BOARDWATCH: June 22, 2011 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education heard from angry teachers, parents, and others...

The Chicago Board of Education (BOE) held its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 22, 2011, in the fifth floor chambers at 125 S. Clark Street, one week after a specially-scheduled Board meeting, which voted to rescind a 4% raise that is part of a five-year contract between the Board and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). That contract runs from 2007 to 2012 and has one year to go before expiration. Below at street level, from one thousand to twelve hundred protesters chanted and marched in front of the Board Headquarters and then headed off past the banks to the Board of Trade Building at LaSalle and Jackson.

Chicago Teachers Union's Jackson Potter talked with Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale (center) and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard (second from right) before the beginning of the June 22 Board meeting. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The new Board members appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel were all in place: President David J. Vitale, Board Members Henry S. Bienen, Dr. Mahalia A. Hines, Penny Pritzker, Vice-President Jesse H. Ruiz, Rodrigo A. Sierra, and Andrea L. Zopp. Also present was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jean-Claude Brizard, Chief Education Officer Noemi Donoso, Chief Counsel Patrick Rocks, and Honorary Student Board Member Taylor Brown, a student at Curie High School who was attending her last Board Meeting.

The meeting began with the announcement that thirty principals were retiring. Collectively, they represented almost one thousand years of service. All thirty principals (not all were present) were honored with resolutions recognizing their history in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). No resolutions were presented honoring all the teachers retiring this year. Head of the Chicago Principals Association Clarice Berry spoke about the achievements of the principals.

Have students and children become "customers" in the Orwellian lexicon of corporate school reform talkers like Jean-Claude Brizard? Above, the priorities of the newly installed CEO of Chicago's public schools — and his mastery of the bizarre vocabulary of corporate American probably achieved during his study at the Broad Leadership Academy — showed during Brizard's Power Point presentation at the June 22, 2011, Board meeting. For the first time in history, the pupils in America' s public schools (and their families) are becoming "customers." In the business model and jargon used by Brizard and the Board members, public schools are like franchises in business, and choosing a public school is like picking between a Big Mac or a Whopper for dinner. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Following the roll call and Pledge to the Flag, a Power Point presentation of CEO Brizard's first twenty-five days at CPS was presented. CEO Brizard said that preliminary ISAT scores had just come in for 2011, the majority of students were not on track for college, Black and Hispanic students were not meeting the score of 20 on the ACT needed for college, and 231students were shot this school year, while 27 were killed. Questions and comments by Board members followed the presentation. No one asked about the discrepencies: supports that were in place in the 1970s when I attended Fenger in Roseland are gone; since there are almost more programs than teachers, why isn't this working; what about the violence issue and the Culture of Calm; what standard should students be "shooting" for, the length of the school day and year, and what will you do to bring the curriculum up to the 21st century.

CEO Brizard mentioned that he had visited thirteen schools in fifteen days, the children come to school behind, principals want allowance for local input, principals and teachers want more instructional time, our present system is based on an agrarian calendar, and that we will have to script for the majority of schools.

In keeping with the Alice in Wonderland version of "youth violence" presented in Chicago, a fatuous sociological version of reality replaced any analysis of the criminal drug gangs that have been part of Chicago's power structure for the past three generations. Above, the chart showing "shooting victims" emphasizes race, while ignoring criminal gang affiliation and the problems associated with poverty and segregation. As long as such Orwellian versions of reality as the above are excused in Chicago's public debate on the so-called "Youth Violence" problem, the gangs will grow stronger because the official version of reality allows the school budget to continue and expand preacher patronage and continue "Culture of Calm" without any critical review. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Chief Human Capital Officer Alicia Winckler presented information on the policy regarding the layoff of teachers for reasons other than those within the scope of Board Policy 504.2, listed in Board Report 11-0622-PO1, which says: "Board policy covers teacher layoffs due to the following four reasons 1) an attendance center or program closure, 2) a drop in enrollment at an attendance center, 3) a change in the educational focus of an attendance center, or 4) remedial actions taken pursuant to Sections 34-8.3 (d) and 34.8.4 of the Illinois School Code at the attendance center (under-performing schools)." (More is listed in Board Report 11-0622-PO1.) Also stated was that "teachers shall be selected for layoff and honorable dismissal in the following sequential order: 1) Teachers without appropriate certification or with lapsed certification or credentials, 2) teachers rated unsatisfactory, 3) retired teachers, 4) temporarily assigned teachers, 5) probationary appointed teachers, and 6) appointed tenured teachers. Supports in place for laid-off tenured teachers include "1) employment as day to day substitute teachers" (if a teacher wishes), "2) career events for laid off tenured teachers, 3) notices and information on how to apply for vacant positions, 4) recruiting assistance, 5) online hiring profile for laid off teachers, 6) reappointment/restoration of status, and 7) extension of benefits."

