Monday, October 4, 2010

Big victory in Chicago court case

Federal judge orders CPS to rescind teacher firings

The Chicago Teachers Union won a major victory in its battle stop the mass firing of tenured teachers. In June, the Chicago School Board passed a resolution giving schools chief Ron Huberman the power to layoff teachers without regard to the district's collective bargaining agreement with the union.

In the ruling, United States District Judge David H. Coar called on the Chicago Public Schools administration to “rescind the discharges of tenured teachers.” The district then has 30 days to negotiate with the union a set of recall rules. In court, the union held that most of the tenured teachers who were laid off were rated “excellent,” “superior,” or “satisfactory.”
“Chicago Public Schools should stop slurring our teachers, suggesting that those fired somehow were less than exemplary teachers.   The court appears to agree – tenure is necessary to academic freedom,” said CTU president Karen Lewis in a statement. (Chicago Catalyst)

Check out Fred Klonsky's blog for more on the court's decision.  

Sunny Neater-Dubow tells my class about the court's ruling against Chicago teacher firings. (M.Klonsky photo)
The announcement held special significance for Sunny Neater-Dubow, a tenured, National Board Certified art teacher who spoke in my class at UIC Monday evening shortly after the court decision. She was fired last month, along with nearly the entire faculty at Little Village High Schools Multicultural Arts Academy (MAS), without any due process. Since CEO Huberman couldn't legally fire Sunny outright, he got the school's new principal to "redefine" her position. For more on Sunny's story, read Ben Joravsky's great piece in the Chicago Reader, "Define "Redefinition."

1 comment:

  1. Not really clear that this was a big victory for CTU. Judge did some significant damage to them on some of their theories, e.g., whether the teachers are covered by the Reassigned Teacher Pool provisions (No) and he did not reverse the Board's order of layoff decision which calls for unsatisfactory teachers to be laid off first.

    It's not clear what parts of the Judge's order mean given his discussion of why the order was appropriate (e.g., what does it mean to rescind discharges if it does not mean putting the teachers in positions or in vacancies? and who cares?) It is clear that the Judge beleives that the law requires that tenured teachers be afforded greater opportunities to find jobs before they are permanently dispatched.

    If the order is as limited as it appears, it does not do much for teachers or for tenure rights. I am curious as to what Neater-Dubow had to say to your class about it. She had painted herself virtually as abuse-victim at Huberman's hands but everyone in the system is pretty clear by now that Huberman had nothing to do with her layoff. That's was local decision driven by a principal and an LSC.

    After all, Huberman may not be Superman but he is also not responsible for all the world's ills.


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