False prophet is what I'd call Arne Duncan. I am uncertain about the specifics of his plan to "scale up" NCLB, but that’s the type of phraseology that has caused many teachers in Chicago to lift a skeptical eyebrow. Those of us who worked in the Chicago Public Schools, who were in the trenches, did not find that Mr. Duncan was an Apostle of Reform. Instead, we see him as anti-union and pro-privatization, a school CEO who was a political pawn of our mayor. As head of the school system, he was personable, but not a proponent of reform, and certainly not as I understand reform.

If his response to troubled schools mirrors how he approached them in Chicago, I am afraid that his focus will not be in correcting failing schools rooted in impoverished communities with serious socio-economic problems. Having worked at one of the most difficult and failing schools, where I experienced successes of my own and many of my colleagues, but test scores remained low, I can tell you that Arne Duncan never looked at our successes. Chicago’s school reform movement has deteriorated into political power consolidation, creating magnet schools and academies that screened students, leaving behind neighborhood schools that enrolled low academic achievers.

On an uneven playing field, all players are considered equal. The results was that a number of schools progressed according to NCLB guidelines, while some chronically failed. The solution to the problem schools was to blame the teachers and hire a completely new staff. In the Chicago Public Schools system, these are called “turn-around schools”. Other underperforming schools are becoming privatized, part of the rush to sell the public school system to charter schools.

Unfortunately, only a few have proven to be measurably more successful than the public school. The rest, mostly, approximate similar successes and failures of the public schools they replaced, scoring about the same in the standardized tests, but they cost less to run, because they recruit college grads and pay them less. It really shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the numerous factors involved in failing schools, but it is more of a challenge to remediate them in light of the many intervening factors. Repeatedly, Chicago's Central Office managers (remember Arne Duncan was CEO, until he became Secretary of Education) have identified only one factor in the equation, generalized as incompetent and overpaid teachers.

That's why I am very adamant about why standardized test scores don't really measure a teacher's or student's success, or only measures success using very limited parameters. I have very many colleagues, who continued to work in this probationary high school in very challenging and unstable conditions, probably caused by dysfunctional families, under-resourced with problems not addressed by Central Office, until it reached a critical mass, and many of them were successful in providing the best education they could within that context. And they most certainly did not deserve to be "displaced" en masse by the Apostle of Reform for the failure they did not cause.
10/8/2009 12:42:51 am

I applaud you for just being the powerful you that you are! I am also a displaced teacher with extenuating circumstances, as I am sure applies to us all. Let's call a spade a spade, this phenomena of displaced teachers clearly is not about our skills and pedagogues as educators but it's about MONEY. I have a BA, MA, Type 75, and now my doctorate, at the time of my displacement I was working on my national board certification. How many remember when CPS was sending letters to our student homes (without our knowledge or permission)that these teachers were not qualified to teach their children under NCLB? Clearly, no teacher could remain in the system without being 'highly qualified', so what's really going on? How can we not be qualified to teach at an $70-80,000 salary but you can teach at $45,000, what is wrong with this picture? CPS is full of ----!
'Man have one plan, but God has the greater plan'.
The struggle continues!

Ann Cata
10/8/2009 11:59:36 pm

I am very happy to see that this website is open for any and all to read and make comments about.
Just two days ago I purchased a copy of the SUBSTANCE newspaper at a cost of $2.00. The information and the exposure of the corruption of City Hall, Mr. Huberman,CEO of CPS, is out there. It is no longer DARTS with information about the underhanded dealings at City Hall but it also exposed Mr. Humberman as one that inflates the budget to show losses which are caused by the hiring practices of his BBFs at CPS. In turn he underestimates income which give him a reason to CUT, CUT, AND CUT more teaching positions. No where in his vocabulary is CHILDREN FIRST!!!! Many of the articles in SUBSTANCE were articles from the Sun Times newspaper. It is not just DARTS pointing a finger at CPS but some hard core reporters that are not in the Mayor's back pocket.

Express you opinion. Let what you know about schools you have been at or what you have heard.

The more we put it out there, the louder OUR VOICES will become.

Gina M. Perry
10/14/2009 07:57:20 am

I am a teacher who has been teaching in the Los Angeles school district for the past six years. I returned to Chicago because I believed that CPS was a better system than LAUSD. I am grossly disappointed with what I am finding here as well as the job prospects in Chicago. The privatization of schools is very disheartening, and being over 40, I am finding it hard to even get interviews. The few that I have gotten have been a snub to me and to the process of finding qualified teachers. When did Chicago change so drastically? While subbing, I have been working at some of the worst schools in Chicago, and I see a total lack of real concern on the part of students and an effort being made to change how inner-city kids are taught. One classroom I subbed in didn't even have books for the students to work out of- in mid-October! Have we reverted to a pre-Civil Rights attitude toward the poor in this city? Seeing all the building and gentrification going on here, why haven't we addressed the issues of providing a fair ad decent education for the poor of this city?

