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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.

CPS, CTU reach partial agreement in contract talks

CPS and CTU announced a partial agreement in ongoing teacher contract negotiations on Tuesday, with the union accepting the lengthening of the school day and the district saying it will hire 477 teachers, giving preference to teachers displaced over the past two years.

With these extra teachers and some scheduling changes, such as eliminating a morning prep time and putting lunch for teachers back into the middle of the day, the workday for elementary school teachers won’t be lengthened and will be only slightly longer for high school teachers.

While both sides declared victory, they also said numerous issues still need to be resolved and that a strike was still a possibility.

“We have a 98 percent strike authorization vote, and that has not changed,” CTU President Karen Lewis said. “We have a long way to go before the contract is settled, but this is a very good start.”

“We are still looking at healthcare, pay, evaluations, discipline, clinician staffing,” Lewis said, naming – in addition to raises – a litany of issues that CPS isn’t required to bargain about with the union.

Lewis would not say how this agreement impacts the union’s salary demands. Citing the longer workday among other things, CTU had asked for nearly a 30 percent pay increase. CPS had offered about 2 percent.

CPS officials did not say how they planned to pay for the additional teachers, which they estimate to cost $40 to $50 million. The proposed CPS budget empties the reserves and makes program cuts to fill a $665 million deficit. With no reserves, the budget leaves little wiggle room.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel shrugged off the question of how he can afford the additional teachers. “The question is how can we afford not to do it,” he said.

Board President David Vitale said it is now time for district leadership to “get to work” to find savings. There’s also a possibility that Emanuel and his team will have to make more costly concessions to the union.  

Still, Emanuel and his team declared victory. He said he was never prepared to compromise on the issue of the longer school day.

“A longer school day has been a goal and a topic of negotiations before,” he said. “But each time students took a back seat.”

Union leadership also saw the agreement as a win. Since the beginning of negotiations in November, CTU leaders said they wanted additional art, music and physical education teachers. They stressed that students shouldn’t only have a longer school day, but also a “better school day.”

With the additional teachers, each school should have at least 1.5 teachers providing art, music or other enrichment classes, Lewis said.

CPS officials said the details of how the teachers will be allocated have yet to be worked out and that principals will have the discretion to decide what type of teacher they need, whether it be a reading coach or a dance teacher.

Another victory for the union was the district’s agreement to give preference in hiring for these positions to displaced teachers. If three displaced teachers apply for one of the positions, then the principal will have no choice but to hire one of them, under the agreement, Vitale said.

The deal only applies to displaced teachers with satisfactory or better ratings. Also, the teacher will be on probation for a semester and the job is only guaranteed for a year.

With yearly school closings, the issue of displaced teachers is a big one. CTU fought a legal battle to ensure broader protections for them, but lost.

The announcement that the longer day was not in jeopardy as contract negotiations are ongoing brought statements from advocacy groups that support it. 

Stand for Children was planning to hold a press conference Wednesday morning to urge CPS and CTU not to forsake the longer school day. Now, they are partnering with Education Reform Now Advocacy to applaud the agreement.

“It’s time for both sides to finish the job and finalize a contract,” said Rebeca Nieves Huffman, Illinois State Director of Democrats for Education Reform, an affiliated group. “As we have always said, teachers have a difficult and critically important job and they deserve a raise, but it must be a compromise that taxpayers can afford.”

“As negotiations continue, we hope that both the CTU and CPS will continue to put students first and protect the critical investments our students need like the longer school day, funding for charter schools and maintaining class size.”

19 comments

Anonymous wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

CTU-get a 1-2 year only contract--Rahm and ilk will cheat u at

every pass. Good work and keep it up--well done!
But watch-all those rehired teachers will be fired come 6/30/13. (CPS was keeping most of them anyway from 2011-2012.)
REMEMBER --92 Talent Management employees are hired for FY13. There to assure principals use new rating process for ALL teachers.
Don't forget Battle for kids too! All are ways to let teachers go....legit.
Good luck!

Anonymous wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago
Mandy Davis wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

Many tenured teachers were set up.

