Today’s bargaining session with CPS, our seventh so far, was, in a nutshell, frustrating. The district has yet to respond in writing to the comprehensive proposal we sent them almost two weeks ago — a proposal that focuses on safety for our members, the most basic needs of our students, and a just recovery for our school communities.
CPS also has not accounted for the $1.3 billion in federal relief funds that remain unaccounted for. As usual, there’s a glossy power point, with a catchy title, that outlines “student supports,” but few details on the increased staffing needed to make those programs work.
Instead, at a time when our students need more services, CPS has laid off 400 of our members. Many of these are PSRPs, the vital clerks, teacher assistants and other staff who make our schools run. Make that make sense.
CPS seems finally to have heard us about the need for a home visit program to try to re-engage students after a difficult year of remote learning. But, in typical fashion, the district wants to cut corners, by sending security guards to track down students. We know, and research shows, that these programs work when they are done by educators who develop relationships with families to better understand what students need.
We need CPS to partner with us on this, and all aspects of our fall reopening, instead of making plans unilaterally and informing us after the fact. A successful school year depends on it.