SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Education reform roundup

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011

* The SJ-R rightfully praises the work put into the new education reform law

The bill signed by Quinn to much fanfare in Chicago on Monday was the product of months of negotiation that involved the state’s teachers unions, education reform groups and lawmakers from both parties. State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, led the talks.

This is in sharp contrast to recent attempts at education reform in other states, where legislators have vilified unions and, by extension, teachers themselves. In Florida, lawmakers sought to link teacher pay to performance on standardized tests. They didn’t invite teachers to the table as they drafted their bill, causing tremendous public outcry from teachers and parents alike and leading to the bill’s veto by Gov. Charlie Crist.

The governors of Wisconsin and Ohio have drawn battle lines with teachers unions by making wholesale grabs at public employee unions’ collective bargaining rights. Ohio’s reform bill, signed into law in April, imposes a merit pay system for teachers and is being hotly contested.

We wonder how any state can purport to improve its education system without listening to the people who work in classrooms. We also have serious problems with the message these kinds of imposed “reforms” send to aspiring teachers.

All of this makes Illinois’ new reform law remarkable.

* Mayor Emanuel was asked repeatedly by reporters at another event later in the day why the CTU’s president was a no-show at the governor’s big bill-signing ceremony. He said he didn’t know. There was apparently a “scheduling conflict“…

A spokesperson for the Chicago Teachers Union says union president Karen Lewis did not attend the bill-signing ceremony, due to a scheduling conflict.

“This bill is the result of painstaking negotiations. We commend Senator Lightford and Representative Flynn-Curry for leading the way through the process. We look forward to continuing work that will improve schools, smaller class sizes, reducing the focus on standardized testing and equitable funding for all schools throughout the state, ” CTU spokesperson Liz Brown said in a statement.

A different response was given to WBEZ

But notably absent from Monday’s signing ceremony was Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who had characterized parts of the bill as an attack on teachers’ collective-bargaining rights. Lewis did not attend the event because she was “busy focusing on the budget” ahead of a special school board meeting Wednesday, said union spokeswoman Liz Brown.

* But not all teachers union leaders were as skeptical

Carpentersville-based Community Unit District 300 relied largely on seniority when it sent out 363 layoff notices earlier this year. But those letters could have ended up in different hands under sweeping education reforms that became law Monday.

Future school layoffs will be based more on performance under the new rules, signed by Gov. Pat Quinn as part of a major package of reforms intended to keep the best teachers in the classroom.

The law also makes it harder for teachers to strike and makes it easier to fire tenured teachers.

“I think in the long run, it’s going to be better for educating kids,” said Jane Russell, president of West Suburban Teachers Union, which covers parts of western Cook and DuPage counties.

* What about that longer school day provision? Progress Illinois takes a look

The CPS school year is made up of 170 classroom instructional days. High schools get 421 minutes or about 7 hours in a school day, while the elementary school day is 354 minutes or 5 hours and 45 minutes long, CPS spokesman Bobby Otter said. The amount of time in the elementary school day is the number being used by Emanuel and the media in reference to the short length of the district’s academic day. According to a 2008 study by the Center for American Progress, that number is indeed the shortest school day amongst the nation’s large urban school districts.

Nationwide, the average number of hours in a school day (not just instructional time) is 6.64 hours, while the average number of days in the school year is 180, according to a schools and staffing survey obtained by Progress Illinois from the U.S. Dept. of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics. Statewide, the average school day is 6.5 hours and the average school year is 177 days long. Texas has the longest average school day of 7.17 hours, while Florida has the longest school year with 184 school days.

The longer-school-day saga first hit Chicago this year with talks about bringing recess back to CPS elementary schools — which would also lengthen the school day, althought it would not affect instructional hours. Schools currently have the autonomy to determine when, or if, they have recess and breaks.

As for the the teacher’s union, CTU’s spokeswoman Liz Brown said there have been previous discussions about moving teachers’ 45-minute break, now taken at the end of the day, to the middle of the day, which would effectively lengthen the school day although, again, not necessarily instructional hours. While no proposal has been released on what a longer day would look like, Brown said, “It’s all in the implementation. It is tricky. There is a lot of issues — facility, safety, price on after-school programs.”

