a blanket raise. You have a vested interest in a raise. I do not. I live here and send my kid to school here, so I have a vested interest in good schools for all children in this city.

  • 113. cps Mom  |  August 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    thanks 112 – the “lets give everyone money so that we can make sure the good teachers are paid” approach doesn’t cut it with me either. Especially when it’s our children at risk.

    I did mention that parents are very proactive to the point of petitioning and getting it in writing (as you suggested). I think we are saying the same thing there is a lot of clean up needed, much of which CTU is trying to side step.

  • 114. mom2  |  August 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I’d like to bring things a bit back to reality here. With the economy the way it is right now, I don’t think anyone should be getting a raise – good teacher or bad.

    My children have had some wonderful teachers over the years. They deserve to be paid very well. (They have had a few others that were plain terrible and they should just be gone.) But, based on the public information available, I believe they actually are paid very well already. They make the same or more than I do, and I have been in the private sector for over 30 years and I’m in an upper level management position. I wish we all made more, but let’s be real. Most of us don’t work for companies that are both very profitable AND are willing to share those profits with their employees.

    Sometimes I think that people in the public sector have a twisted view on “the other side.” They hear about presidents and CFO’s making millions of dollars or getting a huge bonus, etc. and think that is the reality for the average worker. It is not.

    Most people work 12 hour days, some weekends, must contribute to pay for their health insurance, have a standard 401K that currently will never pay for them to really retire, haven’t received a raise in several years, work longer and harder now because the company let go other workers to save money, etc. This is reality and it is no wonder that parents cannot fathom the idea of giving every and all teachers a raise right now.

    I think that the teachers union needs to make a drastic change in their demands. What both teachers, parents and students want is to improve the ability to teach and learn. So, we all know there is waste in CPS. When/If they find money available for something (after reducing this waste), instead of just giving it to teachers (or anyone else in terms of a raise), it should be used to improve schools. Use the money to make the school building and facilities better, safer. Add air conditioning to make it more comfortable. Fix leaks. Use the money to pay for much needed supplies (so teachers don’t have to use their own money). Use the money to pay for additional aids to help in the classroom (so more kids can learn), etc. etc. Use the money to improve technology, etc. I think everyone would or should be on board with this.

  • 115. RL Julia  |  August 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    The real problem is, no one can afford the system overall to get the services and supports the students want/deserve. No one can afford to pay more taxes, thus the school system can’t really afford to provide the sort of educational interventions necessary for the most disable/disadvantaged students, not can it adequate compensate its teachers. 105 – I like your idea but be assured that CPS doesn’t have the money to provides its teachers with the top of the line supports that would insure the kind of success with difficult populations. 107 – the education that the deaf, blind and austistic children are currently being given is much better than what they might have received say 20 years ago, but is still grossly inadequate to their needs. Additionally I will say this -CPS has been a serving a good percentage of bi-lingual students for a very long but it still insists on having its head in the sand about these students – ditto ones with IEPs. There are no best practices or even any sort of coherency or communication as far as I can tell. You’d think that after oh say 50 years of having a certain percentage of its students come in bi-lingual – or monolingual not in English it would have figured something out besides – “let’s ignore this and maybe it would go away. Ditto disadvantaged students. Its a school system with an 85% poverty rate and yet it is still surprised when huge numbers of those students come to school acting like they are from low-ncome backgrounds. Some interventions actually don’t cost more – or are amortized over time if there is an across the board adaptation of a standard (best) practice. Really now.

  • 116. cps Mom  |  August 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    @114 – thanks for putting a well thought out perspective on the issue. Agree on everything.

    RLJ – I think you are describing current conditions pretty accurately. Does that mean that we are doomed to the “same old same o” as Hmom suggests. Can’t some of these new pursuits in education make a difference in elevating education for all CPS kids?

    The discussions here show that teachers/parents/admin are not on the same page which will make it difficult if not impossible to progress forward. Rahm/Brizard is trying to empower these small groups willing to work outside of the established CPS ways. Wouldn’t we have more success united.

  • 117. magnet mom  |  August 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    @107 Please note that I was not agreeing with you in any way and when I said I thought the schools should be closed I was being facetious.Ditto the favela. Slamming kids- especially young ones- for how screwed up just our own small city is is just plain unfair. Which schools this year will have the least resources? I’d bet my eye teeth it’s schools with the poorest, blackest students in Chicago. Just like always. I’m glad to pay anyone at those schools to show up.

