Teachers Union Claims Victory; So Does the School Board; Substance News Clarifies the Confusion

LEGAL VICTORY FOR TEACHERS’ RIGHTS IN CHICAGO… Seventh Circuit affirms Chicago teachers’ tenure rights as property rights … but CPS press release claims the decision vindicates the Board’s side!

George N. Schmidt – March 29, 2011

CHICAGO. MARCH 29, 2011. The Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision on March 29, 2011, affirming the contention by the Chicago Teachers Union that teachers who were laid off by the Board during the summer of 2010 because of what the Board called an “economic layoff” had tenure rights, a property right. The decision affirms a lower court ruling in favor of the teachers and orders the Board to comply. However, by evening on the day the decision was issued, the two sides were in a major disagreement about what precisely the decision requires the Board to do in relation to the hundreds of teachers who are still out of their jobs as a result of the massive layoffs of the summer of 2010.

The extensive 35-page decision upholds the union’s contention that the teachers laid off between June and September 2010 had a property right, because they had tenure, and that the Board therefore had the responsibility to have rules governing both the layoffs and the rehirings.

The Board of Education contended that because it claimed a controversial “economic emergency” (affirmed by the Board at a special meeting on June 15, 2010) it did not have to honor the tenure rights of the teachers it wanted to get rid of, nor did it have to rehire those teachers. By the end of the summer of 2010, the Chicago Board of Education, at the time under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman, laid off more than 1,300 veteran teachers. Within four months, the Board had hired more than that number of novice teachers, ignoring hundreds of those who had been the victims of the earlier layoffs in its hiring following the opening of schools in September 2010  [Read more here]

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