Restructuring and Revitalizing the Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Teachers Union (1988-00)

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Item Metadata (#3480019)

ID: 3480019

Title: Restructuring and Revitalizing the Chicago Public Schools

Creator: Chicago Teachers Union

Date: 1988-00

Description: Restructuring the Chicago Public Schools

Subjects: Education, Education Reform

Location: Chicago, IL

Original Format: Paper

Source: Chicago Teacher's Union, . (1988). Restructuring and revitalizing the chicago public schools. 19.

Publisher: WPR

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Restructuring and Revitalizing

Tne Cnicago Public Scnools

In 1~88

Recommendations of the Chicago Teachers Union
Educational Reform and School-Based Management

Published by
Chicago Teachers Union


Restructuring and Revitalizing The Chicago Public Schools In 1988
Copyright $ 1988 Chicago Teachers Union


Restructuring and Revitalizing
The Chicago Public Schools
In 1988

Recommendations of the Chicago Teachers Union
for Educational Reform and School-Based Management


36-8. A voluntary career opportunity category shall be available
to teachers at the completion of their seventh year of teaching
as a regularly assigned and certificated teacher.

All teachers who volunteer for and are selected to assume any
of the following responsibilities shall be compensated at the rate

--.. . -----_.-.. . .._--_ .. "----_. ... -.._------of
15% of their regular salary. Teachers so selected, under the
considerations enumerated below, agree to provide local school
and/or district assistance In in·servlce development, staff development,
curriculum and instruction improvement, department chair·
personship and_ grade level chairpersonship, peer assistance, in·
tern training and/or other duties through additional service as
necessary up to four weeks or an equivalent of time over and above
the regular day or school year as determined locally. At least 50%
of the regular day for these teachers shall be spent in direct
classroom instruction.

Assignment to the above teaching position shall be made on the
basiS of the following considerations:

written application;
exemplary teaching performance based on measurable, fair
experience, training and certificate appropriate for the in·
dicated responsibilities;
selections of said teachers shall be made by recommendation
of a committee of certificated and appointed classroom per·
sonnel of which classroom teachers will comprise the majori·
ty. The principal shall have final approval of any selection. The
committee shall be selected annually by a secret bailot of the
classroom teachers.
The BOARD agrees to designate at least one teaching position
at every local school site under the description provided in this

36·6. A joint BOARD/UNION committee shall be established in
'accordance with the provisions of Article 45·1 of this Agreement
to study. discuss. and submit recommendations to the General
Superintendent 01 Schools concerning the purpose, scope.
eli!libility requirements. and duties lor teachers selecled to participate
in a volunlary career opportunity program. Among Ihe

"areas to be considered are saId teachers' Involvement at the local
school level in inservice training programs, staff development, and
curriculum and instruction improvements.

Membership on Ihis committee shall be limited to five frum lhe
BOARD and live from the UNION. It is agreed and understood that
said limitations shall not preclude utilization of appropriate
resource personnel.

(NOTE: To be placed under article 45.)


Executive Summary

Restructuring and Revitalizing The Chicago Public Schools In 1988 contains
recommendations from the Chicago Teachers Union for educational reform and
school-based management. The 17 major recommendations in this document
(starting on page 11) address the need to:

A. Develop a school-based management program and implement it on a
voluntary basis as a pilot project in each of Chicago 23 elementary school
districts. (Recommendations 1-3)
B. Improve professional standards in order to attract, train, compensate,
and retain the highest qualified teachers and career service professionals
to work in our city's public school classrooms. (Recommendations 4-9)
C. Reduce class size (students per class) to improve the quality of
instruction for each student, and develop a program to relieve
overcrowding in schools. (Recommendations 10-13)
D. Improve staff development to enhance teaching skills.
(Recommendations 14-15)
E. Eliminate unnecessary and burdensome paperwork which steals valuable
time from the highest goal of the school system --educating children.
(Recommendations 16-17)
The recommendations provide a clear path to improve the delivery of
education in the Chicago Public Schools, to regain the public's confidence in
the system's ability to provide quality education, and lay a foundation to
justify the increased, stable, long-term funding from the state which the

schools sorely need.



In 1985, Chicago Teachers Union issued its first report on educational
reform, entitled "Perspective From The Classroom." At that time the debate in
school reform focused on legislative initiatives and the need to mandate
change in the Chicago Public Schools through law. Since that time much has
happened and some reforms have been initiated.

The debate now focuses on two broad areas of reform: shared decisionmaking
and increased parent involvement. The school system needs a conscientious and
thoughtful move toward restructuring the decision-making authority, greater
parental involvement, more professionalization of the teaching process, and
restructuring the teaching-learning environment.

Simultaneously, action must be taken to secure long-term, stable funding
for Chicago's public schools.