Unsatisfactory rating was a demeaning way to label tenured teachers and throw them out the door. This is not the truth. Those teachers should get their jobs back too. Most Principals just wrote that unsatisfactory rating down just because they could use the pen. Now look at who is at the schools. All young teachers. But guess what. The young teachers are in for the ride of their lives. Students don't take too well to young teachers. Seen it. The young ones are going to see what strength tenured teachers had. It is nice to read how schools are run in other states. Not all this mess. And they don't demean and do this to their senior teachers. Those teachers placed love in their teaching. The young ones are going to pay off those loans; and run for the border. All at once. Teaching children is very hard and rugged. It's like traveling through rough terrain. It is no walk in the park. And Principals; you too will be old soon. Then you will be able to see what it means to be thrown out. It won't be fun then. It is a sad event for teachers in
Chicago. It is not a career in Chicago that you would want to go into.Your teaching career will never reach your old age. The evaluation for teachers is senseless and too hard. And thank goodness the longer day went away. That was going to be a disaster. Now that all that money is left from all those 850 teachers laid off this year; send those teachers back to their jobs.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

This is why Recall and the new Teacher Evaluation are

probably the two most important issues.
Without recall,
anyone CAN be fired
And
with the new evaluations system,
everyone WILL be fired.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

How will the CTU know if there are 3 displaced teachers who

applied for each position? Will HR give you a REAL list or will they say they cannot violate other listed applicants' rights? (Remember it's Winkler)
When the displaced teacher is hired and then displaced by the principal after 1 semester, does that diplaced teacher's clock start over--getting another 10 months to find another CPS teacher position, or are they honorably discharged June 2013?
Same for the diplaced teacher not kept in the Spring semester?
Since these re-displaced teachers are then labled 'discharged,' will they be allowed by CPS, to get unemployment?
Though stated that the displaced teacher, if hired by the principal after the semester becomes 'permanently appointed to the position', these 'positions' will probably close June 30, 2013. What happens then? Bumping rights? Tenure restored?

Anonymous wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

Principals have too much power

Some principals are unfairly cutting teachers to save their friend's job. There are many non-teaching positions that are being filled by people who walk around the buildings doing absolutely nothing but entertaining principals and scraping up all the overtime pay they can. That's the fat CPS needs to cut; arrogant principals and their lazy friends who sometimes make more than teachers.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

CPS does not have a plan for a better day for children

CPS agreed to do what is fair, to rehire experienced, qualified, talented teachers to fill vacancies in schools!
The citizens of Chicago voted #1 for increased ARTS education for our children in our schools as the priority for the Mayor's new Cultural Arts Plan 2012. All art, all schools, all students= ARTS for ALL. Thank you CTU for fighting for a better school day. This is what parents want, what teacher know, and what all students deserve.

MBA wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago
Mandy Davis wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

The name of the game is Firing.

It is not about children. It is about getting rid of old teachers. If you are old you have to go. Old fashion brakes last a long time. Newly made brakes last a couple of months. This is what will be happening. Children are a lot tougher than they use to be. REALLY tough. Younger teachers these days are just fresh. Wondering where all this flipping around will lead to. One good thing for tenured teachers they won't have to deal with all that stress. They will be sitting on the side line reading and watching. Headaches will be bigger. These are the NOW kids. Lot of demands to guide them through the day. It won't be easy; not with what's going on with the youth in Chicago. A lot of their minds are set. So the younger teachers are in for the adventure of their lives.

northside wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

new teachers

i worked with a student teacher and he was sickened by CPS...he said he had never seen something so disorganized and cruel at the same time. Also, i think the union needs to stand firm on the evaluation ALL teachers need to be evaluated one way or another. supposedly only satisfactory teachers will be evaluated with the new system. this seems very unfaril all teachers must be evaluated the SAME...if not fellow union memeber are selling their own members down the river

Anonymous wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

School will start on time

My brother texted me today and said "I see your union has settled with the board - school will start on time". He said he read that in a news report on the internet. The longer school day is only one issue. Pay, benefits, and evaluations have yet to be ironed out. Why is the media reporting "Schools will start on time?" I dont' get it.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

