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College and careers

An overhaul of the district’s career education programs seeks to make classes more challenging and put career-track students on the path to higher ed, but many schools have lost programs, and fewer students are participating overall.

For the Record: Teacher layoffs, race and enrollment

As the Chicago Teachers Union struck back at CPS over the longer-day issue Friday, claiming 115 schools nixed the plan in straw polls, it also sought to highlight the disproportionate effect of this year’s school layoffs.

Bearing the brunt of the layoffs are schools with more African-American students and those where at least 87 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches.

The union found that layoff rates were twice as high – 6.3 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively – at these schools as they were elsewhere. That is a matter of concern, because high-poverty schools may have fewer resources to cope with the loss of staff.

However, a Catalyst Chicago analysis shows that these layoffs are likely due to the fact that many of these schools are losing students.

Enrollment data for fall 2011 is not yet available. But CPS data shows that schools where 45 percent or more of students are African-American lost 4.7 percent of their students between fall 2009 and fall 2010. Other schools, which experienced half as many teacher layoffs, saw their population decline just 1 percent.

Similarly, schools where at least 87 percent of students receive a free or reduced-price lunch saw a 4.4 percent decrease in their student population. That compares to a 0.5 percentage point increase at other schools – which lost 2.4 percent of their teachers, according to the CTU.

Enrollment declines can leave students in under-resourced -- and in some cases under-performing -- buildings. A solution has eluded officials for years, but schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard has pledged to tackle it with the district’s forthcoming portfolio analysis.

Whatever plan Brizard comes up with is likely to be controversial. Previous answers to under-enrollment – such as school closings and phase-outs – have become lightning rods of conflict between the district and the union.

12 comments

Anonymous wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Gender disparity???

I would begin to also quesiton why there are only 10% males in elementary schools? With so many male teachers out of work I think there is an availble pool! This is applies to all races! In my school we have 2 male teachers who have taught more than 5 years...all others have been fired????? Hmmmmmmmmm and usually replaced with a woman....we havent had a male hire in over 3 years??? Yet women come and go ????? Isnt this a problem???

Anonymous wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

You have a good point-at our school we have a few jobs open...

We get very few applications from men in the elementary school teacher level. We are in great need of solid male role models on the elementary level. (Seems we would rather have our men in prison--CA spends more on prison than on higher ed.) When we advertised for an assistant principal, more males applied over females. That is a salary/pension issue. I have taught both elementary and high schol and the high school program is easier--and there is more opportunity to make more money there in various after-school and Saturday programs. (Driver's ed-mostly males and great pay.) There were plenty of male candidates that applied for high school jobs when we had openings. Men should be encouraged to be elementary school teachers, but they are not. Now, who wants to be a teacher--it is female dominated and the profession is being treated as if we were living in the third world.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Lawsuit happy world

If I was a man, I would never want to work with little kids for fear of potential lawsuits. My nephew's 4th grade teacher is a man, and the immediate reaction from his mom was, "That's weird that he is teaching little kids." Why is it weird for men to enjoy children? Why is it considered wrong, suspicious, or odd?

Just the other day, one of my male coworkers (high school teacher) was sharing a story that happened while at the park with his daughter. His daughter is 4 and they were sitting on the bench after she fell and scratched up her knee. He gave her the standard kiss to make her booboo go away and then started tickling her and kissing her. In other words, he was being an affectionate father. His daughter was squealing and screaming and laughing. A woman came up to them and told the father to stop. She asked the girl if she was hurt. The daughter said yes (remember, she fell down and scratched her knee!), so this stranger went off on a tirade and tried to call the police on the potential molester.

Why would ANY man want to put himself at risk of being taught of as dirty or creepy? Men who play with children are portrayed as perverts. All it takes is for one crazy parent to bring out a lawsuit and that man's life is over.

For our students' sake, I wish more men taught in elementary schools to serve as good role models. However, I do not blame the teaching profession or the low pay scale for men's lack of interest in teaching. I put the blame solely on society and its suspicious attitude towards men and children.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Interestimg but when I go to

Interestimg but when I go to job fairs I would see thousands of male applicants?? I think there is a form of gender discrimintation...if nasa were 10 percent male or U of I engineeting school was 10 percent female they would be marching int he streets. The way we solve this problems is usually schorships for underserved genders and races...but in education...never saw it?????????? I have seen minority and women encouraged to apply but never minorites and men encouraged to apply????

Rod Estvan wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Rebecca Harris is correct on enrollment data

As far as I can tell Ms. Harris is right about the decline in enrollment at high poverty schools in the city and the relationship of that fact to teacher reductions in these schools. There are two factors here I think, one is the increased enrollment of students in charter and contract schools, the other is the fact that many low income families cannot get section 8 housing within the city and are leaving. In terms of demographics we are seeing increasing poverty in some suburban communities where there are still section 8 units. The reason for these increases in section 8 units in some suburbs is due to the collapse of housing prices particularly in the south suburbs and some collar areas.

Rod Estvan

Anonymous wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago
CitizensArrest wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Charter effect?

I think you are right about the Charters being partly to blame about reduced enrollment, but it's hard to know for sure since their budget and other info is not made public by the city. http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/charter-schools-keep-budget-and-sal...
The bottom line is that this is one of the main goals of charter proponents, to attack public education and extract money from it.

Clara Fitzpatrick wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

In: For the Record: Teacher layoffs, race and enrollment

"Catalyst Chicago analysis shows that these layoffs are likely due to the fact that many of these schools are losing students".
So does this mean that Catalyst Chicago does not know yet and the Union could "likely" be right as well?
If enrollment data are not available what criteria are being used to reach conclusions about the impact?

By the way, good luck on obtaining accurate data!

Rebecca Harris wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Clara, the word "likely" was

Clara, the word "likely" was used because the available data cannot show us that the declining enrollment is causing the layoffs, only that there is a correlation.

Also, this article does not say anywhere that the CTU's analysis is inaccurate; it's an attempt to dig deeper into what might be causing this trend.

We used enrollment data from the 2010-11 school year, since fall 2011 data are not available yet.

Clonnervebort wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago
Rockyb wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

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