Chicago Teachers Union is actively working with the Chicago Board of

Education, public officials, parent and civic groups, and the business
community to accomplish these goals. We invite you to give careful
consideration to our recommendations and engage in the public dialogue on how
to make Chicago's public schools the best in the nation. Together, we can
begin to accomplish this in 1988. Our goal should be no less.
Jacqueline B. Vaughn






The CTU's original Perspective From The Classroom report contained 47
specific recommendations for educational reform aimed at legislative action.
Some of these reforms were adopted by the legislature in 1985 with the
participation Qf other concerned organizations and legislators. Among these
were acceptance of the concept of education reform as a viable means of
improving student achievement, upgrading standards for both students,
teacher~, and administrators through:

• A single state teacher certification authority.

Upgrading standards for teacher certification including written
• A clear and fair process for evaluating and dismissing
incompetent teachers which includes peer assistance and
• A state mandate requiring local school districts to have
students tested regularly for academic proficiency throughout
their school life.
• A state report card requiring each local school district to
publicly report on student testing results and for the state to
publish them to inform the public on the status of student
learning in Illinois.
• Broader state support for full-day kindergarten programs
• Giving elementary students experience
in a departmentalized
instruction program.
• Extending
state authority to grant certification to school
principals with a mandated periodic renewal.
• A comprehensive
program t~ train administrators in evaluating




The Chicago Teachers Union recognizes,that legislative mandates are not
enough. We agree with local critics of the school system that many
educational issues need to be and can be address~d within our own school
system. As early as December, 1984 we negotiated with the Chicago Board of
Education the formation of joint CTU/school board committees which would
address four broad areas of reform:

• Teacher Performance, Evaluation, and Effectiveness
• Teacher Certification, Preparation, and Recruitment

School Administrator Training and Certification
• Student Expectations and Curriculum
We also continued our efforts in our negotiations with the school board on
the 1987-89 employee contract. Although there has been some willingness on
the part of board staff to discuss major reform issues, we are disappointed
with the slow pace with which the Chicago Board of Education has moved toward
embracing local reform initiatives. We join with parents and the business
community in urging the board to move forward with planning and preparation.


Chicago Teachers Union and the school board have negotiated some key areas
of reform. We wish to call particular attention to the following:

The establishment of a city-wide policy for the evaluation of
regularly appointed teachers utilizing a set of standard
pedagogical performance objectives; principals are mandated to
conduct annual reviews.

An agreement to develop a pilot teacher internship program in
three high schools.

An agreement to establish a peer assistance pilot program in
one elementary district that will pertain to all first-year,
regularly appointed teachers.

An agreement to increase the amount of money allocated to
discretionary funds at overcrowded schools.

An agreement that discussions between the principal, the school
faculty's professional problems committee, and the approval of
the local school improvement council will determine how
discretionary funds are spent.
• A joint Union/Board committee to discuss and formulate a
voluntary career ladder program at the school level for
"classroom teachers
who wish to accept additional
responsibilities for the educational process at the local
school .

• A joint Union/Board committee to discuss and develop a model
for school based management, using the present local school
improvement council guidelines as a starting point .
• A new procedure for the remediation, and, if necessary,
dismissal of tenured teachers identified as performing
unsatisfactorily by the school administrator. The procedures
include peer assistance and consultation, regular
administrative observation, and consultation.
We must stress that the agreements and progress noted here are but a first
step toward moving the Chicago schools along a sure and clear path of
educational reform. These efforts are only the beginning of changes which
must occur in order to prepare Chicago's students to be qualified, competent,
competitive adults, and able to succeed in the 21st century.





There is clear consensus among parents, teachers, and leaders in business
and government that two important issues must be addressed by those concerned
with the quality of education in this city.

First, the present administrative bureaucracy of Chicago's public school
system must be restructured and redefined, and changed and made more
effective. There are calls for the dismantling of the bureaucracy and the
dispersal of decision-and policy making authority from the central school
board. Some seek to divide authority into 20 or more local districts~ Others
seek to divide this authority among all 600 local school councils.

The Chicago Teachers Union rejects any legislative or local initiative for
decentralizing the Chicago Public Schools, but we do recognize that such
proposals are an outgrowth of increasing parent and citizen frustration with
the lack of progress in our schools. We share their concerns.

The second area of agreement is that there is too little parental
involvement in helping the local school succeed in its mission. CTU believes
that the solution to these problems can be found in the development of a
program for shared decision-making at the local school called school-based
management. Such a program provides for the participation of the local school
council in the setting of local policy, hiring of a principal and control over
a budget. It provides for management of the day to day operations by teachers
and the principal. The basic components of the school community would then be
involved and have a stake in a successful educational program: locally
initiated and locally developed.

While school-based management is a relatively new and untried process in a
large urban setting, CTU will share research findings from programs currently
underway in urban settings with similar demographics as Chicago's system, such
as Dade County, Florida and Hammond, Indiana.


We recommend that a pilot program be voluntarily established in each of
Chicago's 23 school districts as soon as possible. CTU has urged the board of
education to activate the Union/Board joint committee negotiated to develop a
model and recommendations for operation of a school-based management program.
An effective model for school-based management should include as much of the
existing school governance and teacher contract structure as possible.

