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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.

Education reformers set post-strike agenda

At a press conference convened Tuesday by Advance Illinois, representatives from numerous education reform groups laid out their post-strike agenda for Illinois schools.

They touted solutions favored by Advance Illinois and the state P-20 council, many of which are already under way: Expanding early childhood education and implementing a new state kindergarten assessment, improving teacher and principal training and evaluation, expanding community schools and career education, and improving struggling schools.

But questions about Rahm Emanuel's post-strike ad campaign -- as well as the effectiveness of Senate Bill 7, which was supposed to help prevent strikes, particularly in Chicago -- lingered over the gathering.

Robin Steans, executive director of Advance Illinois, said that the strike restrictions were just one small part of the overall reforms included in Senate Bill 7. Steans said the goal of the law was to encourage districts and unions to avoid strikes. But, she added, "there's a million reasons why strikes happen. It's bigger and deeper than only one piece of legislation."

When asked whether Advance Illinois would back legislation banning strikes outright, Steans said "it is too soon to have any thoughts or discussions about that."

21 comments

Rod Estvan wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

re: improving struggling schools and other things

I can't imagine Advance Illinois needing any additional legislative action relating to improving struggling schools. CPS and other school districts have unlimited power now to intervene with low performing schools whether or not you agree with the intervention strategies. The bigger issue in Illinois is state level intervention with entire school districts that are failing on multiple levels and these districts are not being messed with except in the most extreme cases like East St. Louis or North Chicago. The reason for this is ISBE has no money to intervene with numerous academically and fiscally failing school districts in the state. Unless Advance Illinois can find money for ISBE to monitor and intervene with these districts things will stay the same. You can pass all the laws you want and nothing will change without funding.

Also it should be noted that Ms. Steans was a major supporter of SB7 and that law created a bargaining dynamic that let directly to the CTU strike. To say as Ms. Steans was quoted: "there's a million reasons why strikes happen. It's bigger and deeper than only one piece of legislation," is to totally avoid her responsibility for this bill. Let's be clear here the legislative record of hearings held December 16, 2010 on the original version of SB7 will show Ms. Steans general support for an even more extreme version of what became SB7. That same record will show that the numerous opponents of that original bill, including myself, repeatedly predicted a breakdown in the collective bargaining process in Illinois. The Illinois Education Association and to a degree the Illinois Federation of Teachers negotiated the original bill down to where the greatest impact fell only on the CTU, why CTU agreed to this will forever remain a topic of both myth and debate.

There may well be a million reasons why strikes happen, but in the case of Chicago SB7 gave impetus to CPS not to bargain over section 4.5 issues for many months and this led directly to the poisoned relationship between the union and CPS. This in turn without question led to the strike.

Rod Estvan

Anonymous wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

math

let me see 90%x25,000 is 16,000 teachers who voted to strike. something tells me they know what the "real" problem is in education. this group will never learn......they scare me....

teaching is no longer enjoyable or rewarding (spirtually)....makes me nervous!

xian barrett wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

22500

22500

Anonymous wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

bad math

Sorry xian. Makes the point stronger sorry.

On another note I'm voting no on contract. I love karen lewis but when two satisfactories equals an unsatisfactory in our contract, I'm voting no. If a principal is honest yes. But this is a way for a principal to get rid of you with a clean conscious. And on top of it getting a developing blacklists you out of cps pretty much. A rubric is a rubric not an exact science..it can be toyed with for good or bad. All that part about bullying principal will mean nothing when you check the application prompt that asks you are non renewed. I think many teachers will lose their livelyhoods. Tbd

Ed Dziedzic wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

spelling and word choice

You mean "conscience" and "livelihoods."
People judge us teachers by our writing, especially in public forums.

close observer wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

Arithmetic

I know it's just "arithmetic" but 25,000 (teachers) making $100,000 (which they do not) equals $2.5 billion. The CPS budget is $5.7 billion. If you subtract the inflated total for teachers' salaries, you are left with $3.2 billion dollars. Where is all of this money being spent and is there no area in this $3.2 billion that can be reduced, so that teachers do not have to be eliminated and schools do not have to be closed???.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

re: eval

Two Satisfactory ratings do not result in an Unsatisfactory rating. Two Developing ratings result in an Unsat. There are two protections built in that will *not* result in an Unsat from two consecutive Developing ratings:

A) if the teacher practice portion of the evaluation improves, and
B) if the overall rating points increase.

