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Durkin says governor should take unspecified action to reopen Chicago schools

Thursday, Jan 6, 2022

* From this past June

House GOP Leader Jim Durkin, of Western Springs, said he believes in local control, but not when the Chicago Teachers Union is part of the equation.

* Press release…

As Chicago Public Schools remain closed for a second day, with no end in sight, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) is calling on Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker to intervene.

“The current crisis with Chicago’s public education system is causing incredible hardship and trauma for students and families, who have become pawns in this power struggle. Evidence has shown that the last three wasted school years have had a long-term impact on our children and their future, and we cannot let this go on any longer. Just as he ignores the escalating crime plaguing the city, Governor Pritzker has turned a blind eye to all the Chicago students and families he represents. He must immediately intervene in this emergency to get schools open safely and students back in the classrooms where they belong.”

* I followed up by asking what specific action Durkin wants Pritzker to take. Response…

The Governor has all the resources of the state available to him and instead of leading on an issue impacting hundreds of thousands of Illinois families, he’s sitting on his hands.

* Jordan Abudayyeh…

Leader Durkin and his party have tried to undermine proven COVID mitigations at every turn, particularly as they stand with those who are attempting to overturn the mask mandate in schools right now. Meanwhile, the Governor has worked tirelessly to get students back to the classroom safely. The Governor has taken numerous effective steps, including instituting a mask mandate because masks work, supplying ongoing help to every school district in the state with testing, masks and on-site vaccine clinics. The Governor is hopeful that the parties can resolve their differences in students’ best interest, because like parents around the state, the Governor’s top priority is to make sure students are in classrooms, learning safely.

I’m really not sure what he could do except to offer to intervene and, frankly, if nobody wants to listen, intervention is worthless.

* Also, not trying to single out Paul here, but I’ve seen several statements like this in the past couple of days…


I asked Vallas four hours ago what directive he was talking about. No answer.

* From ISBE’s communication with school districts…

In general, an adaptive pause should not be necessary if the school is following all appropriate mitigation strategies. If the school is following guidance regarding masking, testing, and identifying and excluding COVID-19 cases and their close contacts, then an adaptive pause should not be necessary to mitigate an outbreak, and students are best served by continuing to provide in-person instruction.

Please note that an adaptive pause means a temporary shift to remote learning for attendance days. A school or school district may only enter into an adaptive pause with remote learning in consultation with the local health department and consistent with guidance or requirements from such local health department.

Alternatively, schools may choose to take nonattendance days at any time for any reason and make up those attendance days later in the year or use one of their five Emergency Days, which do not need to be made up.

So, there really is no state directive to remain open, as long as they make up the days or use their five emergency days.

Click here for the different types of remote options currently allowed in Illinois law.

…Adding… From the latest CPS statement…

CPS is not authorized under state law to satisfy the union’s demand for District-wide remote learning.

That’s not true. See above. They can transition to remote if Dr. Arwady approves, like other local public health departments have done elsewhere in Illinois. But Arwady opposes remote learning.

A few examples

This week, school district U-46 in Elgin announced that five of its schools — Highland Elementary, Huff Elementary, Independence Early Learning Center, Parkwood Elementary and Ridge Circle Elementary — will be closed due to staffing shortages. In addition, Lincoln-Way District 210 announced Monday that all of its schools will be in remote learning due to staffing shortages. West Chicago District 33 also has its students in remote learning due to covid cases among students and staff, as more than 10 percent of the entire district workforce is out with covid.

Niles School District 219 moved to remote learning for the next two weeks. District 300 in suburban Chicago announced that they would be closing their schools. In a statement, the district superintendent noted, “District staff will use January 3rd to better understand the Omicron Variant’s full impact on staffing and student attendance. Additionally, we hope to receive clarification on the updated quarantine guidelines from the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) based upon the latest CDC quarantine guidelines. ”

Buffalo Tri-City School District in central Illinois has gone to remote learning through at least Jan. 10.

Virginia School District in central Illinois has announced it will go to remote learning as well, as schools in that district have 32.9 percent of students testing positive for covid or having had close exposure to someone with the virus.

In addition, Pike County’s Pleasant Hill School district in central Illinois is also going remote, due to an outbreak of cases of both covid and the flu.

