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Chicago Lays Off 1200 Teachers

Chicago Lays Off 1200 Teachers

The teachers union in Chicago just filed suit to stop layoffs of hundreds of teachers. This all came in response to the school district’s announcement last week that it plans to lay off 400 teachers and 200 support staff. Citing a budget shortfall of $370 million, the first notices were sent to teachers last Wednesday, and district officials say the number of released staff could reach 1,200 by Labor Day.

Contract Violated
The Chicago schools fall under the jurisdiction of the city’s mayor, who recently promoted the former leader of the Chicago Transit Authority to the top spot on the Chicago Board of Education (CPS). Union leaders contend that the mayor and the CPS are not allowing due process, or adhering to contract stipulations, in the implementation of the layoffs.

Teachers are being let go according to performance evaluations instead of being dismissed according to seniority.

Best Interest of Students
The school district says that it is proceeding with the best interests of students in mind. They are releasing teachers who have received unsatisfactory performance ratings before laying off those with good ratings.

Effects of Cuts
The majority of teachers currently affected teach in the 200 or so elementary schools, which are set to resume session on August 10th. Approximately 100,000 students — a quarter of the district’s children — will be affected by these last minute cuts.

The district’s head of personnel stated that the most immediate consequences will be an increase in class size — to 33 students per teacher — and cuts to bilingual and world language classes.

Poor Planning
Chicago school’s budget crisis is not new. The state is reportedly broke, and the district has been aware of its financial limitations for some time. The timing of these layoffs is poor and makes one wonder if any other shoes will be dropped on the heads of school children before the cutting is done.

 

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photo credit: UF CSE Classroom Desk by cdsessums

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97 comments

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11:04AM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

Wow - about time - right on - getting rid of ineffective teachers is awesome - There is probably not one person in this world that does not have a story about a teacher that had done damage to a kids fragile self esteem - disgusting pieces of shit that hurt and damage a kids sense of wanting to learn! Fire them all that are assholes and make examples to all the rest - pull up your socks teachers and do what is right by the students - we are your bosses and don't ever forget it!

11:57PM PDT on Aug 24, 2010

The schools do need an overhaul, but there could have been another way to go about it. The unions are very political, but also have a place in the system. There IS a good reason to layoff these teachers based on performance. I think the sadder issue is that SO many teachers fell below that line of poor performance, leading to the cycle of poor education system.

9:17PM PDT on Aug 18, 2010

"Appalingly enough the average teacher in the US has a IQ of about 94 and maintained a b-c average"

Ouch Mary--that's rather insulting and highly INACCURATE.
I taught for 2 years in a public middle school and i can assure you that i neither have a 94 IQ (mine is much higher) nor was I a "b/c" student.
Yes i did get a few "C's" --nothing wrong with that. Not all of us in life can get an "A" in everything. But despite my few C's i still managed to graduate with a 3.8 average and was on
the "Dean's List" numerous times.
As a teacher i was "commended" for my work, received impeccable performance evaluations, achievement awards and virtually all my students had little problems passing their "state tests".
In my second year of teaching, due to my record, i was chosen to be a "Strategist" for my entire grade level. These duties included going into the classrooms of other teachers and offering solutions on how to tailor the lessons to accommodate for learning differences.
I was pretty baffled by what i saw. Some Teachers who had multiple degrees (with excellent GPA's while in college) and years of experience teaching, were actually pretty LOUSY teachers who put little to no effort into their lessons.
Which goes to show, being an A student does not necessarily produce an "excellent" teacher.
By contrast, i have known excellent teachers who were C students in college, yet receive multiple performance awards as a result of excellence and high student achievement.

1:14AM PDT on Aug 14, 2010

Oh great... more schools set to fail. I'm just wondering why a war overseas is more important than our own education system.

10:24PM PDT on Aug 13, 2010

I think it was asinine to lay off all of these teachers all at once. I don't necessarily have a problem with them laying off people based on performance. Appalingly enough the average teacher in the US has a IQ of about 94 and maintained a b-c average when getting their degrees. This means that a B or a C student is in turn judging our children's "A" work...this undermines the educational system emmensely. In addition, significantly increased class sizes are going to harm teh performance records of these "better" teachers now, which will further degrade the educational system. This just seems counter-productively, in fact it sounds absurd. It would have been a far better thing to have offered some sort of enrichment training for these teachers not making the grade, so to speak, and then reevaluate based on their ability to assimilate the curriculum. I feel really awful for these teachers and students who are left to clean up what will certainly be a huge mess.

9:04PM PDT on Aug 13, 2010

It is extremely appalling that the federal and state governments would rather waste money on the "war on drugs" that isn't doing any good, than to use that money for education. People, dont you think it is time for you to "put your foot down" and demand the government to get their priorities right.

6:37AM PDT on Aug 13, 2010

Budgets and education - doesn't seem to matter the state or the country it's always the first to feel the pinch when financial times are hard. I work in education too we're experiencing similar.

12:25AM PDT on Aug 13, 2010

If I might add, I worked for the City of Chicago when Harold Washington was the mayor. There were budgetary problems and the threat of employee lay-offs was looming. Harold Washington, who was a mayor of the people, said if it became necessary to institute lay-offs that the little people who actually do the work would be spared. He said that those people who earned big salaries at the higher levels would be the first to go--clearly a pragmatic approach....

12:21AM PDT on Aug 13, 2010

Why not cut the fat at the top for a couple of reasons. One reason is that teachers are needed more than a top heavy layer of administrators. Administrators make more money than teachers and letting them go would be of more help. Lastly, since the administrators have failed to develop creative solutions to the financial quagmire and other problem, it would be better to release them before much needed teachers.

4:57PM PDT on Aug 12, 2010

Wow. And in the end the kids are the ones that will suffer.

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