Teacher cuts, 'position closings' hit Chicago's general high schools hardest

Public protests hit three Chicago high schools in early October after the Board of Education fired teachers from those schools because of what the Board said was an insufficient number of students in the schools to justify the teachers’ position. The schools that had publicized protests were Julian, Schurz, and Wells high schools — all of them general high schools serving any and all students in a particular community.

Lost in the flurry of other news, Chicago cut a total of 66 teachers and closed an additional 35.5 “teaching positions” on the 20th day of the 2007-2008 school year.

On October 16, the CPS Office of Communications confirmed that 56 high school teachers and 11 elementary school teachers were displaced as a result of reorganizations on the 20th day of the school year. In addition, a total of 35.5 vacant positions were closed. (33 in high schools).

“Since the start of the year, we’ve opened 186 new positions due to higher-than-projected enrollments,” said CPS spokesman Mike Vaughn. Of these, 151 are elementary and 35 high school.” According to information provided by CPS, all of the high school cuts happened in 12 high schools. All of them are general high schools, and several of them have faced the adverse impact of the creation of charter schools in their communities in recent years.

During October, there were protests at least three high schools (Julian, Schurz and Wells) because of the problems with the schools’ master schedules caused in part by the implementation of the controversial IMPACT program for student scheduling, records, and grades. But the impact of the cuts was felt at more high schools that those at which students protested. In fact, one of the schools that had the largest number of teachers cut (Corliss, which had nine teachers cut, second only to Julian) did not have any protests. Eight of the high schools that had cuts were in the city’s segregated all-black communities. The others serve populations that are mixed Latino and Black. None of the high schools which faced major cuts serves a large number of white students.

In the following list, the first number following the name of the school is the total number of positions closed. The number in parenthesis indicated the number of those positions that were vacant at the time they were closed:

Excel - Orr HS: 2 (1)

Harper H.S. 3 (2)

William H Wells H.S.: 3 (2)

Emil G Hirsch H.S.: 4

Gage Park H.S.: 5 (2)

Carl Schurz H.S.: 5

David G Farragut H.S.: 6 (2)

Dunbar Vocational H.S.: 7 (4)

Richard T Crane Tech H.S.: 5

George Henry Corliss H.S.: 7

Chicago Vocational H.S. 9 (3)

Percy Julian H .S.: 10 (1)

Total positions closed: 66

Total vacant: 17

Total teachers let go: 49

Source: Chicago Board of Education, Office of Communications, via e-mail October 2007. 


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