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Drugs in schools

Most drug violations in CPS involve an ounce or less of marijuana. Schools are quick to call police, yet rarely have the resources to offer education, counseling or other non-punitive help to students.

For the Record: Teacher layoff and recall rights

Today’s Illinois Supreme Court ruling likely has put to rest a nearly two-year legal battle between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union over layoffs of tenured teachers.

The court found that tenured teachers in Chicago don’t have the right to preferential re-hiring if they are laid off for economic reasons. Of the more than 1,200 teachers affected by the summer 2010 layoff, the several hundred who were not re-hired will not be eligible for back pay or preferential job placement.

More broadly, the ruling means greater discretion for principals in staffing their schools.

The court cited provisions of the 1995 law that gave the mayor unfettered control of the school system.

 “The 1995 amendment reflects a clear legislative intent to change the statutory rights of tenured teachers in a layoff,” the majority opinion states. (In the rest of the state, teachers still have a right to recall.)

As the court interpreted it, the law gives CPS the authority to factor in teacher performance, as it did when then-CEO Ron Huberman announced in June 2010 that “unsatisfactory” teachers would be laid off first.

The district also gets to decide whether – if at all – to create a procedure for recalling laid-off teachers.

Chicago Public Schools officials praised the court ruling, saying in a statement that it “upheld school reforms that empower principals to make hiring decisions that are in the best interests of their students to boost academic achievement during a time when too many students in our system are struggling.”

The Chicago Teachers Union slammed the ruling, calling the fact that the law treats Chicago different from the rest of the state an example of “Chicago’s separate and unequal practices.”

Under the current CTU contract, teachers who are laid off for non-economic reasons, namely school turnarounds and declining student populations, will continue to get the first shot at jobs that come open in CPS.

But the contract expires June 30, and it’s anyone’s guess whether the next contract will include that provision.

33 comments

Anonymous wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Mixing Facts

While I am sure all that Ms. Harris writes is true, it is still maddening for those of us who had great evaluations and excelled in teaching, but were laid off solely due to economic reasons, to continually see our situations put in the same story as those who were laid off due to poor performance. In the last two years, hundreds, if not thousands, of great tenured teachers have been laid off for economic reasons. I wish this distinction were made clearer in news coverage.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Mixed Facts

While I am sure all that Ms. Harris writes is true, it is still maddening for those of us who had great evaluations and excelled in teaching, but were laid off solely due to economic reasons, to continually see our situations put in the same story as those who were laid off due to poor performance. In the last two years, hundreds, if not thousands, of great tenured teachers have been laid off for economic reasons. I wish this distinction were made clearer in news coverage.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

CPS is like swimming with the sharks

The whol thing is so Wrong...how can a state single out one city?? CPS is gonna have a field day this May ...they are gonna fire anyone who isnt a Rahm drone....something tells me there are going to be a lot of undeserved ugly pink slips coming very soon. As, they have no reason to follow any law or contract....we teachers are gonna have a bout as much workers rights as the salesmen in Glenngarry Glenn Ross. It is gonna pit teacher against teacher. Who is gonna want their fellow teacher to succeed when that means competiion for their job (sb7)!! It is gonna be a whole new world!! And I bet the kids will suffer!!!!!!!!!!! Seriousy, reviews are gonna be our jobs...I am guessing sabatoge will not be out of the questions in some schools, if it means losing your job. 35 kids in a room in one room....24 in another...yet we are all gonna be judged the same....???????? How did CTU and the other unions consider this a victory???????????

Sean wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Not a clear line

What is the point of your distinction?

Among those people laid off for "economic reasons" are some who were low-performing teachers. Among those people discharged for being "unsatisfactory" were some great teachers who had somehow made an enemy of a vindictive principal. The lines are much more blurred than you think.

And if you were really a great teacher, wouldn't you have been hired by another school quickly?

Instead of trying to divide the pool of unionized teachers, why don't you try to unite them.

Renee wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Never Gonna Happen

The really great teachers who were fired for "economic reasons" were veterans making more money than the current regime wants to pay. They are never going to be rehired. CPS is moving with singular purpose toward an at-will work force of teachers. There will no longer be career teachers of 20+ years unless they agree to work for a pittance.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Renee Speaks the Truth

Whether great, good, or poor teachers, if you have too many years into the system at the point of lay off, you are finished.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Pittance? hardly...

Pittance? I am a CPS teacher and I know that first-year CPS teachers have the HIGHEST starting salary in the nation among the 10 largest cities ($48,000 -- and CTU is asking for a 30 percent raise over the next two years!!). There are some excellent veteran teachers but let's put the most effective teachers in the classrooms based on whether they are effective, not tenured by a system that counts only years spent in the classroom not value added to the students.

To pittance wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

You live in Chicago?

