Budget More Important Than School Day

Today's news is all about the proposed budget and the proposed extension of the school year for next year, both of which will be discussed if not decided at today's monthly Board meeting.  Which is more important? My usual take is the thing that's happening now (the budget) is often more important than the thing happening then (the longer day), but others may see it differently.  And of course, they're inter-related issues.

CPS chief offers grade school teachers raises for longer day, year Sun Times: Brizard vowed Tuesday to add 90 minutes a day and two weeks a year to the Chicago Public School calendar and offered an 11th-hour plan to get halfway to that goal this coming school year.

CPS begins move to extend school day Tribune: CPS today launched their plans to extend students' time in the classroom by 90 minutes each and by two weeks each year and set up an advisory committee to figure out how it'll be done.

School board weighs property taxes, longer day ABC7:  Chicago Public Schools officials want students in class longer, including an extra 90 minutes in school each day and two additional weeks to the school year. Teachers who are trying to get back a 4-percent raise are not happy with the proposal.

Chicago Teachers Seek Compromise On Raises Progress IL:  In June, the Board voted to rescind 4 percent raises to Chicago Public Schools teachers. As part of its proposal to accept lower raises, the Chicago Teacher's Union asked the Board to consider the following demands.

CPS budget to be considered Wednesday as teachers union and mayor fight battles Tribune: As the Chicago Board of Education prepares to approve a 2011-12 budget Wednesday, school officials and the teachers union are battling publicly over related issues of withdrawn raises and the mayor's push for a longer school day.

School budget cuts to hit most troubled students Catalyst: Advocates and teachers don’t know of specific plans for serving these young people, but the suspicion is that CPS may turn to private contractors. The recent trend has been to send these students to less expensive private therapeutic day schools or charter alternative schools.

Amid Labor Strife, CPS Sets Longer School Day CNC: Legislation signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn in May gives CPS the power to unilaterally implement a longer school day and year, but states the district must bargain the impact, including how much teachers would be compensated.

Longer Days, Longer Year Ahead WBEZ:  Chicago Public School officials on Tuesday announced plans to extend the school day by an additional 90 minutes and two weeks, doing say one day after contract talks with the teachers union fell apart.

Chicago schools: 90 more minutes a day, 2 extra weeks WBEZ:  That's what Chicago Public Schools says the city's new school calendar will look like beginning in the fall of 2012. Schools will be required to spend part of their extra time on reading, math and science, but they'll also be able to add recess, ...

Chicago schools plan longer day SSNS:  While some teachers have reacted favorably to the idea,  CTU President Karen Lewis told the Chicago Tribune her  organization will not participate on the committee.

Illinois likely site of next fight over public employee benefits  via IEA: Unionized public employees are once again clashing with state leaders who want to roll back benefits and weaken collective bargaining to shore up a government budget.

Teen questioned after shooting of 1-year-old on South Side SouthtownStar: The baby's mother is a Chicago Public Schools senior, a neighbor said. The teen lives with her sister, two brothers, their parents and the infant in a garden apartment of a home on the 8300 block of South Muskegon Avenue.

Academy for Urban School Leadership gets new board chairman Tribune:  The Academy for Urban School Leadership, which manages teacher training academies in Chicago and oversees efforts to turn around several low-performing schools in Chicago, has announced a new board chairman to replace David Vitale.

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  • Rod, does the Chicago Public School system have the shortest school day than any major city in the United States of America?

  • CPS is trying to use the divide and conquer rule by offering the elementary school teachers a 2% raise for a longer school day and not a 2% raise for high school teachers for a longer school day. My, my, my, nothing has changed at CPS!

  • If this is a divide-and-conquer tactic, the Board can have at it.
    As a HS teacher, I'd prefer they not insult me with the offer to increase my work day by 24% while being compensated 2%.

    Granted, we're salaried--and not hourly--employees, but I calculated my hourly rate under such a scheme. It would fall $12 per hour. No, thanks, Brizard.

    The Tribune reporter, Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah closed her story like this: "The big question is how a district would implement the plan this school year. "

    Well, that's just it. CPS doesn't even have a plan on how to use the extra time. You'd almost think they weren't serious in this proposal: that they KNOW teachers will turn it down.

