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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.

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

Faced with a deficit projected to be at least $427 million, Board of
Education members gave unanimous approval at an emergency meeting on
Tuesday to resolutions that will allow CEO Ron Huberman to raise class
sizes to 35 students and still pay teacher raises promised in the union
contract.

Faced with a deficit projected to be at least $427 million, Board of Education members gave unanimous approval at an emergency meeting on Tuesday to resolutions that will allow CEO Ron Huberman to raise class sizes to 35 students and still pay teacher raises promised in the union contract.

These official actions were partly procedural, and partly a way for Huberman and the board to publicly and skillfully back the teachers union into a corner. Said Huberman, “The reality of the situation is that if concessions are not made, we will have to lay off teachers and raise class sizes.”

Over the past few months, Huberman’s team has asked the union to make a number of concessions, but besides forgoing the 4 percent salary increases, he did not specify what those were. He said the union has refused to bend.

Marilyn Stewart, the outgoing Chicago Teachers Union president, also declined to outline the concessions presented by Huberman’s team. “It is like someone showing you a menu and on it is your head,” she said.

Huberman has effectively taken away the union’s most powerful bargaining chip: the threat of a strike. Huberman could have recommended to the board that they pass a resolution stating the district doesn’t have enough money to pay the salary increase, therefore reopening the contract. The union could hit back with a strike threat.

But Huberman said he didn’t want to take that route because a strike would be de-stabilizing for students. (His decision also probably has something to do with the fact that Mayor Richard M. Daley is up for re-election in 2011.)

The CTU is barred from negotiating over class sizes and thus cannot strike over an increase, since state law prohibits a union from striking about something that isn’t subject to negotiation.

The union’s only option: Make concessions, or refuse and appear responsible for 2,700 teacher layoffs and ballooning classes. In an environment where unemployment is high and most workers are not getting raises, the teachers’ union also risks casting itself in an unsympathetic light.

Huberman and board members hope CTU officials see they are in a no-win position and give up something. Board President Mary Richardson-Lowry emphasized that the country and the state are in a financial crisis. These larger forces have left CPS in a hole, she said.

Huberman took pains to point out that other teacher unions, from San Diego to New York, have made concessions to avoid mass layoffs.

But Stewart and incoming CTU President Karen Lewis were not ready to start compromising. Lewis, who ran as head of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators, or CORE, said there are other options. 

“This is a nuclear option,” she said. “I think we can do better.”

She said district officials could find money by scaling back contracts with consultants, spending less cash on assessments and shutting down a $60 million program that provides curriculum packages and coaching to high schools.

 

CORE members and other speakers also told Huberman that he should aggressively ask Daley to give the schools some of the tax increment financing money the city collects. Through TIFs, new property tax revenue is diverted from public schools and other taxing bodies to pay for neighborhood improvements, such as new sidewalks or lights, or developer subsidies, in the hope of attracting business to an area.

Local taxing bodies continue to divide up the amount of property tax collected before the TIF district was created. But new revenues are frozen for 23 years.

Published reports have said that CPS would be owed about $245 million more each year without Chicago’s TIFs. The TIF program has drawn increasing fire from grassroots education activists, given the schools budget crunch.

Huberman and board members, all of whom are appointed by Daley, did not address the TIF issue. Later, CPS Chief Financial Officer Diana Ferguson said CPS has benefited from TIF money in the past, but that it is reserved for capital projects. “It is a distraction because it is not going to help our operating budget,” she said.

 

The dichotomy between teacher raises and class size increases was the most contentious issue at the emergency board meeting. But other areas are threatened by the budget shortfall. Charter schools will most likely have their per-pupil allocation cut between 12 and 18 percent. Transportation, special education, bilingual education and extras for magnet programs are on the table.

Huberman stressed that he doesn’t know exactly how much he will have to cut because Gov. Pat Quinn has yet to sign the state budget. Also, the Legislature gave Quinn the power to make changes in the budget.

“This could be good for us or not so good,” Huberman said. Quinn could decide to keep education funding level, which would reduce CPS’ budget gap by $127 million, or make cuts.