…Adding… ILGOP…

This week the Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) - a political arm of the Democratic party - voted to refuse to show up for in-person work until their “conditions” are met, leaving Chicago students locked out of school to fend for themselves.

Despite Chicago Public Schools receiving (and spending) more than $100 million in federal aid specifically for school re-opening, the CTU has once again put their agenda ahead of students. ILGOP Chairman Don Tracy has released the following statement calling on Governor JB Pritzker to stand up to his political friends:

“When it comes to standing up to political allies, the Governor conveniently forgets that he is the leader of this state with influence and power. Previously, the Governor actively funded the Madigan machine and then later stood by silently while the former Speaker was under investigation. Now those being directly harmed by the Governor’s silence are the children of Chicago Public Schools who desperately need in-person instruction so they don’t continue falling further and further behind. It’s time for Pritzker to finally be a leader and stop favoring teacher union bosses over school children.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

61 Comments
  1. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:25 am:

    ===will Gov Pritzker punish CTU===

    The Chicago Teachers Union is an organization that is made up of teachers that work for the City of Chicago. It is a public employee union, but it is not a public entity. The members have exercised their rights to collectively bargain over their work place conditions.

    Mr. Vallas isn’t just a run of the mill twitter user. I would like him to explain how exactly he believes that a Governor is able to punish a public employee union for exercising the rights of their members to collectively bargain over work place conditions. I don’t think his tweet was very well thought out.

    What kind of punishments would Paul Vallas impose if he were governor? It’s a fair question for a person who has his background.


  2. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:25 am:

    On the surface Durkin seems to be contradicting himself. He isn’t.

    Frank Wilhoit: “Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition …There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.”


  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:30 am:

    RE: Paul Vallas tweet, he’s probably not sure what he meant


  4. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:32 am:

    ===RE: Paul Vallas tweet, he’s probably not sure what he meant ===

    If today weren’t January 6th there’s a real possibility that this might be the dumbest I read today from an Illinois politician.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:32 am:

    ===The Governor has all the resources of the state available to him and instead of leading on an issue impacting hundreds of thousands of Illinois families, he’s sitting on his hands.===

    Shorter?

    “I dunno, whatever, but do something”

    A real “in-law uncle” kind of take.


  6. - Northsider - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:33 am:

    I, for one, appreciate it when Republicans pretend to care about us. /s


  7. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:37 am:

    Paul Vallas was a serious person once.


  8. - Northsider - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:37 am:

    Paul, how can we miss you if you won’t go away?


  9. - How high - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:41 am:

    90 percent of the teachers are vaccinated. Get back to work you lazy bums. Kids are suffering. This is a new level of ridiculous.


  10. - JS Mill - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:41 am:

    It is NOT hard to believe that these politicians do not understand the ISBE orders. They probably do not even care what they are, they are just looking to say something for the sake of their base.

    CTU may be violating the CBA, we will see if that is pursued. But for me, this is another sterling example of Lightfoot alienating an ally.


  11. - Club J - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:46 am:

    Speaking of Chicago Public Schools. Yesterday their Attorney spent over a hour schooling Atty Tom DeVore on his favorite topic of due process among other facts of law.

    One was Loco Parentis. He explained what this meant for the room full of DeVores flock. Well they haven’t quit talking about it since then. That opened the door for the Facebook Live Spin Show from DeVore and the flock went wild. A lot of “I don’t send my kid there for some teacher to act like a parent”. “That school has no right to parent my kid, that’s my job”. With comments from DeVore. Your getting it. Talk about gullible people.


  12. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:46 am:

    The visual of all those tests piled up at the FedEx receptacle…CPS failed to anticipate the problems with the testing process and collecting data.

    If that’s a sample of CPS planning, the students are not a priority.


  13. - Steve - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:47 am:

    If Vallas wants less union power in Illinois for teachers: it appears there will have to be a change in the law. Does Vallas think there is the votes for that? I don’t know. Many states, since March of 2020, have passed laws that move education dollars with the children. I doubt Illinois wants to do that.


  14. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:48 am:

    ===90 percent of the teachers are vaccinated.===

    How many live with family members that are immunocompromised / have comorbidities?


  15. - PublicServant - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:50 am:

    Durkin might want to look at this:

    https://tinyurl.com/p876uk8b


  16. - Amalia - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:53 am:

    Vallas, Dawn Clark Netsch would not recognize you now.