    The Mayor and his Board are playing games and politics with children's lives.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    "The Mayor and his Board are playing games and politics with children's lives."

    Amen, Danny.

  • From: Jean Claude Brizard
    Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 5:21 PM
    Subject: From CEO Brizard: CPS Launches Plan For A Longer School Day and Year For 2012/2013

    Dear Colleagues,

    Today, the CPS team launched our plan for a longer school day and year for the 2012/2013 school year. Currently, CPS has the shortest day and year in the nation. Our goal is to expand the day by 90 minutes, ensuring we are providing the instructional time needed to boost student achievement and ensure students graduate college and career ready.

    Everyone in our system is working hard to boost student achievement. However, it’s clear that everyone – from principals to teachers to students – is being put at a disadvantage by not having the amount of instructional time needed in the classroom. Students in both elementary and high school are not college and career ready. Achievement gaps are still too wide. Our dropout rate is 57%.

    I know that all of you care deeply about moving our students in the right direction. I am very confident that a longer day and year, coupled with a new focus on time on task for Common Core areas, as well as enrichment programs for students and more time for teachers to plan and collaborate, will help our children succeed.

    Therefore, beginning in August 2012, CPS will move to implement an additional 90 minutes of instruction in schools citywide. A key component of the new longer school day will include instruction that incorporates the new Common Core State Standards.

    The full-day will also provide more time for teachers to work collaboratively in groups to meet individual student needs and share best practices in order to drive student achievement. Studies show that through teacher collaboration, schools are able to build strong professional learning communities that support students across subject areas and improve academic growth. A recent Illinois teacher survey found that 69% of teachers believe that they do not have sufficient instructional time to meet the needs of all of their students (http://tellillinois.org/reports). A longer day will clearly address these concerns.

    The priorities outlined in a CPS longer day will include:

    * Spend more time on core academic subjects including math, science and social studies.
    * Work on literacy skills and provide reading intervention for struggling students.
    * Broaden enrichment opportunities including physical education, art, music, library time.
    * Give students an adequate mid-day lunch and recess period so that they can recharge.
    * Provide students with individualized interventions to help improve skills in math, science and core subjects as well as behavioral interventions and supplemental work for gifted students.
    * Additional time for teachers to collaborate in groups to develop strong learning environments for their schools.

    As we continue to determine how the additional minutes are used within the school day, we will be looking carefully at best practices used by schools within Chicago and districts nationwide, as well as engaging key stakeholders in the following ways:

    * We have formed the Longer School Day Advisory Committee, which will provide guidance about the longer day structure and the implementation strategy schools can adopt in transitioning toward a longer day.
    * We will work with teachers and principals through focus groups to gain feedback on how the school day should be structured and the impact of additional learning in core subject areas.
    * We will also host parent focus groups, providing a time during which parents can voice their opinions on what types of instruction would benefit their children.
    * Finally, as part of my continued Listening Tour, I and members of the Advisory Committee will visit schools with longer school days to observe practices for implementing additional learning time and scheduling full-day instruction.

    My team and I are encouraged by the support we’ve received thus far from many principals and teachers we have spoken with already about a longer day. We know that we have much work ahead of us. This will not be an easy task, but a necessary one. Our students and teachers deserve to have the time, tools and support needed to move student achievement forward.

    We look forward to continuing conversations with all our key stakeholders and thank you in advance for your continued support as we seek to best serve our students and school communities!

    Sincerely,

    Jean-Claude Brizard

    Chicago Public Schools | CEO

  • Offering teachers 2% in exchange for 255 extra hours of work a year is INSULTING ! It's not even minimum wage ! I would be getting paid about $6 an hour for those extra 90 minutes. I could make more money working at McD's or babysitting 1 child.
    Just in case you need the math on this : 170 days X 90 minutes = 255 hours. A teacher earning 70 K would get a raise of $1400. That's about $5.5 an hour for those 255 hours.

  • In reply to 30-Yr. Vet:

    Actually, 30-Yr. Vet, 170 is just the number of student attendance days. You're forgetting about the eleven TI/PD/SD and two parent conference/report card pickup days we have. That brings you down to about $5.10 per hour.

