Strikewatch Tues 9/18 – HoD Votes Today

September 18, 2012 at 10:27 am 903 comments

The CTU House of Delegates is due to vote today at 3pm.

Parents will be protesting the strike at noon at the Merchandise Mart to urge the CTU to end the strike.  See previous strike post for details.

Another group of parents have started up to try to rally more of the parent voice.  (Note, that I’d copied their wording that referred to “us” —  I am not affiliated with this new group, but feel free to check them out here….)

The Trib reports that teachers are starting to have mixed feelings about the strike going on, but we’re a big city with a lot of different opinions.  Clearly some people still fully support the strike and others do not.   The next step lies in the hand of the hundreds of CTU delegates today, to see if they approve of some of the concessions that the CTU negotiators made.   It can’t be an easy pill to swallow for the teachers at the schools that are likely to be closed in the next year or 2 who probably feel that while the whole city wants kids “back in school” that they’re getting the short end of the stick in all this.

I’m eager to see what happens today.

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903 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Y  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:33 am

  • 2. Lakeview Dad  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Please let this strike be over today, folks.

  • 3. pms  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I pray this strike ends today – as I dropped off my children in an unfamiliar strike camp this morning, I could see how unsure they were – I cried as I drove away. I hope they are having fun but they need to be back in school asap.

  • 4. CPS parent of 4  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Me imagining a conspiracy?

    Maybe the Tribune’s reporters Jeff Coen and Noreen Ahmed are, too?

    Friday, June 22, 2012

    Trib writers shine another light on Rahm’s anti-union attack ads

    AKPD’s John Kupper
    Thanks to reporters Jeff Coen and Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah for their excellent piece in Today’s Trib, “Emanuel allies press attack in teachers union battle.” It confirms everything I wrote Monday about David Axelrod’s old firm AKPD being the architect of the lying anti-union ad campaign now being played on local radio in Chicago.

    According to the Trib report, the big money behind the attacks on Chicago teachers and their union is the group Democrats For Education Reform (DFER), run by NewYork hedge-funders Whitney Tilson and Ravenel Boykin Curry IV. The group continues to be a big player in the Obama election campaign and is the main force for school privatization, vouchers and privately-run charter schools, within the Democratic Party. They are also major supporters of Rahm’s longer-school-day-with-no-pay-for-teachers initiative

    More importantly, the Trib report shows that despite denials and evasions, the mayor has knowingly and unabashedly supported the anti-union campaign which is being run by his own political operatives like AKPD’s John Kupper. Kupper admits his firm is on retainer with Emanuel’s political organization, and state records show The Chicago Committee, one of Emanuel’s campaign fundraising organizations, paid Axelrod’s old firm more than $21,000 in the first quarter of 2012 for “professional services/consulting.”

    As for DFER:
    Officials at Democrats for Education Reform said the group’s Illinois state director, Rebeca Nieves Huffman, also has not talked to Emanuel about the ads and “doesn’t coordinate with him.” In May the mayor was photographed with Huffman at a school reform summit in California, but Huffman spokeswoman Megan Jacobs characterized that as a chance encounter.
    The two Trib reporters also shine a light on Emanuel political operative Greg Goldner (behind Rahm’s use of paid protesters) and billionaire backers Penny Pritzker and Bruce Rauner.
    Emanuel’s emphasis on schools fits with the long-held agenda of a number of his wealthiest political supporters. They include Penny Pritzker, now a member of the Board of Education, and venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, whose wife, Diana, an early education expert, served on Emanuel’s transition team.

    Rauner was instrumental in bringing the reform group Stand for Children to Illinois. That organization helped pass the law setting a higher bar for a teachers’ strike and also has criticized the teachers union for taking the strike authorization vote.

    Good going Jeff and Noreen.

    Posted by Mike Klonsky at 10:18 AM
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    Labels: Chicago A.D., DFER, Emanuel

  • 5. Window  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:06 am

    A reminder. This vote is only to end strike. Not to accept contact. I see NO reason why kids can’t return to class while grown ups stay at table.

  • 6. Racine Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I wonder if Vegas is taking bets on whether or not strike ends today. Would like to know the odds.

  • 7. ncm  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:12 am

    The opening paragraph of the summary of proposals prepared by CTU is inflamatory and offensive. I am very nervous about this vote today from a group that is seemingly being preached to about defending themselves against “enemies.” Our schools, our children, and the future of education in this city should not be handled as though we are sitting in church and fighting the devil. This discussion requires level headedness and rational leadership from both sides. I am hoping that today the kids win and go back to school.,0,892291.htmlpage

  • 8. Navigator  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I know that politics is part of CPS, it being a government school system, but enough is enough. As parents I think it might be good to hold off attacking one another. Just as the teachers have had a right to picket, I think it is VERY understandable why parents like Logan Dad (and others) are having lunch rallies. Politics aside, I think we are in general agreement that it would be good if our kids return to school. Let’s stop throwing punches at one another. Just as we have tried to respect the rights of the teachers, let’s respect the rights of parents that want to protest against the lingering strike.

  • 9. CPS parent of 4  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Go where you want, but you should know that Chicago Students First is an effort by Michelle Rhee of StandFirst, a new local chapter of a national group that is for corporate-style education reforms.
    It is easy to learn more about her group through google.

  • 10. Teach englewood  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I’m a teacher and I feel that it’s time for us to get back in the classroom. My students are so far behind and they can no longer afford to not be learning. We have fought a good fight. Unfortunately , some of my colleagues don’t feel the same way. I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be back inside my classroom tomorrow .

  • 11. SutherlandParent  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:22 am

    A little off-topic maybe (although it relates to some contentious issues in the contract)–I know I’ve seen the question raised before in one of the threads, but is there data about which specific schools are underenrolled and which schools are overenrolled, and by how much? And it in terms of under- and over-enrollment, is there a grade/class breakdown?

    There is talk about closing 100-200 schools, but I’m not really sure which ones are targets because of poor performance and which ones have low enrollment.

    And I’m curious about the over-enrollment by grade, because at our school, which is K-8, we have two very large grades (35+ per classroom, with three classes per grade), and several with smaller class sizes. It’s the challenge of the neighborhood school under the current system CPS uses–you take everyone in the boundaries, regardless of demographic blips. I don’t know how much of the overcrowding we hear about is chronic in every grade in some schools, or in just one or two grades.

    One solution to both issues would be to use a system where kids aren’t guaranteed a spot in their neighborhood school and are assigned to schools with lower enrollment once the class size hits a certain number. That’s how the NY Public Schools work, so it could be done like that. I see that as a political nightmare, though, at least in my neighborhood where people buy houses based on school district.

  • 12. pms  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:26 am

    regarding the tribune comparison – how much was for the kids and how much was for the teachers? I do think the teachers deserve the concessions they won (that’s what a union is for) but this was at the expense of our children not being in school and that I cannot support.

  • 13. Jacque Charles Bizzare  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

    On the plus side of the strike, dime bag and condom sales are way up. It’s good for economy.

  • 14. junior  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I’m betting strike is over today. CTU is witnessing a tipping point in public opinion and a schism in its member “solidarity”. Continuing the strike shifts the battle to teacher vs. teacher, and I don’t think they want that.

  • 15. Paul  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:38 am

    It has got to be over today.

    I think it’s very positive that the Raise Your Hand Coalition is calling for an end to the strike, and that multiple new parent groups are springing up to protest against it. I think that parents ultimately have the power, and if their sentiment shifts and CTU and CPS believe it has shifted, then it’s all over.

  • 16. Patricia  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Junior and Paul, I truly hope you are right. I worry about how entrenched the “keep striking” faction is withing the CTU HoD. I guess we will know hopefully before 10pm. Rational thought has been foiled many times in the past several months…………

  • 17. CPS TBPK momma  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:41 am

    CPS Parent of 4–What factual basis do you have to state that “Chicago Students First” is affiliated Michelle Rhee’s “StudentsFirst” organization? Other than a confusingly similar name . . . do you have factual basis to link these two organizations? If so, please provide it.

    Below is an explanation (pasted from NPN) from the founder of “Chicago Students First” clarifying that there IS NO CONNECTION! A prior NPN poster had raised that issue–here is her response . . .

    Hello again,

    The organiation you are referencing [Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst] is not the same organization we are a forming. We are a grassroots organization that has sprung up out of the strike controversy. We do not have an agenda. The quotes you reference are from a different site. I apologize as the information is coming together all at once. Being that we are, simply, a group of local parents creating this group, which has caught attention by the powers-that-be in CPS, and hopefully the CTU as well, we are, as you say, scrambling to get our media up and running. So far, we are a handful of parents doing what we can to pull this together.

    The reason we were asking for assistance from other parents (ie: likes) is because there are only a few of us. We are not hunting Facebook “likes” just for the sake of it. We have their attention. So we’d like to capitalize on it. The more parents who convene and say “yes, we want to be heard” the higher the liklihood of them staying attented to what we are saying. We don’t want to lose their attention. Also, it’s our hope that we can streamline our message in one place for everyone to see. Since there are so few of us, tackling every media outlet is very difficult. We are trying very hard to pull this together as quickly as possible to maintain that urgency that CPS needs to listen to parents. Or at least have our vote before making their own decision.

    We, too, are hoping that there is a vote tomorrow and it’s positive for all sides. That would mean our children wold be back in school and agreements would be made between both parties. Our only agenda is the kids. If you want to learn more, I invite you to our actual website (which we put together at midnight last night, so please pardon our dust). Our little group is working very hard to get things done, but remember, we are just parent volunteers so we’re doing the best we can!

    We are not affiliated with the “Students First” organization.

  • 18. Half Days??? No!  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Thanks CTU for a July 2013 high school mom baby boom.

  • 19. (back to being) Sad Chicago Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I do hope that CPS, the BoE and the CTU can find a way to work with parents in making the changes called for in the contract and in finding a way to improve our schools and do what is best for the students of Chicago.

    Yes, I know there are a lot of parents involved and that we all want different things, but there has to start down this road. Even enhanced communications and regular polling and surveying of parents would be a great start. (and it wouldn’t really cost all that much).

  • 20. CPC4Chicago  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:58 am

    The HOD’s vote should be framed in rational risk versus reward terms:

    Reward: perhaps some incremental concession made on a minor point after who knows how much longer time spent back at the negotiating table.


    -Judge orders them back to work the following day leaving the legacy of this strike as that being one that was illegal all along.

    -A massive shift of public opinion against the CTU as more parent groups get their voices heard in the media.

    -The media focusing on how the delegates couldn’t even approve a deal their already far left leaning leadership endorsed resulting in a “house divided amongst itself”.

    -An inability to articulate why exactly they’re still striking as it’s clear to everyone that it’s just a radical faction of the CTU that still wishes to drag this out, further eroding any remnants of support they might have once had.

    I can think of many more risks, but just like the potential “reward” of a strike continuation, this is the point of diminishing marginal returns.

  • 21. Journeytolove  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    From Logan Dad:

    UPDATE – BRING A JACKET. It’s Chilly!
    CPS Parents –
    There will be another lunch time rally today (& everyday until the strike is over) and all CPS Parents, students and friends are welcome to attend. This is an opportunity to have your voice heard and advocate for getting our kids back to school.
    WHAT: CPS Parent Rally
    WHY: To Get Kids Back In School
    WHERE: Merchandise Mart – Corner of Orleans & Merch Mart Dr (Near the river)
    WHEN: Tuesday, September 18, Noon-1P
    BRING: A Homemade Sign, Friends, Convictions, Your Voice…
    Please feel free to share this invite with other CPS Parents and please try to attend. Post here or send an e-mail if you need more info.
    Back To School!
    Logan Dad

  • 22. CPS Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    If Peoples Gas told you that just as the cold weather hit they were going to cut off your heat because they thought you deserved a better furnace (which had never really done a great job) and they were going to make your landlord give you one. And they thought the landlord would because if he didn’t all his pipes would freeze and all his tenants including you would move out, would you thank them? Oh by the way, Peoples also wants to charge more for the gas and sell more of it in the bigger furnace. Now how do you feel?

  • 23. Maureen Cullnan  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Why does Logan Dad want homemade signs today?

  • 24. Jackie  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Maureen, your being a troll. Snark

  • 25. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    @9 What evidence do you have for that assertion? As far as I can tell there is no reason to believe that the two Beard parents who claim to have founded it are lying about it. Heck, they are using Survey Monkey — not a bright move since you can easily enter duplicate responses. If they have pro backing, I think they would be more sophisticated. What’s more likely: a small group of anti-union CPS parents enter a large number of false replies or a CTU faction organizes a large number of false replies? Everything I know about collective action says that the latter is more likely to pull it off than the former.

    @14 Huh? If there are strong factions in dispute within CTU, then there is no collective CTU interest. Some factions want the contract re rehiring after school closures & evaluations in low-performing schools changed. They have an interest in continuing the strike even if their colleagues in better performing schools do not.

    Indeed, factionalism is what will doom the CPS parent network — parents have a wide range of views, so there is no single voice of parents. Students first means different things to different parents. If students were first, there would be AC in all schools (don’t we want children to be comfortable to learn?). Expensive, yes. So what. Raise taxes; put students first. I’m sure some parents will disagree with this, however. Just as some parents will disagree with imposing evaluations that will inaccurately identify a portion of good and bad teachers. Some parents will be willing to risk losing some good teachers if they can eliminate more bad teachers. Others will not, especially if their child’s teacher is a good one marked as bad.

    @15 RYH is not calling for an end to the strike. It “hopes” the strike will end today. It had hoped there would not be a strike in the first place.

  • 26. JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    What is up with posts #13,18?

    Go away.

  • 27. Family Friend  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    For Todd Pytel — Answer to your question re source of data on percentage of students with IEPs in Chicago charter schools:

    Todd, somebody sent me my old spreadsheet. I based it on the CPS 2009-10 school by school performance report, which was the latest data available when I did it (they were slow with 2010-11 results). Now, of course, we have 2011-12 results; I don’t know how they would compare. The percentage of students with IEPs (not including 504 plans) in charters was 10.7. The percentage for CPS as a whole was 12.0. Percentages for individual charters ranged from 4.6% to 19.2%. At that time charter networks with replicating charters were reported as single schools.

    I somehow got the impression (despite putting the data together myself) that Noble Street had a low percentage of students with IEPs; in fact they were near the charter school average at 11.1%. The available reports for 2011-12 don’t show a breakdown according to subcategories for high schools, although they do for elementary schools, so I am going to have to do some more digging if I want to update my numbers.

  • 28. JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Please stop saying that the new group Chicago Students First is associated with students first. It’s not. It’s two CPS parents scrambling to start something real. I really wish they had chosen a different name.

  • 29. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    “CPS Parent of 4–What factual basis do you have to state that “Chicago Students First” is affiliated Michelle Rhee’s “StudentsFirst” organization?”

    You won’t get an answer. CPSPo4 is all about wild accusations, but no disclosure. You will get accused of being the same person, or working for teh same organization, as me, Logan Dad, some Juan dude who’s a “corporate school” hack who went to Princeton, and, possibly, Brizard/Rahm or someone on their payroll. Fortunately, we have black helicopters on our collective, conspiracy-ridden, side, so that’s fun, at least!

  • 30. OutsideLookingIn  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Rahm & Karen’s Slow Dancing for Dollars Fundraiser begins tonight!
    After the vote to end the strike, Rahm and Karen are going to put aside their differences and hold each other all night long on the dance floor For the Kids. Make a donation and request a song. Disclaimers: this event is sponsored by whatever organization you fear the most. Definition of what’s best for the kids may vary by zipcode.

  • 31. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    @22 I’d wonder why People’s Gas was willing to give up its gas sales in the interim as I sat in front of my electric heater.

  • 33. Paul  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    @25, I was taking this to mean that RYH was calling for an end to the strike today:

    “Raise Your Hand hopes that the House of Delegates of the Chicago Teacher’s Union votes to end the strike today…We hope that our children will be back in school Wednesday.”

    Also, nerd alert, CTU just released a very detailed spreadsheet on the proposed teacher salaries with steps and lanes. It might help resolve the arguments about the level of teacher compensation. It looks to me like salaries go from a low of $50,577 (lane 1 step1) to a high of $95,957 (lane 6 step 16) in fiscal year 2012.

  • 34. Patricia  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    @30 OustideLookingin. LOL!

  • 35. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    @11 Sutherland parent, I was wondering that too about the under-enrolled schools. Are they schools that hold 1200 but have only 500 (which is still more than many north side schools) or are there really schools operating with under 350, which is the number I thought qualified for closing because it becomes pretty inefficient to pay a principal, have a library, etc.

    From a pure budget standpoint, I am in favor of consolidation. It just doesn’t make sense to have inefficient schools running with so much empty space. That doesn’t take people and their lives into account who have to travel further for school, but if certain neighborhoods have been largely vacated (a la detroit) is it CPS’ responsibility to keep “losing money” but pumping money into low enrollment schools to keep neighborhood stability? Especially when 60%+ of the kids that go there can’t read at grade level. I think it’s one of the main points I agree with CPS on. But I *would* like a better sense of what “under-enrollment” really means before I keep supporting the idea of closings. I *don’t* like the idea of starving these schools for money/rehab for a long time before they close. If it’s gonna close, just bite the bullet and do it and make fewer but nicer schools.

  • 36. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    @OutsideLookingIn – oh, I just soooo love that image. I’m in for $100.

  • 37. Patricia  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    @31 ……….because they will be able to sell the gas anyway due to the prolonged “winter” they created 😉 Now the homeowner has to pay extra electric AND gas bills later.

  • 38. Family Friend  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Logan Dad imposed on his friend to get 20 professionally printed signs in a hurry. If more than 20 people show up today, and it looks like they will, some of them will have to bring their own signs. This aspect of the debate is focusing on something minor. My relatives who are CTU members didn’t make their own signs. I don’t know if they had to buy their own t-shirts. And they have to show up to picket whether they want to or not, because their union delegates take attendance, providing a subtle but very real pressure to attend. I know that some of them have been lukewarm about the strike from the start. They teach in south side schools — they see first hand that the ability to educate their students is dependent on way more than teacher job security.

  • 39. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Hey, a reporter was asking me today how the kids will be benefitting (or not) from all this. Strike days aside.
    I could think of:
    -Longer day (no more 5.45 without recess) CAN be better if schools use it strategically
    -More specials teachers in the schools
    -Book on first day
    -Theoretically better pay for teachers means happier teachers?

    Are there more nurses/counselors?
    Anything else that was an outcome of all this (due to either side) that benefits the kids?

  • 40. cubswin  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    @17 “We are not affiliated with the “Students First” organization.”

    Then you need to change your new organizations name.

  • 41. Jackie  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Benefit: Slow down the march towards charter/privatization.

  • 42. Bigger Picture  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    As I predicted, people are losing focus on the bigger picture that CTU was working for, better classrooms for ALL children. There are some things that they can’t resolve now but they can bring them to the surface so that they can be addressed. We all know that once a contract is signed, they will be bound to it down to the last period dot. Have the teachers work while the iron out the contract? Ask the police and fireman how well that has worked for them. Once the teachers go back into the classroom, CPS has no pressure to make any changes and this is what they’re hoping for. What I’m reading and hearing is that some parents are having a hard time figuring out how to handle their own children so the teachers need to get back into the classroom. This should be a civics lesson in how democracy is at work. Am I teacher? No. Am I a parent that is greatly inconvenienced by the strike? Yes. This strike has enlightened us to the daily issues being faced by our teachers. How many parents knew that some schools didn’t receive textbooks on the first day or have to share books? I didn’t. Let’s be patient and let the teachers read the 300 page contract to ensure that what is being promised is what was written. I wouldn’t agree to a contract without looking at it myself. I pity anyone that would based on what someone told them.

    Once this strike is over parents need to use the same energy they’re writing petitions and blasting the teachers to become involved in their local school. Start attending the LSC meetings, contact legislators to know how schools are truly funded. Talk to the teachers and principals to know really what’s going on inside the school. Know what they are doing versus what is being dictated by Central Office. You will be surprised how many frivolous dictates are made by downtown because a well paid consultant thought it was a great idea. Join the PTO, PTA, whatever, just join to make a difference. Tour the building. Check out the lunchroom. You are your child’s first teacher. Talking about how the teachers need to get back to work then doing nothing to improve the educational process is not a lesson our kids need to learn.

  • 43. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    “Logan Dad imposed on his friend to get 20 professionally printed signs ”

    Seriously? All that BS about *twenty* signs? Ohnoes, he must have needed outside funding to get $100 of signs. Jeebus.

  • 44. 8th grade mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Just noticed the caption on the photo of the “logan dad” protest in the tribune. “….joins a group of 18 parents of Chicago Public Schools students to protest the teachers strike Monday outside the Merchandise Mart, where the teachers union is headquartered.”

    If this was astroturf funded, those billionaires are getting ripped off with a turn out of 18 🙂

    (Not knocking your work, Logan Dad. Just poking fun of the accusations.)

  • 45. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    @26 It’s called satire. It’s what keeps smart people from stabbing pencils into their temples and the only worthwhile response to the deeply stupid.

  • 46. junior  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    @39 cpso

    Your “benefits” 1 and 2 were negotiated before the strike, so I don’t think we can list them as positive outcomes of the strike. We should know by now that Lucy has snatched the football away. Good grief!

  • 47. CPS Parent of 4  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Glad to hear that chicagostudent first is not Rhee’s students first.

    Uncanny similarity in names.

  • 48. Paul  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    @39 cpsobsessed, I think you covered it. CTU has a flyer for what they say the students will get, but most of it is via the teachers. For example, more funding for special ed teachers, reduced forcus on standardized testing (I’m guessing because of no merit pay), etc. I thought about the class size limits, but my undestanding is that the tentative agreement just keeps the current class size limit language, and there are still complaints about class size. So, I don’t know what keeping the current language in will really accomplish. There’s some kind of committee of retired principals and teachers that is supposed to enforce class size limits, and a parent is supposed to be on it, and they get some money. But that all sounds too squishy to be called a victory for students, IMHO.

  • 49. CPS Parent of 4  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    The question remains, though.

    DFER and Stand for Children support closing schools and turning them into charters.

    Is that what is behind Logan David’s push?

  • 50. lunch break reading  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I’m reading the “board-proposals-summary-comparison” pdf and have one comment and one question. as someone else stated earlier, the language in the intro paragraph is very strong and i’m surprised they left it in for us all to read. mostly, i’m offended that this fight is ‘for the children,’ but not once are the children mentioned in this paragraph, and only a few items in the document are directly related to the kids. this seems to be all about the union using their power to keep the status quo.

    My question is: what is up with the bullying clause? have principals been abusing and demeaning teachers? i’d love to hear how this came about, has anyone heard anything about this happening? here is the actual language:

    In the “board’s original position” column:
    Continue to allow principals to have unfettered power over our work lives.

    In the “eventual tentative agreement” column:
    Anti-bullying clause that prohibits abusive and demeaning conduct by principals.

  • 51. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    “the same energy they’re … blasting the teachers ”

    I see mostly blasting the UNION and its leadership, which is not really the same thing. Unless you feel that “blasting Rahm = blasting Chicagoans”–it’s about leadership and the failures thereof, rather than the individuals represented by leadership. I am ticked off at the UNION, not the individuals represented by the union, and not even particularly (ok, maybe a *little*) with those individual teachers who favored the strike and even teh continuation into this week.

    And, were I a union member, I’d be mad about the craptastic PR messaging that has come from CTU for the past month plus.

  • 52. lunch break reading  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    here is the first paragraph:

    Key Contract Issues
    Our brothers and sisters throughout the country have been told that corporate “school reform” was unstoppable, that merit pay had to be accepted and that the public would never support us if we decided to fight. Cities everywhere have been forced to adopt performance pay. Not here in Chicago! Months ago, CTU members won a strike authorization vote that our enemies thought would be impossible- now we have stopped the Board from imposing merit pay! We preserved our lanes and steps when the politicians and press predicted they were history. We held the line on healthcare costs. We have tremendous victories in this contract; however, it is by no means perfect. While we did not win on every front and will need to continue our struggle into the future; we soundly defended our profession from an aggressive and dishonest attack. We owe our victories to each and every member of this rank and file union. Our power comes from the bottom up.
    The chart below is a side by side comparison

  • 53. LR  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Is anyone else sick of seeing these TV commercials sponsored by Education Reform Now? I am watching WGN and they just keep showing them over and over. If they are really about education reform, wouldn’t their dollars be better spent on social workers, or a number of other things that will actually help students? Seriously, trying to convince the public that teachers are evil through TV commercials is not money well-spent. UGH!

  • 54. pms  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    @52 I like how they call them “enemies” – I just don’t think that starts collaboration on school reform – there is a big problem when that is how you refer to your employer.

  • 55. pms  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    on that opening paragraph – right, what was for the kids?

  • 56. RL Julia  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    @39/46 I think that the renegotiation of the evaluation standards is huge in terms of impact – this might mean that teacher’s don’t exclusively teach to the teast all years. Plus maybe it has raised some awareness about how few supports there are in the schools for teachers.

  • 57. Possible  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    30 Theme song: Whose zooming who?

  • 58. Family Friend  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I am wondering what is the remedy for victims of bullying principals? If the provision doesn’t have teeth, then it’s just aspirational. Most of us have seen terrible supervisors in all types of employment, even if we have been personally spared their abuse. In my experience, upper management does absolutely nothing, even when they acknowledge the particular problem.

  • 59. CityMomOfTwo  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Was out at the Merch Mart again today. Familiar and new faces out there. Lots of positive crowd honking and thumbs-uping.
    Chilly, yes.
    Hoping this ends today.

    all this about the signs…..having held 1 for both days… they are stickers stuck on corrugated plastic. I could have them made here at work if I needed to. Enough about the signs. Thank you LoganDad for having them available.

  • 60. marcsims  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Michelle Rhee in regards to dealing with Teachers Unions she said quite clearly,  ” It’s about the Adults” .


  • 61. SR  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    @11/35 re: under-enrolled schools. Didn’t someone post a CPS spreadsheet a few days ago – maybe Friday? I can’t find it now, so maybe I read it somewhere else. I don’t recall all the details, but the spreadsheet listed how over or under enrolled certain schools were (i.e. 35% under-enrolled; 22% over-enrolled). Each school must have a number that equals full enrollment. I was surprised that two schools I’m familiar with were listed as under-enrolled, so I’d love to know more about this (and see that spreadsheet again).

  • 62. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    pms (54): “I like how they call them “enemies” … there is a big problem when that is how you refer to your employer.”

    I don’t know if that’s a fair reading; I think it’s meant to refer to the “outside agitator” groups. Sloppy, inappropriate, but of a piece with the whole of CTU’s PR positions thru-out.

  • 63. Mayfair Dad  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    @ 42: I would add this to your list of ways parents can get involved: if you truly resent the way the Chicago Teachers Union held your children hostage during a strike by choice to pad their own salary and benefits, then resolve to contact your state legislator and demand meaningful pension reform for all public employee unions in Illinois. If enough angry parents make their voices heard, then state legislators can no longer ignore their fiduciary responsibilities and will do the right thing. A simple majority needed in Jan 2013. Public employee unions (like CTU) must learn not to bite the hand that feeds.

  • 64. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    @Sr, shoot, I missed that if it came through (would have been a link since we can’t attach stuff here.) I do believe that the goal of CPS is to first close schools that are both underenrolled AND underpeforming.

  • 65. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    This has been such a difficult time for me. I have stayed away from this site just to keep my head focused on the big issues. Now it’s over a week later and I can’t say I’m any happier today than I was before the strike. There are many unresolved issues and I feel this new proposal leaves out many of the reasons I voted to strike in the first place. Overall, it’s a good deal for me personally, but that was not my platform on this site or in my talks to friends and neighbors. I am willing to take less pay to address other issues. I know parents on this site want students to go back, but if we vote yes to the contract I feel many of you will say that you don’t see much in the contract for the children. Has anyone really evaluated the proposal and feels like there’s enough in it for the children? Can we go back and continue to negotiate…yes, but that’s what we were doing since November and nothing got done until the last two weeks. Comments?

  • 66. junior  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    RE: bullying principals

    In past discussions, we had teachers assure us that there were many effective ways to get rid of bad tenured teachers instead of going through the formal dismissal process. Teachers themselves seemed to defend the practice of “making teachers’ lives miserable” to get rid of bad teachers, as a justification for the current tenure system. That is indicative of the crazy “dismissal” system that existed — it will be interesting to see how effective the new contract is in removing bad teachers.

  • 67. Mary  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    @ “Just noticed the caption on the photo of the “logan dad” protest in the tribune. “….joins a group of 18 parents of Chicago Public Schools students to protest the teachers strike Monday outside the Merchandise Mart, where the teachers union is headquartered.”

    18 parents?? WOW, about the same number that volunteers or even thinks about helping at the local school. Seems fitting. (Snark meant)

  • 68. 19th Ward parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Here’s a better idea — find out the craptastic high schools with the lowest scores. Then find the feeder schools that are providing these kids with a $hitty “education”. Then FIRE THOSE TEACHERS AND DO NOT HIRE THEM BACK!!!

  • 69. Mary  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    @ Junior
    ” Teachers themselves seemed to defend the practice of “making teachers’ lives miserable” to get rid of bad teachers, as a justification for the current tenure system.”

    Please show me where this statement came from? Which teachers commented and defended this practice? Call me skeptical

  • 70. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    @61If you got to CPS “School Space Utilization Reports”, you’ll see how they classify space at school. 70-75% of a schools classrooms are supposed to be homerooms, w/ 30 students per homeroom making the ideal enrollment. If you’re at less than 20% of ideal, you’re “underutilized” w more than 20% of ideal, you’re overcrowded.

  • 71. Mayfair Dad  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Reminds me of the old Bee Gees classic “Jive Talking”

  • 72. Jackie  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    “Enough with the signs” ?

    Logan Dad, has stepped away from anonymous poster on CPSO, to a public figure holding a public protest. I would like to hear from him, if he received outside support for these protests. Money, signs or any other support from any outside groups. That is not to much to ask. For the record.

  • 73. 19th Ward parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    @ Mary (67) — CPS gets ~$8000/year per kid. So, if a grade has 25 kids in it, that school gets $200K for the grade. You need VOLUNTEERS? WTF FOR????

  • 74. cubswin  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    @68. 19th Ward parent said……

    “Here’s a better idea — find out the craptastic high schools with the lowest scores. Then find the feeder schools that are providing these kids with a $hitty “education”. Then FIRE THOSE TEACHERS AND DO NOT HIRE THEM BACK!!!”

    You will find that the lowest scoring schools have the most families in deep poverty.

  • 75. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm


    I linked to the capacity report I’ve seen before, but I included a second link, to someone disagreeing with teh methods for determining capacity, so it’s stuck in Mod-hell.

  • 76. Mary  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    @ Mayfair Dad
    then resolve to contact your state legislator and demand meaningful pension reform for all public employee unions in Illinois”

    NEVER happen….FYI the biggest pension getters are not your 30plus year teacher, it is those in office. True pension reform is a slim to no chance because they would vote to cut their own pensions.

  • 77. Paul  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    @65 CarolA, I agree there won’t be much in the contract for children. But, I never thought there would be. It really is a labor contract between the teachers and CPS. It’s not the place to include stuff for the kids. Any benefits for the kids are via the teachers, e.g. the teacher gets more pay and is happier, and therefore the kids are instructed by a happier person. And, depending on your perspective, a lot of what looks good for teachers in the contract may be worse for the kids.

    I belong to a union, and we have a contract with our employer, and it doesn’t include things for our customers. All benefits to the customers are via the benefits to employees. The CTUs statements that the strike is “for the kids” were an effort to build support (teacher and parent) for their strike and put them in a better position to win concessions for their contract with CPS.

  • 78. Mary  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    @19th Ward

    ” Mary (67) — CPS gets ~$8000/year per kid. So, if a grade has 25 kids in it, that school gets $200K for the grade. You need VOLUNTEERS? WTF FOR???”

    But wait….I thought “we were all in this together? So do you mean that parents are expected to contribute nothing to their child’s educational experience and environment? Interesting way of looking at it. Sadly many parents feel the same way. SAD

  • 79. Jackie  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Chris, the worst part of getting a few posts in mod-hell is, the post numbers are all off now. I was told there would be no math!

  • 80. 19th Ward parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    @ Mary

    “But wait….I thought “we were all in this together? So do you mean that parents are expected to contribute nothing to their child’s educational experience and environment? Interesting way of looking at it. Sadly many parents feel the same way. SAD”


    If you want me to volunteer to help a teacher do her job THAT SHE IS GETTING PAID FOR at the school, then the teacher should volunteer to help ME do my job AT MY OFFICE. Then *I* can have the extra time to teach my kid, right?

  • 81. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Gr, I’m gonna try, when I approve posts to just copy them into a new post so it doesn’t throw the numbers off.
    Fyi, more than 2 links in a post puts you into moderation.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 82. Family Friend  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    This is from CPS’ Space Utilization Standards, at

    Elementary Schools – Definitions
    The proposed changes to the way the district calculates space utilization and capacity provides a greater level of detail and will allow principals to better align instructional programming to physical capacity. The new space utilization standards rely upon both familiar defined concepts from the historical methodology and new concepts defined below.
    Maximum Capacity is defined as the number of classroom spaces designed as such in a given facility multiplied by 30.
    Allotted Dedicated General Education Homerooms Classrooms (“Allotted Homeroom Classrooms”) is defined as the number of classrooms spaces required for homeroom use derived as a consistent and adequate proportion of the total number of classrooms present in a given facility.
    Allotted Ancillary Classrooms is defined as the number of classrooms spaces required for non-homeroom uses, such as science labs, computer labs, art rooms, music rooms, resource rooms, special education rooms, governmental agencies and/or community organization special programs, after school programs, and other appropriate uses.
    Ideal Program Enrollment is defined as allotted homerooms multiplied by 301.
    Enrollment Efficiency is defined as an enrollment range defined as Ideal Enrollment less 20% to Ideal Enrollment plus 20%.
    Overcrowded status is defined as an enrollment range greater than Enrollment Efficiency.
    Underutilization is defined as an enrollment range less than Enrollment Efficiency.
    The proposed space utilization standards for elementary school essentially creates a range of efficiency based primarily upon a school facility’s total number of classrooms, estimated requirements for dedicated homeroom use, and estimated requirements for ancillary, non-dedicated homerooms use.

    Here’s the high school provision:

    High Schools – Definitions
    A completely departmentalized high school operates a different type of instructional program from most elementary schools and thus the space utilization standards for high schools must be different than those of elementary schools. While all high school students are generally assigned to homeroom classrooms, the homeroom class size is sometimes larger than the number of students assigned for regular instructional programs.
    For high school facilities, CPS will establish both a Maximum Capacity—equal to the total number of instructional classrooms X 30—and an Ideal Enrollment range where total enrollment is 80% of Maximum Capacity.
    CPS will also establish the same standard elementary school definition of enrollment efficiency range, where a school’s enrollment efficiency is determined to be within +/- 20% of its ideal enrollment.

    So the upshot is that “underutilized” depends on how big the school is, and is anything less than 80% of “ideal” capacity — which leaves a lot of discretion with CPS. I know that some schools are severely underutilized, and it makes sense that these should be closed and consolidated first, if the buildings can be maintained at less cost when they are empty or leased to bring in a little income but available in case population shifts again.

  • 83. Crawley  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Mayfair Dad, what I resent is the way you just portrayed your opinion as fact. I think if you asked my kids if they were held hostage these past 10 days they would look at you like they look at this guy who walks around our neighborhood quoting Shakespeare in a sing song voice.

    There seems, to me, to be a real lack of perspective running rampant around these parts.

  • 84. junior  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    @77 Paul

    The kids get the “trickle-down” happiness from the teachers. Good grief!

  • 85. Jackie  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Mary, I am 100% behind CTU. But regarding volunteering, I can not be around that many kids, my nervous are shot in about an hour. I could more easily work in a South American coal mine, than be a teacher. But, for those that can, I am willing to respect my teachers authority and pay accordingly.

  • 86. SR  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    @70/75 – thanks!

  • 87. CPC4Chicago  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    In reply to CarolA @ 65 who writes:
    “I know parents on this site want students to go back, but if we vote yes to the contract I feel many of you will say that you don’t see much in the contract for the children.”

    I think the overriding concern amongst most parents is seeing that their kids are back in school getting an education. Nobody is going to be doing any victory dances or rubbing teacher’s noses in the fact that the new contract doesn’t solve all the ills in the world. In terms of going back to the negotiating table to address every potential educational reform that is near and dear to you, that seemingly isn’t even a legal possibility and it would certainly be at the expense of 350k kids not being in school.

  • 88. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    “Chris, the worst part of getting a few posts in mod-hell is, the post numbers are all off now”

    Yeah, sorry, forgot.

    Space report from 10-11 school year is here:

  • 89. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    CPSO: “Fyi, more than 2 links in a post puts you into moderation.”

    ONyl 2 links in mine, and held for mod. So, only safe thing is one link at a time.

  • 90. JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Christopher Ball – Thanks for the literary device lesson. Instead of saying, go away, I should have said, stop it please. When emotions are running high and people are quick to jump to conclusions (ex: the Chris/Juan nonsense, or the Logan Dad Conspiracy), the use of satire in that way, in this place, at this moment seems out of touch. Shocking? I guess. Effective? Not so much.

  • 91. TeacherD  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Yes, I think it’s a crappy contract for the kids. CPS wouldn’t negotiate too much on that because by law they didn’t have to. It makes us look bad as the posts are already rolling in stating so. Secondly, we are voting to SUSPEND the strike not end it. The draft is so vague and unanswered questions remain. If the final is as uncertain, we can vote to go back on strike.

  • 92. mom2  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I haven’t had time to read all posts, but I have a concern. I saw some comments from a teacher today on another site. That teacher said that the teachers at their school want to vote no for ending the strike because they want to give up their raise in the current contract and make CPS use it for things for the kids such as social workers, etc. They want to keep fighting.

    Oh, my. I don’t know where to begin with my feelings on this.

    First, I commend them for wanting to fight for the kids and give up their pay. Second, I want to scream at all of them for waiting until now to even consider that option. Sorry. It is much too late to try to prove you are for the kids. If you really felt that way, you should have been saying this since last year. Last year, when all I ever heard from any teacher was that if you are going to make the school day and year longer, you have to pay me more. Pay me. Pay me. Maybe also do some things to improve CPS and pay for supplies and things, but it was certainly about pay.

    So, the CTU works to help you get more pay and better benefits. That is their job. They did what they are paid to do.

    CarolA, I can tell you have a good heart just like the teachers I mention above. But all of these teachers had the wrong expectations of what this strike would and could do. Continuing to strike now will cause teachers to lose respect beyond measure. I don’t want that. I want everyone to go back to work, become a team with adminstration, students and parents and let’s work together to improve the schools.

    If they really want to give up their pay, take the pay and then start a fund for things for their school that is donated to from teacher raises and parent donations (for those that have parents that can) principal and other staff donations, and maybe even business donations. Start a new trend. Sponsor a class or school, etc.

  • 93. Paul  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    @84, junior

    I know it’s ridiculous.

    I think CPS’s position is stronger in the direct benefits they brought to students. They identified problems in the system that were detrimental to children: e.g. short school day and no recess. And, they remedied it by requiring teachers to stay in school rather than take their lunch break at the end of the day.

  • 94. SutherlandParent  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    @77, Paul: “I agree there won’t be much in the contract for children. But, I never thought there would be. It really is a labor contract between the teachers and CPS. It’s not the place to include stuff for the kids.”

    What he said 🙂 I’ve really struggled with this strike because I didn’t believe many of the expectations/hopes of the CTU were realistic. It’s not just the limitations of a labor contract, it’s the money component. There’s surely waste and mismanagement in CPS, but I don’t believe there’s a billion or two, or even a few hundred million, lying around for things like air conditioning in schools that in some cases were built more than 100 years ago.

    I just hope the kids are back in school tomorrow and we can all move forward in a positive way.

  • 95. Portage Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    @65 CarolA – I reviewed the contract proposal. There are some items that were added for the benefit of the kids. Is it perfect? No, it’s a start in the right direction. I have appreciated your very thoughtful posts as well as so many others that have contributed to the conversation.

    I have a daughter in a great magnet school so I was unaware of the many challenges faced by teachers particularly in the low income neighborhoods. I want to do what I can to help improve education for all students and not just mine. I can’t imagine I am alone since there are many who read the blog without ever posting.

    Progress has been made but it’s not over and hopefully the conversation of improving CPS for all our kids will continue even after the strike is over and the kids are back in school.

  • 96. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I support the teachers’ representatives (CTU) 100% since in 20+ years volunteering I haven’t seen very little change brought about by CPS that improves poverty-stricken families getting education in CPS overall (we are at similar poverty levels in Chicago as when I started : (, but I have seen alot of teachers make a difference, including my teachers I had a kid.

    The public needs to know what CPS has on offer and also what we can do to get class sizes down. So CPS teachers in the CTU reading this please let us know what IS and ISN’T covered for sure in the new contract so we can continue advocating for kids re. what CPS will not negotiate on.

    As a CPS parent, I want to make sure the issues don;t get forgotten.

  • 97. cubswin  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    It seems that only about 80 delegates seem to need to change their vote to ‘aye’ to end the strike.
    Most teachers are smart enough to know that they can only protect their jobs through the larger political process, not a labor contract.

  • 98. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    thanks Portage mom

  • 99. Mayfair Dad  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    @ 83: Held hostage is the perfect description, although not an expression my children would use. I try to protect them from the greedy machinations of public employee unions. (Spoken in a deep baritone.)

  • 100. ncm  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    @63 – EXACTLY.

  • 101. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Okay, they have bell at 73, edgebrook at 91.
    Both are notoriously overcrowded.
    (Or at least at comfy capacity.). Makes me want to learn more…except for the boring nature of the report….

    I don’t know if I could find 100 “sure thing” closures based on this sheet, but certainly a good 30 or so.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 102. 19thWardParentsOrg  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    We are supporting our teachers and their fight for the best day for our kids. No matter what happens today w/the contract~our fight for the best possible schools continues on. Our teachers’ working conditions are our children’s learning conditions.

  • 103. Crawley  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Held hostage is a terribly inaccurate and grossly hyperbolic description in my estimation. Have the opinion they were held hostage all you want, just stop spewing it as fact.

  • 104. cubswin  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    “10 Things Didn’t Know About The CTU”

  • 105. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    CPSO: “Okay, they have bell at 73, edgebrook at 91.
    Both are notoriously overcrowded.”

    The other link, to teh guy criticizing how they calculated:

  • 106. Paul  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    @101 cpsobsessed, if a school is between 60 and 80 percent, CPS considers it efficiently utilized. So, Edgebrook is considered overcrowded and Bell may be getting there.

    for the other 70 “sure thing” closures, you’ll have to look at the “level 3” schools and those on probation for low performance. You can find those here:

  • 107. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Libertarian is quite an extreme viewpoint and I don;t trust that as ‘fact’ anymore than I would trust the socialist workers.

  • 108. Patricia  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    @107 Are the items listed in the link on 104 incorrect? They are accurate, no?

  • 109. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    mom2 “But all of these teachers had the wrong expectations of what this strike would and could do.”

    But who are you or anyone to say they have “wrong expectations”? They know their jobs better than any of us can second guess them, and they know their working conditions best and 90% of them voted to strike.

    Just because you or others or even me doesn’t like the effects doesn;t mean their expectations or actions were wrong.

    Their contract expired in June–what else were they to do?

    No one knows what can happen in these sorts of negotiations and this was the only way to get heard when it was clear from this summer that CPS wasn’t making any moves to solving the contract or issues the teachers raised.

    After this strike it is clear my expectations of CPS albeit low before, were too high.

    Epic Fail CPS!

  • 110. ncm  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I think Libertarian is spot on (@104). I don’t think it is extremist at all to say members have to pay, the union controls a ton of political power via their campaign contributions, and we, the taxpayers, have no say in how the union greatly influences (ahem, shuts it down) the public service it provides.

  • 111. Jackie  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    100% agree Katherine.

  • 112. 19thWardParentsOrg  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    CPSO~read this~this is very telling if you want to know the truth ~Joel Klein attacked the ongoing teachers’ strike in Chicago without disclosing his role in administering $4.7 million in educational testing contracts at the heart of the dispute. It’s all about junk science eval and how much Klein (Wireless Gen) can make of Chicago & this is what Rahm wants!

  • 113. ncm  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Does anyone know the agenda for the 3 pm HoD meeting? Have they been talking all day and the vote is at 3 pm? Or are they just getting started, have a presentation, discuss and the vote is at 6 pm (or whenever they get to it)? Just want to set my expectations as to how short my fingernails will be from this nervous gnawing.

  • 114. Paul  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    @113, I’d guess 6:00, but I’ll be on the edge of my seat from 3:00 on.

  • 115. Maureen  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I’m a 19th ward parent, and have lived here for close to 25 years.

    Reading the posts of the person signed 19th ward parent has given me pause.

    One of the things the folks here are known for — besides St. Patrick’s Day and loving the Sox — is their strong support of their Catholic, private, or public neighborhood schools, their churches, scout troops, sports programs, Chicago Park Districts, and neighborhood planning associations, like Beverly Improvement Association.

    When serious illness strikes a child or family member, the community often snaps to, holding fund raisers to help with the medical costs. It’s almost constant.

    There are bike clubs, book clubs, bridge clubs, gardening clubs — all kinds of way in which we are connected through volunteering.

    And we love living here in this way.

  • 116. HS Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    In addition to the Logan Dad “back to school” rally, there was another group of parents at the Civic Center today, lots of activity. Plus groups of parents out greeting and thanking people for giving parents a voice. Great job Logan Dad!

