One of the sticking points in ongoing negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools is teacher prep time – paid chunks of time to grade, work on lesson plans and talk with parents.
CPS last month said it included principals in bargaining sessions to help explain the district’s position on prep time. But the organization that represents many Chicago principals argues that its views aren’t being accurately represented.
The Chicago Principals and Administrators Association (CPAA) says it surveyed more than 300 school administrators, and that 68% of principals and assistant principals “are opposed to the district’s proposal to reduce teacher-directed preparation time and increase principal-directed preparation time.” It also says nearly every administrator surveyed either supports or does not oppose restoring before-school prep time for teachers.
“We have to be at the table,” said Troy LaRaviere, CPAA president. “(We) must have meaningful input in district policy, because we’re the ones who have to implement it and we’re the ones best situated to analyze the potential positive or negative effects of it. We must have some meaningful, significant input in district policymaking.”
In response to the CPAA’s survey, CPS director of media communications Emily Bolton issued this statement: “Chicago Public Schools deeply values our principals, which is why we asked them to participate in negotiations to provide the essential perspective of school leaders on critical issues. We will continue to include diverse voices and perspectives in the negotiating process as we work to reach a contract with the Union.”
Despite the potential of a strike by both teachers and support staff represented by the SEIU, LaRaviere says the question shouldn’t be about missed classroom time or whether administrators will be stretched thin trying to keep school buildings open.
“The long-term impact of accepting subpar education policy, I would say, is far more detrimental than the short-term impact of a few missed school days,” LaRaviere said. “Going the next three years without enough social workers, without enough nurses, is that worth the short-term impact of missing some school days now … that they’ll have to make up for at the end of the year?”