Some Teachers Are Angry About a Turnaround Plan

February 1, 2008

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Chicago Public Schools wants to overhaul eight failing schools by replacing their teachers with higher quality educators. But at one of the targeted schools angry teachers say that's not the answer to students' problems.

Teachers at Robert Fulton Elementary on the South Side protested the turnaround plan in a meeting with leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union. Phys ed teacher Jason Christian says his kids would be hurt if he's let go.

CHRISTIAN: You're going to bring in somebody that has the same degree I've got, but doesn't have the knowledge and power that I have with these kids. Just the experience I have with these kids.

Union president Marilyn Stewart told Christian and others she'd do what she could to stop the turnarounds. Replacing teachers, she says, is no way to raise test scores.

STEWART: Why do they think they're the only ones who care about the students? You only have one chance to get this. Why are you hurrying it up? You can't hurry up to turn scores around.

A spokesman for CPS says the school board is expected to vote on the plan near the end of February. He says if approved, teachers will be allowed to reapply for their jobs.