  • 117. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    #50 Lunch break
    “My question is: what is up with the bullying clause? have principals been abusing and demeaning teachers? ”

    There have been complaints of heavy management…I can comment on some things I have seen in schools I volunteer in but prefer not : )

    If they felt so strongly to push this clause…there may be enough complaints to Reps that Bullying is an issue on the job.

    I think it is, and I think until Prinicipals get evaluated too (by teachers AND by parents) an anti-bullying clause with measures is a really good idea.

    mom2–I did not mean my comment in a snarky way–I mean it like I don;t tell the car dealership how to fix my car because I am Not a mechanic (of course I want to keep an eye on what they are doing…but I cannot judge how they do their job…I can only judge the outcome).

    Time will tell if the proposed changes Help and if CPS and CTU can find some commonality in the Narrow ground.

  • 118. Maureen  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Anybody remember a post on yesterday’s Strike Watch thread about the Wall Street Journal on this strike?

    “In an op-ed in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal, News Corp. executive vice president Joel Klein attacked the ongoing teachers’ strike in Chicago without disclosing his role in administering $4.7 million in educational testing contracts at the heart of the dispute.

    In 2010, News Corp. purchased 90 percent of the education technology company Wireless Generation for $360 million, incorporating that company into the education subsidiary of News Corp. now known as Amplify.”

  • 119. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    So much for my “save the world” attitude! 🙂 At least I feel like I gave it my best shot and tried my best. I don’t think we’ll ever get another time to express ourselves like this. We got the issues out there, let’s hope there’s movement on them. I’m sure there will soon be a law prohibiting us from striking and year by year charters will take over so as I slowly sink into the sand…………..

  • 120. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    @19thward – I’ll take a look but I guess my first (and perhaps naïve) first impression is that this seems like a very roundabout way for a testing company to gain new business.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 121. CPS Teacher  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    The contract expired in June and another one needed to be created. 90% of the teachers voted to strike. I still find it confusing that some parents do not see how teachers tried to make positive changes. They were only able to negotiate for pay and benefits. They tried to use that to force CPS to negotiate other things. I am disappointed that CPS did not choose class size as something important to them. I am disappointed, but not surprised, that parents did not find this something that is important to strike over.

    As a teacher, I would prefer to hold out for capped class sizes. According to our union rep, this is something the board will not budge on. As a parent, I would be outraged if my child was in a system where class sizes were not capped. I do not have children in CPS, and I have a hard time understanding why parents didn’t march at the board over this one fact.

    From the website of Sidwell Friends:
    “All classes, with the exception of one third grade class and one fourth grade class, have team teachers. Individual class sizes range from one teacher for every ten students in the lower grades to one teacher for every sixteen students in some fourth grade classes.”
    “A fifth or sixth grader in the Middle School is based in a homeroom with one teacher and 16 students.”

    From the Chicago Lab School:
    “At each grade level students are organized in five homeroom sections of twenty-three students. The faculty is comprised of fifteen full-time homeroom teachers, and approximately 45 special area teachers, many who teach across divisions.”
    “Lab’s Middle School consists of nearly 400students and 47 faculty members plus a set of fulltime counselors, a ratio that ensures our students get the attention they need. ”

    I think parents in Chicago should ask themselves: Why isn’t the board capping classroom sizes and why, as a parent, is this something that I am not fighting for? Think about how effective it might have been if even one tenth of CPS parents came out and marched for this.

  • 122. Paul  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    @117 Katherine

    Principals are evaluated every year by their Local School Councils, which are made up of teachers, parents, community members, and one non-teaching staff member.

    I know nothing about the anti-bullying clause. I’m okay with it because I’m against bullying. But, I’m surprised that it needs to be in the contract because you’d think that it would already be against school policy for principals to bully their teachers. But, perhaps there needed to be a way for the union to get involved in certain cases, or maybe it was just a no-cost provision that CPS gave the union in exchange for something else in the negotiation.

  • 123. Logan Dad  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    @ Maureen – Beverly & 19th Ward

    I love your description of the 19th Ward and its citizens. I would also include the Ridge Run and the Beverly Cycling Classic. Two great events that everyone in the City should have on their calendars.

    Thanks for posting!

  • 124. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    If you are a teacher CarolA, don;t give up.

    Poorer kids sometimes have no one else to defend them but their teachers–ether due to No parents, parents working too many hours at lowpaid jobs or just plain bad parenting/nonsupportive families.

    One of my childhood friends is a teacher on the west side and she bought most of her kids alarm clocks last year. There was no adult in the house to make sure kids got up for school–seriously. Half her class was 30 min+ late every day so she bought a bunch of little travel clocks.

    Seriously teachers reading this–keep on teaching and keep representing about fair evaluations.

    The fact I wouldn’t do a teaching job for any amount of money means I really appreciate you doing it!

  • 125. Patricia  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    @114 Shoot, I hope my order of Harry Potter Weasley brothers “extendable ears” comes before 3pm. I can make a fortune selling them to the reporters listening outside the HoD door and donate it to a school when the strike is done.

    Hey while we are killing time, we may as well compare Hogwarts to CPS schools 😉 Debate the “cape or no cape” rule. Anyone count the number of kids in “defense of the dark arts” class? How would we really reconcile Professor Snape and abusive Dolores Umbridge being evaluated and compensated the same as Professor Lupin and Professor McGonnagall?

  • 126. ncm  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    @121 CPS Teacher – I support a cap on class size, but how will that be administered? Say the cap is 28, is child number 29-35+ getting on a bus to a school out of his or her neighborhood? Is an assistant added once the cap has been exceeded by 5? If there are 35 kids in 3 kindergarten classes, should we put 26.25 in 4 classrooms and hire a 4th teacher? What if there isn’t a 4th classroom available? See what I mean? This strike cannot continue while we figure this out.

  • 127. Portage Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    @121 CPS Teacher – You’re right parents should fight to cap class sizes. My daughter’s class has 25 kids and in addition there are parent volunteers in the classroom so the teacher can work with small groups of students. I will be fighting for capping classroom sizes among other things.

  • 128. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Paul–what makes sense makes sense…and then there is CPS where we are through the looking glass.

    “But, I’m surprised that it needs to be in the contract because you’d think that it would already be against school policy for principals to bully their teachers. ”

    Bullying is against just about every workplace directive!

    Yeah well…like i said I would LOVE to name names but someone would sue me.

    I know superman/woman principals who have the respect of parents and teachers and also others who I have seen bullying and surprising behavior.

    I know the LSC evaluates too, but there needs to be some other comprehensive things done. Sometimes what people do when they get fed up with administration is they just drop out and stop volunteering or donating (don;t blame them in some cases i guess…it is hard to push back on that)

    I think it would help greatly if Principals HAD TO be a public school system teacher for at least 3 years prior to being an AP or P.

  • 129. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks Katherine! I plan to keep doing my best in the classroom (yes, I’m a first grade teacher). I had my bookbag packed and ready to go for this past Monday. Since I had a couple more days, I packed more bags so I’m ready to go as soon as the children arrive. I think most teachers are. I spent tons of time reviewing the proposal and my school met today in my backyard to go over it with a fine tooth comb, so I feel we put plenty of thought into our decisions.

  • 130. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    “As a teacher, I would prefer to hold out for capped class sizes. According to our union rep, this is something the board will not budge on. As a parent, I would be outraged if my child was in a system where class sizes were not capped.”

    OK, if there is a hard cap, what do you do with the “extra” kid, or the “extra” 6 kids?

    If it’s a soft cap (ie, you get a full time aide, if over the limit), how do you have a sufficient number of classroom aides available on-call to start on day 10 (or whatever) when you are *sure* that there are going to be 33 kids in the class instead of 28?

    If it a sliding scale (aide at 29, no classes over 36, even with an aide, or whatever) then you get both problems.

    Basically, what’s the proposal, and, if it requires significant added staff, where’s the $$ coming from?

  • 131. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    @CarolA – that’s great you guys all went through it together. So you give your input to the delegate who takes it to the meeting?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 132. Paul  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    @121 CPS Teacher

    I think everybody loves lower class sizes. However, they cost a lot of money. You have to have more teachers, and you have to have more classrooms.

    There’s also a practical problem with enforcing class size caps. While I’d love to know that there will be a maximum of X students in my child’s class, I’d also hate for my child to be that X + 1 student that can’t attend his neighborhood school because of the cap.

    Sidwell Friends and the Lab School can have class size caps because they are private schools that limit enrollment. The only public schools in Chicago that can limit enrollment like that are selective enrollment, magnet, and charter schools.

    To really throw a wrench into the class size discussion, I’ve heard some teachers say that class sizes should vary depending on the number of students with behavior problems. I know it sounds odd, but according to these teachers, the classes with more children that are disruptive need to have smaller class sizes. Classes with few kids causing problems can be larger and taught well by a skilled teacher. I have no idea how that can happen either, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.

  • 133. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I honked at some teachers who were all sitting down crowded over papers.

    My son yelled at me

    “Mommy! Don;t bother them, they are doing their READING”

    hope it goes on the Reading log.

    It didn’t occur to me they were reading the proposal/framework etc
    [i would hate to be responsible for a delay]

  • 134. feeling like a hostage?  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    being a hostage is a very disturbing experience. If any of your kids have had a truly disturbing experience in the past 10 days, maybe you should have done a more thorough job at explaining to them, what the reasons behind the strike are. My kid has not felt like a hostage for a single minute.
    Perhaps it was the parents, who felt being held hostage, having their life inconvenienced? My life was inconvenienced too, but I did not carry that message over onto my kid. Life goes on. They will catch up on the missed material. It won’t affect their future. No drama here.

  • 135. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    BTW, found out today we have a student at our school who has medical issues that sometimes require the administering of anal medicine. We do not have a full time nurse….guess who gets to do that “in case of emergency”. That’s why we need to fight for nurses at every school on a full time basis. AND depending on the amount of medical issues in a school, that school might need 2 full time nurses. Let’s work together to put caps on class size, full time nurses in schools, etc. Let’s not let these issues go by the wayside just because they don’t pertain to us. As parents, you need to fight for MORE than just getting the kids back in school. Thanks to all those that do!

  • 136. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    has any1 heard what the teachers/schools are thinking~some news channels have said some are reporting ~suspend strike, keep negotiating…what is every1 else hearing from their schools?

  • 137. Maureen  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    134 — feel similarly, thanks for sharing.

    Here’s a bit about the corporate-style ed reform movement going on elsewhere. So much upheaval and ill will from strong arm tactics.

  • 138. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    “I know it sounds odd, but according to these teachers, the classes with more children that are disruptive need to have smaller class sizes. Classes with few kids causing problems can be larger and taught well by a skilled teacher.”

    Doesn’t sound odd at all. Didn’t you ever have a seriously disruptive kid in class *ever* when you were in school? Teacher spends 15 minutes dealing directly with disruptions, and that means 30 minutes of lost useful time. Even minor-ish disruptions (not being quiet when it’s time to) really cut into class time. 30 well-behaved kids, who shush, open their books, do their readin, answer teachers questions etc etc, can get 45 minutes of “instruction” out of a 50 minute class. 1 seriously disruptive kid can turn it into a 50 minute lesson on anti-social behavior and nothing else.

    That said, I don’t think that it’s fiar in either direction to have 40 “good” kids in the “wel-behaved” class, while there are 20 kids in the “bad” class, with 15 decent kids stuck with 5 major problems.

    The schools I went to with behavior issue kids tried very hard to keep them apart, but that was admittedly more in the middle school years.

  • 139. AnonMom  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Is the 20th the start of the next pay period for schools?

  • 140. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    CPSO: Our whole staff met, except for three who were out sick. They texted their vote in to our delegate with witnesses to make sure it was on the up and up. We talked about our concerns step by step as we went through the proposal. Then after several hours of discussion, we took a vote (on a post-it, in a sealed envelope). The envelope was opened in front of everyone and the votes were counted. The choice was to remain on strike or return to school. Our delegate will now go to the delegate meeting and vote based on the simple majority vote we took today. That way, we had a very informed and democratic system. I know of teachers in at least 10 different schools and they all took a vote today so their delegate could vote based on the school’s decision and not the personal decision of the delegate.

  • 141. 19th Ward parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    @Maureen – If you are indeed also in the 19th Ward, you should know that most families have to pay TWICE for education — once in property taxes, and then a second time to their Catholic elementary school or high school. Now CPS teachers are asking us to pay extra for a service which most of us, quite frankly, will NEVER use.

    Do you send your kids to the local elementary school or Morgan Park High School? If not, why not? Did you even consider MPHS?

    Related to volunteering, do YOU sweep the street in front of your home? Or plow the street after a snowstorm? I doubt it, because that’s what Streets & San get paid for.

  • 142. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    When Katrina happened we made room for kids in Chicago at all levels including at University level which was hugely expensive.

    But I think the lesson that should have been learned is that schools cannot guess where the next kid boom will be and some parts of town might have a cluster of schools and some ONE. I live in an area of SIX public schools at easy distance at elementary level. Unfair. Friends 1.5 mile south of me have TWO, one of them a 3.

    I think bringing the 3 schools up to level 2 can happen if CPS together with social services really addressing poverty so it does not reduce test-taking ability (many proper Science research studies done on this). If every neighborhood has a 1 or a 2 school, …eventually there would be excellent neighborhood and magnet schools.

    Why can we have the most awesome roads in the midwest…and we have a bunch of schools Not improving even though teachers come and go…it aint the teachers.

    I want some CPS Toll plazas set up. : )

    Call it Tolls for Schools and don;t resurface ANYTHING for 3 years.

    There’s only 2 seasons in Illinois…winter and roadwork.

  • 143. Paul  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    @138 Chris

    Then that’s the class size I want for my kid. Limit the number of disruptive kids in one class, not the total number of kids. Is there still time to get that into the contract? Somebody message a CTU delegate pronto.

  • 144. Gunnery Sgt. Hartman  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I’d love it if all the schools had full-time nurses as well. What will the teachers be willing to give up to make this happen?

  • 145. CPS Teacher  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    @132 “Classes with few kids causing problems can be larger and taught well by a skilled teacher. I have no idea how that can happen either, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.”

    Paul, this is very true. I was just reflecting on how teaching a honors level class of 40 at a SE high school is very different than teaching a support class of the same size at a challenging neighborhood school. I have been in both environments and it is like having two very different jobs. At a high performing school, I have found that very little time is ever used for discipline, behavioral instructions or other non-academic purposes. On the other hand, in a more challenging environment, I have had to spend valuable time clearing the halls of the hundreds of kids who roam, handing out books because we don’t have one for each students, counting books to make sure they are returned, handing out paper and pencils, etc. When you have multiple students who are disrupting what little time you have left, teaching time is at a minimum.

    Some of what I have experienced with the board has left me knowing that millions of dollars are wasted on administrative positions, ridiculous curricula and other fly-by-night ideas created by whatever administrator is in “office.” I also feel that the continuously increasing budget of administration at the Board should be slashed. From what I remember, this year’s budget has increased by millions. IThese are monies that can go to classroom aids.

  • 146. HS Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    @!34 – Parents need a voice and need to be empowered to do what they feel is best for their children. Downplay the situation, as you have, but the reality is that children were used to negotiate a position for adults without consent of parents – much like a hostage situation. Some parents have come on board to say that their kids are not hostages. That’s fine too but where are the options for those who want to be in school? There aren’t any – that is what is being held over our heads. Your attitude is very casual which does not sit well with the parents.

  • 147. AnonCounselor  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Word on the “CTU street” is that most delegates are voting to end strike. Don’t quote me. 😉

  • 148. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    ” full time nurses in schools”

    Will result in a reasonable justification for more closing of more small schools. NOt going to get to a point of affording a nurse for every 400 kids.

    It’s a reason that “more nurses” doesn’t necessarily serve the interests of many union members. Need to keep *that* pressure on CTU Leadership, too, to let them know it’s important to *you* even if it means a shifting in school locations.

  • 149. (back to being) Sad Chicago Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    @134 My daughter cried on Sunday night when she found out she would not be going back to school on Monday. At 7, she’s not really sure why the teachers are allowed to throw a big temper tantrum (lots of yelling and screaming and refusing to work) when she’s not.

    Collective bargaining and strikes are very foreign concepts to most kids. They live in a very hierarchical world where grown-ups tell them there are things that they have to do and they have to do them. The whole notion of being allowed to go on strike is unsettling to their world view. After all, there’s really no chance for them to reduce their homework load by refusing to do homework.

    She may not feel like a hostage, but she definitely feels locked-out.

  • 150. AnonMom  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    @140 CarolA – Hopefully if a lot of schools did it like your school, then the vote results should be determined fairly early. I would assume that delegates will probably meet and vote???

  • 151. a cps mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Just went to the CPS site. From their own site, and has anyone here brought this up, my brain hurts at the number of posts: 87% in poverty and only 9% white- children in CPS. That’s who the teachers are dealing with, and fighting for and getting bashed by everyone- admins, central office and non-involved parents or the opposite in helicopter parents. I would never want their job.

    I hope they make the right decision today and end the strike but keep sitting at the table. CPS needs reforms and who best to lead and make those changes, teachers……

  • 152. NotanyMore  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    105 + 106 — have you seen the new additon at Edgebrook? Overcrowded, no way. Now it is under utilized.

  • 153. Maureen  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    149 —

    Bet she loves and misses her CPS teacher! Show her this video. She might enjoy seeing these teachers and their song. No tantrum. Just free speech.

  • 154. Paul  |  September 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    BANG BANG!! I, Karen Lewis, hereby call this meeting to order. We’ll have a presentation from the socialists, and then the capitalists, the leadership team will take your questions, and then we’ll vote this thing up or down. On a sidenote, I like the deal, but hey, who am I to tell you how to vote. Jesse Sharkey, take it away.

  • 155. Maureen  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Funny, don’t you think? And if she’s old enough, you can get into a few of the substantive issues.

    This is a good read. Uses data from OECD to fact check the claims made by corporate ed reformers.

  • 156. Maureen  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Paul, you just reminded me. Didn’t G.W.’s campaign use the label socialist to tarnish John Kerry, a real war hero?
    It was wrong, but it worked. You doing the same thing here?

    Whatever, it’s irrelevant.

  • 157. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Sad C M
    “They live in a very hierarchical world where grown-ups tell them there are things that they have to do and they have to do them.”

    Yes but that is a very white collar environment, and the USA has corporate america behind the anti-union drive and sentiment so I am not surprised by that. Unlike Europe and rest of the developed world white collar jobs are by and large not organized in the USA especially in the southern states; and only a little bit in the midwest and new england.

    I never did what grown ups told me to do and I turned out okay. I was suspended 6 times in high school but I also finished a PhD by the time I was 26. Sometimes doing what your told to do isn’t the best thing…depends on the circumstances.

    The Strike didn’t bother my son in the least because I am trying to teach him to respect his teachers’ decisions.

    Even if I disagreed with my son’s teachers I wouldn;t pass it on to my son–I don;t want him dissing the teachers in school!

    I don;t want him thrown out of school as much as I was even though my teachers appreciated my Indepedence and free thinking.

    I’m out. Hoping for a positive forward moving resolution this aftn.

  • 158. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Last thing


    “more nurses” doesn’t necessarily serve the interests of many union members.”

    They have been Screaming for more Spec Ed, nurses and case manager for YEARS.

    Teachers’ jobs are made much harder by having to fill in gaps (and they are really not supposed to fill in those gaps or do those jobs!)

  • 159. Patricia  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Logan Dad, I just heard you on WBEZ, caught tail end of your comment, but did not hear the lead in. Also had parent 4 teacher quote. Let’s hope the strike ends today!

  • 160. Chicago Students First  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    You are SO AWESOME for posting our link!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

  • 161. SutherlandParent  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    @126 ncm, you nearly exactly describe the situation we have with the two very large grades in our school. There are no easy solutions to the question of some of these crowded classrooms.

    Ideally, we could create a fourth class in each grade and hire two more teachers, but there’s no space in the building. Hiring extra aides would be wonderful, but we would need six aides for both grades, and I just don’t see that happening with the current budget for nine years per grade, as they work their way from K-8. I have one kid in one of those large classes, and if that kid got assigned to a different school while the other stayed at Sutherland, I’d have a problem with that. I love that my kids can walk to school and that they live near their classmates.

  • 162. OutsideLookingIn  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    @154 Paul – love it!

  • 163. Logan Dad  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm


    Thanks for the heads-up on WBEZ. I was trying hard not to sound crazy. Did I succeed?

    I sure hope we don’t need to rally tomorrow! I’m very anxious about today’s outcome but trying to stay hopeful.

    Can we all just let our children learn?

  • 164. Todd Pytel  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Re: Yesterday’s discussion about half-days – Our faculty brought this up with our reps, who brought us back the answer this morning… 6 half-days of student attendance garner the district more funding from the state than 3 full days of student attendance. I’m not sure where to verify that, but it sounds typical.

  • 165. southie  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Sutherland: Could Kellogg or Clissold take in some of the students from your big grades to relieve the overcrowding?

  • 167. OutsideLookingIn  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    @125 Patricia – Luna Lovegood, twice exceptional/gifted kid

  • 168. feeling like a hostage?  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    @HS mom

    yes, I might feel calmer about the strike then many other parents, down deep. My brother has lived in countries where there is little to no access to education. Kids have to do manual labor all day long, slave, steal or sell their body on the streets. Girls have acid thrown in their faces, if they try to go to school. Many kids don’t even live old enough to be school age. We do talk to our kids about lives of other kids in the other parts of the world, so they would get a reality check.

    We do not live on the west side, where a friend of mine is a teacher and they have had to duck under their desks, because of neighborhood shootings. My kids are lucky.

    I do care, but I do not get hysterical.

    @Sad Chicago mom

    My kids have not seen any tantrum like behavior by teachers. They have seen waving, smiling, music making and marching. No angry, screaming, stomping, crying and out of control teachers.

    And my kids can strike and not do their homework. I just talk to them about the consequences of such choice. It is their shame if they get a bad grade, not mine.

    When they started school, I explained to them, that school is their job. I have a job, daddy has a job and you have a school, your job is to go to school, learn and do your homework. I do not do homework with my kids. Again, it is their job, so it is their responsibility. They sit down and do as much as they can by themselves. If they need help, I do help. But I do not respond to any whining or battle with anyone. I say “this is your job, and your teacher gave YOU the homework” and go about my job, cleaning, cooking, laundry etc.
    When they have a school project, I do not cut the pictures or glue them, so they look pretty. I let them do as much as they can themselves. It is supposed to show their skills, not mine. So far, this has seemed to instill good, independent homework habits.

  • 169. southie  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm “Back to School” is a wonderful show focusing on education on This American Life (radio show).Give it a listen. Whole show 1 hour.

  • 170. SutherlandParent  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    @165–You can always petition to get into another neighborhood school as an out-of-district student. If there is available space, the principal may take you.

    I’ve wondered about that as an option–with big classes at neighborhood schools, what would happen if CPS gave parents preference on attending another, less-crowded school? It could be interesting.

    I don’t think Clissold has a lot of extra space, particularly in the younger grades. Their Montessori program always has a wait list. I think Kellogg is around capacity now, but I’ve heard they take out-of-district students–so many parents in North Beverly send their kids to Christ the King. If my kids went to Kellogg, we would have to drive them–it’s too far, and they would have to cross 95th Street, which is a major road.

    I’m complaining about class size, but I like where we’re at! We love our teachers, and we have fantastic parent and community involvement. Most parents think it’s worth it. Although I talked to one of my kid’s classmates who transferred to St. John Fisher last week. They were worried about the large class size, and the strike was the final straw for them.

  • 171. cps alum  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    @ cpsobsessed– a school with 1 grade per class and 30 students per class will have under 350 students. Solomon elementary is one such school–also one of the best performing neighborhood schools. That building itself isn’t big enough to have more than one grade per class. It would be a shame to see schools like that closed.

  • 172. (back to being) Sad Chicago Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    @168 you sort of made my point. Of course the kids can choose not to do their homework, but that brings with it the certainty of a negative consequence. It does not open up a negotiations with their teacher about having less homework assigned.

    We’ve seen lots of less than friendly teachers in their marches, and its hard to say they’re not angry while they’re bashing the mayor. We’ve also seen teachers asking for “strike discounts” at our local 7-11.

  • 173. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    @cps alum – right…that’s why I clarified, I believe the priority is low enrollment AND underperforming.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 174. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    “87% in poverty”

    That’s not quite right. It’s 87% free or reduced lunch. Poverty threshold is lower than threshold for reduced lunch (and we know some never of the lunch recipients lied).

    So, it’s bad, but not quite that bad.

  • 175. Patricia  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Good tweets from WBEZ on what they hear through the door. Delegate leaving early said “mixed bag”, some for and some against.

  • 176. ncm  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Listening to WBEZ live – WY voted to end, Steinmetz voted to continue.

  • 177. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    @93 At Mayer, our kids had recess under the 5:45 school day, and our teachers usually ate lunch with their classes in the lunchroom and were with them during recess.

    Under the new 7 hour day, during the first week our teachers usually were not with the students at lunch, and recess was supervised by an outside contractor, Right at School, that of course has to be hired.

    CPS recommended that schools with World Languages provide 200 minutes a week in language time. Unfortunately, they didn’t provide more language teachers to do it with. We had two Spanish teachers and 30 homerooms. If you do the math, those two can fully cover 7 :40 min. classes per day. With a third, that would be 21 classes. And if you subtract 21 from 30, you find that there would still be 9 classes without the daily amount. So we would need not one more Spanish teacher, but 2.5 more to have daily Spanish at CPS recommended levels. Even if you just divide the 1575 weekly teacher instructional hours by the 6000 weekly class-hours, you would need 3.8 teachers, without accounting for the realities of scheduling. At best we would have 3, if the extra teacher CPS was providing was a Spanish teacher. What did I learn, CPS administrator can’t divide.

  • 178. cps alum  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    CPS needs to be very careful about closing school that is underutilized but has a strong potential to become more utilized in the future. This is how CPS got into the Lincoln/Lasalle and Edison Park/Edison Gifted mess. The Lasallle and Edison schools were underutilized so they became a magnet/gifted schools. Then the boundaries were redrawn for those kids to go to other nearby schools. But the nearby schools (Lincoln) weren’t designed to accommodate such a large geographic area–hence the current situation. This had to do more with people underutilizing their neighborhood schools do to quality, but demographic changes can also cause this. For example many residential/ single family home neighborhoods go through a cycle of empty nesters to new families. It seems to happen in waves. Just because a school is slightly under enrolled now doesn’t mean it won’t be in 5-10 years and those empty nesters sell to new families.

  • 179. feeling like a hostage?  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    @Sad Chicago Mom

    the mayor and his team had only how many months to work on the teachers contract? He seemed to wait on purpose this long. Divide and conquer is his strategy. Now he has the parents of CPS divided and worked up.
    I would hope the parents have also mentioned the mayor and the BOE to their kids, while explaining the strike.

  • 180. Mayfair Dad  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    @ 174: Do they review these important statistics with teachers who apply for a jobs with CPS? Maybe this can be written into the new contract as part of the job description, “you will be required to teach poor non-white children and expected to do it well. You will be evaluated on this.”

  • 181. Tired parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    At this point I dont care about whose right or wrong, about any organizations that’s on whomever side, whose paying who or whatever, I just want everyone to look inside themselves and do what they know is right and get this thing together so we can get these kids back in school. CPS shut up, CTU shut up. Use that energy to come up with something that you both can agree on and get these kids back in school.

  • 182. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    “During the 2011-12 school year, students in a family of four qualified for free lunch if their family income was less than $29,055; students in a family of four qualify for reduced rate lunch if their family income is below $41,348.” CPS

    That’s pretty poor in this town unless you have parents paying for college buy a car etc.

    Also people on TANF or food stamps are eligible for free lunch.

  • 183. Logan Dad  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Parent Rally – Update – For Tuesday, Sept 18

    CPS Parents –

    Turnout at today’s Merch Mart rally was around twice as many parents and kids as yesterday. I’m estimating 40-50. We used all of the 20 printed signs and a number of handwritten signs as well. Press turnout was very good with reporters from WBEZ, WBBM, Reuters, Sun-Times, Telemundo, NBC and a few other outlets interviewing parents and kids about the strike.

    Cars, busses, trucks and bikes honked in support and we received thumbs-up and encouragement from all but one of the many pedestrians that came by.

    Big thanks to everyone who came by and especially those who brought their children. (It’s just a lot more fun with kids around…)

    PLEASE NOTE: If the strike continues, I will be at the same location, same time tomorrow and everyday that the kids are locked out. I’m hopefull that today is the last rally, but if not, please know that I will be there to peacefully rally for our kids being “Back In School”

    Can’t we just let our children learn?

    Logan Dad

  • 184. SutherlandParent  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Regarding the free and reduced lunches, there was the scandal earlier this year when it turned out some CPS employees, including assistant principals, were cheating the system to get their kids free lunch.

    I’m sure the number who cheat is very small and wouldn’t impact the 87% figure. What I thought was most interesting was that there is no oversight over the free/reduced lunch program, and it seems to be in everyone’s interests to make the percentage of those classified as low-income or living in poverty as high as possible. It leads to more Title I funding.

  • 185. James  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks again, Logan Dad. God willing, there won’t be a need for tomorrow. But if there is, I’ll be there again.

    Teachers — PLEASE go back to work. Enough is enough.

  • 186. Mayfair Dad  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Beyond children being held hostage…

  • 187. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    @90 The point of satire is not to persuade the satired, but to mock the corrupt, moronic and self righteous beasts into misery, shame, and self-loathing and thereby allow the reasoned people to continue unmolested. It’s like parenting, but you get to throw the poo.

    It clearly has not been effective here; it usually is not. After all, it was the success of Berlin’s satirical cabarets that prevented the rise of Hitler.

  • 188. (back to being) Sad Chicago Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    @179 , That’s pretty much irrelevant to the fact that the teachers looked angry in the eyes of a 7 year old.

    It’s not about who we as adults think are right and wrong, it’s about how the news and what the kids see while out and about the city are interpreted by them. I don’t think a kid would interpret anyone saying negative things about anyone else as anything but “angry”.

  • 189. HS Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    James/logan dad et all – it was a wonderful experience. Back to school and back to work, right? Thank you

  • 190. Peterp999  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Logan Dad. Thank you so much for what your have done for our CPS kids.

  • 191. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    @149 My kid is fascinated by the concept of striking. She can’t wait till 3rd grade so she can strike during the ISATs: “That’s a really nice value-added you got last year, teach. Be a shame if anything happened to ruin it.”

  • 192. Family Friend  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I think absolutely everyone coming into CPS understands that they will be teaching poor non-white children. Do they have to be told they are expected to do it well? As I reflect on all of this I think that the battle is over control — who decides how school reform will be accomplished. The union, which has many members who would like to see real change, ends up bargaining over pay and job security because that’s what unions do. It preserves an us-vs-them workplace mentality in schools when collaboration is what’s required.

    Once I was talking to a downstate school superintendent about how my school videotapes teachers, then lets them lead a critique of their own performance, with their colleagues. He was almost drooling at the idea. “We could never do that, because of our union contract,” was all he said.

    I am a lifelong liberal democrat born to New Deal democrats. I believe in unions, but I hate the way the clash between the teachers’ union and the CPS administration has gotten in the way of educating the children. In my dream world, teachers and administrators tear up the contract and start from scratch. Every decision is made on the basis of what works for kids. The available pool of money (nothing hidden) is known at the outset and everything desired by either side is associated with a reliable estimate of what it costs. As in our household budgets, we know we will have to choose. My stock phrase is “we can have anything we want, but we can’t have everything we want.” When teachers trade their raises for smaller class sizes, they know that it will work, and why. When they say they need more money to take home, they will, together with the administration, decide what that takes out of the classroom.

    Beyond that, administrators and teachers are true teams at the school level. They work together to ensure that every teacher is performing at his/her peak of ability. They don’t pretend that everyone is doing the best ever job; they work to see if the ones who are not doing well can improve with the team’s help. And if someone has to go, they handle it with dignity, without making the person feel worthless. Demonstration schools will put the latest research into practice and disseminate successful programs and techniques throughout the city, without constant churning.

    I think it can be done. But I don’t think it can be done in the context of a labor-management struggle for control.

  • 193. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    If anything, they need to reevaluate 19th ward schools, most especially Vanderpoel. The school is in Beverly, but is 100% black and no kids from the local area goes there. So, they are crammed into Kellogg and Sutherland.

  • 194. HSObsessed  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    @186 – OMG, that was going too far. I know they didn’t harm the little girl physically, but still. I’m not even willing to drag my kid to a rally in support of ending the strike (since she’s in favor of continuing it!) and I can’t imagine using her in a mock crucifixion. That’s twisted.

  • 195. Logan Dad  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    CPSO Parents & New Friends

    So, I’m thinking that if the CTU suspends the strike I might FEED THE TROLLS and reveal the “true origin” of me and my signs.

    Perhaps this could be a 3-part mini mini-series.

    Please let me know if I should share these “dark and fascinating secrets” . And yes, I would try to make it entertaining.

    Let’s hope it ends today…

  • 196. junior  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    So, far 13 of 14 schools have reported voting to suspend strike, but they may not be representative of the entire system.

  • 197. SutherlandParent  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    @193, Vanderpoel is a magnet school, not a neighborhood school. I don’t know that “no local” children go there, but neighborhood children are welcome to apply. According to CPS, there are only about 300 seats for K-8, so I assume that it’s only one class per grade. That’s not going to take much pressure off Sutherland or Kellogg, considering the disruption it would cause for the students who are already there.

  • 198. Questioner  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    @193, please elaborate, what about Vanderpoel needs to be reevaluated?

  • 199. OutsideLookingIn  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Logan Dad – please do share…I have some theories of my own about your backers and true agenda. My guess, it has something to do with David Hasselhoff.

  • 200. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    @Sutherland Parent Do you know any families that send their kids to Vanderpoel?

    @Questioner CPS Magnets are supposed to reserve 50% of seats for neighborhood kids, right? But no neighborhood kids go there, causing overcrowding at Kellogg and Sutherland.

  • 201. K. S. Lewis  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    @151 Aslan’s mane! 9% white and 87% poverty!

    Lucky for me, our public school is in a wealthy, segregated neighborhood, so I only have to pretend to care.

    I really feel for the Teach for American fellows, who are having their first teaching experience ruined by CTU.

    @181 If only everyone, CTU, CPS, parents, would just work together, to support what I believe in.

  • 202. James  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    WBEZ is reporting that the unofficial count based on twitter feeds is 24-4 to suspend the strike. Quite a number of schools to go, but maybe, just maybe, CTU is coming to its senses. But they’ve shocked us before, so stay tuned…

  • 203. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    19th ward parent

    the prox lottery is only about 1/3 and the siblings also would take up a fair # of seats in some years.

  • 204. Anon  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    @200 19th ward parent – magnet schools reserve 40% of seats (after accounting for siblings or current students) for neighborhood kids, “neighborhood” really defined as proximity – within 1.5 miles of the school. Vanderpoel is within 1.5 miles of Beverly, yes, but it’s also within 1.5 miles of Auburn-Gresham.

  • 205. junior  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Text msg from #ctu delegate inside meeting: “It is looking like we will go back”.

  • 206. Vandepoel  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Vanderpoel has two 7th & two 8th grade classrooms and I believe Beverly residents CHOOSE not to send (apply) their children to Vanderpoel because of what is stated above. It’s their loss! It’s a wonderful school!!!

  • 207. James  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    It’s over:

  • 208. Vandepoel  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Sorry I forgot to mention there is one of all other grades.

  • 209. cps dad  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    until I get the call from CPS I wont believe it

  • 210. James  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I’m glad this is finally over. I think this horribly misguided strike will leave a lot of damage to repair. It will certainly take time. But at least it can begin tomorrow, as teachers finally return to class to do their jobs.

    It could not possibly have been worth it.

  • 211. SutherlandParent  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    @200, Vanderpoel does accept neighborhood kids within a certain radius of the school. I don’t know any families that go to Vanderpoel, but then, I don’t know every family in the 19th Ward, either. Do you?

    I would be very opposed to the idea of turning Vanderpoel back into a neighborhood school and forcing the current students into different schools. Even if it would benefit my kids, it’s enormously disruptive and unfair to the Vanderpoel students.

  • 212. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Vanderpoel is IN Beverly, no white families send their kids there, all the local CPS families send their kids to super-crowded Sutherland or crammed Kellogg.

    Honest question: How does this school help out Beverly families whose options are to either jam their kids into Sutherland or Kellogg, or pop for parochial school? We have no local public high school option that is viable (Julian and Morgan Park are simply not an option), our elementary schools are packed, so when are WE going to get our money’s worth?

  • 213. Crawley  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    James, damage has been done since Rahm started passing down ill-advised mandates, the ball is in his court to repair damage.

  • 214. junior  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Charlie Brown: “All I got was a rock.”

  • 215. Vanderpoel  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Thanks @211…Vanderpoel is a magnet school and people who want their children to go there can apply. Every area has to have a magnet school so making Vanderpoel a neighborhood is not a good solution.

  • 216. Happy Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Strike is over according to the Sun Times (

    School tomorrow.

  • 217. Logan Dad  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Parent Rally Update – CANCELLED!

    The Strike Is Over!

    The Logan Dad Sign Mini Mini-Series will be posted later tonite.

    Back To School!

    Logan Dad

  • 218. Questioner  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    @212, just curious, do you think Chicago Ag should be neighborhood too?

  • 219. dememom  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Yay!!! Back to School!!!!

  • 220. James  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    @213 Crawley —

    I’m really just glad it’s over and that the teachers have ended their tantrum. They are the ones who walked out and abandoned our kids. It was their choice to do this — and to needlessly extend this for two days this week, I guess just for good measure.

    But, hey, they finally came to their senses and decided to go back to do their jobs. For that, we can be thankful, I suppose.

  • 221. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Questioner YES, because we do not have a high school in Beverly that is a viable option!

  • 222. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Aw man? I gotta pack a lunch? Sigh.
    Nah, this is great news!

    I saw Logan Dad on TV along with all kinds of other protesters. I wish I owned a sign business this week.

  • 223. lawmom  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Hallelujah! Channel 5 is reporting we are going back to school. Did the teachers approve the contract or is this a strike suspension pending further discussion?

  • 224. James  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    @223 lawmom —

    Just to suspend the strike. The full membership now will vote on the contract itself over the next few weeks.

  • 225. kiki h.  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Woohoo!!! So happy!

  • 226. James  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    But they will be in school, teaching, in the meantime!

  • 227. New CPS mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    *sigh of relief*!

  • 228. lawmom  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Great news and thank you LoganDad for organizing a parent protest. Sorry I was unable to join. I think it is very important for parents to not lose momentum and as someone else posted — be involved with their schools, volunteer, show up at LSC meetings, etc. I fully concur with this view. We need to continue to organize to have a voice, especially with CPS and the Mayor.

  • 229. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    @Vandepoel (sic) Yeah, it’s a wonderful school, provided you’re black and don’t live in Beverly.

  • 230. AC IB mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I am just so happy my kids will be back in school tomorrow!!

  • 231. SutherlandParent  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    @19th ward Parent, I just don’t view CPS as something designed to “help” MY kids or my neighbors’ kids. I don’t think the answer is to shut down schools that are doing well. CPS tried that stupid stunt with Keller RGC when Mt. Greenwood and Casel got overcrowded, and it’s terrible for everyone to pit one school against another.

    I’d love another annex on Sutherland to give us more space and a lunchroom and a library (maybe it could have central air conditioning!) but as we’ve discussed before here, there’s no money tree. If it bothered me that much, I’d send my kids to Barnabas or Ridge Academy or MPA.

    And unfortunately, the 19th Ward isn’t alone when it comes to poorly performing high schools.

  • 232. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    @220 “abandoned our kids”?

    How do the kids survive summers, weekends, and breaks, all lost and alone in the frozen tundra, without a standardized test to burn for warmth?

    In total, the kids missed 7 days of school out of a new 180 day, longer-hours school year. So they will still have the equivalent of 37 more days of school on an hourly-basis than last year. Unless those extra hours aren’t so valuable after all.

  • 233. Crawley  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    James, I hope you don’t find yourself in opposition to a CPS/Rahm mandate like some parents have…you might be forced to reevaluate how frivolously you use words like tantrum and needless.

  • 234. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    “unfortunately, the 19th Ward isn’t alone when it comes to poorly performing high schools”

    Which attendance area HS *is* acceptable, in its “nothing special” program? There’s hope for the future (even teh *near* future), but who would assert that their hood has a “good enough” HS that their kids can automatically go to?

  • 235. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    “the kids missed 7 days of school out of a new 180 day, longer-hours school year”

    175, with 6 half-days. They (sort of) whacked the school year in negotiations.

  • 236. Sue  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    So looks like the strike is over. What will we “real cps parents do”? I know, spend the next few month taking about our chances of getting into a selective enrollment school. And bemoaning if we don’t get the golden ticket how we now have to pay for private or move to the burbs… If you think I am filled with disgust, you are right! Meanwhile my B student will continue in his neighborhood school and I will continue to try and make his experiences as wonderful as the “little princes and geniuses ” worthy of selective enrollment.

  • 237. SutherlandParent  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    @234 Chris–Exactly! Unfortunately 😦

  • 238. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Chris – Lincoln Park, Steinmetz, Lane Tech, Lake View… We get NOTHING for high schools here in Beverly.

  • 239. Katy  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    190. Peterp999  |  September 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm
    Logan Dad. Thank you so much for what your have done for our CPS kids.

    Please, oh please remind me what he did on his luch break?

  • 240. none  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I think the teachers have not approved of the “contract” yet, but willing to suspend the strike, as a respect to the parents and “trust” to the CPS. However, if CPS pulls any stunt on the language once it completed, the strike will likely to resume!

  • 241. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Sutherland Parent – Ive got 3 kids. I can’t afford AT LEAST $15K to send them to Barnabas, or $45K to send them to MPA.

  • 242. Lakeview Dad  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Good. Finally. Hope that this adventure doesn’t have lasting damage to parent/teacher trust and collaboration.

  • 243. @235  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    We have to make up the 7 days at the end of the school year…

  • 244. Anon  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    @236 – Bitter much? Sheesh!
    @238 – Lane Tech is selective enrollment, and I don’t see Lakeview as an acceptable neighborhood HS. My fingers are crossed that it will be an option by the time my kids are that age, but I wouldn’t consider it acceptable now. The south side has good SE high schools as well. Sounds like somebody needs to move to Glencoe to be satisfied.

  • 245. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Where is that phoney guy who said he was a Labor Lawyer? Looks like the injunction worked. The CTU blinked.

  • 246. southie  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    “We get NOTHING for high schools here in Beverly.”

    Well, this year the boundaries for the Ag School increased. So, it seems more neighborhood students are attending the Ag School as an alternative to Morgan Park HS, from what parents and kids tell me.

  • 247. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    19th Ward Parent: “Lane Tech”

    What is with the repeated (not here–around town) belief that Lane Tech is an attendance area school?

    LPHS is fine in double honors, and great in IB, but I’d be shocked if you thought the regular neighborhood program was good enough.

    Steinmetz? Really? Don’t know enough, but find that thought surprising.

    Lake View has been 80%+ NON neighborhood kids, which says all one needs to know. Same thing you’re complaining about about Vandepoel (sp).

  • 248. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    @244 No, I want an option for my kids to go to CPS without having to take a “miss one question and YOU fail” type SE test. I’m the one paying for it, So what’s wrong with that?

  • 249. southie  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    “The south side has good SE high schools as well.”

    Really? Which ones would those be?

  • 250. @229  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    How do you know that there are no black beverly residents who send their kids to Vanderpoel. Talk about bitter! Why are you picking on Vanderpoel. You could have applied to school like everyone else does. I have a magnet school over by my house but my children’s name wasn’t pulled in the lottery. I am not bitter that my kids can’t attend a magnet that is in walking distance of my home. That is just how the CPS system works. It’s not a fair system but it’s a system. Why would you want to disrupt a school that does well because you didn’t apply to school in your neighborhood. I just don’t get it….

  • 251. JustanotherCPSparent  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    191 – Christopher Ball – Is that a Minecraft reference? If so…sssss….boom!

  • 252. Sue  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    So my three earlier posts have disappeared. Interesting ( no personal attacks, but a real question about our commitment to improving schools for all kids and a question about the anti union rally. Strange indeed

  • 253. Todd Pytel  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    @240 (none) – The language is done at this point. I think there’s still some kind of revision process for clarification and proofreading before it actually goes out to membership, but at this point nothing can change without consent from both sides. So there are no more opportunities for tricks, at least as far as writing the language is concerned.

    I can’t wait to see my students tomorrow morning!

  • 254. southie  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    “Where is that phoney guy who said he was a Labor Lawyer? Looks like the injunction worked. The CTU blinked.”

    Really? That’s not my analysis at all. It seems that after the rank & file read the tentative agreement, the majority voted to suspend the strike despite the Rahm move.

    Also, I learned some good info from the labor lawyer commenter.

  • 255. Half Days??? No!  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Thanks Logan Dad for trying to do something! Not being snarky.

  • 256. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    @Southie Gwendolyn Brooks is OUR local SE High School! Extra bonus is that you get to thru Roseland to get there, so you can see a real life version of CSI AND a real life war zone!

  • 257. 19thWardParentsOrg  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    #241~19thparent~1/3 Sutherland grads are going to The Ag~more slots for 19th are being added~but it can not be a neighborhood school. There is talk that MPHS will bcome wall 2 wall IB~that may be a viable solution to many in the area.

  • 258. 19thWardParentsOrg  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    #256~many from our area go to Whitney Young & Payton for SEHS

  • 259. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    @ 254 the “Rank and File” had time to read the agreement between friday and sunday afternoon. What chmabed in the two days since to make it go from almost unanimous disapporval to near unanimous approval? We all know what.