  • 118. Hawthorne mom  |  August 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I’d be thrilled to see a moratorium on raises for a year or two and to see that money invested in some real improvements for students and schools. It wouldn’t be much, since 80 million (the amount saved by canceling the cost of living raises) doesn’t go far in a system our size, but I could totally agree with that. Even if they’d just supply our class budget (I spend minimum $2500-3000 out of pocket per year) that would be more than the 4% for me personally, so I’d be so happy to have it.
    I personally would agree to a lengthened school year by 20 school days if we could get AC in all our buildings that works, without any additional compensation. I don’t think most teachers would, but I would. We get so much vacation time to begin with, that 20 school days isn’t actually that much. That’s just two weeks longer on both ends of the school year. And really, if they’d get rid of the stupid PD days, we could recoup those. We’ll never get AC, because it is too expensive, but wow, it would make extending the school year possible.
    I’ve never been involved in the union, other than to pay my dues, because, one, I’ve never had time. My days are so long, the thought of putting a few hours a month into an organization that seems like the Titanic (you know, impossible to turn around) isn’t very appealing to me. But maybe it is time for some new people speaking up.
    I wonder, if parents felt like teachers were willing to give on raises, would parents be willing to politically support teachers in getting violent kids out of regular ed settings and get us the $$ we need for supplies? I mean, I guess it is probably more important to be lobbying the Board for these things, because it isn’t as if parents have much input into our salaries or contracts. Correct me if I am wrong though. I know parents can write their legislators and they vote, but in the end, this is all between the CTU and the Board of Ed, right? Or do taxpayers help decide our pay? (honest question, I am not being sarcastic)
    I also think, too, in the end, based on the changes recently made, that the ball is pretty much completely out of the CTU’s hands anyway and that this next contract year, the Board gets to say whatever it wants regarding class sizes (they could always do that), length of day and year, pay, etc…..I fully expect that the school year will be extended and that elementary schools will lengthen their day by 90 minutes. That’s what Emmanuel is saying and it appears as if he gets what he says he wants. I am fine with it. I can use the extra 90 minutes for reading instruction, which CPS students desperately need.
    I can’t remember who had the idea of a parent’s union, but I think that is a fabulous idea. Maybe they’ll listen to you all about learning conditions (which in turn are our working conditions) because in all my years in education, the BOE and the city has pretty much ignored virtually every issue I’ve seen come up (dripping ceilings, 100+ degree temps in buildings, etc…)

  • 119. mom2  |  August 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    @118 – I think you are on to something here. You may not be alone in your opinions and I do think that at least some parents would be more on board with teachers if they could focus like you are doing on things that benefit both the teachers (working conditions and supplies) and students (learning environment and supplies). At least more parents would feel confident that their tax money is going towards helping their kids rather than potentially straight into the pockets of teachers (and of course, the parents will be thinking of the one or two teachers that they really think are terrible instead of the majority that they greatly appreciate). I certainly know parents want to improve the learning environment by moving kids that don’t want to learn into a place where they aren’t making it impossible or unsafe for the other kids to learn. If there wasn’t all this fighting about tenure and raises “just for showing up”, there might be time for a full agreement on the importance of trying to make some changes in this area.

    I don’t know what kind of pull parents have, but if there was a parent’s group/union or whatever you want to call it, they might have pull as a large group of tax payers.

  • 120. CPSmommy  |  August 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Hot off the press….lots of cuts coming and property tax increases.

    From the Tribune:

    Chicago Public Schools’ new financial team unveiled a $5.91 billion budget for 2012 that eliminates a record $712 million budget gap by raising property taxes to the maximum levels allowed by law, making deep cuts to the central office and middle management, scaling back police patrol on school campuses, re-drawing bus routes, and likely scores of layoffs in schools.

    The tally includes nearly $87 million in cuts to teaching positions, mentoring programs for at-risk students, bilingual education, literacy initiatives, extra-curricular math, science and technology clubs and other afterschool programs, and reduces academic services for some of the district’s lowest-performing students.

    As if the tax hike and the litany of cuts weren’t enough, officials said Friday they will also have to drain the district’s reserve fund by $241 million.

    “These are painful,” said CPS Chief Administrative Office Tim Cawley. “You don’t get $87 million (in cuts) out of a school district without people feeling it.”

    The precise number of jobs lost is not yet known.

