'Crisis' of substitute coverage in many Chicago schools!... CTU leadership gave up the rights of substitute teachers in the new contract... no preps for subs!...

Although it was not included in most of the contract discussions at the recent leadership training for the Chicago Teachers Union, the substitute "crisis" has been growing. And one of the reasons is that the union's leadership -- without consulting subs -- has surrendered important rights that subs had for decades.

As chair of the Chicago Teachers Union's Substitute Committee, I want to report that our committee members have not been allowed to make many significant changes. All decisions go through our "staff liaison" for approval by CTU leadership.

It’s now in the handbook that preps are at the discretion of the principals. Subs are "at will" employees. We asked to be represented on the e board or big bargaining team. The answer by a Ctu official was “ absolutely not” that’s not going to happened.

We pay full union dues with limited representation. Pass Practices were given up. Many classes within CPS have no substitutes teacher when the regular teacher is absence. Those classes are covered by para professionals and some cases parents and security guards. The reason being substitutes teachers are not going to schools where we are treated in a disparate manner.

All substitutes have a Bachelor degree, many are retirees, others are teachers with advanced degrees in numerous disciplines. It’s not about the salary which range from 115-161 per day.

Substitutes teachers work to make a difference in the lives of each student. However, the school climate in many Schools is the reasons many classes don’t have a license Substitute teacher in place.

It’s clear substitutes teachers are not treated equitable and representation is limited.


April 11, 2018 at 1:11 PM

By: Rachel Fowler

substitute teachers

I started out as a full time sub in 1970. If the school where I was assigned could not use me, I was sent to another school for that day. During my career as a regular certified assigned teacher, I had a Math Lab at a school. However, if not enough subs were assigned to the school, I was pulled from my regular classes to become a sub for the day. Of course, that meant that the teachers for whom I was a prep period did not get their prep period! I rarely had a week where I had all of my classes as scheduled. At least I did not have to be a sub to make up for the teachers who had missed their prep periods when I had subbed before. This was in the 1980s so the sub situation has been a problem for decades.

April 20, 2018 at 4:05 PM

By: Jo-Anne Cairo


There's a LACK of respect for Substitute teachers, I can count on one hand the schools that appreciate and treat Subs as they are real people. The LACK of respect from other CTU members, the LACK of clear information in the Union contract, the LACK of support from the CTU. Let me acknowledge, there maybe a very few at the CTU that might give aLITTLE support for those bouncing from school to school for students to continue their daily studies. But at times the principals might read their sub book but are they following the direction?

It's one thing getting a prep, or maybe lunch? But Subs are not babysitters.

That's nice the CTU wants to give recognition to those schools who give respect to the Guest teacher but it's ridiculous that they are not giving the actual truth but what is happening to subs. Then again some subs put up with the nonsense because they need the little money they are paid.But Subs pay as much CTU dues as a regular teacher but their grievances are not being felt with. The Subs have to deal with the CPS when they are not getting paid for days they have subbed.

When is the CTU going to have a Substitute meeting to review what they have to do, to make sure that get paid.

It's sad that there is no representation for Substitute on the hand pick CTU e board.

April 26, 2018 at 9:58 AM

By: Charles Larsen

Teachers and Subs

I have been a sub myself before being a full time teacher . I often Found my worst enemy wasnt the Admin....which I worst critic was the full time teachers . I was often. Treated as a second class citizen . most teachers were nice but there was always those who treated me as their scullery maid. It was shocking . even now I see some fellow teachers treating subs with disdain. Its not unusual for teachers to tattle tale about phone usage or not completing assignment. Onvioulsy we have to look out for the safety of our students ....but petty slwf important tattle tales are not help..

Many subs are in unfortunate situations. Be nice to them ...quit treating them with contempt. Talk to them. Help them. Don't go straight to the principal to them first ....because never know when you too may be a sub

April 28, 2018 at 11:50 PM

By: Rachel Miller

Poor Treatment of Subs

The problem is the 'bully' teachers, clerks, and security guards (both men and women) know nothing will happen to them if they go off on a sub and treat them horribly. When is the last time any of them was called into the main office for treating a sub like garbage?

What's worst is teachers, clerks, or security guards can make one complaint against a sub and that sub can be blocked from getting assignments at that school. A sub can work at a school for a decade and all of sudden, they're gone. Subs aren't given an explanation or told what they did wrong.

And, since 2000, 65% of subs who must go to a CPS investigative disciplinary conference get fired without a warning or due process.

April 29, 2018 at 1:19 AM

By: Karen Nichols

Covert Legislative Agenda?

As I read the comments posted here, is this why certain legislators want to privatize subs in CPS? Throw enough $$$ in a contract so the key players in the game can act as magicians in making the legitimate problems or concerns go away? Or pretend that all was always well in the first place? Ms. Cairo, I actually raised a glass of wine when I read your comments! Thank you so much.

May 3, 2018 at 3:50 PM

By: Burma Green


Thanks to all who responded. Going forward if Ctu will not negotiate on our behalf for the upcoming contract. I’m afraid in due time the subs will be privatized by CPS.🤨

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