  17. - Roadrager - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:56 am:

    ==Paul Vallas was a serious person once.==

    Somewhere along the way, his brain got privatized.


  18. - PublicServant - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 11:58 am:

    === 90 percent of the teachers are vaccinated .===

    What percentage of the students are fully vaccinated?


  19. - Sue - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:02 pm:

    Don’t know if the Governor has authority to do anything but his total silence is both glaring and an admission he is cowered by the CTU. Pritzker liked to talk about his leadership but in reality he has failed spectacularly


  20. - JB13 - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:02 pm:

    JB Pritzker is nothing if not consistent.

    “You want me to shut the whole state down for months? No problem.

    Use 30 day emergency powers for two years? No problem.

    Order churches to close worship services and limit gatherings to no more than 10 people? We’ll give it a try.

    Threaten private schools that aren’t really in my purview? We’ll find a way.

    Do something about intransigent public worker unions? Hey, now, there are limits to what we can do here. Can’t you see my hands are tied?”


  21. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:06 pm:

    ===Do something===

    What?

    That’s a child’s argument. There are statutes and powers afforded to the governor to do those other things you mentioned. What law is he supposed to use here?


  22. - Annonin' - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:15 pm:

    Uh what happened to the local control guys?
    BTW Rodney did an end run on Mary Miller with some quality radio time with Glen Beck this a.m. . If the world hasn’t ended, the GOPies get House Majority and Rodney gets a committee he promises full probe and quick hanging for all.


  23. - Steve - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:26 pm:

    -what happened to the local control guys?-

    Since cities about a creation of the state legislature: Illinois state law determines how much local control exists for Chicago. If Durkin wants to change things , he might offer up some legislative changes.


  24. - PublicServant - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:41 pm:

    Rich Miller Day where he gets to ask any question he wants with that trademark disheveled look?

    Nah, that’s pretty much everyday. Oh well.


  25. - PublicServant - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:42 pm:

    Oops, wrong post, but I’m leaving it here anyway lol.


  26. - zatoichi - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:42 pm:

    What specific actions should Pritzker take?. Yell real loud? Threaten arrests? Call in Nat Guard? Hire subs? Cut Chicago education dollars? what specific law does he follow? Personally negotiate? Vague ‘do something’ answers are wasted air. Parents, the contracr, mayor, teachers, city council, attorneys, GA, pub health, all got a role here.


  27. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:49 pm:

    == how exactly he believes that a Governor is able to punish a public employee union for exercising the rights of their members to collectively bargain over work place conditions==

    If the Governor’s name is Bruce Rauner.


  28. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:51 pm:

    ==Paul Vallas was a serious person once.==

    Hanging around Quinn in ‘14 must have gotten to his brain.

    Makes you wonder what a Quinn-Vallas administration might have been like if about 100,000 voters switched their votes from Rauner to Quinn. Almost would been like “Rauner Lite.”


  29. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:54 pm:

    Can’t help but remember that Pat Q put Vallas on the ticket as Lt Gov. I thought at the time it was the single worst decision he ever made, and I thought it would likely hand the election to Rauner. Vallas continues to prove how little gravitas he brings.


  30. - Pundent - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:55 pm:

    Paul Vallas seems intent on becoming Illinois’ version of Rudy Giuliani. As far as Durkin goes? It’s just more of the same. Trying to stay relevant when he doesn’t have much to say or do at the moment. Might want to weigh in on the other significant event of the day if he’s got the time.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 12:58 pm:

    Ask yourself;

    Is Vallas trying to elevate the discussion to a viable solution…

    … or is Vallas trying to elevate himself to a sense of relevancy at the cost of being unhelpful in a crisis type situation.

    How you see these in regards to Vallas let’s you know the weight you should give to Vallas


  32. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 1:04 pm:

    ==Can’t help but remember that Pat Q put Vallas on the ticket as Lt Gov. I thought at the time it was the single worst decision he ever made,==

    Compared to when he put Shelia Simon on the ticket 4 years earlier?

    Or the day he introduced his friend “Squeezy”?

    Or when he first came up with the idea for the Cutback Amendment and eliminating cumulative House voting?


  33. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 1:11 pm:

    == What specific actions should Pritzker take?. Yell real loud? Threaten arrests? Call in Nat Guard? Hire subs? Cut Chicago education dollars? what specific law does he follow?==

    He could petition the NLRB to decertify the CTU, then spend some of his billions towards convincing 30% of members to sign on. He won’t, of course, but he could.