  • In reply to 30-Yr. Vet:

    Sorry, but I'm not exactly crying for you making $70K a year and having to work more hours. You're making more than I do (with a PhD and 10 years of experience in my field), and I work 12 months a year and spend nearly 60% more hours at work (1920 hours, that's with benefit days deducted). Teachers don't have it so bad - and yes, I realize that you put in lots of hours that are 'off-the-clock', but so do the rest of us.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Dear Anonymous,
    Sorry, but it does sound like you are crying.
    Perhaps you are just jealous? Should we all have our compensation linked to yours? Would that make you feel better?
    And should we allow the Mayor & Brizzard to steamroll us because some anonymous schmuck with a doctorate makes less?
    Perhaps you should suck a real argument out of your thumb before posting again.

  • HOW CAN THE AMPS SCHOOLS ACHIEVE HIGH ISAT SCORES WITH THE SAME AMOUNT OF INSTRUCTIONAL TIME AS FAILING SCHOOLS?

  • Simple. Amps schools are full of parents who demand their children learn and work outside the school day. Income is not as important as motivation levels.

  • And there is the unvarnished truth. Parents that are partners in education.

    As to the memo, obviously the board has some money...

  • the current contract does not treat h.s. and e.s separate when it come to pay scale. No No No. We will not except this offer. It's just a media ploy.

  • Mayor Rahm: why not require and encourage a forensic audit of the Chicago Public Schools? Your Board just raised our property taxes. There has been a history of shaky spending reported by the OIG. Are we not entitled to see how the money is really spent? Citizens should know where and how our dollars go when 'spent' on our Chicago children. Please do not refer to the OIG as the accountability here. A forensic audit is a must and represents your platform for smarter and better spending.

  • What about the enrichment programs AMPs school kids have after school-violin, french, zumba, etc?. -90 minutes more in school sets them out late and maybe no program--Also, those day care after school providers now will all make less money since students will come in 90 min. less. rahm, i mean brizard has no planning here--

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I keep thinking of the HS kids... Many work after school to help out at home or to save for college... Will they retain jobs if they can't get there Til 5 ish and what about homework
    What about teachers and their families??? More time daily and two more weeks means big costs in daycare and no raises???

  • In reply to profteacher:

    I have taught outside CPS, the school day ended at 3:30 or 3:45. I think families probably preferred it as many of the students parents worked, and having a later end time saved THEM childcare costs. Some CPS schools get out at 1:45, what do parents do if they work till 5:00? HS part time jobs have flexible hours, and should not be of primary importance in this discussion. A later end time will still allow students to work, just as they do in other parts of the country that have schools which end later.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    So you it is of "primary importance in this discussion" that we provide parents with relief from childcare costs, rather than, say education?

    You forget about interscholastic sports and extracurricular activities. These get pushed up 90 minutes later. When do children have time for family activities? Homework? The service learning hours which they need for HS graduation?

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    Read closely, I said it should NOT be of primary importance. Meaning of course that education should be. This statement was in response to a writer that was concerned about the impact the length of the day would have on HS students jobs.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I guarantee work availability is of primary importance to those students who help pay their family's rent, gas, electric, transportation, and food costs.

    Track E is much more damaging to these students. They lose a full 4 weeks of wages, often in seasonal work, because of the incredibly early start to the school year.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Anonymous:

    Yeah, education should come way in front of trivial issues like students ability to eat or have a home or stuff like that.

    These aren't rich kids with a summer job. In some cases, my students have been the primary or only breadwinner for themselves and/or their family.

  • Remember that AMPS schools no longer exist...they've all been absorbed into the new "networks". It could be that many of the schools will no longer have the freedom to offer many of the programs, enrichment or otherwise, that made them successful in the first place.

  • This is a response to the article about one-year-old who was shot. My question is what happens to the survivors of the violence? Please check out my article on a CPS student who had to survive the violent death of two siblings on two different occasions. She's in college now and plans to be a teacher. But she's still struggling. My blog is www.chicagonow.com/white-rhino

    (And thanks to Alexander for promoting my past blog posts and letting me post here. I owe you one!)