There are protections embedded into the new evaluation system to prevent and even stop principal abuse and manipulation.

First, teacher practice is based on evidence, not just principal opinion. Teachers may submit evidence that the principal may not have directly observed. Any teacher who feels at risk of receiving an Unsat should submit evidence to the contrary.

Second, a teacher rated Unsatisfactory may appeal that rating to an independent/neutral third party for review - a brand new contractual right.
This means that a principal no longer has sole discretion over whether or not an Unsatisfactory rating is legitimate. An arbitrator will have the power to overturn an illegitimate Unsat rating.

By all means, vote no on ratification, but at least do so based on the reality of the tentative agreement. You can read the entire agreement on the CTU website.

Teachers are much more likely to lose their livelihoods as a result of mass terminations through 100 school closings and subsequent privatization and charter openings than they are through skewed evaluations.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

contract

I read the contract.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

CPS pays for the arbitrator, right?

An arbitrator will have the power to overturn an illegitimate Unsat rating.
Take arbi- away and what do you have? Gotcha

Beth Johnson wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

2007 -2012 Contract/ Teacher laid but evaluation was done wrong

Does a 2012 grievance mean anything if principals gave teachers their evaluations after the due date; gave them an unsatisfactory; then closed the teacher's position. Laid teacher off; and less senority teachers remained. Should that rating be allowed by the 2007-2012 Contract? Thought that seniority as to a layoff in 2007-2012 contract was still in force.
How does a Principal get away with his or her own mistakes .Many teachers illegally lost their jobs at CPS because unfair Principals needed a way to take their salaries away from them. So they just stuck anything on their evaluations; and gave them an unsatisfactory; closed their positions and they were gone. This should not have been. Wasn't seniority still in force?

Carmen wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

What's the point again?

I understand why teachers wish to clarify and ratify a contract that suits their needs, recognizes their value and assures some security. That said, the larger case for education reform is not being forwarded effectively enough, I think. As a CPS parent, concerned resident and involved community member I am flabbergasted that NFL refs are being lauded in every arena out there while teachers continue to wrangle over evaluation language and my children continue to sit in 90+ degree classrooms with one instructor and 35 or more students to a class. The disconnect between what we care about, at least publicly, and what matters is staggering. I hope the post-strike agenda leads to an executable (and ultimately executed) action plan to improve public education in Chicago.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

ref

Teachers are supposed to be ref and coach and fans at the same time. I even heard scott walker wanted union refs back. I don't think nfl is regarded as trough feeders even though they get grants and loans and tax breaks. Im not saying they are not good investment...but as for me you won't see me watching nfl games.

Not Surprised wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

Deal With This Rahm

Education Expert (snort), Rahm Emanuel, states that across the country Chicago was known as the city with the shortest school day and shortest school year. Across the country people said that…never. He also claimed that parents were completely bereft because of the union’s “strike of choice.” Now comes the hilarious visit to Realville: Parents are outraged over the change of school calendar…because they have vacations to take.

Well, blow me down. Who could have seen that coming? One family has put money down on a Spring Break vacation. They complain that parents have known when spring vacation was for months, thus the vacation reservations. Parents have also known for months that there was a serious possibility of a teachers’ strike. With that uncertainty looming, seems logical to book a trip, right? Sure.

Next, a parent states that extending school until the last Monday in June was unacceptable because they had camping to begin. They didn’t want to “stick around for a wasted last full day of school.” Gee, if there were only a movie that documented parents’ desire for “full” school days.

Finally, a parent is agitated because CPS has added those six half days and “parents will have to find day care those half-days.” Doesn’t the Board realize that it has a babysitting obligation to meet while parents are working?

I guarantee you that the families with vacations booked for the previous Spring Break dates will pull their kids out for the week and justify their decision by demanding that the teacher provide their babies with enough work to cover the week. If anyone making decisions for school districts had any brain cells working and asked teachers what they think, all of the nonsense that passes for policy would be infused with logic. News Alert: teachers deal with kids and parents on a daily basis, year in, year out. Seat-warmers at 125 South Clark know zero about running a school system.

Rosita Chatonda wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

EDUCATE OR ERADICATE?

The motto of unions all over the country is “an injury to one is an injury to all”. In the case of African American Teachers, our unions have not felt our injury.

