Are Waiver Votes Union-Busting?

Today's news is dominated by the debate over the extended day proposal, which heated up over the weekend with an alleged cussing out from the Mayor and the ongoing dispute over how many schools have voted on the proposal:

Union claims many schools have voted 'no' to longer school day WBEZ:  Sherry Williams teaches third grade at Stagg Elementary, where she’s also the union delegate. "The teachers did take a vote on Wednesday morning. And the teachers voted not to be a part of the pilot program. They did vote 24 to 1. Twenty-four no, 1 yes."

City, Union Stories on Votes Conflict CNC: Principals at two other schools on the list, Phoebe A. Hearst Magnet School and Mann Elementary School, both said votes had not been taken at their schools.

Legal experts say union challenge may have merit Catalyst: “The whole principle of our collective bargaining system, both for private sector and public sector employees like these teachers, is that the union is the exclusive bargaining representative of all of them,” Mike Zimmer, a labor and employment law professor at Loyola University says.

Duncan's Bus Tour Ends In Chicago Amid Union Lawsuit HuffED: CTU representatives did not attend the Chicago event, nor did Illinois Federation of Teachers president Dan Montgomery. Montgomery was originally scheduled to sit on the SB7 panel with Duncan and Emanuel. He did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Teachers union president says Mayor Emanuel ‘exploded’ at her Sun Times: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis says Mayor Rahm Emanuel “exploded” at her during a conversation in his office about his signature longer-school-day effort, pointing his finger at her, yelling and telling her, “F--- you, Lewis.”

Going glove to glove with Mayor Emanuel Tribune (editorial): The woman who once promised a boxing match with Mayor Rahm Emanuel for the rights of teachers and the hearts of Chicago's public school children is getting up off the mat. Bullied and bludgeoned by weeks of intense public debate over a longer school day,...

Emanuel, CTU Must Come Together F0x (Renda): Mayor Rahm Emanuel and School Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard have not wasted any time in their first 100 days in office pushing forward major reform initiatives for the Chicago Public schools.

CTU, schools should unite on longer day Sun Times (editorial):  As veteran Schurz High School teacher Marilyn Weiss, who supports a longer day, told us: “Most teachers understand we have to lengthen the day but nothing done under coercion is going to work.”

Borders seller gives Chicago schools 8,000 books Tribune: A liquidation company participating in Borders Group's' going-out-of-business sales has donated about 8,000 to the Chicago Public Schools.

Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church opens new school building Sun Times:  The new building, with 18 classrooms, serves more than 250 students in preschool through sixth grade. As part of its operation, parents are asked to donate 20 hours of service over the course of a year.

Illinois Math and Science Academy celebrates 25 years Sun Times: Idea, imagination, meaning, inquiry, engagement. These words describe the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in its 25th year of teaching high school students from around Illinois who show promise in science, technology and mathematics.

Input on performance evaluation Illinois School News (PDF): The process is expected to generate evaluation models and training for their implementation. Local school districts “will work collaboratively” to decide what system is the best fit for them, according to the PEAC site, and PERA “will be phased in across Illinois between now and 2016.


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  • Well, either it is union busting or it isn't. The legislature should have just mandated the longer day effective this school year, but didn't have the guts to do so. Hence, one will have the running story at least for another year.

    On the other hand, the teachers made the big deal about reopening the contract and going on strike now if they didn't get the 4%, but it is now reported that they didn't. So, more sound and fury.

  • In reply to jack:

    jack writes: "The legislature should have just mandated the longer day effective this school year, but didn't have the guts to do so."

    Actually, they don't have the authority to do so. The CTU has a contract with the Board of Education through June 2012. The federal constitution prohibits states to "impair the obligation of contracts."

    As per Alex's question, "Are waiver votes Union busting?" the answer is no. Waiver votes are provided for in the collective bargaining agreement.

    What Rahm Emmanuel and JC Brizard are doing IS, however, union busting for the reasons cited by the CTU. Waiver proposals come from the principal at a local school; they should not be forced upon principals by CPS brass.

  • so even if there was no coersion or undue influence it would be a violation? that's what CTU (below) seems to be arguing:

    CEO Brizard and Mayor Emanuel have pushed for schools to take waiver votes to lengthen the school day by 90 minutes. So far, just four elementary schools (out of more than 450) voted to accept a one-time bonus in exchange for extending the school day. It is clear that contract rules were violated in order for CEO Brizard to accomplish this goal. That is why CTU urges you not to vote against a schedule waiver at your school. We've made a fact sheet for you to download and share with your colleagues.

