- Social Emotional Learning: Can It Help Our Most Vulnerable Students? - August 27, 2017
- Why We Should Teach Meditation in the Classroom - November 8, 2016
- Strike! - October 5, 2016
- Teaching a Superpower - September 22, 2016
- Essentially, I am a Teacher - August 30, 2016
- A Chicago Teacher's Dream - January 22, 2016
- A Career in Crisis - August 27, 2015
- Classroom Community and Rock-Paper-Scisssors - July 22, 2015
- The Art of Teaching - June 22, 2015
- Parent tip: Beyond Sounding It Out - June 4, 2015
The system I work in, Chicago Public Schools, is in trouble. I realize that Chicago’s education problems need a book to explain, not an article, but I will attempt to summarize it.
The governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, wants CPS to declare bankruptcy. The mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, says “No-no-no!” but he has done much to undermine the financial stability of the system. Our last CEO, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, has pleaded guilty to taking a 10% kickback to a $20.5 million no-bid contract for principal training administered by her former employer. (She used the funds she received to set up college funds for her grandchildren and to go to the casinos.) The school board is appointed by the mayor, and many have questionable investments in vendors for the city. In other words, corruption is rampant.
Our school bonds are now rated as double junk status. The city is about to do another bond sale and soon the banks will refuse to lend any more money. The Chicago Teachers Union contends that our financial difficulties were manufactured by the Board of Education.
The teachers are without a contract. We are the only school system in the state that does not receive help with pensions. The state and the board of education want to have the teachers pay the full portion of our pension. This will result in a seven percent pay cut. (Note: most school systems in Illinois pay the majority of pension costs.) There is also a threat of a layoff of 5000 teachers the first week of February.