Part of the list of 1,000 CPS employees, teachers and support staff that were hit by layoffs yesterday.
I always have to explain to visitors that there is an everywhere except Chicago rule in the state of Illinois.
When I taught and was a union leader in Park Ridge, a Chicago suburb, if the district was going to lay-off a teacher due to low-enrollment or budget issues, they needed to do it 45 working days before the end of the school year. This is state law.
The law gives teachers time to find other employment and it prevents massive disruption. The kind we are seeing now with 1000 CPS employees fired a month before school begins.
But in 1995 the law was changed by an amendatory act that excluded Chicago teachers and CPS from that protection. It is the same law that keeps us from having an elected school board even though every other district in Illinois has an elected board.
For whatever reason – because our system is poor, because we have mostly students of color, because we have militant union and activist teachers – Chicago has a target on its back.
This morning veteran teachers with 15 years of experience are trying to figure out what they are going to do now that they just found out that their job is gone.
Students and families have to figure out what they are going to do.
Teachers are programs. A school with only one music teacher now has no music teacher and no music program. A shop teacher who spent last year recruiting students from around the district to his one-of-a-kind program is out and the students are left hanging.
The list of disruptions is long.
Contacts with the Chicago Teachers Union tell me that they have battled the everywhere but Chicago rule all the way through the courts, losing finally in 2010.
The Illinois law that sets a time-table for what we call RIFs (Reduction in Force) is a good rule for labor and management. It works everywhere in the state.
If it is good for everyone else then we have to say that either Chicago is a target or it is bad management practice.