July 25 Chicago Board of Education meeting

Carrying posters while marching in orderly picket lines on Clark Street from Adams to Monroe Streets, and supervised by several police officers, CTU members and supporters expressed their views on the current state of contract negotiations between the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), prior to and during the monthly meeting of the Board of Education (BOE), which took place at 125 S. Clark Street on Wednesday, July 25, 2012.

More than 500 CTU members and supporters rallied at the CPS headquarters before the July 25 Board of Education meeting. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.Inside on the fifth floor, all members of the Board were present except for Board Member Andrea Zopp. Also present were the new General Counsel, James Bebley, replacing Patrick Rocks, who recently retired, and the new Chief Education Officer, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, replacing Noemi Donoso.

The public was told that the order of the agenda for July 25 was changed so that public participation would come after the votes on the Board Reports by Board Members. This was done to allow Board Members, who otherwise might not be able to be present for those votes, to vote on those items. Five yes votes are necessary for the passage of financial items. Four yes votes are needed for the other items, which then will be voted on after the closed session.

The "good news" portion of the meeting included news of iPad grants, 32 iPads in a bundle to a school, with some schools receiving more than one bundle.

Board Member Penny Pritzker asked, "What does it take to train a teacher so they're able to utilize the hardware and software?" Board Member Dr. Mahalia Hines expressed congratulations and asked, "How can you share this with our schools?" All present were told that Webinar will enable teachers to access this. Pritzker asked, "Are schools adequate to do this?" and "How do you take this to a greater scale?"

The speaker replied they would take it in stages in the classroom and bring along other teachers.

Board member Mahalia Hines, at the July 25 Board of Education meeting with other members Henry Bienen, Jesse Ruiz, and David Vitale, praised a principal who received a technology grant that in part enabled the students to participate in Wii virtual sports for their PE classes. At the close of the meeting Hines said there "was no difference between charter schools and neighborhood schools — charters are community schools." She said that "people don't have enough information about the issue and that they just believe what they read on the Internet." She also said she had "never been so embarrassed" because at a special meeting of the Board one week earlier her granddaughter, who attended the meeting, said a teacher didn't speak proper English. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.Board President David Vitale asked, "Are the schools [receiving the iPads] concentrated in one part of the city?" The answer was that they are "All over. All grades. Art as well."

Next, the Austin-Lawndale Network Chief spoke of Spencer Technology Academy Principal, Dr. Shawn Jackson, who came to Spencer five years ago when it was on probation with a mobility rate of 40%. The Network Chief said the principal applied for a technology grant and convinced the students that ‘learning is cool.’ She said he also shares this technology with other principals in the district.

In a power-point presentation "Spencer Technology Acedemy - Planning the School Day," Dr Jackson said Spencer School (214 N. Lavergne Avenue) has 900 pre-K to 8 students; 98% qualify for free or reduced-fee lunches. He said that students can use the software at home and have extended lab hours. Spencer received a grant twice to be an iPad school. Dr. Jackson added that the technology will also be used for Nintendo Wii physical activities as well as academic activities, (My Word coach, etc.). A grant will allow parents to be compensated for assisting with recess and lunch duty.

Board Member Dr. Mahalia Hines commented that it is clear that “you are one of the leaders of which it is said, ‘where there is no door, you make one.’”

Board Member Penny Pritzker called the changes at Spencer, inspirational. She said that it is exciting what can be done to change the environment.

Following this, motions were made and passed unanimously that Board President David Vitale continue to be President of the Board and Vice-President Jesse Ruiz continue to be Vice-President of the Board.

Votes on Board Reports that normally would have taken place after closed session took place next. The new General Counsel presented two policies, 12-0725-PO1, to Amend Board Report 04-0728-PO3, The Policy on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Title I Parent Involvement and 12-0725-PO2, Adopt a School Performance, Remediation and Probation Policy for 2012-2013 School Year. These passed.

Other reports also passed with abstentions by Board President David Vitale and Board Members Bienen, Pritzker, Ruiz and Hines on some of them. Additional reports did not require a vote or needed only to be accepted by the Board.

An announcement was made that the public would have a chance to call Board members monthly at 773-553-1600 with questions or comments.

Public participation began with Wanda Block of Alderman Moreno's office. She read a statement from the alderman that strongly supports the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Clemente High School for the 2012-2013 school year.

