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CPS Firings Target Highly Qualified Tenured Teachers

At Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting, CPS officials said they would “rescind the layoffs” of high school teachers who were terminated due to class size increases.  CPS officials said they were able to “restore the average high school class size to 31 students” thanks to a one-time influx of $106 million federal funds earmarked for rehiring teachers.   But according to data dragged out of CPS by the CTU over the past month, and receiving partial data on 658 Regular Track school firings on 8/24/10, that means that 167 of the 1322 teachers fired, or 13%, may be returned to their classrooms (see attached table).  According to an 8/25/2010 CPS press release, CPS claimed to “restore class sizes to 31” with the $106 million federal funds. 

“This is an increase.  Contractual high school class size is 28, not 31.  CPS is increasing class size.  That is unacceptable,” said President Karen Lewis.

Who will fill the remainder of the 1155 positions remains unknown. 

“CPS chose to unlawfully fire tenured teachers to weaken schools, plain and simple,” said Lewis who stated that 83% of the 426 Track E fired teachers were tenured.   It is assumed that nearly all of the 238 fired city-wide coaches were also tenured, but CPS has not released that data.  All CPS teachers are on probation during their first three years of teaching and can be fired at any time without cause.  In their fourth year, teachers become tenured and are given the right to defend themselves against disciplinary actions which could lead to losing their jobs.  “It’s not a guarantee, but at least tenure offers teachers some protections from arbitrary and retaliatory dismissals,” said Lewis.

“Parents and students should be outraged that CPS clearly targeted tenured teachers.  Without tenured teachers, students are at increased risk.  Tenured teachers strongly advocate for students’ legal right to full services, such as those for special needs students and English language learners.  Tenured teachers enforce class size limits, safety and student discipline matters.  Tenured teachers review the school’s budget to ensure the money goes to students in the classroom.  These daily battles for students’ equal educational rights may put tenured teachers at odds with policies of certain principals or the Board of Education that harm students,” said Lewis.

No matter how the courts decide in September, CTU members will document new hires and all staffing changes in each and every building for a class action grievance.

Chicago Public Schools Teacher Firings, Summer 2010
Released by the Chicago Teachers Union 8/27/10
NOTE:  Blank cells indicate incomplete data supplied by Chicago Public Schools
Percentages shown in (  )

School/ Position Category

Total # (%)



1st Wave of Firings (6/16-29/2010)

City-wide: Teacher Coaches, Special Education-OSS, and Home/ Hospital-based


Unknown.  Due to position, however, nearly all are likely tenured.


Redefinition - 81 (34%)
Lack of Funds - 76 (32%)
Program change/program closed - 79 (33%)

2nd Wave  of Firings
(6/26 - 8/02/2010;
6 notices given prior to 6/26/2010)                         REASON FOR TERMINATION


Total #


Reallocation of Funds

Program Reduction


Enrollment Drop

Class Size Increase

Track E Schools








3rd Wave of Firings
(began 8-10-2010 postmarked 8/11/2010)

Regular Track Schools
















Chicago Teachers Union