  • In reply to Ray Salazar:

    What about the teachers who are teaching students who live in a state of trauma( the survivors of violence). Teachers who do this without any training (professionally or emotionally) and still manage to educate and inspire. It must be very nice to make decisions, devalue and bad mouth teachers without considering what Chicago teachers are really doing. Chicago teachers are to blame for this. We allowed ourselves to be put into this position by not demanding the professional respect that is due. Most teachers are giving 110%+, and now you want to pay 6.00 an hour. Okay City of Chicago, you should be scared to pay me 6:00 an hour for the education of a child. Is that what these children are worth now? Is that the real deal, their education, the quality of their instruction is worth under min. wage? I think so, and this what you have been trying to say for a while. Parents of Chicago students, would you take your child to a doctor who was reduced to 6.00 an hour? Why not? They should love kids and want them to be healthy right. "One who labors(works) is worthy of their hire". This idea that big city politics should be able to just rape and rob teachers is troubling however, teachers have way more power and influence than what we think and have exhibited. If we can teach in the hellish conditions that many of us overcome, you have the power to turn this around. All of the untold stories of love, care, concern and sacrifice made by teachers is not only unappreciated but not acknowledged.

  • To answer the retired principal, I have not researched the issue of the average school day in terms of instructional minutes. I have looked at the claims made by Robin Steans in relation to Houston and found that they do have a much longer school day. I have also found that the boost their children got on average using the National Assessment of Educational Progress compared to CPS with a shorter instructional day was not significant.

    Houston’s fourth-grade students’ average scale score in reading increased from 206 in 2007 to 211 in 2009. This was higher, but not significantly different than the average score of 210 for public school students in large central cities (LCC) including Chicago. Houston’s eighth-grade students’ average reading scale score remained constant at 252 from 2007 to 2009. This was equal to the average score for public school students in large central cities in 2009. ( to see this data go to http://www.houstonisd.org/ResearchAccountability/Home/SP_NAEP/2009%20NAEP%20Reading.pdf)

    I do not see much advantage given to Houston students compared to CPS based simply on a longer school day. I think the entire discussion is being over simplified.

    Rod Estvan

  • No reasonable person would ask nurses to invest 350 additional work hours at rates below minimum wage "for the sake of the patients". No reasonable person would ask the mayor to invest 350 additional work hours at rates below minimum wage "for the sake of the city". No reasonable person would ask police officers or firefighters to invest 350 additional work hours at rates below minimum wage "for the sake of safety". No reasonable person would ask public defenders or state prosecutors to invest 350 additional work hours at rates below minimum wage "for the sake of the law". No reasonable person would ask CPAs to invest 350 additional work hours at rates below minimum wage "for the sake of our taxes". And no reasonable person should ask professional, career educators to invest 350 additional work hours at rates below minimum wage "for the sake of the children".

    Everyone who thinks increasing the school day and school year is a good idea (and I agree that those are good things) needs to answer one question with brutal honesty: would you work 350 additional hours per year for below minimum wage?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    What an utterly false and disingenuous premise. Teachers and clinicians are professionals. Professionals are expected to work til the job is done even if it takes a 24/7 schedule and sometimes it does. Professionals don't speak in terms of hourly rates and wages.

    The problem with the teaching profession is that its members want it both ways. They want to be treated as professionals only when it advantages them economically and they get lots of benefits because they are considered professionals.

    So stop talking about hourly rates people. You claim you are already working these hours, right? So what difference does it make? Unless you're not being totally candid with us.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I don't need to be paid for every additional minute added to my work year. But to be asked to increase mandatory work time by 350 more hours for a pay increase of $6 an hour is offensive. The relevance of the minimum wage citation is not a reflection of hourly wages as much as it is an example of how little CPS values its trained professionals.

    So, let me ask you: would you accept an increase in 350 hours of work for $1,200? Would that be fine with you? If the answer is yes, I recommend you go tell your employer the same thing. I guarantee they'll take you up on it.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    What should be astonishing to people is that teachers would be able to add this many hours to their job, and still not be working what are considered full-time hours in every other industry. I love teachers and most of the ones I know work really hard - but I work really hard too, for less money, with more education, and spend more time on the job. So don't pull your dirty math about making less than minimum wage - your total hourly wage (salary/hours worked) is still more than the majority of folks.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I am sorry you didn't get a raise and are working so hard. Lawyers charge by the hour. Doctors charged by the job. Our paychecks are paid by the hour.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Thee are lots of the folks you mentioned that work more hours per year than teachers and are not paid for it. CPAs for example. They work a lot more hours during fiscal close and especially during tax seasonwhere they work insane hours. The mayor works far from a 40 hour week - closer to 80 and weekends too if you add it up. Most doctors are working more hours for less right now because Medicare and Medicaid are declining. The fireman are still working without a contract I believe. I worked in central office about 60-70 hours per week,which kept increasing as more and more jobs were cut. Yes, that is more hours for actually a decrease in salary due to furlough days and no salary increase. I did it because the teachers and principals needed the work done and none of you were irate on my behalf. Friends of mine in other professional jobs are working more hours right now due to the recession and cutbacks at their companies.Quite a few have gotten little to no raises, most on the order of 2% if any.