    Plus, the only thing you might have “learned” from him were shill talking points from the CTU.

  • 260. Sue  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    At 244! @236 – Bitter much? Sheesh!

    Damn right I am bitter that only SOME kids are worthy of a real quality education but not others. Absolutely! It rubs me raw. If half the passion was put into improving schools that was put into these posts over the last week I believe we could “begin” to move towards a school district that even Helen Keller would approve of. So yes, I am bitter. We like to talk about “real cps” parents on this blog, well. I hate that real cps parents only seem to have a very limited view. March my word, how many posts will now move on to the whole selective enrollment application process, testing, and eventual acceptance and rejection letter??? Take some thim and go back to older threads, you will see what I mean….sheesh!

  • 261. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    243: “We have to make up the 7 days at the end of the school year…”

    Seems like we’ll need to make up 10 days (at least in part), unless I’m miscounting something:

    “old” school year = 180 “full” days, including two conference days = 180 total days of some student attendance.

    “new” schedule = 175 “full” days + 6 “half” days + 2 conference days (w/ no attendance) = 181 days of some attendance + 2 days that had been in the “old” 180 (which is currently at 173 to June 17).

    Note, also, that the agreement calls for 10 “vacation” days + holidays, which sounds an awful lot like 5 days around Christmas & NYD, + spring break. I’d *bet* we’re now going back on January 2 instead of jan 7.

  • 262. SutherlandParent  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    @241 19th ward Parent, I don’t spend ANY money to send my kids to Barnabas or MPA. I just said that was an option. I send them to the neighborhood school, which we’re happy with. Is our school perfect? No. But I don’t believe kicking out Vanderpoel will help enough to justify the disruption it would cause.

    I agree, high school is an enormous concern. But I think just about every parent on this board feels that way about their neighborhood high school. And FWIW, we’re still outside the expanded Ag School boundaries, so there’s no special help there for us.

  • 263. Vanderpoel  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks Sutherland parent!

  • 264. southie  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Jones too.

  • 265. Todd Pytel  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    @259 (Gunnery Sgt Hartman) – “The “Rank and File” had time to read the agreement between Friday and Sunday afternoon.”

    No. Not even close. There was nothing at all for anyone to read on Friday. And on Sunday there was only a summary without binding legal language.

  • 266. southie  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    And ChiArts.

  • 267. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I can tell you that Rahm’s court move had NO bearing on my school’s decision. Believe it or not. In fact, it was even brought up that the bad thing that may come out of this is that people would think we decided to end the strike BECAUSE of Rahm’s threat and that couldn’t be further from the truth! It should be obvious by now that Rahm is NOT a threat to us other than his continued moves to bring more charters into the city.

  • 268. southie  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    “Plus, the only thing you might have “learned” from him were shill talking points from the CTU.”

    Really?! (My new favorite word.)

  • 269. @261  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    I think it may look like a one week break but I think it’s because the teachers only get a one week check eventhough the break is two weeks–but I could be wrong about that. I would need a teacher to confirm. You raise a very interesting point about us making up more time. I forgot about those darn half days! I always hated those and was glad when they took them away. CPS will now have to redo the calendar so we just have to wait and see what it looks like! I’m also curious about all of us going to one track. Do you think it will be track E or R or a hybrid? I heard it was going to be a hybrid with the kids starting the last week in August!

  • 270. @Southie  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    One good southside SE HS is Lindblom but you have to travel through englewood to get there BUT I heard it is worth it 🙂

  • 271. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    I have heard that the new calendar year will not start until next school year since school has already started and schools are currently on different tracks. It would be too hard to change for this school year. I’ve also heard it would most likely be a hybrid.

  • 272. Half Days??? No!  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Parent sentiment changed and ctu members ran home to mama. Waahhhh.

  • 273. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    So KL said it was only like 2% who voted against. That means a decent number of delegates from likely-to-close schools “took on for the team” by voting to approve, rather than holding out for a promise of job security. Gotta hand it to them for that.

    I missed the Minecraft reference above, but my son was very happy when I read it to him.

  • 274. southie  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Ok. Make a blood pact. Each parent attend your local HS’s LSC meetings each month going forward.

  • 275. southie  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    “So KL said it was only like 2% who voted against. That means a decent number of delegates from likely-to-close schools “took on for the team” by voting to approve, rather than holding out for a promise of job security. Gotta hand it to them for that.”

    I betcha this will be the only place we see this “take one for the team” observation. I bet mainstream press will miss (omit) it. Let me know if you see any mention.

  • 276. Teacher  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I don’t think that there will be any lasting damage to the teacher/parent relationship. The parents who have always behaved as if I and I alone was responsible for their child’s failure will remain, the parents who have always acted as if I was the hired help will be the same, and the few, very few, truly wonderful and supportive parents will greet me tomorrow as usual.

  • 277. Anon  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    SE HS on South Side: Lindblom, Brooks, and King. Re: Morgan Park HS, which I take it is the neighborhood hs for Beverly – it gets a “7” on, vs. a 3 for Lake View and a 2 for Steinmetz. I realize scores aren’t everything, but Morgan Park sounds like a much more acceptable school than the other 2.

    And Sue – yes, everybody should have better options for their kids for school. But calling those children (children!) who attend SE schools “little princes and geniuses” seems a little out of line. And no, my child is not at an SE or magnet. I just don’t begrudge kids who landed a spot in a great school.

  • 278. cpsmommy  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    @272 Not true at all. As Todd Pytel pointed out, the delegates did not have anything to respond to until 45 minutes AFTER the Sunday afternoon meeting had begun, and the document they received was very light on detail. That is why the strike continued two more days.

  • 279. Teacher  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    “I agree, high school is an enormous concern. But I think just about every parent on this board feels that way about their neighborhood high school.”

    So where is the parent group that is working to improve these HS? Logan dad? Or, not your kids, not your concern?

  • 280. N Sider  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Edgebrook has been mentioned a few times here. Those parents have been crowing about their nice new addition for the last year, but the joke is going to be on them very soon. CPS built them a big building because they are going to stock the place with out-of-neighborhood underperformers. We’ll see if the crowing continues when reality hits….

  • 281. CpsUnless  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    245 – Um, I know a few labor lawyers, one who used to be a cps teacher and is also a parent of cps kids. Just because you don’t run in those circles doesn’t mean they are not real people or trolls.

  • 282. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    ” Do you think it will be track E or R or a hybrid?”

    It will NOT be track E. That’s pretty clear to me, based on the deletions shown in the 23-page summary.

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see school start before Labor Day, but would be surprised if it is earlier than the Monday before Labor Day.

  • 283. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    ““Where is that phoney guy who said he was a Labor Lawyer? Looks like the injunction worked. The CTU blinked.”

    There was no injunction. Way to insult people.

    the anti-teacher and anti-union bitterness/snark is a little sad on his blog since it shows many people who post on here are a bit out of touch with their CPS teachers. The majority of CPS parents are african American or hispanic or mixed…and eligible for reduced or free meals. I wonder how many posted. I am mixed race but not eligible for reduced meals.

    There is a reason why teachers have a union and 90% voted to strike–it would be nice if you bothered to find out Why–I mean really ask all your kid(s) teachers instead offering your pearls of wisdom first (in case their are afraid to be frank)…and also asked why teachers voted to strike. Listen to what they have to say.

    I hope the new parent group that is supposed to be non-biased is going to seek out parents on the far southwest, southeast and west sides so one sees a full perspective of what parents think.

    I am afraid many who can Afford to will conveniently forget the issues raised once we are all back in school.

  • 284. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    @268 Yes really – because everything he said aout the strike was wrong.

  • 285. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    they are not their are

  • 286. SutherlandParent  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    @279 Teacher–no snark here, I think many parents would be interested in concrete, useful steps to take to improve neighborhood HSs. Suggestions are welcome.

  • 287. Sue  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Anon, you are right about they are children. My tone was in response to the multiple (hundreds) of posts about “cps parents” caring for the 350,000 thousand kids. So if his is true then where is or was the outrage before the strike. Rings false. Just as multiple posts wanted CTU to come out and say they wanted money, I issue the same challenge to these parents: come out and say the strike screwed up your babysitting, etc. what is good for one is good for all. The “parents” protest was no more about 350,000 kids than was the CTU stike just abut AC. bull on both…….

  • 288. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    # 283 the threat of the injunction worked. Look at what Lewis and frineds said on Sunday, about how far apart they still were on issues. For you to assume I don’t know why techers went on strike is absurd, and the fact is the ” Labor Lawyer” was rude and condescending in just about every post, well before I jumped in.

  • 289. 19th Ward parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    1. Whitney Young, Payton, and Northside are all an hour away using Metra and CTA. Additionally, it will cost ~$100 per month in transportation for a student.

    2. Lindblom is in Englewood; Brooks is in Roseland. Those sections of town have AT least one murder every other day, and shootings daily. These areas are NOT safe for children to commute through.

    3. I want a safe high school for students in Beverly that is not infested with Gangster Disciples and Vice Lords, or uneducable kids from the slums. That’s what I’m paying for.

  • 290. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    # 281 not phoney in that they are a “troll”‘ but that they’re not some sort of shill.

  • 291. Teacher  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Katherine….did you not see the quotation marks? In your snark you shamed the wrong person. The quote was from another poster, but it is nice to see what you pais attention to in the thread.

  • 292. Todd Pytel  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    @279 (Teacher) – “So where is the parent group that is working to improve these HS? Logan dad? Or, not your kids, not your concern?”

    I know of parent groups working to improve many of the North and Northwest side neighborhood HS’s. Those often include parents with children years away from attending.

    Also, making unnecessary jabs at parents isn’t going to increase their participation. As this is primarily a parents’ board, please make the effort to be respectful, even when you don’t feel you’re being respected in return.

  • 293. 19th Ward parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    @279 No, not my kids, not my concern. Let their PARENTS take care of THEIR kids, and I will do my DAMNDEST to take care of mine.

  • 294. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    @282 School before Labor Day! That’s not gonna fly.

    It’s unholy. There’s a verse in Deuterodipus where God specifically forbids school before Labor Day.

  • 295. Navigator  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    It may be a bumpy ride these next few weeks. At this point I think we need to call a truce. Let’s use our energy to get our kids prepped and ready for the morning – whether it’s for our kids at home or for our kids in the classroom.

  • 296. My observation  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    So I have learned:

    Parents care about THEIR kids first! Not 400,000 random kids

    Teachers care about THEIR family first (better pay, etc) not 400,000 random families.

    After their kids and family do they care about the rest as much? Who knows.

    Seems about right. No judgment or name calling required.

  • 297. My observation  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    I love you Todd (i think you are very reasonable ) But what about the south and west side? I thought the concern was all kids in cps? Hasn’t that been the criticism. So when do these groups make their way west to Marshall HS?

  • 298. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    @272: Parent sentiment around my school never changed. Parents and teachers alike wanted the children back in school, but each and every day (including yesterday and today) that I was “on the line” we had wagons of water bottles, cartons of coffee, boxes of donuts,(all provided by the parents) and plenty of moms, dads, and children standing with signs in support of us. We even had the alderman stop by with handshakes and water bottles pledging his continued support. So speak for yourself and those around you, but not for the city. Thank you.

  • 299. Teacher  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Really Todd? Spoken like a teacher. Be nice even if they spit on your profession. Lovely

  • 300. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    No snark was meant, apologies if it seemed that way–I was saying there was no injunction.

    The rest of the text was not referring to that quote.

    I am a CPS parent.

  • 301. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    By the way I am absolutely sympathetic to the teachers and the work rules that are being shoved down their throats, and the mumbo jumbo evaulatin process and the bs of charter schools as some sort of panacea.

    I am not sympathetic with them on pay or the benefits that they got to keep, and in some cases expand. Leave your class warfare at the door, please.

  • 302. New CPS mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    @297 – I think Todd is saying that parents on the northside are making an effort to help improve their neighborhood h.s. So likewise parents on the south and west side should do the same. How bout it 19th Ward Parent??

  • 303. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm


    I really don;t think teachers *meant* any class warfare–I mean I looked up every single teacher my son has had the last 3 years and was embarassed how little they made in that SunTimes database if it is indeed correct (and they don;t get social security)–way under this oft-quoted “74” figure–most were in the low 50s in 2010.

  • 304. cubswin  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    What are the new south side IB schools?

  • 305. Paul  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Hallelujah! I just popped the champagne. I think Logan Dad had an impact here. I think he was very courageous and i appreciated his courage in getting out there and making a statement.

    I also want to thank the CTU delegates that voted to end the strike, and to the teachers that sent that message to their delegates. I’m convinced it is the right decision for the kids.

    It is going to be awkward at school tomorrow, but it’s going to be a whole lot better than if the strike kept going for another day or another week. That would have been real ugly.

  • 306. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    @301: What do you mean by the pay and benefits we got to keep? Do you mean the original 2% that CPS originally offered and never changed for years 2 and 3? Yes, we made a HUGE jump (snark intended) to 3% for year 1 to help cover the extra workload with issues that have been covered here over and over again. (no need to repeat) Do you refer to the benefits as in health benefits? They changed. We now must join a wellness program or pay an extra $600 per person per year if we don’t. Please explain your position.

  • 307. Todd Pytel  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    @297 (observation) – “But what about the south and west side?”

    Sorry… I only limited my comment because those are the schools whose teachers, parents, and administrators I talk with most often at network and community events. It’s quite rare that I get to meet with South or West side school folks. I don’t know the situation there so well. I’m sure that our city’s economic segregation makes it harder to build effective parent groups in more troubled neighborhoods, but I’m sure there are some good examples to be found there too.

  • 308. Todd Pytel  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    @299 (Teacher) – “Be nice even if they spit on your profession. Lovely.”

    There are ways to fight without being combative.

  • 309. Reuters88  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    306 — so funny….the wellness program has been a benefit of the private sector for years. You should be thankful you have it. Teachers complaining….so it goes.

  • 310. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Sorry you feel tomorrow will be awkward Paul. Maybe for you, but not for me. I expect to be welcomed with open arms and plenty of smiles just as I have been the last two weeks at the grocery store, on a neighborhood walk, or just sitting on my front steps. Love my parents at my school!

  • 311. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    It’s too bad CarolA the media has bandied about many numbers on pay percent, pay scales and increases that were incorrect or misleading!

    If anyone wants to look up what teachers in your school make look it up (again I do not know how accurate it is and last dated 2010) but I did call some teacher friends and asked them if what was correct about Their salaries (I have no tact but I wanted to see if it was right) and I was told yes, but that was gross inc pension.

    Then I offered to take them out for a beer…since I found out I make more than they do.

  • 312. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    @309: Who said I was complaining? I love the idea! I just was stating that it was a change because @301 said we got to keep the benefits. Don’t assume it was meant as a complaint! Lots of assuming on this thread.

  • 313. mom2  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    For those of you that started visiting this site once the strike started up, I really think you have the parents on this forum pegged wrong. Even the regular posters (parents) that were very much opposed to the strike didn’t say they were against teachers or that they didn’t think things like more social services, smaller class sizes, more art, music and gym teachers or air conditioning were wonderful ideas. In fact they were quite supportive of those things. They just didn’t think striking would give us those things. They thought it would give more pay raises and other things that only benefited teachers. That is also not a criticism. It is just a fact of what a union does for its employees.

    I really resent people coming here and blasting parents that care about their kids and therefore work hard to make sure that their kids are in school, in the best school they can get into, and they work to help make and keep that school wonderful. Instead of criticizing parents like this, you should embrace them and try to find more that are willing to do the same. That is certainly one way to improve other schools – get more parents involved in that school.

    I know this will lead to the repetitive conversation we have about why are schools like Nettlehorst, Burley or Blaine “good”. How did they get “good”? It is pretty obvious to me that it isn’t some trick by CPS to give more to those schools and leave the other poor schools out in the cold. It takes work, parent involvement in their kids education, kids that want to learn and kids that have the resources at home to keep them on track.

    And just to be clear, it is not the fault of the teachers that other schools aren’t doing as well in test scores. They work very hard, probably harder than teachers in the better neighborhoods. No parent here has ever said that teachers are to blame. So please stop blasting parents that care. It makes no sense to me.

  • 314. none  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    @253 – Todd – Thank you for the update. It is good to hear that CPS has no more opportunity to trick. Hopefully tomorrow hearing will vindicate the teachers’ honor (keep my fingers crossed because I have very little faith in the system nowadays).

    Carol – dont mind the anti-sentiments toward teachers on here. I am thankful that teachers took the stand and fought against injustice. Now only if we can do something about class size and other major issues.

  • 315. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    @309 Parents snarking at teachers….so it goes.

  • 316. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    mom2: I think the problem I have with many parents on this thread is that they are very involved and very concerned with their own schools and their own children. Rightfully so. If they truly are involved, there really isn’t much time to help others less fortunate. By the same token, don’t say that less fortunate schools should have more parent involvement to get to where your neighborhood school is…..guess what…that’s the problem….those parents don’t care.

  • 317. Todd Pytel  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    @314 (none) – “Hopefully tomorrow’s hearing will vindicate the teachers’ honor.”

    I’m not a lawyer, but I can’t see why there would still be any kind of hearing tomorrow. You can’t seek an injunction against a strike if the strike is already over.

  • 318. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Re-reading my post it doesn’t express what I want to say, but can’t think of the right words. Hopefully you can get the message somehow.

  • 319. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    @ in other words, youve done better than anyone else who works for the city. you had a great ten year contract that exceeded inflation, and while coty employees had to take up to 24 furlough days and then unpaid holidays, you didn’t. Oh, and most city employees got one COLA in the last five years. Then there’s the change in pension rules for new hires in the city, along with the fact that teachers will still only contribute 2%to their pensions, while most of the city workforce ponies up 9%.

    As for complaining about the health screening, or pay $600 a year, its amazing you’d somehow think thats giving away something. Seriously, are you not interested in containing costs at all?

  • 320. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    #317 absolutely correct.

  • 321. Todd Pytel  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    @313 (mom2) – “It is pretty obvious to me that it isn’t some trick by CPS to give more to those schools and leave the other poor schools out in the cold. It takes work, parent involvement in their kids education, kids that want to learn and kids that have the resources at home to keep them on track.”

    I absolutely agree that parent involvement is critical to getting serious school improvement off the ground. But it’s naive to think that this involvement itself doesn’t influence resource allocation.

  • 322. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    re: salaries:

    *big* pdf, organized by school, so you can see everyone from the part-time bus monitor to the principal, and all the city-wide, network, and head office staff, grouped nicely:

    AGAIN: it’s HUGE, so don’t open on your phone.

  • 323. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Gunny: “you had a great ten year contract”

    It may have been a 10 year run of good cola, but the last contract was only 5 years.

    Gunny: “the fact that teachers will still only contribute 2%to their pensions, while most of the city workforce ponies up 9%”

    It’s only 2% of the lower number. Can’t claim a $71k average (yes, acknowledge its disputed) *and* 2%. Gotta go with $66k (also disputed) and 2%, or $71k and 9%.

    Also, agree with Gunny and Todd that the hearing tomorrow is moot, and the Judge would be within bounds of behavior to scream at CPS’s lawyer if they actually show up and ask for a ruling–should either withdraw motion now, or so up simply to confirm withdrawal.

  • 324. cubswin  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Lindblom is a good school. All black students with all white teachers, which is pretty weird. I can understand all parents being concerned about students commuting to the school.

  • 325. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Gunny: You are not reading every post. I’m NOT NOT NOT complaining about the wellness. I love the idea! YIKES!

  • 326. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:56 pm


  • 327. Chris  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    290: “[Englewood and Roseland] have AT least one murder every other day”

    Englewood and Roseland have had a homicide slightly more often than once every *twenty* (20) days. 3 every two months, not 30 every two months.

    West Englewood, where Lindblom actually is, is about 1 every 15 days, or 4 every two months, not 30.

    Yes, unacceptably bad, for everyone, but not anywhere close to 180/neighborhood/year.

  • 328. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    FBI crime statistics and the police database have good info on crime.

    I hope we never return to the bad old days in the late 80s up til 1992 after Graylord things improved and guns disappeared (comparatively). The crime rate is half what it used to be but recent upswing in shootings is worrying; I suppose the poor economy and relaxation of certain gun ownership aspects are not helping.

    I even had a gun in the 80s and I HATE guns.

  • 329. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    @327 So you woud feel perfectly comfortable sending a 110 pound white freshman girl on CTA to Brooks or Lindblom?

    Englewood and Roseland have a level of shootings and homicides in Baghdad and Afghanistan.

  • 330. CPC4Chicago  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm


    No one here has “spat on your profession”. If there’s any common theme amongst the parents who post here it’s that we have a great deal of respect for those who take up the incredibly important task of educating our children. Because we realize how important this is we’re understandably opinionated and take the fact that our children aren’t in school pretty seriously. Personally, I’d like to offer my thanks to Todd Pytel for engaging this forum with his thoughtful opinions forged through his front line experiences. He was/is able to add to the discussion and offer insight so that we’re not all just “preaching to the choir”.

  • 331. Family Friend  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    So, I just checked the 2012 ISAT scores for Vanderpoel, Sutherland, and Kellogg. The scores at Vanderpoel are higher than either Sutherland or Kellogg. This is not a good school for neighborhood kids because . . . ? Oh, yeah, all the kids are black. Beverly families would rather send their kids to overcrowded schools than send them to school with black children??

  • 332. Jana  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Today is a sad day. I am very disappointed with the outcome of the strike. I am not voting for Ramh for sure. The teachers should have been allowed to strike, and then we should have fired them all. Chicago teachers are one of the highest teachers paid in the country with $76,000 on average per the recent news. This is besides all the other perks they get. Finding their replacement in this prolonged recessionary economy would not be an issue. Like most people, I have no money to pay for these increases. My family has been laid off twice, and we struggle making ends meet. This is outrageous! High pay for graduating kids from high school that can’t fluidly read newspapers, yet are graded with B’s. What are we paying for? Such move is just plain dump.

  • 333. Family Friend  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    @289 “uneducable kids from the slums” – your stripes are showing.

  • 334. Family Friend  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I should have said “spots.”

  • 335. @19th Ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Linbloom has a shuttle bus that safely takes children from various sites to the school. The academic students can take the school bus. AND, I know plenty of parents who just drive their children to school and then there is free tutoring after school by the teachers and the building is open until about 630pm every day so kids just wait for parents to pick them up. No child has ever been hurt in their commutes to and from Lindblom.

  • 336. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    @331 You pegged it. We do not want to send our kids to a school which is majority low-income black, just as YOU likely don’t. Kellogg and sutherland are overcrowded because of Vanderpoel being a magnet school that does not reach out to the Beverly neighborhood, has made ZERO attempts at diversity and therefore is NOT an option for North Beverly or East Beverly HOMEOEWNERS.

  • 337. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    @334 “Ooh, he don’t wanna send his kids to schools with poor performing kids who can’t read at grade level, have high dropout rates and gang affiliations. What a racist!”

  • 338. SutherlandParent  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    @331, Well, um, ok, I guess I’ll go… 🙂 I’d rather send my kids to their neighborhood school, because I’m lazy and the idea of navigating the magnet school system seems complicated.

    I’m generally very happy with education my kids are getting. I’ve never compared the ISAT scores, but I imagine that most neighborhood schools won’t compare favorably to a magnet school that’s nearly one-third the size. And as I’ve said, I’d like the class size to be smaller for one of my kids, but I can live with the numbers.

    And I do like the diversity. According to CPS, the largest demographic at SUTHERLAND was Black. As of that time, this demographic made up 49.7% of the student population. The second greatest demographic was White at 42%.

    But that’s me–I can’t speak for others who are not happy with the neighborhood school option.

  • 339. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    i was one of the few white kids in a school as a youngster and i didn’t know i was different until someone got in my face in the next neighborhood (…of course) and was name-calling me. One of my friends said I was an “albino negro asian” and then I was left alone.
    : )

    All joking aside, with low income comes a particular measure of social problems and home and *especially* lack of supervision. It would be nice to address the low income…wrap around services and increasing in diversity would help so people wouldn;t get so Isolated. I thought we were getting better in the 90s and we are back to segregated again in Chicago.

  • 340. @19th Ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Pverty at Sutherland is 20.9%, Kellog 48.3% & vanderpoel 60.3%. 60.35 is low for poverty for a CPS school. I don’t consider it to be too low income & if you ever bothered to visit you would see that the children are very well behaved, dress well and are smart and articulate. You need to stop posting because you seem like a very bitter person and you are coming across as a very racist and snobby individual!

  • 341. Portage Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    @332 Jana – The teachers are not the villains here. What you propose regarding firing all the teachers would get very little support. You are entitled to your opinion of course. You’re right this economy has been rough on many families. Teaching in an urban environment will not make any teacher rich especially the ones who teach in some of the toughest neighborhoods with very little resources. There are so many dedicated teachers that have posted on this thread like CarolA and Todd Pytel who make a difference in the lives of their students. Teachers are not just teachers but many times perform the duties of a social worker or nurse and often times provide kids in their class the support usually given by a parent.

    We owe much to our wonderful teachers.

  • 342. CarolA  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Thank you Portage Mom. I think we’ve all had our ups and downs with this strike and it’s time to take what we’ve learned (good and bad) and do something with it. The sad thing would be for all of us to go back to our usual day to day activities. Let’s all get a good night’s sleep, see how tomorrow goes, and think about how we can stay on target for little changes to a big system.

  • 343. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    @340 Kellogg has higher percentage of low income because kids who would have ordinarily gone to Vanderpoel are districted into Kellogg. If Kellogg would have fewer low-income students, more Beverly residents would send their kids there. Home values in the Kellogg district would also be higher, as is what happens with the Bell and Sutherland school districts. So, yeah, Vanderpoel does NOTHING for us.

    Only in CPS land would 60 percent mean “low”.

  • 344. Portage Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    @342 I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for all of your posts over the summer. I read every post over the course of the thread. There are parents at my school who would like to do more to help change the culture of CPS so the change benefits all schools. Enjoy your day at school tomorrow. I wish you all the best.

  • 345. Teacher  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    @313. Angie said teachers were bad MANY times!! She wasn’t the only one.

  • 346. Teacher  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    @ 330. CPC4Chicago  
    “no one spat on your profession”.

    Have you read junior and Angie’ s posts??? Seriously, just to name two.

  • 347. mom2  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    CarolA – ” By the same token, don’t say that less fortunate schools should have more parent involvement to get to where your neighborhood school is…..guess what…that’s the problem….those parents don’t care.” – I think we agree even though it sounds like we don’t. I am saying that if those schools had parents that cared and got involved, it would make a huge difference. I realize that the issue is that many of these schools only have a few (if even that many) parents that care at all.
    I just get frustrated when people attack the parents that care and attack the schools that have found a way to do well. It makes no sense to me. We are not the enemy.

    Thank you so much to you and Todd for all your thoughtful contributions to this and other discussions. I really appreciate them.

    Thank you also to Mayfair Dad and Junior for your short and witty answers to many pressing questions. It is amazing how you can summarize things.

    Thank you to Angie and Patricia and Paul and Chris for standing up for another perspective (one that I often agreed with) even though you got snarky replies often.

    Thank you to Logan Dad for fighting for the kids and putting yourself out there. I wish I could have joined you.

    Finally, thank you to CPSobsessed for keeping this forum going. I have learned so much and hope to continue obsessing here over many things to come (and yes, some of it will be about SEHS vs. working to help Lakeview HS (and many other neighborhood high schools) be the perfect place to send our precious and college bound children to learn, grow, be safe and happy.)

  • 348. Sad day  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    331. Family Friend  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    “So, I just checked the 2012 ISAT scores for Vanderpoel, Sutherland, and Kellogg. The scores at Vanderpoel are higher than either Sutherland or Kellogg. This is not a good school for neighborhood kids because . . . ? Oh, yeah, all the kids are black. Beverly families would rather send their kids to overcrowded schools than send them to school with black children??”

    Let me answer…..YES they would.

  • 349. 19thWardParentsOrg  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    #343~19thparent~Many ppl are either on the LSC or working w/it and the principal at MPHS. If you want to make that school viable for your kids~stop complaining and call the principal to see how you can make a difference. The school is under renovation~it is moving forward~be a part of the movement.

  • 350. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    #348~Sad day~I don’t think you live in beverly if you answered ‘yes’. EVERY school has black children~it’s an integrated community and we all get a long.

  • 351. Sad day  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Mom2, I don’t believe that anyone ever blamed a parent for standing up for their child. The Bulls@*% radar came out when said parents claimed to have all kids best interest at heart. This is what got teachers riled up. If we are being honest most parents are not working to improve CPS as a whole but rather their school and potential school. I love this but I call bull when same parents get on their high horse and proclaim that they are working ” for the kids”. If you are working for true reform then it is not just on the north side or just on the south side it is all of cps.
    So: parents keep putting your time and effort into your neighborhood school and hopefully you at some point will find time to given an ounce of time to making all of cps great.

  • 352. Sad day  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Ha, I use to live on Longwood. Tell that to my brothers who were chased home several times because they were little black boys. I know Beverly.

  • 353. @sad day  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Yes it truly is a sad day that people actually think like you do! I wouldn’t even want my children to go to school with yours. If yiou are spweing this vitriol on the blog then i know you are raising your kids that way. I won’t particpate in this conversation anymore because it is not constructive and I’m not going waste my time talking to a couple of bigots! Good Night!

  • 354. SutherlandParent  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    So speaking of not being able to win…Sutherland and Kellogg are neighborhood schools. On this board, it seems like people get criticized for sending their kids to the SE and magnet schools instead of neighborhood schools, unless they are being criticized for sending their kids to neighborhood schools instead of magnet schools.

    Night, all–I’m going to bed so I can get my kids to school in the morning!!

  • 355. HS Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    @252 – what “anti-union rally” – there were 2 parent “back to school” rally’s going on downtown. Back to school means exactly that – not anti anything. I guess we could have called it an “anti video game” rally and anger the people at X Box

    Water under the bridge – We’re in!!!! Thanks to all persistent parents for keeping on task. Thanks to teachers for seeing this through.

  • 356. Sad day  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    @353. Bigot? Are you even comprehending my posts? Maybe you better read again.

  • 357. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    @349 MPHS has not had a principal for ~2 years. It is 3 percent white, 67% low income and has serious gang problems. It is below 40% on all PSAE scores. It is not anywhere close to being a viable option for Beverly residents.

  • 358. Hyde Park Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Does anyone know if the CPS website has or will publish a new calendar since now we have half days ?

  • 359. junior  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    @346 Teacher

    Please point out where I spat on anyone’s profession.

  • 360. 19th ward Parent  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    @Sad day yeah, there’s a park called Beverly Park, where a couple of big black boys beat up a little white boy named Ryan Rusch. He was in a coma. Nice bunch of kids, right?

  • 361. Teacher  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    It is late junior and I have a class to prepare for tomorrow. If you don’t get it, nothing I do to point out the numerous comments you made about my profession will change how you view your comments from the beginning of the strike and throughout the strike thread.

    Have a good night

  • 362. @sad day  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Sorry sad day! I think 19th Ward parent is soooo upsetting that I read too fast and couldn’t see you were on my side. I came back on to make sure that other bloggers knew that my comments are directed at 19th ward troll and not the rest of you who obviously just want ALL children to get a qualityeducation and enjoy blogging with other parents who care about their childrens’ education! For real I’m with Sutherland Mom time to make the lunches and iron to get the kids ready for school! Yippee!!!!!

  • 363. Katy  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    So it seems that everyone in Beverlydont get along??

  • 364. Old timer  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    @19th Ward.
    Are you seriously going to compare racial incidents in Beverly, mount greenwood, etc. You know you will lose. Let’s not even go there. This is not the place nor the blog!

    CPSOBSESSED can you remind posters to stick to the thread?

  • 365. HS Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    @292 – Thanks Todd for the recognition! Senn is becoming a one of a kind model for a neighborhood HS, Thanks to you, your colleges and caring parents.

  • 366. junior  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    @361 Teacher

    I see. Disagreeing with a union’s strike action = spitting on a profession. OK, w/ever. Have a good day back at class.

  • 367. Old timer  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    “There is something deeply hypocritical in a society that holds an inner-city child only eight years old “accountable” for her performance on a high-stakes standardized exam but does not hold the high officials of our government accountable for robbing her of what they gave their own kids six or seven years before.”

    Jonathan Kozol….might I suggest reading one of his books for the next book club CPSOBSESSED ?

  • 368. Old timer  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    @ junior…… What a great way to belabor your point. It is easy to be sensitive when it is your profession. It shows passion (right or wrong) Let teacher have her say. A wise man would understand and move on.

  • 369. HS Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Sorry – Junior took great care in his posts to capture the emotion, humor and facts of the issues with the rare misstep that comes with hitting the “send” button in the heat of the moment. Teacher needs to consider that this was/is a debate of the issues and nothing more.

  • 370. Old timer  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm

         “Let’s concede that we have decided to let our children grow up in two separate nations, and lead two separate kinds of lives. If, on the other hand, we have the courage to rise to this challenge to name what’s happening within our inner-city schools, then we also need the courage to be activist and go out and fight like hell to change it.”

    I have been rediscovering Jonathan kozol and found the quote that I vaguely remembered in the back of my mind. I googled and found it, see above. So, no I don’t accept that some parents are ok to work in their communities for better neighborhood schools but just don’t have time for others.

  • 371. Old timer  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Okay, my last kozol quote for tonight :

         “There’s a reason why politicians and the pedagogic establishment keep churning out these lists of new ‘how to fix it’ plans. It’s because they don’t dare speak about the central point. It is not that we don’t know what works in public education…. All we have to do is go out and visit Glencoe, Ill., Scarsdale, N.Y., or any of the wealthiest districts in California and we find out right away.”

  • 372. Portage Mom  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    This blog has been helpful to so many parents confused about CPS. There was a time when I suggested to cpsobsessed that I wouldn’t mind seeing ads on the blog given how much work she puts into this blog. There were other parents who echoed my sentiments. She apparently doesn’t want to make any money off her blog. I will float another idea regarding placement of ads. Whatever money earned on ads on this blog could be donated to schools in low income neighborhoods within CPS.

  • 373. SR  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    In addition to being a great resource, this blog has also inspired me (any maybe others) to get more involved in school issues. BuenaParkMom, another sometimes poster, and I started a group to support our neighborhood schools (Friends of the 46th Ward Schools; serving primarily low-income minority students) this year, and this blog definitely influenced me to get to the point that I wanted to do something. I am more of a listener than a talker here, but I wanted to add my thanks to cpsobsessed and the community as a whole.

    @Old Timer – I just reserved Fire in the Ashes at the library – is there a better Kozol book to start with?

  • 374. EdgewaterMom  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    I haven’t had time to catch up on all of tonight’s posts, but I just want to say that I am so HAPPY that the CTU suspended the strike. I really hope that we can move forward now and that parents and teachers continue to work together.

    Thanks to all of the thoughtful teachers and parents who posted here during all of this. As far as all of the posts that were extremely negative and inflammatory, I have to say that for the most part I quickly skipped over those and tried not to waste too much time on them because they did not contribute to the discussion or debate.

    Thanks to CPS Obsessed for providing this forum. There have been many interesting ideas posted here, and I propose a new post tomorrow, soliciting ideas on how we can continue to improve things for all CPS schools. Hopefully the bickering can end with this thread and we can get back to interesting discussions where we all have a chance to learn something.

    I really hope that teachers do not feel disrespected by the parents who expressed frustration with the CTU. Many of us really appreciate all of the hard work that you do every day, but still disagree with CTU leadership.

    I hope that everybody has a great day in school tomorrow!

  • 375. Katherine  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    nice idea Portage mom.

    ‘Old timer’, Kozol’s books I read as a student (the books he had up til that point) and they were very understanding of the inner city environment.

    It isn;t right that the person’s place of birth or address should determine the quality of education and it does clearly.

    We moved 6 times from riots, school closing etc. when I was a kid–and that was a long time ago. It isn’t much different now.

    We just keep rearranging poor people…making them move for school or travel to a different one when we don’t give the support lower income family schools need, then close schools.

  • 376. Old timer  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    SR, all of Kozol’s books are good but Savage inequalities in my opinion is the best. It looks at Chicago schools as well. The book is older, but the sad/scary things is that not much has changed.

  • 377. Old timer  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    I tried to stay out of the fray until tonight, but I have read and re read many posts. Even the comments about why AC was important strikes at what’s good for my kid but your kid can do without. savage Inequalities actually specifically mentions the kids “sweltering” in a hot steamy classroom then being excepted to do as well as the kid in the AC room. It is trivialized as a method of lessening a real concern. … Anyway, I don’t want to go back into the whole AC dispute but it makes a difference.

  • 378. Old timer  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Oops….. Expected

  • 379. SR  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Thanks, Old timer – I just reserved Savage Inequalities too.

  • 380. Maureen  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Logan Dad did you post these pics of your rally?

  • 381. Maureen  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Ads from DFER and Stand for Children on this site would send a clear message in support of charters, vouchers, merit pay, online learning, and larger class sizes.

  • 382. junior  |  September 19, 2012 at 12:01 am

    @69 Mary said:

    @ Junior
    ” Teachers themselves seemed to defend the practice of “making teachers’ lives miserable” to get rid of bad teachers, as a justification for the current tenure system.”

    Please show me where this statement came from? Which teachers commented and defended this practice? Call me skeptical


    Ms. Skeptical Mary,

    Here’s a old quote from NBCT Vet that I dug up:

    “That figure you cite – 0.1% of teachers pushed out for poor performance – reflects only with the termination of a teacher resulting from a formal procedure called the E-3 process in CPS.
    Many, many, many more teachers are removed without the need for that formal E-3 process.
    For instance, teachers in their first three years may be dismissed in CPS without any reason at all and without any due process.
    Principals also find other ways to get rid of poor teachers. Some principals make life miserable enough that the teacher leaves. Some principals tell the teacher that an E-3 process awaits them next year, so the teacher doesn’t come back. Some principals actually help poor teachers improve. Some principals redefine positions so that a targeted teacher is no longer qualified for the job. Some principals let the weakest teachers go without regard to seniority in a reduction in force. (Seniority is no longer the deciding factor.) CPS closes entire schools and terminates teachers en masse (i.e. turnaround) because they think all the teachers in the building are terrible.”

    …and in a subsequent post he states:

    “I think the figure you cite more clearly demonstrates the reluctance of many principals to permanently end a teacher’s career when there are other less extreme but still effective options on the table.”


    Good night, all. School tomorrow.

  • 383. Maureen  |  September 19, 2012 at 12:17 am

    19th ward parent

    Maybe your purpose on this blog — and your choice of nicknames — is to make the neighborhood look bad, because the 19th Ward Parents Group supported the teachers and the CTU?

    B/c no one else on the blog has been going on a tear like you have.

    And it’s not true that homes near Kellogg have lower valuations than those near Sutherland and Clissold — not at all true.

    Kellogg is in a great part of the neighborhood. Which you should know, if you ever did live here.

  • 384. none  |  September 19, 2012 at 6:12 am

    @317 – Todd – “I’m not a lawyer, but I can’t see why there would still be any kind of hearing tomorrow. You can’t seek an injunction against a strike if the strike is already over.”

    – What you said made sense, however, I still think the judge owes the teacher and the public the truth. If he doesn’t speak up of the injustice, who will? Anyway, have a wonderful day. Your students are lucky to have you.

  • 385. Portage Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 6:25 am

    @374 Edgewatermom – I agree with you. I would like to keep discussion going on what can be done to improve CPS. I also hope teachers will continue to post on this blog. Their views changed my mind and I strongly feel they have changed the opinions of others who may not post but read this blog with great interest.

    #375 Katherine – The answer is very simple on how to make school funding equitable. Funding should be based on income taxes with schools all receiving the same funding based on number of students with additional money added for students with learning disabilities. I’ve been reading so many articles, I’m not even sure where I saw this but he had a great point. Warren Buffett had an idea on how to quickly improve Washington D.C. schools. His idea was to make public schools the ONLY option for all residents, rich and poor. He has a point.

    @HS Mom – Did you ever get your question answered about TIFs? If there are other parents interested, perhaps we could get Ben Jarovsky (I may be spelling his name incorrectly), a journalist with the Chicago Reader who has written quite a bit about TIFs to talk to interested parents. What I read about TIFs was certainly eye opening. I think every property owner in the city should know how TIFs work. Here is what I know:

    TIF – Tax Increment Financing was introduced by Mayor Daley. The original purpose was to provide incentives to developers for going into blighted areas. The incentives were needed otherwise these areas would never receive any investment. This makes a lot of sense.

    TIF money comes from property tax payments. Essentially any increases in a tax district would be placed in a TIF fund for a period of 23 years. Mayor Daley pushed to renew a TIF in a tax district which he received approval so the 23 years has been extended for another 23 years. The articles I read, stated about 500 million each year is placed in the TIF fund. There is no oversight of TIF money. TIF money is not in any published budget. TIFs have funded some of the new magnet schools that have been established over the last few years. I also read, the funds were used for rehab of Loyola’s campus. I know some of the locations of the new schools and in no way can they be considered blighted. TIFs have become the mayor’s personal slush fund since no one outside the mayor’s office really knows how much is in the fund and where all the money is allocated.

    I noticed the aldermen were very quiet during the strike and the few who did speak about the teacher’s strike were siding with the mayor. Well I believe the reason is they don’t want to incur the mayor’s wrath and lose any TIF money for their pet projects.

  • 386. none  |  September 19, 2012 at 6:42 am

    @385 – Portage Mom – Thank you for the info on TIF. I have been hearing about Penny Pritzker’s allocation of TIF, do you have any infos about this too?

  • 387. Portage Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:17 am

    @386 – None Penny Pritzker received 5.2 million in TIF funds. I believe during the teacher’s strike, some had signs that said, “Silly Rich Guy TIFs Are For Kids” I can understand given a large chunk of our taxes funds schools and when a tax district is frozen, those dollars needed for education are diverted away from the group who need that money the most, our children. A group of teachers have demanded Penny Pritzker step down from the Board of Education since she said there was no money for teachers and yet she gets a nice chunk of money from the TIF money. This is money that should be going to our schools and not to the Hyatt Hotel Chain which the Pritzker family owns.

    Our mayor said one of the big changes he is making is to provide transparency to the taxpayers of Chicago. This has been sorely lacking with TIFs. The Chicago Reader filed a Freedom of Information request regarding TIFs. The request was postponed once and eventually refused under the Daley administration.

    We keep hearing how bad CPS budget woes are and deep cuts will need to be made. Does it not make sense to use the TIF money that was diverted from education anyway to fix some of these problems? Don’t we, the taxpayer need to have some say on how TIF money is spent through our elected representatives? The whole subject of TIFs is highly undemocratic IMO.

  • 388. LR  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Hey CPSO, I know this goes back a ways, but I also have a bit of inside info on enrollment. Some of the schools that my friend has worked on have had roughly 80 kids enrolled. And yes, they have to hire a principal, teachers, maintenance people, and pay utilities to keep these schools running. He says that some of these schools have a majority of empty classrooms just filled with old books and junk that teachers have left behind…like a scene out of hoarders. Pretty depressing. However, one school in particular that he has been to that is in a pretty rough neighborhood, is under-enrolled and has a good principal and good test scores. So, CPS needs to play their cards carefully because even though the school is under-enrolled, it should probably remain open and receive students from other areas.

  • 389. Paul  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:39 am

    FYI: CTU just posted the latest summary of the tentative agreement.

  • 390. cubswin  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:44 am

    “Penny Pritzker received 5.2 million in TIF funds.”

    A developer received TIF funds to build a small hotel for a Hyatt franchisee on the south side. I have no idea if encouraging that construction project was a good decision of Chicagoans, but lets not make up what really happened to suit the CTU narrative about how school reformers are out to screw the “little guy”.

    Most people want managed urban redevelopment. What’s an effective financial mechanism to encourage projects? Or should we just let the free market function untouched?

  • 391. 19th Ward parent  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:47 am

    @Maureen I want to know how this strike improves the schools here in the 19th Ward — ultimately you and I are going to be the ones paying MORE in property taxes, so what do WE get in return? Do *YOU* have kids in Sutherland or Kellogg or Clissold? Or do *YOU* have kids at MPHS?

  • 392. JT  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:09 am

    @176 A little off-topic as I read through all these posts: Interesting that WY and Steinmetz were on opposite sides (as the two key players in the famous Steinmetz cheating scandal).

    Happy as can be that my CPS student is back in action today!

    A couple other thoughts:

    While I haven’t been onboard with a lot of what CTU has done here, I’ve tried to remain impartial since I also think our Mayor’s actions (over a long course of time) were extraordinarily antagonistic. There was fault on both sides. What I give the CTU delegates a TON of credit for is their maturity in not factoring the injunction into their vote (seemingly to an outsider, anyway). I was very concerned that the injunction would backfire and actually lengthen the strike.

    The most fascinating thing now is the aftermath. It will take years to play out, but it will be interesting to see whether this historic strike will ultimately strengthen or weaken CTU and other teachers’ unions. I have my own opinions and reasons I hold them, but I will be fascinated to see others’ thoughts and to watch this play out.

  • 393. HS Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:11 am

    @377 – not to go back over the debate on A/C, but since you find this such a sticking point I would like to point out a few things. One of the ongoing aspects mentioned about A/C is that it is lacking in many schools, no matter where they are located. Lincoln Park HS, Lane Tech, a host of other schools do not have A/C. There are both older and newer buildings with and without A/C throughout the city of Chicago. This is not a case of “what’s good for my kid but your kid can do without”. Why is it necessary to portray parents on this board as 1% elites?

  • 394. Katherine  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I have a hard time digesting how building a hotel is in the best interest of kids. And the conflict of interest with Pritzger but that’s part of the problem is that TIF seems to have suspended rules compared to the other tighter regulation on public money.