Do you live in chicago? 44k leaves you with aout 1200 every two weeks. With 500 in student loans 500 and 1000 in rent. leaving you with a grand total of 200 dollars a week to buy food, electricity??? I think we are approaching a pittance for a professional.

Also, just because one does well one year ..does that make the better than a 10 year teacher that maybe had one bad year? Tenure is the norm in shcools all over the world...schools systems that are far better than ours. Also, if they are goign to get rid of tenure, then dont you they need to get rid of residency rules??? This rule was fine with tenure rights....but now it is just sillly!

Schools do everything wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

CPS will have the longest school day and school year 8/2012

It does not and will continue to have the LARGEST CLASS SIZES IN THE NATION in ALL catagories, minority, white, low income, ELL, etc. CTU has every right to demand lower class size. And no one else, no one--other than CTU stands up to Rahm for this. Imagine Rahm's kids having these sizes at UCLab--intolerable!

Schools do everything wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Karen-stop listening to Mr. Potter's mom-get better lawyers AFTR

u learn how to bargain--learn fast karen or this will be the end.
get the principals on your side--they are pissed off too--
everyone should take a benefit day on the next PD day on 4/13.
Send a powerful message--there are few PD days left......

Schools do everything wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

teachers will lose sick days anyway! CPS is taking them!

The 'disability' insurance will be a joke--and watch--CPS will charge for it/ new mommies will get 90 days at 60% and then HAVE TO COME BACK TO WORK__They are even forced back to work in 30 DAYs.
Now moms can take off a school year to be with their new born now..
This is a mysongenistic attitude on Rahm's and Winkler's part!

To pittance wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

mysongenistic

I think their policies are more than anti female..they are just anti human...they want the teachers to treat students like thier own children...yet the board is treating it's employees like the Last Emperors unwanted eunuchs. If our economy ever turns around...good luck finding 30k people willig to work for 30k and no benefits!

Unbelievable wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

New Hires Will Be Veterans Some Day and Then What?

Hey CPS teacher! You think the Emanuel Board of Ed is going to leave the pay structure as it is? Pittance means the new salaries coming in the scary world of Emanuel schools.
The biggest joke is when anyone argues that there is a group of magic teachers waiting in the wings to really teach the children...not that pretend teaching that veterans do every day...if we could just get rid of those pesky career teachers.
There is nothing new under the sun. One can dress up the teaching/learning system in any corporate-agenda-bottom-line scripted way that is currently fashionable, but it will always remain that teachers deliver content or skills and students receive. Dedicated teachers stockpile a variety of approaches and treat each kid as an individual challenge. Newbie teachers don't know what they don't know.
The Tribune, and AUSL and TFA teachers who hope to keep those jobs they are acquiring because higher-salaried teachers are being escorted out the CPS doors for all kinds of creative reasons can imply all day long that having tenure means you're a bad teacher being protected (snort!) and being a body fresh from six weeks of training means you are a miracle worker. Everyone knows the truth, but we're talking Chicago Way here.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I did not intend at all to

I did not intend at all to imply that veteran teachers equates to bad teachers - I know many phenomenal tenured teachers just as I have know many phenomenal young teachers. (I am a mid-career teacher so feel like I can see it from both sides). And certainly there is no magical group of teachers waiting to come into the very difficult job that we do. The question is how do we bring in great teachers -- of any age -- for our students?

I think as teachers we need to change our mindset. Let's focus not on complaining that our salaries are a pittance, when all of the families that I serve make not even a fraction of my salary, and teachers that I know all over the country in places where there is just as expensive housing costs (Boston or NY) do not earn the salary that I earn based simply on a step/lane system. That's not a good image for professionalizing our career. Let's place the focus on creating a truly professional career by demanding that we want what is best for our students -- and unfortunately, I do not necessarily think that translates to tenuring all teachers or providing raises based solely on step/lane, as I have witnessed many not-so-phenomenal teachers of all ages (young and tenured) as well.

If we want to demand that we are a professionalized career, let's start acting like it. Let's demand that we have a cohort of great teachers around us and that we give great rewards to those who are so that they stay on. Let's not say we just want unquestioned tenure after three years of teaching - let's earn it and be proud when we do.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Really?

30% increase over 2 years? In this economy? Really? Seems like Alice in Wonderland logic. "We're all mad in here". "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" "Well, I've never heard it before, but it sounds luncommon nonsense". "I don't believe there's an atom of sense in it". "It would be so nice if something made sense for a change". Maybe some of us taxpayers are just crazy....

xian barrett wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

"Raise"

Why isn't the scandal that Rahm is asking for a huge percentage increase in working hours during a fiscal crunch?

Or that he's continuing the practice of tossing hundreds of millions into bad policy CAUSING a financial crunch?

NBCT wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Incentive

Teaching is the only profession I can enter where an African-American woman earns as much as a similarly qualified and experienced caucasian male. It is the only profession I can enter where a young, new Latino educator earns as much as a similarly qualified and experienced mid-40s career changer new to the profession.