It is winkler lee and gerig who have too much power

as principals yet again have to revise the LSD schedule--5th time! and have no one to watch students for recess or lunch of the beginning and end of the day. they did not bother to ask principals. wait until a child is hit by an employee's car now that they will all start and leave school at the exact same time. or when a parent comes in and cannot speak to a teacher--EVER. Or all the edicts they give and no professional development for it. Fine what Karen negotiated--she bruised Rahm who needed tio be bruised, but the three or more of these inept administrators knew not and still do not know what they do. And still-no Brizard in site! CPS brass are killing the schools because of it. We have had to beg for funding and then watch as AUSL schools get new paint and furniture.
How are they held accoutable for this folly? Brizard deserves a no confidence vote from principals. He is MIA through all of this.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

Wait--where, all of a sudden did CPS get the $$$$

to do this? Is there money hidden ion that budget?

Bill Colson wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

CPS/CTU Contract Announcement 07/25/12

The idea that high school teachers are "only" getting 46 minutes added to our day is a sham, as was the old method of only counting instructional minutes, which resulted in Mayor Daley stating that teachers worked 36.5-hour weeks. The tentative schedule I have received adds the equivalent of an extra class, which means 25-30 more students worth of assignments and assessments to grade and keep records on. My school's Instructional Leadership Team tried to use the extra minutes by adding time to the existing class periods, but the Network nixed it. So much for the increased flexibility promised to principals by Brizzard.
I spent last week doing curriculum planning for one of my course teams, using the new Common Core State Standards. While I like their specificity and emphasis on increased rigor and analysis, the resulting planning and grading will take 2-3 times longer. I estimate that my current 45-60 hour week will expand to 55-70 hours.

Bill Colson
Morgan Park High School

northside wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

common core

i actually find the common core for grade schools to be as vague as the state standards...even more...i think they have not addressed the age old problem..what if a student is behind??? you should have seen when CPS tried to create a common core test last year.hahaha...it had spelling mistakes and all the teachers were as confused as the teachers. they just cut and pasted problems from the tests like the isat practice book. how can we find rigor in vague and overly "academic" language?

Kat wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

Recognize abuse! Recognize modern slavery!

Recognize abuse!
Recognize modern slavery!

I had enough of this toxic system.
Having tenure, two masters degrees, and 14 years within CPS caused me to be one of the teachers who was targeted.
And I too have experienced abuse as administration attempted to silence me because I would not quietly go along/ conform.
I was fed up so much that I left the system & teaching profession completely.

And yes, I do look back, with great hope for many teachers, staff and parents recognize abuse and somehow find a way to better repair the current state of toxic affairs.

It’s unfortunate that a “victory” has been announced and school is said to, “start on time” since only the issue of extended time has been addressed. Even if a pay raise was given (after taxes eat it up anyway), I must ask teachers:

1. How much is your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing worth to you?

2. Do you feel as if the proposed pay increase will compensate all that you do and go through?

Additionally:

3.Is there any amount of money that would compensate you should you not be able to perform your teaching duties as a result of not functioning effectively mentally, physically or emotionally?
I am also curious to know:

4. How many teachers feel a sense of burn out, depression, have lost the energy or joy of teaching, and often feel sick?
I look back at Chicago Public Schools with great hope that many teachers recognize the abuse and gain the strength to truly stand up to any administration or principal who questions a teacher’s competence, talent, and or abilities.

5.Who would even want to work within a system that has no stability and uses the revolving door method to constantly hire and fire people?

6. Who would want to work for a system that proposes an evaluation that is ultimately designed to set teachers up to fail, and not provide any real support? (i.e., limiting assistance with difficult children, overload the teacher with work and deadlines?

7. Who wants to go to work daily and take harassment/abuse from both students and administration?

8. What teacher went into the profession and said they wanted to live in fear for their job, be the blame for the lack of success within their classroom, Spend excess money on supplies and materials, write up anecdotal logs for every student and every aspect of the daily situations, to feel isolated and criticized, to instruct from scripted curriculum and become the best behaviorist who rewards and punishes good and bad behavior.