    TIFs need to really have a parental and community activist spotlight.

  • 395. Mayfair Dad  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:31 am

    @ 385: Since the passing of the “Sunshine Act” TIF information is available on your alderman’s website. It may not provide the level of detail that you desire, but its there. Ask your alderman what they are doing with unallocated TIF surplus funds and can this be used for improvements to schools in the ward. Ask for their explanation in writing. Some aldermen have been very successful plowing TIF money back into school buildings in their ward (i.e. Pat O’Connor and Northside College Prep).

  • 396. HS Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:34 am

    @385 – Portage Mom – Thank you for remembering my question. This is good information and adds to my understanding of how TIFs work. So, TIF’s are basically like an investment account. Questions that arise, what kind of money is really in the account ($500 million sounds like a lot but when some of these projects cost billions??). Also, I’m assuming that “richer” wards would have more money than poor wards so how does money get to poor neighborhoods? What exactly can these funds be used for, structures or building improvements only? Yes, sounds complex. Also sounds like the TIF system may require an overhaul to properly fund the city’s needs and may not have been structured to account for a real estate bust.

  • 397. cpsobsessed  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:35 am

    @I think to MFD’s point, these things need to most often be asked for (begged, prodded, pleaded for) with a group of parents. Someone once told me about cps that resources go to whoever screams the loudest and it’s proven to be pretty true.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 398. cpsobsessed  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:39 am

    @LR – sounds like a good reality show: school hoarders.
    I was thinking the same – for some of these “good” under-enrolled schools, why not get some other kids in there somehow?
    I know bussing is expensive, like at my son’s school that has probably 5 busses serving it, but if one bus picked up kids at one nearby school and took them to the under-enrolled school…..seems like it could work.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 399. 8th grade mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:44 am

    @396: My basic understanding of TIFs: Not every area has a TIF. There are specially designated TIF zones that are supposed to be areas that need redevelopment. (So, in theory, Lincoln Park probably shouldn’t have a TIF zone. They may…who knows.) The original purpose was not for schools, but to create a fund to subsidizing local development that would bring in businesses and jobs to the area.

    That’s the theory anyways. How they end up working in practice is a whole other story. A lot of it is under the control of the alderman, so it varies widely.

  • 400. cpsobsessed  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:51 am

    So logan dad will reveal today that he was backed by a giant private corporation, “Universal Signs Incorporated” which is owned by one of the billionaire reformers?

    Someone told me about a sign they saw this week with the hulk on it that said “mayor make hulk mad. Hulk smash mayor!”

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 401. Pvt. Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:57 am

    @HSmom and others. If you are interested in getting up to speed on TIFs, I would highly (highly!) recommend going to The Reader’s TIF Archive and reading articles by Ben Joravsky. If you still don’t understand, give him a call. He’ll probably be willing to explain it to you in exchange for a latte and a banana nut muffin. Well, actually, I don’t know that for sure but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened. Dude knows his stuff and seems to be on a mission for Chicago voters to understand TIFs. If you have a school group, consider inviting him to speak. Truly, more voters need to understand part of the reason why neighborhood schools don’t have the funds they need.

  • 402. HS Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:02 am

    @380 lots of people taking pictures, lots of press at the rally. It was very exciting. There was a good sized group. Mostly parents on their lunch hour who just wanted to be heard. I did strike up conversation with someone who turned out to be involved with Chicago Students First who was very nice. There was no talk about any of the strike issues just a bunch of parents who wanted their kids in school.

  • 403. HS Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:04 am

    @401 – thanks, I will look into that.

  • 404. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

    oldtimer, quoting Kozol (i think): “holds an inner-city child only eight years old “accountable” for her performance on a high-stakes standardized exam ”

    Will someone please explain how the 8-yo in that scenario is held accountable? What’s the repercussion for the kid if she does poorly on the exam?

  • 405. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:10 am

    none (384): “What you said made sense, however, I still think the judge owes the teacher and the public the truth.”

    Dangerous thing (for the judge) giving advisory opinions at the trial court level.

  • 406. IB obsessed  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I wonder if any schools in the 49th Ward that have a lower profile than Northside College prep, and don’t have vocal parents, received TIF money?Since O’Connor is my Alderman I’m going to check that out. Lots of low income, low performing schools in the ward without cache could use some TIF money.

  • 407. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:19 am

    “Does it not make sense to use the TIF money that was diverted from education anyway to fix some of these problems?”

    I strongly suspect that Rahm has a plan related to this. Inevitably, it won’t make everyone happy, but it’s the only pot of money around that he controls to use for the CPS deficit next year and years after.

  • 408. jillwohl  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Busy at work and sorry to say I haven’t been keeping up with 1800+ comments on this board (which I will say has the most robust and nuanced discussion of education policy happening anywhere in the city), but I wanted to address some comments made on the previous thread, pasted below.

    @Paul, I saw that you’ve seen our press statement for today. Please know that Raise Your Hand is not aligned per se with any particular group or individual. The quote from HuffPo is from a Nettelhorst parent who blogs and contributed that label.

    @parent The CTU does not fund RYH. Our only funding comes from individual donors, like yourself 😉

    @CPS Parent Nor are we “virulently anti-charter.” We are virulently against a double-standard that fails to measure traditional neighborhood schools and charter schools by the same yard stick.

    Sometimes as a group, the interests of Raise Your Hand will align with the CTU and/or CPS. Heck, it’s stand to reason that someday we might even find some common ground with astroturf groups from other states like Democrats for Education Reform / Education Reform Now or Stand for Children. I sure would sure love to see those groups using their lobbying power and warchests with millions of dollars for good.

    Raise Your Hand formed in spring 2010 to battle the state budget cuts to education. We worked closely with CPS and helped get 150,000 emails to legislators in 4 weeks and successfully helped restore almost $1B in education funding statewide.

    We’ve tackled many other issues since — recess, elected school board, the shape of the school day, for example. We do this with an almost entirely volunteer crew on a shoestring budget. Each time we commit to a new issue, we do a deep dive into each, because education policy is not simple, and it’s never one-size-fits-all. We talk to diverse subject matter experts and parents and guardians at schools from across the city, with particular attention to communities that are underserved and represent socioeconomic, ethnic and linguistic diversity. I don’t think we expect everyone to agree, or to even be satisfied.

    Thanks, just wanted to clarify, Jill

    966. CPS Parent | September 15, 2012 at 10:53 am
    935. In search of a parent group – I think all the parent groups in Chicago have agendas. Generally speaking there are the pro-charter school groups and the anti charter school groups. Stand for Children is one of the most “pro” and is less of a parents led group and is well funded by charter school proponents. A genuinely “grassroots” group is Raise Your Hand (RYH) which is virulently anti charter and seems closely associated with the CTU and its members.
    You pick your battle and choose a group.

    1180. Paul | September 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm
    I think the Raise Your Hand Coalition can serve as the group where CPS parents and teachers build support for additional public education funding. That’s how they began, i believe. But, they can’t serve as the group that puts parents and children’s interests above teachers when necessary. They’re aligned with CTU, unfortunately, and haven’t recognized when teachers are pursuing their own interests over the interests of families.

    1380. parent | September 16, 2012 at 9:28 pm
    @1365 – quote from Huffington Post “Wendy Katten, the voice of Chicago’s Raise Your Hand Coalition, is a steadfast Lewis supporter, but worries that the CTU leadership may have oversold. Many parents have come to believe that a strike could address everything from “class size, increasing positions for arts, seeking fair compensation that doesn’t include merit pay, ensuring teacher recall, to staffing a full-time nurse, social worker, psychologist, etc. in every school, obtaining air-conditioning for all, to shutting down Astroturf groups and freezing the expansion of the privatization of our schools.” And, polar bears and penguins and global warming, too.”
    Guessing that CTU has become a contributor to RYH. CTU advocates have been trying to stir us to RYH for a while now.

  • 409. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:27 am

    “a sign they saw this week with the hulk on it that said “mayor make hulk mad. Hulk smash mayor!””

    CTU better be ready for the Disney lawsuit.

  • 410. Susan (formally PMS)  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I’m happily grateful that my children are back in school today – what I don’t want is to have to go through this again in 3-4 years. I am still upset with the BOE, CPS, the Mayor and the CTU for locking my children out of school for 7 days. I’m not saying the CTU does not deserve a fair contract but I don’t want it to get to the point that this is the only solution to achieve compromise – locking my children out of school is not fair to them, they are innocent in this process yet the ones hurt the most by the lockout. I would like to see teacher strikes illegal – I would like to see a mediator or arbitrator step in if a contract can not be agreed upon by the first day of school. This represents my opinion as a CPS Parent.

  • 411. CPS Parent  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:36 am

    394. Katherine The reason building hotels makes sense is that they create quality jobs – many of them unionized by the way – across the economic spectrum.

    The CPS stated, aspirational, goal may very well be to have all students attend 4 year colleges but CPS also knows that the reality is that many students will need jobs for which a HS diploma or 2 year City College degree is adequate (note: the new IB programs coming to neighborhood schools include the possibility of the new the IB hospitality vocational track). The City Colleges, which are very affordable, are also re-focusing on hospitality. This is the first time that I’m aware of that the Chicago leadership is actually doing something with a vision and a concrete plan.

    Improving CPS schools is useless if you don’t pay attention to job creation simultaneously and use dollars to stimulate that objective.

  • 412. Maureen  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:37 am,0,7581607.story

    Some interesting after-stories are coming out.

    Trib story on billionaire Republican Bruce Rauner’s vision for education. He invited Stand for Children to Illinois once the mayor announced his candidacy.

  • 413. Old Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Hey CPSO – congrats – your obsession has been noticed!

  • 414. Maureen  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Interesting comments by a macroeconomist at Roosevelt U. in Chicago.

  • 415. TeachintheChi  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:51 am


    The repercussion for the 8 year old who scores badly? The child never gets to leave his neighborhood school in Chicago thus leading him into a life of educational destitution, and more than likely a life encumbered by violence.

    In a city of choice the 8 year old who does not test well definitely feels the repercussions and there is really nothing he/she can do about it. The 8 year old should be on strike – not the teacher.

  • 416. CPS Parent  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:51 am

    412. Maureen – He has a point – Many of the very best CPS teachers leave mid-career because they can earn more elsewhere. A great loss of talent and experience. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly at our school. Principals are unable to offer a pay/benefit package that would keep them.

  • 417. SutherlandParent  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:57 am

    As I understand TIFs, those also divert money from the Chicago Park District (and I think the Chicago Public Library as well). So even if every single TIF in the city was abolished tomorrow, all that money wouldn’t flow back into CPS. I love the libraries and the park districts, too, and I’d love to see more funding restored to both those groups. But I’m just saying, there may not be as much money for CPS as some may think.

    If I’m wrong, I hope someone corrects me! And I’m sure someone will 🙂

  • 418. Mayfair Dad  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:58 am

    @ 411 – agree with this statement. Before we get all wonky and talk about Tax Increment Financing, everyone please read Mike Quigley’s white paper written back in 2007, ideally before you delve into the Ben Joravsky archives. (Ben knows his sh!t, but definitely has a POV not shared by everyone. He is a CPS parent, btw)

  • 419. Family Friend  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I made my comment about Vanderpoel in the context of ISAT scores. I repeat, Vanderpoel’s scores are better than either Sutherland’s or Kellogg’s — so my suggestion that nearby white parents avoid it because of its students’ race or economic status is a reasonable conclusion. In fact, I was responding to a post where the reason given for avoiding Vanderpoel was that all the students are black. If we want an integrated school system, we have to be willing to send our children to school with students of other races. The assumption that all black students are “uneducable” and/or poor would likely be undermined if you actually met the students and parents at Vanderpoel.

    When my children, now in their late 20s, were in school I wished there were more diverse options for them. My second went to a high school that was 2/3 minority, and because there was a balance, it turned out to be a place where all races and ethnicities mixed freely, not an “all the black kids sit together in the cafeteria” situation. She is still in touch with many of her high school friends, of all backgrounds.

    The children I work with now — my “family friends” — are black. They, or their parents, are immigrants. They are all amazing kids, committed to their education at a very young age. The two oldest have consciously decided to move out of their comfort zones for the sake of their education, one as a scholarship student in an overwhelmingly rich, white school, and one in a predominantly Hispanic school that is also an hour-plus commute each way. If your kids were in school with these children, I hope they would be inspired by their commitment and drive. To hear you dismiss black students out of hand makes me sad.

  • 420. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

    “there may not be as much money [from TIfs] for CPS as some may think”

    CPS is about 50% of the total property tax bill, so about 50% of the annual TIF take would go to CPS if they were completely eliminated.

    One problem that currently exists is that the TIFs take money away from CPS as a whole, but require the “taken” funds to be used within the district. And the biggest TIFs (by $$) are around the Loop, so it’s hard to get the $$ back to CPS even as new schools–hence Jones getting so much TIF money.

  • 421. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:22 am

    “The repercussion for the 8 year old who scores badly? ”

    I’ve never gotten the impression that the gifted/classical exams, or the SEHS exams (7th g ISAT and admissions) are what are being referred to as “high stakes” testing. Please provide some citation to *anything* that could lead to that conclusion.

    What are the stakes for a 3, 4, 5, 6 grader who doesn’t do well on ISAT/NWEA/whatever? Where is any union’s proposal to do away with ACT/SAT as a part of college admission, or to do away with gifted/classical testing for admission to “special” schools? The latter clearly have high stakes for the kids, but (1) never seen/heard CTU saying they want that eliminated, and (2) what’s the alternative?

  • 422. 19th ward Parent  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:24 am

    @419 No one on this board dismissed ALL black kids as uneducable. What I said was that many people in Beverly don’t want to send their kids to schools which are majority low-income black, where the student body consistently does not perform at grade level.

    Since Vanderpoel is a magnet and does not attract any neighborhood kids, schools like Kellogg and Sutherland get the overflow of kids who would ordinarily go to Vanderpoel. Also, I don’t care to consider sending my kids to Vanderpoel… Just as I would not send my daughters to a school that was 100% male, I would not send them to a school that is 100% black, especially when MOST OF THE KIDS ARE NOT EVEN RESIDENTS OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

  • 423. Jackie  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Looks like the teachers did good short term, proud of them.,0,892291.htmlpage

    But long term, I fear we are headed to privatization and going to relegate the teaching profession to little more than a Walmart associate.

  • 424. Logan Dad  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:38 am

    CPS/CPSO Parents –

    Let’s dismiss the trolls, hardliners, CTU & CPS shills, accusatory cranks, unhappy teachers, whiners, blamers, race baiters and liars.

    In 36 months we will be faced with the exact same situation that we faced these past two weeks and, given the level of dissatisfaction on both sides of this battle, it’s likely that CPS Students and their Families will once again be the big losers.

    My daughter is in 4th grade. In three years she will be in 7th grade. My son is 3 and in three years he will be in kindergarten. I am very motivated to do whatever I can to make certain they don’t experience a strike. I am also very motivated to do whatever I can to make certain that the Families of CPS Students are represented in future negotiation between CPS & CTU.

    CPS Students and Families are the largest group of stakeholders in Public Education in Chicago. Rough estimates numbers us around 850,000. Given that both CPS & CTU have done a poor job of representing our interests, I think it’s worthwhile to think about how we might build or support a group that represents us.

    I honestly don’t know how this might happen or begin but I’d like to invite Real Parents to contact me with a short-term goal of possibly setting up an in-person meeting to dream, discuss and maybe draw up a framework of what this might look like.

    I recognize that this is a “Pie In The Sky” idea and in the end may be futile. But my eyes have been opened by the strike and I’ve been deeply impressed with all the parents I’ve met while advocating for our children. And heck, if worse comes to worse, I’d love to meet you out again for a drink or two.

    If you support this idea, please post here. And, if you are interested in trying to get together to chat about this, please send me an e-mail.

    Back To School? Yes!

    Logan Dad

  • 425. WendyK  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Hi all – trying to catch up and read some of these comments. We are not funded by the ctu. We are barely funded by anyone but all donations we’ve received have been from individual donors and has not come close to funding what we need to get by this year. I think people get confused with labor issues and educational issues. We align often w/ ctu on educational issues but not by design. We don’t sit around with them planning strategy. It’s common that parents and teachers want many of the same things – smaller class sizes, less standardized testing, well-rounded curriculum, etc. We take no position on issues of pension reform because the views of our members are varied and we want to keep the focus on what’s happening in the classroom. We try to take things issue and we know that if many people see us at a forum w/ the ctu on standardized testng or the like, they will assume we are standing for 100% of what the union wants. It’s just not the case but we aren’t not going to work with teachers b/c the public is unable to get that there’s grey area in all of these things. One of the bigget problems we see is that CPS makes decisions in a vacuum w/o consulting anyone. We don’t want only ctu or teachers at the table, we want all stakeholders, including parents. CPS makes the decisions about who sets polilcy and so we are often pushing them to change things bc they ultimately hold the cards. We think the lens of viewing our system as karen lewis vs the mayor is a bit misguided. We need to focus on issues and advocate for them one by one.

  • 426. SutherlandParent  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Regarding the conversations around income and race at Vanderpoel (and other CPS schools, by extension), I feel like it’s a very tricky conversation to have in a forum like this. But I’m gonna try…

    The schools mentioned with Vanderpoel, Sutherland and Kellogg, both have a majority black population. At Sutherland, it’s a slight majority. But, according to CPS, as of 2011-2012, the largest demographic at KELLOGG was Black. As of that time, this demographic made up 78.2% of the student population. The second greatest demographic was White at 12.2%.

    So I don’t think it’s fair to call a white family with kids at Kellogg (or Sutherland) racist.

    I do think there is a difference in sending your kids to a school where they would be the ONLY kids who were white (or black), instead of being a minority. Does that seem unreasonable?

    The income issue is also a tough one. As some have pointed out, low-income students often have more issues–lack of family support, regular medical check ups, hunger, etc. Does this mean all low income children face these issues? Of course not. Does it mean low income students can’t be educated? Of course not. But as many teachers have rightly pointed out here lately, CPS doesn’t provide good social and support services that would help schools offset these challenges. And I don’t doubt there probably is a difference in the challenges schools face when they have 20% low income (Sutherland), 48.3% (Kellogg) and 60%+ (Vanderpoel).

    I’m somewhat hesistantly pressing “Post Comment,” since this is a hard conversation.

  • 427. Jackie  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:53 am

    “Let’s dismiss the trolls, hardliners, CTU & CPS shills, accusatory cranks, unhappy teachers, whiners, blamers, race baiters and liars.”

    And get a group of people who agree with me that our children were held hostage.

  • 428. Susan (formally PMS)  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:53 am

    From the Editorial Chicago Tribune:
    The first Chicago teachers strike in 25 years should be the last Chicago teachers strike ever. By state law, police and firefighters are prohibited from striking because they are considered essential personnel. The education of our children is essential, too. The academic damage done to the children of Chicago has been unconscionable. We hope this strike, supposedly all but impossible under a 2011 reform law, convinces lawmakers in Springfield that the law needs to be improved. Most states bar teachers strikes. Illinois needs to join the crowd.,0,1776515.story

    This echos what I said in an earlier post (410)- I hope never to see another strike – our kids our the losers when that occurs.

  • 429. Susan (formally PMS)  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I agree with Jackie – my children were used (maybe not necessarily held hostage – they enjoyed the time off) but they were used as pawns in these negotiations.

  • 430. Maureen  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Hope not to offend anyone, but if some parents want to talk about issues regarding diversity in CPS, a very important topic, could we have another thread for that?

    This thread originated with a focus on the issues surrounding the strike. It would be nice to stay with that, I hope no one minds.

    Thanks for listening.

  • 431. Paul  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:58 am

    @408 jillwohl

    Thank you for responding to the posts about Raise Your Hand. I think your group has done great things, and it has the potential to do even more.

    In my opinion, you will better maintain and grow your support from parents if you take steps to make sure you aren’t aligned or appear like you’re aligned with CTU just like you take steps to make sure you’re not aligned with other groups whose members could personally benefit from CPS’s decisions.

    When the mayor is in a spat with CTU, and you have a lot of blog posts criticizing the mayor but not criticizing the CTU, it appears you’re aligned with them. When one of your board members makes a speech supporting CTU at a large rally, it looks like you’re aligned with them. And when your statements are posted on CTU’s website as evidence that parents support their position, then it looks like you’re aligned with them.

    I think it’s critical that Raise Your Hand be completely focused on advocating for funding and improvement in CPS, and for making sure that parents get a seat at the table. I personally don’t think that CTU’s fight for the shorter day, higher pay and benefits, and recall rights will help bring more funding or improvement to the school system. And, as far as I can tell, parents did not have a seat at the table when CTU was bargaining over its contract.

    Raise Your Hand really is the closest thing we’ve got to an organization that represents the views of parents. It could play a key role in supporting school improvement efforts, bringing more funding into the school system, and advocating for the interests of parents and students. But, in my opinion, it has to carefully walk that tightrope so it doesn’t get used for somebody else’s agenda that may not really be “for the kids”, whether that’s charter operators, testing companies, or teachers unions.

  • 432. Mayfair Dad  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:58 am

    @ 427: Shhhh! Cawley will hear you. He gets cranky when you refer to the children as hostages.

  • 433. Jackie  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:00 am


  • 434. Jackie  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:02 am

    how snarky to I have to be?

  • 435. Family Friend  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:02 am

    @426 Sutherland Parent: I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I reacted to a comment that, for me, embodies one of the main issues that keeps Chicago schools unequal. I should, and do, realize that it is not a universal attitude, including in Beverly.

  • 436. Crawley  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Oh Mayfair Dad, you kidder you. I’ve come around, it IS right to use melodramatic and hyperbolic terms of opinion as fact.


  • 437. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I like how Susan and MFD are trying to co-opt Jackie, but she was being ironic to disparage Logan Dad, not agreeing with the “hostage” viewpoint.

  • 438. Mayfair Dad  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:12 am

    @ 408: Consider inviting Casey Hoogstraten to serve on your Board of Directors. He might leaven your liberal, pro-union bias a bit. Your groupthink skews left – obviously so. I agree with Paul, perception is reality.

  • 439. Katherine  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:13 am

    RYH is awesome. I have been volunteering for particular schools but I need to volunteer for them too.

    Just because RYH agrees with some of the same points teachers have been making does not mean it is “aligned” with anyone.

    People are really going to *get over* the fact that CTU represents 28K individuals–yes some of these members are parents of CPS kids too.

    Supporting or agreeing with teachers does not mean you are a “shill” or a pawn in someone’s game as has been asserted by others.

    Most of us have some kind of free will and find out facts, and if a voluntary organization supports CPS teachers, great.

    I always support the police and firefighters…doesn’t mean I am a stooge for their representative unions.

  • 440. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:17 am

    “I always support the police and firefighters…doesn’t mean I am a stooge for their representative unions.”

    But around here, if someone says something negative about CTU, many jump on them for “disparaging teachers”. As you note, there is a definite difference, which everyone should acknowledge.

  • 441. HS Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:17 am

    @437 – I think that Susan took Jackie’s mock as real like “agree with me (being Jackie) who thinks that kids were held hostage. Does that make sense?

    Anyway, Logan Dad, have to say that I met a great group of parents at the rally and would be glad to participate in a follow up. Perhaps a brainstorming session that would double as an opportunity to have a beer together. I think it would be good to keep the momentum going. Count me in.

  • 442. Pvt. Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:19 am

    @IBObsessed406. I was surprised to learn that Northside got TIF money too. I have several friends that live within a stone’s throw of NCP, and have to transport their kids far out of the neighborhood for high school. These kids, while not scoring in the very high 90th percentile required to go to NCP are still serious students with excellent 90th percentile scores. Unfortunately because they were locked out of their closest high school (one that they could have succeeded in) they’ve got horrendous morning commutes that are a challenge for the entire family who must negotiate where mom & dad work as well as where the siblings go to school. I bet a number of families would have preferred that the TIF $ go into the neighborhood schools. While its great to have something like NCP in your ward, what good is it if local kids who could reasonably compete have to get shipped off somewhere else?

  • 443. WendyK  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:23 am

    @Paul – I totally appreciate your point of view. We have gone over this question countless times and we feel pretty comfortable with our decisions to stand with teachers when we feel necessary and appropriate and announce that we don’t agree with certain issues or have no position on them. If parents aren’t comfortable with that or can’t see beyond the theater in the media, it’s okay. I have gotten to know a lot of people at the ctu and some at cps. We try and stay in touch with both of them. We also are happy to meet with cps and partner w/ them on things we agree with but the biggest issue, as we see it, is that there isn’t a culture that promotes collaboration and non-management viewpoints on education at CPS. We want the teachers to have a say in education policy and they don’t. We want parents involved and they aren’t. We feel teachers have been scapegoated in the national media but that doesn’t mean we agree w/ everything ctu is pushing for. We do understand your warning that many people perceive things a certain way but we feel pretty good about where we stand and know our values. We don’t think unions are “all bad” or “all good” but we think it’s really important for parents and teachers to have a strong relationship. If we lose people over this, it’s okay.

  • 444. Portage Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:25 am

    @418 Mayfair Dad – Thanks for providing the link to the report. I have read about 10 pages so far and I will continue reading the rest. What bothers me about TIFs which is also stated in report, is there is very little oversight and there is a lot of control on what projects will receive funding from the mayor’s office.

    I have heard so many people from CTU leadership as well as the media mention TIFs that I thought I needed to learn as much as I can about them. The report has some great information, so thanks again for being so helpful.

  • 445. WendyK  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:31 am

    @Paul – I am happy to meet with you or anyone else to chat in person if you’d like. Mayfair Dad graced me with his presence the other night. 🙂

  • 446. Mayfair Dad  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:40 am

    @ WK – the pleasure was all mine.

  • 447. Navigator  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I am so relieved that the kids are back in school. However I am not sure we are out of the woodwork yet. I hope the negotiations get settled and the contract is finalized. After a little internet visiting, people connected with the CTU are quick to point out that the strike is suspended.

  • 448. Paul  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:43 am

    @443, thanks WendyK,

    I think I understand where you’re coming from. I totally agree with picking and choosing when to stand with teachers and when not to. And, I agree that CPS needs to collaborate more and listen to teachers and parents.

    But, I’d add a caveat to your statement that “it’s really important for parents and teachers to have a strong relationship.” That relationship shouldn’t rise above parents’ advocacy for their children’s education. If the teachers are fighting against programs that would improve schools or are taking steps that disrupt our children’s education, then we don’t need to join that fight in order to keep the peace with teachers. We may even need to fight against those efforts.

  • 449. New CPS parent  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Since there is strength in numbers, I would love to see a collaboration with CPSO parents, all the folks that have reached out to Logan Park Dad, the newly formed Chicago Students First group, and RYH. Can “we” make THAT happen. Pretty please and where do I sign up?!

  • 450. local  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:50 am

    RYH doesn’t have to be neutral,, IMHO. I’m OK if the group indicates its support for one way of thinking or the other, given its advocacy nature. But, that’s just me.

  • 451. Paul  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:50 am

    @445 WendyK, I’d be happy to. Logan Dad, where are we all meeting? 😉

  • 452. Susan (formally PMS)  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:50 am

    CPS version of Contract wins:

  • 453. New CPS parent  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Sorry, I meant *Logan Dad, not Logan Park Dad

  • 454. WendyK  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:52 am

    @Paul – I agree with that but in our membership views vary greatly on some of the issues. I don’t think we’d ever come to a consensus on certain things. There are also concerns posted here – fairly middle to upper middle class concerns versus what we hear when we meet w/ parents in different community groups. We are trying to maintain a wider lens than what we see here.

  • 455. lawmom  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:56 am

    @313 (mom2), well said. CarolA – ” By the same token, don’t say that less fortunate schools should have more parent involvement to get to where your neighborhood school is…..guess what…that’s the problem….those parents don’t care.” Please go to the home page of this blog and scroll down to “Re-Invigorating a Neighborhood School – Hyde Park”, there is a robust discussion of ideas of how to breathe life into a neighborhood school.

    If parents can’t or won’t get involved, perhaps the school’s principal and “team” could forge a community relationship with the Alderperson, churches, grassroots organizations etc. to help bring about change within the school. However, someone has to “drive the bus” so you need to have a leader.

    In addition to actively being involved in the schools our children attend, many of us are more “globally” active for the greater good. This strike has hit a nerve and I will certainly be involved in helping to establish a loud and effective “parent voice” that will work to improve schools for all. In addition, I am very involved with a state wide non-profit, Equip for Equality, focused on special education and disability rights. Equip is very active, especially within CPS, and most of our clients are from low-income households. Equip’s mission is to bring about systemic change to improve services for those with special needs from cradle to grave, including education.

    I understand there is frustration that parents won’t get involved, but I also think if a few people do (other than parents), they can effectively work to bring about change for the better.

  • 456. cubswin  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:59 am

    For perspective on the Beverly schools discussion, Lincoln Park High School is 54% low income.

  • 457. local  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:59 am

    From WendyK: “We don’t want only ctu or teachers at the table, we want all stakeholders, including parents.”

    All parents could start by participating in the local school councils (LSCs). Do you know when the next meeting is for yours?

  • 458. lawmom  |  September 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    @454WendyK, I’d be interested in hearing some examples of concerns from other communities. Certainly school safety might be one.

  • 459. local  |  September 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Unions of college faculty and staff are also addressing this issue: “Where is any union’s proposal to do away with ACT/SAT as a part of college admission…” Maybe parents with young children don’t realize this yet, but there’s a huge debate about ACT/SAT and college admissions.

    Just BTW, I’d venture to say that anyone working in education is doing it “for the students.” I guess there might be a few sick f***s in schools and such who could care less about students and their families. So, it really rubs me wrong when “about the kids” is thrown around especially to disparage teachers and school staff. I mean, do doctors and dentists NOT care about patients? It almost goes without saying that medical and education people work to help, not hurt. So, it doesn’t need to turn into a Chinese fortune cookies game, where every. single. thing. you say or think about your job in education has to end with the tagline “…for the kids.”

  • 460. local  |  September 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    @ 455. lawmom “In addition, I am very involved with a state wide non-profit, Equip for Equality, focused on special education and disability rights. Equip is very active, especially within CPS, and most of our clients are from low-income households. Equip’s mission is to bring about systemic change to improve services for those with special needs from cradle to grave, including education.”

    Oh! Equip for Equality is great and needs a lot of help (like website help), it seems to me. Heard them on the news today re: disabled swimmers & school swim teams.

  • 461. WendyK  |  September 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    @457- yes, tonight. I’m talking policies at the top. There are mandates from CO that local schools can’t control.

  • 462. WendyK  |  September 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    @458 – a lot of issues about class size, inadequate language immersion programs, inadequate policies for discipline – a feeling that there’s a lack of support and overall culture is much too punitive and not helpful, etc. Have heard a lot about desire for more arts/music, etc. It’s really all over the map. Biggest connection is parents feel locked out of the process and have no say. Had a long talk with a parent at an AUSL school recently. She felt there was absolutely no way to get involved in the school. Some charter parents I have met pulled their kids out bc of safety issues. Got sense they feel safer at charter but didn’t say much about quality of education there. I met a lot of parents while canvassing for ersb.

  • 463. local  |  September 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    “Kellogg is in a great part of the neighborhood. Which you should know, if you ever did live here.”

    Kellogg is almost all-black and the Catholic school across the street from it is almost all-white. Flashback to apartheid South Africa. Very weird. Neighborhood is mixed black and white.

  • 464. 19th Ward parent  |  September 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    @463 Neighborhood is mostly white, and looks like one you would find on the north shore. Black populace of students is mainly from kids east of the Metra tracks, who live a stone’s throw from Vanderpoel.

  • 465. lawmom  |  September 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    @460. Yes, the website is under reconstruction — believe me, EFE knows the website should be updated. My passion is really for the Special Education Clinic and that webpage is in the works for being updated as well. As you know in non-profit, there is never enough money to make all the dreams come true at once!

  • 466. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Local: “For perspective on the Beverly schools discussion, Lincoln Park High School is 54% low income.”

    For real perspective, need to care out at least IB, and prob DoubleH, too.

    Local: “Unions of college faculty and staff are also addressing this issue”

    Which 4-year university has a unionized faculty (NOT graduate teaching assistants)? It’s a completely valid discussion, but I in *no way* believe that “high stakes testing”, as discussed in the context of CPS or public education generally, refers to college admissions tests.

    And, to be clear, meant public school, el-hi, teachers’ unions.

  • 467. local  |  September 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    While FT faculty aren’t easily able to unionize, PT faculty are. Also, FT faculty have a national professional association that can function as a precursor to a labor union.

  • 468. RL Julia  |  September 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Sutherland Dad: A TIF works in the following manner. The TIF is established as a defined geographical area. At that point, all tax revenues generated in that area are set into a special separate fund (they’d usually go into the city’s general revenue fund used to operate and provide services throughout the City). This separate fund (the TIF) usually is set up with different expenditure lines (for schools, job development, business development, etc…) that can only be spend on the geographic area in the specific ways defined by that specific TIF. Establishing a TIF has two potential repercussions that immediately come to mind: 1. Taxes from the TIF area are taken out of the general revenue fund which means that there is less money to provide for the general operation of the city as a whole. For example, most of the Loop is a TIF which means that all the tax money generated from the Loop TIF is earmarked for activities in the Loop – there is no ability to spread the wealth to other parts of the city – so while the Loop may benefit from the TIF, the rest of the city potentially loses revenue dollars that might have been spent in their neighborhood schools, parks, etc… 2. Many TIFs don’t produce a lot of revenue -which means that earmarked money generated by the TIF might not provide enough to do the proposed job.
    As for the Northside example – I can’t think of why that TIF would earmark money specifically for that specific high school over all the other schools in the TIF. Luckily, this is all public information.

  • 469. RL Julia  |  September 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Actually – the TIF paid for improvements in many schools including Roosevelt HS, Haugan and Hibbard – Northside was never mentioned.

  • 470. Katherine  |  September 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Faculty are unionized, both tenure track and non-tenure track, at public Universities and Community Colleges all over Illinois, including one of the more recent UIC which has thousands of Faculty. Local committees exist within the institution and most are in the IFT union.

    Unions happen when hard-working people get pooped on one too many times by the Powers that Be : )

  • 471. Mayfair Dad  |  September 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    @ 469: “The Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Projection Report is a three-year planning document used to evaluate resources and project balances to determine how much funding has been committed and how much funding is available for potential projects in each of the City’s TIF districts. This report is updated with the latest available information and does not represent a final accounting of funds in any TIF district.”

    My hunch the reason NSCP doesn’t appear on the list is because it is already paid for? But the point you are making – that TIF dollars are routinely used for funding new schools, additions and refurbishments, including charters – is a valid one. Not all wards have thriving TIF districts, and not all aldermen have Rahm’s permission to tap into the piggy bank.

    I would direct all concerned citizens who wonder why their neighborhood school does not have air conditioning or a science lab to visit the alderman’s office. Do your homework so you have some knowledge about the TIF districts in your ward, and then ask your elected official what he/she plans to do with unallocated TIF surplus dollars. Enjoy the slithering tap dance as they roll out some lame jive about “not meeting the definition of economic blight, yadda yadda” and experience the smug satisfaction of knowing you have just been lied to.

  • 472. Gunnery Sgt. Hartman  |  September 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    It was great to drop my daughter off at school today, great to see the teachers back doing what they love, and just a great relief.

  • 473. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    “Faculty are unionized, both tenure track and non-tenure track”

    Fine; I’m incorrect.

    Point remains: what are the stakes *for the kids* in the so-called (by CTU/AFT and their supporters) “high stakes testing”?

  • 474. local  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm


  • 475. cubswin  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    “Maybe parents with young children don’t realize this yet, but there’s a huge debate about ACT/SAT and college admissions.”

    There’s a huge debate among academics about everything. How well do ACT/SAT predict college graduation?

  • 476. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm


    So, if an individual kid is in the 20th %ile they–personally, not their teracher, school district, etc etc etc–lose something under NCLB that they wouldn’t lose if they scored in th 80th %ile?

    Cite required.

  • 477. cubswin  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Point remains: what are the stakes *for the kids* in the so-called (by CTU/AFT and their supporters) “high stakes testing”?

    Differentiation of teachers.
    How do you manage a system that isn’t measured?

  • 478. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    “Differentiation of teachers.
    How do you manage a system that isn’t measured?”

    With that definition, then *everything* about the publci scholl system is “high stakes” including classroom grading. Makes the adjective meaningless, and the objection thereto (on the basis of the “stakes” involved) ridiculous.

  • 479. Katherine  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I am not sure what AFT/CTU mean–I am not a teacher and not in that union; someone who is a active member would be better versed in the importance from their perspective as teachers.

    From Me being on Tertiary admissions committees and determining who gets funding as a reviewer for some Federal things, high stakes TO ME means the following:

    Any testing is “high stakes” if an average or below average outcome has a negative impact on the student’s future. If it hinders the student from getting into next-level education, eligibility for funding or scholarship; or if the knock on effect is the school itself is harmed/punished by lowering its rating etc which for many many reasons already discussed on this Blog it is not helpful to blame Teacher–teachers cannot directly solve all the underlying home problems that influence attendance, participation and testing. if we get al these promised ‘wrap-around’ services Sp ed, ESL and SWers then maybe teacher can be more culpable (jest).

    The high school tests all have big consequences for the student; and the student may not have good preparation by the home or school environment. Getting into a University now is harder than the 1980s. In my high school we did a huge amount of annoying preparation for the ACT. I resented it, but I did get a 27 composite one of my brothers got a 31…training for a test helped me on ACT but took away from my education. I would have preferred I just was given a study manual that to have to spend time preparing for ACT and SAT in school.

    One thing I like about some of our public Universities and colleges in the Chicago area is they consider what high school you went to–and the test scores are not ‘held against’ you–many conditional acceptances are give out, especially if you have a good Interview, and you have a year to prove yourself. of course this only works for Chicago area kids. If you are from Minneapolis or Houston we don;t know your schools. UIC was started for ‘Chicago people’ so traditionally there was some leeway if testing result wasn’t great.

    And some people are just not good at test-taking. I was a really good testtaker…some really good students retake their ACT and GREs etc and they still bomb and it Hurts their chances.

    Stakes are always high when it means you have a Stop sign in front of you all because of a one test score. The intelligence of a person is more than a score but with so many applicants for positions it is one of the first things people look at even above grades are these test scores.

    In any program I am involved in we are having record numbers of applicants. Test scores unfortunately are a quick way to shortlist and I don;t agree with it.

    There has to be evaluation that is a ‘standard’ applied to all students but *I don;t know what the answer is* to be Fair–for one thing, I loathe the Multiple Choice test. It does not test knowledge and application IMUHO. Essays should become more important–and it is a great way to get schools focused on reading, writing and relaying what you know since all schools teach to the test now.

  • 480. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    btw, I’m completely open to there being something directly at stake for the individual kid, I’ve just thought about it a lot, and read what I can, and can’t figure out what it is.

  • 481. Katherine  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Maybe I am not making my points very succinctly but what hurts a high school student hurts his/her future, can hurt a teacher if the test performance is directly tied to evaluation (I understand a % is req’d by state mandate…but we should only have a minimum in Chicago unless they are going to address school inequality of resources) and can be used to hurt a school re. ratings and ultimately a community if it costs them their local school and any school they can reasonably Get into…or Get to (distance etc).

    The stakes are high for everyone and children, parents, teachers and communities are being ‘left behind’ from poor resources.

  • 482. Katherine  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    poor resource allocation

  • 483. RL Julia  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Mayfair dad – exactly! Current projects for the Lawrence Kedzie TIF include rebuilding the Albany Park Library and something for Peterson school – to see what any TIF is spending its money on – just click on the “projection report” and it will take you to a list of expenditures. Interestingly enough, I don’t see improvements to any test-in schools (Von Steuben, Northside) in this TIF -just neighborhood ones – at least in this three year cycle. Don’t know if this is just smart/thoughtful planning or happenstance.

  • 484. cubswin  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    “UIC was started for ‘Chicago people’ so traditionally there was some leeway if testing result wasn’t great.”

    And now is a school for suburban teenagers due to CPS not producing college ready low income students.

  • 485. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm


    I agree with *all* of that. I also agree that a curriculum focused on testing achievement–either by official policy, or individual teachers responding to incentives–is not a positive for our educational system.

    That said, I am interested in figuring out how “high stakes testing” (here is the CTU position paper on the subject: ) has direct “stakes” for the individual kids taking the tests. What are the “stakes” that are high–and saying “the future of public education”, while possibly true, still doesn’t connect with the stakes of the testing itself.

    (perhaps I’m just overthinking the phrase, but words have meaning, and I object to the bastardization thru NewSpeak-ish misphrasing from all sides).

  • 486. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    “focused on testing achievement”

    That’s phrased wrong–too shorthand–s/b “achieving high scores on a battery of standardized tests” or something.

  • 487. Katherine  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    UIC is a school for everyone–and there are plenty of city kids. I know the numbers.

    Suburban kids are applying to UIC since Urbana has become very hard to get into; but also more applicants are going to UIC since 1) it’s comparatively Cheap and 2) is now in the top 50 of all public Universities in the USA, a proud climb to the top by hiring good Faculty and recruiting students from everywhere. Suburban also includes the very Poor suburbs on SW and S side so suburban doesn;t mean Rich. Some of our near suburbs have a way higher murder and sexual assault and armed robbery rate than Chicago…like by alot.

    Suburban kids are also moving in droves to get into City colleges (moving into Chicago first) because our city colleges are also great, inexpensive, and so many more people are in Chicagoland and willing to commute–over 10 million in the catchment area (less than 2 h commute) which includes northern Indiana.

    Chicago has alot to be proud of in higher Ed.

    Chicago need to get more pride in Primary Ed and Secondary Ed where opportunity seems to still rely on birth/where you live and $$$ of the neighborhood value.

  • 488. cpsmama  |  September 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    @Chris: What is at stake for kids is the trajectory of the academic lives.

    We all know that some kids, particularly low income minorities, do not peform well on standardized tests. Period. This has been studied for decades and no one has been able to figure out how to change it.

    Here is a link to a nearly 10 year old article about this very subject- it is fascinating (if a bit blunt) and, sadly — still rings true today.

    In CPS, high stakes, standarzdized tests are use to make decisions about what elementary or high school a student can attend,what class level he or she is placed in, what teachers he or she has, whether he/she can take an AP course etc. The emphasis on these tests and the trend to pile more and more of them on is not teaching or learning, its testing. There’s a big difference and for some kids, the consequences can be quite negative.

  • 489. Katherine  |  September 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    What I said Chris is exactly why it is high stakes–one F-ed up std test can hurt a student pretty badly in terms of future plans.

    Many kids, even from fancy schools, are not great test takers.

    A friend in high school who was right behind the Salutorian in rank scored a 17 on the ACT, she studied studied etc and got a 17 again.

    She didn’t get into any University of her choice; but UIC took her. She ended up doing what she wanted but she was limited in her University acceptances by the ACT.

  • 490. HS Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    @442 Pvt mom – I’m unclear about what you’re getting at here. Are you saying that if money used to build Northside were put into the other local schools (don’t know how many in the ward) or better yet, NSP replaced Roosevelt as the neighborhood HS that this would save the “less than perfect” student the commute? I’m asking because it’s an interesting question.

    A number of years ago quite a bit of money went into Bateman. Change did not happen quickly even though the community received mailers/fliers boasting of the upgrades. The school seems to be experiencing success as it’s scores go up. Scores up because of improvements, or teachers, or kids – I don’t know. Do you think it’s the building that encourages locals to make long commutes elsewhere?

  • 491. local  |  September 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    American Federation of Teachers

    The other main teachers union is the NEA, Notational Education Association.

  • 492. cubswin  |  September 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    “In CPS, high stakes, standarzdized tests are use to make decisions about what elementary or high school a student can attend,what class level he or she is placed in….”

    By law charters can not use testing for admission.

    I don’t see how the new testing is more “high stakes” for students than the old testing.

  • 493. local  |  September 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    “How well do ACT/SAT predict college graduation?”

    That’s another debate.

  • 494. local  |  September 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Here’s a good place to read-up on “high stakes testing”:

  • 495. local  |  September 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Warning: Long…


    This resolution is modeled on the
resolution passed by more than more than 360 Texas school boards as of April 23, 2012. It was written by Advancement Project; Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; FairTest; Forum for Education and Democracy; MecklenburgACTS; Deborah Meier; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.; National Education Association; New York Performance Standards Consortium; Tracy Novick; Parents Across America; Parents United for Responsible Education-Chicago; Diane Ravitch; Race to Nowhere; Time Out From Testing; and United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries.

    We encourage organizations and individuals to publicly endorse it (see below). Organizations should modify it as needed for their local circumstances while also endorsing this national version.

    WHEREAS, our nation’s future well-being relies on a high-quality public education system that prepares all students for college, careers, citizenship and lifelong learning, and strengthens the nation’s social and economic well-being; and

    WHEREAS, our nation’s school systems have been spending growing amounts of time, money and energy on high-stakes standardized testing, in which student performance on standardized tests is used to make major decisions affecting individual students, educators and schools; and

    WHEREAS, the overreliance on high-stakes standardized testing in state and federal accountability systems is undermining educational quality and equity in U.S. public schools by hampering educators’ efforts to focus on the broad range of learning experiences that promote the innovation, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, communication, critical thinking and deep subject-matter knowledge that will allow students to thrive in a democracy and an increasingly global society and economy; and

    WHEREAS, it is widely recognized that standardized testing is an inadequate and often unreliable measure of both student learning and educator effectiveness; and

    WHEREAS, the over-emphasis on standardized testing has caused considerable collateral damage in too many schools, including narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, reducing love of learning, pushing students out of school, driving excellent teachers out of the profession, and undermining school climate; and

    WHEREAS, high-stakes standardized testing has negative effects for students from all backgrounds, and especially for low-income students, English language learners, children of color, and those with disabilities; and

    WHEREAS, the culture and structure of the systems in which students learn must change in order to foster engaging school experiences that promote joy in learning, depth of thought and breadth of knowledge for students; therefore be it

    RESOLVED that [your organization name] calls on the governor, state legislature and state education boards and administrators to reexamine public school accountability systems in this state, and to develop a system based on multiple forms of assessment which does not require extensive standardized testing, more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning, and is used to support students and improve schools; and

    RESOLVED, that [your organization name] calls on the U.S. Congress and Administration to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as the “No Child Left Behind Act”), reduce the testing mandates, promote multiple forms of evidence of student learning and school quality in accountability, and not mandate any fixed role for the use of student test scores in evaluating educators.

