Saturday, September 13, 2014

What a piece of work! Rahm screws city retirees again with a health insurance hike!

I usually don't just re-post news articles, but I saw this in the Sun-Times and had to pass it along. I love the fact that it was posted at 7:00 P.M. on a Friday night too.  I hope that the Illinois Supreme Court does the right thing.  What a piece of work!

Watch for the mail.  If you didn't get your information yet, I'm guessing it will arrive soon. 

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday dropped another financial bombshell on Chicago’s 25,000 retired city workers and their dependents: their monthly health insurance premiums will  be going up by a whopping 40 percent — in spite of a pending lawsuit and a precedent-setting Illinois Supreme Court ruling.
Last year, Emanuel announced plans to save $108.7 million a year by phasing out the city’s 55 percent subsidy for retiree health care and forcing retirees to make the switch to Obamacare.
For the city, the Year One savings was $25 million. For retirees, that translated into an increase in monthly health insurance premiums in the 20 percent and 30 percent-range.
On Friday, city retirees and their dependents got hit again — only this time, even harder. The city notified them of a 30-percent to 40-percent increase that will cost most of the retirees between another $300 to $400 a month."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9-11

It is so hard to believe that 13 years have already passed since the world changed on September 11, 2001.  I am sure everyone reading this knows exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the first plane flying into the Twin Towers.  The world truly did stop that day.  

I would like to take a moment to remember all those innocent people who died and their family and friends who have carried on without them for these past thirteen years.

I would like to again thank all the firefighters, police officers, and emergency response teams who selflessly ran into those buildings as terror surrounded them with the hope of being able to help others even if that meant giving up their own lives.

I would also like to thank all those firefighters and police officers, many from Chicago, who traveled to New York in the days that followed the terror attacks to help sift through the rubble in hopes of  being able to save their fellow man.

And finally, a big thanks to our military that has fought and worked tirelessly to continue to keep us safe since that day. 

America certainly showed its strength and resolve in the days that followed September 11, 2001.
May we never forget.

God Bless the USA

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Celebrating with a FREE Book Giveaway!

I have a new teaching position at a new school. To celebrate, I am having a free book giveaway.  I will be giving away one copy of each of my books. 

To read more about a book, you can check out their websites - 

Entering is as easy as 1-2-3!  

1. Send an email to me at 
2. In the subject line put "Free Giveaway"
3. In the body of the email, list the book title(s) you want to try to win.

The contest will run from now until September 12, 2014.  Winners will be picked at random on September 13, 2014 and announced on this blog.  I will send an email to let you know you won! 

I hope you will join in the fun and...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes! Meet 21 month old Bryce!

Bryce Nowakowski and his family are from Chicago.  His grandparents are Mike and Debbie Aniol from Aniol's Hardware in Hegewisch. It's nice to be able to help one of our own.  

Bryce...a Superhero who needs our prayers and support!

Like any child, Bryce deserves a happy and healthy life.  He was a success story of a little guy born with a rare congenital heart defect (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome) who had already completed two of the three needed surgeries to reconstruct his heart. He was happy.  His family was happy… and extremely proud to say the least.
However, on April 5th, things drastically changed.  With only signs of a stomach bug, he was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital for an assessment.  Upon review, the team found a very large clot in his heart, which over the next few weeks proved too large to dissolve. He experienced multiple heart attacks with resuscitations during this time and on April 18th our little “Superman” was officially listed for transplant.  There have been many ups and downs, and with other complications there has been some injury to his brain in addition to irreversible damage to his arm and hands.
This has been a journey that no parent should have to experience but Jeannine and Brian have been by Bryce’s side every step of the way… never leaving... waiting... hoping... praying for some good news.       
He has shown us all what bravery, tenacity and strength truly is – and he is our own little superhero. 

Update: On July 30, 2014 Bryce received his new heart!  He has a long road ahead of him, but as his family says,  "at least now we are on the road".
To read more about Bryce, his story, and how you can help, click here

If you can, please help spread the word about Bryce by sharing this post. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wages and Benefits X 120 Days

This happened last week, and I waited to post this hoping the local media would pick up the story, but knowing they probably would not.

A grievance was filed back in 2012 by a CPS school because substitute teachers were not provided when needed.  Over a two year period, it was documented that a substitute teacher was NOT put in a classroom 120 times.  This school has approximately 25 teachers, so over a two year period a teacher was absent (or sent to professional development) 4 or 5 times.

During these times, students were sometimes put in other classrooms thereby interrupting learning for both groups of students.  Sometimes Special Education teachers were put in these rooms thereby making it impossible for them to work with their own students.  Other times, non-teachers were put in charge of those classrooms. (I know as a teacher that when I am not able to be in class, I leave meticulous, detailed plans. The idea being that a substitute teacher will be in the room implementing those lessons, so there is no "loss of learning" for the day.  I also know students...if they think that the work doesn't matter, they won't do it.) To traipse kids from one room to another with no rhyme or reason makes for a very "noneducational" day.

The outcome: 
A grievance was filed and now, two years later, the case went to arbitration.  In the matter of the Chicago Teachers Union vs. The Board of Education the arbitrator found in favor of the Union and the teachers of Taylor School.

What did they win?

  • A Cadre substitute will be appointed to Taylor School for future absences
  • Retroactively, the Board of Ed. has to compensate Taylor School in the amount of compensation for one Cadre Substitute (wages and benefits) times 120 days.  The money is to be used for student education programs as voted on by the Taylor School Professional Problems Committee.
If the Board of Education followed the Contract Agreement to begin with, this would have not been an issue!

Here are two links if you want to read more details about this and the full ruling from the arbitrator.