9. Who wants this level of toxic stuff in their life?

In my opinion, Chicago Public School’s work environment and new contract demands should be considered a crime and even inhumane. The disorganization of this system is unhealthy. In my opinion The Mayor and the CEO’s priorities are guided by monetary payments. The quality of an education within Chicago Public Schools seems to be determined by numbers (money) in a computer somewhere. And yet, poverty and test scores dictate the schools access to the numbers in the computer.

10. For the sake of earning money, who I ask, who would slavishly work and tolerate this extent of abuse?

As a result, I propose that everyone go on strike, until CPS completely caves to the will of the teacher’s demands. Put the board of education in complete fear of not being able to hire anyone. The tables need to be reversed. Once upon a time, the benefits attracted many into the profession and schools needed teachers. Now, people are so desperate for a job that they would settle for the fanatical demands that CPS dictates. Since CPS want to fire everyone and set teachers up to essentially fail, I say walk away from the game. Walk away from this insane dictatorship and let the administrators teach them, since they have the power to determine how well of a job teachers are doing. Don’t give CPS the satisfaction of even entertaining their mind/ employment games.

I did.

And I have a normal and healthy balance of peace in my life since leaving that toxic mess alone.

But, I am only one person.

It would take many people, if not all, to make a major impact and reverse the tables.

Recognize abuse and decide if you want to live with this level of toxic stuff in your life.

Anita Herron wrote 2 years 4 weeks ago

Teachers Were Not Done Right

They are not doing tenured teachers any favor. Recalling some of them back for a year. No, that is not how it should be done. They should Recall those teachers BACK! Let the ones they JUST hired; go home. That is what a recall is. The CTU is still being tricked. Then they say recall them if they are satisfactory. Well, there are a lot of teachers who lost their jobs because unsatisfactory was framed on them. It was nothing they did wrong. They were set up. They were labeled. Then the Principal walks around and hires buddies and friends; just because they have this weapon in their hands. But some Principals are not fair. Some are not being just. Kat, you really summed it up. Your comments is really what the Contract should be about. And you are right. It is going to be some rough stuff down the road. Really rough. Being a teacher was also a job. Now there is no job. But don't worry. After all this mess you don't have to deal with every day; you will be able to sit back and watch those revolving door failures. The REALLY think this is going to work. It is going to be a mess. The only thing that will be working; is some Principals are going to be pretending that it is working. And SHOULD include test scores into it now; now that that have all these new teachers. Hold those new ones accountable for how well they do on test. Remember. They are the pros. Sorry to say. The tenured experienced teachers will ALWAYS be the pros. Think about it.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Look for the hidden agenda

While it can be said that there was a victory, I beg to differ. The contract still needs to address classroom size, because I have read NOTHING on this matter. Being self contained with 36 students is more than a notion. Not only is it expensive, I buy majority of the supplies and resources, but it is also exhausting. CPS claims it wants to put children first, but that's a blatant lie! If the mayor or CEO truly cared, they would want smaller classroom sizes; ones that follow the model of the schools THEIR children are enrolled in. Our students are cramped into classrooms where it is difficult for them to get the best learning because they are often distracted by the multitude of students and the various behaviors that disrupt the learning environment. Principals are unwilling to support teachers in disciplinary actions because they don't want to be viewed MORE negatively by their downtown supervisors.

I can go on and on about this matter, but what will it effect? While I do believe, strongly, that we deserve a pay increase, I also believe that this increase is small compared to the quality of learning we are able to provide if the classrooms continue to be overcrowded.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

Unbelievable

I'm a 20-year veteran teacher (with a Master's degree in Curr. & Inst.) half of the time spent working with CPS, and all in one elementary school [now Track E] on the south side of the city. Although I'd understood "The Agenda" (CPS' real goals - not just with the Union but with the students that I service) for quite some time, I love the job so much that I've managed to preserve my hope, energy and enthusiasm.

Until today.

That's when I received my new schedule which begins on Monday. On one day / week, I was assigned to do six hour-long classes from 9:10am > 3:10pm - without a bathroom break, lunch break, planning time...nothing.

My "45 min. lunch" is slotted for 8:25am, daily - we were told that there was no specification as to WHEN you have your lunch break during the day. And we know that in regards to planning time, while you may have 5/week, that doesn't mean one/day...

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