  • 496. cpsmama  |  September 19, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    @492-do charters use test scores for retention decisions by counseling outthe low testers?

  • 497. Mayfair Dad  |  September 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    @ 442: While you are stewing about NSCP, drive by Edison Regional Gifted, formerly Albany Park Multicultural Center. My 39th ward TIF dollars at work for a school my kids will never attend.

  • 498. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    “the overreliance on high-stakes standardized testing in state and federal accountability systems ”

    “the over-emphasis on standardized testing has caused considerable collateral damage in too many schools, including narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, reducing love of learning, pushing students out of school, driving excellent teachers out of the profession, and undermining school climate”

    Still comes across that the “high stakes” are for the teachers and the school systems.

    “In CPS, high stakes, standarzdized tests are use to make decisions about what elementary or high school a student can attend”

    Where is CTU objecting to a single test per year? With 3 or 4 of them (pre-k and K, for admission to options/classical and 7th ISAT + 8th SE for HS admissions) being really “high stakes” for the *individual* kid.

  • 499. CPS Parent  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    It seems to me that ACT/SAT should not be discussed in the same conversation as all the other tests given k – 12 students. The ACT/SAT tests exist to allow post-secondary institutions to assemble cohorts of students with similar academic abilities. Differentiated teaching is not the goal of these institutions. Absent a national high school diploma exam, the ACT/SAT tests exist for this purpose and this purpose only.

  • 500. cubswin  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    @496. cpsmama said…

    “@492-do charters use test scores for retention decisions by counseling outthe low testers?”

    No, definitely not by school policy. Of course I can’t know what all charters really do.

  • 501. RL Julia  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Mayfair Dad – but TIF money was never given to Edison -only to Albany Park prior to it becoming Edison and that only happened because it was a new building that was being underused (if you recall the complete UPROAR by the Edison parents) – so I am not super sure if it is your TIF dollars truly at work…. Also don’t know what the TIF actually paid for at Albany Park…. I mean, don’t let me get in the way of your stewing… on the other hand…. I could stew about Disney 2 which is in my neighborhood and which MY kids never will/could attned….

  • 502. cpsmama  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    @Chris: PLAN, EXPLORE, PSAT and ISATs (IOWAs in past) are also used to determine a child’s school/class/level. I can’t comment on the new tests & I confess that I don’t even know their names or acronyms.

    When my kids took ISATs, IOWAs (i’m dating myself), PLAN & EXPLORE, they were ALWAYS told- “this test doesn’t matter- it’s not graded.” yet it determined what classes they took, and when they got older, what HS they could attend. Those stakes are pretty high, if you ask me.

  • 503. Gunnery Sgt. Hartman  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    UIC is drawing kids from outside the city because they finally built dorms about a dozen years ago.

  • 504. Pvt. Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    @490. I am not sure I understand what you’re asking? I was reacting to the news (maybe false?) that NSCP got some TIF money for improvements. Knowing that it comes from the ward…well most of the people paying into that TIF have a very small chance of being able to send their kids to that school. In one family I am thinking about, their kid didn’t make the cut for NSCP but got admission to another SEHS clear across town. So, you’ve got a situation where the TIF is supposed to increase amenities of a certain neighborhood but because its going to something that can’t be widely shared. The benefit to local taxpayers is very small.

    Frankly, one of the reasons I went private is because I saw how onerous it was for friends of mine to have kids at different schools. No thanks. With regard to the “high stakes testing” discussion above, this outcome is virtually guaranteed if you have two (or more) children with markedly different academic aptitudes or skills. When so much is at stake, I am sure plenty of parents are eager (or simply tempted) to test-prep their kindergarteners so they can get into the same school as an older sibling.

  • 505. Mayfair Dad  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Plenty of beef stew to go around, RLJ. I was part of a small but vocal group of parents who wanted APMC to become an area Junior High to alleviate overcrowding at schools like Palmer, Volta, Hubbard and Haugan. Only Hubbard got in – the attendance boundary went as far as Hubbard’s and no further. Curious. Also the presto-chango of the brand new (at the time) Haugan Junior High into Aspira charter. Parents at Haugan elementary want no part of Aspira, prefer Thurgood Marshall. Where is the love for Palmer? Now that Mayfair Twins are at D2, I should probably keep my yap shut…

    ERGC parents made the best of a less-than-perfect situation – respect. Not their first choice.

  • 506. Sped Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    My child is taking the MAP test this week. They’ll take it again at the end of the school year. Not sure how it works for students with certain disabilities. I guess we’ll see.

  • 507. anonymouse teacher  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    @495, Wow! Texas sponsoring the reduction of testing is sort of shocking to me. They are universally known as one of the single worst states for education in the US with a reliance on testing that makes Chicago look like a Waldorf school. I am so happy to see this.
    BTW, at my school there was some discussion about parents opting out of testing. Parents, you should know, while you can’t really opt out of ISATs and maybe not NWEA, you can opt out of pretty much all the other K-2 tests (and probably other grades, just that I am most familiar in primary). You don’t have to opt out of course and may want all that info, but if you are opposed to the massive amount of testing your 5-7 year olds must take, you have that right.

  • 508. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    “determined what classes they took”

    Okay, so, are you against differentiation in classes at the Elem level? If not, do you want it to be done solely by the teachers, at *every* schools, with no readily checkable standards for the assessment? As much as I like my kids teachers, I don’t want all differntiation to (possibly) boil down to (1) personality fit b/t students and teachers PLUS (2) whichever parents yell the loudest.

    “when they got older, what HS they could attend”

    I *completely* acknowledge the stakes of the 7th grade ISAT and the 8th SEHS test. That’s two exams in 13 years. There *cannot* be the amount of *national* focus on “high stakes” tests based on 2 CPS exams.

    And, so that no one misses it, I’ll reiterate: I’m against layering more and more standardized tests on the kids; but do think that *better* (no, not sure what *is* better) testing can be helpful for everyone–kids, teachers, parents, and school systems.

  • 509. Katherine  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    The dibel (sp?) test made my kid cry. I would have opted out of that if I could time travel.

  • 510. Sped Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    One family opted out of some testing: This is from Substance newspaper and the family featured is involved with the paper.

  • 511. Mayfair Dad  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    @ 504: let’s be clear – NSCP was built from the ground up with TIF money, money intended to improve the quality of life for people who live in the ward. Every bolt, every floor tile, every SmartBoard.

  • 512. Sped Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm


  • 513. cpsmama  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    @Chris, “What classes they took” meaning “high reading vs. low reading” in elementary and honors vs regular vs AP in HS.

    As for your claim that the high stakes are for the teachers, schools & district- you are correct. And I think the kids are made aware of those stakes-subtly or not so subtly – by teachers, principals, paretns, the media etc. .At my kids elementary school, the 3rd, 5th & 8th graderes were well aware of the “stakes” of the Trib’s & Sun Times rankings each year and no one wanted to be the one who dropped the school’s score that year. Kids should not have to worry about these matters, IMO.

  • 514. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    ““What classes they took” meaning “high reading vs. low reading” in elementary and honors vs regular vs AP in HS.”

    How would you differentiate, then? Should it be left entirely to one or two teachers, with their personal biases?

    “Kids should not have to worry about these matters”

    I don’t have a good answer for that, but is the anti-“high stakes” position genuinely NO standardized testing at all? And, if not that, how much, which, when, is acceptable (even recognizing that *none* really ain’t gonna fly)?

  • 516. katy  |  September 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    @ CHRIS
    “oldtimer, quoting Kozol (i think): “holds an inner-city child only eight years old “accountable” for her performance on a high-stakes standardized exam ”
    Will someone please explain how the 8-yo in that scenario is held accountable? What’s the repercussion for the kid if she does poorly on the exam?”

    3rd graders have to repeat a year of school. Isn”t that being held accountable?

  • 517. katy  |  September 19, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Junior (382) you cite ONE teacher who felt this way. Certainly you dont think one teacher counts for others?

  • 518. katy  |  September 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    @ Family Friend (419)
    “To hear you dismiss black students out of hand makes me sad.”

    We are on the same page! I get you.

  • 519. katy  |  September 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm


    “So I don’t think it’s fair to call a white family with kids at Kellogg (or Sutherland) racist.
    I do think there is a difference in sending your kids to a school where they would be the ONLY kids who were white (or black), instead of being a minority. Does that seem unreasonable?”

    This is just like saying…I am not racist because I have a few black friends. Doesn’t work that way.

  • 520. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    “3rd graders have to repeat a year of school. Isn”t that being held accountable?”

    Solely on the basis of a standardized test result? Huh, did not know that.

    OK: Link here:

    Again, if opposition to this sort of thing *PRIMARILY* is the message trying to be conveyed by the anti-“high stakes” folks, they’re doing a horrible job–failing to get through to someone who is interested in “why” the virulence of the objection.

  • 521. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    “This is just like saying…I am not racist because I have a few black friends. Doesn’t work that way.”

    Would you say it in reverse? Would you have a problem with a black family not wanting their kids to be the *only* (assuming for argument) black kids in an all white school?

    Serious question.

  • 522. Chris  |  September 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    ps to my 520: It’s not solely on test sore, but a 3d or 6th grader gets hit with summer school if they don’t get 24th% on both reading & math, even if they have all As (barring IEP).

    Bad news/bad policy when based on a crappy little bubble test (tho I can imagine a properly created test *might* have validity for such purpose).

  • 523. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Many parents are talking abt opting our where my son is. He will opt out for all tests until the ISATs in March, since this is the last yr for them and they will still be a determining factor for the next yr.

  • 524. HS Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    @504 pvt mom – I see what you’re saying. Not sure what the funds are for but more than likely something like a roof or tuckpointing as opposed to new computers/programming or science lab. Westinghouse and Jones on the other hand were required to place neighborhood kids with their new buildings. The time to do that would have been when the building was new. And yes, as someone mentioned the same could be said about magnets and RGC’s, although magnets are required to place a certain number of neighborhood kids. Really, when you think about it, most neighborhoods have a number of schools that they maintain for outside kids. This gets back to that complex discussion on how to sort it all out if the system were reorganized.

  • 525. CPS Teacher  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Interesting- from Mediamatters:

    “Fox News parent company News Corp. acquired a 90-percent stake in Wireless Generation in 2010. Last May, the company agreed to provide Early Mathematics Assessment Services and Early Literacy Assessment Services to Chicago Public Schools. These contracts total $4.7 million. A central reason the Chicago Teachers Union decided to strike is their objection to the school district’s call for heavily weighing such standardized testing to ultimately determine teacher pay and layoffs.”

  • 526. 19th Ward parent  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    @519 Katy, would you want your child to go to a school where they would be the only girl in an ENTIRE SCHOOL full of boys? Or vice versa? Of course not. Would it make you chauvinistic or sexist? No, of course not.

  • 527. HS Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    @516 – a 3rd grader cannot be held back for not passing the ISAT (solely). I have heard at some schools that they may be required to take a summer class.

  • 528. anonymouse teacher  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    My students (kindergarten) had to take Mclass math tests last year. Since we’ve literally gotten 7 different directives in the last 4 weeks re: tests that all contradict each other, I honestly have no idea if I have to administer Mclass math this year. But one of the subtests for my grade is that by the end of the year, kids have to count to 83 in one minute with no mistakes (or higher if they make a mistake). I had to teach them to NOT BREATHE when they were counting from 1-10 in order to be able to count fast enough to make it to 83. I literally had to tell them, “Don’t breathe until you get to 10”. To pass a test. I didn’t know if my rating would be affected last year by scores, and even if they wouldn’t be, my principal cares a LOT about scores, so I made sure they could pass. We passed up on a lot of other, richer, more important curriculum doing non-stop speed practices for Mclass. This is the reality for our schools. It is wrong and at some point, parents and teachers really need to sit down together, really look in depth at how much testing is happening and allowing parents to see the tests in detail.
    I am not anti-test. I am anti-test-at-the-expense-of-everything-else, including testing that ignores the developmental needs of children. If I alone tell my administration I will not do this to my students, I’ll get fired. If teachers and parents together could come up with some sort of sane middle ground and together “strike” the current testing schedule, we could accomplish something.

  • 529. HS Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Lots of questions on how the contract will be funded

  • 530. Katherine  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    ISAT: yes, if you get a 23, and I cannot remember if it is both or one of the reading/math you do have to go to summer school…but you also have to go to summer school for certain letter grades.

    For kids with certain disabilities it is a concern (but you can get double time) and the first time my Special kid took his I was stressing about reading as it was possible even with double time he might not get that. He ended up at 70 and it was a huge relief and shock.

    The fact that parents stress so much about that shows the tests are too important : (

    re. majority and minority etc–it is often the case that there are only a handful (like 6 or 3 or 1) kids of one cultural group/racial background in a school.

    Black familes trying to move into more affluent suburbs within 10 years of desegration etc often were put in that boat.

    I think one male per all female or vice versa is a little different–and seems major, much more than cultural separation to me. And me even thinking it’s different indicates that gender divide is still pretty big.

    I was a minority (very few mixed or white kids) in a school, and also a majority in a school. Neither is optimal.

  • 531. Pvt. Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    @anonymouse teacher. Every time you post something about your kindergarten class I am shocked. Maybe CPSO might consider allowing you to do a guest post every now and again about what is happening in CPS kindergarten these days? People need to know. Is there any play left at all?

  • 532. Proud Vanderpoel parent!  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    I did say that I wasn’t going to continue this conversation but…@422 19th Ward parent–how on earth can you say no one would send their children to a high poverty school where most of the kids aren’t on grade level when vanderpoel’s 2012 ISAT scores refute your assinine statement as Family Friend points out. Vanderpoel has more children ON grade level than Sutherland or Kellogg!!! What is wrong with you??? If you want to school to be integrated than white people would have to apply and since no one wants to be the first than it will never be integrated. I can’t believe we are even having this type of conversation in 2012. It makes me sick to my stomach!

  • 533. Katherine  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    I would hope that all parents want their kids in a GOOD school whether it is majority hispanic or majority black or majority white or majority asian etc…

    If it is a good school, shouldn’t matter the color/culture and when I was in an extreme minority I was included, no one was mean in school. And I made friends and still have friends to this day which is why most of my friends are not Anglo, but always happy for friends of any shade.

    No one ever likes to feel on the spot or feel very different…but hey we all have to mix and a good school is a good school.

    I would take a good school where my kid is the only mixed race/white looking kid over an underperforming (or gangster-filled) white looking school ANY day. I survived happily as the “albino” in one school and “miha” in the other and he will too–who knows what high school he’ll go to.

    The kids don;t call each other white or black anymore either which I like–they say pink and tan and brown. Definitely not as stark sounding and better blended. The kids are more chillax about alot of things.

  • 534. Aville Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    @523. I am seriously considering opting out of all standardized testing except the isat this year for my little one who has an anxiety disorder and some processing issues (we did get an iep and extra time is given). I am interested to know what reactions parents who have have opted out got from their schools. My child scores extremely well and is in a high performing school, but the amount of instruction in the humanities that is abandoned from January until the isats conclude is very troubling to me. This excessive testing is an area where I would hope teachers and parents could align to bring about change. CPS would save lots of money too if they gave up some of these tests.

  • 535. Katherine  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    If I ha known I could opt out I sure would have…maybe not of everything, since testing is part of life but there is no need for all these different things–Dibels and MAP and ISAT etc

    I think neither parents nor teachers want to teach to the test.

  • 536. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    @520 Thanks for that link. So if a 3rd grader was at the 99th percentile in the ISAT/NWEA and had all As, but was out of school for 10 days to travel w/ her parents, she would be required to attend summer school.

    But if you scored in the 24th percentile and had all Cs, but were only out for 9 days, congratulations. You are promoted.

    Remember, kids, the most important thing in life is to just show up.

    I’m puzzled why CPS wants excellence in its teachers when it prizes mediocrity in its students above all.

  • 537. HS Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    @536 – I don’t think it works that way. Penalties only kick in if you score in or under the 24th percentile, then grades and/or attendance.

  • 538. EdgewaterMom  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    @536 It is important to note that it is more than 9 UNEXCUSED absences. Just missing 10 days of school does not require summer school.

  • 539. CarolA  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    anonymouse: you are right. That mclass math is CRAZY! We were able to opt out, but as I recall, first graders had to count to 100 in one minute to get a good score. I don’t think I could do that. That’s more than one number a second!

  • 540. CarolA  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Also, why does one school HAVE to do it and another can opt out? What a crazy system CPS is!

  • 541. CarolA  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Isn’t it more important that a child can count correctly rather than count fast? I understand one child could take forever and that wouldn’t be good, but really…is it necessary to count to 100 in a minute?

  • 542. CarolA  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    The addition on that test was crazy too. It was an oral test, but not leveled in difficulty. The first problem was something nuts like 8 + 7 and if they were lucky enough to get past that the next one was 2 + 3 or something similar.

  • 543. anonymouse teacher  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    @531, I’d be happy to anytime, though I’d have to promise to keep my temper to myself, which sometimes flares on this site and I say things I later regret. (I often wonder if I am the only one who wishes I’d kept my mouth shut on occasion!)
    There is not a lot of play left in kindergarten. I do play based centers (which can be frowned upon, but I use that time to do small group or individual interventions, so I have a way to justify the “play”). My school also allows for 2 recesses a day for K, which is really nice. But, no, overall, kindergarten IS the new first grade.
    CarolA, how are you?:) Can’t wait until our next breakfast. I don’t know why some schools can opt out and some can’t. It’s nuts.
    I had a kid last year super sensitive to the timed element of the testing and even though I fought for her, I still had to give it to her timed. I had to try and fake her out, so she thought we weren’t timing her. She really got a raw deal.

    Sometime, I will have to post on how I try (like many early primary teachers do) to mitigate the effects of the hyper academic nature of kindergarten in CPS.

  • 544. CarolA  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Funny you should mention play based centers. Our KDG teachers are taking some heat for the children playing with blocks during center time. We have looked up and printed out research showing the value of that type of play in KDG classrooms. Shapes, learning what stacks and what doesn’t, working in a groups (cooperation), etc. We even downloaded something from the UofC Lab schools to support our claim. And yes, I’ve said things I later needed to rethink. I think I got censored this morning. 🙂

  • 545. EdgewaterMom  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    CarolA and anonymouse Thanks for sharing your testing experience – that sounds crazy!! I don’t think that we can avoid testing, but it sure sounds like we could develop better tests! If the tests are designed well, teaching students to pass them would not be a negative.

    I have always hated speed tests – I really do not see the point.

  • 546. Todd Pytel  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    (Specific, lengthy example of the effects of testing follow… word limits be damned!)

    @528 (Mouse) – Wow… even in the bizarro world of constant testing, speed counting is pretty twisted stuff.

    Chris, even though I recognize this isn’t quite “stakes” for the kid in the way you’re inquiring about, it’s exactly why high-stakes testing (for schools) is so bad for kids. This kind of thing happens all the time, though perhaps not in such an extreme fashion as training kids to speed count.

    The fact is that these tests will always be predictable. Testing companies are looking for a profit, and writing truly new test questions involves considerable expense in writing, piloting, and norming new items. And there’s only so much you can do with the common, standardized, multiple-choice tests anyway, even if the budget were limitless. So even a “well-designed” test will be predictable in the long-run. And once you (mostly) know what’s on the test, it will always be more time-efficient to simply teach those particular tasks rather than the deeper concepts those tasks are meant to assess. Of course, then your kids will be clueless if they’re faced with a new task. But hey… as long they scored well enough that year, it’s all good, right? They can just learn a new set of tricks next year.

    One more specific example of this, from a little further up the math chain… To address the weak conceptual knowledge created by students’ mostly test-driven backgrounds, I typically spend the first week or two of my algebra class on fractions and decimals. Not how to “do” them – kids either know that already, or have already given up and just learned how to use their calculators to cover deficiencies. No, we spend about two weeks on what fractions and decimals *are*. This often involves creating models (pictures) – for example, showing precisely where 6/7 is located on the number line by dividing the distance between 0 and 1 into 7 equal parts and then counting 6 spaces from 0. This hopefully sounds pretty trivial and not-high-school-like to well-educated people, because it really should be part of what kids do in 5th grade. But I can assure you that “dividing a unit into equal parts given by the denominator” is a completely new way of thinking to nearly all *9th graders* below about the 70th percentile (as the tests see it). In a similar sort of problem, one girl in my class was practically bouncing out of her chair with excitement when she realized you could “zoom in” to a tenth, divide it into ten parts again, and end up with hundredths, and so on with hundredths and thousandths, etc. She was so happy that someone finally put meaning into the math for her that it actually made me a little sad at the state of our schools.

    Now, to be clear, I’m incurring a hit in our test scores by doing this kind of work. The “smart play” would be to teach kids just to use the calculator for fraction problems. Of course, that would mean they wouldn’t really understand ratio, proportion, rate, slope, derivatives and a whole slew of other critical high school math concepts. I would then have to cover up that deficiency by teaching students how to manipulate test questions on those topics without understanding them. And the cycle would continue the next year.

    I won’t do that. I want my students to actually understand what they’re doing and learn to think like mathematicians. And, fortunately, my principal is one of the few that supports that. While we do have to do some amount of test prep here and there, she understands that that needs to be balanced with actual learning. But we could absolutely score higher on standardized tests if we ignored all that and just taught kids to memorize how to push symbols around on their paper. Most principals – I would even say the strong majority of them – choose that path instead.

  • 547. EdgewaterMom  |  September 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    @544. (CarolA)

    Funny you should mention play based centers. Our KDG teachers are taking some heat for the children playing with blocks during center time.

    Clearly, instead of ‘wasting’ your time allowing children to play with blocks, you should be teaching them how to talk really quickly (so that they will be able to count to 100 in 1 minute). Maybe they would allow you to show them episodes of Gilmore Girls? 😉

  • 548. CarolA  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    🙂 Too funny Edgewater! Just for the sake of clarity for those that just might pounce on the playing theory….when we talk about center time we are talking about a small block of time that the children rotate from task to task and eventually each group meeting with the teacher for leveled reading. This is not a huge chuck of the day by any means.

  • 549. 19th Ward parent  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    @532 Proud Vanderpoel Parent; Yeah, because Kellogg and Sutherland take all kids, even if they are out of district, even if they can’t read, write or do ‘rithmetic. Vanderpoel is a magnet school, who knows what their academic requirements are for getting in…

    Ask Beverly residents if Vanderpoel is even under consideration — most likely, you’ll get a “no” for an answer. Furthermore, Vanderpoel has done NOTHING to appeal to LOCAL residents for enrollment. The only guy I know who went to Vanderpoel is Kanye West.

    So how does Vanderpoel help 19th ward families? It clogs up Kellogg & Sutherland, no white parents will consider sending their kids there (sorry, but the facts bear this out), most kids who go there are not from the area … What possible use is it for us taxpayers here in the 19th Ward?

  • 550. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    @537 No. Look at the linked document. For those scoring in the 24th percentile or higher, you must have math & reading scores at C or above AND no more than nine unexcused absences.Take my example: student scoring at the 99th percentile on DWAs, all As in all subjects, but has 10 unexcused days. No promotion. It’s clock-watching plain and simple.

    @538 That’s correct, but the example I gave would not be excused absences. Touring a rain forest for three school days in Oct, spending three days at the Louvre in early Dec. and the Prado in Feb. and a day at the Art Institute in May. That’s ten. All unexcused by definition. Of course one can lie but why should one have to?

    The truth is that it’s never really about performance. Measuring attendance is simple; that’s why they do it. That and the fact that the state uses average daily attendance to determine quota funding. It doesn’t matter that your kids learn a lot; the state pays you only if they show up a lot.

    Dumb and obedient. It’s not a bug in the system. It’s a feature.

  • 551. HS Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    @550 – yes, I see. Losing it here, time to log out tonight.

    Have a great 2nd day back. CarolA/Anonymouse/Todd – thanks for your efforts. My son had a wonderful kindergarten teacher. For years he talked about how she was the best teacher “in the world”. For 8th grade graduation she sent a card to our home with a beautiful note that she was happy to have been his first teacher. She enclosed a piece of his work that she held on to for 8 years along with a photo (she took lots of pictures). What a spectacular and memorable experience.

  • 552. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm


    This hopefully sounds pretty trivial and not-high-school-like to well-educated people, because it really should be part of what kids do in 5th grade. But I can assure you that “dividing a unit into equal parts given by the denominator” is a completely new way of thinking to nearly all *9th graders* below about the 70th percentile (as the tests see it)

    What many parents want to know is why those 9th graders aren’t learning that as 5th graders. I don’t think we can account for it by saying “They had bad teachers.” Look at the Common Core Standards for Math. In 6th grade, the standards refer to such advanced concepts as this:

    Find a percent of a quantity as a rate per 100 (e.g., 30% of a quantity means 30/100 times the quantity); solve problems involving finding the whole, given a part and the percent.

    Had you said 30th percentile for 9th graders, I would have been sad. That you need to do this for students in the 70th percentile makes me want to drink myself to death in Vegas.

  • 553. katy  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    B——————-: I learned to kill them with kindness! Every time someone flipped us off, swore at us, or just gave us a “thumbs down”, I told them, “We still love your children. Have a great day!

    From a teacher on the strike line

  • 554. katy  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    HS MOM- “a 3rd grader cannot be held back for not passing the ISAT (solely). I have heard at some schools that they may be required to take a summer class”

    You are wrong.

  • 555. Portage Mom  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Todd Pytel – What is your opinion regarding Everyday Math? I have to admit I’m not a fan. I don’t like the fact there is so much skipping around on topics.

    CarolA – Kindergarten is indeed the new first grade and that’s not all. Did you know there’s honor roll in K? I was shocked.

  • 556. CPS Teacher  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Interesting reviews of various curricula can be found here:

  • 557. Todd Pytel  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    @553 (Chris) – “What many parents want to know is why those 9th graders aren’t learning that as 5th graders. I don’t think we can account for it by saying “They had bad teachers.””

    No, we can’t. Low standards are part of it. Too much emphasis on testing is a big part of it. And teacher training is probably the biggest part of it – relatively few elementary teachers have adequate training in how to implement a meaningful mathematics curriculum. I suspect many can kind of guess their way through it up to around 4th-5th grade. But you need significant, thoughtful training to teach kids what fractions mean, how to use rates, how variables generalize arithmetic patterns, or how a graph is a collection of points that fit an equation, to name a few big 5th-8th grade ideas. You can’t get there by following a script, at least not without a lot stronger mathematics background than most elementary teachers have.

    “Look at the Common Core Standards for Math. In 6th grade, the standards refer to such advanced concepts as this:

    Find a percent of a quantity as a rate per 100 (e.g., 30% of a quantity means 30/100 times the quantity)”

    Kids can do that by 9th grade, though probably using 0.30 instead of 30/100. Why? It’s on the ISAT.

    “solve problems involving finding the whole, given a part and the percent.”

    I would guess that most 9th graders below the 80th ISAT percentile cannot solve “35% of a number is 47. Find the number.” Why? They think it’s the ISAT question, and multiply 0.35*47. If they were ever taught to think of percentages in terms of parts and whole (which isn’t a perfect conceptual framework anyway), that language never made it’s way into ISAT test prep during middle school. It’s drill, baby, drill!

  • 558. Maureen  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Kanye West! Total ragging rights! This is great.

  • 559. Maureen  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Bruce Louder

  • 560. EdgewaterMom  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Todd, can I take your math class? 🙂

    But seriously, do you have any books or resources that you would recommend for 5th graders – so that they don’t end up needing remedial help in 9th grade? Khan Academy has been a great resource for us, but I am wondering if there is anything else you recommend.

    (Sorry, I realize that this is not at all strike related!)

  • 561. SutherlandParent  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    @560 (Sorry, I realize that this is not at all strike related!)–between testing, resources, curricula, TIFs, race issues and income levels (and Kanye!), I think we have about five new threads’ worth going on 🙂

  • 562. Katherine  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    385. Portage Mom

    forgot to say I agree with Warren Buffet on that school appraisal.

  • 563. Todd Pytel  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    @555 (Portage Mom) – “What is your opinion regarding Everyday Math? I have to admit I’m not a fan. I don’t like the fact there is so much skipping around on topics.”

    To be honest, I haven’t studied the elementary books extensively. However, I used to work for the high school part of UCSMP (the program that wrote the books) when I went to grad school at U of C, so I know the high school texts fairly well.

    Here’s the thing that most parent-focused math book discussion doesn’t get… it’s easier to teach a bad math curriculum than a good one. That overview linked above ranks Saxon very highly. Saxon sucks. *However*, it’s easy to get something out of it if you don’t know much about math instruction (like most parents and many elementary teachers), because all you do is follow the problem sets. There’s very little meaning to it, but it’s predictable for kids and teachers alike. And talented kids with rich background experiences and supportive parents may be able to fill in the meaning on their own. “Reform” curricula like UCSMP require a well-trained teacher or tutor to make sense of. If someone just “follows the script,” the kids will end up learning *less* than if they just did Saxon worksheets, due to a ton of time wasted in fuzzy inquiries that aren’t carefully directed.

    So… Everyday Mathematics. Assuming it follows approximately the same approach as UCSMP HS texts do (which I’m sure it does, because that program was intensely ideological)… it’s OK, with consistent, quality math instructors. Probably it goes too far with weird open-ended stuff and a zillion alternate approaches. But a good teacher can pick and choose from that to create a high-quality math curriculum that’s appropriate to their kids. But with a mediocre teacher (or, more accurately, a teacher with mediocre training), it will mostly be a trainwreck of stalled inquiries and imprecisely formulated explanations. And, to make it worse, teachers fearing their kids’ test results will probably try to address that confusion by resorting to whatever rote approach to the problem they remember, which causes even more cognitive conflict for students.

    If I had to pick a math curriculum that’s meaningful while still being relatively teachable by non-experts, I would recommend Singapore Math. That’s what my children do with me every night. However, SM develops concepts in very specific and consistent ways as the program progresses, so it would be extremely difficult for, say, a 5th grader to just jump in from some other program. You can’t do the problems in those texts just by looking at an example and copying it! But if you can get in on it early, or can spend some serious time figuring out what parts your older student needs to go back to, I think it’s a very fine program.

  • 564. EdgewaterMom  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    @561 Please calculate the percentage of total posts that are strike-related. Show your work. Bonus points if you also calculate percentage of snarky posts and determine the ratio.

  • 565. Todd Pytel  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Oh… and I figure that since the strike is over, we can all just chat amongst ourselves at this point. 🙂

  • 566. SutherlandParent  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    @564–that won’t be timed, will it?

  • 567. Todd Pytel  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    @560 (EdgewaterMom) – Khan Academy is a useful resource mainly because there’s just so much available and it’s so easily accessible. I certainly refer my students there as well. However, as far as pedagogy goes (at least for the middle/HS topics I’ve seen), it’s really nothing special. Not bad, but nothing any second year teacher couldn’t spin out as an impromptu chalk-and-talk. A *good* math class may show some of the same demonstrations, but do so as part of a sequence of tasks and experiences that make them much, much more powerful and meaningful to students. The idea – occasionally floated seriously – that we could provide a pretty good math education just by sitting kids in front of a tablet watching Khan is laughable. Or would be if it weren’t so sad.

  • 568. EdgewaterMom  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    @566 You can have much time as you need to do the calculation, but you must be able to say the complete answer in 1.6 seconds.


  • 569. SutherlandParent  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    @568–I think I’m going to need to look into the opt-out–at least for tonight 🙂

  • 570. IB obsessed  |  September 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Um, in case it makes anyone feel better, the state of math pedagogy at many privates is not substantially better than the sad practices Todd describes. Paying for this? Talk about feeling like drinking yourself to death in Las Vegas………..

    Excellent teaching of math is rare. Teachers are not trained for it.

  • 571. Proud Vanderpoel Parent  |  September 19, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Sutherland parent thanks for making me laugh! I needed that! @549 19th Ward Parent—Vanderpoel is a magnet school and they don’t always know who is coming! But, they welcome all children regardless of ability. Like I said the entry points are mainly K & 7th grade. There are two 7th & 8th grade classrooms. The new 7th graders are from all over the city and it is a challenge, but the talented staff roll up their sleeves and get to work and have outstanding outcomes! It is not an SE school so I don’t know what you are talking about as far as academic requirements to get in! The tax payers in the 19th ward need to apply to the proximity lottery and then maybe they will be able to see all that Vanderpoel has to offer!

  • 572. LSMom  |  September 20, 2012 at 4:35 am

    I’d love to have a thread on opting out, it’s something I’m considering when the time comes. Of course, that doesn’t address all the class time that teachers have to spend preparing kids. It makes me so sad that play is being pushed out!

  • 573. CarolA  |  September 20, 2012 at 5:58 am

    LSMom: I’d be curious the response a parent would get if they went to the principal and wanted to opt out of testing. I’m willing to bet most would get the response….you can’t opt out. If so, I’d move along to the district level because obviously my school DID opt out of DIBELS for the little ones and my daughter’s school did opt out of DIBELS several years ago. Unfortunately, I believe the trade off is that principals must give reason for the opt out decision AND provide an alternative method of assessment. That may be easier now that we have NWEA mandated for all. When my daughter’s school opted out, they already had NWEA in place for the little ones and they follow through with Fountas and Pinnell for leveled reading. It may be one test in exchange for several which would still be a win. Getting rid of at least one test helps. Plus, the NWEA is computer based administered whole group while the DIBELS is administered one on one by the teacher while still keeping the others occupied. That’s why part of the NEW contract states a substitute must be provided for the teacher during administration of DIBELS…..hmmmmm took them a while to figure that out and now it’s almost too late since schools may be opting out. Well, we’d save money and time there then.

  • 574. CarolA  |  September 20, 2012 at 6:38 am

    It just occurred to me that excessive testing in CPS is one issue parents and teachers (and probably most administrators) could be united on. What do you think? Should this be pursued? After all, someone said the Lab schools where Rahm’s kids are do not have all this testing. Not sure how much we can get around it because it might be State of Illinois mandates, but it’s worth a try. I also heard on the news last night that Brizard was quoted saying he couldn’t even think of sending his children to a private school while he was CEO of the public schools. Nice to know. We’ll see what happens when the children are of school age….if he’s still around then.

  • 575. 19th Ward parent  |  September 20, 2012 at 7:12 am

    @Vanderpoel Better idea: MOVE the Vanderpoel program to an under-utilized school in an area closer to its students. Then re-open the Vanderpoel building as a neighborhood school, relieving the over-crowded situations at Barnard, Kellogg and Sutherland.

    CPS had no problem doing this to Lenart, moving it from Scottsdale to 85th & the Dan Ryan, and wanted to do this to Keller. This is such a win-win — I’m going to bring it up to my Alderman!

  • 576. cubswin  |  September 20, 2012 at 7:21 am

    When I read all the objections to common core and testing I almost forget the semi-literate ability of the median CPS grad.
    More testing probably is a waste of money for wealthier districts who turn out mostly students who have truly completed a college prep curriculum. That’s not CPS.

  • 577. Portage Mom  |  September 20, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Todd Pytel – Thanks so much for your very thoughtful response. You do Singapore Math with your kids. Is Singapore Math taught at the school your children attend? I want my daughter to really understand math. Do you think it would be too confusing for me to work with her at home using Singapore Math while she is taught Everyday Math at school?

  • 578. HS Mom  |  September 20, 2012 at 8:07 am

    katy – good one

  • 579. EdgewaterMom  |  September 20, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Does anybody know much about the tests that are being designed for Common Core? From what I have seen, the objective seem decent. If the test is well-designed, Common Core could be a good thing (but I have some doubts).

  • 580. a cps mom  |  September 20, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Todd Pytel – thank you for all your info. I’m looking into Singapore Math (makes sense, those folks out east are very very into the sciences and math). And, I hope that Senn continues to improve as we live a few blocks away and I would love my kids to have you for math!

  • 581. Maureen  |  September 20, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Nice job of boosting membership at their site — Chicago Students First — by advertising here.

    Check it out for its complete lack of transparency. It is a new low.
    Lots of nice words for the mommies and daddies tired, as we all are, of the vitriol.

    But — no names, no photos, no bios of anyone.

    And — the survey questions not posted, the percentages of yes, no, undecided answers are not posted. Despite CSF saying they have experts writing the survey.

    Just using Facebook and Survey Monkey would avoided all this subterfuge.

    File under Bad News

  • 582. Maureen  |  September 20, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Here’s an example of how an honest survey is run.

    Clear statement by the organization of question and responses.

    See how The Guardian News runs a survey. Then judge for yourself.

  • 583. Maureen  |  September 20, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Read it and weep.

    Hedge fund billionaires. That is where all the money is coming from for relentless tv ads, overnight web sites and surveys by “anonymous” Chicagoans who are fighting for, well, what exactly?

    Well, the Chicago Students First web site won’t say.

    But it sure sounds like a lot of out-of-towners like Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein and NYC hedge fund managers suddenly care a lot about poor Chicago students.

    Or care about selling more tests. And teacher evaluation data.

  • 584. Patricia  |  September 20, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Todd, I may beat you on length with this one  I am curious on your thoughts on not as an online place for students to go, but rather as an online tool for teachers to use. I wrote about it in a thread way back when, but will try to summarize below. WARNING LONG POST NOT STRIKE RELATED.

    I used it with my kids one summer going over the periodic table for fun. (Yes a geeked up household.) As a parent, I really liked how down to earth and imperfect/unscripted the lectures were. It gives it a realistic feel– kind of like being in school. My kids enjoyed it for the most part and learned a fair amount. I do what I can as a parent, but by no means does it compare to what a good teacher can do.

    Then one of my kids teachers used khan in math. WOW, did I see how a master teacher could leverage it as a tool. This teacher used it for the kids to view a concept at home taking the time they need (fast or slow), attempt to complete the assessment at the end, etc. Pretty basic homework. What was amazing is how this teacher used it the next day in class. The teacher was able to completely individualize the learning of 32 students. He used the data provided by Khan to see where kids got hung up or where the students kept going. He gave each kid a “tip” on how to get over the hump of where they stopped. He grouped kids where he could. The kids were interacting and completely motivated about math!

    To top it off, the teacher one night said, “pick something on Khan in math, anything”. My son picked his own path and completed about 15 lessons getting to HS level on a particular topic of his choosing (and he was in 5th). He was empowered and motivated to keep going. The teacher then was able to foster the individual student’s passions in math……AND INDIVIDUALIZE the learning experience for a class over 30.

    I agree that sitting kids in front of a computer is not the answer to improving education. But, Khan is different. It hits on a different chord IMO. As you probably know, the philosophy is to “flip the classroom” so students get the “lecture” at home at their own pace rather than at school. THEN at school, the students do hands on problems to ensure they master the skills and the teacher is there to help and/or take it to the next level of deeper understanding. I also, LOVE how Khan philosophy that 80% is not a B, it means that the student did not master 20% of the material. They should master it 100% before moving on. I sat with my son on some of the assessments and even those are so logical. You can always “get a hint” to show you how to solve the problem, but it takes your “mastery score” back 50% of where you are at. So to make it through an assessment, means the kid really gets it. To me it is like “old fashioned learning, but using technology today”.

    I admire the heck out of the founder for keeping it a NFP and not making it look like a video game. AND IT IS FREE! That said, my son also had a teacher use it who did not leverage it as I describe above. It was more like using it as something for the kids to do. Lastly, obviously, I am a big fan seeing Khan in action for my kids. A fellow parent showed it to his son after I was gushing about it at a summer BBQ. Apparently, one Saturday morning his kid woke up early and his CHOICE was to go onto Khan and look at history lectures. The Dad was shocked that of all the things a kid can choose to do on a Saturday morning, that he chose Khan history lecture. It is a special tool IMO.

  • 585. Katherine  |  September 20, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I took the poll even though it had some ‘leading’ questions. And the poll also should have included asking parents about cultural background and salary/total income (and gender) as it seems the poll is of small minority of CPS parents–basically white and above average (household income over 60K) compared to the average CPS parent.

    If the Capital managers and hedge fund managers etc cared about kids they would donate the money and let CPS-CTU manage how to best spend it to support education.

  • 586. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I agree that the survey results were not well reported, but they point out that the demographics were off. For the survey to be valid, the responses need to mimic a random sample of CPS parents. For example, with only 9% white students in the system, if 50% of the respondents were white (the survey asked race/ethnicity) then the results would not be valid. Similarly, if 90% of the respondents were female, then there would be too few males in the sample. This is why they gave only general summaries. Saying 89% of parents did not support the strike would be misleadingly precise with the sample imbalanced. (you can excise the over-weighted responses randomly, but that might have brought the sample size down too far to be valid — e.g., if only one hundred men replied and 70% were white, then you would need to excise most of the submissions.)

    They did use Survey Monkey. It might be fun and helpful for a small group, but it will not yield valid and reliable results in most cases. You can submit multiple times. Hint: clear your cache and cookies, or have three different browsers running and use each once on the site. Unless your operating from a fixed IP, and most of us are not, then SM cannot tell a repeat from a new respondent.

    On the blog, they have their names in the emails they sent to JCB and KL. Their children are special needs students attending Beasley. If you know how to work command-line Unix, you can run a whois on the site and learn the home address and phone of one of the founders (she’s in the west Loop).

  • 587. cpsobsessed  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Hi – won’t be reading again today so you guys are on your own. I have a giant report due so I need to keep a clear mind.

    Thoughts on the last couple posts I’ve read:
    I’ve used some early-leve singapore math workbooks with my son and I really like them. Got them on At the very least, they’re great for practice in the early grades. Plus the word problems are fun because they often use unusual asian fruits as part of the story.

    Regarding surveys, a brief lesson since this is what I do for a living — check the source and question the representation of the sample. Professsional sampling companies know how to get (and have enough sample to get) a representation of a population. Most samples we see around town are convenience samples, taken among a certain type of population. A survey conducted by the CTU, RYH, me, DFER, etc, should be taken with a huge grain of salt if you want to know what “parents in chicago” think. We know that parents have a wide variety of opinions and localized surveys will confirm that. If any of those groups hire an independent survey firm, that’s a different story (but the researcher in me would still want to see how the questions were asked because there”s room there for interpretation.)

    Ok, if anyone has an idea for a new thread (such as where do we go from here) email me…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 588. cpsobsessed  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Thanks Christopher, we were posting at the same time…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 589. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:20 am

    The first teachers use of Khan Academy is excellent, but even that runs into some problems as things get more advanced, and it does not introduce concepts at the basic level that would be helpful further up the line. As Conrad Wolfram says, most students are “running through a bunch of calculating processes they don’t understand for reasons they don’t get.” Knowing how to do regression by hand is helpful in case you are stuck on a desert island w/o a computer, but nobody expects you to do it that way daily. But most of the time children spend in school is doing calculating. This is why Todd’s 9th graders don’t really understand fractions. Someone taught them the algorithm for getting 35% of 47 but not what a percentage really is or how to think about the problem, so they can’t understand how to get a number for which 47 is 35% of the number. There’s a TED talk by a teacher in CA who goes over the problem with the word problems we use; they don’t really teach kids how to solve problems. Instead, the setup data to put into a formula for kids to calculate. It’s not real math. When all these kids get to college, including many that do well in calculus in HS, they are lost because now they’re being taught be mathematicians and mathematicians don’t give a crap about calculating. They have machines for that.

  • 590. Working parent  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Christopher – reasonable analysis. Parents doing something.
    If you look at Maureens facebook page that she published above – Maureen Cullnan writer for Substance News – not a CPS parent, not a teacher

  • 591. Maureen  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Neve been a writer for Substance New, ever. Never posted such a thing, either, working parent whoever you are.

  • 592. 19th Ward parent  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:48 am

    @Maureen I’m confused. Do you have kids in CPS? I thought you were a CPS parent sticking up for CTU?!?

  • 593. Maureen  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:49 am

    It may be that a troll working for an out-of-town group has posted some lie about me writing for Substance News. I don’t know. But it’s not true.

    Here are the out-of-town groups to watch out for.

    1.) Stand for Children, Jonah Edelman invited to Chicago by bilionaire Bruce Rauner
    2.) Education Reform Now Joel Klein, now works for Murdoch’s Wireless Generation which sells online testing and teacher eval data
    3.) Democrats for Education Reform funded by hedge fund managers who like privatizing education
    4.) Students First, run by Michelle Rhee, funded by Bill Gates, who is now in the tablet business, along wt Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

    Anyone else joining the party? Think parking meters, folks.

  • 594. cubswin  |  September 20, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Who advocates for tier 1/2 schools?
    Just about any parent group forming to address CPS at a board level is going to be wealthier and better educated than the average CPS parent.
    How much are tier 3/4 parents willing to give up to provide better social services at tier 1/2 schools?
    Parents groups probably end up with similar biases as teachers unions; Advocating for what what is personally and immediately important.

  • 595. cubswin  |  September 20, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Plenty of hedgefundless local people supporting DFER.

  • 596. Katherine  |  September 20, 2012 at 10:20 am

    There are plenty of parent groups where the parents do not have higher Ed but they still have common sense [that’s all you need] and ALL parents should be included whether or not they have education, in the CPS processes and changing CPS for the better of kids.

