Unions, Contracts, & Charters

I don't think there's going to be a strike, for whatever that guess is worth.  There's just too much going against it:  political and economic pressures, the other unions already signing on, legal issues.  But I don't think that the new contract is going to be much different or better than the old one, either.  The downstate budget impasse is a distraction and excuse, as are nonunion wages and benefits (not so good).  And the looming recession or whatever it is going to be called is already making folks feel poor.  Most of that has nothing to do with CPS or CTU.  But it doesn't help that Stewart has spent much of her time seeming to be reacting to things coming at her rather than establishing herself as a strong and clear leader. 

Chicago teachers may be forced to strike People's Weekly World
Hundreds of teachers met at
Plumber’s Hall to discuss contract negotiations with the Chicago Public
Schools (CPS).

Chicago Teacher's Union Takes Aim at Charter Schools
Appearing before a gathering of 30 teachers from various schools
in the city, Stewart assured one charter school teacher that she is not
forcing a union.


Leave a comment
  • I don 't understand all the Stewart bashing. (And no, I'm not UPC or PACT. I think the whole concept of caucuses runs directly contrary to CTU's mission - *unity*.) Stewart should bring home a solid contract because it's her *job* after *we* voted her in as president, not because of her campaign style or her salary or the number of bathroom breaks she gets or any of the other pissant reasons that keep getting mentioned on this blog and elsewhere.

    Lynch's contract sucked and she lost her next election. The same will go for Stewart. If this contract sucks, she won't win her next election. Whining about it now or predicting dire consequences if our contract is weak meaningless conjecture. This thread sounds more like cranky sports fans than anything else.

    That said...

    Any percentage increase in longer school days should result in an equal percentage increase in compensation. Period.

    Working at school when we are not in front of the class is *still* work. We deserve to be compensated for it.

    More high school teachers need to realize how completely hosed elementary school teachers are when it comes to preps and lunch and bathroom breaks. (I'm a high school teacher.) We need to stick up for our colleagues. And vice versa, obviously.

    Re: teacher pay

    I don't know what world some of you live in, but $80,000/year is a damn fine salary. The complaint should *not* be that it isn't enough money to live on. Get a grip. Heck, everyone wants to make more money.

    The rationale for higher pay should be: In order to hire and retain the best teachers, who have a direct impact on the academic success of Chicago's children, they must be paid at *least* the prevailing wage in their geographic region, i.e. the Chicago metropolitan area. I say at least because the working conditions in CPS are an embarrassment. If I leave CPS *that* will be the primary reason.

    Better academic success equals lower poverty rates equals reduced crime and so on and so on. It's not a simple issue, but teachers & Union in general do a crap job of advocating for our own, and the city's, best interest.

  • 6:39,

    I agree about the evaluation system mess. I think it's a huge issue and doesn't get nearly enough face time from CTU or CPS. It impacts *everything* we do as teachers. And the single biggest complaint I hear from agency fee teachers, charter school teachers, and the private sector regarding union representation regards tenure, i.e. the complete inability to ever get rid of anyone who is incompetent. But these people, like the public at large, are misinformed.

    The public thinks tenure is a guaranteed job. Obviously, we all know better. It's actually a process, mutually agreed upon by CTU and CPS, by which teachers may be removed for poor performance. But the current evaluation system is arbitrary, capricious, and meaningless. And that, coupled with a fundamental misunderstanding of what tenure actually is, causes problems for both CTU and CPS. Tenure should not be the issue. But it is.

    And again, generally speaking, CTU and teachers don't do a very good job advocating for ourselves on this issue either.

  • Kugler,

    Here Here to what?

    And where's the loss for the Union in a system that involves tenure?

    I know you're not being intentionally cryptic but I have no idea what you're saying.


  • "I would love a longer day, but would you agree to a longer day without more pay? Would anyone in any job?" (12:32 PM)

    I can't let this pass....where have you been? I know plenty of people who have no choice about working longer hours, and it's been that way for a long time.

  • 10:24, thanks for opening my eyes! I'll make sure that everybody I know tells their boss, the next time they're told to stay late all week to finish a project, cancel a vacation because something's going live, get on a plane to go out of town unexpectedly for business, etc., to tell him or her "Can't! I'm off the clock!"

    I'm sure that will work. Until they figure out a way to outsource the job to Asia.

  • I promise this is my last post on this. I think good teachers are terribly undervalued and deserve to be compensated like the professionals most of them are (and I have spent many many hours in and out of schools, still do, providing support that was requested). Having said that, I truly believe that one of the things that drives a wedge between the public and teachers is the ongoing debate about the responsibilities of a professional. When the discussion about a longer school day in a system perceived to be highly underperforming revolves solely around compensation (and that is what the public sees/reads), and there is little discussion initiated by anybody in a position to make a difference about the expectations placed on students (and teachers) in basically a five hour elementary school day, things can get polarized.

    And when this takes place in a context where yes, people in the private sector do have to sustain longer hours--all year--and they don't necessarily get paid more, and they STILL worry about losing their jobs, then you start to get resentful comments and charter schools.

    It's not a true competitive education market--yet. But there are plenty of people who will be happy to exploit the perceptions I mentioned earlier in order to undermine public schools.

    The grass is always greener and it's likely to remain so. But teachers dismissing the real concerns that families struggle with today is just as unhelpful as the public judging teachers by standardized test scores (which I don't give a rat's ass about).

    And I did not vote for Daley; he is a crook and a blowhard.

  • Never said work longer hours for no pay. Simply pointed out that there are plenty of people who have had no choice about working longer hours in other professions for years now. There is no "overtime" to get paid for or to complain about. I'm not talking about Wal-Mart here, though I've no doubt those folks get exploited in a different way.

    Whoever has been providing a "counter argument" has missed my point--perhaps I'm not making it well--but this, too, simply underscores the unfortunate polarization that surfaces whenever there is public discussion of teacher union contract priorities.

  • 9:46,

    I don't find your argument or analogies persuasive.

    1) Teachers are paid with taxpayer money. It is not unreasonable for taxpayers to express an opinion about how their very own tax money is being spent. CPS provides, more than anything else, a public service. And the public should absolutely comment on it. Teachers need to do a better job of not just defending ourselves but also advocating in a proactive rather than reactionary way for our, and the city's, best interest. As a whole we do a poor job of framing the debate surrounding core issues in education.

    2) Depending on the office held, it is part of a politician's job description and governmental responsibility to instruct the military what to do regardless of whether those politicians have served or not. In any case, elected officials are chosen by us to be public leaders. We can simply choose not to elect them again. I happen to believe that public leaders have a duty to speak, whether or not I agree with them, on the issues of the day.

    3) Educating and parenting are not, and should not be, mutually exclusive. Parents are our partners in educating children and we should treat them as such even if they do not reciprocate. But too often teachers consider parents the enemy. And vice versa, of course. But an effective teacher builds bridges with families and actively elicits and involves parental participation in education. Additionally, this is the best way to build political support from parents and communities. The belief that education is our job and not a parent's and that raising a child (whatever that means) is not our responsibility is misguided and a disservice to our students and the profession.

    Have you seen *any* of the extensive research that shows the impact on student achievement and the importance of *teachers* taking an active role in eliciting and insisting on parental involvement? We can not reach every parent in this way, but we can reach *far* more than we do now.

  • Teacher bashing? Where?

Leave a comment