School principals to union: Let us hire our own teachers - FOX 32 News Chicago

School principals to union: Let us hire our own teachers

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

More than two dozen school principals sent a plaintive plea to union President Karen Lewis Tuesday. In the letter, they asked the union to stop trying to force them to hire teachers who do not fit in at their schools.

The job of each principal depends on performance and includes things like school cleanliness, involvement of parents, and the ability of students to learn. It's a no-excuses accountability, something the union says would be unfair for teachers to face.

"I hope they accomplish what they deem is a fair contract," Principal Dr. Joenile Albert-Reese said about the strike. "In that negotiation, however, it's imperative that principals are allowed to select their staff."

Strike leaders, though, want to force principals such as Dr. Joenile Albert-Reese at Pritzker Elementary to hire virtually all laid-off union teachers before any promising newcomers could even be considered.

Apparently, fearing that Board of Ed negotiators might cave on the issue, 31 principals took the unusual step of appealing directly to union President Karen Lewis, pleading in a letter: "Please consider how important it is that we all work together to put the best educators in place for our students."

"Now, I recognize that there are high quality teachers who have been displaced for unjust causes," Albert-Reese continues. "But I also recognize that many of them have been displaced justifiably. And I don't want to have to select from them to fill a position in my building."

As principals spoke out today, so did the chief sponsor of the General Assembly's latest school reform law. Sen. Kimberly Lightford said she and many others in Springfield thought the new law would prevent a Chicago strike by creating a new timetable for bargaining.

One study after another has documented that good schools like Wicker Park's Pritzker Elementary have one thing in common: good, strong principals like Dr. Joenile Albert-Reese.

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