    CPS officials have maintained they’re keeping class sizes intact, but they announced earlier this summer plans to cut 1,000 teachers from the payrolls in 2012. The proposed budget calls for the elimination of perhaps as many as 300 additional teaching positions from under-enrolled schools. However, Cawley said, many of those teachers will likely be rehired by schools that have higher enrollments or be retained by principals spending money from their discretionary funds.

    Cawley estimated that CPS will raise about $150 million by increasing taxes on Chicago homeowners. This includes tax revenue from the Public Buildings Commission, which CPS has been eligible to collect in previous years but has not, Cawley said.

    In the last two years, officials said, CPS had the option to raise property taxes to the maximum level – estimated at an additional $84 a year on a home assessed at $250,000 – but chose not to. Those days are gone, Cawley said, and raising taxes is the only way for the district to stave off more severe cuts to staff and services. District officials had said they were considering raising taxes to the cap level in late June.

    The proposed budget, which still requires approval from the district’s newly appointed Board of Education, does not include funding for longer school days or a longer school year, which Mayor Rahm Emanuel has championed. But it will continue to fund a pilot program at 15 area schools, Cawley said.

  • 121. Grace  |  August 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    @120 Well, how’s that for a poke in the eye with a sharp stick?
    Thanks to Stand for Children and their pet project IL SB7, which made teacher lay-offs without legal recourse possible.

    Anyone wonder why there is no mention of TIF money going back to CPS? Or why no mention of CPS hiring 400 Teach for America college grads this summer?

    Rahm was right, again. Lab was the best choice.

  • 122. Grace  |  August 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    You’re invited to a first of its kind workshop on the CPS budget.

    Want to know more of what’s going on ? How are our tax dollars spent?

    Tuesday, August 9th 4:00 PM

    Chicago Teachers Union

    222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 400


    CPS will hold public meetings on the proposed budget soon, and it is always good to be prepared, as the boy scouts say.

  • 123. Grace  |  August 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Parent groups are important. There are a number which we might want to consider joining in order to make our voices heard. (Care to Google for more info, then discuss/decide?)

    Parents Across America
    Parents United to Reform Education, Julie Woesthof
    Raise Your Hand Illinois, Wendy Katten
    Designs for Change, Valencia Rias

    It might be wise to start by trying to understand the CPS budget, so important! so tedious! Tuesday Aug. 9 at 4 pm Merchandise Mart.

  • 124. Grace  |  August 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    RE: Brizard Changes
    Was anyone else left wondering about the new cabinet position, Chief Portfolio Officer? This person will oversee magnet, s.e. and other new schools, the Trib said. Here is a piece I found that looks at autonomous schools and at the portfolio programs in a number of cities, including Chicago.

    From this newsletter

    This research
    See the research report:

    Should autonomy be a catalyst, or a reward?
    A new report from Education Sector looks at whether a culture of autonomy in education brings the same rewards that it does in business, as proponents claim. … But experience also shows that not all schools will take actions that actually improve student learning. …

    The report also looks at “portfolio management” now being implemented in Chicago, New York City, New Orleans, and other cities.

  • 125. Hawthorne mom  |  August 5, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    So, apparently, all that talk about not increasing class size, about funding full day kindergarten and not reducing preschool budget….it was all BS. Brizard was talking out of both sides of his mouth.
    Class size will be increased from a “limit” from 28 to 31. I put limit in quotations, because, any teacher will tell you that the CTU is banned from bargaining over class size. I also put it in quotes because, any teacher will tell you, the BOE can say there’ll be 28 in a room, or now, 31, but reality is, there is often several more than that.
    My daughter’s 1st grade room last year had 32. It worked academically because of many reasons. But, physically, you could barely walk through the room it was that tight. My husband and I have a deal if our school ever gets up to 35, we’re done. We’ll leave the city.
    Someone responding to the link above indicated that increasing class sizes to 31 (that means the BOE will only fund one teacher per every 31 kids in the school…..meaning many classrooms will be a lot bigger than that!) will mean many layoffs this fall…..and many of those won’t happen until the 20th day of school when CPS reevaluates its staffing with its numbers. Meaning, your kid who has just grown comfortable with their kindergarten teacher??? Well, now he’ll have to leave her (because she’s been laid off) and share a teacher in a K/1 split with 35, 36, 37 kids in it.
    I would not allow my kids in split classrooms.