Next, rules for public participation were stated: a limit of fifteen people at the mic, a two minute limit, and a total of two hours dedicated to public participation.

Union leaders were allowed to speak before others who had signed up for public participation.

Speaking for the Chicago Teachers Union, CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey told the Board members that they had disrespected the teachers by claiming that a fiscal crisis forced them to take away the contractual four percent raise. He also asked that the Board "open the books." Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.First to speak was Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) Vice President Jesse Sharkey, who was speaking in the absence of CTU President Karen Lewis. Sharkey spoke about the failure of the Board to approve the previously contractually agreed upon 4 percent raise. The raise is part of the 2007-2012 Board-Union Agreement. He said that teachers come early, stay late, and feel disrespected. The CTU would like the Board to stop siphoning off money and open the books now, he said with emphasis.

Jackson Potter of the CTU congratulated the new Board members, but told them they have gotten off on the wrong track by giving raises to those making six-figure salaries, while cutting the scheduled 4% raise for CPS teachers. Thirty-six million in toxic swaps has been siphoned off. While on the march this morning, he walked in to the Bank of America and asked them to meet with the CTU. Jackson Potter then asked President David Vitale to sign a pledge. He spoke of shared sacrifice, 102 million in profits that should be returned and stopping the siphoning of Tax Incremental Funds (TIFs) intended for schools.

Jasson Perez spoke on behalf of the workers who are members of Local 73 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Along with the CTU and UNITE HERE, SEIU members have been leading many of the recent protests. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Next, Jasson Perez, of SEIU Local 73, also asked for the return of the 102 million and TIF funds. He added, "The workers are not part of the problem. We are part of the solution."

After that, another Union representative, Linda Green, of the lunchroom workers (whose union is UNITE HERE Local 1) spoke about how mean spirited it was to take away the raises for union workers. Linda Green, an Assistant Lunchroom Manager, spoke of making $13.32 per hour and $18,000 before taxes (basically $375 a week). She said the Board voted to raise the salaries of the highest paid people and asked, "Is my $18,000 too much?" She added, "This is just plain wrong!"

After the union representatives spoke, public participation continued with Rosalind Blasingame-Buford, Executive Director of BUILD, Inc. who said failure to invest in the Mentorship and Advocacy Program (MAP) would have great ramifications. She mentioned that students who took part in the program for one year were less likely to use drugs and/or alcohol.

Isaiah Moncrief, a graduate of Hyde Park High School, spoke of how MAP had helped him. He asked the Board to please keep this program.

The reply was that these programs will be a priority within the budget constraints.

April Curtis, of the Chicago Youth Advocacy Program, listed problems 330 students face. In February, the former CEO was invited, but did not come to see her. President Vitale concurred that it was a very good program.

Sheri Lucas spoke of the majority scoring below average in science and the need to lengthen the school day and year.

Maurice Garter, who called himself a Concerned Citizen for Education, also supported a longer school day than the present five hours and ten minutes, He said students need leverage and a voice.

President Vitale thanked him for his advocacy for students.