This notion that we must "reward" the best and brightest above all others is lovely, but I'll take a pass. In the rest of the professional world those "rewards" are doled out to very specific types of employees not the best employees. You know them, they are the ones who are part of the good old boys network, the ones who kiss up to the boss, the ones who toe the party line, the ones who decline to stand up for justice and fairness, the ones who are most adept at lifting themselves up by stepping on the backs of their colleagues, the ones who are driven to compete and in doing so game the system, the ones who are obsessed by their own self interest not the collective good. I've already lived and worked in that sphere. No thank you.

I'm as well trained and as well educated as someone in my field can possibly be. I have a decade of experience in the professional world in my subject area of expertise. I'm an awesome teacher. I connect with my students and work hard to engage their parents. I am lauded for my success by my peers both formally and informally. And I do not want to earn more than the teacher in the room next door. I am glad to leave behind competition and a system that by definition creates winners and losers (for teachers and students) in favor of equity, fairness, collaboration, teamwork, shared vision, belief in the interconnectedness of success, and a common understanding that "everybody does better when everybody does better".

I'm as well trained and as well educated as someone in my field can possibly be. I have a decade of experience in the professional world in my subject area of expertise. I'm an awesome teacher. I connect with my students and work hard to engage their parents. I am lauded for my success by my peers both formally and informally. And I do not want to earn more than the teacher in the room next door. I am glad to leave behind competition and a system that by definition creates winners and losers (for teachers and students) in favor of equity, fairness, collaboration, teamwork, shared vision, belief in the interconnectedness of success, and a common understanding that "everybody does better when everybody does better".

I want to be rewarded by receiving the support and freedom I need from my administration and district. I want to be rewarded with functional heating and air conditioning. I want to be rewarded with enough books, materials, and desks for every student, not just some of them. I want to be rewarded with disciplinary support from my dean. I want to be rewarded with less meaningless paperwork, not more. I want to be rewarded with smaller class sizes in the low 20s not the mid-40s so I can give my students the attention they deserve. I want to be rewarded by avoiding one-to-one comparisons between my general enrollment neighborhood school and selective enrollment charters who kick out their worst students and send them to us. I want to be rewarded by not risking my career for choosing to teach in a high-needs school. I want to be rewarded by reasonable and sane work day expectations - for every hour I teach I put in an hour outside of class to prepare. I want to be rewarded by an acknowledgment that schools are not magic castles where all the other obstacles students in poverty face suddenly disappear while the entire and sole responsibility for educating the most challenging students is left to me alone. I want to be rewarded with a full, varied, and rich curricula just like the mayor's children receive. I want to be rewarded by reaching out to students in ways that change the way they think and the way they live their lives. I want to be rewarded by my students calling me Dad. I want to be rewarded by the relationships I build with students that empower them to become more than they ever thought they could be. I want to be rewarded by my students contacting me 10 years later and telling me I had a transformational impact on their future.

I do not want to be rewarded based on unreliable, value added metrics via high stakes test scores.

Propganda wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

ok "I did not intend at all to"

Lets also make CPS and Chicago focus on getting me books newer than 1999 and lowering my class size from 34 to 28??? They need to be focused too!!!!! Yes it is about the students, but we are not the old monks of the past. We need money to survive! Making us live on the salaries our students live on? Is this going to make us better teachers??????

Anonymous wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

No one asked you to live on salaries that your students live on

No one asked you to live on the salaries that your students live on - but to keep in perspective the salary that you are earning, which is not a "pittance." CPS teacher salaries with START at $48,000 (meaning the average CPS teacher earns $60,000) is not by any means poverty or barely surviving, so I don't like when my fellow teachers portray it that way. In my previous careers before teaching I earned far less than I do as a teacher, and while I would also argue that wonderful teachers are worth $100,000 -- I know from first hand experience that not all teachers are wonderful and there's no way in our current system to distinguish between those who are and those who aren't.

Should CPS update books, lower class sizes? Absolutely!! But part of the reason they can't do that is because they pay the highest teacher salary among the largest cities in the country! There is a lot of work that needs to be done on both the administration end and the teacher end - my only point is that we as teachers stop claiming that our very average salary is somehow making us impoverished. That is an insult to the students' families that I work for, and to the many other people in this country actually living in poverty.

