Ann Cata | Edutopia
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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Ann Cata

I changed careers when I turned 40. Tired of the business world consolidating and merging and being terminated. Tutored some students and enjoyed it. Decided to go into education since my BA was earned in Social Science, Secondary Ed. with a valid type 9 from ISBE (Illinois). Initially I became a sub then a cadre and found myself preferring students with disabilities. Decided to attend DePaul U. and secure a masters in education which I did.
Took basic skills, LD, EMH, EBD and THM ISBE tests and passed them all. Began working in the Near West Side of Chicago. Worked on a Pzz while at Victor Herbert and attended DePaul and UIC at the same time. Secured my Masters in Reading and Learning disabilities in 1998. Never given tenure at Herbert so after 6 yrs. there I transferred to Dett Elementary where I was hired as an LD Resource teacher. Within a year I also became the school gardener, photographer, case manager, union delegate and pension rep. On the third year LRE Facilitator was added. On my sixth year at Dett, enrollment dropped. I had only 5 years of tenure when others had 10, 15 or 30 years and my position was closed. That is when I decided to transition into high school. My type 9 allowed me to teach grades 6 thru 12 and my type 10 kindergarten to age 21 so I felt confident that I would secure a positon. NOT SO IN THE CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. If you have too many years in and more than a BA/BS you will not secure a position. You must be on a non exsisting Do Not Hire List. After 10 months of displacement and hundreds of resumes, four or five job fairs and 8 interviews I did not secure a position. Why? I was offered in June the option to 1) leave CPS entirely; 2) retire (not old enough) or 3) become a cadre substitute at one-third of my old salary, just to keep benefits.
Now the end is near. After June 30, 2010 I will have no job or benefits. I was told that I would automatically be placed in the day to day substitute pool (which rarely get calls to sub) with no benefits.
Yeah, I have a Masters of Education. A type 9 in Social Studies and a type 10 in special education and experience as a case manager and could not secure a position. My employee file has 14 evaluations of which 13 are excellent and 1 is superior. CPS has no use for HIGHLY QUALIFIED TENURED TEACHERS. We cost to much $$$. So they hire recent college grads with and without teacher certification.
I filed with IDHR age discrimination suit and lost. Yet, of the 81 educators that were HONORABLY TERMINATED, 15 were under 40 WHILE 66 WERE OVER 40. What a croc of -----!!!! One sad note, I managed to pay off a 10 year US Dept. of Education loan in April of 2009. The years that I worked in a URBAN setting with disavantaged youth did not qualify me for any reimbursement. So in essence I got screwed by the government and CPS. The only redeeming factor is when I do sub in high schools many students remember me and hug me. I guess that I did leave students with a good impression of myself as a warm, caring, understanding and great educator. I also have NCLB in reading, remediated reading and general science. Why then can I not secure a position???

Areas of Interest: 
Master Gardener Certified 5/26/09; Volunteer for the Arthrits Foundation in Chicago,