  • 126. Hawthorne mom  |  August 5, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Okay, now I feel really stupid. I read what Alexander Russo wrote about the budget on the d299 website. He stated that the increases in class size would happen and that cuts to kindergarten funding, etc…would happen. Apparently, Russo didn’t read through the budget. The actual budget says that those cuts (like class size increases, early childhood cuts, etc…) WILL happen unless there is a property tax hike. I apologize for posting the wrong info. I should have read through the whole report myself instead of taking Russo’s word for it (who is usually pretty on target).

  • 127. cpsemployee  |  August 6, 2011 at 7:22 am

    @Hawthorne mom. I made the same error! I read the d299 blog about cuts first and thought they were what was proposed – not what would happen IF the tax increase didn’t go through. I had visions of 3 teachers being cut the day before school started for our students on Monday. (We’re Track E) Luckily I tracked down the actual CPS press release and realized Russo had misquoted.

  • 128. Grace  |  August 6, 2011 at 8:52 am

    CPS to Hold Three Meetings on its Proposed Budget — Next Week Only!!!

    At these meetings, parents and teachers can comment on CPS’ spending priorities. How much is spent on testing? How much is spent on Special Ed services? Get answers to these and other questions.

    Meetings begin at 7 pm. Arrive by 6 pm to register to speak.

    Wed. August 10 @ Lane Tech HS 2501 West Addison

    Thurs. August 11 @ Westinghouse HS 3223 West Franklin

    Fri. August 12 @ Simeon HS 8147 South Vincennes

  • 129. Grace  |  August 6, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Understanding the CPS Budget

    Tuesday, August 9th 4:00 PM

    Chicago Teachers Union

    222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 400


  • 130. Grace  |  August 6, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Rodestvan said 2 hours, 5 minutes ago about the CPS budget on district 299

    Teacher parent is correct, I think Alexander misread the PR release. All the cuts listed in his introduction to this discussion were possible cuts. The PR release stated before listing the cuts Alexander cited “Without the $150 million in property tax revenue, CPS would need to make deep cuts to core programs…” I would also add these theoretical cuts were picked for PR impact and in my opinion would not necessarily have been the ones CPS would have picked to make up the $150 million in reality.

    I was interviewed by NBC5 yesterday around 6pm yesterday about the property tax increase, I supported the decision to go to the cap. I do not know if it aired because I did not watch the news last night. The reason I supported this increase is that the property tax increase cap changes each year based on the CPI from prior years. The cap next year will be lower than this year and hence generate fewer dollars if CPS waits. This does not mean the allocation of those dollars within the CPS budget is all good in my opinion. But I need some time to look at the details of the budget in order to draw those conclusions.

    But I did see that CPS central special education got an increase in funding, that is the first increase I think since Vallas was CEO. I support that because the central office Special education staff and staff in what were the regions (now networks) are spread so thin case managers are having real problems getting clear direction on many issues. I will be looking closely at where these dollars are going in the days to come.

    Hopefully by the hearing next week I will have had a better chance to study the proposed budget. In my past formal budget reviews I have compared the CPS property tax rate to other school districts in Cook County and have shown that the CPS rate is one of the lowest. That does not mean our actual tax bills are the lowest in the county because of our property values, or at least what is estimated to be our property values in the city.

    Because the budget is so massive it is easy to get confused and we should all read it as carefully as possible before saying too much.

    Rod Estvan

  • 131. Grace  |  August 6, 2011 at 9:19 am


    Monday, Aug. 8 from 7 to 8 pm
    on WBEZ 91.5 FM and

    Thereafter, the program will air on the first Thursday of each month.

    “I believe strongly in having an open and transparent dialogue with the public and doing so in as many ways as I can, ” said Brizard.

    You can participate during the live broadcast Monday at 7pm — or by submitting questions and comments in advance.

    To participate —

    – Email questions to:

    – Leave a question for Mr. Brizard ahead of time by calling 312-948-4886

    – Join the live broadcast at 7pm by sending an email or by calling 312-923-9239

    -Twitter: @AskBrizard

    I guess that next week will be really busy. 😉

  • 132. Grace  |  August 6, 2011 at 9:22 am

    H-mom, CAtalyst Chicago has a good story on the proposed budget.

    “Chicago schools will max out property taxes, make more cuts Posted By Sarah Karp On Friday, August 5, 2011
    In Finance and Budgets To help fill a $712 million hole, Chicago Public Schools will need to collect $150 million more in property taxes, going to the limit for the first time in four years and using a levy that they abated for the past three years, officials announced this afternoon.

    For the owner of a $250,000 home, the tax increase will cost $84

    Even then, the district will have to make “painful cuts” that will significantly reduce the amount of support schools get from administrators and force under-enrolled schools to lay off as many as 300 teachers a month into the school year. District officials also are asking board members to pass a budget with more than $90 million in yet-to-be identified cuts, leaving vulnerable a wide range of programs and staff. ”

    More on their web site.

  • 133. Grace  |  August 6, 2011 at 9:29 am

    How CPS is filling its $712 million deficit
    by Sarah Karp, Catalyst-Chicago

    Taxing to the max
    Drawing from reserves
    Reorganizing central and area offices

    Operations efficiencies
    Program reductions
    Rescind salary raises for union staff

  • 134. Grace  |  August 6, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Something a little lighter

  • 135. cpsobsessed  |  August 6, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Wow, you guys have been going down the rabbit hole in analyzing the problems of CPS and education in our country.

    I have been sparse, unfortunately. I figure I’ll an update here here since there are probably only about 15 of us reading this far down. 🙂

    Junior, I appreciate your opinion that I used to moderate more. Honestly, I don’t think I ever did! As a point of reference, when I started this blog 3 summers ago before my son entered Kindergarten, I was a stay at home mom doing freelance work. In 2009 I didn’t have any work at all, he was in school, and that’s when more people started reading the blog. In the meantime i started working full time and became a single mom, having my son with me most of the time. Recently, I moved to a more visible location at my office and have more busy at work, which cuts down on my blog-reading and posting time. During this summer my son (who I think I’ve alluded to being kind of anti-social) is staying home with my mom for the summer, with a few nerd camps sprinkled in. (ID Tech camp, thumbs up!) So he’s very needy at the end of the day. He also stays up late. So that is a loooong way of saying I can’t seem to find the time to post or respond very often. Also trying to get a house ready to sell, which feels insurmountable.

    I greatly appreciate all of you who have written guest posts and have kept the lively conversation going.

    I’m hoping to get some posts up this weekend and to pull out some of the budget info from this post. There will certainly be some interesting times in CPS coming up, so I’m sure there’ll continue to be plenty to talk about…

  • 136. Grace  |  August 6, 2011 at 10:10 am

    From time to time we have wondered about the quality of reporting on education issues by our Chicago media. This excerpt of a Substance News story sheds some light.

    Brizard has laid off 2,300 CPS teachers since June; giving up the 4% raises didn’t slow down the lay-offs, as CTU’s Karen Lewis had predicted. There has been a large increase in the Teach for America program, where new college grads with 5 weeks of training take over a classroom for a two-year commitment. CPS has hired 400 this summer.

    FYI — Fox is part of News Corp, owned by Rupert Murdoch. He hired the former head of NYC schools to run his new Education Division, and he correctly sees student data as a big financial opportunity because of the overemphasis on student testing. This year Sec’y of Ed Arne Duncan is funding the development of new assessments of students and teachers by nearly one billion dollars.

    Story begins here.

    “MEDIA WATCH: All you need to ‘close the achievement gap’… George N. Schmidt – August 04, 2011
    The promotion of shake-and-bake amateur teachers in Chicago continued in August 2011, as Fox News’s Robin Robinson teamed up with Teach for America to promote the latest group of amateur teachers who have been trained in TFA’s summer program. …
    Mayor Emmanuel and Schools Chief Executive Officer Jean Claude Brizard support the ousting of veteran teachers. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.
    While CPS continues letting veteran teachers go in large numbers — the total is now at least 2,300 since June 1, 2011, — CPS simultaneously promotes the “shake-and-bake” Teach for America approach to teacher training and recruitment.
    Despite the growing critique of TFA across the USA, Fox News and others present the TFA program based on its public relations claims, and never on the reality in the classroom that TFA actually brings to urban schools like Chicago’s.
    A TFA notice went out to Chicago public school principals promoting the propaganda produced as news by Fox News Chicago and Robin Robinson.
    It was originally aired as “Teach for America Seminars Train Future Teachers, Aim to Close Achievement Gap” on Thursday, 28 Jul 2011, 10:01 PM CDT on Fox Chicago. ”

    Read more at Substance News.

