Current Issue

Teacher turnover

CPS has never had a strong, districtwide program of teacher induction and mentoring to stem an attrition rate that is higher than the national average. Instead, efforts to retain teachers depend on smaller-scale programs and individual principals who make it a goal to empower—and keep—their teachers.

Cover Stories

December 27, 2005

Cuando la Legislatura de Illinois había realizado su aporte para ayudar a la Junta Escolar a cumplir con el primer contrato de tres años que firmó con el Sindicato de Maestros de Chicago, los dirigentes escolares y sindicales aclamaron una nueva era de paz laboral.

December 27, 2005

Fue con emociones encontradas que la comunidad filantrópica de Chicago se encontró proporcionando apoyo clave para la descentralización de las Escuelas Públicas de Chicago. En algunos casos, simplemente sucedió que las fundaciones estaban apoyando a las organizaciones sin fines de lucro que acabaron abogando por esa causa.

Una vez que los consejos escolares estuvieron formados y funcionando, las fundaciones regresaron felizmente a las aulas, otorgando donaciones principalmente a las organizaciones externas que desarrollaron sociedades con las escuelas.

December 27, 2005

Asked what she might have done differently in 1993, Chicago Teachers Union spokesperson Jackie Gallagher doesn't hesitate: "I'd turn around and walk out the door."

As the union's mutilated three-year contract ran out in August, the board faced a $400 million deficit-almost 15 percent of its budget. The board, the union and the Legislature each wanted the others to foot the bill. Months later, they all swallowed hard, the board cutting still deeper, the union agreeing to a net decrease in take-home pay and the Legislature OKing a massive borrowing package.

December 27, 2005

In 1994, School Board President D. Sharon Grant and Facilities Director James Harney became the poster children for corruption in the Chicago Public Schools.

In early February, reporters and investigators from WBBM-TV and the Better Government Association (BGA) got their hands on an audit by Arthur Andersen & Co., which the board had been sitting on for months. It showed that under Harney's watch, building contractors had overcharged the board $7 million in a single fiscal year, including a $75 charge for an 80-cent electrical wall plate.

December 27, 2005

In fall 1987, then-Mayor Harold Washington's bid to reform the city's schools was blessed with the city's longest teacher strike. The 19-day walkout triggered the community outcry that resulted some 15 months later in the Chicago School Reform Act.

December 27, 2005

One of the few conclusions that everyone involved in school reform has reached is that local control did not help high schools.

A year into his administration, Paul Vallas acknowledged that progress was "going to take time with the high schools."

In response to steadily declining high school test scores, Vallas reached for a wide variety of remedies.

December 27, 2005

When President Bill Clinton visited Mayer Elementary School in October, he was favorably impressed. "I want what is happening in Chicago to happen all over America," he said, 10 years after then-Secretary of Education William Bennett proclaimed Chicago's school system the worst in the country.

December 27, 2005

Taking office under new financial and labor rules, Mayor Richard M. Daley's school leadership team abruptly reversed more than a decade of program cutbacks.

December 27, 2005

Local school councils have not figured prominently in the efforts of schools chief Paul Vallas to improve Chicago's public schools. He's clashed openly with a number, mainly over principal selection, and routinely belittles LSC advocacy groups.

At the January 1999 School Board meeting, he said, "Tonight, we've heard about quite a few principals that have been doing a good job, but then they are fired [by their LSCs]. We're going to take a look at that."

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