    You cannot have it both ways. Either you are professionals or not. Professionals do what it takes to get the job done. And if you are very unhappy, you can do what professionals do which is to choose to leave and take another job.

    What you will find out, as a lot of people are right now, is that there are very few jobs and many candidates and the salaries are lower as a result. When the economy is better, there are a lot more jobs and salaries rise and teachers' will also. That is simple economics.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    My brother in law is a CPA and a great guy. He's married to a teacher as well. He just found out he's going to need to go to the Bank of America suite at the ballpark this week ouch. Most people are not willing to work 30% hours without a whimper in private business or public. I know, I worked in that big bad world for 10 years before becoming a teacher.

    According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development data from 2008 — the most recent available:

    Among 27 member nations tracked by the OECD, U.S. primary-school educators spent 1,097 hours a year teaching despite only spending 36 weeks a year in the classroom — among the lowest among the countries tracked. That was more than 100 hours more than New Zealand, in second place at 985 hours, despite students in that country going to school for 39 weeks. The OECD average is 786 hours.

    And that’s just the time teachers spend on instruction. Including hours teachers spend on work at home and outside the classroom, American primary-school educators spend 1,913 working in a year. According to data from the comparable year in a Labor Department survey, an average full-time employee works 1,932 hours a year spread out over 48 weeks (excluding two weeks vacation and federal holidays

  • You may put in 60-70 hours at CO but many of those hours are down time-two hour lunches, web surfing, reading/eating at desk...come on if you were doing your job phones would be answered and CPS school staff would not be reduced to receiving vital information from a blog.

    Try getting any info regarding SPED from CPS-the OSES web site is still under construction, the OSES manual has not been revised since 2002 and misinformation is rampant.

    Please . your logic is child like. I have friends who are CPAs and they make twice what I make and lets not even discuss perks and bonuses. A starting nurse makes what I make after 34 years and she is gettting paid by her hospital to get a master's. We have no tuition reimbursement but we do get two weeks of paid vacation-whoopee!

    Teachers have long memories and yes, there is a surplus of teachers but that will not be forever....We are run by fools and it is getting worse.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    If I can comment, I have never taken a two hour lunch, never web surfed or read at my desk. I was actually anxious to get the work done. If I ate at my desk, it was because I never took lunch and simply ate as I went along. I dont work in SPED so cant comment about that. As for your other comparisons, I dont know many CPAs, or nurses, for that matter, that take the summer off. Or get the number of holidays that teachers do.

    Your assumptions about central office are just plain mean-spirited and wrong. Are there folks here that aren't the best? Yes. But to be honest, most of the people not doing any work were cut because their departments couldnt afford to keep them. That being said, many hard-working people have been cut. So that is why it is perhaps harder to get a hold of someone. Most departments in central office took at least 3-5 turns cutting 30% each time and just took another 30-50% cut. Some of that was waste to begin with but that is no longer the case.

  • I just don't understand how CPS found money on Tuesday when on Monday they didn't have money? Adding 90 minutes without adding art education, music education and additional physical education is still not fair to our children. Some of our special needs children can not sit in the classroom for an additional 90 minutes reading. We need additional class time but we need a lot more than just minutes. I also have a problem with the advisory committee that Rahm picked. Do the clergy know everything about everything? They need to say working in their churches.

  • In reply to Grandma:

    just a note that this Grandma is apparently not the same as the original Grandma who's posted many times in the past -- let's call her Original Grandma. One of the benefits of signing in using an email (even a throwaway one used just for commenting purposes) is that you get to pick a name and -- i think -- the comment system won't allow duplications. anyway, there are two Grandmas -- they and all the others are welcome here.