CTU Viee President Jesse Sharkey spoke at the Board meeting and afterward to reporters. He noted the positive step taken by CPS in agreeing to staff displaced teachers in more than 500 newly created art, music, foreign language, computer, and PE positions, but stressed that many other issues need to be resolved, such as an elected school board. Sharkey referred to the Board's earlier votes by the Board to reappoint Vitale president of the Board and Ruiz vice president. "That's not the election we're looking for," Sharkey said. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.Jesse Sharkey, CTU Vice-President was next up. Board President Vitale said, "Hi, Jesse. Good to have you here."

Speaking of himself, CTU Vice-President Jesse Sharkey says he speaks as a person who “brings lemons to a lemonade party.” He reminded everyone of the 2010 layoffs of over 1000 teachers. He said some schools still did not have art, music, or libraries and that some communities are without an entire school. He told the Board that “we welcome hiring displaced teachers, but some other issues still need to be resolved, for example, an elected school board.”

Board President Vitale told him, "We can rely on you to advocate for your interests. You do it well."

Next, Rodolfo Benitez, of the UNO Charter School Network and “a proud parent of two children” at an academy at 51st and Homan, said that charter schools are public schools and should be treated fairly and equally. He said he didn't understand why there is not equal funding. He affirmed, "I stand up for charter schools."

Amber Mandley, of Chicago International Charter School (CICS) Bucktown, said her eight-year old son is at a top-ten charter school and received many certificates and awards. She advocated for equal funding, saying that charter schools receive $2,000 less than traditional schools. She added, "Allow me to teach my son that there is fairness."

Jose Estrada, an eighteen-year old, who is part of the Culture of Calm, said that before he got a mentor, he was affiliated with neighborhood groups and cut classes. He said that now he will graduate in June 2013. He said he plans to attend college and become a social worker. He added that he collected signatures for Rahm Emanuel.

Dwayne Truss (second from right) of the Austin group PACE (Progressive Action Coalition for Education) and CODE (the Coalition Organized for Democracy of Education), the group organizing a petition drive to put the elected school board question on the Nov. 6 ballot in precincts in Chicago, spoke about Austin neighborhood schools outperforming charter schools. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.Stacy McAuliffe of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) said her group includes membership of every single charter school in Chicago. She asked that charter school funding cut in 2010 be restored. She remarked that charters will educate 13% of Chicago Public School students on 9% of the budget. She spoke of the many thousands of students who will go back to charter schools this fall.

Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, of the Academy for Global Citizenship, said she wants support for the IB Continuum. She added that we need equitable resources. She said, “We now have eleven times as many students as space and we need equitable funding.”

Cheryl Jordan, founder of Rebecca's House Foundation, wants to be on the approved list of vendors. She spoke of the 8-18 year-olds who are in need of social enrichment programs. She handed out a brochure and a purple folder to Board members listing four and eight-week programs that successfully cover a Play on Words, a Literacy Workshop, Reading/Writing, Readers Theater, and Character Building.

EvAngel YHWHnewBN reminded everyone that a kid is an animal, a beast, and a child is a human. She asked everyone to "kick the k word" habit. She spoke of proper and improper parenting. She mentioned a parent who turned in a child, while another parent made excuses for a child. She said that many parents need support and asked, "What can you do to give parents more support?" She said parents need support to bust out teen terrorists sitting at the family table. She asked, "What program can we have to support parent to make streets safe?" Staff was advised to speak to her.

Ernestine Standberry, President of the Pro-Life Federation, said she came about the substitute teaching requirements. She had bee told to call Springfield but Springfield said they knew nothing about this. She wants to know how to renew her substitute license.

Board President Vitale told her that the state has its own requirements and Chicago has its own requirements. He remarked that you must be a certified teacher and that at upcoming Career Fairs, principals will choose individuals for the substitute pool. He added that some individuals were grandfathered in as substitutes.

Jeremy Embry, along with his mother and sister, said he wants to be able to go into schools and speak to students about skills such as conflict resolution and empathy.

Board President Vitale told him that we have a process for determining how people can have access to students. He then referred Jeremy Embry to a staff member.

Gloria Delgado and Jasmine Marie Hernandez, of Education Reform Alumni, were the designated speakers for the group. They said their schools were the original pioneer schools with a longer day, from 8:30 to 3:45. They remarked that yesterday's announcement [about a longer school day] was “huge.”

Following public participation, Board member Penny Pritzker said that reports about her or the Hyatt company receiving $5 million in TIF funds were "totally inaccurate." Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.Pamela C. Touras, a teacher in the upper grades at McPherson School, a Local School Council (LSC) Representative, and a CTU Delegate, said she represents the super-majority of the staff and wants to correct the impression that parents made last month at the Board meeting about offering a foreign language element in the primary grades. She said that “our children receive an excellent education and wants to clear up concerns.”

Last month, Substance reported: "Claudia Mondragon has two children in McPherson School and is concerned about the longer school day. She said that there are two grades in some classes. She told of a teacher being hired to be a teacher of Spanish when the children already speak Spanish. She mentioned that they are losing five very good teachers and asked the principal not to cut the teachers. She said that no one is listening to the parents, who want small classes and quality education.

"Lourdes Pineda spoke in Spanish about her two children at McPherson school. She said she is against the school turning bi-lingual and the teacher layoffs. She doesn't like split classes and said that very good teachers were being laid off. She was told by the principal that the layoffs were a CPS decision."

Keith Lussier, addressed Restorative Justice, saying that there is a need for financial support. He told the Board to "put your meney where your mouth is." He said that Restorative Justice programs are 1% of the budget.

Efrain Montalvo, of the Community Renewal Society (CRS), told of 19 students who were shot while the students were suspended. He told the Board that schools don't need more security caeras. He also told the Board, "Put your money where your mouth is." Supporters with him carried signs with dollar and mouth symbols.

Stowe LSC member George Soto told the Board members that principal Charles Kyle falsified documents. He shows reporters the school CIWP (formerly referred to as the SIPAA, the school improvement plan) on which he says Kyle forged the signature of network chief Denise Little. He showed reporters the Little's written statement that said she had seen her name signed on the papers, which were added to the SIPAA as an attachment, and it was not her signature. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.Estell Roman, at Stowe School for 26 1/2 years, said her position was cut in June. She added that she was on the LSC and said that seven positions were closed in the last few years. She told of the principal locking himself in the office and shutting off the lights while he meditates all day. She said the school is in chaos and the principal needs to be removed.

George Soto, on the LSC at Stowe, also said that Principal Charles Kyle needs to be removed immediately. He handed the Board supporting documents and spoke of the vacancy of twelve positions, including two assistant-principals. He itemized the numbers of the many ways he felt Dr. Kyle had demonstrated incompetent leadership. He added that Dr. Kyle submitted falsified documents that were to be signed by another person.

Maria Amezcua, retired from Stowe School, said that the principal had been misjudged and that he had been fighting for the community. She said that Stowe was at the bottom when Dr. Kyle arrived and now it was seven or eight on the ladder. She asked the Board to take into account the history of Dr. Kyle.

Isadore Lucas, said he knew Dr. Kyle for thirty years and admired him. He said that Arne Duncan, former Board CEO, now Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama, also spoke well of Dr. Kyle. He said the Police Department said Stowe was safe and secure because of Dr. Kyle. He remarked that the principal thinks "Children First." Hegave documents to the Board and said he will be happy to answer any questions.

Stowe PSRPs Leticia Flores and Eneida Ramierez, both with over 20 years of service at Stowe, said Kyle had retaliated against many staff members at Stowe after the LSC lowered his rating. Kyle turned around and lowered the ratings of Stowe staff on the LSC and their supporters, including Flores and Ramierez. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.Dwayne Truss, of PACE, said that the test scores at Austin continue to rise and that neighborhood schools outperform charters. He said that test scores that show charters outperform neighborhood schools are not correct. He wants the emphasis put on teaching and not testing. He also wants Restorative Justice and supports teacher pensions. He asked that the Board look at "The Austin Weekly" and advocated for an elected school board.

Lakisha Thigpen, an assistant principal in the Roseland community, said she was false accused of violating Board policy. She said that CEO Jean-Claude Brizard had signed to let her go, and she received a"Do Not Hire" (DNH) designation. She said Roseland has the most gangs in the city. She said her superior rating status should be considered.

Board President Vitale told her, "We'll take a look at that."