Another big question mark is whether and when the state will pay out what it already owes CPS for this year. That amount now stands at more than $400 million, prompting Huberman to ask the board for the power to borrow $800 million. He explained it as a short-term loan that the district will pay back as soon as they get the money from the state.

Given all the uncertainty, some wondered why the board would hold an emergency meeting and pass these resolutions at this time. Huberman said that by law the district has to agree to pay teacher salaries by the June 15.

 

27 comments

Anon wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

Nice summary of the no-win situation, Ms. Karp. What a mess.

Sarah wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

What is the status with the lawsuit that CTU filed against Chicago Board of Education for violation of the fire code? We are suppose to have one student per every 20 square feet in the classroom.

Retired Principal wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

Dear CPS teachers, DO NOT give back your 4% raises! If you do, it is the beginning of the end of the CTU! Call CPS's bluff! Put the ball back in the court of CPS and Mayor Daley!

Linda Goff wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

It is a shame that CPS must borrow more money to pay for their debts. One would think that the 1.9 Billion dollars that CPS diverted from the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund should fill the gap. CPS is in such a mess when it comes to money. We have retired teachers from 2007, 2008, and 2009 that are receiving an estimated Pension because CPS can't get their computer system in sync with the Pension Fund. In 2007, they implemented a new system without conducting a test run. How ridiculous! The data CPS sends to the Pension Fund is flawed. Not only did Chicago's teacher's lose the 1.9 Billion owed to the fund, they have also had to pay thousands of dollars for salaries to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund employees in overtime to try and sort through the mess. This is a travesty the tax payers should insist on an investigation into the matter.

dear sarah wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

the CFD tows the Daley line--they will make no statment in favor of the chidren. Just look at Kelly HS at ANY lunch period. (Even with the capacity sign clearly posted there.) hell-let 'em burn.

Teacher1 wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

I wonder... How much is it costing CPS to open and staff the four new schools (not charter) they are planning to open in the fall? I think it is interesting that four new schools are being opened when they are talking about cutting pay and laying off teachers!

Danny wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

"Huberman said that by law the district has to agree to pay teacher salaries by the June 15."

Right. By law, CPS is supposed to pass its budget this month BEFORE the July 1 start of a new fiscal year.

Instead, like in years past, they will have budget hearings in August, then the Board of Education will unanimously pass the $5 billion-plus budget with no discussion--nearly two months after the start of the new fiscal year.

In fact, during Huberman's first year (that is, last year), the "resolution" stating the Board's reasonable expectation to have enough funds to pay our salary increases for the 2009-10 school year wasn't passed until August--just like happens every year. Even though the Agreement between the Board and Union gives the June 15 date, it is never done by then. And yet, every year, the Board has paid our raises.

Suddenly, this year, Huberman discovers the June 15 date and calls a special meeting of the Board to address it.

Please, spare me the civic duty lecture. The Board has ignored the law for years (as Huberman did last year). The only reason they are following it this year is because it is part of their strategy to make the Chicago Teachers Union look bad.

caroline wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

Does anyone know about the bonus that certain schools are being given if they are labeled "hard to staff"? They are getting it in June. Where did that money come from????

Phil Cantor wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

I think most Chicagoans would rather spend the TIF property tax money on schools than on subsidies for real estate developers. Why isn't this the front page headline in the Trib and the Sun-Times? Two years of investing the TIF money in our schools would wipe out this deficit, and each additional year of properly directed TIF money would enhance programs and facilities for our students.

I also agree with Karen Lewis and CORE that the CPS budget needs to be dissected publicly. I find it hard to believe that CPS couldn't find a way to cut 10% of budget in waste. I know we spend too much on "approved" vendors with whom we can't negotiate at the school level. $10M here, $10M there... pretty soon you're saving real money.

Displaced Teacher wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

How does this help anyone? Increased class sizes means MORE lost jobs. Additionally, what are schools doing if they were barely able to fit 30 in a classroom? I believe this was a stupid move, as many of the other decisions made by CPS officials. This is very unfair to all the teachers who are already displaced and those who will be displaced. Good job, Huberman. You really care about schools, children and teachers.