Evelin Santos of the Whittier Parent Committee said that non-CPS funding had been secured for the renovation of the field house and library inside the field house (LaCasita). Pro-bono help was provided to the community, the field house is ADA compliant, but the location of the library has not been agreed upon. Santos complained that the Board is trying to destroy the special education classroom inside the main Whittier building to put a library there, while ignoring the ability of La Casita to house the library and to be used for multiple purposes. She showed the Board members architect's drawings of what could be done at La Casita for much less than the cost the Board is going to spend on changing the special education classroom.

Lisa Angonese, a parent of seventh and eighth grade children at Whittier, asked the Board to stop the work order for construction of the library inside of the Whittier building because that space is needed for the Special Education students. She said that the Board should provide money for LaCasita. She added that LaCasita will be an asset because it will be a "green" building for the community and provide a safe haven for meetings. She appealed to CEO Brizard, mentioning that Pilsen is a highly polluted community.

Although Jitu Brown of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOKO) was polite to the members and executives of the Board during his June 22 remarks, the fact that he knows more about Chicago's public schools and has devoted more time and energy to the service of Chicago's public school children than all seven of the Board members (and the newly appointed executive officers of the Board) combined was not lost on the audience. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.President Vitale said that he was sure the management team will look into this. When the parents pressed him for an answer, he repeated more than once, "You have my response." Then he signaled the security staff to block the microphone from the Whittier Moms and force them to leave the podium.

Rahm Emanuel's choice for "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools, Jean Claude Brizard, has deliberately snubbed the existing groups of parents, students and teachers — especially the Chicago Teachers Union — during his "charm offensive" in May and June 2011. Local School Council members are also below Brizard's radar, while the biggest publicity stunt of the week was held by Brizard and Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a charter school which is part of a charter school network that excludes almost all black children, the UNO charter schools. Above, Brizard listens while Jitu Brown of KOCO speaks to the Board. Jitu Brown, of KOCO (the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization), spoke in support of Whittier and Dyett. He said "Our neighborhood is the eye of the storm in regard to school closings." He spoke agains giving space in Doolittle School to Chi Arts, a charter school. He added that Chi Arts is willing to use vacant land and told the Board, "We are willing to work with you."

Kurt Hilgendorf, who teaches Economics and Advanced Placement U. S. History at Hope High School, spoke of the CPS budget deficit. He referenced the Power Point presentation from the June 15 Board meeting. Hilgendorf held up a copy of the Power Point in one hand and the Board's CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) in the other and told the Board their figures from the Power Point were overstated, inaccurate. He said there should be an audit and that the children suffer from the decisions being made. Following his remarks, Hilgendorf went outside to the hallway, where most of the reporters covering the Board meeting interviewed him, asking for more information about his charges that the Board had misrepresented the budget information the week before when it provided itself with the basis for refusing to fund the four percent raises.

Jeanette Taylor-Smith of the Mollison Local School Council (LSC) said that the budget cuts should not be on the backs of the teachers and students, that the $250 million TIF funds should go to the schools. She added that we do not believe the sound bites, and it will be a long hot summer and a vicious fall if the CPS continues on with this.

Lanette Ford spoke of how the overcrowding of students at Doolittle caused anger, that there is no community say-so or input at all and that they are not in favor of Chi Arts (the charter school that is taking over Doolittle even before the vote to do so takes place).'

EvAngel Mamadee YHWHnewBN (pronounced Ev Angel Mama Dee Why Nubian) reminded the Board that all of the new Board members and the newly appointed executives knew less about the Board than she did. She also resumed her campaign to "Kick the K word" -- to get Board members to stop referring to children as "Kids", a usage that she claims compares children with goats. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.EvAngel Mamadee YHWHnewBN spoke once again of the "Kick the K word" campaign she favors. She reminded everyone that a kid is a goat, not a child. She added that the Dream Act should include African-Americans because they are at risk. She asked, will you conduct a study that will evaluate the effect on African-American students?