    Traditionally, waivers have been used by individual schools to alter the CPS schedule to arrange for block scheduling, to bank professional development, or add professional development time. They have never been a method to change the entire CPS schedule.

    Why is CTU concerned?

    * CTU is not opposed to a longer school day; we are opposed to lengthening the day without a plan for how the extra time will be used.
    * Research does not support the idea that a longer day improves student outcomes.
    * The Board claimed that they had no money to pay for our 4% contractual raises, but have money for extended day incentives.

    What is wrong with the way waiver votes have been conducted?

    * We have evidence of many voting irregularities at the schools that voted for the waiver.
    * CPS has refused to observe past practice and allow our member 48 hours prior notification of a waiver vote. This time is necessary to allow people to think about their decision and discuss the issue comprehensively.
    * CPS allowed non-union members to participate in the waiver votes in violation of the contract and excluded others from voting who are union members.
    * Language in the actual waiver suggests that we would be waiving additional rights that are related to a longer school day. This opens the door to voiding other parts of the contract.

    All of these strong-arm tactics are contrary to good faith collective bargaining which only works when both sides discuss pertinent issues at the table.

    As we enter bargaining for our next contract, it's critical that both sides acknowledge and understand the importance of that process. If we all work together, we can win in the next contract: smaller class sizes, technological resources, art, science, music, recess, physical education, and other essential tools are guaranteed to our students.

    Click here to download a fact sheet and share it with your colleagues.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    If, by the first sentence, you are looking for a legal analysis of what happened, look at my posts on Chicago Political Commentary on this subject.

    As to whether it actually is, I would need the contract before me, as well as a transcript of the evidence. Since I have neither, I am not taking sides.

    As far as what CTU is arguing, I made the point there that the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board is the proper forum for that argument and any rebuttal.

  • brizard and lewis at UIC tomorrow night via tribune

  • Both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times newspapers reported the Mayor Rahm Emanuel yelled and cursed at Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis during a discussion about a longer school day. Karen Lewis said that Rahm Emanuel got up out of his chair, pointed his finger at her, yelling and telling her, "F---- you, Lewis and dropped other F-bombs." Lewis said, "I basically stood up and said "I was out of here."

  • chicago journal on the brown betrayal/vote

    anyone from there want to tell us what really happened?

  • More attempts of union busting happening at Pulaski International Academy today. Forcing vote without proper notification (48 hours) and threats by principal to take teacher breaks away. All this after the staff already extended day by 45 min.

  • Rahm and Co. are engaging in some of the oldest and most despicable of union-busting tactics.

    Read the following from the book (from a veritable Obi-wan/Yoda in the art of union smashing):


    by Martin Jay Levitt:(CAPS are mine)

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    "Union Busting #16

    "Favoritism and Division - Tactic #16



    "Whenever the union attempts to hold constructive meetings of potential union members, a group of anti-union employees may be sent by union busting consultants with instructions to disrupt the meeting and PUT THE UNION ON THE DEFENSIVE.

    "The anti-union employees might shout and sneer, or ask hostile, misleading questions. Some of them may be tasked with jotting down profuse notes whenever someone speaks to make pro-union workers uncomfortable.


    [39] Confessions of a Union Buster, Martin Jay Levitt, 1993, pages 3, 28, 30, and 102-103."

  • Pulaski staff refused to cave in to union busting ultimatum proposed by Emmanuel-puppet principal. In true Rahm-bo style defiance (his style is contagious) the puppet administrator declared that the vote casted today (under articles underwritten by CPS legal
    braintrust) was not final, but will be brought up again in the near future. Business as usual.

  • In reply to Maestro:

    does anyone have a copy of the tally sheet or a recording of the meeting? who's the union rep there, anyway?

  • Hot Rumor....staff at Field ordered, no voting was allowed, to work ninety extra minutes, teachers were told by unscrupulous principal that he had ten replacements for each of them....anyone at Field have a mouth? This site is anonymous....or call CTU.....

