AM News: You Make The Call

IL_CT (9)Emanuel reflects on accomplishments Sun Times: The checklist displayed Thursday includes 23 initiatives that Emanuel views as accomplishments..  Chicago Teachers Union chief on vacation? Sneed:  A strike may be looming if Chicago teachers' salaries aren't increased, but it reportedly is not deterring Lewis from going on a planned vacation... Parents Stand By Chicago Teachers NBC:  A group of 15 parents gathered at Price Elementary on Friday morning to rally in favor of the four percent annual raises the new CPS board turned down this week... igh School for the Arts might move to Doolittle West Sun Times:  The High School for the Arts won't be moving from its too-small South Side location to Wells High School on the West Side, after all... Laptops with personal data on 10,400 teachers, students stolen Sun Times:  Two laptop computers containing personal information on more than 10,000 teachers and students were stolen -- but officials don't believe the data has been used by the thieves... St. Patrick High School celebrates 150th anniversary:  St. Patrick is now the oldest all-boys Catholic high school in the city... Vitale Takes Steps to Raise School Funds: Chicago homeowners will see a property tax increase for the public schools this fall... MORE ITEMS BELOW

Hampshire woman wins education fellowship Sun Times:  Wroblewski expects to finish her degree and certification next summer and said she hopes to get a teaching job in CPS... Ex-CPS principal discusses Latino education ABC7: The Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics spoke to members of the organization El Valor on June, 18, 2011, in suburban Oak Lawn about Latino education.. Chicago Prepares For a Violent Summer NBC Chicago:  Friday marks the last day of school for  CPS students. That's giving community leaders concerns about public safety. 

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  • I had a lot of reading to catch up on in relation to the fallout from the CPS Board's decision to declare it was not financially able to meet its contractual obligations because I left town right after the Board's decision. The s-word-strike is all over this blog and even is commented on in an editorial appearing in the June 16 edition of Chicago Tribune. But that editorial also contained some straight up misinformation. The editorial stated: "Teachers have two choices here. They can swallow hard and accept the cuts. Or they can reopen the contract. That would trigger some reforms, signed into law just Monday, that otherwise wouldn't take effect until the contract expires in 2012."

    The Tribune editorial board should be aware that SB7, now Public Act 097-0008, explicitly states in relation to Chicago: "A provision in a collective bargaining agreement that was rendered null and void because it involved a prohibited subject of collective bargaining under this subsection (c) as
    this subsection (c) existed before the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 93rd General Assembly remains null and void and shall not otherwise be reinstated in any successor
    agreement unless the educational employer and exclusive representative otherwise agree to include an agreement reached on a subject or matter described in subsection (a) of this Section as subsection (a) existed before this amendatory Act of the 93rd General Assembly."

    This means that many of the big issues, like class sizes, work day length, school year, etc. that are defined in the existing contract are null and void already. There is a delay in implantation of the dismissal process, but it would be legally implemented before the end of the existing contract at any rate. Really the greatest risk for teachers is losing step/lane. Now in writing this I am not advocating either for or against a strike decision assuming there is a failure in the upcoming discussions. I think the CTU should present a very realistic balance sheet to teachers on the risks of eventually calling a strike vote would be and the risks of not doing so.

    The House of Delegates needs to discuss the issue rationally and realize no matter how mad these union activists are, the majority of teachers are not union activists and that there is a very real possibility a strike referendum will not gain the required 75% vote of the membership. Younger teachers making even $50,000 a year know that they have many of their peers making thousands less with MBAs. The world can look very different to a 28 year old teacher as compared to one 58 years old.

    The sad reality of the situation is that of all the rallies and protests CTU has called the largest percentage of its own membership in attendance has been no more than at most, using a very generous estimate by Substance, 8,000. That is less than half the membership. The CTU has devoted considerable resources to mobilizing its own membership and the fruits of that effort are limited by the general apathy of the teaching force on broader social issues impacting public education. Maybe now that there is money at stake the lethargy will be remediated, but then again after a long day of teaching, raising your own kids, and grading papers many teachers are simply not interested in the union as an organization and just want it to do its job. For these teachers the CTU is a service which they pay for not an organization which is necessary for their survival.

    One very telling fact of the fear of unemployment teachers have is reflected by the fact that the vast majority of teachers on this blog beating the drums for a strike, work to the rule slow down, or other such militant actions will not self identify on this blog and remain anonymous due to fear over losing their jobs. What does that tell you? I don't blame them, there are plenty of teachers on the street now and more to come with layoffs hitting school districts across the state and in all most all states.

    But the Tribune editorial in its arrogance writing: "Rare is the workplace that hasn't resorted to pay cuts or freezes in recent years. But CPS teachers have enjoyed 4 percent raises every year since 2000, and 3 percent or higher since 1995." May provide part of the spark to move teachers out of their lethargy by telling teachers really how good they have it, which is quite easy writing from the Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue. But it is all together another thing when you teach in communities with deep poverty and ongoing violence that drives teachers out of teaching and principals out of administrating on a regular basis in Chicago. By the way is it the average teacher in Chicago who has it easy making $68,679 or the average teacher in Naperville CUSD 203 who makes $80,527 a year? (data from ISBE) Funny that there are no editorials assaulting these Naperville teachers, but then after all these suburban teachers deliver for their upper income families with students getting ACT composite scores of 25 on average. Funny there are no journalists worrying about where Mark Bailey President of the IEA local for Naperville is going to on vacation.

    If there is a strike, which I hope does not happen, the Chicago Tribune editorial board in its continual assault on the CTU has some responsibility for lighting this fire.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Dear Rod, I agree!

  • In reply to chijas:

    David Vitale- Board of Education President was serving as Chairman of the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), a nonprofit teacher residency program! Tim Cawley, Chief Operating Officer for CPS was serving as Managing Director for Finance and Administration at the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL)! Jean-Claude Brizard, Chief Executive Officer for CPS, wife runs a charter school in New York, New York! Dr. Noemis Donoso, Chief Education Officer was Chief Academic Officer for the high performing Camino Nuevo Charter Academy network. Elizabeth Swanson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Education was the Executive Director of the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation. Penny Pritzker- Board Member is the co-director for the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation. All hell!!!

  • Perception is reality. She opens herself up to criticism (or unfair mud-slinging, depending on your point of view) by leaving town. CTU can ill afford another public relations blunder.

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