Today was supposed to be our first regular LSC meeting of the year at Pilsen Academy. It was rescheduled for next week. I received no notification. We had an irregular meeting last week. That meeting was scheduled on the preceding Friday for the following Monday. The planning meeting in July was scheduled a little more than than the requisite 48 hours in advance. This last-minute scheduling and rescheduling drives down participation. It’s also reminiscent of the divide-and-conquer approach Pilsen Alliance takes to “organizing” its volunteers. I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now. Hopefully, things don’t continue in this fashion.
We need you to birth a 10 year-old
CPS allocates money for schools based on the number of students at the school. This makes sense, but when you have students with special needs, this makes things difficult. We have two classes for each grade, K-3; one for bilingual and one for monolingual. Since enrollment is about 35 for each grade level, we have K-3 classes at approximately 17 and enrollment at about 35 for 4-8.
Our principal presented this information to us, and to parents at a coffee with the principal right after, in a unique way. Instead of explaining that CPS negotiated the CTU up to an expected classroom size of 29 and this is how the math shakes out, he explained that if we could only recruit another 20-40 students to the school we could split our large classes of 35 + 5 or 10, into two classes of 20!
Aside from the fact that poaching students into an overcrowded classroom is as likely as birthing a 10 year-old into existence, I was a little struck by the framing of the dilemma: “It’s not CPS’s fault for having a messed-up allocation of resources and having a definition of ‘underutilized’ that would qualify as overcrowded elsewhere. It’s also not the city’s fault for underfunding the education system that would keep young families in the city in favor of throwing money at developers. No, it’s your obligation to poach students into overcrowded classrooms.”
Our principal, Dr. Ali, doesn’t practice medicine but he does know how to deliver a bitter pill. His paycheck comes from CPS, so I can’t begrudge him for toeing the line. I am intrigued to know if these tactics of misdirection are homegrown or if they are used citywide.