CTU President calls on Chicago Public Schools chief Ron Huberman to freeze new hires until all fired teachers are back to work

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis on Wednesday, July 21, 2010, called on Ron Huberman, Chief Executive Officer of Chicago's Public Schools, to freeze all new hiring until every veteran teacher currently out of work is back to work teaching children. The call from Lewis came two days before the CTU leadership was scheduled to meet with Huberman regarding Huberman's request that CTU make concession in the current contract (which expires in 2012) because of what Huberman has claimed was a huge budget "deficit."

Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman (speaking, in front of the blue balloons) called on children to start school on time in a July 19 media event at Chavez elementary school. Two days later, Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis called on Huberman to ensure that every child has a teacher at the beginning of schools by getting more than 200 recently fired teachers back to work. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.In a press release distributed on July 21, the CTU reported as follows:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Liz Brown, Media Relations, July 21, 2010 Cell: 773-606-4876, Office: 312-329-6205. Website:

Chicago Teachers Union Calls for New-Hire Hiring Freeze as Budget Talks are Set to Begin

Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis called on the Chicago Board of Education today to institute a new-hire hiring freeze for the upcoming school year.

“In the past few weeks, CPS’s Human Capital department cruelly fired over 239 fully certified and highly qualified teachers with decades of service to CPS. These are the best in our city but they were treated them like chattel. These loyal teachers are not data points — they are family, community. They were fired without warning, without due process, and cut off without benefits.”

According to the CTU, 239 teachers have been cut. The majority, 214, are city-wide teaching coaches recognized as “teachers of teachers.” Another 17 were home/hospital based and 14 city-wide Office of Specialized Services teachers.

Mrs. Lewis demanded that as the CTU joins CPS for budget talks to begin July 23, 2010, these teachers be the first hired before any new hires, including Teach for America novices, are considered.

Noting that CPS CEO Ron Huberman announced its 2010 back to school campaign “Show Up! First Day and Every Day”, Lewis stated: “I hope Mr. Huberman sends the same message to his Human Capital department. This year, for once, let’s have a teacher in front of each and every student on day one.”

According to Lewis, CPS chronically fails to hire enough teachers in time for the first day of school, or even the first months. The CTU plans to track, research, and resolve all unfilled teaching positions that deny a child’s right to a full and robust academic year. Lewis called on her members to “diligently protect students’ rights by reporting staffing shortages in each and every building to the CTU. We demand fully certified, highly qualified teachers in every classroom ‘First Day and Every Day’, and we plan to help students and schools get just that.


July 22, 2010 at 6:24 AM

By: Patricia Breckenridge

First Day of School

Karen Lewis is right. It's time that we stop short changing our students education. We want them in attendance on the first to receive state funding, but we can't get a qualified and full-time teacher in front of them the first day to set the classroom routine and prepare the students for instruction and assessment. It's time to stop short changing our students and teachers.

How can a teacher develop his or her pedagogy when the most important time to begin classroom management is at the beginning of the school year?

July 22, 2010 at 8:06 AM

By: Danny

Report (and take pictures, too)

I must say (err...write) that I am apalled by George's negligence here.

Not only should teachers report instances of unstaffed classrooms to the Union, they should take pictures, too. (And send them to Substance!)

It really is high time that we get this story out to the public that it takes 20 days (one month of instruction) for CPS to put permanent teachers in some classrooms.

July 22, 2010 at 7:24 PM

By: Garth Liebhaber

Other Teachers Need Priority Also.

"by reporting staffing shortages in each and every building to the CTU."

Teachers that are being let go because of "low student numbers" should also receive priority in re-hiring. I am glad to see this part of the discussion included at the end, relevant to the twenty day rule, I think it needs to be explicitly pointed out that teachers are also right now being let go.

July 23, 2010 at 3:47 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

No 'Law" against photographs. Pictures are allowed. Send to Substance.

It is not against the law to photograph students in school. If you are documenting wrongs, and you worry about this "rule" (not "law"), photograph them from the back. We have been photographing and documenting these atrocities -- against students and teachers -- for more than 20 years.

