The CPS layoffs. We are a target and it’s bad management practice.

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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.

Either way.

 

3 thoughts on “The CPS layoffs. We are a target and it’s bad management practice.

  1. In addition to the abuse and destruction being carried out at CPS, similar bad things are going on in Illinois outside of Chicago. Incompetent, corrupt, dishonest, morally bankrupt principals and superintendents abuse the 45-day law in combination with SB-7. They start by giving phony poor evaluations to long time (highest paid) teachers, and embellished super high evaluations to beginning (bottom of pay scale) teachers. They then give the pink slips to most or all the teachers, then call back the beginning teachers, but not the long term, higher paid teacher(s). They found it is easier to not call someone back from a phony “layoff” then to fire a teacher for no legitimate reason. This tortured, twisted abuse of the laws is being done on the orders of the local school boards, usually by Rauner/tea-party types trying to make a name for themselves. Just like the CPS board THEY DON’T CARE about the students, teachers, or programs they destroy.

  2. Anon, I moved to Chicago from Detroit (and Detroit Public Schools) and you are right on-target (no pun intended). I was a veteran of DPS and had double-digit years of service; I was laid off every year, twice a year, in April (we called it ‘lay-off’ season) and again in October/November, yeah, right before the holidays.

    We did get that 60-day notice and it did give us time to attempt to save before the end of the school year as well as find other employment. But, it also gave the district and principals time to modify the budget and oftentimes, we were called back before too much damage was done.

    One of the most significant reasons that public school districts have such large deficits is that they keep touching the principle, the part that MAKES the money….the TEACHERS. If there are no teachers, qualified, educated, skilled teachers in the classrooms, the district has no HOPE of recruiting students and they definitely have no hope of maintaining a stable student base with viable programs. And we can create programs without a budget: if teachers like where they work and they feel respected by their administration, they will pretty much do whatever they can to help make that school and its students successful, including working extended hours for free .I have done it (ran Drama Club multiple years all year after school, tutoring for free and during lunch after school, etc.) and I have seen numerous, numerous colleagues do the same….for free, just a ‘thank you, job well done!’, worked wonders.

    But, since the powers-that-be seem so content to run education like a business, let’s apply a business adage: “…Never touch the principle….”

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