Chicago Teachers Clash with City, Board of Ed
By Margaret Lyons in News on Oct 26, 2004 2:55PM
Chicago Public School teachers are about to be subject to tougher enforcement of residency requirements, despite the Chicago Teachers Union's request to eliminate or at least relax the rule that mandates teachers hired since 1996 to live within Chicago city limits.
The Chicago Board of Education is expected to approve stricter enforcement guidelines on Wednesday that would require principals and administrators to verify that new teachers live in the city. Those teachers found to reside elsewhere would have two months to move, after which they'd be fired. Right now, most districts don't verify that new teachers live in the city—non-residents can be hired as teachers, and are given six months to move, but no one ever checks if they actually did.
Union leaders raised the matter last year during contract negotiations, arguing "it hurts the district's ability to recruit experienced teachers and retain new teachers who can't afford to live in Chicago." According to the Tribune, almost half of all new Chicago teachers leave CPS in the first five years. New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and St. Louis do not have residency requirements for teachers, and other cities are scaling theirs back. So why keep the rule in place?
…Mayor Richard Daley was adamant about preserving the rule, in part because he didn't want police and firefighter unions to follow suit… He wants to keep these middle-class residents in the city, buying homes and paying taxes in Chicago.
He also said the schools benefit from having "community anchors and mentors"--teachers and staff who understand and are committed to city neighborhoods.
While Chicagoist certainly agrees that there are benefits to having teachers live where they teach, those benefits seem to pale in comparison to those from attracting and retaining the best teachers. It seems pretty ass-backwards to us that in a time when CPS are facing a teacher shortage, when 1,200 teaching jobs are vacant, that the city would be putting measures in place to make it harder to be a Chicago teacher. Not harder-more-difficult, harder-more-bureaucratic. What a fucking waste.
In other CPS news, CTU, eight other labor organizations, and several community action organizations announced yesterday that they are forming CUE, Chicagoans United for Education, to protest Renaissance 2010. Renaissance 2010 calls for 100 new schools to replace 70 failing ones. CUE contends that two-thirds of these schools will be subcontracted to private organizations with no record of success, that forcing children to change schools is harmful to their educational well being, and that this is a business-driven, top-down plan. Read the CTU's draft analysis of the plan here (.pdf).