I am very discouraged and may very well end up outside of a field that I worked so hard to get into. I love teaching, and I love working with students; but I am close to giving up hope on CPS. Like most of us who work in CPS, it is more than just a paycheck. It is watching the light bulb go on when a child finally realizes what can be done. While I applaud the young teachers who are entering the field, the call has been for life experienced professionals to enter into this field. Why displace someone who has the knowledge, the experience and a lifetime of concern to raise a generation that can change the world? The President, Arne Duncan and that ilk are working themselves out of a future if they think that future generations will be prepared for the world to come. The time to stop this is now. Save a child, save the world.

Ann Cata
10/15/2009 01:05:23 am

I just met Gina at Crane Tech. H.S. on Wednesday, October 14, 2009. It made my day to read her comments about the LA and Chicago school systems.

We must stand together and be strong for what is right and just. We must keep on doing what it takes, to take back the schools and the children in them for it is through a good education that we can get these children prepared for the future.

All the cuts, closing and overcrowding classrooms does more harm than good when it comes to the childres we are to educate. When will CPS, CBOE and his lord Mayor see that a revolving door policy does more harm than good. That highly qualified tenured teachers know what to do, how to do it and when to apply their expertise.

10/15/2009 12:05:07 pm

It boils down to one thing. It is time for new leadership within this union.

Ann Cata
2/23/2010 06:58:00 am

Ann Cata
2/23/2010 07:12:54 am

Gary Latman, Vivian House and I all filed a discrimination case with IDHR on 7/1/09.
IDHR phoned us around 1/4/10 to set up an investigation confernce for 2/22/10 which was yesterday.

Izzy Glover from HR and two CPS attornies were there to defend CPS.

Izzy Glover could not even look at our faces because of the half information that he provides to displaced teachers.

The lawyers from CPS and Izzy are out to protect CPS which is, has and continues to screw displaced tenured teachers and blow off TATs.

My most severe comment to the IDHR intake person was "It seems that experience and being highly qualified to teach at a CPS school is no longer an asset but a detriment." The looks from the lawyers and Izzy was in astonishment. They could not believe that I said that, but all displaced teachers, and those that are now cadres know that this is the truth.

Take some time and email Judy from IDHR with your story to provide more proof of what CPS is doing against your civil rights. Contact her JUDITH.A.WEINGARTNER@ILLINOIS.GOV.
She wrote it in caps. Let her know of your struggles in securing a position when CPS hires younger and younger teachers with and without certification.
Waiver are used until they secure certification. What these TATs do no understand is that CPS and their principals will click them off before they can attain tenure.

Do it today. Don't wait. CTU has done little to nothing to assist displaced teachers. You will be on your own. Learn how to fight your battle with CPS.

Keep copies of all forms, letters, email, interviews (if any), letters of rejection, etc for your case. As a former case manager, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, was my motto. Keep a paper trail for you own use.

Have you noticed that CPS has had NO JOB FAIRS LATELY? I wonder why? Could it be that many displaced teacher are filing discrimination against CPS and they are being closely watched?

According to Judy, there are many cases at IDHR. Let's keep Izzy on the spotlight and have those legal beagles at CPS earn their wages too!!

Finally, thank you to all that elected me as a citywide delegate for cadres and subs.

Ann Cata

3/7/2010 11:15:34 am

Colleagues beware! Beware of Alexander Illich , Union Representative.
On March 05, 2010 Alexander Illich phoned me to discuss again about filing a grievance that we had discussed several times during other conversations . He became very rude, disrespectful and seemed clueless about the nature of the grievance. During our conversation he began yelling to the top of his voice saying, “What are you grieving ?”, “What are you grieving?”!! Then he said, “Get your facts straight" and cancelled a tentatively scheduled appoint and Hung Up On Me!! This is not the first negative experience with CTU. What has your experiences been like? Do we need new leadership?

8/6/2010 10:52:13 am

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10/8/2010 01:04:35 pm

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1/27/2011 11:18:04 pm

Cadre status at CPS terminated on 1/28/2011. We are now day to day subs without benefits. Upset, angry, feel used and abused? What happened to our career? Leave a post here.

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