Brentano Elementary

Why Lock Out Remote Teachers Teaching Only Remote Students?

Editor’s note: On Tuesday, Brentano Elementary parent Jenny Ludwig wrote this letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson and the members of the Board of Education. Chicago Unheard is publishing it here not only to present a parent’s voice on the current state of conflict between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union, but to illustrate an overlooked aspect of pandemic learning: problems with substitutes. We have heard other reports from parents about sub shortages, and it is likely shortages will worsen once elementary schools reopen on a hybrid schedule for grades preK-8, which is currently scheduled to happen February 1.

Dear Mayor Lightfoot, Janice Jackson, et al.

My daughter is in a blended preK program at Brentano Elementary. Her teachers were locked out of class this morning because they refused to enter the building under unsafe conditions yesterday. After CPS threatened them, one teacher went in today, was still locked out, and found a way to access Google Meet. The teacher who remained home was entirely prevented from doing her job. No substitute for that position was provided.

I do not understand this vindictive and senseless action on the part of CPS and am writing to strongly condemn it. This is a particularly ridiculous case because there were exactly zero students scheduled to go in, yet their devoted teachers are being sanctioned and prevented from doing their jobs because they are protecting their own, and in many cases, their families’ lives.

Please reinstate these teachers’ access immediately, stop threatening your employees, and find another way to manage your personnel problems. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Act like it.

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Jenny Ludwig

Jenny Ludwig is an editor and writer living in Chicago. She has two school-aged children who attend CPS and her husband is a CPS high school teacher.

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