* But while some of the new law’s focus on Chicago takes effect immediately, other areas will only see change over time

The new law takes effect immediately, but many schools will have to wait until contracts that have been negotiated this summer expire before they feel the effect of the new law.

Matt Vanover, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Education, said many downstate districts won’t see any changes until at least the 2012-2013 school year, and some may not see any changes until the 2016 school year.

“The part of (the law) that deals with teacher tenure; that’s phased in over a period of years,” said Vanover. “You’ll see some schools begin to implement that in the next couple of years. Each year after that, additional schools would come on board.”

Alton Community Unit School District No. 11 Superintendent David Elson said his district is in the last year of a three-year deal with local teachers. He said he expects to begin negotiating a new contract in October.

“We will (of course) comply with state law as soon as we negotiate a new agreement,” said Elson.

* Even so, Downstate administrators seem enthused

Salem Community High School Superintendent Brad Detering says the legislation makes the bargaining process between the teachers and schools more transparent for the community. “Niether side has the ability to hold things as a bargaining chip, and when you’re required to publicize your last, best offer after an impasse has been declared, I think it gives community members an opportunity to look and see if each side is being realistic,” he says.

The Superintendent also says it gives schools more options to handle sub-par tenure instructors. “No one is going out and looking for someone to dismiss, but if someone isn’t doing their job and not taking care of things, it does create a mechanism for that,” he says. “It also gives an opportunity for teachers who transfer from other districts to reach tenure earlier and also gives non-tenure teachers a chance to obtain tenure after three years if they are excellent.” Detering says the bill was the first collaborative effort between all of the parties involved. He says the only real drawback is some additional record-keeping.

* And education funding remains an issue, of course

The challenge now turns to putting such changes in place amid financial uncertainties and state budget woes, educators caution. Illinois owes public schools $1 billion in unpaid bills. The spending plan for next year would slash $171 million in education funding.

“When you fund education as it should be funded … perhaps it will support the principles of (the law),” said Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, who led negotiations among union leaders, reform groups, policymakers, parents, school managers and rank-and-file teachers.

* Related…

* Making Sense of the CPS Budget Deficit

* Appellate court to rehear case on CPS teacher firings

- Posted by Rich Miller        


14 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 10:56 am:

    Excellent editorial by the JR. In an action-packed session of the GA, this reform didn’t get the attention that it deserved.

    Illinois can do things the right way in a bipartisan manner. Hats off to all.

    The sour grapes from the CTU are intensified by the fact that they couldn’t spell Rep. Currie’s name correctly in their statement. Put the red pen to it and take five points off.


  2. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 11:20 am:

    ==The Superintendent also says it gives schools more options to handle sub-par tenure instructors.==

    Schools have always been able to dismiss sub-par tenured faculty. The issue has been, and will remain, the willingness to take the time to document poor performance. I’ve heard board members and administrators talk about how they “know who the bad teachers are” yet, they seem unwilling to follow through with documentation. Since the new process still requires documentation, nothing will change unless the administrators are actually willing to take the time to document performance. We shall see…


  3. - Dwight - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 11:20 am:

    There is no way to “fund education as it should be”. Gauranteed you will never hear a teacher, union official, administrator, janitor, dean, principal, assistant anything or Democrat politician say “Finally we are spending enough. Let’s not increase it anymore!”


  4. - Anon III - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 11:46 am:

    The legislature had a full plate of issues and a near-empty cup of money. It seems that in all the negotiating by education interest groups, the GA decided to punt on Quinn’s call to reduce the number of school districts from 840 to 200 or less. The 840 school districts in Illinois cause unnecessary duplication in management positions, electoral expenses, tax collection expenses, bond underwriting, legal representation, and a host of other expenses.
    Part of the reason we have 840 separate school districts is protection of redundant school district functions and positions, such as 840 school superintendents and 840 school district business managers. The introduction in Springfield of legislation to consolidate Illinois school districts launched school workers’ lobbyists to issues position papers and press releases exposing the “myths about school consolidation”. The lobbyist’s most repeated contention was that there should be “no forced school consolidation.” They warned of “forced school consolidation” as if school closings and transporting of teachers and students to unknown destinations were immanent. Note: it’s not about consolidating schools, but about consolidating school districts.
    It appears that in the process of negotiating “Education Reform” District consolidation got thrown under the bus. The School District Consolidation bill passed on May 28, 2011, by the House concurrence with the Senate, (HB 1216) proposes a “School District Realignment and Consolidation Commission,” a twenty member commission composed of the major educational interest groups – associations of school board members, of superintendents, of district business officials, of principals, teachers unions, Regional Superintendents of Schools, and legislators – to submit a report to the General Assembly identifying criteria for consolidation and describing which districts should consolidate. But there is a clear conflict of economic interest in asking school administrators and teachers’ to recommend how many and which school districts should be consolidated.
    The makeup of the proposed Commission foretells its conclusion. It is going to be like a game of Musical Chairs in which no one loses except the taxpayers because when the music stops, the Commission will not take away any of the chairs.