  • OSS has been deeply cut and understaffed for over a year. There are still some excellent workers there though.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Come on - teachers don't give a crap about CO workers. They're always crying about having the administration 'cut the fat' downtown, because of course we're not needed. They see us as a waste of money because we're so far from the classroom - but they forget that everyone needs a support staff to facilitate their work, even teachers. Teachers are perfectly happy to see us laid off every year, forced to take furloughs, work longer hours, and get no cost of living increase - then they complain when the phones are answered quickly enough downtown.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    As long as Flavia Hernandez makes that salary she makes..look at Dick Smith--yes, he is nice, but look at the salary and all the chiefs and more chiefs! None of them should make more than an assitant principal at the smallest school! Now there is equality! No area chief shold make more that the smallest school principal makes either. They all get a great pension too.

  • You took the job just to get out of the classroom-love the children...yeah right...couldn't wait to get away to enjoy your easy day...of course, we do not see your value because 80% of the "support staff" are incompetent, lazy and offer no solution to any school related issues. My students do well in spite of CPS BS...I am a veteran and I only give lip servie to CO...close my door and do what CO can not do and that is ..TEACH!

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Enjoy my easy day at central office?????? Really??????? You couldnt do what I do etiher so I guess we are even. But when teachers don't have paychecks deposited in their bank accounts, health insurance,school buses, textbooks, computers, Internet access, email, facilities construction, hearings, millions in grant funds given to schools, community schools programs, afterschool programs, sports, etc. you can all sit back and talk about how we did nothing. Good luck.

  • Well I am not surprised that many classroom teachers are upset at the deal offered them for a significantly longer day. In no way will a longer school day hurt low income students, but having been at the Board of Education yesterday and seen the illusions that the demonstrators calling for an immediate longer school day have in the outcomes improvement it will bring, this entire issue is degenerating. If low income parents think a longer school day will be a magic bullet that will get their children accepted into a top tier four year college, well I would advise that they think again.

    I personally know many CO workers and I do know that many put in long hours attempting to do what is now impossible with the staffing levels at the CO. I also know and have met with teachers who four days a week work an additional two hours a night grading and planning. These teachers often put in time on the weekends too. There are also unfortunately teachers that do the minimum of extra work, in some cases they do not care, and in other cases they have to raise children of their own and have time constraints.

    Teachers as a group know what type of family supports are necessary for their children to be successful and as a group are outstanding parents. I have represented teachers who have had children with disabilities against CPS who have tutored their own children for numerous hours and produced results that go far beyond what predictive testing data would indicate their children might achieve. I did the same thing for my own disabled daughter when I was teaching and parenting. I got very little sleep with grading papers from 10pm to 11:30 most nights.

    But CPS teachers have lost their legal right to bargain over the school day and year. They can wage a fight over how much they get paid for the additional time. The 2% offer is very low by any reasonable measure, but it could have been zero. Under the existing labor law as modified by SB7 I believe that any reasonable arbitrator will rule against CPS on this offer. But CPS does not have to follow what the arbitrator says and can force teachers to work the longer day even while it is under dispute. Teachers are effectively forced to call a strike vote and if it fails the CPS deal will effectively be imposed.

    SB7, like aspects of the law in Wisconsin is a very harsh law and it is meant to greatly weaken the CTU in particular. The CTU and its teachers need to strategically come to grips with SB7 and communicate that strategy to the membership. Teachers may have to make very major concessions in the face of SB7, and yes some teachers may walk away from teaching because of this. More than likely CPS will like that because it will reduce the cost of its workforce because more first year teachers can be hired at a lower cost.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    "The CTU and its teachers need to strategically come to grips with SB7 and communicate that strategy to the membership." I am interested in your thoughts about what it means to come to grips with SB7and what strategy might be productive and mitigate the damage done to teachers' bargaining rights by SB7. Do you think a strike is advisable or feasible?

    I agree that it will in no way hurt low income kids in violence fraught neighborhoods to stay in school an extra 90 minutes. It's not a great idea for kids in every neighborhood, though. There are lots of parents who manage their kids' after school lives and activities differently and would not necessarily welcome having their children in school an extra hour and a half, especially if the extra time is spent on more test prep or activities that they don't feel are as worthwhile as those they provide for their children. Not every family welcomes the schools taking on a larger role in raising their children.