  • 137. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  August 6, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Hawthorne mom, about CTU negotiating with the Board of Ed, the Board of Ed represents the voters and gets its funding from the taxpayers. Ultimately, that’s the point of accountability. If Emanuel doesn’t do what the voters like, he won’t get re-elected or move to higher office. (And Rahm Emanuel is nothing if not ambitious.) The Board of Ed takes its cues from the mayor; the mayor’s budget is determined by the taxpayers. The aldermen vote on the budget, and they need the support of their wards or they won’t vote for increases. Hence, the taxpayers determine the school budget indirectly; the Board of Ed can’t give pay raises if there is no money for them.

    The North Shore has fancy schools because wealthy people live there who can afford to pay high taxes, and they are willing to pay them for top-of-the-line schools.

    When Emanuel announced that he was rescinding the 4% pay raise, you’ll notice that only the teachers complained. Whether we here think that the pay raise is right or wrong is irrelevant; there’s no support for it from the people who ultimately matter.

    I sometimes think that CTU forgets that it is ultimately accountable to voters and taxpayers. Nationally, we’re seeing that people are opposed to tax increases even when they can afford them, and a lot of people can’t afford them right now. And, there’s a sense that teachers are not interested in improving education. I don’t know if that is correct or not, but the PR isn’t good. This is hardly a Chicago-only issue, of course. Teachers in general have given the impression of being opposed to school reform efforts, and taht creates the suspicion that it is because teachers are the problem. Again, I don’t know if that is right or wrong, but that’s the impression. CTU’s beef is wage and hour, not school safety, not special ed, not air conditioning.

    Historically, voters and taxpayers in Chicago – unlike many other places in the country – have been willing to pay high taxes in exchange for high levels of services. People here want the trash picked up, they want the libraries to have long hours, they want lots of summer festivals. In a better economy, they could probably be convinced to pay for better schools, too – but only if they were convinced that the money would lead to better outcomes.

    This economy sucks. We have 9.1% unemployment nationally. Those of us with IRAs and 401(k)s have had no investment return for 10 years, and property values are down. I don’t think anyone but Jamie Dimon is getting a raise this year. And that’s just reality.

  • 138. Grace  |  August 6, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Do you want to know how decisions are made at your local Chicago public school? Do you know who determines your local school’s budget?

    Attend our FREE upcoming BGA Citizen Watchdogs of Education training and learn from expert presenters about the Local School Council structure, the Council’s roles and responsibilities, and a line-by-line overview of school budgets.

    BGA Citizen Watchdogs of Education Training

    Thursday, August 18th, 2011

    6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

    Albany Park Autonomous Center

    3460 W Lawrence Avenue

    Chicago, IL 60625

    Space is limited! Please RSVP to Barb at or 312-821-9025.

  • 139. Grace  |  August 6, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    I support teachers. If they have to give up their raise this year, so be it. But wholesale firings of experienced teachers and replacing them with fresh college grads is union busting. Plain and simple.

  • 140. Angie  |  August 6, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I thought the union position was that the teachers must be fired by seniority, regardless of their performance. If so, then how did this happen? And are these teachers directly replaced by newcomers, i.e. when math teacher at school X is fired, the TFA person gets their job, or is there something more going on?