  5. - Marty - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 11:46 am:

    Way too early for all these people wrenching their shoulders to pat their own backs. Come back in 5 years or so and let’s see if the educational outcomes have really improved.

    And, by the way,
    6.5 hrs times 177 days is 1,150.5 hrs/yr., assuming they never take a sick day.
    8.0 hrs times 245 days is 1,960.0 hrs/yr., allowing for 2 weeks of vacation, 6 holidays and no sick days.

    Teaching is a 3/5 time job with additional time and pay available just for the asking once you have a little seniority. Look at public school pay scales compared to private and religious schools; the public school teachers have no legitimate reason to gripe.


  6. - dave - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 12:07 pm:

    **6.5 hrs times 177 days is 1,150.5 hrs/yr., assuming they never take a sick day.**

    LOL. You really think teachers only work 6.5 hrs a day, and only work when the students are in the building?


  7. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 12:08 pm:

    Will Capt Fax be selling the Senator Kim T Shirts given away at the bill signing?
    Sounds like a real keeper for readers of the Fax


  8. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 12:39 pm:

    More days in the school year is good, more time in the school day would be good too, if this time was used for instruction. If not, wasted time that will cost districts more money.

    And, BTW, Marty…I’ve been putting in eight hour days most of my career, not counting after school and work taken home.


  9. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 1:01 pm:

    ==6.5 hrs times 177 days is 1,150.5 hrs/yr., assuming they never take a sick day==

    Did you think before you posted? You need to add 2-3 hrs/night plus 5-10 hours over the weekend for grading and prep plus summer clean up and prep for the fall. Also, somewhere in there, the teacher has to earn enough continuing ed to maintain certification.

    If you really think teaching is a part-time job for awesome pay and no worries, you should go for it…

    There’s a reason why half of the new teachers leave in the first five years.


  10. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 1:13 pm:

    Assuming 1960 hours working hours per year, dividing by 177 days equals 11.1 hours per day.


  11. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 1:28 pm:

    === If you really think teaching is a part-time job for awesome pay and no worries, you should go for it… ===

    As I’ve often said as well, anyone who thinks that teachers are under-worked and overpaid should quit their current job and apply to CPS.

    After all, CPS has a chronic shortage of math, science, English and special education teachers.


  12. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 2:12 pm:

    They take a 45 minute break at the end of the work day? Who negotiates this stuff?

    Amazing!


  13. - Left Out - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 6:43 pm:

    The ‘layoff’ in District 300 that is described above may or may not be a true layoff. Because of notification laws for teachers, all school districts in Illinois have a ‘layoff’ every spring. Then they hire back teachers over the summer. The number of teachers in any school district when school starts in the fall may be less, the same, or more than at the end of the previous school year. Lets wait and see what fall brings.


  14. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Jun 14, 11 @ 10:35 pm:

    ==They take a 45 minute break at the end of the work day?==

    I don’t know about CPS, but most schools call this a “planning period” and the teachers use it to work with each other on student and school issues. At the schools I am familiar with, it’s not a “break” in any sense of the word.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Toby Keith, Buddy Guy, Boat Drink Caucus will play Rauner inauguration concert
* Question of the day
* Congress finally does something
* Two brief insights on new Kirk poll
* Today's number: $12.7 billion
* C'mon, man
* Unintentionally hilarious editorials
* *** UPDATED x1 - Garcia responds *** Emanuel lashes out at opponents after Tribune runs critical red light cam stories
* Today's quotable
* Rauner's gonna miss JBT more than he may know
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Metal unibody shell for Samsung Galaxy S6 leaked
        * Apple reopens Russian online store after boosting iPhone 6 price by 35%
        * New leaks of HTC Sense running on Android 5.0 Lollipop emerge
        * LG trademark points to work on new tablet
        * Nike finally outs Golf 360 app for Android
        * Apple becoming a nightmare for third-party keyboard developers
        * Runkeeper app updated, now supports Sony SmartWatch 3 SWR50