  34. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 1:18 pm:

    === He could petition the NLRB to decertify the CTU, then spend some of his billions towards convincing 30% of members to sign on. He won’t, of course, but he could.===

    Is that you Bruce Rauner? Wirepoints? IPI?

    The reality is that a bunch of really not smart or politically savvy folks got in way over their skis and now both sides are digging in to what end, (and not specifically to CTU’s demands, but a bigger picture to the turf war between Lightfoot and CTU), and where are the outs now to end this…

    … there are *no* winners here.

    Each side sees the other as disingenuous to the goal of education during a pandemic, and to do that safely.

    Until each side is willing to trust the other, and each side is honest to the work to that end result… this is gonna continue… or a court/legal/political pitfall will accidentally and uncalculatedly happen and then implode on one or both.

    A real disaster of leadership.


  35. - MickJ - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 1:18 pm:

    Sue and Paul. Save yourself some time - instead of writing down silly thoughts, just type “”I got nothin”. Would not be as funny as what you do post, though.


  36. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 1:37 pm:

    FWIW, Vallas just tweeted this nearly an hour and a half ago:

    “What Mayor must do now! CTU has violated their contract & state law. Void CTU contract, lift cap on charter schools, give tuition vouchers to parents who send kids to private schools & do not pay teachers if they do not work.”

    https://twitter.com/Paulvallas/status/1479154193558650890


  37. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 1:41 pm:

    ===He could petition the NLRB to decertify the CTU===

    lol

    I don’t think he’d have standing.


  38. - Excitable Boy - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 1:45 pm:

    - an admission he is cowered by the CTU -

    Yeah, that or he used his eyes to see how horrifically the mayor and CPS botched the at home screening effort and realizes they aren’t capable of keeping staff or kids safe. I love when you right wingers lock arms with Lori Lightfoot, real winning side you’ve picked.


  39. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 1:50 pm:

    ==to get schools open safely==

    Maybe Durkin can talk to some of his Republican colleagues who have railed against school mitigation measures, like masks, since the pandemic began. I would take him more seriously if the Republican party he is part of hasn’t been at the forefront of covidiocy for the past 2 years.


  40. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 2:00 pm:

    If the Governor does something, he’s taking away people’s rights, ‘merica and all that stuff.

    If he doesn’t do something, it’s his fault, we wouldn’t be in this situation if only he had acted and all that stuff.

    Can’t win.


  41. - Pundent - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 2:20 pm:

    What Durkin and Vallas’ comments underscore, too me, is that they lack that they lack the temperament and judgement to lead.


  42. - Mischievous - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 3:03 pm:

    Paul Vallas is still a serious person. It’s just that no one takes him seriously anymore.


  43. - Captain Obvious - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 3:11 pm:

    What law is he supposed to use? Kids not being in school is a public health emergency. Boom. Emergency powers invoked to force schools to remain open to in person learning. Same way he closed most of the businesses in the state at the beginning of all this.


  44. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 3:14 pm:

    ===Kids not being in school is a public health emergency===

    Gonna invoke that during summer break? lol


  45. - City remap - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 3:16 pm:

    I agree it is a tough spot for JB, but maybe a sit-down with DR. Carmen Ayala, MLL, and Ctu leadership. Someone has to be the adult in the room. As far as alienating an ally, nothing could be further from the truth.


  46. - South Side Progressive - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 3:16 pm:

    I used to think that Paul Vallas and Lori Lightfoot were serious people. Now I realize that they are both just serious egomaniacs who enjoy grandstanding and have lost all credibility.


  47. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 3:18 pm:

    ===Kids not being in school is a public health emergency===

    How will that work when some of the same folks are demanding their kid not be subjected to CRT teachings and *not* be in school?

    So being in school to learn is an emergency or not, depending on the politics to attendance?

    Not having school is an easier lift. Doesn’t make it right or the right choice, but it’s easier to a “health” discussion?


  48. - MLL Email and Text Reader Junkie - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 3:19 pm:

    At this point, I seriously doubt that JB, Harmon or Welch can have a serious conversation with MLL given her tendencies to say and/or repeat scandalous commentary in text messages, emails and/or twitter comments.


  49. - Tj - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 3:19 pm:

    “Do something “
    Simple teachers are not showing up for work No Pay
    After so many days they lose benefits

    Once the reality of no pay and benefits sink in they will be rushing back into the buildings to teach

    You don’t see health care workers police firemen social service workers and most all private sector workers whining about having to do there jobs
    Get vaccinated get your booster wear your mask and get back to work


  50. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 3:19 pm:

    =Parents…etc…all got a role here.=

    The only role us parents have is getting to wait until 11:30 one night and 7:30 the next to find out if there will be school the next day then scrambling to figure out what to do with the kids. And, we’re gonna get to do it again tonight even though everyone knows there won’t be school tomorrow.

    No winners here - CTU and CPS both lose


  51. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 3:20 pm:

    Are teachers essential workers? Asking for a generation that doesn’t have a voice for itself just yet.


  52. - Three Dimensional Checker - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 4:01 pm:

    Kind of off topic, but it would be very funny if CTU spent four years trashing MLL just to have Arne Duncan become Mayor.


  53. - Homebody - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 4:18 pm:

    “House GOP Leader Jim Durkin, of Western Springs, said he believes in local control, but not when the Chicago Teachers Union is part of the equation.”

    Standard GOP playbook for decades. Local control, except when we don’t like it.


  54. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 4:19 pm:

    So public sector unions can declare they won’t show up for work the next day the night before and their employers and parents are powerless?

    You have bully pulpit Governor and you have no need for Union campaign cash.

    Don’t hide behind a spokesperson


  55. - In 630 - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 4:26 pm:

    Honest thought: it seems like some kind of covid is gong to be around on top of flu season from now on plus annual weather chaos days, maybe school calendars should have January off and shift that time off from summer break.


  56. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 4:31 pm:

    ===and their employers and parents are powerless?===

    Nope. They can go to the IELRB.


  57. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 4:39 pm:

    ===You have bully pulpit Governor and you have no need for Union campaign cash.

    Don’t hide behind a spokesperson===

    How will that be “different”, insofar, the governor gets up there and bullies that pulpit… but at the end of the day… what are you expecting to the actual … for him to do?

    I know… you like your unhinged governors… rantin’… ravin’… talkin’, “I’m not in control, I’m trying to be in control”.., or sumptin’ to that effect… but, I don’t think Pritzker is that governor. Pritzker beat that governor. Soundly.

    It’s a total mess, no winners, none… I stated my thoughts, in short;

    ===Until each side is willing to trust the other, and each side is honest to the work to that end result… this is gonna continue… or a court/legal/political pitfall will accidentally and uncalculatedly happen and then implode on one or both.

    A real disaster of leadership.===

    The two sides need to realize they need each other, not posturing from themselves or outsiders unable to leverage either or both.


  58. - Enviro - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 4:55 pm:

    The Chicago Teachers Union wants staff to work remotely until Jan. 18 or until the city no longer meets metrics for a district-wise pause of in-person learning laid out in an agreement that was in place last school year.

    This could give the Chicago Public Schools time to accomplish the testing for Covid and other safety measures.


  59. - JS Mill - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 7:36 pm:

    =So public sector unions can declare they won’t show up for work the next day =

    No, public sector UNIONS (plural) did not and cannot. This is CTU not all unions. CTU is not all public unions. But you know, it is more fun to be dishonest because it makes it sound so much worse.

    CTU. Only. Is doing this.


  60. - JoanP - Thursday, Jan 6, 22 @ 8:24 pm:

    = Simple teachers are not showing up for work No Pay =

    The Governor has no control over teachers’ pay.

    = You don’t see . . . police . . . whining about having to do there [sic] jobs =

    The head of the FOP does nothing but whine.


  61. - PublicServant - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 6:33 am:

    Last night, Lightfoot called the Color Covid test a “quasi-medical” procedure, say because it’s medical, the parents need to opt-in. This is a nasal swab test, but not the deep nasal swab that were being performed earlier in the pandemic at testing sites. The opt-in has been minimal, and the testing administration has been spotty with Color Test Personnel not showing up regularly when scheduled.

    Shield is a saliva test, and does not require medical personnel to administer. I agree with JS, and am wondering why Lightfoot and CPS wen’t with Color?

    JS, does your district do opt-in for shield, and approximately what is the uptake, if you don’t mind my asking?


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