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Chicago Public School system set to close 49 schools

imagesThe Chicago Board of Education voted to close 49 elementary schools and one high school program at yesterdays, May 22nd meeting.  The board voted 4-2 to close Von Humboldt Elementary School, and then voted to close the rest– 49 elementary schools and one high school program– unanimously.  Many protestors had to be removed from the room after the vote was announced.

At a rally held over the weekend, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis promised to keep fighting the proposed closure stating, “This is a movement,” Lewis told the crowd, which was significantly smaller than one at a similar event in March. “No matter what happens on Wednesday, it is not over.”

[ CTU vows not to re-elect Emanuel over school closings ]

Let’s revisit September 2012 when union members authorized a seven-day strike due to contract issues.  The board wanted to negotiate and the unions did not.  On September 18th, the unions voted to go back to work.  One teacher explained:

Teachers, who Lewis said are “frightened’’ by an expected wave of school closings and charter school expansions, were relieved to see provisions that allow highly-rated tenured teachers to follow their students from a closed school to a new one, if vacancies exist in their subject in the new building. Plus, union officials said, CPS committed to letting highly rated laid-off tenured teachers comprise half of all new hires, and to opening new full-time substitute teacher positions for them if necessary to make that quota.

Highlights of the negotiated contract included:

The union fell far short of its last public pay request for a pay hike of more than 20 percent in year one, and wound up instead with 3 percent the first year, followed by two years of 2 percent raises, and a possible fourth year at 3 percent, if the union wants to extend the deal.

But the CTU preserved traditional extra raises for experience and advanced degrees — increases that CPS had tried to kill off or radically change. All three raises together should give the average teacher a 17.6 percent pay hike over four years, CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said.

  The union also fought off a drive to push merit pay and other “pay for performance’’ pay plans upon teachers — something Lewis said the union received back-slapping calls about from around the country.”

CPS preserved a principal’s right to hire teachers who will best fit into their schools; and wins a new teacher evaluation procedure that, for the first time, ties teachers’ ratings to the growth — including on standardized tests — of their students.”

This parallels the current situation in the Inglewood USD.  IUSD is in receivership with the state and contracts were signed with the former interim state superintendent that the state is trying to void.

The state wishes to go back to the table with the teachers unions but the unions are not budging.  Many on twitter wondered was this action payback for the strike that occurred last year?  Is this a way to rid the district of teachers not performing?

The only thing in the favor of IUSD unions is our state superintendent is up for re-election next year.  That should help stall the unions at least another year, but if CPS is setting the standard, then school year 2014-15 is a crucial milestone for the ultimate faith of IUSD.  Perhaps another indication is the FCMAT recovery plan is only expected to cover school year 2013-14.  coincidence?  I wonder what Chris, Jameer and Peter will advise to their union members after seeing what CPS has done to their teachers.

Related articles

Board votes to close 49 CPS schools, 1 program; Protesters removed from meeting

Fewer than 5 CPS schools expected to be spared

‘Zero trust’ after CPS admits it overstated savings from closing schools

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One Response so far.

  1. ralph lauren says:

    ralph lauren…

    Awsome site! I am loving it!! Will come back again. I am taking your feeds also….

About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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