        * How to Tell People You're a Fan of Their Work (Without Being Creepy)
        * Deadspin The Scientology Christmas Catalog Is Totally Insane | Gizmodo North Korea's Internet Is Tot
        * Google’s self-driving car prototype is now on the test track
        * Show Your Expertise with Stories, Not Statements
        * Flight Cancelled? Now What?
        * Nearly all of Coca-Cola's headquarters employees ditch voice mail
        * FCC Delays Comcast-Time Warner Cable Review Again as New Documents Found

        * White Sox out of options 2015
        * Players rejuvenated by offseason maneuvers
        * AL Central looking like one powerhouse division
        * Digging into David Robertson's reverse splits
        * The year in injuries: White Sox have been better, could've been worse
        * Williams: Make protesting voices heard through vote
        * Williams: Make protesting voices heard through vote

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Country musician Toby Keith to headline Rauner'.....
        * Quinn set to go to Maryland to visit soldiers..
        * Quinn departs for Maryland to visit soldiers..


        * Blagojevich brother: I was fed 'pawn' to get then-governor
        * Congressman urges completion of levee project
        * Report: Business linked to appointee saw CPS boost
        * Officials: Will County to soon allow 911 texting
        * Lake Shore Drive reopens after accident
        * Autopsies set for 4 people shot dead in Illinois
        * Cook County judge to address cameras in courtroom
        * Quinn departs for Maryland to visit soldiers
        * 4 found dead, including 2 children, in Rockford
        * Quinn set to go to Maryland to visit soldiers

        * Blagojevich brother: I was used as ‘pawn’ to get then-governor
        * Raising juror pay gets mixed reviews
        * Gov. Quinn set to go to Maryland to visit soldiers
        * State treasurer employees get raises, stipends as Rutherford’s term comes to end
        * Springfield-based U.S. attorney’s investigations nab 13; race questions raised
        * 2nd Illinois prison with possible chickenpox
        * Quinn signs bill increasing juror pay
        * Quinn names longtime aide Jerry Stermer comptroller until Jan. 12
        * Quinn signs law to nix deadline for asbestos lawsuits
        * Quinn to name comptroller replacement this afternoon

        * Former Chicago alderman Bernie Stone dies
        * Caterpillar looking at deals, has 'lots’ of capital
        * Can one person run long frieght trains alone? Railroad execs say yes
        * Can one person run long freight trains alone? Railroad execs say yes
        * Tribune sells land holding Baltimore Sun printing facility


        * Lakeview pot dispensary on hold; Tunney opposes Halsted location
        * Despite community pleas, CPS puts Dyett HS out for proposals
        * Quinn to appoint new Illinois Comptroller today
        * Gov. Quinn appoints longtime aide as Illinois comptroller
        * Watch: President Obama's year-end press conference
        * Rewriting the Sony cyberattack script
        * time for new course in Cuba
        * Are Rahm's numbers creeping up? New internals show him near 50
        * Obama guidance, press schedule, Dec. 19, 2014. Press conference
        * A whole lot of nothing from the City Council


        * Teen killed in Southwest Side shooting
        * 8 taken into custody in Far North Side barricade incident
        * Apple Store in Naperville reports $10,000 in merchandise stolen
        * Police arrest 3 teens in Arlington Heights burglaries
        * No charges against ex-cop in fatal Milwaukee shooting of mentally ill man
        * Former Chicago Alderman Bernie Stone dead at 87
        * Lake Shore Drive reopened after deadly wrong-way crash
        * 2 dead, 10 wounded in separate West, South side shootings
        * 1 killed after shooting leads to police pursuit
        * CTA reopens Damen Blue Line stop