Eric Williamson, of Target Hope, said there are many facts regarding successes and achievements through Target Hope. He said the problem is that we don't get enough students to join the program on Saturday. He gave the email address to contact the group -

Patricia Breckenridge, a member of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE), said she plans to be an administrative candidate with the By All Means Necessary (BAMN), Local 1048, slate at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Convention in Detroit this weekend. She said that testing is not working for the most underserved kids in the nation. She added that students don't know what reading level they are on.

Erik Young, of King College Prep High School, spoke in rhymes, about how he wants an effective day, not just a longer day. He said that at King, students would say, "More work without equal pay is bogus." He told the Board members that they practice "Divide and Conquer," and that they get upset when “we turn the tables.”

Thomas Hencinski wants to rescind his retirement as a history teacher at Lane Technical High School. He said he had chosen to retire because his daughter had Hodgkin's lymphoma and a stem-cell transplant. He said he took the Pension Enhancement Program (PEP), but had not consulted with his wife, and wants his job back. He said he was in full health and was humbled by this debacle.

Vivian Moore, a custodian with We Clean, said she had been ridiculed by the engineer and co-workers. She was told to come in to work early and wear a blue dress. She said jewelry was handed to her from a worker who said it was from the person who requested she come in early and wear a blue dress. She said she is on medical leave due to stress.

A staff member talked to her.

Board President Vitale then asked any Board member if they had thoughts or comments.

Board Vice-President Ruiz said that we are trying to be available and that he was not aware of corporate schools in Chicago.

Board Member Penny Pritzker said the accusations of TIF dollars going to her or to the Hyatt in Hyde Park are inaccurate.

Board Member Dr. Mahalia Hines said, in regard to charter school funding, individuals should go to the website and read about the performance of charter schools and neighborhood schools. She said that “we are looking at all schools to perform and we are fighting for good community schools.” She said that we need to sit together to be on the same page. She added that she advocates for teachers and principals and was a former teacher and former principal, but was embarrassed when a teacher spoke incorrect English at the July 18th Board meeting.

Board Vice-President Jesse Ruiz addressed accountability.

The Board then went into closed session.


August 3, 2012 at 1:03 PM

By: Patricia Breckenridge

AFT Administrative candidate

Yes, I did run on the opposing caucus - BAMN. I acknowledged the love that AFT delegates have for AFT/PC administration, but we need school reform. Our students are dying in the streets due to failed school reform after being transferred across rival gang territory. A Dyett teacher, a school slated for phase-out or turn-around, suffered loss of 10 students over the past year, not to mention the loss to the parents. These students whom are more than vulnerable to poverty, illiteracy, and low-esteem need nurturing and guidance. Most don't have ownership over their reading levels, drop-out or are expelled or suspended, and left in the streets to survive.

Fundamentally, we must give students ownership over their reading levels and instructional levels with the Fry Readability Graph, give incentives to students for monitoring their reading levels, and improving their reading levels instead of educating students on a frustrated reading and instructional level. Now, CTU can not negotiate class-size, so it is imperative to give students ownership over their reading and instructional levels. This is the missing link to school reform. Keep in mind, in 2016 Malaysia is predicted to be 100% illiterate. Whatever "Powers That Be" please take the initiative to keep America's children and students literate.

August 3, 2012 at 7:50 PM

By: Maria D. Amezcua

Stowe School/Public participation

Just to clarify; Never worked at Stowe School retired 2 years ago from CPS Central Offices from Dept. of Language & Cultural Ed.!MD'A

August 8, 2012 at 2:14 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Stowe 2012, Village pissing matches and Substance comments

One of the most interesting rules about covering Chicago politics and Chicago schools is that Chicago is the world's largest collection of small, tense villages and villagers. One of the reasons why Substance has such a strict policy on "Comments" is that the anonymous and pseudonymous confections of the self-important "Blogosphere" allows the village idiot and the town substance abuser to whip out her computer and, in five minutes, weigh in, without any accountability, on any of a dozen important issues. If it's important, here at Substance, you have to sign your name.

We are being reminded of this every day when, twice a day, our editors review the most recent comments about Stowe Elementary School on Chicago's beautiful northwest side. For two months, the crackpots and amateurs on the Chicago Board of Education — that's all seven of them, including those who are (a) lawyers, (b) former principals, and (c) million- and billionaires — have allowed a warring group of tribesmen and women to go off on each other, in public.