  • WHY has no one focused on the fact that all of the schools that have agreed to a longer day/year are either gifted (Skinner) or Magnet schools???!!!! These schools have well behaved students, parents are involved, and students want to learn. These are not your typical CPS schools! If I had a classroom full of gifted students that were well behaved, I wouldn't mind having a longer day. However, when you have a classroom full of 34 students all on various levels, special Ed students, bilingual students and students with major behavior issues (w zero assistance), asking for a longer day w no compensation is abusive. Resources have been cut, class sizes are on average 32 kids per room and no assistance. Taxes have been raised but yet the working conditions continue to deteriorate. Teachers are required to live in the city and thus our taxes went up but they don't want to pay us for longer days/year??

    At this rate, CPS will burn out teachers and ultimately get young first year teachers who last about a year or two. Who is going to suffer?

    Oh BTW, the latest school to agree to longer days is William brown school of technology. Yes another magnet school. In fact, this is the same school Apple used in their commercial showing the kindergarten classes using iPads in the classroom. Again, not your typical CPS school. So I wonder why the schools w the worst working conditions aren't jumping at this amazing offer. Pfft

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I tried to make this point a thousand times on the cpsobsessed website (filled with SE and magnet parents). No one even bothered to read it, I'm sure.

    All the resources AGAIN going to the magnets. Do they really need a longer day at some of the highest performing schools like Skinner?

    As a neighborhood mom I'm absolutely dismayed at the inequality in resources -- and no one saying "boo" about the supposedly (formerly) limited resources once AGAIN going to magnet schools. Don't they already have more teachers and smaller class sizes?


  • In reply to ydice:

    Ydice - You are right. Makes me want to get in Rham's face and spit "F*** you, Emanuel". But I wouldn't do that evah. He couldn't care less about the poor.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Chicken or egg?

  • Very good point...and how does Skinner have 15 teachers and only 100 children...when will the parents wake up to the fact that the neighborhood schools are getting the shaft...big time

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I believe Skinner North is now up to 200+ students, as each year they add a class of new students as the old ones move up.

  • Rahm will do anything to keep your eyes on the everyday work of CEO Brizard and team. Rahm swearing at Lewis shows what a piece of work you he is. My old man said that occurs is when you lost the argument. Rahm, you lost the argument and you show your *ss. My mom, who is in her 80's can't believe Rahm would lose it. Rahm shows his soul and it is a dark place!

  • Rahm, how about the 140 schools without school libraries! You got $150,000 TAX DOLLARS to bribe *ss kissing principals and teachers. Do the right thing Rahm. Give schools libraries and a librarian.

  • My principal and I discussed the language of Appendix C today. She states that Law Dept. Has waiver vote template. I state that Appendix C does not address who makes the ballot. She also believes that I do note have sole authority to call the vote - something which one CTU organizer said I did have and another that she did not know. She will ask Law dept. for their template and I'll ask Union for theirs wednesday. At least I am discussing this with my principal. We both agree that Appendix C is not clear on the initiation or the administration of the vote.

  • In reply to cklaus76:

    Dear cklaus76, Appendix C states, "The school principal shall meet with the faculty during the school day to discuss any proposal which may require a waiver from any provision of this Agreement. What does that mean, The faculty and principal will make the ballot together. If the principal doesn't take suggestions from the faculty, then vote the ballot down! Under no circumstances do you allow your faculty to vote on the waiver template prepared by the law department!.

  • In reply to cklaus76:

    Appendix C clearly states: "The procedures for conducting such a vote shall be mutually agreed upon between the principal and the school delegate."

    How you conduct the vote is between the principal and the Union Delegate, not the Law Department.

  • fb_avatar


    It is proposed that the Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Magnet Elementary School staff declared waived and superseded provisions the CTU collective bargaining agreement to enable:

    (1) teachers to receive a lump sum payment of $1,275.00, which is equivalent to 2% of the average teacher salary from September 28, 2011 to the end of the school year; and,

    (2) the adoption of the teacher school day schedule set forth above effective September 26, 2011.

    the staff declares waived and superseded the following provisions of the CTU collective bargaining agreement Articles 4-6 and 5-8 (regarding length of the school day and start and end times); 4-9 (regarding elementary early morning self-direct preparation times); 4-13 and 5-3 (regarding open/closed campus, and the length of teacher lunch): 4-13.1 (regarding open/closed campus and the length of teacher lunch); 15-8 (regarding librarian preparations); 44 -2 (regarding in services outside the contractual school day); 44-41A and B and Appendix A1-3H, except to the extent provided in paragraph 1 (regarding after school rates of pay) and any other provision of the CTU contract that is inconsistent with the proposal or the above described Teacher On-site Duty Schedule.