Historically over the past 15 years African American teachers have dropped from at least 45% of an over 30,000 member union to 19.% in 2011. This Dropped does not include an anticipated drop of another 6% - 8% for the 2011 school year because of the 16 school consolidations phase outs turn-arounds and closures that happened last year. We project that at the end o f the day, African American teachers will make up 14% of the population of teachers if we are blessed next year. Let me repeat that number has dropped from at least 45% in the late 90”s after the Mayor took control of the school Board in 1995 to a projected 14% of a now 26,000 union. From 14,000 teachers down to between 3,200 and 3,500. Every other teacher population is stable or growing in numbers including Hispanic and all other minority groups. White teachers have virtually remained stable.

The data for students is almost identical with a net drop on an annual basis of 1.7 to 2.0. We have lost over 200,000 African Americans since this Mayoral attack has taken place , which includes approximately 50,000 students and over 10,000 teachings positions.

The current Chicago Teachers union contract that was negotiated included many concessions that are not in the interest of veteran teachers. The loss of seniority which effects the loss of tenure. Subjective evaluations given by principals whose sole objective is to purge the system of African American veteran teachers.

The contract concession will be made at the expense of another over 100 schools in the African American Community. The first wave of closings were concentrated on the African American Community with 97 of the 100 schools closing in the African American community. Now 143 more are added to the list to close. The Mayor says that those schools must close to meet the demands of 300- 400 million in contract negotiations for the CTU. Well we are asking the mayor to release the 600 million in his TIF funds reserve to accommodate the deficit and allow our community to fix our schools.

Our community has been hit hard by these schools closures,, joblessness, homelessness, sickness a pipeline to prison initiative that is unparalleled anywhere in the world. and lastly even death of our children . They have been destabilized and used as pawns in this political game.

African American Teachers and students have been demonized and vilified . They have been turn-around , over 65% of the unsatisfactory ratings are given to AA teachers, over 50% of the misconduct charges.97 % of the school closings. 76% of student suspensions and expulsions. And on and on…. The question every parent, teachers, student and community member should be asking about the new contract that CPS and the CTU are trying to get people to sign on to is what are the consequences for our community. Is the agenda to Educate or Eradicate?

Rosita Chatonda wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

The motto of unions all over

The motto of unions all over the country is “an injury to one is an injury to all”. In the case of African American Teachers, our unions have not felt our injury.

Historically over the past 15 years African American teachers have dropped from at least 45% of an over 30,000 member union to 19.% in 2011. This drop does not include an anticipated loss of another 6% - 8% for the 2011 school year because of the 16 school consolidations phase outs turn-arounds and closures that happened last year. We project that at the end o f the day, African American teachers will make up 14% of the population of teachers if we are blessed next year.

Let me repeat that number has dropped from at least 45% in the late 90”s after the Mayor took control of the school Board in 1995 to a projected 14% of a now 26,000 union. From 14,000 teachers down to between 3,200 and 3,500. Every other teacher population is stable or growing in numbers including Hispanic and all other minority groups. White teachers have virtually remained stable.

The data for students is almost identical with a net drop on an annual basis of 1.7 to 2.0. We have lost over 200,000 African Americans since this Mayoral attack has taken place , which includes approximately 50,000 students and over 10,000 teachings positions.

The current Chicago Teachers union contract that was negotiated included many concessions that are not in the interest of veteran teachers. The loss of seniority which effects the loss of tenure. Subjective evaluations given by principals whose sole objective is to purge the system of African American veteran teachers.

The contract concession will be made at the expense of another over 100 schools in the African American Community. The first wave of closings were concentrated on the African American Community with 97 of the 100 schools closing in the African American community. Now 143 more are added to the list to close. The Mayor says that those schools must close to meet the demands of 300- 400 million in contract negotiations for the CTU. Well we are asking the mayor to release the 600 million in his TIF funds reserve to accommodate the deficit and allow our community to fix our schools.

Our community has been hit hard by these schools closures,, joblessness, homelessness, sickness a pipeline to prison initiative that is unparalleled anywhere in the world. and lastly even death of our children . They have been destabilized and used as pawns in this political game.

African American teachers and students have been demonized and vilified . They have been turn-around , over 65% of the unsatisfactory ratings are given to AA teachers, over 50% of the misconduct charges.97 % of the school closings. 76% of student suspensions and expulsions. And on and on…. The question every parent, teachers, student and community member should be asking about the new contract that CPS and the CTU are trying to get people to sign on to is what are the consequences for our community. Is the agenda to Educate or Eradicate?