Historically, when someone raised a personnel question at a Board meeting, the Board attorney would remind the Board members that personnel items should be discussed not in public session but in executive session. That rule, of course, was not followed when the question involved heated politics.

The most dramatic example of such lack of professionalism came when Paul Vallas and Gery Chico (a lawyer, not that he ever knew or practiced much law; there was a famous scene in the Sopranos about test taking that always makes me think of Attorney Gery, but that's another story for another time) allowed an addled crack Mamo to ramble on at the February 1999 Board meeting about what a "racist" I was. Ten minutes of libel, cheered on by the CPS CEO and the President of what then they were pretentiously calling the "Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees." It didn't do the Mama's kid any good: he wound up doing five years in Joliet thanks to his involvement in the family business before he was even old enough to vote. (That part of the reality could have been a scene from "The Wire"...).

So now it's 2012, and the Chicago Board of Education sits there and lets every libel and slander run across the TV screens. Then several dozen people want to comment on Substance about what we report on the subject (in the middle of a lengthy report on the July 25 Board meeting).

So we follow our rules.

Any comment not signed is deleted. Any person who can't read our simple guidelines doesn't even, at this point, get the courtesy of an email to the strange email addresses people put up when they try to sling manure one way or the other in a village battle.

We've also added another rule. No lengthy list of doctorates and other degrees after your name. We're deleting the Phd, EdD, LLd, and SNAFU titles and just leaving the names of the people, since one of the more droll parts of the battle presenting going on at Stowe (and thanks to CPS in public) is that many people who comment seem to think that putting "PhD, EdD, MD and Godknowswhat else..." after their names wins the argument.

Not here, so the new rule.

Comment in your own full name.

Spare our readers all the spare parts after it in your public identifier. If you want to begin your comment with a dozen real and honorary degrees and other credentials, put it in the body of your comment. But not in the "Your Name" part.

We're glad people are commenting about all this.

August 8, 2012 at 6:07 PM

By: Lucille Petrone

Dr. Charles Kyle, Principal of Stowe Elementary

I have been a teacher at Stowe for 13 years. I have seen first hand the difference a dedicated, hard working principal can make in a school. Dr. Charles Kyle has always gone "above and beyond the call of duty," to support the faculty, staff, and most of all, the students. Dr. Kyle helps and encourages students to succeed and never stops believing in them. Stowe's "Si, se puede" motto has influenced students to believe in themselves and realize their potential. Test scores are improving and students realize that when they come to Stowe, they are safe and are in a loving, learning environment, where they can get help in all aspects of their life...academically and beyond.

August 10, 2012 at 4:12 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Charles Kyle comments versus Mother Theresa...

One of our readers has noticed that the "comments" here at Substance supporting Stowe principal Charles Kyle are coming in to Substance roughly every four hours. Since most of them comply with our requirements (first and last name; real email return address; nothing sleazy...) they continue to be posted. But it's getting a little silly, like a bunch of villagers screaming at each other across the main street. The Board of Education should never have allowed this personnel matter to be discussed so rabidly in the public comments at at least two Board meetings What should be done is the President of the Board says "That's a personnel matter and should not be discussed in public at a public meeting... Talk to the attorney who will meet you out back...

But it's too late for that, obviously. The Board has allowed lots of stuff like this, and will obviously continue to do so, in its amateurish version of reality.

We're only hoping that the Charles Kyle Fan Club will slow it down. We confirmed that Dolores Huerta did send that "To Whom It May Concern..." letter, so it stays up. But the way this thing is going, next thing you know the spirit of César Chavez is going to get an email address and send a comment to Substance in praise of the principal of Stowe. Or maybe next we'll hear from another pious huckster...

August 10, 2012 at 10:33 AM

By: Sally Reyes Lacaci

Dr. Charles Kyle, Principal of Stowe Elementary

I guess I Am another pious huckster... As I sit in my home and read these comments.

It saddens me to think that there are malicious people in the world who for no gain of their own or virtue would chose to tarnish the reputation of a man who has earned his stripes in the trenches of our community as a leader. Dr. Charles Kyle or father Carlitos which is what I have called him for 30 years came to our community and helped shape the foundation of cultural diversities education in so many ways I can not even begin to count them all. He was instrumental in our education with school reform, political, and community activism helping us organize and launch Hispanic political candidates such as Juan Solis,he even translated into Spanish the oath of office at his induction into office, Cha Cha Jimenez, and many more, who are now our political representatives, not to mention educate, inspire and motivate our youth to empower them with "Si Se Puede" "Yes We Can"

It shocked me to see CPS and the school council trash a man who has given so much to all of us, He has been a friend a mentor a teacher a priest and a great champion for our community. If you wish him to leave at least do it with dignity and truth if we continue to allow us to be used as chess pawns by the powers that be with their hidden agendas, don't forget wait for your turn next. This is something for you to ponder over!

