On Thursday, Oct. 5, the CTU hosted a webinar with our CPS counterparts to address the frustrations and concerns members have when using the Skyline curriculum. We wanted district officials to hear about these issues directly from educators and hoped that CPS would be responsive to those frustrations. This was a new type of engagement from CPS management, but district officials still came off defensive and aloof regarding the obstacles many of us face in implementing the curriculum. In addition, most of the answers fell short of actually resolving the issues our members raised. Questions and responses from the webinar are here.

Members have reported being told by CPS Network leaders to “use Skyline with fidelity,” but that conflicts with the guidance CPS representatives provided on the webinar; that we should use outside resources as needed. Many of us feel undermined and cast aside in making any of these determinations independently. Mostly, CPS told us to ask for guidance from the people that “mandated” Skyline in the first place, our network administrator or principal.

On a tech level, it was also clear that CPS doesn’t have answers to our most common concerns: links that lead to nowhere, sizing issues with slides, and the cumbersome navigation of Safari Montage. Most answers involved sending in a ticket to the software vendor, a small consolation if a principal is telling you to implement the curriculum now. It might be easier to accept the growing pains of these and other issues if many classrooms weren’t handcuffed to the curriculum.

CTU officers, committee chairs and staff will meet with CPS next week to press for specific policies to give us more latitude to use professional judgment and academic freedom in these situations. We will be sharing next steps with delegates and determine a course of action at our next HOD meeting. If we can not get immediate relief from the mandate to use glitchy or inappropriate materials in Skyline, there will be opportunities for all of us to take collective action in the near future to model what engaging, teacher created, high quality curriculum actually looks like.

Here is a recording of the Skyline conversation where you can see the exchange for yourself.