The first time I was part of it was at Amundsen High School more than 20 years ago, when the Board was short staffing the general high schools and we were short six teachers for the first week of school. The beginning of the second week of school, we let the Sun-Times in, and they photographed more than 200 students packed in the Amundsen library, when they should have been in classes. The pictures appeared on Page One of the Chicago Sun-Times, under the headline "High School on Hold."

Don't go quotin' no law that ain't. Ron Huberman's word ain't no law, it's just mush.

The Board of Education developed this policy to try and scare teachers and parents away from documenting its pernicious realities. Do you honestly believe that every time the sports pages photograph student athletes they have parental permission? Do you honestly believe that all those charter school propaganda stories going around the USA out of Chicago (Google Urban Prep) include permission slips? Never happened. Never will.

Such "laws" are created to try and scare people away from reporting the truth.

Next thing you know, you'll tell me it was "against the law" for the kids to video the murder of Derrion Albert 10 months ago (this week) on 111th St.

Also, your posting is staying up here at Substance News, but the next time you want to warn our readers about the "law" you have to give us all your first and last name.

If you get pictures send them to Substance with a clear identifier. We'll publish them if they are authentic (no Photoshop creativity, please).

Do you really think Arne Duncan gave all of us "parental permission slips" when we photographed that Dog-And-Pony show he did at Urban Prep in April 2008 -- or any of the other Urban Prep media events since?

OH. I'm sorry. On Monday (July 19) as you can see above, I photographed hundreds of students at Chavez elementary standing while Ron Huberman and Barbara Lumpkin did their staged media event about the opening of school. The Board had a lawyer there -- Mary Richardson Lowry, Board President. She didn't mention that we needed parental permission to take photographs of the hundred or so children lined up for that photo op.

Send us your photographs, and we'll publish them as long as we can verify their accuracy.

July 23, 2010 at 3:26 PM

By: Joyce H.

comments about photos of students in CPS schools

"The following is from the CPS web site under Communication.\r\rIn order for your child to be photographed, filmed or videotaped for non-profit use by CPS, he or she must have a consent form signed by a parent or guardian on file at school." This statement says, "for use by CPS". That does not say not for use by the news media - it is obviously a rule made by CPS only. Why shouldn't we break that rule if we are sending photos to news media?

July 24, 2010 at 2:41 AM

By: Kugler

Protect Children

it is your duty to protect children. Taking pictures of unsafe or unhealthy conditions to expose government negligence and pre-meditated destruction of the education environment would trump any charges against you. It would be a protected act covered by whistle-blower laws.

There also may be first amendment rights protections.

do the right thing expose corruption.

July 24, 2010 at 3:52 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Mayor, Huberman use students for cheap publicity stunts all the time

I'm interested in watching this thread unfold, because on August 9, all this becomes real when the "Track E" year-round schools begin. On that day, the 2010 - 2011 school year begins for the second largest school district in Illinois (the part of Chicago that is now on that "year-round" schedule). And on that day it will be possible, for the first time, to immediately documents the impact of the teacher bashing and union busting policies of the current Board of Education and the mayor's hand-picked "Chief Executive Officer," Ron Huberman.

The best way to tell those stories of child abuse will be to have photographs of hundreds of those children from different parts of Chicago sitting in overcrowded (and stiflingly hot) classrooms, stuffed in like never before because of the budget lies and staffing cuts forced through this summer by the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education and Huberman.

I was tempted reading some of the comments about "Don't take pictures of children — it's ILLEGAL" here to publish and article featuring some of my favorite photographs of Mayor Daley and his media people lining up hundreds of children (as Ron Huberman did on July 19) for one of those regular publicity stunts the mayor and the media love.

So we'll publish the pictures that tell the truth with the same zest that Daley and Huberman try to pose the pictures that repeat their lies.

But I'm not going to take up people's time doing a photo essay on it featuring hundreds of children standing smiling while the mayor mugs for the cameras in the midst of one of "Richie's Rainbows."

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