    Personally, for me, it's never about the money, but rather about time. Family time is scarce and I resent being asked to have my children stay in school for a longer day while I also work a longer day. Extracurricular activities, family dinners, and homework are pushed too late, and it's altogether too much. The 2% suggested compensation is insulting, but even if it were a reasonable offer, it would not be worth it to me. I wonder, though, if it will be a choice at all.

  • In reply to cpsteachermom:

    I very much agree with you CTU mom. For me, I stay after and do an after school drams program that I love. Days when I'm not doing that, I'm after grading and planning. I hate to sacrifice a drama program the students love and get a lot out of for more time spent on reading. I also hate the idea of starting my 2 hours of after school work at 4:15 instead of 2:45. One of the reasons I became a teacher was to be able and spend time with my children. This setup will let me work for about $3 an hour and pay about $15 for somebody to watch them. It's not worth it to me and it wouldn't be worth it to me with a 15 or 20% raise.

    The only thing I disagree with is the safety of children in poor neighborhoods. I teach in one. If the two hours after children get let out of school are the most dangerous, will moving those two hours to when it's dark out in the winter make things better? I don't think so.

  • Unless he is a foolish negotiator, 90 minutes at 2% is an opening bargaining position. CTU needs to counter, unless they are foolish.

  • I'm sure CPS will counter. However, this "offer" came after CPS already ended negotiations with CTU and it was made on television. Yet another board publicity stunt.

  • In response to the question of what it means to come to grips with SB7 for the CTU in relation to the longer day and pay. It means the union must carefully understand how solid its base is in relation to the strike threat. It is my impression that the CPS does not believe that base is solid to the extent necessary to hit the 75%. Going out without having the legal majority is not an option because the union would be decertified or at least CPS would rapidly ask for decertification.

    So what is plan B if the membership is not solid on the idea of a strike after the long period of talking required by SB7. I think at that point the membership has to be polled on the best offer CPS makes, 2% or whatever. If that is rejected then the union will work the longer day without pay, because the law requires that. The CTU can keep trying to get a better deal but it will effectively be put in the situation that the FOP and Fire Dept union has been put into in the past. It could be a long wait for a deal.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, I totally agree with you that the teachers do not know what SB7 means and that is scary since Karen Lewis was on the committee. CTU has very little bargaining position here and my fear is that they will use it on the wrong things. They do not seem to see the future coming. Teachers may not like it but the landscape has changed. And like it or not, in the new contract CPS will fight for some sort of merit pay, eliminating steps and lanes, will reduce the time needed to fire bad teachers. Karen Lewis could fight for a system that fairly evaluates and rewards good teachers. She could fight for resources for teachers, she could fight for technology that would reduce the amount of time teachers have to work, she could fight for principals to have to observe teachers frequently, provide effective feedback and evaluate them on merit, not politics, She could fight for real professional development and mentoring. She could fight for meaningful career paths for teachers instead of treating everyone the same. She could do all of these things but she probably will not because she is stuck in the past and not the future.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    And CPS will count on the fact that you will want the raise for the longer school day more than you care about anything else . Just letting you know

  • I think people will be surprised at what the results of a strike vote will be. It is not something anybody wants, but at times it was necessary. At the HOD meeting I saw CORE and UPC members alike in agreement and that is something you never see.

  • Strike means that the children of CPS are used as pawns which is an outrage. If there is a strike, why not do what Regan did with the air traffic controlers a while back. Fire them all, let those who want to be re-hired and fill the remaining shortage with new hires. In this tough economy, I am sure there are smart motivated people to fill any shortage.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Granted, there are a lot of people out of work, but teachers--by law--will have to be replaced by other certified teachers with appropriate credentials for their placement. Not just anyone unemployed person can fill the job.

  • What tea leaves are you smoking? Reagan fired 11,000 air traffic controllers BECAUSE they had a federal no strike clause and they violated it. It took ten years to replace all of them.

    Stop spreading misinformation.

    We do not have a no strike clause. We can not be fired for going on strike.

    Parents need to start advocating for their children and stop letting the politicians use them as pawns. At my high achieving school children will be supervised by unknown entities (perhaps the previous poster would like to volunteer in an upper grade class) and sit in the same desk all day during the lunch/recess-the other 45 minutes will be spent doing what?