    One does not have to be wealthy or educated to understand education needs to improve, and unfortunately the BOE doesn’t seem to listen to all parents equally.

    Also lower income parents are usually juggling several jobs, elderly relatives etc. so being super organized is a little harder.

    It would be a great thing if the Chicago Students first does go to Every neighborhood, every school to get average parent input, not just people with constant access to internet etc.

    Having just white upper middle class people who are a tiny minority in the school system have the say and the press is a little sad (it seems that way so far from the press coverage).

    I do not respect DFER at all–more imposition of “i know best” from people who have no experience in teaching children…all cuz they got $$$$$$$$

  • 597. CPC4Chicago  |  September 20, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Did all you people ripping on groups funded by “hedge fund billionaires” feel the same way about during the last presidential election cycle?

  • 598. Maureen  |  September 20, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Chicago Student First

    Not just a couple of moms who somehow got their hands on the entire CPS parent email database.

  • 599. City Mom  |  September 20, 2012 at 10:32 am

    @577 Portage Mom~Obviously, I’m not Todd. 🙂 But I have afterschooled my kids in Singapore Math for awhile now. I did Singapore Math with my DD (now an eighth-grader) since 1st grade. She had more than one math curriculum at school during this time but never really experienced confusion between any of them. Singapore gave her a firm foundation by which to understand the alternative methods to which she was introduced. Currently, I am doing Singapore Math with my 3rd grader. He’s been doing Singapore since kindergarten and has had Everyday Math as his curriculum at school since 1st grade. So far, he hasn’t struggled with any confusion between the two. Again, I think Singapore has a provided by a framework into which he incorporates other approaches. So far so good anyway. I think there’s still an assessment on the Singapore Math site that helps determine the best level at which to start. Don’t be afraid to go backwards to go forward. I’m really glad I did it (and am doing it)! I think it’s given my kids a much better conceptual understanding of math than they would have had otherwise. Best of luck whatever you decide!

  • 600. Paul  |  September 20, 2012 at 10:44 am

    It appears the next big issue in CPS is going to be over school closings, turnaround efforts, and opening new schools like charters. And, it looks like the CTU vs. CPS battle will resume as soon as CPS takes the next step in moving down that road. People and groups are going to either line up behind CPS in its efforts to change things, or they are going to line up behind CTU in its efforts to protect those schools and teachers that would be affected.

    And, again, parents are going to be divided in their thoughts on the subject. On the one hand, we’ll think that something must be done with schools that have such low levels of academic achievement or that are underenrolled. On the other hand, we’ll sympathize with teachers who could lose their job through no fault of their own and with the parents, children, and communities that are attached to their school, love their teachers, and don’t want them to close or be involved in some kind of turnaround.

    So, I’d love a new thread or threads that delve into the issue of what should be done, if anything, with underenrolled or underperforming schools. How does CPS define those terms and identify those schools, and what do parents think about them?

    Now, it could be that most of the parents commenting on this blog would not be directly affected by these actions. They’ve either got their children in a selective enrollment or magnet school, or they’re in a adequately or high performing neighborhood school that wouldn’t make it onto any of these lists. So, some effort would have to be made to obtain the views of parents who would be directly affected. What do they think would be best for their children?

    Does the union have proposals for those schools that are economically feasible? If the union’s answer is very costly, would it be worth the cost? Is it politically feasible to build enough support to get those funds?

    What is CPS’s plan, and what are the agendas of the various interest groups, reform organizations, charter operators, etc. and what do they stand to gain from these actions? How does that compare to what the union would gain from fighting these actions? And, what course of action really would be better for the children?

  • 601. EdgewaterMom  |  September 20, 2012 at 10:50 am

    CityMom (and anybody else using Singapore math): Did you just use the workbooks, or do you buy the text books as well. My daughter did pretty well in math in 4th grade, but I don’t think she really has the solid foundation that she needs. I am thinking of starting with level 3 (grade 4), but am not sure if I need the text books and the workbooks.

  • 602. cpsobsessed  |  September 20, 2012 at 10:53 am

    For the early grades, the singapore math workbooks can be used as a textbook. They show how to work out the problems, then give practice pages. There are little diagrams about mult and div etc.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 603. Pvt. Mom  |  September 20, 2012 at 10:54 am

    @anonymouse teacher. “Sometime, I will have to post on how I try (like many early primary teachers do) to mitigate the effects of the hyper academic nature of kindergarten in CPS.”

    Please do. A first grade teacher once told me that every year she has to work harder and harder on showing her students how to work in a group. She feels as if the kinds of skills that were once fostered in play-based kindergartens are either weakened or no longer there.

    @Todd. You’re totally awesome. I very, very much needed an algebra teacher like you. I am one of those students that ended up limping along with the band-aid, work-around stuff you mention. Its just a big cover-up. To this day, I have no innate sense for the principles of math. And this is something I mourn because I actually use a lot of higher level math in what I do and, conceptually, I have come to understand the awesome beauty of mathematics. If I had more time, I would try to start from the beginning and give myself a Khan math education or something. Anyway, just keep doing what you are doing! You’ve probably read Lockhart’s Lament but here it is for everyone’s reading pleasure. This would make a great thread topic too!

  • 604. Family Friend  |  September 20, 2012 at 11:04 am

    @496: Charters generally use testing to determine whether teachers are teaching the skills and materials in the curriculum. “Counseling out” is not unheard of, but it’s not a standard M.O. for charters. As discussed earlier on this blog, when it happens, it usually involves behavior problems — kids who are making it hard for anyone to learn.

  • 605. City Mom  |  September 20, 2012 at 11:17 am

    @601 Edgewater Mom~ I use both the text books and workbooks, although I agree with CPSO in that you can probably rely on just the workbooks in the earlier years. By the time my kids reach the 4A Level, we work step by step through the text book. The worked problems and examples do a good job of laying the groundwork, especially for fractions. By the time we reach 4A, we do most of the text book practices and reviews too (along with, of course, the workbook exercises and reviews.) Hope that helps. . !

  • 606. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 20, 2012 at 11:18 am

    @597 I think it’s time to hit the virtual books and do some research. Soros gave to Voter Fund in 2004 to match individual small donors. Not in 2008 or 2012.

    The hedge-fund billionaires charge is inaccurate in Illinois — the billionaires came from publishing (Sam Zell) and private equity (Madison Dearborn, Henry Crown) in addition to hedge-funds (Citadel). I’d be pleased to work for any of them in low 6-figures capacity, with a guaranteed 100% bonus and a performance bonus target of 400% of salary.

    They donated six-figure sums to SfC IL PAC before new restrictions on fund-raising came into place. SfC’s PAC targeted state races — not federal offices — and so donations to it and its activities do not fall under FEC jurisdiction. If anyone is are aware of million dollar donations to them conditioned on matching funds, I’d love to hear about it.

    See donations to SfC here:

  • 607. local  |  September 20, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Charter money-to-be-made comment from District 299 Blog:

    donald said 18 hours, 12 minutes ago
    In reply to fedup:

    Non-profit charter schools do make money for investors in several ways. Of course, like regular public schools, they sign contracts for services and products that are worth hundreds of millions (if not billions) at this point. They can award these contracts with much less scrutiny than can school boards these days–though I am not going to defend the public schools’ record on awarding contracts.

    Inflated salaries and other benefits can be paid to charter school organization executives, such as UNO’s Juan Rangel’s $266,000 salary. And there are consultants who can feed too.

    But all of that is petty stuff compared to the real estate and bond opportunities for profiting from charters.

    There are currently $5.5 Billion of tax-free municipal bonds issued by Charter Schools. That number will multiply within a few years. The opportunities for profiting from the bonds are numerous and complex, and that may be why so many hedge-fund managers are suddenly interested in school reform.

    Most Charter School financing is also accessible primarily to insiders. So it is reasonable for a wealthy investor to spend, say, $10 million on radio ads, lobbying, and so forth in Chicago and have a solid expectation that a particular deal will come his way. If, for example, Bruce Rauner is able to realize his ostensibly civic-minded plan to buy 100 empty school buildings from CPS and lease or sell them cheaply to Charter Schools, he could conceivably realize $100s of millions in profit through a variety of financing instruments, tax depreciation, and other advantages. It is very well worth his while to put a few millions into campaign contributions and anything that will give politicians cover for helping him do this deal.

    Amid the strike, Bloomberg put out an article worth looking at, detailing the gigantic market in Charter School Financing:

    I got a call recently from a reporter from a major national newspaper who is researching an article on the charter school money trail. I suspect that Chicago’s charter school dealings will come in for a bruising.

  • 608. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 20, 2012 at 11:28 am

    @598 They don’t have the entire CPS parent email base, or if they do, that base is really really small. I never received an email from them.

    My error above: they are parents at Beard, not Beasley.

    CPS couldn’t put together an email base of all the parents if it wanted to. Our school doesn’t have an email base of the parents. The 501c3 for our school does have emails for parents who signed up for email blasts but that’s not the whole school by any means. And the 501c3 controls it, not the school, and certainly not CPS.

  • 609. local  |  September 20, 2012 at 11:29 am

    There’s a new thread ripe for posting: math education in CPS and my kid/s. Very interesting issue/topic.

  • 610. local  |  September 20, 2012 at 11:34 am

    “Having just white upper middle class people who are a tiny minority in the school system have the say and the press is a little sad (it seems that way so far from the press coverage).”

    Yes, the press coverage sucked.

  • 611. local  |  September 20, 2012 at 11:47 am

    @ 579. EdgewaterMom | September 20, 2012 at 8:20 am

    “Does anybody know much about the tests that are being designed for Common Core? From what I have seen, the objective seem decent. If the test is well-designed, Common Core could be a good thing (but I have some doubts).”

    Good for a new post/thread. The whole Common Core issue.

  • 612. CPC4Chicago  |  September 20, 2012 at 11:57 am


    The octogenarian palindrome still very much funds, just not in the same manner he did in 2004.

    Agree with you and appreciate you shooting down the fact that not everyone behind the educational reform groups can be grouped under the bogeyman of the day umbrella of “hedge fund billionaire”.

    I’m sure Sam Zell would find it amusing to hear himself referred to as a publishing billionaire. A real estate billionaire who still managed to be a billionaire after a disastrous ill timed foray into the publishing business perhaps.

    Finally, just thought it was worth pointing out that those high paying jobs at least in hedge fund industry are the quintessential “merit pay”/lack of job security positions. Kenny Gs shop in particular has a revolving door that turns faster than those at Water Tower Place the day after Thanksgiving.

  • 613. CPS Teacher  |  September 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    National tests for Common Core have not yet been developed/released. Current assessments are being created by individual schools and districts.

  • 614. cubswin  |  September 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    How about a true threaded discussion forum? WordPress doesn’t offer that service, but it should be possible to link to a free service.

  • 615. cpsobsessed  |  September 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    @cubswin. The message board is set up and ready to go…but it needs people to start filling it up with questions. I’ll post info later today.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 616. mom2  |  September 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    CPSObsessed – The other topic (related) that we mentioned in the middle of the strike was a real analysis of the CPS budget. How much extra do certain schools get? What are all the layers in CPS and how much is spent on those layers? Etc. Not sure how we cover that in a thread, but I would love to know those details and I keep hearing that certain schools get more in the budget and it isn’t fair, but then I hear that less wealthy neighborhood schools actually get more. What are the facts?
    Thank you!

  • 617. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Chicago Children First is an organization by Michelle Rhee only no one is saying it…There’s NO WAY that an org could be set up in a week and have had meetings w/CPS when many groups have been wanting for months to talk w/them. This is corporate ed reform trying to fool parents.

  • 618. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    #616~mom2~CPSO~I’d really like to see that analysis too.

  • 619. Family Friend  |  September 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    CPS budgeting and financial reporting is extremely opaque. You can read the thing until you are blue in the face and still have no idea where the money goes. Brizard came into the job promising “transparency” but I think he has been frustrated. To the extent anyone figures out how much is being spent on a particular item — and it’s not always possible — there is usually someone who likes the idea of keeping it obscure. I has been about ten years since I had reason to really dig into this topic, but I suspect that not much has changed.

  • 620. CPS TBPK momma  |  September 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    617–please read post 17. I am not affiliated with this organization, but watched it sort of hatch here on CPSO and NPN. Unless the organizers are blatantly lying, you are incorrect.

    I agree that the name is confusingly similar to Rhee’s organization, but there is no evidence of a connection between the 2. It really just looks like a couple of CPS moms who are trying to organize parents, and it’s frustrating to see people make unsubstantiated claims about them.

  • 621. LSMom  |  September 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    CarolA, I’d definitely be interested in joining in any sort of effort to reduce the emphasis on testing and restore a developmentally appropriate K-3 curriculum to CPS. I bet it would run counter to all sorts of federal and state requirements, sadly.

    In terms of the logistics of opting out, all I’ve done so far is read the articles on Substance News about a Chicago mom who opted her kids out. It sounded like the principal made it difficult but ultimately she was able to do it, and I think her children did independent reading instead.

  • 622. Portage Mom  |  September 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    @599 City Mom – I really appreciate your feedback. Thanks so much for taking the time and giving not just myself but other parents very valuable information. I will order the Singapore math workbooks.

    Tests have their place but I remember testing well in school and not feeling I had a firm handle on math. I’m just curious City Mom, what is your take on Everyday Math?

    Thanks again cpsobsessed for a great resource!!!!!

  • 624. Portage Mom  |  September 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    @623 Great article. Thanks for posting. I supported a lot of what the article said regarding this strike didn’t have to happen.

  • 625. local  |  September 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Racial segregation in public schools across the country – not just Chicago’s Southside:

  • 626. Katherine  |  September 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    My son has gotten 99 on ISAT in math and he doesn’t like Everyday math.

    Thanks for all the math info I will look into the Singapore stuff too since better examples with more conceptual thinking he would enjoy more. Math is his forte but he doesn’t like the book.

  • 627. Todd Pytel  |  September 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    @576 (cubswin) – “More testing probably is a waste of money for wealthier districts who turn out mostly students who have truly completed a college prep curriculum. That’s not CPS.”

    I don’t understand your argument. We agree that many CPS students have had weak preparation. How does testing them more help remedy that? The whole point of the examples Mouse and I provided is that more frequent, more important testing actually makes the curriculum *worse*.

    Logically, if students have had weak instruction, the answer is stronger instruction. You don’t fatten a pig by weighing it.

  • 628. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    @612 “quintessential “merit pay”/lack of job security positions.”

    I hope they are not the quintessential merit pay jobs because the industry tends to be rewarded for luck rather than for skill. As Daniel Kahneman points out in Thinking, Fast and Slow, a wealth advisory firm he was to speak at gave him eight years of performance data on 25 advisors. Kahneman calculated the correlation coefficient in advisors’ rankings: it was 0.10. People who did well one year were unlikely to do well the next year, and people who did poorly were likely to do very well the next. If financial acumen was driving performance the strong performers should have stayed above the middle most years. Their performance did not just vary, it was almost equal to random ranking.

    Merit pay schemes have been tried, like in CEO pay. But when the co. goes south the board revises the rules, like it did for Eisner at Disney.

  • 629. Todd Pytel  |  September 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    @577 (Portage Mom) – “Is Singapore Math taught at the school your children attend?”

    No, they do Everyday Math like most everyone else. I don’t know all the policy details, but it seems extremely difficult for schools, even highly-regarded schools, to choose something else.

    “Do you think it would be too confusing for me to work with her at home using Singapore Math while she is taught Everyday Math at school?”

    Hope not, because that’s what I’m planning on doing.

  • 630. RL Julia  |  September 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Kids had Everyday Math taught by awesome teachers who had been trained on it and who had put in the time to learn/master the curriculum. It was a great experience and they learned tons.

    One thing to think about r.e. TIF spending for SEHS’s – not everyone in the TIF has kids that they want to send to their closest SEHS – often the building of a high school (SE or otherwise, I suppose) is thought of as being an economic development activity that will anchor businesses to an area, reduce crime etc…

    In regards to who advocates for tier 1 and 2? As far as I can tell, no one – although there sure are a lot of people who have bought the one nice house on the one nice block in a tier 1/2 neighborhood and their house is nicer than X’s tier 3/4 house and their kids are going to get an unfair advantage. Can’t tell you the number of times I have heard this story from numerous people in the past six months…..

    I also thought that the press on the strike r.e. parents was really biased towards richer, whiter folks – but then again they are the ones who have the most access to the press/media.

  • 631. southie  |  September 20, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    “they are the ones who have the most access to the press/media.”

    If the press were not so lazy or led, then they’d bother to access the voices they’ve traditionally marginalized. Most the editorials were whack, too.

  • 632. Todd Pytel  |  September 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    @579 (Edgewater Mom) – “Does anybody know much about the tests that are being designed for Common Core?”

    There are two different common core assessments being developed, each by a different multi-state consortium. The one Illinois is aligning with is PARCC ( The math people at PARCC (I don’t know the reading side so well) have a very clear understanding of the deficiencies of our current tests, and an ambitious plan to set a whole new standard in meaningful, large-scale assessment. The end-of-year PARCC exams will be entirely computer-delivered and intend to use technologies like Flash to create more interactive test items that are resistant to common, cheap test-prep strategies like guess-and-checking and partial elimination. Some sample items were just released about a month ago here:

    IMO, these are excellent assessment items that really do make kids think about essential mathematical ideas without being fuzzy, open-ended walls of text. Besides the end-of-year test that will serve as a summative assessment of school and student achievement, there will also be interim assessments in several formats that intend to measure students’ progress towards those end-of-year goals. So far, everything I’ve seen from PARCC seems extremely sensible and carefully designed. My only concern is that they seem to be progressing far too slowly to hit their target roll out of the 2014-2015 school year. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see only a subset of the intended assessment battery released that year – probably the end-of-year tests only, and only at key grade levels. But we’ll see…

    “From what I have seen, the objective seem decent. If the test is well-designed, Common Core could be a good thing (but I have some doubts).”

    As you imply, standards and assessment are inextricably linked, even though they’re logically distinct and are in fact created by different groups. The standards could be wonderful, but what matters to schools is what they need to do to score well and look good in the papers. IMO, the Common Core math standards themselves are excellent. They specify important conceptual understandings (as opposed to just superficial problem types), and they do so in a manner specific enough to give direction to teachers’ planning. They are, however, ambitious. Extremely ambitious. Many elementary math teachers I’ve met, especially in 4th-8th grade, are terrified of them. It’s going to take many years to bring our system up to that level. However, those goals were very much modeled after what other, higher-performing countries regularly achieve. If they can do it, it must be possible for us to do it as well.

    As for the correspondence between CCSS and PARCC, that’s the big question on the minds of curriculum people everywhere. I can say this… I’ve attended keynotes given by top-ranking folks at both PARCC and CCSS. They extremely knowledgeable, well-grounded people, and they’re definitely on the same page. The only question is whether PARCC has the resources and capacity to do everything they want to do. From all I’ve seen so far, they’re on the right path, but it’s a long path that’s going to require a lot more work.

  • 633. Todd Pytel  |  September 20, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    @584 (Patricia) – “I am curious on your thoughts on not as an online place for students to go, but rather as an online tool for teachers to use.”

    The first example you cite sounds like a fantastic example of how technology can be used to differentiate instruction. Very cool. However, as Christopher suggests in @589, there are limitations to what can be implemented in a fully automated system like that. Those systems (and there are several besides just Khan) require vast numbers of nice, neat problems that are easily scored and reported. There are many important conceptual understandings and thinking skills throughout mathematics that just don’t lend themselves to that format, and I think teachers that fall in love with those systems sometimes mistake convenience for quality. I know of at least one fairly well-regarded high school where math class is basically just the teacher supervising students’ independent interactions with a Khan-like computerized assessment/instruction system. That’s better (more individualized, faster feedback) than just having students do worksheets, but it doesn’t allow for the kind of instruction that pushes for deeper understanding of big ideas.

    So yes, I think Khan and similar systems can be excellent ways to differentiate instruction and help students master certain kinds of mathematical skills. That’s genuinely valuable stuff. But there’s more to an excellent math program than that.

  • 634. cubswin  |  September 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    “Logically, if students have had weak instruction, the answer is stronger instruction. You don’t fatten a pig by weighing it.”

    Farming has become more productive with data capture and analysis. More bacon for everyone.

    Noble are big data users. But they have almost 1000 minutes a week combined in english, math and science. With the limited instructional time CPS can afford under the CTU contract perhaps there isn’t enough time remaining to do the additional testing.

  • 635. Chris  |  September 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Todd: “Chris, even though I recognize this isn’t quite “stakes” for the kid in the way you’re inquiring about, it’s exactly why high-stakes testing (for schools) is so bad for kids.”

    Appreciate the long post. And agree with you about all of it.

    That said, I am so put off by the “high stakes” line, b/c the stakes being objected to are primarily the teachers’, principals’ and systems stakes, and the “stakes” for the kids come from the teachers, principals and systems revising the pedogogical methods to (quite understandably) protect themselves. I think that it is a subject that canNOT be boiled down to a buzzphrase, and the attempting to do so displaces the message.

    Yes, it’s harder to get people to listen to a full explanation of “why too much testing makes Johnny lose–even if he’s scoring 99+” than to just say “we oppose high stakes testing”, but when people can’t unpack what “high stakes testing” means (and I believe that many that *use* the phrase don’t really get it, either), then you’re worse off, because (1) most people *still* need the full explanation anyway, and (2) people like me (okay, maybe *just* me) get annoyed by the buzzphrase and complain about it a lot.

  • 636. Patricia  |  September 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks Todd and Christopher. I think we are in agreement. A tool like Khan certainly cannot do everything, but it can be a good resource for teachers to individualize learning. Math is so fascinating and I can completely see in my children the difference when they can “do a problem” vs. being able to truly understand the relationship of the numbers and concepts behind how and why they get to the right or wrong answer. I certainly did not get those concepts until grad school as I came from more of a rote memorization education environment in elementary/HS. Or because my parents paid no attention to my education, but they did make sure I went to school at least.

    I think as technology progresses, it is important for teachers to explore how to best integrate and leverage technology. I worry that there is a fear (perhaps rightfully so) that it is meant to replace teachers. I think it should be used to help teachers as the example I described. However, the right technology may be able to diffuse some of the class size issues…….maybe yes, maybe no. Have to think about that one more.

  • 637. Todd Pytel  |  September 20, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    @635 (Chris) – I get what you’re saying about stakes for kids vs. faculty/schools. The only other thing I’d add is that the phrase “high stakes testing” existed well before the current trend of using those scores to evaluate individual teachers. Sometimes, those tests did involve stakes for kids (ex: the Regents, the old CASE exams). Sometimes, they involved stakes for schools (NCLB AYP numbers). The point was that curriculum and instruction suffer whenever a few exams acquire outsize importance for *anyone* involved. There wasn’t and isn’t (IMO) some effort to use an inflated individual impact on kids as a distraction from taking responsibility, which seems to be what you’re taking issue with. High-stakes exams are bad for kids no matter who’s stakes are actually on the table.

  • 638. EdgewaterMom  |  September 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm


    Logically, if students have had weak instruction, the answer is stronger instruction. You don’t fatten a pig by weighing it.

    I think that this is my favorite quote from this thread!

    I also really appreciate the detailed Math posts on this thread – it is fascinating to get insight from a teacher.

  • 639. Portage Mom  |  September 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    @629 Todd – Thanks so much taking the time and replying to my questions. Based on your response and the responses of others I will be doing Singapore Math at home. I will repeat what others on this board have said. Todd, you rock.

    One of the upsides to the strike is having teachers participate on this board. Your posts are articulate, balanced and thoughtful.

  • 640. Todd Pytel  |  September 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    *whose* stakes are actually on the table.

    Can’t leave that uncorrected… some English-teaching friends read this…

  • 641. anonymouse teacher  |  September 20, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    My biggest issue with high stakes testing right now in CPS for early primary is the sheer number of tests, how long these tests take and that the information the tests provide overlap making them redundant. The test also do not accurately measure ESL learners.
    In K at my school, we give:
    Reach performance assessment

    The information we get in NWEA covers much of what is done in Dibels and Mclass. (according to the conflicting emails I get from central office every other day about which tests we are giving)
    As well, on Dibels and Mclass, kids must be “progress monitored”. In my school it works like this:
    If a kid is on green (proficient) they are progress monitored one time between benchmarks assessments. That is no problem. If a kid is on yellow (some risk), they must be progress monitored once every 4 weeks between benchmarks. If a kid is on red (high risk) they must be monitored every 2 weeks. If a kid is on RTI, they must be retested every.single.week. without fail the entire period between benchmarks. (at least at my school)
    Last year, I had 27 kids. 7 were RTI. A few others were “red”. A few more were yellow. I was “progress monitoring” every single day.
    Today I did TRC’s. These are like running records, or reading tests. I have several children who speak little to no English. These tests do not measure the reading ability or lack thereof of these students. My kids don’t even know what they are answering. Yet I must give them anyway.
    For NWEA, kids with an AXIS score (I think that’s the acronym–its is an ESL test)–oh one more test I forgot about–of less than 3.5 are not really even supposed to be taking the NWEA tests, yet the district mandates them to do so.

  • 642. City Mom  |  September 20, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    @622 Your welcome, Portage Mom! I can’t say I’m a big fan of Everyday Math. I think it jumps around too much, too. I don’t think it stays with any topic long enough for the kids to really work with a topic or understand it. It doesn’t seem to connect one topic with another or build upon itself in a way that develops depth or cohesion. Singapore has worked well for us. I hope it works well for your daughter!

  • 643. Proud Vanderpoel Parent  |  September 20, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    @19th ward parent–ummmmmmmm….how do you propose to move Vanderpoel a magnet school closer to the kids who attend! They come from all over. There are 9 routes….you are so ridiculous! I wouldn’t call my alderman about the magnet school within walking distance to my house and remember that Vanderpoel’s parents have aldermen too! Why don’t you call your alderman about using TIF funds to build a new school in Beverly!

  • 644. Bernadette go home  |  September 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Maureen/Bernadette, please just go away. Stop. You ruined NPN, you’re talked about on a national level on urbanbaby. Just stop. You could probably do a lot of good with your passion/incredible amount of free time.

  • 645. anonymouse teacher  |  September 20, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    @603 re: mitigating the effects of overtesting and overly academic kindergartens. Here’s a little list of things I do (that many teachers do):
    -brought blocks, toy trains and other stereotypical toys for “boys” back in the room. I was told we didn’t have time to play and that blocks were too noisy. So, we dug out an extra thick rug from the basement and now we have a great block center. As for the “we don’t have time” idea, I feel like we must have time and this year, we’ll be incorporating a bunch of math ideas in with our block and train centers
    -brought back “center time”. We rotate centers kind of like preschool does, for a 45 minute block of time each day. Kids can go to the block/train center, puzzle center, writing center (with TONS of cool writing implements), library, computers, art center or math center. They play, create, read, write, and otherwise keep themselves engaged in responsible play based learning. While the kids are in centers, I am pulling small groups of kids to sit with me for instruction/intervention/testing.
    -we fought for 2 recess times and our admin agreed to it, at least for this year
    -we do anything possible to move around, act things out, play, sing, dance, etc. Anything that can be learned through rote memorization can be learned in some fun way.

    And while I lean towards embracing a more play based kindergarten, we still do writer’s workshop complete with author’s chair. Most of my students read fairly well by the end of the year–we have a block of time called Daily 5 where kids are engaged in real reading and writing and I work with more small groups. And we are using EveryDay Math, which I don’t like, but I try to use the pieces of that program that are good (all the hands on stuff) while supplementing with some extra basic practice and try to tie math into other subject areas as much as possible.

    If I had a class size of 15, I would love to design and teach a play based, Reggio Emilio inspired, science driven kindergarten that focused mostly on the interests of kids.

  • 646. cpsteacher  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I just LOVE how the first day that teachers came back over 500 got layoff letters due to “drop in enrollment causes”. No wonder CPS wanted teachers back by Wednesday!! Look who is playing fast and loose? Teachers better wise up.

  • 647. no name  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I feel for you @ 646. But in spite of what cps wanted to claim at the end of the day it was a “labor” dispute.

  • 648. cpsemployee  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm


    “For NWEA, kids with an AXIS score (I think that’s the acronym–its is an ESL test)–oh one more test I forgot about–of less than 3.5 are not really even supposed to be taking the NWEA tests, yet the district mandates them to do so.”

    Our Network told us we could use our own discretion in whether we wanted to test (NWEA test, that is) our ESL students with an ACCESS score of less than 3.5. Originally the district was saying ALL students then modified it. But – they didn’t “formally” announce it – I think they left it up to the Network Chiefs. The schools in my network pushed the issue and our chief finally agreed.

  • 649. katy  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    @ 647 RIGHT!!! SO that’s why all that :for the kids” BS from both sides pissed me off!! CPS is still running ads about the strike/full school day/ ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

  • 650. cps alum  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    @Todd, — I teach math in a suburban high school with high PSAE scores. It is so frustrating aligning the high school math curriculum to the Common Core, especially since Illinois has failed to decide if we are doing the Math I,II,III model or the traditional approach. They were supposed to decide that a year ago! I don’t know how they expect to test in 2014! Additionally it is mandated all at once, with out regard that students in the upper grades may not have the background to do the math expected of them in the upper grades. At our school we are thinking about designing transition courses that will most likely have to be changed again in a couple of years as students have a different background.

    Plus, many people don’t realize that Common Core is not a curriculum but a set of standards. No framework on how to design courses and little guidance from PARCC or ISBE on to which standards are expected to be taught in which grade. Additionally, while the standards are quite robust for grades k-8, many of my colleagues feel that the high school standards are actually quite light and is in fact less rigorous than some of our current courses. It is almost comical on how some of the standards are extremely detailed, but other topics are barely even mentioned. I do, however, like the greater emphasis on statistics and modeling. This was lacking at many schools.

    I haven’t even mentioned that Common Core and the testing model to come will just about kill AP Calculus and post Calculus courses in high school many districts…..

    I think there is a lot of good coming out of Common Core, I just don’t think that everything was thought out thoroughly in its implementation and development.

  • 651. anonymouse teacher  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    @648, We checked with our network and ours must give it. I am glad your school doesn’t have to.

  • 652. Todd Pytel  |  September 20, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    @651 – Totally agree about transitioning being a huge PITA. Assuming the elementaries do a good job implementing the CCSS, that means it will take a decade or more of constant, slight curriculum shifting at the high school level. Very messy.

    Also agree that the proposed testing regimen messes with AP/IB, though there’s a whole separate discussion there about AP Calc that’s way beyond the scope of this blog.

    I’d be interested in hearing more about the standards you find lacking at the HS level, but maybe direct those at That’s probably too much math wonkery for CPSO.

  • 653. Formerly working mom  |  September 20, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Anyone have experience with Trailblazer Math?

  • 654. Family Friend  |  September 21, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Anonymouse – I had no idea of the VOLUME of testing you do in kindergarten. It’s ridiculous. Is any of this data used to drive instruction? If not, it’s a complete waste of time. And how do you have any time for instruction, with all the testing?

    To the best of my recollection, my kids (full day kdg, private school) had no testing at all, although there may have been some observation of their progress. It was a play-based kindergarten. At parents’ night, one father asked what the children would learn in kindergarten. The answer: “Well, we hope that by the end of kindergarten, they will know how to raise their hands when they want to go to the bathroom, walk in a straight line, and eat lunch in half an hour.” Of course, there was a lot of learning going on, but I think the answer was meant to emphasize that kindergarten was far from “high stakes.” Neither one of my daughters learned to read in kindergarten, and neither was a fluent reader before second grade. Nobody at school was worried about it.

    I am beginning to see what teachers are complaining about. I thought ISAT was the only test in elementary school.

  • 655. Maureen  |  September 21, 2012 at 8:54 am

    654. I didn’t realize the extent of over testing either. Anyone know which tests — from a parent’s point of view — are optional in which grades?

  • 656. Pvt. Mom  |  September 21, 2012 at 9:24 am

    @645anonymouse teacher. Thank you for taking the time to describe your classroom! I suppose the silver lining in this is that it is forcing you to think very clearly about what is necessary within the restrictions that you have. This undoubtedly keeps you on your toes and keeps your teaching alive and focused. But, of course, in my view “the spark” needn’t come about in such an onerous way. In fact, everything you describe sounds pretty good for a first grade classroom! Even better if the number of kids were lower and you could incorporate more of the Reggio approach into your structure. I have a lot of confidence that we will eventually pull back from this whole “kindergarten is the new first grade” stuff but unfortunately not in time for my kids. So, hang in there and write a book!! 🙂 I am sure you have read some of Vivian Gussin Paley?

    @650cpsalum. Could you explain a tiny bit more about what you meant regarding AP Calc? My kids are not to HS yet but the one thing I am committed to is to have them “calculus ready” for college. Too many subjects and majors require Calc in the frosh year in order to graduate on time. Maybe they will test out, or maybe they will just have a leg up from having worked with Calc at some level before college but the goal is to have them ready. Its also likely that they will be doing this at a public high school. So, what is the issue with common core?

  • 657. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 21, 2012 at 10:00 am


    haven’t even mentioned that Common Core and the testing model to come will just about kill AP Calculus and post Calculus courses in high school many districts…..

    How so? Will CC create a ceiling rather than a floor, or does the sequence for CC fail to prepare students for AP math?

  • 658. newbie  |  September 21, 2012 at 10:26 am

    newbie question
    I homeschool and would like to know if my child can take the ISAT through CPS?
    I would like her to try for a selective high school, 2013-14, and I understand the ISAT scores are required.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • 659. Chris  |  September 21, 2012 at 10:51 am

    “High-stakes exams are bad for kids no matter [whose] stakes are actually on the table.”

    Which then brings me back around to college entrance exams, Regents-like graduation tests, etc, where the real stakes are about the kids.

    First, I’ll agree that the results are (1) not necessarily indicative of a kid’s learning/potential/ability, (2) there are other ways to do things, and (3) judging the teachers on the results of these is inaccurate.

    That said, if you remove the “stakes” in the results (say by leaving act/sat testing as a saturday test for those going to college, and another example being AP exams) from the teachers and the districts, where is the harm to the pedagogy? I don’t think that the *overall* argument (rather than the argument of individual, in the classroom, teachers) is actually focused on the *kids*, except when you get to the kind of insanity that Mouse is dealing with (5 sets of tests is too much, *especially* for KG), or the whipsawing that they are giving Todd with changing tests every 7.5 months (or whatever). The problems I see are (a) volume, like Mouse deals with, (b) inconsistency, as Todd has described, (c) poorly designed tests, which I think we’re all aware of, and (d) improper use of the results, where “improper” might include holding kids back, judging teachers, distributing aid funds, or 1000 other things, depending on perspective. And *all* of those, individually, and especially collectively, will creative dis/incentives toward reduced quality of educational experience and, probably, outcomes for most kids.

    I do NOT see how having one set of well-designed, consitently given, assessment exams which may be used for student differentiation, and class and school eligibility/admissions (which can be “high stakes” for the kids) is something that harms systemic pedagogy.

  • 660. Pvt. Mom  |  September 21, 2012 at 11:16 am

    @Chris. I don’t think anyone is really arguing with what you say in your last paragraph. The problem is that is not what we are dealing with in reality. I also doubt that we can get to there from where we are now. The reason? Ideology. We have put way too much faith in 1) what we are able to measure and 2) what we can predict from the things we have measured. There are so many things that happen in teaching and learning, over such a long period of time, with such great variance due to the the children and the teachers involved that test results—and the modeling we’re able to do with them—shouldn’t warrant the level of emphasis we have placed on them. Not when there are other ways of achieving the same, similar or even better results. At the heart of the testing fracas is a fundamental disagreement on the aims of education. IMO, assessment must have a place…but not so much that it silences other things that have proven to support good student outcomes.

  • 661. Family Friend  |  September 21, 2012 at 11:22 am

    @658 Newbie: ISAT is not required for selective enrollment admissions, and I don’t think it’s offered to non-public school students. But some kind of standardized test is necessary. Last year Lewis University offered testing, and I am sure there are other alternatives as well.

    The standardized test serves two purposes: it sets a floor for participation (students must score in minimum stanines to be able to apply) and it constitutes 1/3 of the overall score for admission.

    CPS’ web page on selective enrollment is here:

    CPSO knows more about this than anyone, so she may have additional advice. I would call CPS’ Office of Academic Enhancement at (773) 553-2060 now, before they get too busy with the application season. If you can’t get the answers you need, go to CPS headquarters at 125 South Clark on a non-board meeting day and ask to see someone from the Office of Academic Enhancement. I find that people at CPS who are too busy to answer phones, phone messages, or email, are wonderfully supportive and helpful when you are sitting in their offices.

    My family I spent more than a hundred hours (really) last year with two eighth graders who did not score high enough for selective enrollment schools, working to ensure they got into good high schools. Both ended up with a choice among several schools that promised to give them the education they need to maximize their potential. In our applications, we included selective enrollment, IB programs. military schools, and charter schools. Don’t discount charter schools. There is likely one close enough to you for a high-school student to manage on public transportation that will maximize your child’s chance of going to his or her college of choice, including the top schools in the country.

    If anyone is interested I can post more on this as time goes on. There are many high-performing alternatives to SE, private, and suburban schools. Their average scores may not be as high as SE schools, but they start out with a broader range of students, and their top students apply to, and get into, the same colleges as the top SE students.

  • 662. Mayfair Dad  |  September 21, 2012 at 11:23 am

    @ 658: Not sure about ISAT, but I know of an out-of-state family who successfully applied for SE high school admission using an ISAT-comparable test administered at Huntington Learning Center.

    Confirm all this with CPS and get it in writing from whoever you talk to. Check as a quick reference. Too important to goof up.

  • 663. HydePark Mom  |  September 21, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Regarding math, now I am considering using Singapore math at home with my first grader, who attends an RGC-not sure if the school uses Everyday Math, but I know I am not happy with it.Like someone else said, too much hopping around.The Singapore Math is quite an investment of time and money, so for those who have used it, what improvements did you see in your child as far as math? How much time did you devote? Did you need any additional workbooks? Was it confusing using a different method at home vs at school? Thanks.It’d be great if this could be a Math thread, I’m afraid it may get lost within the other posts.

  • 664. cubswin  |  September 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

    ” I don’t think anyone is really arguing with what you say in your last paragraph. ”

    I am.
    But I don’t think increased standardized testing will benefit parents’ children here.

    Typical children in typical CPS schools are semi-literate when graduating. Can the median CPS graduate reliably demonstrate long division? Fluently read a newspaper article?

  • 665. Family Friend  |  September 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

    P.S. That might have been National Louis rather than Lewis University. Both have facilities on Michigan Avenue. But I am sure the information will be available through CPS.

    Note that private school and home-schooled kids don’t have automatic reporting of test scores to CPS, at least in some contexts. I have heard of private schools where the students take the Stanford as many times as necessary to get their best scores; those are the scores that get sent to CPS. Another example of what money can buy . . .

  • 666. Mayfair Dad  |  September 21, 2012 at 11:27 am

    @ 658: Family Friend is giving you solid advice. Cast a wide net and choose the high school that is right for your student. Know all of your options.

  • 667. Chris  |  September 21, 2012 at 11:35 am

    “cubswin: ”I don’t think anyone is really arguing with what you say in your last paragraph. ”

    I am.”

    You are arguing with this?:

    “I do NOT see how having one set of well-designed, consitently given, assessment exams which may be used for student differentiation, and class and school eligibility/admissions (which can be “high stakes” for the kids) is something that harms systemic pedagogy.”

    Anyway, I know that no one *here* is arguing with that, but the message I am hearing from the anti-“h-s t” folks elsewhere *is* an argument against my statement.

  • 668. Pvt. Mom  |  September 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    @667. Really? Where? I tend to run with that crowd, in a matter of speaking. Although there are probably some hardcore folks who want everything to be a Sudbury School, most people who disagree with NCLB, etc aren’t completely against assessment. My take is that its more a matter of how the testing is done, at what ages, and the social justice aspects of increased use of entrance exams for public schools.

  • 669. City Mom  |  September 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    @663 HydePark Mom~I’m the mom who used Singapore Math with my DD (now an eighth grader) through her elementary school years and have been using Singapore with my son, now a third grader at an RGC, since kindergarten. We usually work 10 – 15 minutes a day, 4 or 5 days a week. When he has projects or a heavy homework night, we skip it and pick it back up next we can. Since I’ve done it with both kids since near the beginning of their schooling, it’s hard for me to note improvements. My daughter, however, was prepared to take Honors Algebra as a 7th grader at academic center and passed the exit exam with a high pass. My son likes math and is confident in his skills. He says, he likes to “unlock the track” of a problem in his brain. As for confusion. . .we haven’t found that to be a problem. Everyday Math likes to expose a child to multiple methods so that the child can choose what s/he like best. I tell my kids to try everything at school but to go with the method (and understanding) they know best and with which they’ve worked. If they’re being taught something we haven’t worked with yet, I do my best to help bridge the gap and get them through it for now, knowing that EM is going to hop quickly away from the topic and we’ll spend more time on it when we get there. I’ve only used the text books and workbooks–and none of the additional books. I have heard good things about the Word Problem books and the Extra Practice books. I would start, though, with the workbook and text book. If you find your child does need extra practice, you could look into the Extra Practice books. If you find your child would like to still go deeper, you might try the Word Problem books. But again, while these may be helpful, I don’t think they’re necessary. Hope this helps. . .

  • 670. Meg Welch/IBobsessed  |  September 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Pvt. Mom
    “The reason? Ideology. We have put way too much faith in 1) what we are able to measure and 2) what we can predict from the things we have measured.”

    This is a result of the mistaken belief in our culture that if something cannot be quantified and measured, it is not ‘really real’ cannot be known. A theory of knowledge course should be required for every bachelor degree.

  • 671. Pvt. Mom  |  September 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    @670. And how! 🙂 🙂

  • 672. Another Edgewater parent  |  September 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    670 – “Like”

  • 673. local  |  September 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    I liked the chapter about testing in this book: The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve by
    Peg Tyre. It really helped my understand how to consider tests. There soooo much more than meets the eye.

  • 674. Meg Welch/IBobsessed  |  September 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Or a basic TOK course for every high school diploma, which is why I like IB!

  • 675. another CPS mom  |  September 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    “Jones College Prep High and Lane Technical High schools have been named 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. The award is bestowed on public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement. This year, 21 schools in Illinois received this award.”

    – From Catalyst

  • 676. another CPS mom  |  September 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I am unhappy with the post-strike commercial with Emanuel I’m seeing. I wonder who might be a good education-positive mayoral candidate to run against Emanuel next time.

  • 677. another CPS mom  |  September 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Just saw this: “Chicagoland Schools: For Blacks, the Most Segregated in the Country” by Whet Moser in Chicago Magazine. Source:

  • 678. CPS Parent  |  September 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    676. another CPS mom – Bruce Rauner is probably one of the most knowledgeable people regarding Chicago education issues and reportedly has political aspirations.

  • 679. Todd Pytel  |  September 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    @668 (Chris) – “Anyway, I know that no one *here* is arguing with that, but the message I am hearing from the anti-”h-s t” folks elsewhere *is* an argument against my statement.”

    I don’t think it is, at least for the most part. Your statement is a theoretical one about what excellent testing *could* look like. Anti-HST folks are arguing based on *reality* – the reality is that we have tests that don’t always measure important things, and that are created with financial motivations that discourage improvement.

    IB exams are a good example of testing done right – these are certainly high-stakes for kids and schools, and yet no IB teacher I know complains about them. They are almost entirely written-response rather than multiple choice. They are tightly aligned with the stated goals of the IB courses. And they are rewritten every year with a significant proportion of new content, so that they are not too predictable. All of these things also make them extremely expensive – IIRC, the testing fees for a full IB diploma candidate are approximately $1000 per student. That money pays for knowledgeable people to grade them (at extremely cheap rates, FWIW), for knowledgeable people to design them, and for knowledgeable people to constantly rewrite items.

    Unfortunately, we simply can’t afford testing of this quality for every student in Illinois. It’s too labor-intensive and thus too costly. The hope for Common Core is an economy-of-scale argument – while individual states can’t afford great tests for every student, it might be possible for a multi-state consortium to create something pretty good for a price that we can collectively afford. Whether that turns out to be true remains to be seen. From what I’ve seen so far, I think that PARCC is going to turn out some pretty good initial assessments. But I’m not sure that there’s going to be the funding required to constantly tune and refresh those tests. As I said earlier, no matter how good the test is, if it’s 90% the same from year to year, then that predictably is going to warp instruction.

    What I hear you saying is that a lot of teachers don’t believe in the possibility of meaningful testing. I genuinely don’t think that’s the case – otherwise, why bother writing tests for our own classes? I think it’s more accurate to say that a lot of teachers don’t believe that we’ll actually commit the resources to *pay* for meaningful testing, that for-profit testing companies are not the right partners to create that testing, and that just plodding along with what we’ve got is doing much more harm than good.

  • 680. HS Mom  |  September 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    @676 Do we even know if he still wants the job after this?

  • 681. Katherine  |  September 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Rauner–I do not like the cut of his jib.

  • 682. anonymouse teacher  |  September 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    @654, Absolutely. The data is driving much of my instruction. Some of that is a good thing. Some is not good. I think the not good side is apparent, so I’ll talk about the good parts.
    For example,I know exactly which kids need help with which letter sounds and I follow through to the extent that I graph the unknown letter sounds for the entire class so I spend the most time working with the sounds most kids struggle with. Once kids start reading words (as opposed to just reading pictures), I look at their TRC results and make sure that they are reading books right at their level. I could go on, but these are just examples.