Remember you have to earn your stars before you trash somebody else.

August 10, 2012 at 6:22 PM

By: domingo tobias jr

In support of Charles L. Kyle

I am Domingo Tobias, a retired educator from the Illinois State Board of Education and former employee of the Chicago Board of Education. In my experience visiting schools throughout the city and state it was always refreshing to visit a school where children are put first and that is the atmosphere I found at Harriet Beecher Stowe School.

I am proud, privileged and honored to have worked at Stowe under the leadership of Dr. Charles L. Kyle where I worked as part of the administrative team as the Business Manager from 2009-2011.

Dr. Charles L. Kyle is a dedicated and strong educational leader who has created and maintained a school culture that supports a safe and supportive environment for high academic achievement. His celebration of student success has generated a “Si se Puede” spirit at H. B. Stowe Academy.

I respect Dr. Kyle as an experienced and skilled administrator whose leadership style assured the implementation of systems and activities that required the involvement of all stakeholders. In addition, Dr. Kyle insisted upon full compliance of standard procedures for all required documentation including signatures, recording of decisions and their approval by CPS officials and other required authorities.

Domingo Tobias Jr

August 13, 2012 at 1:06 AM

By: George Soto

H.B. Stowe School LSC

As Secretary of Stowe School’s LSC I would like to respond to the comments that have recently been posted. As we all know, all councils serve our community for no pay and with only the children’s education at heart. As a Stowe Alumni (1999-2002) I have experienced first hand the great programs that have changed the lives of many children, but I have also seen the dedicated teachers and administrators who where behind all of this, most of whom have been fired or retaliated against in more than one way by Charles Kyle. Due to these cruel actions the good programs have left with the people who dedicated careers and lifetimes to our Humboldt Park community. It is not this LSC’s purpose to deny any of the past accomplishments of Charles Kyle but to bring accountability and transparency to the administrator of a school that for far too long has been on Academic Probation. The current council has reserved its comments and concerns over Kyle to his performance as Principal and not to his personal life and will continue to do so. If the council resorted to speaking at the board meeting it has been after years of our concerns falling on deaf ears. The comments and testimony you have heard are those of frustrated parents who have been waiting for years to speak to Mr. Kyle. Although those comments may be more emotional this council supports the facts that they allege including the following: (Mr. Kyle ordered 3 padlocks to be placed in his office door due to his fear of parents and children. / Mr. Kyle has repeatedly told staff at PD days that he fears for his safety in our community and that the LSC is dysfunctional./ He has increased the schools goal for attendance improvement by 1% every year while cutting Mrs. Romans Attendance Officer position against the advise of the previous LSC / Mrs. Susan Porter was an Assistant Principal at Stowe and since then has been replaced due to her performance/ Mr. Kyle has also misappropriated school funds by ordering the mass production and dissemination of letters like the ones posted above by “Prominent” friends as well as the printing of banners that only depict him and his awards.) To affirm the concerns of this council the Board of Education has issued Warning Resolution 12-0725-EX14. This council also invites you to dialogue with us at our monthly meetings, which take place the second Thursday of every month or directly to our email at You can find our meeting information at

Best Regards,

George Soto – LSC Secretary

August 15, 2012 at 1:33 AM

By: Tiffani Kuhn

Dr. Charles Kyle, Principal of Stowe Elementary

I've been teaching at Stowe Elementary for less than a year as an art teacher. However, I do know that during this time he has always supported the arts program.

August 16, 2012 at 4:32 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Kyle comments end today... 'Systematic and silly spamming...'

Substance has reported more completely than anyone the current tiff at Stowe Elementary School in Chicago, and we have tolerated the Niagara of comments, most of them supporting the school's principal Charles Kyle. However, since it is clear that there are organized factions on both "sides" of this fight, and both are simply spamming Substance with their positions, we are going to let them fight it out from now on either in their own backyard or at the Board of Education meetings (which we have been reporting).