    The waiver shall be effective September 26, 2011 through the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

  • The reported threat by the principal of Pulaski International Academy to take away teachers’ breaks, assuming it is accurate, was I suspect not a tactic authorized by the CPS central office. But that nuance is of little meaning in the big picture of things. Once this current contract expires based on the language of SB7 that principal could actually have the legal power to remove preps for teachers whenever a teacher is needed to cover a classroom. Teachers could also be required to attend after school meeting called by a principal without compensation.

    As I have said before teachers are considered to be exempt employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). An exempt employee has virtually "no rights at all" under the FLSA overtime rules. About all an exempt employee is entitled to under the FLSA is to receive the full amount of the base salary in any work period during which s/he performs any work (less any permissible deductions). Nothing in the FLSA prohibits an employer from requiring exempt employees to "punch a clock," or work a particular schedule, or "make up" time lost due to absences. Nor does the FLSA limit the amount of work time an employer may require or expect from any employee, on any
 schedule. The law in Illinois relating to educational workers does not cover these issues.

    SB7 will ban the CTU from having any required bargaining rights in relation to how the workday is created and the basic laws in the school code and elsewhere relating to breaks, lunch time etc will apparently apply. CPS can bargain over these issues with the CTU if it chooses to do so, but it does not have to. All the CTU can legally do is bargain for wages based on the time the union believes teachers will be working, but that time may no longer fixed as in the past.

    As I have said before SB7 creates a bargaining nightmare for the CTU and this has not been explained at all to the members of the union by its leadership possibly because the union does not have a clear understanding itself.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    How will teacher use of FMLA leave be treated under thisc new law?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    The provisions of FMLA do not appear to be impacted by a worker being exempt under FLSA. For a better understanding I would recommend you look at which gives many policy letters that have been developed by the US Dept of Labor on FMLA and FLSA.

    Really the CTU needs to begin thinking about all of this and explaining it to teachers. Legally the union cannot go on strike to restore things removed by SB7, all the union can strike about now are money issues.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Dude, the union can strike about whatever they want. If the working condisitions are unreasonable, then we strike, legal or no. They can not fire 32,000 people.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Unfortunately striking over an area that teachers are legally prohibited from bargaining over does not require CPS to immediately fire all the strikers. What happens is that it creates the basis for de-certification of the union. Then teachers are ordered back to work. In that situation it is not likely that the vast majority of teachers will stay on strike unless there is really great support from the labor movement which we have not seen in this nation for a very long time. Do not even think about an illegal strike of teachers, you will have the air controlers PATCO stiuation all over again this time with teachers.

    Teachers can go on strike over the money they get paid or not paid for a longer day, but not over actions of the Illinois General Assembly and the law it passed. The CTU will be crushed if it attempted that and the union's leadership I think is smarter than that.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Dear Rod, you are right!

  • Dear CTU members, save your money now! There are 32,000 CTU members, and you will need 24,000 CTU members to vote yes to strike in the 2012-2013 school year! Mayor Rahm Emanuel is out to bust the union or at least control the union! CTU members, save yor money now!

  • disney 2 has agreed to the extended schedule, says CPS about the third-year school -- but not disney 1, far as i know.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Disney II Elementary School teachers approve a 90 minutes longer school day. That's 6 elementary schools out of 536 elementary schools that have approved the longer school day or 0.01119403 elementary schools! CPS, you only have 530 more elementary schools to go! Good luck!

  • I wonder what the racial and income demographics are for each of the schools that have voted to approve the waivers. Are there any schools with all-black and all-poor students among the group? I haven't seen anything about the demographics in the reporting.

  • here's the letter that brizard sent to principals, which looks pretty harmless to me -- anyone got emails or memos that are threatening or otherwise troubling?

    Longer School Day Pioneers Program Announcement
    To: Principals / CC: Chiefs of Schools

    Dear Principals,

    Today, Mayor Emanuel and I were very excited to announce the new Longer School Day Pioneers Program, which will provide schools that vote to add another 90 minutes of instructional time to their school day with funding and support needed to transition to a longer day to help both teachers and students get the tools they need to boost academic achievement.