Who said Huberman Cared? Self Centered... wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

His record, his actions speak louder than words. His fighting for a Police pension which he didn't deserve. Huberman is a self-centered man. Sadly, this ambitious man would sell his soul for what? Daley's favor?

Am I missing something? wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

I don't understand....We're in the worst economy since the Great Depression. Most of my friends and family have had their salaries frozen and recieved no bonuses. Where I work, we still have a salary freeze, going on two years now. These measures have been put in place across the country so companies and organizations don't have to lay off employees. It stinks - we all count on getting our raises or getting a bonus when planning our personal budgets, but if foregoing those extras (and they are extras) will save jobs, then it's something that has to be done for the time being. Why should it be any different for certain professions? If I were a teacher I'd be pretty angry if the union wasn't willing to work with CPS to save jobs, even if that meant making compromises and foregoing my raise for the next couple of years. Isn't that the point of the union - to act on the behalf of ALL its members?? I just don't get this union madness about making "concessions" - the rest of the U.S. has had to make concessions with respect to pay (except maybe the top CEOs of companies). Maybe someone on here could better explain it to me why it would be so horrible and devastating to the union to forego raises for the next year or two because right now I would think saving jobs and having smaller class sizes outweighs getting a raise. But please do explain. I don't like it when I can only see one side of the issue.

False Dichotomy wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

"I'd be pretty angry if the union wasn't willing to work with CPS to save jobs..."

The CTU is more than willing to work with CPS to save jobs and, more importantly, CPS students. It is CPS that is not willing to work with the Union. The Union has offered many alternatives to the CPS budget cuts and a very different list of priorities to save our students from the damage of class sizes of 35+. CPS has refused to acknowledge or consider any of the solutions offered by actual teachers.

It also is not a choice between raises and jobs; that is a woefully simplified and false dichotomy. It is a matter of CPS priorities. Does CPS prioritize teaching and learning in the classroom or hundreds of millions of dollars of optional expenses that fall outside of the classroom? Unfortunately, Mr. Huberman and the Mayor prefer the latter to the former.

zeta wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

Please do no worry about CPS'S shortfall. They are not concerned. They are spending 60 million on high stakes testing. 300 million on turnarounds. Many more millions on consultants and the IDES program. Let's worry about the waste and get back to the basics. Education is about students, teachers and a small administrative team. Do not touch students, teachers when you have to cut. You have to cut the fat.
In this case the ones who make their money off the backs students and teachers are not necessary. We can do without them but no one can run an educational institution without students and teachers. Business people need to open up businesses and GET OUT OF EDUCATION!

Yes you are missing something wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

CPS is wasting 300 million to turnaround schools and charters where children do not perform any better than traditional public schools. Annually CPS waste millions of dollars on the AIO' and CAO's offices.
The IDES program is a disaster and waste of money. High stakes testing over 60 million not to mention central office. There should be legislation passed that NO ONE, I mean NO ONE should be allowed to run an educational facility except educators. If educators were running it there would be no deficit because money would be spent on teachers and students not business tycoons.

FALSE wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

"CPS is wasting 300 million to turnaround schools and charters where children do not perform any better than traditional public schools."

False.

CICS Northtown Academy has consistently scored higher than non-selective enrollment CPS schools (you can look up previous ACT scores). They are a non-selective charter school on the North side; no grades or tests help the kids get in, and no money is exchanged under the table. Despite some people's misconceptions of how a charter school operates, the "dumb kids" aren't kicked out or expelled. More than 20% of the school receives Special Services (documented and implemented when those children were in elementary or middle school).

Wide paint brushes leave messy, inaccurate strokes.