  • 141. Hawthorne mom  |  August 6, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    I can’t speak to what is happening with TFA’ers, but according to SB7, tenure as we have always known it has been eliminated. With agreement and support from the CTU. Now, when a teacher’s position is eliminated for any number of reason, it isn’t always the least senior teacher to be let go. The administration can look at performance ratings and if it comes down to all other things being equal, if a less experienced teacher has a better “rating” than a more experienced teacher, the teacher with the better rating will be the one kept.
    With SB7, the other thing that happened is that if a teacher gets more than 2 years in a row of bad ratings, they will not be able to work in CPS anymore. This means it is now up to administrators to really do their jobs. It hopefully means the small percentage of really awful teachers will be fired. And it likely means that the small percentage of really awful principals, who are on a power trip and who rate people not on their merit, but on how they please or displease the administrator…..those principals will ruin the careers of some teachers under their watch. I am not saying I disagree with the new law, just that this is an unintended consequence. It also means that teachers who formerly complained and spoke out against abuses in the system will probably not do so, out of fear of being fired. Hopefully, though, more good than bad will come of this law.
    I hear both that it is impossible to fire a tenured teacher and then on the other hand I hear that all a principal needs to do is to follow protocol. I think it is probably a little bit of both. But SB7 makes it much much easier.
    I personally don’t have anything against TFA’ers or programs like it, since, quite honestly, I do not believe traditional teacher candidate programs do much of anything to prepare people to really teach. (based on my own experiences…I think one semester of student teaching needs to be replaced by a program mirroring med school with its mentor intensive program) So, why not crank them out in one summer’s worth of classes? But I hear an awful lot about CPS hiring unproven grads in a time when tons of experienced and excellent teachers are out of work. Teachers who can prove, with documentation, that they bring added value to the table. But if CPS can hire someone at 48K a year, who will probably quit in 3 years thus not becoming very expensive over someone making 70K a year, who do you think they’ll pick? There’s been documented evidence of older teachers being laid off and then guess what? CPS invited new grads to a job fair that it didn’t advertise to anyone outside certain new grad programs. There was a time when we really needed to recruit TFA or the like……back when I started teaching, CPS was so hard up that it would literally put anyone breathing in a classroom. It cycles back and forth like that. Right now there are too many candidates, but as soon as (assuming it does) the economy recovers, we’ll be back to a shortage again, and they’ll put anyone in there again. It is the nature of working for a system that is difficult. In bad times, the benefits of a good salary and medical benefits outweighs the challenges of working in an urban system. In good times, easier and sometimes better paying jobs outweigh the challenges of teaching in Chicago.
    Fwiw, I started teaching 15 years ago. Back then, in better economic times, I saw teachers sleeping in the classroom, teachers who assaulted kids and didn’t get fired, and teachers who did “just show up”. Now, I don’t see it almost ever. Hard times are good for students.

  • 142. cps Mom  |  August 6, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Hmom I think you’re right. This has been happening in the corporate world for years – senior staff takes little or no pay hike or gets replaced by new lower paid worker. Most people are happy to have a job making a decent amount of money and take it with a smile. Nothing to begrudge the company over.

    On the surface, employment and raises (whenever we see those again) by merit seems more fair.

  • 143. Hawthorne mom  |  August 6, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Just in case it didn’t come across in my last post, I don’t agree with replacing older teachers with completely unproven new grads simply because of the expense. I do understand why CPS does it, but I don’t agree with it. It is a symptom of larger problems in our country. I do support removing teachers who are truly bad, though.

    Honestly, I need the school year to start so I can go back to the classroom because I am way too involved in this blog! There’s nothing wrong with talking about education….and I do love discussing it…..but I much prefer doing something to make a difference rather than just talking about our system’s problems. I get a little frantic when I’m not taking action. September can’t come soon enough for me!

  • 144. cps Mom  |  August 7, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I got that from your post. It’s not necessarily something I agree with as a general rule either. I do understand why companies and now the school system replace older workers with new lower priced employees. I do, however, feel that the best candidate should get the job and sometimes that is the less experienced person. As far as pay goes, there is such a thing as pricing yourself out of the market which is exactly what annual raises regardless of performance can do.

    Not trying to be a wet blanket here, this recession has put everyone on the alert – which can be a good or bad thing. I feel for everyone especially teachers who have lost their jobs.

    H-mom I wish you the best in your endeavors.

  • 145. Grace  |  August 8, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Interesting piece on teacher quality debate.

    But you are right? Takes a lot of time to keep up with al the changes coming.
    And best of luck to you H-mom!!! The kids will be lucky to have you.

  • 146. CPSmama  |  August 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    My curiosity was piqued by the term “shake & bake teachers” which was mentioned in Grace’s post #136 to refer to TFA teachers. So I googled TFA training and found the following:

    I had no idea that TFA teachers have only 5 weeks of training before embarking on their 2 year teaching stints. Geez- they literally are “shaked & baked” To me, it seems virtually impossible to properly train anyone to teach in only 5 weeks. I can see why veteran educators may not be huge fans of the TFA program and its grads.

  • 147. Grace  |  August 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    TFA —
    Just 5 weeks training.
    No degree in education required.

    Most TFA-ers like giving back for two years. Then they go to grad school or some other type of program to advance their career. Very few ever stay on more than the required two years.

    That kind of turnover can be unsettling for a school and for kids.
    But,for the mayor, it keeps labor costs and pensions costs low and keeps the union membership low.

  • 148. Mayfair Dad  |  August 9, 2011 at 8:03 am

    “Shake and bake” teachers. Love it.

  • 149. Junior  |  August 9, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Good news and great move from Jean-Claude Brizard to mandate recess for the 2012 school year. Nice to see he is willing to go to bat for students.

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