A few thoughts (just my own as a sped teacher) about CPS' reopening "plan" for 2nd Quarter. (I teach lower elementary, non-cluster setting so myself & my students are not directly impacted. Though these decisions ultimately affect us all!!) #notuntilitssafe #safereturn #cps
1) This is not a plan. A plan would include the actual details of safety protocols. CPS staff know how our district functions. Someone makes a policy far removed from us in classrooms w/actual kids, not including our input or the input of stakeholders, then we are left in chaos.
1 cont) And it would be chaos. The people in charge have no concept of what actually happens in schools. This is ESPECIALLY true for cluster & PreK classrooms. No one in charge understands those unique settings. Ever. Even in the best of times. And 1000x moreso during a pandemic.
1 cont) So we have the experience of every single top down decision ever imposed on us from the bureacrats & politicians downtown sabotaging our work in classrooms. And now that it's a life or death situation, the district's incompetence is going to harm maybe even kill people.
2) Just so everyone is aware-PreK is NOT required by law. Formal schooling in IL starts in FIRST grade. So it's no surprise that many families, given the pandemic, didn't enroll their kids. Meaning a loss of $$ 4 the dist. We all are guessing that it is $ driving these decisions.
2 cont) $, and NOT medicine.
3) We need to separate out the issues of childcare & schools. Why is our city not providing subsidies for parents with children with significant needs, home care options, SAFE childcare centers with proper PPE and extra small numbers of kids???
4) The CTU has been BEGGING CPS to bargain with us. We as teachers & staff recognize the limitations of remote learning (though the dist sabotaged that as well, more on that later). We want to sit down w/CPS and come up with an actual PLAN like other big cities have done.
4 cont) We actually have MANY ideas to play around with for some VOLUNTARY options for some limited in-person situations. Voluntary for families AND all staff. We want to implement creative solutions that would actually WORK. Not this.
5) CPS never wanted remote learning to succeed. The unreasonable expectations, especially on our youngest learners & students w/disabilities, has made remote learning unworkable. Again, bureaucrats far from the classroom made these terrible decisions unilaterally.
6) It. Is. Not. Safe.

We're seeing a surge in new COVID cases. Signs point to that surge getting worse with colder weather & the holidays coming up.

People will die because of this decision.
7) How many of you out there in the Twitterverse have been inside CPS buildings? They are almost all ancient buildings, falling apart, dirty, no ventilation, windows that are sealed shut. CPS should have started renovating and updating buildings last Spring. But they didn't.
7 cont) And anyone who has worked in CPS for a min knows, the burden will fall on US. We will have to buy our own air purifying systems, own cleaning supplies for the entire class, set up our own protocols, safety procedures, problem solve ALL the things the bureacrats missed.
8) How many of you understand what a special education classroom for moderate to severe/profound disabilities looks like, especially in a district like CPS? Have you ever observed this type of classroom? Has our mayor or Dr. Jackson?? Our staff who are experts say IT IS NOT SAFE.
9) Never compare what is happening in suburban schools with CPS. You ignore the savage inequalities. (I am a New Trier alum, btw. New Trier has ALL the money and resources in the world and even they had to shut down due to COVID spread.) CPS has NOTHING close to that kind of $$.
10) CPS remains ridiculously underfunded, underresourced, and understaffed. We're talking massive racial & economic inequalities. The same needs we've been fighting for FOREVER in this racist, unequal system still exist ON TOP of new pandemic-related costs & needs.
At the end of the day, WHY does it always have to go down like this?? Why can't the district work, in good faith, authentically with all the stakeholders?? We could have done remote learning SO MUCH BETTER. We could have developed SAFE specialized services on a volunteer basis.
We could have spent the last 6 months investing in updating buildings & mutually agreeing on clear, common sense guidelines for a SAFE reopening.
But nope. Here we are AGAIN. Fighting for basics like the right to not die on the job and to protect our most vulnerable students from CPS' incompetence.
I need to get back to our 12 hour days. I just used my whole lunch on this thread. The fight is NEVER over. And we don't have the luxury of not fighting. These are real students & families that will be affected. #SafeReturn #Solidarity

