The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Contract in Place, Chicago Attacks the Schools

Jan 23, 2017

Many teachers thought they should have made a fight last fall, rather than accepting Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s contract. Now more and more are seeing why.

For starters, the Board announced four furlough days for the rest of the year – every single professional development day that teachers had during the year. This includes the days they enter grades.

The Board is making all employees go over their own payroll. It’s part of a move to pull clerks out of the schools – moving the work downtown and laying off people in the process. Most CPS employees have a payroll problem at some point. Now, instead of being able to talk to someone they know, they will have to call downtown, where everyone is already overworked.

The Board is trying to push out the current engineers, giving the work to the private company Aramark. This means many more schools will not have a full time engineer, and the engineers who remain will be paid much less. Schools that only have part-time engineers already report major problems with being too hot or too cold. Several schools had carbon monoxide leaks last year. All schools need an engineer on site!

The Board is trying to force principals to limit special education services – or else to cut the budget for the rest of their students.

And now, after years of neglect and sabotage, the Board proposes to close all four neighborhood high schools in the Englewood neighborhood, one of the poorest parts of the city. All those students will be transferred to one big building.

Chicagoans know from bitter experience that closing neighborhood high schools and moving students around often results in gang violence. But clearly, a Board that allows students to freeze in rooms that sometimes fill with poison gas doesn’t have their health or safety in mind!

Without a big fight by school workers and the community, Rahm’s board will continue dismantling public education in Chicago.