Tamara Bills, manager of Anixter Center Factory School, an alternative school, wants the school to remain open because Jobs over Jail is their goal. She said students attend a half day of class and then a half day of work and earn bi-weekly paychecks, high school credits, and GEDs. She asked that the school not be terminated,adding that the school has served students for twenty-five years and receives both CPS and County funds. The County is pulling funds and threatening to pull out.

Pamela Greyer who was the director of a NASA program up to last year said her lab was closed and she was honorably terminated Friday after twenty-five years. She wants support to continue the program. She asked the BOE for her job back and the continuation of dialogue regarding NASA with her students.''

Farah Denaham said teachers should be able to send their children to schools where they teach — it costs nothing. She is in favor of grandfathering in principal discretion for the children of CPS faculty. (Nothing was said about whether or not the teacher-parents of these students lived in the suburbs, which would normally mean an out-of-district tuition payment.)

President Vitale said a Blue Ribbon committee is looking into this.

At this point, the one hour mark was reached and more than forty speakers remained.

Lindblom High School physics teacher and robotics coach Ed Hershey (above, at microphone, wearing his CTU tee shirt and CORE button), told of how cutbacks have hurt his championship robotics team, and the time and money he had to put out to keep the group functioning. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Ed Hershey, a Lindblom High School Physics teacher since 2006, said he was not getting paid for after-school programs and resents the "shafting" term from the mayor. He said Dolton teachers (not a wealthy community) are paid more and have higher scores and that you get what you pay for. Board member Penny Pritzker (above, center) and the newly appointed "Chief Education Officer" Noemi Donoso listened while Ed Hershey described how his championship robotics club had been defunded, but that he had been able to continue the work by putting in unpaid hours and in some instance buying materials for the Lindblom High School club. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.He asked Board Member Penny Pritzker to help those who should to pay their fair share.

Kati Gilson, a teacher, said the budget was not transparent. She added that teachers spend a great deal out of pocket for their students and classrooms. She asked Board Member Bienen to also sign Jackson Potter's resolution. She said, let us see the budget and make suggestions about it. "Show us the budget, show us where the money has gone."

Curie High School teacher Adam Heenan spoke to the Board about the cuts and how much teachers do. He told the Board that the "Honorary Student Board Member" Taylor Brown, was one of his Curie students. Taylor Brown, who represented the students of Chicago better than any previous Board member, had served throughout the Board meeting and was at her final meeting. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Curie High School teachers Adam Heenan asked the Board to please listen to the teachers. He said we do want more instructional time and a better school day, but, to take two example, Breakfast in the Classroom (for elementary children) and requiring students to pass through metal detectors (at most high schools) uses up a lot of instructional time. Heenan also noted for the Board that final high school grades were due June 10. This meant that students stopped attending after that or came to school for a week for classes that could have no impact on the final grade. He added that a survey of waste is needed.

Jack Silver, a retired teacher, spoke of the changes to the pension plan that are being considered for current employees, the money owed by the state, the law suit to collect funds, and the cut in pension funding.

LaShawn Wallace, who spent twenty-one years as a para-professional, said our jobs are cut when there is a budget crisis. She told of how many paras start at 5 a.m. (like the elves that work when the shoemaker sleeps) and named all the various jobs that paras do in the school. She wants Board Member Andrea Zopp to sign, within a week, that there will be no cuts to para-professionals.

President Vitale thanked her for "educating us."

Honorary Student Board Member Taylor Brown, a student at Curie High School, was at her final Board meeting. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Mike Widera, a businessman whose company has been doing business with CPS, asked that the Board not approve Board Report PR9 as proposed. He said the contract has changed and where there used to be eleven firms involved in the work that his firm does, now only two are involved. His company was one of those that was excluded from the new business that would be approved with Board Report PR9. He said they never received a negative evaluation and that layoffs will follow if the Board approved of the change. [When the Board came out of executive session at nearly 5:00 p.m., it deferred consideration on the Board Report he had noted).

Sara Munoz-Abramowicz also spoke against Board Report 11-0622-PR9, which has lowered the number of firms accepted to two. She asked that the Board please reconsider.