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More from @CTUSpecialEd

9 May
Ok, let me describe a little about "remote learning". I think there are many out there who truly believe digital learning is the wave of the future and that teachers are just whiny old curmudgeons who are resistant to change. I will tell you about my experience.
I teach special education for grades 1st-3rd (that's ages 6-9) at a public Montessori school in Chicago. We have a number of poor or working class families at my school, but are also a magnet school, which means we have a genuinely mixed income and racially diverse population.
I love Montessori, which is an approach which relies heavily on physical materials & the prepared classroom environment, lots of individualized or small group lessons, lots of choice and creativity, social interaction. The transition to digital learning was hard from the get-go.
Read 13 tweets
18 Oct 19
Let's talk about prep time for elementary teachers....

1) In CPS, due to Rahm's unfunded longest school day, all teachers start at the exact same time as our students. It forces us to give our unpaid labor to prep our classes.

But hey, Im #JustAnElementaryTeacher
@CTULocal1
2) Start times the same as our students is dangerous. When we have substitutes, they arrive when kids do. There is zero time to orient the sub, or give the sub a chance to read the emergency lesson plans. And sometimes subs don't show, in which case it's a mad scramble to cover!!
3) In CPS, High School teachers teach for 250 minutes per day (time in front of kids). Elem for 300 minutes per day. Plus, HS gets more overall prep time (HS=315 mins, Elem=240 mins) Elem Teachers are OVERWHELMINGLY women.

But what do I know, I'm #JustAnElementaryTeacher
Read 20 tweets
18 Oct 19
Hello Twitterverse! Meet your @CTULocal1 bargaining team! Karen and Sue are discussing veteran pay so Chicago's kids have access to experienced educators. Not losing them to the 'burbs! #SeeYourBargainingTeam
Evan is our CTE expert who is helping craft language on Career and Technical Education for Chicago's students. #SeeYourBargainingTeam #FairContactNow #PutItInWriting
We have amazing in-house labor lawyers reviewing language and helping us with the legalities of bargaining. #MeetYourBargainingTeam
Read 10 tweets
5 Oct 19
Wake up every morning to more smear against teachers and our union from the corporate media. It's so...unnecessary. We are fighting for better schools. Nurses, social workers, smaller classes, resources, time to do the job. @CTULocal1 @chicagosmayor @chicagotribune @Suntimes
I'm on the bargaining team, but also a rank & file sped teacher. I work all day, supporting my students with disabilities, doing huge paperwork requirements like writing IEPs, grading, lesson plans etc. I collaborate with my 5 gen ed tchrs, 5 SECAs, & clinicians in the cracks.
I say "in the cracks" cuz there is no time to collaborate officially in the schedule because Elem teachers have so little prep time. My students have no nurse most days. We also suffer from the massive sub shortage-scrambling for coverage. And my school is a magnet! Better off!
Read 10 tweets
6 Aug 19
1) The abhorrent working conditions caused by decades of disinvestment & budget cuts along with growing administrative bullying/abuse... @chicagosmayor @janicejackson @CTULocal1 wbez.org/shows/wbez-new…
@chicagosmayor @janicejackson @CTULocal1 These realities MUST be changed to address the massive teacher shortage & sub crisis. The problem is WORKING CONDITIONS. No resources, dangerously insufficient staffing, large class sizes, too many significant student needs in one space. Look to our @CTULocal1 contract demands!
@chicagosmayor @janicejackson @CTULocal1 Your school ratings policy & student-based budgeting policy have exacerbated these inequalities. A poor school rating sends a school spiraling down towards a loss in student population, which leads to a loss of funding. Admins react with abuse instead of support.
Read 13 tweets

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