Real wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Really, Rosita?

re: "The loss of seniority which effects the loss of tenure."
The loss of seniority is a result of state law, not contract negotiations.

re: "Subjective evaluations given by principals whose sole objective is to purge the system of African American veteran teachers."
Really? The sole objective is to purge African American teachers? Seriously? Even accepting that absurd proposition the new evaluation system (also largely a matter of state law) is far less susceptible to abuse than the old system. Besides the fact that teachers may submit their own evidence as part of the evaluation process, the Union also negotiated an appeal of unsatisfactory ratings to a neutral third party, a huge step in protecting against biased, vindictive principals.

re: "Every other teacher population is stable or growing in numbers including Hispanic and all other minority groups."
The Hispanic population has been growing in Chicago for some time now, it only makes sense that their representation among educators has also increased. Likewise, as African American populations decrease, it is only natural for that to be reflected in education as well.

re: school closings
A labor contract cannot address education policy. The law does not allow for it. That fight must be taken up, of course, but it is separate and apart from the contract negotiations.

Is there anything happening in this world for which you do *not* blame the CTU?

northside wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

ctu

I think ctu did a good job in negotiations but i voted no. Its my last stand. How am i. 47 year old going to get 15 more years of employment out of cps. I just don't see any hope. We needed to get power away from principals. I know African Americans think they have it bad but male teacher is the worst. Not even close to 50 percent in elem schools. I really see no changes in evaluation. Just a new fancy form. Evals needed a overhaul on who makes them. If your prince doesnt like you. You are done simple fact. Appeals just make you a trouble maker . Needs improvement is the kiss of death. 1 point from a bad testing group and you can slip into the murky waters of needs improvement we dont even have the full story on reach. Where is that form. How can we agree on evals we have noooo experience with.

Jeff Lewis wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Evaluations

The buzz word is Unsatisfactory. Why is this word being used all the time.Other states are not singing this Unsatisfactory song. It's like being in service or something. Teachers in Chicago Public Schools will be working under nothing but stress. An the higher uppers say it's about the kids. It's about Chicago Public Schools have a big budget mess; and is trying to solve the problem. They have messed up the money. This is why Brizard gave Principals their own budget money. To get it off his back. They were forced to make cuts. Anybody making money; especially tenured teachers; were given. Not rated. Were given unsatisfactory. Remember though; those veteran teachers were the ones who were highly qualified. Now that is one thing President Bush did. He stood up for the teachers when they were qualified. Arne Duncan and Obama has caused teachers to be out of their job. This mess is coming out of the White House. Arne Duncan is a friend to Emanuel. Buddies helping buddies. Well they have messed up Chicago Public Schools. When the dust clears; there won't be many public schools in Chicago. Just Charters. But; the same kids. The main reason it is not going to work; is because all of these educators have lost their jobs; and are struggling. They are living at ground level. Because of this punishment to these people; don't forget. What goes around; comes around. It always happens this way. This is why nothing but failure is going to come out of this.The city school system is on very shaky ground. The reason is reality. It has been undermining. Who has the jobs. Young teachers. All other employers; keep supporting your tenured workers. These are the employers who does it the right way. Some schools can be corrected by getting new Principals. Oh yes, I forgot. They ran the older experienced Principals away, too.

Carmen wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Your own worst enemies

It's hard to take you seriously as educators when you display such a poor grasp on the English language. Honestly? At times you are your own worst enemies.

Rosita Chatonda wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

REAL You are not REAL at all

It's so hard for selfish self absorbed people to get this. I am responding to your comment.
Is there anything happening in this world for which you do *not* blame the CTU?
Once again. Our fight is in the community. We wish the CTU well but they are not our focus and neither is CPS. I realize that you need a lot of attention. However, I am saving mine for the community in which I live and for the people who are so undeserved by those who make their money off the backs of minority children and teacher while offering very little in return for the dollars. Sorry CTU you have the attention of everyone, you don't need mine. It's interesting that whenever I post, my biggest fight is actually with CPS. For some reason, I only get intimidating responses from the CTU. Interesting philosophy!

Rosita Chatonda wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Carmen

When people write on blogs they write spontaneously. It's not an assignment. Many times because of the electronic transfer, it's difficult to catch mistakes before they are posted. This should not be a reflection on the teaching skills of the teacher. Above I realized that the s was not on the word teacher. It is difficult to proofread while blogging. Please forgive the typos and errors.

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