Our Union members’ hard work and organizing has paid off again.
After sharing our concerns and demands in numerous special education committee and impact bargaining meetings, ODLSS withdrew its position that clinicians must be available to support remote learning activities for six hours per day. Instead, they will follow the mutually agreed work hours commensurate with teacher and counselor commitments of four accountable hours with flexibility to continue other duties, tasks and responsibilities on a flexible schedule. Managers and principals should not schedule staff for mandatory events or required activities outside the four hour time requirement. However, planning and individual prep work is not included in the daily four hour availability.
This has been a fight since day one, when CPS decided to violate the state executive order and our labor contract by rolling out its Special Education Guide to Remote Learning without discussion or agreement with CTU. When CPS added the completion of Remote Learning Plans for each IEP and 504 plan, we filed a complaint with ISBE and a federal lawsuit against the Department of Education.
CPS is asking our special educators, case managers and clinicians to do an impossible task. CPS is more interested in compliance than student and educator needs. There is more that needs to be done to push back against these demands that are unworkable and shortchange students. Take action by sending a letter to State Superintendent Carmen Ayala, CPS CEO Janice Jackson and Chicago Board of Education President Miguel Del Valle telling them to retract the excessive and impossible demands in their Remote Learning Guidance.
When managers and principals insist on violating our mutually agreed work hours send a response, through your PPCs, saying:
This directive conflicts with the Remote Learning Agreement terms agreed to between CPS and CTU. It is physically impossible for special educators to schedule all of these meetings, as they work to fulfill their critical obligations to students, while managing their own personal and family obligations in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. We request that the school administration provide all support necessary to complete these meetings, either through the assignment of additional special education staff and/or rescheduling the meeting to another time that complies with the terms of the Remote Learning Agreement between CTU and CPS. We further request that [School Name] Administration ask CPS to allow the current IEP to be the plan for students, or a plan be added to the IEP during any already scheduled IEP meetings.
We achieved historic wins in our current contract and we need to make sure the Board complies. Workload Reduction Funds are still available at schools that have not used them. School principals received the funds and a memo on how to use them in February. PPCs and administrators should have already met to determine allocation of these funds. If you are having difficulty with the release of these funds contact your field representative.
I want to thank everyone for going above and beyond for your students. When we fight, we win.