Home > Uncategorized > Big OOPS! Chicago Charter Schools Hiring Public School Personnel Blacklisted by Public Schools

Big OOPS! Chicago Charter Schools Hiring Public School Personnel Blacklisted by Public Schools

Chicago Tribune writer Juan Perez reports that as of last December, Chicago charter schools had 163 staff members on board who had been blacklisted by the Chicago public school system… and in the article seemed to imply that this was a problem for the public schoolsHere are the details from the opening paragraphs of Mr. Perez’ article:

More than 160 Chicago Public Schools employees who were barred from the district because of alleged abuse, misconduct or poor performance were found working in new jobs at city charter and contract schools last year, according to a report from the district’s inspector general.

The list included three workers who were fired or resigned and blocked from being re-hired at CPS because of sexual abuse accusations, according to the report, which was released Tuesday. Twenty-two were put on a “Do Not Hire” list “due to improper corporal punishment or physical abuse of students,” according to the report.

Nearly 80 others were blocked from returning to the district due to incompetence or violating school rules. That included a list of probationary teachers who were blocked from future employment at CPS because of poor performance.

The 163 unidentified employees — 98 of them teachers — represented a small fraction of the workforce at the city’s publicly funded but independently operated charter and contract schools, the reported noted.

But Inspector General Nicholas Schuler’s office also found that CPS had no system for those schools to determine if their potential employees had been blacklisted by CPS with the “Do Not Hire” designation. Despite preliminary steps taken to fix the problem, the IG’s office said CPS has not finalized a policy on how to handle such situations.

The report did not name schools that hired the former district employees. Officials from three of the city’s largest charter school operators either declined to comment on Schuler’s report or said their schools conduct criminal background checks but don’t have access to CPS’ list of prohibited employees.

Mr. Perez eventually made a point that effectively exonerates CPS… but this points appear at the end of the article:

One challenge, Schuler noted, is that the law allows charter schools “considerable latitude” on their hiring decisions.

State law prohibits schools from hiring candidates who have been convicted of certain criminal offenses. CPS also elects to bar a range of other offenders from being hired, though charter schools are not required to follow suit.

“Although the Board decides not to hire those individuals, it does not have a statutory basis to require charter schools to defer to the Board’s conclusions about the risks presented by those individuals,” Schuler’s office said.

The Illinois State legislature, like so many others across the country, favors deregulation. But, as this article unwittingly notes, deregulation in hiring practices can have some deleterious consequences for children. When “considerable latitude” in hiring means that some charter operators don’t even bother to call the previous employer, please don’t blame the previous employer for the problem! The legislature’s mania for deregulation should not free for-profit charters from the responsibility of hiring only qualified candidates and should certainly NOT free them from the responsibility for hiring sex offenders!

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