        * StoryCorps: Bilingual pre-school teacher describes the state of education in Chicago
        * Long-serving Alderman Berny Stone dies at 87
        * Report Faults State For Closing Women's Prison
        * WUIS-SJR Business Report The End of Times For Bel-Aire Motel
        * Local Book Club Provides Camaraderie For Vets
        * Agencies To Ask For More, Rauner Says ... Without Giving An Opinion On If They Deserve It Or Not
        * Rauner Favors Merging Comptroller, Treasurer. Just Not Now.
        * Rauner Named Nation's Most Influential Pension Figure
        * Sangamon Auditorium: Beware Second Party Ticket Brokers
        * Illinois Republican: Cuba Agreement "Good First Step"


        * Blagojevich brother: I was used as ‘pawn’ to get then-governor
        * Quote of the day: Monday, Dec. 22, 2014
        * Raising juror pay gets mixed reviews
        * Gov. Quinn set to go to Maryland to visit soldiers
        * Quote of the day: Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Rauner talks of dogs, housing and the work ahead as governor
        * State treasurer employees get raises, stipends as Rutherford’s term comes to end
        * Cathy Becker: Because it’s the right thing to do
        * T. Ray McJunkins: Justice, righteousness descend to fulfill dream
        * Springfield-based U.S. attorney’s investigations nab 13; race questions raised


        * Champaign police investigating fatal shooting
        * Illinois Football: Headed for the Heart of Dallas Bowl
        * Memorial chief named to Illinois Hospital Association board
        * Figge Mansion demolished, materials salvaged
        * Police make arrest in Sunday shooting
        * College programs open for testing
        * Williamson County grand jury indicts 19 on drug-related felony charges
        * Heart attack caused Monticello crash
        * Former Carterville band director makes court appearance
        * St. Anne's Catholic Church in Welton coming down


        * Ohio State takes down No. 21 West Virginia 96-54
        * Loose bear eludes capture in Phoenix suburb
        * Cutler to start finale for Bears with Clausen out
        * BC-CO--Colorado News Digest, CO
        * Church members each get $500 to do good for world

        * Reps. Lipinski and Roskam Lead Effort to S...
        * Rep. Lipinski Urges Ways and Means Committ...
        * Lipinski on track with new rail policy pos...
        * Rep. Lipinski's Bill Requiring National St...
        * Lipinski Succeeds on Manufacturing Bill; H...
        * Bill Renaming Mt. Greenwood Post Office fo...
        * Lipinski: Will change lead to commonsense ...
        * Lipinski seeks nominations for academies -...
        * Congressmen sound alarm over anti-Asian ca...
        * Rep. Lipinski Urges Ways and Means Committ...

        * Report: Steyer, Bloomberg Topped List of 2......
        * Education Dept. OKs Sale of Failing For-Pr......

        * Lipinski, Kirk discuss manufacturing bill ......
        * Senator Demands a Sony Hack Hearing...

        * 24 Hours To Vote For Either Uptown or Streeterville
        * Police Still Looking For Owners of Stolen Property
        * The [Wednesday] Papers
        * Fire-Damaged Vintage Home Rises From The Ashes
        * The [Monday] Papers
        * Stolen Bike BOLO
        * Free Fitness Week @ Park District To Kick Off 2015
        * Rahm privatizes.
        * Mark Anderson: Chicago moving pensions to risky alternative investment schemes.
        * The Weekend In Chicago Rock


        * IDHR Reminder: Law Protecting the Rights of Pregnant Women in Illinois Takes Effect January 1st
        * Governor Quinn Departs for Annual Trip to Visit Wounded Servicemembers - Will Deliver Holiday Cards to Servicemembers on Monday; Encourages People to Donate Miles and Help Reunite Servicemembers with Families
        * Governor Quinn Appoints Jerry Stermer as Illinois Comptroller
        * Governor Quinn Recognizes First Program to Help Military Veterans Use their Training to Achieve a Nursing Degree - Bridge Program at Joliet Junior College Could Help Veterans Save Dozens of Credit Hours and Thousands in Tuition and Fees
        * Governor Quinn Calls Legislative Special Session - Governor Urges Legislature to Set Up 2016 Special Election for Comptroller




            Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller