Chicago teachers demand smaller class size by striking, but enrollment is already declining

Chicago Teachers Union member at a 2012 Occupy Chicago rally–classes were in session that day

By John Ruberry

Chicago Teachers Union members are on strike again, 300,000 students and their parents have to reshuffle their weekday routines. 

In Chicago and many other big-cities, school is more than being an educational institution. Three quarters of Chicago Public Schools students qualify for government paid-for or subsidized lunches, many also qualify for breakfasts under similar circumstances. 

Or maybe schools in Chicago are less than being an educational institution as barely one-in-four students read at grade level, despite most schools having “College Predatory” and “Excellence” in their names. But CPS schools serve, even when there isn’t a strike, sadly as day center centers.

While meals are still being provided at CPS schools since the strike began last week, the walkout is hurting those that the Chicago Teachers Union purports to represent, the kids and their families. Parents are taking time off work to watch their children. Chicago’s new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, has offered teachers a 16 percent pay raise, but union leaders say that they are striking for, wait for it, the kids and their hard-pressed parents.

On the other hand, the CTU is advocating for a financial program for teachers and support staff so they can purchase a home in Chicago. Wait, aren’t Chicago taxpayers paying teachers and other CPS employees so they can buy a home? There is plenty of affordable housing in Chicago, just not so much in the fashionable neighborhoods on the lakefront.

The quick reaction to the strike is that Chicago has no more money, as the city is essentially bankrupt due to unfunded public worker pension obligations, including those for teachers. But somehow the cash to end the strike will be “found,” although it will likely involve borrowing from Judas so the city can rob Peter to pay Paul. If that last sentence doesn’t make sense then you are not from Chicago

One of the CTU’s key demands is a familiar one, smaller class size. But that issue should be taking care of itself as for three straight years CPS enrollment has dropped by 10,000. Twenty-six CPS high schools have fewer than 270 students and two of them fewer than 100. These schools were built to accommodate much larger enrollments. But that didn’t stop CPS from opening a new high school in Englewood, a neighborhood whose population has dropped by two-thirds since 1960.

And Chicago’s overall population is declining, leading the charge of the Illinois Exodus that has been going on for five years now

Incompetent and corrupt government reaps a poor harvest. And the money that Lightfoot will need to “find” to end the Chicago teachers strike will hasten the Exodus. And fewer taxpayers means less money.

John Ruberry blogs from the Chicago area at Marathon Pundit.

If Only she wore a “Little Drag Queen” shirt to school instead: Update (or not?) Update NOT

Update: Well I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is apparently the school in question and the district in particular has not in fact lost their minds and that the initial information concerning this story was misrepresented to the author in question.

We do a lot of writing and when one of the Groksters gets it wrong, an apology is required.  Tonite, it is my turn and I apologize to Superintended Steve Tucker, Principal Eric Johnson, and Teacher Lindsey Packer.  I publicized bad information – information for which I fell for. 

Skip, being an honorable man is, unlike ABC is not running away from the difficult task of correcting the record nor the embarrassment of admiting the source of the misinformation which will leave a much larger personal mark than any reporting error.

 Subsequent to my asking my question in her FB post, her post was deleted. She won’t return my calls.
I am left to apologize to all concerned and all of the GraniteGrok readers – 
I got the story wrong. I also apologize to the other Groksters as the credibility of GraniteGrok as been besmirched which does affect them.  It’s all on me – this whole thing has turned out to be a fraud when I truly believed it was true.

The bad news is of course since I picked up the story I am left to apologize as well, I’ve deleted all of the quotes from the base post and put “strikethrough” on any information that is incorrect. I know I could have simply re-written the post but that would distort the record and if I’m admitting to a mistake it’s important to know the mistake I’m admitting to.

So I must join Skip in his apology while remaining pleased that for once the story of a school being a bad actor is wrong.

Closing thought: There have been a large spat of “hate crime hoaxes” over the years, have you ever noticed that those who sounded the trumpet of outrage on them the loudest never rejoice that the crimes did not take place?


Update: Got a heads up that suggests there might be less to this than meets the eye, While that might be embarrassing for me it would be delightful as it would indicate that insanity does not reign at the school in question and that’s more important that a post getting hits. I don’t believe in pulling posts as it changes the record so for now I’m going to put the base post under a “more” tag until I get more data. For now we’ll wait and see and if a correction is warranted I’ll update the post with it.

Continue reading “If Only she wore a “Little Drag Queen” shirt to school instead: Update (or not?) Update NOT”

Report from Louisiana: Locking Up Cell Phones

The new school year is now underway and with it come all of the typical classroom management issues that frustrate many teachers, especially at the middle and high school level.

One of those problems is cell phones. Since the cell phone has become as common as the Number 2 pencil teachers have been struggling to either incorporate the technology into the lesson or ban the devices altogether. There seems to be no middle ground as most teenagers simply can not deny the lure of social media or games on the phone.
It’s so much more entertaining to participate in an ongoing game of pool on the phone with a friend than listen to that history lecture.

In Bossier Parish, Louisiana, one high school English teacher used the first day of school to conduct an experiment: “Students measured how often they received notifications on their cell phones, from text messages, to phone calls, to news alerts, to Snapchat pings,” and by the end of the day there had been 868 distractions, or notifications, from student devices.

How can teachers compete against this?

Benton High School in Bossier City, Louisiana has found a way. The school purchased Yondr pouches, such as those used at some concerts. At the beginning of the school day students are required to put their phones in the pouch and there it stays until the end of the day when the pouches are unlocked as students leave the building. Students rent the pouches for the year and retain possession of the pouch/phone all day.

While teachers celebrate this development, students are nonplussed. Many feel like they are being punished for the sins of others.

As of now, two Bossier Parish schools are participating in this experiment, but teachers across the parish are hoping it catches on. The cell phone has moved beyond a classroom management problem. Many students pull out the phone and check messages simply as an automatic reflex these days and hey, while there, let’s take a cute selfie, and check that email, and check that new YouTube video real quick.

I’m curious to see how this pilot program works. I’m not clear on what happens if a student is caught with a second phone; many students have more than one phone and routinely carry a “throwdown phone” in case a teacher tries to take their device up.

It would all be much more ideal if students just had the willpower to keep the devices put away, but we are talking about teenagers and when many adults can’t even do this, how can we expect kids to?