We also encourage board members, parents, and business leaders to make
on-site visits to these programs to assess their effectiveness. An effective
school-based management program should include:

-1. An oversight committee comprised of board members, teachers
and community representatives from selected schools with
authority to oversee implementation.
-2. Local School Improvement Councils with expanded budgetary
and administrative selection authority, as mandated.
-3. A school management team to guide implementation of
instructional programs and run the school on a daily basis.

Chicago Teachers Union believes that open discussion will provide valuable
insight into the development of a policy for restructuring schools, and
re-emphasize the need for responsible planning. Chicago must function as a
total entity, and it cannot be governed by individuals or groups concerned
only with their own interests. The school system in this city must be
restructured and revitalized to meet the demands on the future leaders of our
city, our students.

Parents and educators alike must recognize that restructuring the system
is only one issue facing public education in this city. In order to change
the public's perception of the public school system and to insure that quality
educational opportunities are provided for students, Chicago's parents,
teachers, students, civic, business, and community leaders must join this
effort to reform the education process.







Chicago Teachers Union will work toward changing the way teachers in this
school system are involved in the educational process at the local level. We
seek changes that will radically alter the industrial factory process upon
which our schools have been modeled. There are several important problems
that deserve immediate attention.

Our teaching force is growing older. We estimate that more than 1/3 and
perhaps as many as 1/2 of our teachers will retire in the next five years.
Simultaneously the system presently has the largest number of temporarily
assigned teachers since the 1960's. Over 4,000 teachers are full-time
substitutes, and during the past six months this number has been steadily

We therefore recommend that steps be taken to recruit new teachers to the
profession, to retrain career employees and to develop an incentive program to
retain qualified, enthusiastic teacher specialists. These steps should

-4. Establishment of a full internship program after a model has
been successfully tried, mutually developed and
cooperatively served by area universities to assure a steady
flow of good candidates as beginning teachers.
-5. Establishment of a systemwide peer assistance program for
probationary first year teachers.
-6. Development of a voluntary teacher/peer intervention program
for tenured teachers.


Our school system will not be able to attract and retain career teachers
without good salaries -competitive with comparab1~ professions and with
accompanying career incentives -and without sound aggressive recruiting
plans. To accomplish this we recommend:

A recruiting program that will track scholastically
successful Chicago high school graduates through their
college careers, offering incentives to bring them back to
our schools as teachers.

Higher starting salaries tied to rigid internship and
performance standards.

Career status and salary incentives for classroom teachers
that do not depend on subordinating classroom teaching for
administrative roles.

One of the pre-eminent standards by which schools, both public and
private, are judged is the number of students placed in each classroom.
Chicago's schools have among the highest ratio of students to teachers in this
state and this condition must be addressed.

CTU will continue to seek relief through the following:

Class size reductions through contractual negotiations
giving special emphasis to reduced teacher-pupil ratios in
elementary schools, and low achieving schools.

An increase in the number of teachers who provide direct
services to children at the school site.

The development of programs -supported by the Union, Board,
and parents -which will more effectively utilize available
classroom space throughout the city .

•13. An aggressive program of construction, rehabilitation,
and/or rental of classroom units for overcrowded schools
without space.

Improving the overall instructional process and quality of instruction is
of prime importance. In addition to developing programs and salary schedules
which will attract good teachers we must devise ways to provide professional
growth and to utilize edu~ationa1 research to improve classroom instruction.
Adequate time must be provided to teachers for preparation. Unnecessary
paperwork, which detracts from instructional efforts, must be eliminated.

We therefore recommend:

The development of a system wide staff development program
guided by and planned in consultation with teachers to
provide direct, on-site experience and utilization of
updated techniques.

The initiation of teacher-trainer techniques developed
through the American Federation of Teachers Educational
Research and Dissemination program in each of our 23
elementary and high school districts.

The elimination of unnecessary, duplicative or frivolous
paperwork which takes valuable time away from classroom

The review and approval of administratively-initiated
recordkeeping above the school level by a joint committee of
teachers and local administrators.



The Chicago Teachers Union's vision of the future of the teaching
profession is one that depicts a system that attracts new, enthusiastic,
highly-trained college graduates. They will work with career teachers and
paraprofessionals who are actively involved with day-to-day decisions relative
to work with students. All teachers will be treated and paid as
professionals. And, as professionals, they will perform and accept
responsibility as professionals.

We envision a system with educational workers who care about the system
and a system that has the active involvement of parents of students, concerned
civic, business, and community leaders.

The Chicago Teachers Union's recommendations will help achieve such a
system, one where the participants noted above can support our efforts to
upgrade standards for students, improve conditions for school employees, and
who are willing to find a permanent source of revenue to support a
restructured, revitalized system of public education in Chicago.



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Chicago Teachers Union, "Restructuring and Revitalizing the Chicago Public Schools," in American Federation of Teachers Historical Collection Historical Collection, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University, Item #3480019, (accessed February 17, 2018).


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