To False from TRUE wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

You're right about
Wide paint brushes leave messy, inaccurate strokes.
From a certified tenured CPS Teacher who has 2 Masters and 25 years of teaching experience.
Your school is located on the North -Side. I grew up on the North- Side , you have a totally different population of students.
Finding a charter like yours is like finding needle in a haystack.
( If it's true)

Executive Summary
MAJOR FINDINGS
Student Enrollments
· Charter high schools enroll 6% to 7% fewer low-income students than neighborhood high schools.
· Neighborhood high schools limited-English-proficient student enrollments more than double those of charter high schools.
· Charter high schools enroll statistically significantly fewer students with special needs than neighborhood schools.
ACT Composite Scores
· An examination of 2006-2008 ACT composite scores finds no statistical significant difference between charter and neighborhood high schools.
Read More -The Charter Difference:
A Comparison of Chicago Charter
and Neighborhood High Schools
A Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education Report
University of Illinois-Chicago
College of Education
Study Authors:
Liz Brown, Teacher
Chicago Public Schools
Eric (Rico) Gutstein, Ph.D.
University of Illinois, Chicago

MeNoJudge wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

FALSE,

Every charter school is selective by its very definition. Charters do not take all students. Therefore, they are selective. The absence of an entrance "exam" or the presence of a "lottery" does not make them non-selective. Now, we can argue the extent to which the selective nature of charters impacts their performance, but we must at least first agree that they are selective. I happen to think the selection processes of charters result in major differences in student body. That doesn't make charters bad, just different.

At charter schools students are required to apply, parents and students may have to attend interviews, parents are often required to volunteer, essays and prior grades can be a mandatory part of the application for admission, enrollment and class sizes may be capped, etc., etc., etc. Charter schools advertise to targeted demographics and typically reach families with a dedication and commitment to education, but not necessarily from the neighborhood; citywide about 65% of charter students come from *outside* the neighborhoods in which the school resides. Charter schools receive a painfully disproportionate share of capital project funds in addition to millions in special start-up financial support from CPS. They under serve special education and ELL student populations, may reject out of hand students who need services they'd rather not provide, and may remove or counsel out students for minimal disciplinary infractions, demerits, or even failing a single class. These unsuccessful students, of course, are then returned to neighborhood schools (for example, the approximately 70 of 170ish so students in Urban Prep's inaugural class).

Now, does all this make charter schools evil? Of course not. There are no value judgements in the facts above. It is just the way the three-tiered system of schools in Chicago is set up by the mayor.

Not to take anything away from Urban Prep or CICS Northtown but given these incredible advantages I believe charter schools should be wildly outperforming their neighborhood school counterparts. On the whole they are not. To be sure there are successful charters just as there are successful neighborhood schools, but taking all the evidence into account charters schools do not outperform traditional schools overall.

The decision to annually spend upwards of $300 million in public funds to close neighborhood schools in favor of privatized schools that perform no better is a poor investment on behalf of students, families, and taxpayers, especially in a budget crunch that is forcing skyrocketing class sizes in traditional schools.

To Menojudge wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

You are so right. Teachers should not fall into trap of berating each other. People who call themselves educators or teachers and are not, I have a problem with.
Also, when the mayor decides that anyone can be a superintendent of schools, that anyone can be a principal or teacher ,by circumventing the entire educational process, that's a problem.
Teaching is a profession unlike any other. Teachers should be qualified and certified BEFORE they are allowed to teach or call themselves teachers. In many Charter schools they hire uncertified unqualified cheap novice" teachers".
A doctor cannot be called a doctor until he finishes his residency requirements. People who wear the name teacher, should actually hold the certificate proving in fact that they are!

wow, lies and jealously wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

Some of you are sorely misinformed about Charter schools... The CTU clearly did a good job at that! Have fun lashing out at the success of others, it's obvious it is easier to attack others than to make your own schools successful.

As for certification... where to even start? I have friends and colleagues who are Teach for America and they come in way ahead of the curve when compared to a regular first year (certified the traditional way) teacher. A certificate means crap in teaching, sorry to say. There is no rigor, no true hands on experience until fumbling through student teaching, no objective criteria to turn students into teachers. This is a problem with the education programs, which bleeds over into certifications. A "certification" in teaching is equivalent to a teenager at Wal-greens getting to wear an "assistant manager" tag. In other words, there is NO guarantee of quality, competency, legitimate training, rational thought, communication skills, or content knowledge. So please don't throw this "cheap uneducated uncertified" crap at Charter schools. I'll happily take my TFA colleagues and collaborate with them because they get the job done.

