Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Teachers union files motion to block school overhauls

The Chicago Teachers Union filed an emergency motion today, seeking to block Chicago School Board members from voting tomorrowon overhauling Deneen and McCorkle Elementary Schools.

The union based its complaint on both schools inclusion in an innovative program, called the Teacher Advancement Program, that resulted in the district receiving a $27.5 million federal grant.

Staff at both Deneen and McCorkle voted to join the TAP program for four years, and Chicago Public School officials would be violating this four-year deal by handing Deneen over to a not-for-profit management company and consolidating McCorkle into another school that has not joined TAP, the union's motion stated.

Under the TAP program, teachers agree to have their pay tied to the performance of their students. In Chicago, they get bonuses if students make nearly the same or better gains compared to similar students systemwide on state math and reading tests. The program also offers teachers extra training and quick feedback on their teaching techniques.
Deneen, in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood, joined the program just this school year, according to the CTU motion, and has not “had the opportunity to be judged fairly and equitably."

Deneen was selected for TAP because it was underperforming, and for it to be taken over by a not-for-profit operation "prior to its completion of its first year violates the good faith and fair dealing principals found in every Illinois contract," according to the CTU motion.
A hearing on the emergency motion for a temporary restraining order is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. today before Chancery Judge Leroy Martin, a CTU spokeswoman said.

CPS spokeswoman Monique Bond said the school district remains committed to the TAP program, but she stressed it is "in a pilot phase."

"It's not a silver bullet in and of itself for school turnaround, but, rather – part of a more comprehensive strategy," she said. "Therefore, we don't advocate that it become an exclusionary criteria for school closing."

CTU President Marilyn Stewart joined staff, parents and students outside both schools this morning as advocates protested the planned upheaval of their schools.
Tomorrow the school board is to vote on whether or not to close Deneen. If you plan to be at that meeting I would appreciate anyone e-mailing us to report what was discussed at this meeting.

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