    The amount of testing does take away from instructional time. I’d like to see the amount of testing cut in half. I’d much rather be spending some of the time conferencing with individuals, modeling and observing them on reading strategies. And while I think the testing is too much for kids, it also personally drives me crazy. I feel harassed by the constant changes, always adding more.

    And really, there is so much more to early primary. Kids really have to be taught how to work out conflict. They need to be able to participate in dramatic play. They need time to get messy in finger paint. I am really torn between offering what I believe to be best practice, the kind of instruction I’d want for my own kids, and yet being pressured to make my kids “perform” so that my own rating is high enough. I’m trying to do some Reggio Emilio this year. If I am able to, I’ll report back on the forums.

  • 683. southie  |  September 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Oh, dear. Not Rauner!

  • 684. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 22, 2012 at 4:52 am

    #678~cpsparent~Rauner is knowledgeable of schools in the fact that he has had a failed charter school~that’s all. He knows nothing about what schools need. He will never be governor. He’s arrogant, angry and brought Stand4Children in to IL. He’s no friend to education. He’s just a failed charter school operator

  • 685. newbie  |  September 22, 2012 at 8:51 am

    678 —

    I can see the campaign posters now.

    Bruce Rauner,

    Man of the People!

    As long as they make a million and up, annually.

  • 686. Maureen  |  September 22, 2012 at 8:57 am

    This is Bruce Rauner’s charter school in the Austin neighborhood, which failed.

  • 687. cps alum  |  September 22, 2012 at 10:15 am

    @Pvt Mom and Christopher—Common Core only outlines standards through Algebra II. Many of the pre-calculus topics are left for “4th year” courses, but are not explicitly stated. The major problem, however are not the standards themselves, but the difficulty of accelerating students given the current testing environment and rating of teachers based on growth.

    Here are the some of problems I see:

    Common Core outlines specific standards for grades K-8, and a group of standards for grades 9-11. The high school standards do not prepare a student adequately for calculus. In order for a student to be ready to take calculus in grade 12, there must be some acceleration in grades 6-8. This would require middle school/junior high teachers to teach the New Common Core Algebra I in the 7th and 8th grades. The problem is that the Common Core Algebra I actually 50% Algebra II topics that were traditionally taught in grade 11. Many 7th and 8th grade teachers do not have training in this level of mathematics, and while I’m sure there are plenty of teachers who will feel comfortable teaching this level of mathematics, many may not. This will require quite a bit of teacher training and perhaps post calculus course work.

    Additionally, in a climate where high stakes testing will impact teacher evaluations, retention and perhaps pay, there is little incentive to accelerate students. Why would a 7th grade teacher who knows her students will take the 7th grade Common Core test teach her students 8th grade math. The kids won’t be tested on the 8th grade stuff for another year, and that teacher doesn’t want to trust that the 6th grade teacher taught the 7th grade material adequately enough for the students to perform well. Also, students will inevitably forget some topics that they haven’t done for over a year.
    I’m lucky enough to teach in a district where the junior highs are finding ways to accelerate common core starting in the 5th grade so that the >50% of high school students will continue to start in Geometry as freshmen. I work in a district where the community would find it unacceptable for AP Calculus and the post calculus courses we teach to disappear. Our feeder districts all but ignore the ISATs and my high school puts no emphasis on the PSAE. There is ZERO test prep even in our lowest leveled classes. But even in my school teachers are beginning to wonder… what test will our freshman take? Will they have to take the Algebra I test when they are freshmen, even if that teacher spent the year teaching Geometry? The PARCC tests will be twice a year, once in the fall and then again in the Spring. Suppose my freshmen students have to take the Algebra I test in the beginning of the year. They will do very well because they have already completed a whole year of Algebra. Then in the spring they take the second test. Will my students show growth? No, probably not, they might even show a little regression. Why? Because they just spent the year doing Geometry…. Not Algebra! You see the dilemma?

    In a district like mine… it might not matter so much, but I can see this being a real problem in many districts across the country. This will impact the number of students taking AP Calculus. There are also many people in the mathematics community who believe that this was also intentional.

  • 688. Family Friend  |  September 22, 2012 at 10:23 am

    @684 SoxSideIrish4: Which charter school did Bruce Rauner have that failed? I know he is on the board of Noble street, and I know his wife runs the well-respected Ounce of Prevention Fund for early childhood education. They have a lot of money, and they have given a lot to education in Chicago, including to regular district schools as well as charters.

  • 689. Family Friend  |  September 22, 2012 at 10:29 am

    @688: Followup – I did not know Rauner was associated with ACT. However, many people have asked for proof that non-performing charters are closed, and I previously cited ACT as one of them. You can’t have it both ways. Charters are, to a degree, experiments. If they don’t perform, they should be closed. That’s what happened with ACT.

  • 690. cubswin  |  September 22, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Ford Power House High in Homan Square appears to be taken over by Noble. That charter was launched about 2008. It certainly didn’t last long.
    Curious what the story is at that school. I can’t find any reporting except the announcement of the change.

  • 691. Maureen  |  September 22, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Regarding Bruce Rauner — and other billionaires who want to privatize parts of our city’s public sector —

    Here’s an interesting article about the privatization of five areas of public interest. I copied the education piece here. I’ve copied the education piece here. For links to good research, see the original story.

    ***BOE Meeting this Tuesday, not Wednesday.***
    Also, George Schmidt of Substance News says that the CPS Board of Ed will be moving quickly on Tuesday to approve millions in no-bid contracts to friends part of the mayor’s effort to bankrupt CPS.

    by Paul Buchheit

    “With the breakdown of the private financial industry, and with the decision by corporations to stop meeting their tax responsibilities, and with the dramatic surge in tax haven abuse, less tax revenue is available to state and local governments. Deprived of funding, governments are forced to consider privatization schemes to balance their budgets. But any such scheme comes with adversity and pain.

“The futility of diverting public funds into the hands of profit-seekers has been well-documented. Here are a few of the gathering curses of privatization.

4. Our children put at risk with unproven educational methods

The few charter schools with good reviews have functioned with limited enrollments, retention policies favoring likely-to-succeed individuals, and an absence of special needs students. This violates a precept underscored by Chief Justice Warren in Brown vs. the Board of Education: “Education…is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.” Charters aren’t even close to that.

    The Louisiana Believes project, for example, which will eventually be the country’s most extensive voucher system, has only 5,000 slots available for about 380,000 eligible students.

But corporations are rushing headlong into this lucrative new market anyway, while paying little heed to the body of research confirming their relative ineffectiveness. This includes studies from Stanford University, the Department of Education, Johns Hopkins University, and the RAND Corporation.

    In addition to their poor performance, charters are more segregated, less likely to accept students with disabilities, and conducive to a widening of the racial and rich-poor education gaps.

Still, despite all the damning evidence, the charter myth persists in the American mind. And it’s getting worse. The newest blind rush into privatization heralds ‘virtual’ schools, which offer lessons to homebound kids on their computers, even at the K-12 level. In what seems obvious to most of us, virtual schools don’t work for children.

    A 2009 Department of Education study on blended online and face-to-face instruction reported results that were “significantly positive for undergraduate and other older learners but not for K-12 students.”

A lengthy New York Times investigation of one of K12 Inc’s online schools concluded that “By almost every educational measure, the Agora Cyber Charter School is failing. Nearly 60 percent of its students are behind grade level in math. Nearly 50 percent trail in reading. A third do not graduate on time. And hundreds of children, from kindergartners to seniors, withdraw within months after they enroll.”

  • 692. southie  |  September 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Note that George Schmidt comes from a very clear point of view, but here’s a bit on Power House HS:

    “Billionaires push ‘Powerhouse’ charter while West Side crumbles…
    Daley, Duncan continue charter attack on city’s public schools” — George N. Schmidt (2007)

  • 693. CarolA  |  September 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I think that no matter how many articles we research and no matter how many charters are not top notch, CPS will still go that route. I predict MAJOR changes for next fall. I predict MANY teachers will be unemployed next fall. I think Rahm is laughing all over this one. If you don’t think he has a plan in mind, think again.

    During the teacher only days before the students started this year, my principal was very clear on the new evaluation process. Even though our school has a super high number of outstanding teachers, he stated that almost no one will be rated in the top category. The only way teachers who are laid off will become part of the rehire pool is to be in the top two categories. It’s my belief that long before this school year started, principals were told to be prepared to lower ratings. In fact, it’s my understanding that district supervisors may sit in on observations. You can be sure that if a principal is thinking of giving the top category rating, a supervisor will check it out.

    So that leaves everyone down a peg or two on the rating scale. This is a perfect time to “adjust” ratings. You can be sure that only the best of the best will be put in that pool. That’s great and that’s what should be done, but there are still many teachers who are great, but not over the top (visiting households on their own time, participating in community projects within their school district on their own time, etc.) A teacher can be fantastic without having to give up long hours after school and on weekends.

    It’s my prediction that by the end of this 3 year contract, a good majority of schools will have been shut down, changed over, etc.
    Many people will be happy.

  • 694. cpsobsessed  |  September 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Well here’s a question: carol, if that happens, putting aside all else, will there be more chicago kids getting a better education than they are now?

    (I have no idea, but that is the mayor’s goal — that, and saving money.). So despite all the obvious pitfalls of charters and layoffs, will more chicago (low income) kids be better off?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 695. CarolA  |  September 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    CPSO: It’s hard to say. If all they have left is the best of the best, then maybe. Unless….the best of the best go elsewhere and now all we have are “fresh out of college” teachers. I was one once, but we’ve already talked about how it takes a few years to really establish a fantastic, all around classroom in every respect.

    I truly believe that first and foremost, the mayor and his buddies are looking at budget. They have to. The city is sinking. He also has to “get the city in shape” before the next election. He needs to make this strike business disappear. He needs to make lemonade from lemons in order to get himself where he wants to go. I guess we just sit back and wait.

  • 696. CarolA  |  September 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Does Rahm seem like the type of guy who would say……we need to get the kids back in school, just make some concessions. Or……does he seem like the type of guy who would say……let’s give them a tid-bit of this and tid-bit of that and say we’ll agree to a rehire pool, but then make it practically impossible for anyone to be in that pool. I vote for the second one. I’d like to see the faces of all the teachers who came out smiling from the delegates meeting on Tuesday in June. We’ll see who is still smiling.

  • 697. cubswin  |  September 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I don’t see CPS being able to open a lot of charter quickly. CPS shows a distinct hesitancy to let just any charter open new schools. Uno has the clout. Noble has the performance. But not many charters have grown in recent years.
    Look at how they announced the phase out the Power House Homan school before it had graduated the first class. They are clearly hesitant of establishing new low performing schools.
    I expect they would like a big commitment from Kipp and perhaps one or two other national charters. But the organizations that are good and experienced probably won’t be rushed into opening schools quickly.
    For a high schools it’s five years from plan to a full school.
    An accelerated evolutionary approach to more charters seems the most likely, as its consistent with the strategic plan of actually improving schools.
    Money is the wild card, as no one has a good guess of how the city will balance the budget. But it’s hard to see how charters can have a significant positive effect on the budget in a three year time frame.

  • 698. anonymouse teacher  |  September 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    @697, I don’t know–they opened the new UNO charter in Rogers Park in less than a months time. I do agree that the better charter operators won’t rush into things.
    I agree with Carol, I think a ton of teachers will lose their jobs. I think principals will be pressured into downgrading large numbers of teachers, deservedly or not. This year, the 500 additional positions to staff the longer day were supposed to come out of the displaced teacher pool, for the most part. I would love to see data on just how many of those new positions were actually staffed with displaced teachers. My school did not hire a displaced teacher. I am going to predict that half or more of those positions did not go to the people that were supposed to fill them.
    I want to see the results of the school closings in 10-20 years. I am curious to see the attrition rates of staff. I would love to get my hands on data that shows the number of displaced staff, their ratings, their success in finding new jobs, and their years of experience, etc.

  • 699. kiki h.  |  September 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Power House didn’t work out because they didn’t instill good discipline and the school turned into a free-for-all. The company that started it had one other school that had only been open for a few years. They were an idiotic choice to run a school.

    Beautiful building, by the way. Too bad the inaugural classes were let down by Henry Ford Academy. Those are years that the students can’t get back.

  • 700. Freedom of Choice  |  September 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Interesting article on charters.,0,6968588.column

    “Stanford University scholar Eric Hanushek says research indicates that if the worst 5 to 10 percent of teachers were replaced with merely average ones, “the achievement of U.S. students would rise from below the developed country average to near the top if not at the top.” Good-enough teachers, it turns out, are good enough”

    “Teachers unions are not necessarily the chief problem with traditional public schools. The Southern states where they are weak or absent do poorly in student test scores. But collective bargaining agreements are often an impediment to innovation, efficiencies and the elevation of standards — areas in which charter schools have a built-in edge.”

    “Do charter schools provide all the answers to our many educational challenges? Not at all. But promoting choice and empowering individuals is rarely a bad thing. The parents of 52,000 Chicago kids can attest to that, even when teachers are not on strike.”

  • 701. cubswin  |  September 22, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I noticed the power house building will be part of open house chicago next month:

  • 702. Maureen  |  September 22, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    To me CPS is in a great hurry to open more charters. How many has UNO opened this calendar year?

    The only impediment that I can see — for now — is that the largest charter chains, like KIPP, are from out of state and need a higher profit margin and higher funding per pupil.

    Bringing them in, it seems, sets up a political problem with some of our homegrown charter chains.

  • 703. Maureen  |  September 22, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Carol A — The CPS budget has been described as a wish list, and as smoke and mirrors. One example: remember last spring — before NATO cane to town — when suddenly the CPS CFO announced that the police dept. needed to be paid $75 mln for the past three years of security services?

    And the CPD hadn’t asked for it?

    As if CPS students weren’t Chicagoans and deserving of police services like any one else?

  • 704. Maureen  |  September 22, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Rod Estvan of Access Living first pointed out that the $75 mln payment to CPD was odd.

    In this video show by Ken Davis, report Sarah Karp of Catalyst also mentions it. She has ben covering education in depth for a long time. She doesn’t see that CPS will have a problem finding the money for the union contract, and she estimates the union contract will cost about $75 mln

  • 705. Maureen  |  September 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    700 — Yours is a very nicely worded retread of the old ed reformers argument that the reason US students don’t do as well on international tests like PISA is b/c of lousy teachers.

    It’s the poverty, my friend. Here’s why.

    US schools — where 10% or fewer of the students are poor — score number 1 in reading and science and number 3 in math on the PISA among advanced nations.

  • 706. CarolA  |  September 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Freedom of Choice: Good to know that some people would be perfectly content with a teacher that’s “good enough”. Many on this post have argued otherwise. I couldn’t read the article, didn’t want to sign up for anything the Tribune was offering so I can’t comment on the article.

  • 707. Maureen  |  September 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    This is fun!

    It’s Matt Damon explaining to a Reason TV reporter the lack of substance behind her claim that teachers are impossible to fire and her cameraman’s claim that 10% of teacher are bad.

  • 708. Maureen  |  September 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Also — we are hearing that this month’s Board of Ed meeting has been moved up to Tuesday, and they will privatize CPS preschool, offering contracts to a number of companies / organizations.

  • 709. Maureen  |  September 22, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    We cancelled the Trib a while back. Never again, Bruce Dold.

  • 710. SE Teacher  |  September 22, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    It is so refreshing to read discussions about various math curricula. I always wonder why parents don’t ask more about what their children are being taught!

  • 711. CarolA  |  September 22, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Maureen: The teachers that I know who teach in CPS preschools have said all last year that they saw the writing on the wall. This is no surprise to them. I stand by my prediction…..BIG changes in the next 3 years (evidently starting this Tuesday).

  • 712. Maureen  |  September 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    711 — You are right, unfortunately. Such a shame. I’ve always heard that the CPS preschool program was very good.

    700 — Also unfortunately, thee are more than a few charters on Academic Watch — ISBE list here.

    The Democratic Party in Chicago will change, too, I expect.

  • 713. CarolA  |  September 22, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    It would be nice to have a thread about teaching ideas for various subjects. Teachers and parents alike could contribute their ideas of what works and what doesn’t. HMMMMMMM

  • 714. CarolA  |  September 22, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Over and over in the news we have been hearing about the average teacher salary being over $70,000 a year. Did I just hear the news correctly? Is the average salary of a musician with the Chicago Symphony over $177,000 a year? I love and respect the arts, but is there something wrong or am I missing something? Let’s see how much we hear about their average salary!

  • 715. Katherine  |  September 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    They are including the salaries of others’ in that calculation, not just teachers. No way is mean or mode 74 like the press has oft quoted.

    I went through all our teachers…and I checked 4 other schools that I am active in (2 community, 3 lottery).

    In the database source they are using some teachers listed in 2011 are no longer at the schools they retired before that…so numbers incorrect from that standpoint.

    Also–they seem to be including coordinators, some of whom appear to be like assistant principals.

    The average teacher in my son’s school with the administrators, and retired and non-teachers subbed out is in the low 60s, with a range of 50-83 (very very few at the top, a few teachers of 25+ yrs with masters and 25 yr spec ed teacher with masters). Some teachers are 0.5 time and ranged from 23-39.

    The principals (typically 125+) and assistant principals (our is 100K) are well paid. FOr the cost of assistant principals I wonder if they are really needed–seems too big an expense in cash-strapped times…though a number of schools do not have them,

  • 716. Katherine  |  September 22, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    700. “Teachers unions are not necessarily the chief problem with traditional public schools. The Southern states where they are weak or absent do poorly in student test scores. ”


    Lowest Union membership is in the deep south…lowest tests scores and Highest poverty and resultant violence. Louisiana perfect case in point with poverty per capita and violence per capita.

    The fact remains that lower income people have poorer test scores–Lost of published research show a strong correlation.

    People calling themselves “Reformers” however, do not want to address Poverty–they rather attack Unions, public servants and these private banking-related individuals or their companies they have a stake in profit in the long run (private finance, private profit) instead of address the reasons of poor test scores and schools with repeat poor scores.

  • 717. CarolA  |  September 23, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Katherine: Thank you for taking the time to research the current salaries. I have said over and over on this post that the average salary talked about in the press is NOT accurate. As you mentioned, many of the higher end teachers have retired.

    Some schools do not have assistant principals, but I can’t imagine our school functioning without one. In a large K-8 school (over 1000 students) it would be hard for one person to handle all the necessary paperwork AND parents AND discipline problems. Not trying to defend their salaries, but keep in mind that they work year-round and put in tons of hours. You couldn’t pay me enough to work in administration these days.

  • 718. Maureen  |  September 23, 2012 at 7:25 am

    I am so glad you looked at the salary propaganda, Katherine.

    Do you ever read a blog written by a retired teacher and activist named Fred Klonsky? He researched that figure the first week, but no mainstream media in Chicago would veer from the Mayor’s number.

    That figure was designed to push the same old narrative: lousy, greedy teachers keep scores low. But 66% of CPS parents rejected that message. And the mayor got the blame for the strike.

    Now many parents are questioning the 33 aldermen who signed the mayor’s letter to K.L., which asked teachers to cross the picket line and “volunteer” to teach instead of strike.

    The Emanuel ads are an attempt to mitigate the damage to the party.

    Do you think it’s working?

  • 719. Maureen  |  September 23, 2012 at 7:47 am

    So much of the political narrative is meant to distract and confuse parents and voters.

    Click through to her masterful summary of events.

  • 720. HS Mom  |  September 23, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Katherine – the list is old 2010 salaries (put together in 2011).

  • 721. SE Teacher  |  September 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I find the mayor’s PR campaign to be ridiculous. This continuum of “longer day longer day longer day” is getting old. We have the longer day. We agreed to the longer day back in August, remember Rahm? I am also really disgusted about the funding for such a campaign. Is this $ well spent?

  • 722. Patricia  |  September 23, 2012 at 8:52 am

    @Carol. I believe if a Chicago Symphony Orchestra musician was not “performing” well, they would lose that job and salary immediately. They have to perform both literally and figuratively 🙂

  • 723. anonymouse teacher  |  September 23, 2012 at 9:04 am

    @711, CarolA, my school is pretty sure we are going to lose our preschool program and that it will be moved to a nearby charter. I wonder how it will work for families when popular northside schools also start losing their preK program and their kids now have to attend two different schools? Or will the moves, once again, only affect the those living in poverty?

  • 724. CarolA  |  September 23, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Patricia: Good point!

  • 725. CarolA  |  September 23, 2012 at 9:21 am

    But still….if CPS agrees to that salary for teachers then give whatever kind of evaluation you want! 🙂 Plus, I’m sure they have the best of surroundings… equipment, proper seating, etc.

  • 726. CarolA  |  September 23, 2012 at 9:26 am

    @723: I was under the impression from the application process on the cps website that the preschools would still operate in a CPS building, but run by outside companies. It would be hard to believe they would relocate all the preschools because they are advertising preschool for ALL. It would seem they’d need MORE preschool rooms, not less. Maybe I didn’t read enough into it. Plus, if that’s the case, then the principal really wouldn’t have any say in how it is run and questions from parent would have to be redirected. Sounds confusing.

  • 727. cpsobsessed  |  September 23, 2012 at 9:32 am

    @Amouse teacher, I think the northside schools that are popular end up losing preK altogether because they run out of space and the parents pretty much have to just deal (the tradeoff being they have a good neighborhood school.)

    So you’re saying free prek will be administered by a charter?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 728. klm  |  September 23, 2012 at 10:55 am


    You make an excellent point. I remember we had a discussion about this last year (?) about this. American white and Asian kids do as well or better than white and Asian kids in most other rich countries on PISA (there’s a Swedish economist that studied this and published the facts), but it’s the glaring achievement-gap b/t White/Asian kids and Black/Latino kids that brings down the American average–even among non-poor/middle-class-in-the-same-school-similar-demographics-but-for-race kids. Yes, there’s surely the poverty issue, but it’s the glaring divide b/t non-Asian minorities and the rest that brings down the U.S. average (as the parent of black kids, this is especially upsetting to me).

    When there’s discussions about results, reform, teacher-bashing, etc., among politicians and others I virtually always want to scream “It’s the achievement gap, stupid!!”

    Look at scores at even schools in Oak Park, Evanston, Flossmoor, etc. (bastions of middle-class and professional black families) and the difference between black kids’ scores and white kids is enough to make me want to cry. I know I’m always sounding like a broken record, but on national assessment tests black kids are 4 years (!) behind their white and Asian peers (with Latino kids almost as far behind) by 12th grade in math and reading and somehow even more than that in science. It’s like they’re being sent out into the world after 12th grade having completely skipped high school, in many cases.

    I remember reading somewhere (I’m sure one can Google it) that white kids in many U.S, states score among the the best in the world on the PISA (we’re talking Finland and Singapore levels). Obviously, public education works OK for many kids, just not well enough for many black and Latino ones. Obviously, how to solve the achievement gap that is the Trillion Dollar Question that has thousands of educators and social scientists trying to figure out a solution.

  • 729. Ltwain  |  September 23, 2012 at 11:18 am

    @728, I think it would take political courage to address the achievement gaps. It may take differentiation on a large, large scale to have subgroups catch up. If you were a hospital and had patients coming in for care you were not well equipped, you would refer them to another hospital that was. That’s why we have children’s, cancer, mental health, etc, facilities.

    We could do the same in our schools, designing some for academic catch up and closing the gaps. They would probably have many students in the same subgroup: race, behavior, socioeconomic, gang affiliations, etc. Would these schools be effective? I think so. Would there be heated discussion as to whether it’s right to do such a thing? Yes. But we are concerned about the greater good aren’t we?

  • 730. cubswin  |  September 23, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Do black children test more poorly than white children when parents are similar (education, income etc) ?

  • 731. CarolA  |  September 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Ltwain: Several years ago (probably 10 by now), our first grade team decided we could best serve our students by grouping classrooms by ability. In that way, teachers could really address the problems of each group whether it was the high achievers, the middle group, or the struggling students. We THOUGHT we would be able to work at the correct pace. I think that’s what you are referring to. If not, please correct me. In any case, it worked out fantastic for the middle and upper groups. What didn’t work out was the low group because no one ever had the right answers nor were they able to foresee where conversations were going. They didn’t have experiences to connect the learning. Everyone just guessed randomly and nothing was accomplished. It really backfired on us. You always need some students to lead the classroom in the right direction so the teacher can ask more probing questions to entice the brain. When you have such low abilities, they just guess. The problem then came to be that the following year, the students were grouped heterogeneously again and the bright group got bored. Unless there is a continued program, year after year, that those students can follow (gifted programs) it defeats the purpose. Sticking all low achieving students in one group did NOT work for us.

  • 732. HS Mom  |  September 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Carol – I ‘m also wondering with the little ones, how do you account for immaturity or does the gambit of tests flush that out? In addition, some kids at all levels will receive additional support and learning outside of class so does that get us back to the “achievement gap”?

  • 733. klm  |  September 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm




    Your experience is interesting. Sadly, I think some places/schools in Chicago are such bastions of “struggling” students that entire classes and schools are disconnected from real learning. Most students are so far behind that “learning” consists of copying from a book, remembering rote facts, etc. (that’s the only way to get kids to the next grade), instead of the “real learning” that come from a quality education: critical thinking, effective essay writing with critical analysis, the ability communicate effectively, etc.

    Years back, I volunteered at an inner-city high school classroom. I was informed by the teacher that the goal was to get kids a passing grade, so there was no homework (most students wouldn’t do it), no essays (the kids couldn’t write a coherent high school-level essay), no class projects (not enough kids would participate), etc. This was 11th grade and the kids were just copying facts from a book and leaning a few easy facts in order to get 60%+ on multiple-choice exams (which were themselves ridiculously easy, but even then 1/3 the class was failing half the time).

  • 734. cpsobsessed  |  September 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    @klm, agh, that is so depressing. And also speaks to the limits upon which a teacher can “teach” if the parents don’t enforce homework!
    It then makes sense to somehow get the motivated kids together so they’re in a class where everyone at least does the work.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 735. CarolA  |  September 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    HSMom: You’re exactly right. There are many children who are immature and just aren’t ready. Usually, that group consists of boys with summer birthdays. Not always, but it’s a pattern. With that group all you can really do is keep moving them along at a slower pace and wait. I have found that “the light turns on” around March for that group. In many cases, I feel that all those kids need is a classroom that addresses the needs of end of 1st grade beginning of 2nd grade skills. Way back in the day when I as in CPS, we actually had 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B and students could skip a half year or go back a half year if needed. That’s not the case anymore. Unfortunately, these children either get pushed ahead and they continue to struggle or (not often) get retained and are bored until Christmas.

    It’s always interesting to see what happens with my students who get help at home and those that don’t. It’s a shame and hard to watch because all that some of these kids need is a solid half hour every night of reading and math help and they’d catch up. But many parents don’t have the time or really just don’t know what to do. I had a long conversation with one of my parents on Friday whose child is severely below level. I was trying to give her ideas of how she can help at home and all she kept saying was that she thought the kindergarten and first grade curriculum was way too advanced. I tried to explain that she shouldn’t try to teach him 50 words at once, but rather start with 3 and work with those 3 until he gets them. But sometimes parents won’t listen. I tried to show her websites that would be helpful, but then I get the response that she has other children at home and doesn’t have the time to sit with this one every night. So sad.

  • 736. jillwohl  |  September 23, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    @438 Mayfair Dad – we reached out to Casey awhile back but he says he’s too busy this year. Maybe you can help us twist his arm?

  • 737. anonymouse teacher  |  September 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    @727, It was my understanding that charters were given the information needed on applying to “host” a preK program months before anyone else was informed they’d have to reapply. I could be wrong on this. If Teacher4321 is lurking around, I think she could be helpful on this topic. But, yes, I was of the impression that some preK programs in regular schools would move to charters and that way, CPS could save money and effort on these programs. If I am wrong on this and someone has more detailed info, please feel free to correct me.

  • 738. Ltwain  |  September 24, 2012 at 12:18 am

    @730, I saw a study recently that stated that vocabulary usage differed in preschool years between families in the achievement gap subgroups. Higher performing students came from families using richer vocabulary.

    Of course we can’t enter a home and insist that parents read to kids and provide a stimulating environment, but we can recognize that this happens and try to have remediation. Maybe one can take four graders reading at a second grade level within a neighborhood and treat them like second graders, instructionally. These leaves the grade level students behind, which might make it easier for teachers to keep them engaged.

    I think it is asking a lot for a teacher in one classroom to group among the possible diversity in skill level, and to have these students be at the same level at the end of the school year. (Maybe the reason the business folks were hired in Cps was to figure out how to use teachers more efficiently. ) I’m sure a second grade teacher teaching fourth graders at a second grade level would be using a strategy that is more effective than a fourth grade teacher teaching at a second grade level.

    I think one of the goals of Central Office should be to optimize learning opportunities, i.e., organize the schools so that they are focused on student abilities, rather than focusing on how well teachers teach in complex environments.

  • 739. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 24, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Our neighborhood school never had preschool~every1 just just goes to one where you pay for it. It’s a troubling subject for me bc I have dif views of preschool~kids go to school younger & younger, there are benchmarks/tests coming in the next yr that are totally ridiculous & of course CPS will purchase them so Peason gets their fair share of the $$$.

  • 740. CPS Teacher  |  September 24, 2012 at 5:48 am

    What happened to Chicago Students First on Facebook?

  • 741. CarolA  |  September 24, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Ltwain: Initially, your idea sounds like a good one. It’s much easier for a teacher to teach all fourth graders at a fourth grade level than to provide instruction at multiple levels in one classroom. Not sure if this is what you are suggesting or not, but it sounds like you’d like the 4th graders who read at a 2nd grade level to be taught by a 2nd grade teacher. If you are suggesting “walking reading” so that the 4th grader walk to the 2nd grade room for instruction…..don’t you think that would be rather embarrassing for that child? If you are suggesting that a 2nd grade teacher teach only 4th graders that are at a 2nd grade level then there wouldn’t be enough students to pay that teacher (class size issue the opposite way). Does that make sense?

  • 742. CarolA  |  September 24, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Up until this year, my school used to allow “walking reading” within a grade level. In other words, students in any given classroom would be of mixed ability. However, for reading purposes, they would be grouped by ability and during reading time they would switch rooms. Sometimes this was done for math as well. In this way, students would be taught at their level. However, this year, due to more teacher accountability (which most administrators and parents want) we can’t switch students anymore. Evidently it would be too hard to figure out who is responsible for what. Even though at the end of last year, we entered info to the computer for each child showing what percentage of time we taught each student, it is not being allowed this year. So……teacher accountability wins, students lose.

  • 743. Portage Mom  |  September 24, 2012 at 7:14 am

    @742 CarolA

    I saw this article in Forbes regarding a 17 year old’s book regarding reinventing education in the U.S. He feels kids should be grouped by ability and not grade level. He also feels standardized tests should be abolished because they are a waste of time. His book seems worth a look.

  • 744. Ltwain  |  September 24, 2012 at 8:20 am

    @CarolA, I can see where the stigma of being at a lower grade level could be awfully demoralizing, but maybe that’s why we have to be creative in how we repackage what a school is to be more efficient in delivering instruction.

    Maybe if we have schools that are large enough to have several classrooms of second grade, each classroom with different ages, e.g. 8,9,10 year olds. Or walking reading is par for the course. We could classify reading classrooms by their lexile scores.

    The test would be for placement, not accountability. Or the accountability has to be restructured as you mentioned to closely reflect what students are being taught by whom.

    Even with an extended day, I think it’s hard for a teacher to juggle multiple abilities without some group, usually high performing, feeling neglected. Differentiation is the solution, but I’m not sure the present model is the one that will work long term. It seems more efficient to have teachers teach at one ability level, and organize a school so that each teacher could do so.

    @Portage Mom, I’ll read the article. Thanks.

  • 745. cpsobsessed  |  September 24, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I don’t even know how current cps schools deal with differentiation unless the teacher is highly motivated. Each teacher is given books/materials for the current grade. Say there are 3-4 kids who can work well ahead in math or reading. How does the teacher get materials to differentiate for these kids?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 746. cpsobsessed  |  September 24, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Also, do you guys really advodate for abolishing standardized testing altogether?
    Or just reducing to say 1 test a year. As a numbers person I couldn’t accept a total lack of testing. I don’t like the “high stakes” aspect but I want a clue about where my kid stands.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 747. Katherine  |  September 24, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Cubswin, this study and others say Yes; there is alot of literature on family wealth (where you start out), color and gender, and middle class success (grades, jobs, income) favor white makes born into middle class or higher income families.

    While the gaps have closed there are still inequalities persisting.

  • 748. Katherine  |  September 24, 2012 at 9:48 am

    HS mom–I have access to the 2011 salaries list (i know what you mean that 2011 database online was from spring 2010–I wasn’t using that) –and I was tactless enough to ask a number of teachers if the their reported salaries were accurate, since I have all their cell phone numbers anyway, why not.

    The press is grossly exaggerating what teachers make…part of Rahm’s great reform design–get rid of collective bargaining so he can pay teachers less than admin asst level (also called secretaries in the old days). He has said many times he wants rid of civil service unions…too bad he won;t pay them as he gets paid.

    The problem with getting rid of collective protection in teaching is that no one will stay in the job long which means people just out of school will do it for a year or two then flee–it is a hard job that deserves proper conditions.

  • 749. Katherine  |  September 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I am not against testing, but against the excessive unproven impact testing.

    I think that testing design must be by a team of men/women of different cultural backgrounds to design tests that are reflective of everyone who will take them.

    Unless there is truly standardized curricula nationwide WITH ADEQUATE resources, poorer kids will always be at a disadvantage and the poorer kids currently include new immigrants, African American and American Indian, Hispanic.

    Success also depends on parental help at home.

    I can help my kid with his homework but if I didn’t have a degree I would find it hard to do so–at least my firends who got their GED and didn’t go on in school they find it very very hard to help their kids once they advance in school. It can affect a kid’s test performance.

    Our kids are learning very advanced stuff since when I was in school in the 70s & 80s.

  • 750. cubswin  |  September 24, 2012 at 9:54 am

    What someone “makes” is not just their salary.

  • 751. Lisa  |  September 24, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Am I reading this right that we will now have Monday, October 8, 2012 off and go to school on President’s Day? Or, is this change for the 2013-2014 calendar?,0,5028636.story


  • 752. cpsobsessed  |  September 24, 2012 at 10:21 am

    If you go to and click calendar it still has oct 8 as a school day.

    No class 2/18 for pres day.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 753. HS Mom  |  September 24, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Katherine – as 750 suggests, I believe that the “$74,000” number is salary and benefits. Also, I believe the press is honing in on a figure released by CPS. I was not able to dig up their calculations (if anyone has that?) but I did find the Segments report by school that details funding and average salary including benefits. I think this is the latest but ….oh…can’t find a date (F for improper heading!). Also don’t see a summary that is a total of all schools?? Maybe elsewhere? But this information may be relevant to those who question how funds are distributed. I also know from experience with LSC’s that schools may budget for a teacher but use the funds elsewhere and that it’s necessary to get creative with categories. Is there a list of teachers names with salary/benefits or just salary that totals to a number and divided by # of teachers to get an average salary? Don’t know, got to be possible – what is the 74,000?

  • 754. junior  |  September 24, 2012 at 10:52 am

    From the list of “Undisputed Facts” in the fact finders report:

    –CPS teachers’ salaries average $76,949 including the seven percent pension pick-up.

    –CPS teachers are the highest paid among the 10 largest urban school districts, exclusive of additional and separate longevity payments or analogous payments.

    This has been rehashed enough on this board. Ignore the propaganda.

  • 755. cubswin  |  September 24, 2012 at 11:10 am

    “And also speaks to the limits upon which a teacher can “teach” if the parents don’t enforce homework!”

    Noble and Urban Prep have ~8 hour school days.
    At Noble, a student who doesn’t get all of her homework marked complete has to stay after school for a homework detention. Some students who have difficulty completing homework at home stay after school voluntarily. (I’m sure some CTU schools have homework help too)

    There are solutions. There are not good solutions for students in poverty with the small amount of instructional time per year in the CTU contract. Students need what they need. If a teacher wants limited instructional hours they should go work in a school with professional families where the short day works fine.

  • 756. liza  |  September 24, 2012 at 11:36 am

    @731 Carol A – Years ago, (far longer than 10!) when we had much more autonomy and less testing, we did something along the lines of what you and your colleagues tried. We took the 5th graders who were grouped heterogenously in homerooms and grouped them homogenously for part of their reading and language arts instruction. We had 90 minutes daily for instruction (at that time, 60 minutes was the requirement). Our principal thought the plan was worth a try and allowed us to split Social Studies and Science up each quarter to get the extra time. For 30 minutes, we taught reading using the required basal to the heterogenous homeroom. For the next 60 minutes, the kids moved to their “reading room” in their homogeneous groups. That instruction was provided more at their actual instructional level. We used novels and a variety of supplemental materials to teach reading and writing. In the low group, most of the kids were reading 2 to 3 years below grade level. Many of them were receiving SPED services. It was pretty successful, many of the kids made significant gains when tested, not only in the lower group, but also in the middle and high group.

    As you noted, the lower group was a challenge. They required much more guidance in reaching correct answers or having a meaningful discussion, it was like pulling teeth! I also had to spend quite a bit of time in the beginning on basic decoding/phonics skills. As the year progressed, the kids became more confident and more willing to take a chance at answering questions or expressing their ideas and I provided less guidance during discussions and group activities. Another big change for these kids was that in this group, they had the opportunity to shine and become the “stars”. We also noticed that these kids who would practically crawl under their desks to avoid being called on or taking part in class discussions took part more in their homeroom during science and social studies. They might not get the answer correct or missed the big picture, but at least they were getting in the game.

    We looped with these kids to 6th and kept the grouping thing going. The second year, there was a significantly smaller group of extremely low students which made it easier to give more individualized attention and instruction. The grouping was pretty fluid, we assessed their progress often and made group changes when needed. I think by keeping the kids in heterogoenous homerooms we avoided the pitfall of not exposing the kids to the grade level curriculum and expectations, and kids who could serve as role models in class discussions and group activities.

    That being said, it was very time consuming and expensive to build the curriculum for each group to meet their needs. We did receive some funds from the school, but we also applied and received small grants to purchase the novels and other supplemental materials. We spent hours after school on weekends preparing lessons that were needs based. We also had to make up a lot of the materials for the students and classes. I should also mention that our SPED teacher worked very closely with us which helped greatly with the lower group. This was way before Inclusion was the big thing, but she came in for 40 minutes a day during this time and worked with a small group in the classroom after “whole group” instruction which gave me more opportunity to work one on one or with a small group.

    Our principal loved the increase in scores and wanted us to help implement it in other grades. We planned on doing the same thing with a new group of 5th graders, knowing it would be much easier the second time around! Unfortunately, we did not get to finish the way we planned. Our school was “chosen” to use SRA Direct Instruction Program, Reading Mastery. Basically, it was kind of the same thing we were doing, the big difference was the kids were grouped intro homerooms homogenously and never got to interact with kids of different levels. The kids did show gains on ISAT, but not as much as we saw doing our own thing.

    The biggest difficulty we had was grading policy. At the time, we indicated the instructional level (I’m not sure if we used an actual grade level or just above, at, or below) on the report cards. Students who were working at below grade level could not receive a grade higher than a C. I could understand the rationale behind it, but it was difficult to explain to a student or his parents that even though his work had A’s and B’s, he was still getting a C.

    Over the years, I tried to replicate this in my classroom, but with only one of me, it was pretty much impossible to give the type of attention and time my students needed consistently. I always felt that someone was getting shortchanged. Two of us who created the “Great Experiment” as we liked to call it, are retired. One is still teaching. We all look at it as one of our best experiences. We came up with an idea, put together a plan, got the materials we thought were appropriate and met our needs, and carried it out succesfully. How awesome is that?

  • 757. NewCPSer  |  September 24, 2012 at 11:43 am

    740 – Chicago Students First is still on facebook – search for “CSF Parents”

  • 758. local  |  September 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    It’s really a CPS-CTU contact, not a “CTU contract.”

  • 759. local  |  September 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    “How awesome is that?”

    Very. Thanks!

  • 760. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  September 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    @753 It is very difficult to tell.

    First, you need to decide what you mean by teacher. Does it include special ed? Does it include assistants covered by CTU (I would think not)? Should it include teaching assistant principals? These will be CTU teachers but they also have administrative duties. No one is ever clear about this.

    Second, CPS has an employee position roster. It is at the URL below. It includes the salaries, but not benefits for all CPS employees, not just CTU teachers. It is a PDF, not a .cvs file, so setting it up for sorting is very hard. One advocacy group got a similar file from the ISBE, but it had number codes for positions but not the legend and would not certify if it gave salary or total compensation.

    Third, the segment reports have an average teacher salary but you cannot tell what it derives from because the segments combined salary and benefits, and they included assistants and other positions.

    Fourth, as the teaching population changes, the average changes. CPS reports $74,839 at, as salary.

    Ideally, we could get the position roster as a .cvs file and sort by “regular teacher” to get the mean, median, and mode.

  • 761. So tired of the excuses from CPS  |  September 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Three thousand teacher retired in June so the average teacher salary for 2012-2013 will be lower. I was surprised when I watched the media coverage of the strike-where are the veteran teachers?

  • 762. junior  |  September 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    @761 Tired
    But step, lane and cola increases will raise salaries across all levels of experience. Doubt we will see the number move much. Except perhaps it will be a distorted number, since we will be paying so much for such an inexperienced workforce (according to your logic).

    @760 Christopher ball
    Check again. The number you cite is 2008-2009.

  • 763. NewCPSer  |  September 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I think all the veteran teachers are at my kids school.

    His aged teacher makes almost 90K and she’s much much less able than his last year teacher who was making only 55K. But alas, pay isn’t given for being a stand out performer in CPS…

  • 764. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Does any1 know what’s going on w/the privatizing of pre school?

  • 765. CarolA  |  September 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Portage mom: Great article! Thanks! Too mad he’s not old enough to run for president. I need a new candidate to vote for! 🙂

  • 766. CarolA  |  September 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    too bad, not mad 😉

    Lisa: awesome is right!

    @745 CPSO: It is very difficult and time consuming to differentiate. You’re right. We get materials (if we are lucky and I am) for our grade level. The rest is up to us to find elsewhere. I use Pinterest a lot. I use TeacherPayTeachers a lot. I subscribe to several teaching magazines. But all of that research takes time which brings us right back to the idea that we do put in more than 7 hours a day, but let’s not get into that again. 🙂 Another thing teachers have to consider is that sometimes we can find materials for our high learners or low achievers, but the graphics are not appropriate. In other words, imagine a 4th grader needing work at a first grade level and the teacher finds something that will work, but it has Dora the Explorer on it (OK, bad choice, but you get the idea). Then the teacher has to create a new version on her own. Sometimes there’s nothing out there. Just the other day I had to create a graph for our family unit because I couldn’t find one to meet my needs. Then I had to make a harder version and an easier version for each group. YIKES!

  • 767. CarolA  |  September 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    SoxSideIrish4: We were just talking about it today at school. There are mixed theories so I’m guessing no one really knows yet other than it won’t be business as usual next year. Someone said there is a BOE meeting tomorrow about it.

  • 768. cpsobsessed  |  September 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    CarolA, do you think the efforts to differentiate take that much effort in suburban schools? Or do schools with more money make materials more available to help out?
    I wish cps made it easier for teachers and parents to help their kids catch up.
    For god’s sake, one would think that Everyday Math,given all the $$ they’ve raked in from cps could make practice sheets available online or something.
    My son’s teacher had no ideas other than that I should buy some books on amazon and that was difficult given that there are several versions of EM for each grade.
    It takes a lot of effort as a parent in cps sometimes.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 769. anonymouse teacher  |  September 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    @745, She begs, borrows, steals or buys them herself, that’s how a teacher gets the material to use for students above or below grade level. My own children’s bookshelves have provided quite a lot of what my students need.
    I find it pretty easy to differentiate in reading and writing, but I struggle to do it for math also. I just run out of time, steam and honestly, I’d need to clone myself to do that too. My goal for this year is to run math groups one day a week. Better than nothing. I typically have 5-6 reading groups, conference individually with all kids in reading and writing and do RTI interventions too. I just can’t figure out how to do regular math groups too.

  • 770. CarolA  |  September 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    CPSO: That’s a good question about the suburbs. I really don’t know. I would have to think that at least some of them have teacher resource rooms. I don’t know anyone who teaches in the suburbs and it’s been too long since I substitute taught in them. I would have to think that many also have resource teachers. Even some of CPS magnet schools have resource teachers available for conference and help. I know many teachers have their own websites and if you google what you are looking for, you may find some worksheets. For example, I recently was looking for something fresh and new to teach Number of the Day so I just googled Number of the Day first grade and there it was! It seems I always find other things on their websites I can use too. I’m surprised Everyday Math does not have a technology connection for parents. Did you check with the company? Sometimes schools have to subscribe to that link, but it might be something the school PTO can help with. We use Harcourt Math (an old version) and they have an online math game version for free. is also a practice site. With a subscription, you can get more practice. There are resources online, but you have to search.

  • 771. ltwain  |  September 24, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Classical schools are interesting because they already teach a grade or so above chronological age. I wonder if they’re tested at the chronological grade or the taught grade? They should be tested at the taught grade. If tested at the chronological grade, they would probably max out. You already know that they would. But if tested at the taught grade, then you could see how they would grow with respect to their intellectual peers.

    This seems to be an instance in which a school was designed to specifically challenge gifted kids. Why not schools designed for students with less prior knowledge, parental encouragement, or access to resources? These schools could be more alternative – big on project-based learning, field trips, etc.

