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CPS continues to sabotage Local School Councils... CPS bureaucrats will develop the new training manual while ignoring input from the real world

The administration of Chicago Public Schools continues to sabotage democracy in the nation's third largest school system by denying certification to training for Local School Councils. According to a press release from the Chicago Teachers Union:

Parents, teachers and community organizations victims of undemocratic CPS attack on Local School Council training

CHICAGO-Following a successful first weekend and strong turnout for newly elected Local School Council (LSC) member training, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has declared that the district will not recognize LSC members certified through these sessions.

CPS will instead delay training until after the district itself has revised and released the LSC manual in the fall -- with no input from the community-despite pending legislation that calls for an independent training commission. As a result, new LSC members will have little training on pending budgets cuts, the Continuous Improvement Work Plan, or principal selection and evaluation before the 2014-2015 school year.

"Parents, teachers and members of our school communities and neighborhoods were elected to these positions, and none of them will have a voice in developing this manual," said CTU President Karen Lewis. "That's undemocratic."

House Bill 5328 places training for LSC members under the direction of an independent certification commission, which is led by veteran LSC members with the goal of inclusion for parents and community organizations. CPS's decision to rewrite LSC guidelines not only undermines the role of the commission, but is also removes the autonomy that the councils are required to have.

"You have community organizations and people who have been involved since the inception of the LSCs who are certified trainers to do these trainings, yet they are excluded from this process," said CTU organizer Rebecca Martinez. "CPS continues to make top-down decisions that impact our schools and communities."

CPS department heads, and not LSC members, will be revising the manual, despite CPS staff having no role in the day-to-day function of LSCs. The district's interference is a simply a means of discrediting parents and community organizations in the LSC training process.

"They won't accept the trainings that we do as 'certified' trainings because they think we're going to give different information," Martinez said. "We don't give different information...we just give information that's empowering for parents and LSC members."

After a well-received first weekend of training, which has been planned since February, the sessions remain in demand from LSC members. "We're going to continue to do the training," Lewis said. "With everything LSCs will have on their plates next year, including budget cuts, you can't have new members at 600 schools start off the school year without any training."

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The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools and, by extension, the students and families they serve. CTU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is the third largest teachers local in the country and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information visit CTU's website at www.ctunet.com



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