Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has targeted Chicago teachers again. This time with an announcement last week that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will layoff more than 3,000 teachers and school staff. This comes on the heels of the city’s closing of nearly 50 schools and layoffs of some 850 educators. Along with the layoffs, steep budget cuts are in the works.
Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis says the loss of the teachers and support staff:
will have a direct impact on the quality of instruction offered in our schools under the imposed longer school day. These cuts are unnecessary and shameful for a system that prides itself on providing a high-quality education for our students….While the mayor is busy making multimillion-dollar stadium deals and the Illinois General Assembly is playing volleyball with workers’ lives, our students are the ones suffering.
In addition to the layoffs of experienced teachers and budget cuts, CPS has awarded a $1.6 million contract to Teach for America to bring in 325 “recruits” and another 270 teacher “interns” with just one year’s experience. Writing in the online magazine Jacobin, Chicago educator Kenzo Shibata asks:
Why would CPS throw more money into recruiting recent college graduates with five weeks of training and no teaching certificates into the district when it lets go of highly qualified, certified, veteran teachers?