I pity the CTU teachers. You have been taught to fear and hate everything because it is a threat to your job security. Here's an idea: stop complaining and DO A BETTER JOB. You can do a better job on a shoestring budget (ask any Charter school or private school). You live high on the hog, then complain when your school provides no results so you blame others. It's a shame.

Stones wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

Certification=Asst Manager at Walgreens? Must you defame one group to celebrate another? Lets face humans are humans! That is an insult to all certified teachers. Some are good some are bad? I am sure charters have thier stars and dark holes. I think we as "scum ball CTU Teachers" you describe just worry when the smoke clears and the Poltiicians have all the schools turned into non union charters. They will really start to play their games.

A teacher is a teacher...ctu or not!!! It's open season for us all!!

Lets pretend like we are Russia and the USA in world war ii!! we need to join forces!!!

ahha!!!

Phil Cantor wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

Many teachers I've spoken to said they were quite willing to give up their raise this year in order to save jobs and keep class sizes from growing up to 35 students per room (we currently have many classes with 32 students or more.) What teachers are afraid of is that we will give up our contractual raises (agreed to by Arne Duncan and Mayor Daley) and still face job cuts and class size increases. Our raises, which were agreed to based on negotiations in which teachers made other concessions, won't come close to closing the budget gap so Huberman will still use the budget woes to cut jobs and raise class size.... if not this year, then next. Karen Lewis and the NEW CTU leadership wants the CPS budget opened up and made transparent so teachers, parents and the media can analyze the situation and seek the best solutions for our students.

Teach12345 wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Greed.

I'm a special education for CPS and I am embarrassed to be a part of the union. (Mind you, I don't have a choice.) All teachers should forgo our 4% raise and think about the kids and teachers' families that will lose their jobs. It's unbelievable what some of my colleagues are getting paid for doing very little work. I hope I'm not the only CPS teacher who feels this way.

MeNoJudge wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

wow... wrote: "You can do a better job on a shoestring budget (ask any Charter school or private school)."

A more accurate statement: "You can do a better job on a shoestring budget with a different population of students and families based on selective enrollment policies, restricted class sizes, capped enrollment."

Again, that's not a value judgement. I'm not staying charters are bad, just that they do different things under very different circumstances.

Which families and students enroll in a school have a huge impact. Though in the same geographic area, the students and families at my neighborhood school are dramatically different from the students and families at the nearest charter school. I'd like to see a research study that directly trades the students at my neighborhood school with the students at a nearby charter school for a year or two.

Still, the research about charters is solid. On the whole charters perform pretty much the same as traditional public schools. Of particular note is the CREDO study out of Stanford that found the following effect of charters on student achievement:

17% positive
46% the same
37% negative

Though roughly half of charter schools perform about the same, they are also more than twice as likely to worsen a student's education than improve it. That's remarkable.

In closing, I agree that teacher certification needs to improve. I was painfully unprepared for my first year of teaching after earning an undergrad degree at an exclusive liberal arts college and a graduate degree from Northwestern University. It didn't come close to preparing me for teaching in CPS. I'm sure some education programs do a better job than others, but teacher certification on the whole needs more and better practical, on-the-job training.

Will charter schools see class sizes rise to 35+ students per class based on Huberman's cuts? Anyone out there know the answer? I don't.

Can Daley-Huberman be honest? wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

First, Huberman has proven he is not to be trusted.
Second, to forgo the raise, which I can agree to, opens the contract. Since the first reason is there, the concern is that Huberman will create his own oil spill if CTU opens the Agreement.
Third, CTU and our public, have every right to know where every penny goes in the CPS budget and to stop the TIFs from NOT going to the schools.
To build trust, Daley/Huberman should make the first move of revealing the complete budget AND redirecting TIF $ to the schools.
Do these two men have it within them to be honest?

Chaters also do well in Chicago wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

Board gives Huberman power to increase class sizes

because CPS charges them $1.00 for annual rent, supplies them with free instructional furniture and underwrites the charters maintenance and utility bills. Besides the charter selective enrollment practices, the couseling or expelling of unproductive students, and legal threats to parents, you would think charters would be doing better. But hey, let's keep destroying the neighborhood schools...

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