Monday, July 16, 2007

CPS = Ridiculousness!

When I first starting teaching for CPS, I was amazed at how things work, and that amazement continues to this day. I don't think CPS will ever stop amazing me. Here are a few examples of how things are done.

My maternity leave ended June 18th. I had to report to service within two weeks of that date, or I would be considered AWOL and would then be fired. I'm trying not to get fired, so I wanted to report to service. My letter from CPS stated I needed to get a copy of Emiko's birth certificate to CPS Employee Health Services within two weeks of June 18th. So I wrote a letter saying that I was back from leave and I included a copy of Emiko's birth certificate. Done and done.

Or so I thought. 13 days after June 18th, I got a phone call from Employee Health Services. They had received my letter and birth certificate. However, that was not the way to do things. I had to go in person to the CPS offices on Elizabeth Street (in a fancy, brand new building) and "fill out the blue form." I had to also present Emiko's birth certificate at that time. Then I'd be considered back at work.

Does that make any sense??? I had to go the next day, because otherwise I'd have been AWOL. So that next morning (a Friday, no less), I packed up Emiko and away we went. We got to the Elizabeth center, and stood in line with all the new CPS teachers. Who all looked shell shocked, and well they should.

I filled out my blue form, and a woman behind the counter made a copy of Emiko's birth certificate. Then I got back in line to turn in the blue form. After that, I had to wait for the blue form to make its way to the appropriate administrator, who finally came out and gave me a letter stating that I was, indeed, back in service.

I'm to hold onto this letter, and then give it to my payroll clerk on my first day back at school next month. Does that make any sense???

Last Thursday I had to go back to the Elizabeth location for a computer training. CPS has a new attendance program -- all attendance is now being done via computer. For years and years, teachers wrote their attendance in the official CPS attendance book, called the blue book. And then the only attendance that was reported to CPS was the division attendance. Division is from about 9:45 am to 10:00 am or so. Kids would come to division, and then leave, because then they'd be counted as in attendance. Division teachers would turn in their attendance to the office, who would then turn it in the downtown. Teachers had to keep their own classroom attendance, but it didn't seem to mean much.

My high school actually won an attendance award in the winter of 2005, because our attendance had improved so much. Then last year, we started having to do attendance by computer, and every teacher had to enter his or her attendance for each class. Suddenly, the attendance from my high school went from great to completely awful. Funny how accurately reporting attendance can do that.

So now CPS has a newer version of the software for attendance reporting. And they wanted each teacher to be aware of it, so teachers were encouraged to sign up for the two hour training sessions. We were going to be paid our hourly wage for doing it, so it was worth it to me. But the procedure is so easy -- I did not need to spend two hours being trained on this system.

I'm trying to imagine how much money CPS will have spent paying each teacher for two hours at their hourly wage. Of course, a lot of teachers won't do it, but it's still probably quite a bit of money. And as we have a major budget deficit, this seems kind of ridiculous.

I would rather they use that money to remove the asbestos in my building, or perhaps they could install central heat and air. Or hire more security guards. Or put soap and paper towels in all the bathrooms.

I can't wait for school to start!

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