    Last week, three schools – STEM Magnet School, Melody Elementary School and Skinner North Classical School – informed us of their intent to vote for a waiver that would add 90 minutes of instructional time to their school day. These schools all received the required 50% + 1 support of all voting teachers to extend their day. I felt strongly that we needed to provide support to both the teachers and these schools for making this very commendable choice to put their children first

    Like them, we pledge to support all elementary schools that choose to add 90 minutes of instructional needed to ensure students graduate college- and career-ready.

    As part of the pioneer program, we will provide teachers at pioneer elementary schools with a lump sum equal to 2 percent of the average teacher salary. In addition, we will provide schools with financial support to help transition to a longer day, which can be used to purchase technology, intervention programs that help targeted academic needs, or additional staffing positions used to provide students with enrichment classes including music, art, library and physical education. Schools that start in September will receive $150,000 and those that start in January will receive $75,000.

    Under the longer day model, students will be in school for an average of 450 minutes per day, up from 345 minutes per day under the current closed campus model. The longer school day will include:

    · 105 additional minutes that will move the average elementary school schedule to an 8:00 a.m. start time and 3:30 p.m. dismissal, although schools will have the flexibility to set their exact schedule.

    · Students will receive 390 instructional minutes, a full 90 minutes of additional instructional time beyond the 300 minutes required by the Illinois State Board of Education. For schools which are currently closed campus, students will receive an additional 82 minutes of instruction.

    · Students will have 45 minutes of time off to recharge for lunch and recess. A maximum 15 minutes of passing periods and breaks.

    · Teachers receive 60 minutes every day of prep or collaboration time.

    To learn more about the Longer School Day Pioneers Program, access our Press Release at and our Fact Sheet at

    If you are interested in learning more about the Longer School Day Pioneer Program, please contact your Chief of Schools.

    Thanks again for all that you do on behalf of our students.


    Jean-Claude Brizard

    Chicago Public Schools | CEO

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    CTU members, do not vote for a longer school day! This is only Rahm's attempt to bust the union!

  • Because a longer school day will not make a difference when principals/building staff cannot get things organized for the school year. Here it is - DAY SIX - of instruction. I have no permanent classroom, textbooks for only one of my three rooms, and no photocopied handouts designed to replace the textbooks that don't exist. (The photocopier is broken.) I'm ready to teach - they're not ready to have me teach.

  • This is reportedly the letter sent by Disney II principal to parents/guardians:

    Dear Disney II Families,

    Today the faculty of Disney II Magnet approved with overwhelming majority my proposal for adopting a longer school day and becoming part of the Chicago Public School’s Pioneer Program. We collectively demonstrated our strong commitment to work in the best interest of our students and school community. Here are our considerations:

    • Increase student achievement by providing sufficient learning time balanced with enrichment classes (Art, Technology, Music, and Physical Education)
    • Build upon our experience with the extended school day and potentially become a model for other schools in the city
    • Support the efforts of our families to sustain a longer school day through fundraising and grant writing

    In the past three years, we offered extended learning opportunities for our students and the results are proving that our efforts were successful. We also heard the voice of the parents, loud and clear, in support of the extended school day. Many families made direct donations, participated in fundraising, and worked endless volunteer hours. I wish to express my sincere gratitude for your continuous support.

    What does it mean moving forward?

    1. The new school schedule begins on September 26, 2011.
    2. The school day for students in KG-5 will be Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm.
    3. The extension of 45 min per day will be distributed as follows:
    -5 min will be added to the lunch period, increasing from 20 to 25 min
    -Additional time for special classes (Art, Music, Physical Education, Technology), increase
    from 240 min per week to 360 min per week.
    -Additional time will be added to the Tribes program (character education program)
    4. Morning and afternoon recess for Kindergarten students will be provided.

    As you all know, Disney II students have sufficient time in core curriculum areas such as literacy, mathematics, and science. It is our goal to provide more enrichment classes and activities focused on the social-emotional development of our students.