Rico Gutstein, a teacher of Social Justice, a Math teacher, and a parent of a CPS graduate, spoke of the Board financial policy. He said we already know you will not hear us, plans to privative public education are familiar to us, and there is plenty of wealth here in Chicago. He added education is not a commodity to be traded upon — it is a right. He pleaded that the TIF funds be returned to the schools.

Sylvia Medina of Marquette School was a Probationary Assigned Teacher (PAT), who was not to be renewed. Her only observation was a positive one, her rating was satisfactory, but she was placed on the Do Not Hire (DNH) list. The principal claimed she didn't know Ms. Medina was on the DNH list. Ms. Medina was presented a briefing of an observation that never took place (Ms. Medina was out sick the day of the supposed observation). She said that the principal needs to follow proper procedures and asked for help in resolving this matter.

President Vitale said that Ms. Winckler will look into this.

Alejandra Dominguez, a parent at Marquette School, is worried about the children's education. She said we represent a group of parents who are unhappy with the way Marquette is run.

Stephanie West, a parent of the School of the Arts and an LSC chairperson at South Shore High School, welcomed the new Board and fellow New Yorker, CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. She spoke of a meeting that had been canceled. She said South Shore College Prep was a replacement building, a brand new school. She wants a meeting; parents are worried about where their children will go.

President Vitale thanked her and said we'll try to get up to speed on this.

Rosita Chatonda of the CTU asked to defer to the next speaker and come back again next month because the group of displaced teachers she has been working with were not all present this month.

Steven Ross, of the Chicago Parents Union at South Shore High School, spoke about the students at the four small schools who are being left behind and want to attend the new South Shore, but are not being allowed to. Supposedly a new culture is wanted at the new school. He stated that Enrollment Policy 702.1 says that students who live within the attendance boundaries shall be allowed to attend that school (with only three exceptions). The Chief Academic Officer (CAO) said there was no meeting; the meeting was canceled. President Vitale was supposed to be there; children thought President Vitale had canceled the meeting. He asked if he could meet with the Law Department for clarification.

Chief Counsel Patrick Rocks told him to meet with Mr. Rodriguez (of the Law Department) to give information.

Mr. Ross replied, "Can we schedule another meeting over summer?"

At this point, Honorary Student Board Member Taylor Brown spoke up and mentioned that she had met with the students at South Shore High School, has reports from those meetings, and will share them with the Board.

April Whitaker, of the Uplift Cafe, asked if it was ever fair for some students to get more - for example, the haves and have-nots at South Shore High. She declared that this injustice needs to be corrected. She handed a twelve-page petition to the Board. She said current students are not allowed in the new South Shore, which can accommodate 1,200 students and is next to the dilapidated old South Shore. She added that many programs at South Shore are closing after many achievements.

At this point, twenty-five minutes remained.

Debra Stanford, of the Healthy Schools Campaign, a former ten-year teacher and parent of CPS students, spoke in support of Breakfast in the Classroom. She said that last month 5,000 petitions in regard to Breakfast in the Classroom were presented to the Board. She remarked that the program fights obesity, improves attendance and academic achievement, provides incentives for students to collaborate with each other, and addresses health disparities between groups. She quoted a minister who said, "If we keep doing what we're doing, we'll keep getting what we're getting."

Claudia Terraza, of the Little Village Academy, mother of two children and an LSC member, also spoke in favor of Breakfast in the Classroom. She said (through an interpreter) that children are able to focus better.

Teacher Gabriella Iselin told the Board how much was wasted on Instructional Delivery System (IDS) materials forced on the schools. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Gabriella Iselin, of the CTU, spoke against the IDS initiative. A forensic audit is needed - this is a matter of conscience. Students are being negatively affected. Vice-President Jesse Ruiz was asked to sign a pledge within a week.

Rolando Vasquez, a teacher of sixth-grade at Brighton Park, said teaching brings meaning to my life and allows me the opportunity to serve in a non-opportunistic way. He mentioned that he is already sharing in the sacrifice being asked of teachers and that he is still paying off his student loans. He added that we have the highest expectations for those with the greatest wealth. He asked Board members to sign a pledge and asked those who would sign to nod their heads.

