'Short Calling' deprives city's real public schools of substitute teachers, sabotaging hundreds of classes and thousands of students every week. Why? CPS administrations are now composed mostly of people who don't know anything about the city's public schools...

'Short Calling' is back, and worse than ever. Schools facing absent teachers are not getting enough substitute teachers, while substitute teachers are being told there is no work for them. By early November 2015, the most important crisis facing Chicago's real public schools wasn't the pseudo-crisis in finances that the mayor and school officials had been trying to use to fill buses to go to Springfield, but the final collapse of many of the key services that are supposed to be provided with boring routine to the schools across the city. One of those major problems was "short calling" of substitute teachers. Short calling takes places when the central administrators tell two lies:

From July 2015, when he was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to be the most recent "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools, the Board of Education has voted to continue the massive privatization policies of corporate "school reform." Claypool's first directive was to change CPS busing schedules, which immediately disrupted hundreds of schools. Claypool, along with a large number of those he has appointed to executive positions at CPS, at six-figure salaries. While the schools continue facing problems such as short calling of substitute teachers, Claypool and his "team" are not even aware of the disruptions their policies -- or lack thereof -- are causing in the city's real public schools. Substance photo by David Vance.-- while teachers line up to substitute, they are told that there are no schools needing substitute teachers;

-- while teachers are absent from the schools, the schools are told "There are no subs."

No one is trying to match the one to the other. Current administrators at CPS are the least experienced in history. The lie becomes bigger with each passing week. The time between Halloween and Thanksgiving is also the time when teachers and others who work, especially those who work with poor children, face the germs that come with every group of children. As a result, teachers are sick, or nearly sick, regularly beginning this time of year. But for the teachers and other professionals in the school, the choice is either that they go to work while ill, or that they don't go to work and know that their classes are likely to be "uncovered." Why? Because the Board of Education is not providing substitute teachers.

Take one example...

So I ended up at _____ with preschoolers... The people at "Sub Center" claimed that there were no high school positions or full-day positions, but there was a half-day at a more affluent school. I ended up subbing for a PE teacher 9th and 10th grade, and I was placed for one period in the school lunchroom as security, The acting princpal, _____ did not want me to follow the lesson plans that the teacher left, she even threatened me that I should leave the building...

As we proved last week during and after the House of Delegates meeting, once a gain Chicago Public Schools has created a "substitute crisis" by "short calling" (i.e. not calling) available subs while telling schools that "there are no substitutes available." Before we call them liars, we need to share a little more information on all three sides. Side One: the substitute teachers. They are telling me they are not getting called, but we need dates, times and more information (including who at "Sub Center"is saying there is no business on a particular day. The more details the better). Side two: Schools that are being told there are not enough subs. Side three: CTU officials who are not enforcing the rights of our teachers to have substitutes when they are absent.

As Substance readers already know, Rahm and Forrest are trying to drive down the number of available sick days people are entitled to, using the bourgeois media to propagandize (with the help of "independents" propagandists like Andy Shaw and the "Better Government Association", which now includes Sarah Karp, formerly of Catalyst...).

The Substance analysis of short calling is going to be a long-term project. Despite the fact that Susan Zupan of Taylor Elementary School won a major grievance (even getting a shout out at a HOD meeting from Karen Lewis) on subbing, assuring that schools actually get enough substitutes is a daily effort and short calling is almost scientifically maintained by CPS officials. in order to end the practice and ensure that schools get enough substitute teachers, short calling has to be monitored by the union with staff assigned to doing it, by principals and staff at the local school level, and even by parents.

The most dramatic example of the disruption of schools caused by staffing austerity and short calling is THE BARTON TRAGEDY. As some readers know, the sub problem has been going on "forever" with CPS. Dishonesty and racism are a part of it. The most tragic example is the "Barton Murders" which took place 40 years ago. We've reported those (yes, it's a plural) at Substance and readers can also locate some information on line about the tragedy and how CPS officials caused it through a combination of overcrowding and short calling. The back story of the Baron shooting was that the Board had overcrowded Barton (at the time on a "border") and that the bad kid was throwing chairs at a teacher before he was removed...


November 17, 2015 at 8:07 AM

By: Ken Derstine

Substitute teachers

The exact same thing is happening in Philadelphia. The School Reform Commission hired a private firm for $39M, Source4Teachers, to hire substitutes and they have only filled 20% of positions. Teachers must give up their preparation time to cover classes.

The description of the substitute crisis in Chicago is the excuse used in Philadelphia to privatize substitutes as can be seen in this blog post by a substitute teacher: Cutting Substitutes Pay For an Alleged Substitute Teacher Shortage?

There is a pattern here.

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