    I welcome your ideas and feedback regarding the school day. The parents from each grade level will be invited to “MORNINGS WITH ME”. This informal get together will give me a chance to personally connect with each family and get your feedback about the school day or any other topic.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Basically it appears that Disney II has been allowed to adopt what the CTU might call the smarter school day based on the waiver proposal without paying teachers a great deal for their additional time. Yet again CPS is out flanking the union.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Disney obviously has the financial support of its parents. Please note that the principal thanks parents for the their donations of both money and time. Most of the schools do not have parents with the financial resources and the time and/or the inclination to help increase the "social and emotional" development classes. This is really starting to bug me! It clearly shows the inequity of the programs and funding available to CPS students. The students in the lower performing schools in the poorer neighborhoods will get only more time in school, not any of the extras that will make for a much richer education. I want to scream at the unfairness of it!!!!

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Disney 2 is 50% white students. Very unusual for a CPS schoool. Don't know about income stats.

  • As a Disney II parent, I can confirm the authenticity of the letter. I can also confirm the overwhelming support the extended day has among the Disney II community. Disney II teachers are to be commended for doing the right thing and putting the needs of students ahead of labor union negotiating. Maybe this is one reason why Disney II is one of the most sought-after magnet schools in the city.

  • In reply to mrobertson718:

    Whose children (other than your own) do you put ahead of yourself?
    I'm just asking so I can commend you as well.

  • nash school makes 7 -- only 470 more to go, JC!

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Nash was forced. That school is ready to be shut down. The principal threatens staff etc!

    BIGGER PICTURE: why is it so difficult to see that this has nothing to do w the teachers or a longer day! The schools in the burbs have the same amount of instruction time but the day is longer due to a 1 hr lunch vs 20 min for CPS schools. Parker, Latin and Amshemet in Chgo have shorter days and a shorter school year yet their scores are amazing! Why? PARENTS!

    You can add on 5 hrs to the day but it won't make a difference bc when you have 1 teacher teaching 35 students w zero help, the majority of time will be spent on behavior management. Parents need to start taking responsibility!

    EVERY single school that has extended the day is either gifted or a magnet school. One must take a test in order to be accepted to these schools. Skinner has small class sizes and teach at average 1-2 grade levels above bc it's a gifted school. The magnet schools also have well behaved students. It doesn't take a genius to look at the school reports and demographics. White/Black, it doesn't matter bc all of the students at these schools, regardless of income, want to learn.

    Disney Magnet School will NEVER cave! They have veteran teachers there who will not cross the line. The principal is also the most hated principal in CPS. She's an absolute witch. This is what she gets in return for treating her staff like crap.

    Rahm needs to wake up and realize this will only fail. Will he see improvement in the schools that just extended the day? Of course! Will he see improvement at Nash? Not a chance!

    Has any school released daily teacher schedules showing how this "longer" day will be spent? If you add an hour for lunch vs 20 min, the day will match that of the suburbs.

    Another note, what happens when teachers have to leave when it's pitch dark come winter and drive home from these terrible neighborhoods? The teachers at Nash leave when the students do. Why? Spend a day at that school or walk around the neighborhood. Not a place you want to be at dusk.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Where to start with what's wrong here?

    How 'bout teachers and CTU wise up and not argue about the length of the school day. It's pretty conclusive that CPS has significantly less time than other school districts, whether it's 30, 45 or 90 minutes is beside the point. When it is mulitplied by CPS' significantly fewer student attendance days, kids are getting shorted a significant amount of instructional time. CTU and teachers look foolish trying to argue differently.

    Second, CPS schedule for teachersis really only committing them to be at the school 40 more minutes than normal and still under 8 hours (I know they work countless hours outside but we're talking about how many hours at schools).

    Third, teachers as group are not well-advised to count hours. It makes me look unprofessonal. There are winning arguments that teachers can make about what they should be doing during the longer school adn what they should be paid, but arguing it as they are hourly employees is not smart.

    Fourth, everybody gets that teachers have strongly held views about this and they disagree amongst each other. The general public likes those teachers who are all for the longer school day and willing to make sacrifices to do it. The scary-crazy teachers fighting for some principle just look scary-crazy and their principle gets lost. And, sending out union folks to scare, bully tor berate teachers who may disagree is probably a bad decision that may ultimately backfire.

    It would be far better, I think, for teachers as a group to say look, I recognize that this is good thing, it's going to mean more work for me both during and after school, and I am just looking for fair compensation, a respectful ear to some of my other concerns and a bow to my professional expertise in how to best do this.