  • 772. anonymouse teacher  |  September 24, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    @755, Cubswin, you mentioned a short instructional day. Do you believe a 7 hour day for children is a short one? I am curious, do you believe college professors should be teaching 25-30 semester hour couse loads? Because that is essentially what K-12 teachers are doing. We are instructing 25-30 hours a week with the rest of the 7 hour days for lunch and prep. No university professor, no community college instructor would be able to teach 25-30 semester hours. Yes, a few charters offer 8 hour days. What’s your point? How many of those charters have kids graduating from college? If they don’t have 90%+ doing so, should we then say a 10 hour day is needed? 12 hours? Schools where kids live there? Your premise is not sound.

  • 773. anonymouse teacher  |  September 24, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    @746, no, I don’t advocate for testing to be abolished. I do advocate for common sense. 1 high stakes test per year is enough. A few formative assessments administered over the course of the year is also fine and necessary.

  • 774. CarolA  |  September 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    @772 mouse: I’ve often joked that pretty soon we will be picking the babies up at the hospital, raising them, teaching them, and returning them at age 18! 🙂

  • 775. CarolA  |  September 24, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    So I’m sitting here listening to the Channel 9 news and Rahm is talking about his new project to bring high speed WiFi across areas of the city. How ironic that today in my school we couldn’t do our NWEA testing because the internet system could not handle 30 laptops working at the same time. 🙂

  • 776. anonymouse teacher  |  September 24, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    CarolA, our school found testing pretty impossible today. We are not sure we’ll be able to complete it by the end of the testing window because the technology isn’t working at the level it needs to. As well, my grade band still hasn’t gotten the books we need to administer the Reach assessment that is due Friday. One of our 5th grade teachers came in today to lunch, sat down, sighed and said, “Well, we’ve been in school 8 days. So far, I’ve spent 5 of those 8 days testing. We still have several tests left. I’d like to start teaching, but I can’t.” That says it all doesn’t it?

  • 777. Katherine  |  September 24, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    With proposed changes to Kgarten, people are quoting the wonderful Fred (Mr) Rogers

    ““Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”

    K has become too much work for everyone. And when my son was in K they had this Horrible disciplining system called Sad Face…a brutal way to shame students.

  • 778. Katherine  |  September 24, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    The CPS “74” salary quote is BS (you know that that stands for) and they are including adminstrator and non-regular teachers in that number. There are a few (and Very few) teachers at 78-83 (includes benefit and is gross pay), including teachers who are special ed, all have masters degrees and over 20 yrs experience within CPS. People with adminsitrative appointments make more. They dont inlcude Principals in that 74K but they are including others who are not teachers. Some of the ESL and therapists seem to make less but it might be since there are many younger teachers in this category in the 4 schools I have access to (poor and well-funded schools alike).

    And anyone who thinks Rahm or CPS discuss undisputed facts have never tried to deal with them directly and get financial data. Good luck on that.

    A good strategy is to Stop thinking about politics and “sides”–think about where your money goes. The administrative costs in CPS are ever growing and far eclipse teachers per capita and the saddest thing is Admin Money does not get to kids in any way. At least teacher pay means the teacher is with your kid for 7 hours.

  • 779. Katherine  |  September 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Hey Carol A–you need to start Baby Einstein in utero (head phones on the belly) now so they will be prepared for Accelerated reader by pre-school.

  • 780. CarolA  |  September 25, 2012 at 6:22 am

    Katherine: 🙂

  • 781. CarolA  |  September 25, 2012 at 7:02 am

    mouse: Check with all the schools around you. They may have the REACH books you can borrow. I know that’s what we are doing. We are sharing them with all the nearby schools just to get it done. I’d offer mine, but it’s out at another school right now. Teachers helping teachers…..that’s how things get done in CPS.

  • 782. Maureen  |  September 25, 2012 at 7:19 am

    778 — Sarah Karp of Catalyst magazine just said that the Central Office budget grew by $50 mlm in the past year.

  • 783. Maureen  |  September 25, 2012 at 7:36 am

    $74,000? That jsn’t isn’t true.

    “Far-right activists as well as even a few mainstream journalists have made wild claims about how much Chicago’s teachers earn. Nightline’s Terry Moran even claimed that the Chicago Teachers Union is doing “much damage” to the profession by striking, and then went on to say that teachers in the city earn an average of $74,000.

    That just isn’t true. To fact check this claim, I went to the best source available to the public: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS has data from May 2011 for the Chicago metropolitan area that breaks down the average salary for teachers. Across the profession, teachers in the area were earning an average salary of $56,720. Keep in mind that a median salary would probably be a more accurate picture of what teachers actually earn (veteran teacher salaries will be dragging the number upwards) but that this number is not available. The number is also dragged upward because a number of university staff are included in this calculation (they earn more than public school teachers). We spoke with a BLS official earlier today to confirm the veracity of these numbers.

    If you look at the different subsets of teachers, some earn as little an average salary as $44,480 (foreign language teachers). Also keep in mind that the cost of food and living is well above the U.S. average in Chicago.

    The only way Chicago’s teachers and students will win this struggle is by not letting misinformation turn the tide of public opinion. Use the Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit buttons on this page to spread the word. (Thanks to labor journalist Doug Henwood for pointing us in the right direction to look for these figures.)

    -Zaid Jilani*

    *This post was originally credited to Kenzo Shibata who requested proper credit be given.”

  • 784. Portage Mom  |  September 25, 2012 at 7:36 am

    I used to support the longer day and I’m not so sure now. What we need is a smarter day. Children in Finland go about 4 hours a day and teachers receive a lot of prep time. If teachers are in the classroom 7 plus hours where will they have the time to prep for class?

    The article regarding schools in Finland was very interesting. I read the comments and the part about homework is not true. They do have homework.

  • 785. Maureen  |  September 25, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Imho: the longer day and year were always part of the plan to make room for the heavy amount of new standardized testing. Good for Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Wireless Generation and the rest.

    Also — got to make room for online drilling in reading and math.

    It was never going to be funded adequately to bring arts or social services to kids. Just more seat time.

    In the same way, the Common Core standards was always about turning a fragmented education market which was managed by local school districts into a coherent, scalable nationwide market.

    Much easier for corporations to sell into. They can develop a test and slam it into district after district, no adjustments required.

  • 786. junior  |  September 25, 2012 at 8:13 am

    @783 Maureen,

    We’ve already discredited the data in that blog post. Here’s my repost:

    Clearly that doesn’t count just CPS teachers! It counts private, suburban, etc, data from a couple years ago. Clearly a lot of private and suburban teachers bring the average down.

    The BLS data cited runs all the way to Joliet regionally.

    Not even CTU disputed the $77K number in the fact finders report.

    Sorry, try again.


    BTW, did Grace change her name again?

  • 787. cpsobsessed  |  September 25, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I can’t ascertain from my son, vague-boy how much testing he’s done so far. I asked if they’ve been doing the “bubble tests” and he said “kind of.”

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 788. cpsobsessed  |  September 25, 2012 at 8:35 am

    @CarolA – man, that IS sadly ironic about the wifi problem the your school. I heard the news about wifi in the parks and while I think it’s fantastic to have I also thought “realllly”?

    Do the libraries all have it yet?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 789. kiki h.  |  September 25, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I’m wondering if we’ll be able to cancel our Comcast since we live across the street from a park. That would be nice.

    My 4th grader has reported that she’s been doing lots of testing.

  • 790. NewCPSer  |  September 25, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Stop with the Finland comparisons, for god’s sake. They don’t have the poverty and race inequity gaps we have.

  • 791. RL Julia  |  September 25, 2012 at 9:36 am

    “kind of” I love it.

  • 792. OutsideLookingIn  |  September 25, 2012 at 10:26 am

    @CarolA – look on the bright side…soon you’ll be able to do Nwea assessments on laptops in the park. Field trip!

  • 793. cubswin  |  September 25, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Ah, Finland.

    I spoke to a tier 1/2 HS freshman science teacher this weekend who said that a significant portion (one quarter?) of her students arrive with a grade 2-3 reading level. Her remedial class of 33 students can’t work independently primarily because they can’t comprehend simple written materials.

    But let’s call change “corporate” and wait with the CTU for the legion of child psychologist to arrive and transform the district into young nordic children. The CTU teachers can then work their short instructional day effectively.

    Most children in the district need a longer instructional day. Especially older children. A minority of children with motivated and able parents don’t need more formal school.

    The reason children must have the same day is the CTU contract. What happened when Rahm tried to offer each school a choice of school day length?

  • 794. local  |  September 25, 2012 at 11:24 am

    This is on Chicago Tonight, tonight, on Channel 11/WTTW:

    Chicago Poised for Major Charter School Expansion

    Stand Tall


  • 795. local  |  September 25, 2012 at 11:26 am

    IB at Clemente

  • 796. Patricia  |  September 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    @784 Portage Mom
    The Finland comparison is interesting. However, as others brought up poverty is a key difference.

    Also, the caliber and professional standing of teachers in Finland is much higher than in the US. As a society, Finland highly values the teaching profession and has a much higher standard for anyone who wants to become a teacher in Finland. The “fallback” profession for a teacher in Finland is to become a doctor or lawyer. That certainly is not the case with the teaching profession in large urban districts. I highly doubt the fallback for most CPS teachers was to to go med school or law school. That said, there certainly are some teachers in CPS who fall into this category, it is just not the majority as it is in Finland. Also, are the skills for a teacher in a large urban district the same as the skills needed to teach in Finland? I don’t know, but think it requires a different skill set and infinately more patience to teach in an urban district.

  • 797. local  |  September 25, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Note that Finland in a homogenous country. The U.S. is not.

  • 798. Susan  |  September 25, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    @751 Lisa and 752 – our Principal announced last night at our FOF meeting that the proposed calendar s to have Columbus day off but they won’t announce it formally till the teachers sign the contract – if your a working parent be prepared to find child care for that day.

  • 799. Patricia  |  September 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Interesting editorial in Trib about pensions. Doesn’t CTU give millions a year to the IFT? Looks like wall street types and unions are equally trying to influence legislators. Taxpayers seem to be left in the dark. Hard to beleive Illinois is 50th in funding education with political contributions from all sides. However, I guess pension first………… second or third or……?,0,6112242.story

    “The IFT had contributed about $567,000 to Madigan, the state Democratic chairman, and his rank-and-file candidates. Democratic victories assured Madigan’s continued role as speaker.

    •The IFT had contributed about $388,000 to Senate Democrats, and their victories kept Senate President Emil Jones in charge of that chamber.

    •The IFT had contributed more than $515,000 to Rod Blagojevich, who had been re-elected governor.”

  • 800. Paul  |  September 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    @786 junior.

    What’s amazing about teacher union supporters using Bureau of Labor Statistics data is that it illustrates the opposite point they’re trying to make. Rather than show that CPS teachers make less than is quoted in the media, it shows that CPS teachers make significantly more than their counterparts in the area.

  • 801. So tired of the excuses from CPS  |  September 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    The starting salary may be slightly more but we lose ground around the 8th year. The working conditions are deplorable-we are short teachers every year in spite of declining enrollment….3000 retired this year…we have become a teacher training ground…old saying…if you can teach in Chicago you can teach anywhere but if you’ve taught in the burbs don’t bother coming into Chicago…you will be gone before Christmas…..

  • 802. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    For sum reason I’m not being allowed to post

  • 803. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I’m only allowed to post one line at a time…interesting.

  • 804. cubswin  |  September 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Hemingway wrote a short story in six words……….

  • 805. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Is CPSO censoring bc I’m not being able to post.

  • 806. SR  |  September 25, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    @798 Susan (or anyone else) Do you know if we’ll find out when the strike days are being made up only after the contract is signed? Is there an estimate for when we’ll know?

  • 807. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 25, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    CPSO/#745~I’m fortunate that my son can go to a wonderful neighborhood school where they have experienced teachers. My son (grade 7) and several of his classmates from the grade have been pulled out and put into pre-algebra~just out of college teachers wouldn’t be able to work like this bc it takes yrs of experience. Many from our school will go to hs (Catholic & CPS) and start w/geometry instead of algebra. The teachers work around schedules to fit the needs of the students…that comes from experience.

    CPS and our neighborhood school has served us well. But I admit, glad we only have one more year of CPS. Instead of replicating gr8 schools, they just turn them into experimental charters.

  • 808. cubswin  |  September 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    @755, Cubswin, you mentioned a short instructional day. Do you believe a 7 hour day for children is a short one?

    I believe that older students in poverty don’t have the instructional time they need in english, math and science. I don’t know about K-6.

    I don’t know what’s happening in younger grades. But older students are owed the opportunity to go to a school to catch up. Clearly, under the CTU contract, that’s not going to be a CTU school.

    “6.5 to thrive” sounded great for families who support and supplement their children’s education as needed. A six hour day at Lane Tech is probably just fine.

  • 809. cpsobsessed  |  September 25, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    sox, you’re going into spam. try using a different or fake email when you post. that hangs it up sometimes, not the username.

  • 810. AnonMom  |  September 25, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Select enrollment parents, have you noticed a difference in the amount of homework for your kids, since the longer day?

  • 811. AnonMom  |  September 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    * Select enrollment High School parents – though other parents can chime in too

  • 812. anonymouse teacher  |  September 25, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    So, my school has been giving the NWEA test this week. It has been taking 2-3 hours per class to give a 30 minute test. With 4-5 adults working on the problems. Between the lack of appropriate technology and dealing with many crying 5-7 year olds who cannot do what they are required to do, it is a disaster, start to finish. I cannot believe we are doing this to small children. It is wrong, plain and simple. I’d LOVE to call CBS news or some other channel, but I don’t want to lose my job. This is not unique to my school either.

    Carol, thanks, our books finally came in, with 3 whole days to spare. I gave TRC’s last week, I’ll give the Reach this week (and I’m sure I’ll have criers because none of them can complete the written portion of the test) and next week my kids have to take the NWEA. Then, I’ll be directed which kids to Dibel and which to give the new word/spelling test to. Then, we have to give Mclass. I am so glad I planned on this month being pretty much dedicated to just testing. Same for January and May. I won’t be teaching much, but I will be following orders. There is nothing about this that is developmentally appropriate for kindergarten students. I wish all of PreK-1st grade teachers would revolt and refuse to give the tests. Or better yet, I wish parents would wake up and start asking some intense questions about what is happening to early childhood education. Do parents really think it is okay for kids to be tested so intensely that they are in tears each time? Even with teachers doing all we can to reassure them, they know!

    There isn’t enough bandwith, the computers are logging kids out for no apparent reason, it is taking every single body who can log kids in the system helping, the kids can’t even take a practice test, the volume is all screwed up and when you try to fix it the program quits. Fun times in CPS, fun times.

  • 813. Portage Mom  |  September 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    @812 – I am a parent of a first grader and I haven’t heard about the tests you’re talking about. I don’t think it’s OK for kids to be tested to the point they are in tears. I volunteer in the classroom and I haven’t heard anything about testing There are assessment tests at the beginning to see where the kids are in terms of reading, writing and math but I believe that’s it. I think assessment testing used to see where kids are and to put them in appropriate groups is OK.

    I don’t see the purpose of so much time being used for the purpose of testing. Does every school take this NWEA tests?

  • 814. SR  |  September 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    I have a first grader too. He said he took a test today that he’ll take again in January; he took it by writing things down on paper (not on a computer), and that it took him about 20 minutes. I’m not sure how accurate any of that is, but I’m curious which test it was. This discussion has definitely prompted me to find out more about what tests my kid gets.

  • 815. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 25, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    #810 Anon Mom~no difference in amount of homework~it’s a lot ~ same as always.

  • 816. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 25, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    #813 Portage Mom~yes every elem. schl takes these tests~I think there were 3 this week and will take them in the middle and end of yr as well.

  • 817. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 25, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Opt out of high stake tests ~ join the movement

  • 818. Maureen  |  September 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Payton has put together a fantastic schedule for the kids. Blocks, with 3 classes one day and four classes the next, a semina day every other week, and an extra half hour of tutoring, sports, clubs, or fun activities like zumba, walleyball, film club, among a lot of others, daily. So no, kids find the homework load is better distributed — at least so far this year. How goes it for you?

  • 819. Maureen  |  September 25, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    799 — But Patricia this is the game in politics. Money corrupts. No one is looking for a level playing field, and the Trib is being disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

    Bruce Rauner invited Stand for Children and with his billionaire friends’ help got it $3.6 mln in funding in 4 months. That is more than the CTU had in its lobbying fund, Edelman bragged.

    Then Rauner, a Republican, watched as Stand gave money to 9 of Madigan’s candidates.

    Why? To push through the deeply unpopular privatization of our schools, over-testing of our kids, busting of our union, and ruining a profession whose employees are middle class and nearly 90% women.

    We know Republicans don’t care about the middle class and they don’t care about women.

    Why is the Democratic party in Illinois taking their money and doing their bidding?

  • 820. Maureen  |  September 25, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    786 — Love to see where you got the info that the BLS numbers include suburban districts,

    If they do, they would skew the average higher, as the suburban districts have lower turnover and higher salaries over time than CTU does.

    Google Dr.Karafiol’s op-ed in the Sun Times.

  • 821. Anonymous  |  September 26, 2012 at 12:05 am

    813 Has it been your experience that schools aren’t telling parents when a test is coming up or providing results in a timely way?

  • 822. CarolA  |  September 26, 2012 at 6:14 am

    SR: If it was written down on paper by your child, then it sounds like it was the REACH which will be given again in spring. If it was written down on paper by the teacher, it could be DIBELS without the palm pilot. The only way to take NWEA (known as MAP sometimes) is on a computer.

    I thought it would be very easy to look up test dates for all these tests, but I didn’t see it on CPS site or my school’s website for parent viewing. HMMMMMM, do you think there’s a reason for that? I’ll try to dig up my calendar today and post ALL the testing dates. I don’t think it’s a secret do you anonymouse? Would I get into trouble? Isn’t terrible I have to worry about that?

  • 823. John  |  September 26, 2012 at 6:16 am

    Assessment calendars are here:

  • 824. CarolA  |  September 26, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Well, there you go. That was easy. Guess I was just searching in the wrong areas. Thanks John.

  • 825. CarolA  |  September 26, 2012 at 6:25 am

    Parents: Keep in mind that even though it may say optional, some schools have it as a mandatory test. Each school is different. My school opted out of DIBELS, anonymouse’s school didn’t.

  • 826. Portage Mom  |  September 26, 2012 at 6:46 am

    @821 – Our school has been good about informing parents. Last year in K, I always knew when the reading and math assesments were coming up. The assessements were always done prior to the end of the quarter. I would review the material with my daughter one week prior to the assessment. The days they had the assessment, my daughter’s class would have a sub while the teacher conducted the assessment.

    I know my daughter took some tests after school started. I don’t know if these are the NWEA assessment tests or not. I know after doing some reading, NWEA is linked to Common Core. I have heard our principal talk about Common Core a few times. I understand a little bit more about Common Core from reading this blog and googling the topic.

    I learned more about Common Core. I didn’t realize 48 states agreed to adopt Common Core. I was suprised you could get that many states to agree on a standard. I will be asking our principal more questions about testing and the time it takes to complete.

  • 827. cpsobsessed  |  September 26, 2012 at 8:15 am

    I would assume BLS includes all teachers unless otherwise specified, including the low pay of private and parochial and perhaps private prek teachers.
    Unless the BLS is supposed to reflect only public employees. Is it! I am not familiar with it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 828. junior  |  September 26, 2012 at 8:51 am

    @820 Maureen

    Do your own homework. It’s all public information and you only discredit yourself by denying it.

  • 829. Portage Mom  |  September 26, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I spoke to my daughter’s teacher this morning about testing. First grade has completed assessment testing that was similar to what was done in K. Yesterday there was some performance testing done in the class. I specifically mentioned having heard some kids crying regarding testing and my daughter’s teacher stated there were a few kids crying in her class. Our school will do the NWEA testing either next week or the week after.

    I will be talking to the principal about testing in our school so I have a better understanding of what tests my daughter will be taking and the frequency. I am concerned that we are stressing out kids unnecessarily for purposes that are unclear to me now.

  • 830. IB obsessed  |  September 26, 2012 at 9:30 am

    If I may say so Junior, your tendency to shoot down all of Maureen’s points, with little indication that you approach them with an open mind, tends to discredit you. Do you consider it possible anyone else could tell you something you don’t know or present a point of view not yours that has some validity?

  • 831. Patricia  |  September 26, 2012 at 10:02 am

    @819 Maureen
    CTU gives to IFT who has a much larger lobbying fund and I think they give more than their own lobbying budget. So your comparison is skewed. It is all a shell game — ON ALL SIDES. While “wall street” funded groups spend money. Unions have spent money for decades upon decades funding candidates to advance their own interests. The point is, BOTH and ALL sides play the same political game. Highlighting only the so called “astro turf” groups is not accurate. As a parent, it is troubling that the students and parents are left out of the mix and not even considered. Education legislation is treated with the same back room deals by elected officials and lobbyists as any other legislation.

  • 832. SutherlandParent  |  September 26, 2012 at 10:10 am

    What do they say? Lies, damn lies, and statistics?

    We can argue about the average salary of a CPS teacher, but the BLS data can’t be used as an accurate relfection of CPS teachers’ salaries, either.

    If you go the BLS page at

    it refers to the “Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL Metropolitan Area.” So while it does include some well off suburbs where teacher salaries are higher than CPS, it also includes some poor suburbs where teacher salaries skew lower (I’ve seen data that the starting salary of an elementary teacher in Harvey-Dixmoor is $27,830–I’d include that link, but then I’d get hung up in moderating limbo!).

    The data reflects “all industries,” so I assume that includes private and parochial schools as well.

    And the $56,730 figure, which is a mean figure, encompasses “Education, Training and Library” occupations, not just teaching.

    BLS data is meant to offer a snapshot of industries in a particular geographic area. There is some fantastic information there, but it isn’t designed to break down information for specific employers.

  • 833. junior  |  September 26, 2012 at 10:46 am


    I do better than approach them with an open mind — I check the methodologies and data behind the reports. Anyone who does so can see that the comparison figure cited is utter rubbish.

    The burden should not be thrown back on others to check the work of studies that she uncritically posts here. Of course, I did check it anyway. She should be called out for not applying any ounce of skepticism or background-checking to the data. It doesn’t take much checking — CPS/CTU documents, contract salary tables — to see that it is ridiculous to apply the number she quotes to CPS teachers.

    If you delve deeper, you can see that what is offensive is how readily the “study” author cherry-picked data to make a politically slanted claim. It’s shameful that anyone with academic credentials would do that.

  • 834. another CPS mom  |  September 26, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    From what I’ve seen, NEA/IEA and AFT/IFT seem to lobby and support education- and worker-positive legislation, rules and appropriations. I see that as mainly on my side as a parent and education worker.

  • 835. another CPS mom  |  September 26, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Do our high schools have a culture of cheating too?

  • 836. anonymouse teacher  |  September 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Depending on the grade, paper and pencil tests could be the Reach assessment. I had to give that to my students today. My five year olds. They had to write answers to questions about the mood of a character and why the character changed throughout the story. Never mind that I have students who can’t write their name and a few who speak no English at all. I had 2 kids who were able to sound out one word answers. In order to prevent crying, I told my kids to do their best, pretend write if they needed to, and it was okay if they didn’t know the answer.

  • 837. CarolA  |  September 27, 2012 at 6:37 am

    So I’ve pretty much had it with all this salary talk. So I went to my tax file and got out my information for last year. I have a bachelors degree and last year had 23 years experience. My state wages were $71, 690.44 and my medicare wages were $78, 594.13. After all the retirements last June, there is only one other teacher at my school with more experience. Some might have their masters which would give them about $3000 more. But most could be my children meaning they are under 30 years old. Many have less than 5 years experience. So given this is the case at most schools, you can guess what the NEW average teacher salary is. I just received the updated scale for the new contract. New teachers with a bachelors will start at $48, 686. A masters brings $52,058. Five years experience bachelors $58,447, masters $61,828. 25 years experience with bachelors $82, 185 and masters $85, 657. These figures do not include the pension pick up. However, not knowing much about how Social Security works…..doesn’t the government help contribute to everyone’s benefits? It would be hard to believe that you only get out what you put in. In that case, since we don’t get Social Security, it would makes sense that if you add our pension pick-up, you should add Social Security pick-up to the rest of the world’s salaries. Straighten me out if I’m wrong on that one.

  • 838. cpsobsessed  |  September 27, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Thanks, carol. Very informative. So do we still have that link that shows each teacher’s salary by name? I’d be curious how what your takehome pay is compared to what cps lists. When I look at the salaries that were in the spreadsheet the look pretty high-ish but I don’t know what to subtract for the pension part.
    I agree. It’s weird to include that as “salary.”. Doesn’t make for apples and oranges.
    On the other hand, as a whole, a teacher pension seems to be good livable pay compared to Soc Security so that is a big benefit of teaching (assuming it all gets paid out someday.). I wouldn’t count it as salary, but as a benefit.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 839. CarolA  |  September 27, 2012 at 7:32 am

    I only used that link for the actual names once and that was many years ago because I couldn’t believe it was available. 🙂 So I’m not sure if it’s still around or not. I agree, it should count as a benefit, not salary because it does provide more than one would get on Social Security (but only if you put in enough years). There is a big drop in benefits if one retires early. That’s why I’m hanging on. I am in the window to retire right now but would be reduced because of age. If I retire now, I’d get just under $2000 per month. If I wait until age 60, I’ll get just under $4000. Big difference. Taxes, health insurance, etc. would then be deducted from that. Because I started later in life and do pay into medicare, I’ll get that at age 65. Teachers who started earlier did not pay into medicare, so therefore don’t qualify for it unless they work elsewhere for awhile to get credits.

    So here’s the pension pick-ups:
    New teacher with bachelors:
    $38,686, pension p/u $3408, total $52,094
    With masters:
    $52,058 pension p/u $3,644 total $55,702
    5 years bachelors:
    $58,447 pension p/u $4,091 total $62,538
    With masters:
    $61,820 pension p/u $4,327 total $66,147
    25 years bachelors:
    $82,185 pension p/u $5,753 toatl $87,938

    forgot to get masters, but can if anyone wants it

    If teachers have masters plus 15 credits they get about $2000 more. Masters plus 30 get about another $2000.

  • 840. CarolA  |  September 27, 2012 at 7:53 am

    oops 48,686

  • 841. cpsobsessed  |  September 27, 2012 at 8:35 am

    So pension pickup is what cps contributes but you get it when you retire?

    You know, I had the same reaction to the salaries listed by name. But then I realized that they reflect nothing more than years of service and education level. When there’s no differentiating for merit (however you define that) and no negotiating on salary, what can it possibly matter to show them? It has no reflection on the person whatsoever. Except possibly revealing their age range. 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 842. Patricia  |  September 27, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Here is a link to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. Looks like a 9% pension contribution. CPS pays 7% of this teacher pays only 2%. The pension benefit is significant and “defined benefit” instead of “defined contribution.”

  • 843. junior  |  September 27, 2012 at 9:43 am

    People tend to fund their own Social Security through Social Security taxes. It’s not like there is a government pickup of Social Security, as there is with CPS pickup of pensions. If my employer contributes to a 401K plan on my behalf, then I do count that as compensation (as does the government, which will tax that as income when withdrawn).

    CPS pension pickup is 7% of salary. CPS data of average salary of nearly $77K would reflect roughly $72K + 7% pension pickup. I’ve looked at individual salaries at my kid’s school and that seems to be in the ball park. And looking at that, I also see several teachers who deserve more (as well as some who IMO are overpaid).

  • 844. Deduct Me  |  September 27, 2012 at 9:46 am

    9% of net pay is deducted from every employee paycheck and sent to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.

    If a teacher retires or resigns before completing 20 years of service then the teacher receives the money he or she has contributed.

    If a teacher retires with 20 years of service or more then the teacher receives a pension. Pension payouts are reduced if a teacher retires before age 60 or before 35 years of service.

    The average CPS teacher earns about $42,000 in annual pension payouts after 28 years of service. Teachers do not qualify for social security or Medicare.

  • 845. Anonymous  |  September 27, 2012 at 9:47 am

    CarolA thanks for the data.

  • 846. SutherlandParent  |  September 27, 2012 at 9:47 am

    @837 CarolA: However, not knowing much about how Social Security works…..doesn’t the government help contribute to everyone’s benefits?

    Wouldn’t that be nice 🙂 When it comes to Social Security contributions, it’s on the employer and employee. Under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), 12.4% of earned income up to an annual limit ($110,100 in 2012) must be paid into Social Security and 2.9% paid into Medicare. Employees pay half of their FICA contribution and employers pay the rest. Unless you are self-employed, in which case you get to pay the whole FICA bill.

  • 847. Deduct Me  |  September 27, 2012 at 9:52 am

    A little historical context is important. Though we often hear that CPS contributes 7% and employees 2% to the pension fund that money comes directly out of each employees paycheck.

    Pension contributions are not in addition to the compensation teachers already receive and are not “extra.” They are deducted from the compensation teachers already receive and deferred to a later date.

    The 2% vs. 7% was originally set up this way for two reasons:

    1) As a tax protection for both employees and CPS.
    2) As a way to pay teachers less in the short term (in lieu of raises) but still increase their compensation by kicking the can down the road.

  • 848. Patricia  |  September 27, 2012 at 10:00 am

    @847 Just like social security and medicare are deducted from paychecks. When someone says they have a salary of $70K, that is gross. Social security, medicare, health insurance, uncle sam’s taxes (depending on the witholding one chooses), 401K contributions by employee are all then deducted. The take home pay is significantly less thatn the quoted annual salry.

  • 849. Patricia  |  September 27, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Interesting link in Crains on the contract.

  • 850. HS Mom  |  September 27, 2012 at 10:34 am

    849 – Thanks for that link Patricia – really good read. I think the author is positive and underscores the concerns of many. Good summary explanation of the details for those of us (unlike Paul and his 8yo 🙂 ) that did not have the opportunity to dig through the document.

  • 851. Anonymous  |  September 27, 2012 at 10:56 am

    This is on topic and also might lighten the mood a bit. ; )

  • 852. junior  |  September 27, 2012 at 11:14 am


    Patricia — I’m sure that can’t be right. All the things listed as “wins” for the kids are things the CTU fought against.

  • 853. SoxSideIrish4  |  September 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Why should that be shocking #852~NCTQ~isn’t middle of the road/neutral. It’s onesided for deformers like Stand 4 Children, DFER.

  • 854. Anonymous  |  September 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    fyi — Here is a premiere of a special report by Bill Moyers called, U.S. of ALEC, on the secretive, Corporate-Legislative Body Writing Our Laws

    The ALEC model legislation inspired IL Senate Bill 7 and the bill requiring that first 25%, then 30% and 40% of a teacher’s evaluation must be based on student test scores.

  • 855. Portage Mom  |  September 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    @851 – I agree with the article. I don’t understand the issue with teacher’s salaries. Teaching in CPS isn’t easy. I appreciate all they do. They earn their pay IMO and then some.

  • 856. cps alum  |  September 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    @843– Actually junior there is a employer “pick up” of social security. Every employer pays the employer portion of social security currently at 6.9%. These are commonly called payroll taxes.

    If teachers were to move to the Social Security model then CPS would have to contribute 6.9% of wages to the federal government on top of the employees contribution to social security, for a total of 10.4%

    Much of the talk about pensions in the media does not touch upon this issue. CPS hasn’t paid into the pensions for a few years… a luxury they have since they don’t have to pay the federal government payroll taxes. The Fed won’t give employers a “payroll tax” holiday. Those taxes are due every year. The State of Illinois has saved themselves millions of dollars by not contributing to the pension funds or social security.

  • 857. taxpayer  |  September 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    @843:”People tend to fund their own Social Security through Social Security taxes.”

    More accurately, people fund other people’s Social Security through their own Social Security taxes.

    Here’s to hoping that future generations will be as generous!

  • 858. taxpayer  |  September 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    @837:”However, not knowing much about how Social Security works…..doesn’t the government help contribute to everyone’s benefits?”

    In a roundabout way, yes: since today’s workers pay for today’s retirees, retirees that live long enough can receive much more than they put in during their working years. So I suppose that counts as additional government support.

    However, with the ratio of workers to retirees falling In the future, it is quite possible that when we retire, we will actually receive less than what we put in . . .

  • 859. HS Mom  |  September 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    @856 – I don’t think we want to go there comparing pension plan to social security. To follow that thought process comparing teacher salary to private sector, OK add employer paid SS and Medicare to private salaries. What is the adjustment for working year round vs. 9 months?

    I think it’s difficult, as we’ve discussed many times, to compare salaries. I also think it’s fair to say the the reported average is a good gauge of reality. I think many teachers earn more than their salaries and to quote one of my favorite teachers “putting in the time and effort is not difficult as long as you like what you’re doing”. I hope that CPS makes progress with their evaluation system for the sake of the kids and the teachers. IMO, I wish that CTU did not resist any form of differentiation because it prevents everyone from moving forward.

  • 860. CarolA  |  September 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    So, I make a motion to end the discussion about teacher salary. In the end, what’s done is done and continuing to discuss it really doesn’t matter. I’m just curious why everyone cares so much about it. My first thought was because your taxes help pay our salaries. True, but using that argument, why don’t we care about what other city workers make. In doing some quick research I happened upon a City of Chicago site listed under Transparency. It listed all city workers (not teachers as far as I could see) by name, job title, and salary. I never hear anyone talking about that. Besides, what’s more important is moving forward with this information. I don’t care what number you use….what do you want to do about it? We have 3 years to form committees, get petitions going, whatever is bothering you….I suggest you start now so you are on top of it when this contract expires or we”ll still all be going back and forth with useless data.

  • 861. HS Mom  |  September 27, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    @860 – Carol, agreed. It’s not so much about what teachers make and then taking a look at my own check book, its about all the things lacking in our educational system that teachers have brought to the forefront and then looking at the cities checkbook. We can pick apart all city expenditures – and should where we can – but with huge deficits looming over the whole state, it’s easy to see how the contract concerns center around pay and benefits. I feel particularly vested since the tactic to secure pay and benefits was the withholding of teaching services. This is a very unsettling concept to me. Yes, there’s a contract but many concerns still unaddressed on both sides.

  • 862. CarolA  |  September 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    HS Mom: Unfortunately, after years of working in CPS, I know that nothing gets done unless push comes to shove. Unfortunately, it did come down to a strike. Unfortunately, the contract seems mainly centered around teacher pay and benefits and not what I was on strike in hopes of getting for the children. Unfortunately, the children missed out on school. Fortunately, that time will get made up. Fortunately, my class didn’t skip a beat. I thought I’d feel like I was starting from day one again, but not to be. The students remembered all the routines and we moved forward. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is that children bounce back easily and adults don’t. As far as lingering concerns, that was my point in my previous statement. NOW is the time to unite and make your voice known on whatever is of concern to you. It is not my concern what everyone else’s views are, it’s my concern on what I feel strongly about and how I aim to make it happen. I will move forward on my issues and I suggest the same for others here. Many on this site have stepped forwarded and started to make changes. Many just like to talk about it. You are right….teachers have brought a lot to the forefront. We have been quiet for too long. It’s time everyone begins to question things.

  • 863. cpsobsessed  |  September 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    My question is more about respect since we discussed that a lot.
    Do teachers (as a group of chicago public school teachers) feel they earned some respect out of the deal/process?
    It seemed like that was important to many.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 864. So tired of the excuses from CPS  |  September 27, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    #860 We are not listed because we are not city employees-simple.
    I love reading the laborers salaries-hard work certainly but no degree required…

  • 865. southie  |  September 27, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Maybe self-respect.

  • 866. southie  |  September 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    “I make a motion to end the discussion about teacher salary. In the end, what’s done is done and continuing to discuss it really doesn’t matter. I’m just curious why everyone cares so much about it. My first thought was because your taxes help pay our salaries.”

    I think the public is focusing on teachers because almost anyone who has a child is extremely invested in their education (more or less). They also were educated, so they feel very experienced with the education system. And, there’s something stoking the misogynistic message machine that has made teachers the whipping boy in this society. We’re not equally up in arms about any other system or profession at all. Not medical, not legal, not … etc. Go figure.

  • 867. southie  |  September 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm


    Ha! That is an amusing observation. 🙂

  • 868. cpsobsessed  |  September 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Well I’m sure if tax dollars we’re paying for the salaries of 25,000 doctors or lawyers in the cities who were threatening to strike it would certainly be a hot topic….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 869. CarolA  |  September 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    CPSO: So why is it that it doesn’t bother you (or maybe it does) that the person who collects your garbage may be making over $15,000 more a year than the person who teaches your child? I’m not trying to be snotty, just asking. Please don’t get me wrong. You couldn’t pay me $100,000 to collect garbage, but unless I’m unaware of a particular skill that’s needed to do it, it’s interesting to note.

  • 870. cpsobsessed  |  September 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Carol, I haven’t had a look at those salaries yet, but oddly my first questions was “what does a garbage man make?”.

    If you’re telling me it’s in the 80k range then yeah, I find that disturbing and weird. Unless we, as a society, like to have a “public service job lottery” that some people win.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 871. CarolA  |  September 27, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    The ones I glanced at this morning were in the $68,000-$70,000 range. Assuming that ALL teachers don’t make $76,000 and knowing that a new teacher starts at almost $49,000 there is the potential that your garbage man might make $15,000 more than your child’s teacher. We have several first year teachers on our staff this year.

  • 872. SutherlandParent  |  September 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    For what it’s worth, garbage collectors are in the spotlight, budgetwise. Rahm has privatized some of the city’s recycling. And the Inspector General has suggested privatizing both recycling and garbage collection as a way to save $165 million.

  • 873. CarolA  |  September 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Just from the first section of the list:
    Tree Trimmer: $70,179
    Traffic Signal Repairman $90,168
    Asphalt Helper $75,296 (let’s hope that’s not the person who hold the slow down sign)
    Refuse Collection Coordinator $79,992
    Building Inspector $96,384
    Construction Laborer $75,296

    Some require special talents, some do not. I am not including police and fire because they risk their lives every day and never get paid enough.

    What I find interesting is that I would NEVER question anyone’s salary if it’s a job I wouldn’t want to do. I don’t want to collect garbage. It stinks. Good for the people who do. In the summer, I swim at the neighborhood park and see a park employee riding around on the grass mower listening to his IPod. Who knows what he gets paid, but good for him. I’d be so bored with that job. Thank goodness there are people who want to do that. When the strike was going on and people would stop me at the store (I was wearing my CTU shirt) and ask when is it going to end….I asked….what is your reason for it to end soon? No one said…….My child is missing so much education. Instead I got…….they are driving me crazy…..I tried to home school and it just didn’t work because I have another one at home (I teach 29)…..It’s too hard to find babysitting……etc. Not one that said anything about missing education.

  • 874. OutsideLookingIn  |  September 27, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    $100k per year without a college education? I think I just decided my child’s career path.

  • 875. SE Teacher  |  September 28, 2012 at 6:22 am

    I had a conversation with a parent who looked up the salaries of her daughter’s teachers. She said “they make more than both my and my husband.” When I asked her what she thought about the math curriculum her daughter’s class was using, she couldn’t answer. When I asked her what she thought about the writing program the school was using, she, again, was silent. When I asked her if she know her daughter’s remedial math class had 35 students in it, again, nothing. I find it sad that educated parents aren’t more interested into what is being taught to their children.

  • 876. Maureen  |  September 28, 2012 at 7:33 am

    875 — Chicago is a very high poverty school district — 1/3 of students live in poverty and 15,000 are homeless.

    The great recession has impoverished many and hollowed out good middle class jobs. We just had another workplace shooting, this time in Mnpls, done by a man who had been fired and was facing eviction. It is a seriously bad time.

    So no surprise that teachers may make more than some parents. So will police, fire, nurses, etc.

    But the ed “reformers” would enjoy it if the could peel away parent support of teachers by creating a false narrative that teachers are greedy and overpaid.

    If you can be bothered to see the propaganda movie :Won’t Back Down, you’ll see that and other myths.

    But I can’t be bothered.

  • 877. anonymous  |  September 28, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Juan Rangel doesn’t have a college degree, from all I’ve read. Yet he makes more than Brizard to run 13 UNO charter schools — $266,000.

    Of course, once he gets the funds for the charters, he can set his salary. Isn’t that a sweet deal.

  • 878. Just another CPS mom  |  September 28, 2012 at 7:59 am

    @862: “Unfortunately, the children missed out on school. Fortunately, that time will get made up.”

    Has anyone heard what the make-up time will look like? IMHO, the lost learning opportunities are best recaptured if the 7 days are made up during what would have been the winter break, spring break, or making this year’s six half-days full days instead. Putting the days at the end of the year–after ISATs are done and grades are in (at least at elementary level)–does little to restore lost learning. Losing the half-days or anticipated break time may stink, but the days should not be made up at year-end just to hit the numbers. I hope the PowersThat Be get this one right.

  • 879. cpsobsessed  |  September 28, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I just got the new calendar for makeup days. I’ll post it in a bit. Still school on columbus day.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 880. Crawley  |  September 28, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Apparently CPS can bombard us with calls and texts to keep us posted about the strike but we have to find out from a newspaper about the new schedule.

  • 881. SutherlandParent  |  September 28, 2012 at 9:34 am

    C’mon, @874–everyone know ya gotta know a guy who knows a guy to get a job as a building inspector in the City of Chicago! 🙂

  • 882. HS Mom  |  September 28, 2012 at 10:07 am

    @862 – Yes, lots of “unfortunately s”

    “Unfortunately, after years of working in CPS, I know that nothing gets done unless push comes to shove”

    This may be true but not a good way to strike a truly successful bargain. Fortunately, days can be made up but the pushing and shoving still lingers. The uncertainty of outcomes at the time and for the future are truly an issue for parents.

    Rahm is a bully. The principals are bullies so we need an anti-bully clause. CPS does not provide support and materials. Parents are only concerned about baby sitting and are not interested in the curriculum. Teachers are disrespected and greedy.

    Fortunately not all teachers and parents feel this way – otherwise like 876 why be “bothered”. How do we ever rise above this abyss?

  • 883. another CPS mom  |  September 28, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I know my kid’s teachers’ salaries are cheaper to me than if I had to have a babysitter or tutor him each day, M-F.

  • 884. OutsideLookingIn  |  September 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    @881 Sutherland – Dang it! Back to square one.

  • 885. junior  |  September 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    So, it seems that some teachers are unhappy with the agreement, in that there was little benefit for the students. In the discussions running up to the strike, several said that they would forego their raises if the resources would be shifted to things like social workers and nurses.

    I don’t see why the CPS/CTU contract needs to be an obstacle to accomplishing that. I propose we establish a new “Teachers 4 Kids” campaign and allow provide CPS teachers with an avenue to donate the raises from their next three years of salaries into a fund that will bring social workers to the neediest schools in the system.

    If we get just 1 in 5 CPS teachers to agree, then in the third year of the contract alone, that would be over $25 million.

    Who’s in?

  • 886. SutherlandParent  |  September 28, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    @884, depends on how old your kids are–you might have time to meet the right guys! Seriously, before state legislators were recently banned from giving constituents college scholarships to Illinois public colleges, I always thought campaign donations to the “right” legislators would be a better college investment than the 529 plans. Donating a few thousand dollars, in the hope of receiving tens of thousands of dollars of free tuition, makes sense. In a horribly cynical, soul crushing sort of way, that is.

  • 887. Yep  |  September 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    885 I like your idea. It’s for the kids.

  • 888. CarolA  |  September 28, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Junior: Count me in as long as the nurse and social worker come to my school. Good luck on making that happen. If I’m donating my money, I want it to make a difference for the kids that I service. But……I will only agree to that when I find out how many people on this post have ALREADY volunteered some time in a low income school as suggested many times this summer. I didn’t read all the posts, but read most. I didn’t see anyone jumping at that offer. Again, lots of people who have a lot to say about something they haven’t experienced first hand.

  • 889. junior  |  September 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Carol, how many teachers at your school?

  • 890. anonymous  |  September 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    What Privatization Does.

    Excerpt: “When a public job is contracted out, usually public employees are replaced by people who are paid much, much less and receive fewer, if any benefits.  Corporate propagandists complain that public employees are overpaid, receive “lavish” benefits, and are difficult to fire.  But the question we all should ask is:  is it in the public interest for Americans to be paid less or more, and to receive or not receive benefits?   If we believe it is better to be paid more and receive benefits then We, the People should do that.”

  • 891. anonymous  |  September 28, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    885 — First, I’d like to see Arne Duncan give back the $53,000 pay-out for unused but accrued sick days that he took with him to D.C.

    Then I’d like to see perennial consultant Paul Vallas give back the $1 million fee for consulting work to CPS.

  • 892. anonymous  |  September 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Hyatt could give back the $5.7 mln in TIF money for the new hotel in Hyde Park, while we are at it.

  • 893. CarolA  |  September 28, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Junior: Not sure the correct total, but it’s around 60. HOWEVER, you can only count me in the mix. I’m not about to speak for others. We are only accountable to ourselves. My wish for the contract may have not been the wish of the rest of my school. I voted to stay on strike to get less pay and more nurses/social workers. Obviously, I was blown away by the dramatic 98% who voted to go back to school. So my attitude going into this whole thing was to help those in schools less fortunate than mine. When I saw the vote, I said…..hey, if they are OK with it, then I guess I am too. I didn’t even go to any informative meetings held this week. My vote is YES on the contract. If others don’t care, then far be it for me to help them out. That’s why I’d give up my raise for MY school, but not others. In fact, ironically, our nurse (who I almost never see) has been split between 3 schools. She found out today that they added another school to her list to service. In fact, it’s a charter school. Didn’t know our nurses serviced the charters. She doesn’t know how she will be able to do it. Our principal even called to see if it was a mistake.

  • 894. southie  |  September 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Oh, shoo. We full-time workers should get only $25K a year, end of story. No retirement anything. Barely any healthcare or vacay benes. Then nobody could complain.

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