Les Slater spoke of the budget and how those who are already wealthy get the resources. He charged that CPS is trying to run the school system into the ground and is scapegoating the teachers. He wanted to know, what really are the issues?

Charlene Campbell, a parent and an LSC member at Reavis which has been on probation for seven years, remarked that only a select group of students get help (only the third grade) and that the teachers have to write their book curriculum. She said the school is low-performing and high discipline.

Tracey Scott, also of Reavis, wants an investigation as to why nothing is being done with a school on probation for seven years. She said the children are failing, there is a disparity in the community, and eight teachers were lost in the last month under pressure. She said during all the seven years the school was on probation, there was the same principal. She said, as long ago as when Michael Scott was Board President, the parents had asked for the principal to be removed. She asked this Board to do something now.

Sharon Baker said our schools are failing, our students deserve better. She asked the Board not to increase class size to forty.

Cassandra Ellebb, a parent at Bond School, asked why the school day would be extended if it would not include any instruction in Music and Art, for example. She asked, why punish poor people? She added that we don't blame our teachers; we blame the system. She quoted biblical words and followed by saying, God is watching, do the right thing.

Sonya Zamora, a parent of three children at Waters, said the principal is not following CPS policies and Federal Law. She says there has been financial mismanagement, the LSC was required to give approval to lease the school to a church, there is attendance padding, low Annual Yearly Progress (AYP), no translator for the LSC, class size has been exceeded, and there are no background checks on volunteers, grades have been changed, and there has been no investigation of injuries.

Ariel Jordan, an eloquent eighth grader from Waters Elementary School, reported to the Board that the principal of the school had harassed her while she tried to get recognition for considerable achievements. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Ariel Jordan, also of Waters, told of her family escaping Castro's Cuba. She would like to see action taken against the Water's principal for lack of student records, irregularities, and failure to post honor rolls. She herself has received the first perfect science score. The CAO intervened when the principal attempted to censor a graduation speech. The diploma was held hostage, while security police were nearby. She added that eighth grade Illinois State Achievement Test (ISAT) scores also were tampered with.

Shikeeta Washington, a Lawndale parent, said students at the school barely passed the ISAT, classes were overcrowded and asked that critical programs not be cut.

Jeanette Farmer, a parent of three children at Paderewski and Pritzker, said one of her children did not receive modifications required to help the student achieve, was told two days before graduation that requirements were not met, and the summer school program will not have a Special Education teacher.

Tim Ricardati, of American Quality Schools, said Plato Language Academy in the Austin Community has a 96% attendance average. Because there are 324 students in grades 1-7, a second campus is needed for middle-schoolers in grades 6-8. He added that there is a waiting list for grades K-8. He spoke in support of the new facility.

The ten speakers who had not yet spoken were asked to limit their remarks to one or one and a half minutes.

Cynthia Woods, Director of Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), then spoke at length, extending a welcome from the IASB to the new school board. She provided a packet of services available and offered help from the IASB.

Ronald Jackson, of Tilden, requested the removal of the assistant principal. He mentioned a ghost payroll at Tilden, said that a Special Education student was not allowed to walk across the stage because of being short one credit and because of what the parent spoke out about. The sister of the child had come in to Chicago for the ceremony.

Hoi Huynh said she was fired and she feels like a second-class citizen. She added that she was not asking anyone to sign anything. Instead of congratulations, she offered condolences to the Board and asked, what is the reason you are sitting there? She reminded the Board, don't use politics.

Angela Chavez, an eleven-year teacher at Inter-American Magnet School, spoke of the many injustices there. She promised to continue to work to change the school despite the problems she has faced recently. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Angela Chavez, an eleven-year teacher at Inter-American Magnet School, spoke of the many injustices there. Racist remarks have been made and a student's shoulders were shaken after that student had had an appendectomy. She was required to provide counseling although she is not trained in that area. She spoke of teasing, bullying and gender and Union issues. She added that she is a victim of unfair labor practices and will pursue this with the Union. She says she faces retaliation, she has a Plan B, and she is not going down without a fight.