    Imagine how the public might feel then.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Translation: blah, blah, blah, blah, give Rahm what he wants, and hold out your hat and hope for pity.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Maybe that will happen when I begin to feel that I am being treated as a professional. For far too long, as a teacher I have been made to feel that my thoughts, ideas, and opinions are of no consequence. In the last few years, I have been harangued and demoralized. I have been told that no matter what I do, it's just not good enough. The blame for my students not achieving on the eight tests that I had to administer to my students was solely on me, not the lousy instructional strategies and programs that I am mandated to use by people who have never worked with my students and probably haven't been in a real classroom in years or left one after three years or the time I was forced to take away from actual instruction to "prepare" my students for these tests. Maybe when the members of the Board or Emmanuel take a day and do my job in a school in Englewood or the west side, maybe, just maybe, I'll wise up!
    I think maybe you ought to remember the old saying, give an inch, they'll take a mile.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I am sorry you are demoralized. But I think you may be blaming the wrong folks here. Look at your union and the utterly incompetent folks who have been leading it for many years -- I am going back at least to Lynch and all the way up to Lewis.

    There should be tons of common ground between CTU and CPS. IEA and other IFT affiliates manage to have really constructive relationships with their school boards. They because they appear to share a common value system: they are not going to fight to the death to save an inept or abusive teacher; they are going to work to together on improving schools for students. CTU is a completely different animal and its leadership is completely tone deaf to the public mood.

    Look at Lewis on participating in the longer school committee that CPS put together. Here they trying to hear her voice on something important and she flips them the bird and acts like some sullen teenager (they all hate me so I'm not going). How can anyone respect that?

    I think you might want to reflect inwardly before attacking outwardly. Despite its self-serving polling, the public mistrusts your union . . . alot.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    The union is being outflanked on this one but it is not fair to accuse theunion of not wanting peace. Emanuel came in to office and campaigned bashing teachers, not just the union. When scores were released by the state and cps scores increased there was no pat on the back or thanks to our great teachers. They used it as a political football to argue for a longer school day by saying that scores were not a good enough improvement and that the explore test, a test mind you that is given to 8th graders and presented as a test to give them a path to high school by helping decide what classes they should take, and NOT as a high stakes test.

    We have been demoralized by the current cps leadership, and that has been their goal. Our union is very knee jerk reactionary and much like they were not prepared for sb 7 they dropped the ball on this as well. It should not take eric zorn's blog to set up the ctu's talking points. I was told that a pr firm was hired, but the only change I saw was sharkey on tv instead of lewis. So yes our union is mistrusted partly due to blunders but also remember that ever since waiting for superman teachers unions have been portrayed as the enemy to better schools. It has been a propaganda campaign on the part of so called reformers who care little for the kids and more for their own ambition and political gains.

    So yes we have been demoralized and we have every right to feel that way. It used to be an honored occupation, but now teaching is not that job anymore. This is of no fault of the teachers which is why we feel this way. We have no confidence in cps leadership and little confidence in ctu leadership. Democrats have been the main supporters of teachers but now with sb 7 and emanuel who is supposed to be some great liberal, are the ones making us the scapegoat. You bet we are demoralized, but guess what? We still come to work and do our jobs and bring our scores up, no matter what excuse cps uses to pour cold water on the successes of teachers.

  • Disney 2 parents have been paying for a longer school day for at least the past two years. This isn't a major big deal for the administration or parents but now all the tax payers get to pay for Disney's longer school year. Smart principal , uninformed JC and Rahm.
    By the way how is the Board footing the bill for the 2 % down payments and $100,000 per school? At this rate there will have to be another tax increase. Or are the accountants going to find a $$multi- million dollar surplus? Plus we all know the schools have lost teachers but the CO seems to be intact. No decrease in upper management and lots of consultants on payroll, Why?
    I think as a tax payer that should be our first question and then figure out how to implement a longer school day. This method will only promotoe more inequity in the schools. Unless you can define a purpose for more time what is the point ? Warehousing kids ? How about using that money to givie more quality instruction or establishing a real After School program in our schools? Parents who can pay would do it and those who can't well lets use the accountant's surplus. Otherwise we are just adding time. Time wasted without a purpose will produce no magic test scores.

  • Let's focus on reducing class size to, say, 25, rather than school day. Thxat swouldv make teachers happy and probably improve education. That's a daren

  • here's my response to the zorn column saying that CTU is confusing and embarrassing everyone -- true enough, but there's enough embarrassment to go around

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