Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rahm says he "listened" to the parents of CPS students...yeah right.

First off I am sick and tired of the mantra that all the ills of CPS schools will be fixed once we have a FULL SCHOOL DAY!  What in the world have we had for over a century already?  Whether a FULL DAY of school is 6 hours, 7 hours, or 12 hours, the school system needs way more than time on the  clock to make a difference in education. 

Rahm was presented with a paper from CPS parents titled "The Best Education, or Just the Longest?” on Monday and by Tuesday morning he had listened to the parents' input and altered his plan...really, or was this his plan all along?

According to the current CTU contract (pages 18 and 19) teachers who have "voted and adopted"  a closed-campus school day get their "continuous duty-free lunch period of forty-five minutes" (page 19 of CTU contract) at the end of the school day at which time teachers can sign out for the day.

Currently elementary teachers work 6 hours, 15 minutes (not including lunch) a day.  By increasing the school day to 7 hours as Rahm Emanuel has now "conceded", does that mean he is just going to make teachers stay on campus during their "duty free lunch period"  - a 45 minute period that teachers are NOT paid for to begin with? If he does that, does that also mean there will be no prep time before school to get ready for class?  And if he lengthens the teachers' school day more than the 7 hours that the students are expected to be there, where is the compensation? 

Emanuel is also planning to "add" 10 school days to the calendar year, but most of those are days teachers are already paid for.  Professional Developments days have been switched around or eliminated, paid holidays have been cancelled, and Report-Card Pick-Up days are now teaching days too.  Of the ten "added" days, it looks like all but three were already in the school year - the difference- no professional development for the teachers during the school year (with new Common Core Standards from the Federal Government and a new evaluation system on its way, who would need additional training???)  and pick on Columbus and Pulaski as far as cancelling holidays.  If you look at the calendar and the spacing between "days off", they certainly didn't pick these holidays "with the children" in mind.

So, could it be teachers will be expected to
  • put in more days of teaching,
  • get less training,
  • be set up for failure when all these "new initiatives" don't work
  • not get more money for the extra time/days that will be added into the calendar,
  • pay more in health insurance
  • get a 2% raise for year one of a new contract, NO raise during year two of the contract, and a possible raise during years 3-5 if teachers sign on to merit pay tying test scores to salaries. 
  • be screwed with our pensions

In the end, if this goes through, it looks like Rahm might be getting exactly what he wants and the teachers will just be getting it "in the end".


It seems the only way Rahm will actually listen and hear is if he hears the sound of feet walking a picket line.


  1. As a CPS parent, I am upset that there is no plan on how this time will be used. It's not fair to the teachers either to be paid according to the test scores. I am a very involved parent but there is only so much I can do as far as how my children test. They are smart but not always good "testers." Also, what about recess? The staff is already short, who will watch all of the kids? A plan with no plan is no plan at all.

    1. I certainly agree with you that "a plan with no plan is no plan at all" and that seems to be what we're getting so far.

      Letters went home to our parents today about the new FULL DAY explaining that students will be in school for 7 hours - 6 hours of which will be instructional, and 45 minutes will be for Recess/lunch (You rightly asked who's going to watch the kids, I'm sure the powers that be don't have an answer.) Mathematically speaking, there is still 15 minutes of the students' 7 hour day unaccounted for.

    2. I am sure there are so many things that we are missing. It will be trial and error. Mostly error unfortunately is my gut feeling. It seems that CPS tries to shove things on parents/teachers and fights so hard and then some just magically go away. For example, what happened to breakfast in the classroom? At my children's school it went full force then slowly it turned into "if you are hungry, go get the breakfast in the cafeteria." No notice went out to the parents, so there still may be some parents out there who "think" their children are receiving the breakfast in the classroom. CPS has a history of experimenting with things that have not worked elsewhere. I wonder if the start time will be earlier-I know some of the pilot schools start at 7am. God bless the teachers.