  • Teachers can only strike if they have 75% agreement from all teachers. If you strike anyway, you can be fired for job abandonment. Just letting you know.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Well, that just shows how important solidarity is, right? They won't fire 20 thousand of us.

    United we stand. The alternative is unthinkable.

  • CTU members, circle the wagons, it's on!

  • The Chicago Public School (CPS) system recently released its budget and must increase taxes to help ease deficits. One of the main reasons CPS is saying they will continue to have budget problems is because of employee pensions! The average Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF) retiree earns $42,000 per year after investing 28 years of service in the Chicago Public Schools. The assault on pension benefits misleads the public and ignores the real problem: CPS has knowingly neglected its responsibility to fund the CTPF for decades! In 1995, the CPS system had a financial crisis and the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund became a victim of its own sucess. At that time, CTPF enjoyed a funding level near 100% (now its about 66%), and the cash-strapped school system saw a opportunity. CPS appealed to the legislature and Illinois lawmakers agreed to permanently redirect CTPF pension tax revenue directly into CPS operating budget. During the period 1995-2005, CPS took in approximately $2 billion in pension tax revenue and paid $0 to the pension fund. CPS was required, due to years of underfunding, to finally begin making contributions to the fund in 2006. In the spring of 2010, CPS sought and received an additional $1.2 billion dollars in funding relief from the Illinois legislature as part of a three-year "pension reform" package. Since the package does not reduce the amount owed to the pension fund, the interest on the debt will eventually cost taxpayers an additional $12 billion over the next 50 years! Various pieces of "reform" legislation have been proposed, but they all fail to recognize the real solution: CPS mandated funding of the pension fund! The public continues to be deceived into believing that unaffordable benefits are the cause of our current dilemma.

  • The RP doesn't credit the source of this letter, so let me do so. It was written by Kevin Huber, the executive director of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. Fund members (teachers, administrators, and retirees) who haven't done so yet, should navigate to http://www.ctpf.org/ and sign-up to receive the newsletters and alerts.

  • Dear Danaidh, yes it is from Kevin who is a friend of mine.

  • Alexander Russo,

    Before you converted over to this new web page, the display name that I used was Grandma. However, now someone else is using this display name. I feel very concerned because other individuals that I know where aware that I used this name when making posts. Now someone else is using the display name that I used and is attacking someone about not getting a pay raise. I would never do this and am very concerned. This feels like identity theft to me!!!

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    sorry about the confusion and disappointment -- i've put a note next to the previous posts so that folks know -- you can do the same if there are other examples where you want your comments distinguished from the New Grandma's. You can also sign in using an email (even a throwaway one used just for commenting purposes) is that you get to pick a name and — i think — the comment system won’t allow duplications. .

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Thanks,

    My new display name is "Original Grandma.", since someone has registered my previous display name "Grandma" before I did.

  • You could take on the name Original Grandma.

  • Thanks,

    Since someone else has taken the display name that I have been using (Grandma) for the past several years on both District 299 & Chicago Catalyst, my new display name is "Original Grandma." Thanks for the suggestion Anonymous.

  • first--90 minutes was stupid to offer--it is too high--I know it is a negotiation tactic--but tactics stink. The time should have been set that let's say 50 minutes more a day --20 minutes woul be offered fpr teacher grade level-PD meeting time each day. Then give individual schools the right to take the 30 minutes and put it into the instructional day. The offer is mean and meant to push CTU to get 75% which Rahm is betting they cannot do. it's rahm's way or die. And as for clergy on the committee--they are lied to by CPS and what is sad it that they beleve. Some are bought like PUSH, who has a rev. on CPS paid by our tax dollars. How much $$$ comes from CPS tickets bought for the annual PUSH luncheon?

  • I love the wisdom of Original Grandma!

  • To the Retired Principal --what is the likely scenario / worst case scenario with our pension? I have a few years to go but after reading what the Chicago Civic Federation is recommending (that we now wait until age 67 to begin to collect benefits) would it be better if I leave this year? A reduced pension is better than waiting 13 years to get my first pension check. Can they, could they do this to those of us that are approaching retirement?

  • Dear Anonymous, I would make an appointment will the CTPF and go over your options with them.

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