Michael Fischer, also spoke of problems at Inter-American. No translation was made for documents in English, the LSC is ignoring the survey of principal performance ("she won't be terminated; we just brought her aboard"), and kids are being pulled out.

Eben Credit, an LSC member at Julian High School, welcomed that new Board and asked for a private meeting with CEO Brizard.

Lisa Kenner, principal of Legacy Charter School, awaits approval of a kindergarten at Legacy. In the last six years, she said, Legacy has blossomed and grown. She mentioned the motto - smart is something you become. She asked the Board to read over the documents she had provided.

President Vitale responded that this is how we learn about what is going on. That's why we have open sessions.

At this point, the Board went into closed session.

[Editor's Note: The report on the Board's votes following the executive session will appear elsewhere in Substance].


June 26, 2011 at 1:42 PM

By: Kelvin Sandridge

The Chicago public school board of Education

As an outsider (Not a teacher or employee of Chicago public school)I see a situation that has become a detriment to the teaching profession. The profession is being taken over by people outside the classroom. Students and teachers are at risk and it's has become an irrational thought to believe that the focus or intent is to create a better learning environment for students. Major Rahm and the new CEO? of Chicago public schools are headed in a horrible direction in terms of educating the youth of Chicago. It anyone is giving or receiving the shaft, from my point of view, it looks like teachers are being shafted by the Mayor of the city of Chicago and the school board. The city government says it has no money to pay one of the most important groups of professionals, teachers, yet it has voted to give themselves extensive increases in their salary. Students are fortunate to have teachers who work for a lot less than mayor Rahm will have us believe, teachers use their own money to supply their students with what they need to enhance their learning, teachers love and acually care for the outcome of their students who leave them for another grade, parents aren't informed of the thing that teachers really do for their children. Teachers are there when students are treatened, when students are hungry, afraid, lonely, misunderstood, in pain and lost. Student rely on teachers for things they can't get from home. Some teachers are the only mother or father students will ever see. Teachers are to most students, if not all, are medical doctors, friends, the only source of encouragement when problems at home become overwhelming, when a student needs a treat because the day was long and harsh, teacher is always there, when a student need s someone not just to talk to them but listen, teachers are they, when a student has no friends and their world has rejected them, teachers are there to hold their hands, relax their little minds, to offer an alternative in a negative situation. These are things that I have experienced with teachers or seen happen with other students. Yet, I hear of teachers who are bad at the job, I hear of teacher who make too much money, and I hear almost nothing good coming from politicians who have long forgotten what teachers have done for them and what they are doing for their children today. I hear these things and I consider those who are saying these things. Almost every negative thing I hear is coming from people who has never spent a day in a classroom filled with 34 students in the homeroom alone, more than one hundred when you departmentalize. And the new CEO, ( I have a hard time with that title) who has classroom experience should know much better than anyone what teachers go through. I see danger for teachers and I see higher risk for our children who will be in harms way if the politicians stay on this track. Teachers should be honored and not trusted to do the job they were hired to do. The problem is not a lack of teachers not knowing how to encourage a child or how to prepare a student for higher learning, the problem belongs to a group of people not knowing the solutions to these problems, or understanding how to solve the problems of poverty, home life for students, unemployment, greedy corporations, and currupt politicians, but not willing to solve them, or it's easier to lay itall on techers whom we should all know did not create these problem. History can tell you that story.

June 26, 2011 at 3:17 PM

By: Jim Vail

great recap

Like always, Marybeth does a tremendous job recapping a long, action packed board meeting. Great job Marybeth!

July 7, 2011 at 5:19 PM

By: Julius Thompson Ocrey

Agenda for the next meeting

Before the conclusion of a formal meeting, the agenda is set for the next meeting. I did not notice such occurring here.

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