Propganda wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

impoversished

no one claimed we are impoverished. we just don't need a pay cut or allow inflation to take over our salaries to the point they are worth nothing. as you know, money loses it's value over time. For example, ten years ago we were given 100 dollars buy supplies, and we still get 100 dollars to pay for supplies. Does Mr. Brizzard pay for his own supplies....does Mr. Emmanuel? That 100 dollars is worth about 70 dollars in 2002 standards. I would be willing to give up 20% of my salary if they cut our class load from 34 to 24 kids. If they would stop paying outside contractors millions a year in half baked unprepared PD sessions. Do you think parents want their children to become teachers and live, near or just above the poverty level...no. Who would ever want to be a teacher. Yes we do it because we love our job.,...but lets be realistic altruism doesn't feed a family. Please tell me why we are mandated by state law to live in CHicago...when no other teacher is?? I am not mad at you...I am upset with the state and their cowtowing to CPS. Have you read the SB7 law?

We are not insulting anyone when we want live above poverty...and I doubt parents want their children's teachers living at poverty levels. Do you really think they will use our salary cuts to buy more supplies or reduce class size? I agree teachers need to help, but when CPS finally breaks our union.....just wait...those same "impoverished" parents will see their private unions destroyed. too!! CPS is being taken over by a private Board.

Have you looked at the names of the Board? Pritzker?? come on! We need an ELECTED board made up of of the very families you are talking about. Why should Rahm have full control of the Board? He is using State and Federal money. Why is CPS the only district mandated to do this. I will take a 25% cut if CPS will give the power back to the parents and the community (maybe even the students and teachers). Challenge Rahm to give the people the ability to vote the board in one year and let them pick the CEO..See what he says..... They are even trying to take away the LSC!! Why don't take your energies and try to change that undemocratically nominated Chicago School Board first before you get angry at a few teachers who want a safe home and ability to be happy. Our school's are run and controlled by RICH families that make 10x my salary! So go to them first! Then work on the teachers. We are just pawns who would like to have a safe car and home.

Sorry for my ramble...you sound like a good person...I am just upset that CPS is run by one man...our mayor...who was probably voted in by 10% of the citizens of chicago..yet he controls the eudcation budget of a schools system whose budget is probably more than Finlands...is this fair??? this is not the teachers fault! Give me my pay cut....but make CPS lose it's monopoly on state and fed funds!!

Veteran Teacher wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Dear NBCT

Amen and amen and amen!

Time Out wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

What's Coming

The pittance is not what's in the contract now. The pittance is what's going to be the new normal once the Rahmfather gets through having his CPS henchmen shred the contract. Emanuel does not respect teachers. Nor does Duncan.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Bravo! and Boo!

There is a great deal of passion and eloquence in these comments, and good points made on both sides of the issue. But can teachers try a little harder to be literate? It's hard to argue everyone should earn more when so many are such poor examples for their students. Check out the following, all from lifted comments on this article:
seriousy
mysongenistic
gonna
isnt
out of the questions
whol
a bout

If you don't know why these are wrong, look it up!

Anonymous wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

That's "lifted from," not "from lifted."

Sorry. I did proofread, and I missed that one. Typos happen. But when you want to call someone "misogynistic," you probably know you should look it up.

Please! wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

New to Comments Pages?

Slang Dictionary: gonna definition: phrase - going to. Used in writing only for effect. Typos, word processing inexperience, figurative language -- may divert some who have nothing of substance to add to the discussion.

Or it may be that some are trying to emulate the illustrious mayor of the city: "'I have been in an executive position, and - I mean this insulting [sic] so get it right - you haven't," Emanuel told Kidwell."

Anonymous wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Re: I did not intend at all to

I just want to say, thank you! Your attitude is so positive and I think many CPS teachers need to keep what you said in mind. We should never feel entitled to our positions unless we are willing to put in the effort that our students truly deserve. As discouraging as it is to say, when I have observed other CPS teachers in front of a class, even at my own school, I can honestly say, there are many teachers I would not want my own child to have. Teachers (and parents!!!) need to start being held accountable, and I couldn't agree more with the idea that teachers should be proud of obtaining tenure, not simply expect it.

me wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

this is a comment page do relax

If you want a grammar page please go to such! I like to see the passion .....we are not being paid to blog her guys! Let's not cast stones for typos and mistakes....that was blogging 1990's !! Relax...enjoy the comments!! Leave the grammar for the day job!!

me wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Judge other teachers?

Don't worry Rahm is getting rid of your sub-par teahcers ahhaah! Just ajoke...be careful...Rahm and his crew are going to fire us alll!!

Losing Battle wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

People in Glass Houses

If you ever watch the entertainment industry award shows you may marvel at how much time winners spend praising their fellow actors or musicians. It is always painful because it draws such a sharp contrast with teachers. More often than not teachers are the worst critics of each other. In a school building, you can always find some snarky, self-righteous teacher sniping at one of her (it's usually a female thing) colleagues. She never considers that she might be the subject of such criticism.
So, as some Chicago teachers continue to eat their own, they may wonder where their support is when Rahm and company close their building.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Agree with Renee, economic

Agree with Renee, economic reasons might have been the only reason these teachers were fired... they are on CPS DNH (Do Not Hire) list...

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