A review of the previous three weeks of comments would show the average reader that supporters of Kyle are being organized for what amounts to an epic attempt at systematic and rather silly spamming.

Beginning August 16, 2012, any further Kyle comments, even when they conform to our requirements, will be deleted. We can count more than two dozen comments, more than half of them apparently solicited, since this began. If we were asked for our suggestion, we'd suggest that both "sides" in this get their own websites and take it from now. We've asked around, and given the importance of what is looming for Chicago, this is almost absurd.

August 16, 2012 at 11:13 AM

By: Anthony Smith

Saddened by your decision...

Really, truly, no more commentary on Stowe and Dr. Kyle? Oh, how we will miss them.

As a teacher who has never worked at Stowe I do know that Dr. Kyle has been a principal at this school!

I hope this helps.

And thanks George, you have more patience than I do regarding this stuff.

Best wishes,

Yours in solidarity,


September 14, 2012 at 10:34 AM

By: Ernestine Standberry

Substitute Teachers Requirements

I think the current requirement for Substitute Teachers to be certified teachers is unfair to substitute teachers who only want to substitute and it is also unfair to certified teachers. I mentioned this to Karen Lewis, President of CTU, representing other substitute teachers who feel the same as I do. Also, prior to this requirement it was required that Substitute Teachers join the internet testing and requirement service STEDI which many of us did. We paid $68.00 for this booklet and video to study to pass this internet testing which was a requirement only a year and a half ago. While studying for this internet evaluation I noticed that the material given was not sufficient for Chicago Public Schools and gave my comments and recommendations which was well received by STEDI. They soon began asking me for my imput on their material...which I gave. Suddenly, STEDI was removed from Chicago Substitute Teachers evaluation and requirement. I feel that the Chicago Public School owes me $68.00 for purchasing this booklet and testing which was dismissed from the CPS requirement for Substitute Teachers. Many other substitute teacher purchased this booklet. THIS IS NOT FAIR TO SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS WHO PAID $68.00 IN ORDER TO TAKE THIS TEST WHICH WAS REQUIRED BEFORE WE COULD SUB. I request that the Chicago Board of Education reimburse me in the amount of $68.00, the amount paid for registering with STEDI the internet service used to qualify Substitute Teachers for work. Now, there is a new requirement which is totally unfair, especially since Springfield has advised me that even if I was to go back to school to get certified, if I wanted to substitute teach I would still be issued a type 39 Certificate. I was advised to renew my type 39 Certificate and apply at one of the 8 other school Districts in Chicago. I might add that I was told Chicago does what they want to do! THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR THE STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND PARENTS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO. Respectfully Submitted, Ms. Ernestine G. Standberry, Pres. of the International Prolife Federation, Roosevelt University Alumni-Chicago Southside Chapter, etc., CAN-TV Producer

May 25, 2013 at 9:52 PM

By: Mary Sue Kyle

My brother, Charles Kyle

I am sorry to see this happen to my brother. However, he is a lost sheep. I feel he used his political connections to take on this position. How does a ex-priest, that puts down his faith and has taught one class qualify for this job? He has been misguided by a poor choice of companion ever since he left the priesthood and has never been the same. He once was my closest friend and like a father to my children. He has emotionally harmed my children and our family for years now. Emotional damage to my young children that can never be explained or healed. I feel bad for the children of Stowe that they have been deceived and deprived for six important years of a qualified principal. I hope the harm he caused to the education of these young students can be overcome and this schools credentials escalates and graduates promising students for the future.\rI do not doubt for a second that he did lock himself in his office, but he was not meditating....more likely crying and scared.

June 10, 2013 at 8:38 PM

By: Tina Passis

Good news about Kyle's infamy

I worked at Stowe School as a substitute teacher and had developed a friendship with many of the teachers . Dr Kyle displaced many tenured teachers that were cut in order to keep the 22 year old daughter of the bilingual Lead teacher's job as a favor..

Lives and careers were destroyed. One teacher passed away after two years of being displaced and being over 40 -- no job leads and stress..thrown away ... after 10 years of teaching by Dr Kyles retaliation and cronyism

May she rest in peace

This is common in CPS

Abuses should be publicly discussed

Not behind closed doors

Which Kyle liked to hide behind in the "Red Room" as he called it..

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