The Chicago Board of Education is laying off more than 1,000 teachers and school staff:
Chicago Public Schools officials told 550 teachers and 600 more school staff Thursday that they’re out of a job.
The number of dreaded phone calls being made by principals is based on how many kids CPS officials project will show up on the first day next fall.
“The staffing changes are driven most directly by declining student enrollment,” CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a conference call with reporters.
This follows on the heels of thousands being fired last year with thousands more the year before. To some extent this is an annual ritual—they lay off 1,000, 600 are hired back.
But it’s part of a pattern that’s been going on for a decade. As I’ve documented before, education spending in Chicago continues to increase even as the number of students being educated shrinks. If the extra money were being spent on more teachers and schools, it would be one thing but it’s not. It’s being spent on former teachers and more staff being paid higher wages.
I think it was George Santayana who defined fanatacism as redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim. Using that gauge I think it’s fair to say that here in Chicago we support the schools fanatically.
On a related topic, Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union is being reported to be seriously considering running for mayor:
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said Thursday she is “seriously thinking” about mounting a formal challenge to Rahm Emanuel.
“I’m a little sick of the mayor and I don’t see anyone stepping up,” Lewis told the Chicago Sun-Times by telephone Thursday evening. “I am seriously thinking about it.”
She denied a WMAQ-Channel 5 report that she has met with election lawyers about her own campaign possibilities, saying she has spoken with attorneys about CTU members who are running for office.
Lewis has made no bones about wanting to oust Emanuel, with whom she’s sparred since he took office in 2011 and who supposedly shouted, “F – – – you, Lewis” in an early meeting with her.
The mayor doesn’t really need to worry about losing the campaign contributions the CTU represents—much of his election funding comes from outside Chicago. However, opposition from a serious opponent might well present a problem. It might cut into the time he’d otherwise be devoting to getting whatever Democratic candidate is running in 2016 elected.