Emanuel & Ogden Head On Hotseat

Today's news is dominated by Emanuel's town hall hotseat, the Ogden principal who traveled too much, and Karen Lewis' admission that there was going to be no strike this year.

At Emanuel budget forum, TIF question raises roof WBEZ: Nothing roused the crowd like the city’s 165 tax-increment-financing districts, which draw off half-a-billion property-tax dollars a year for economic development.

Chicago principal on carpet for credit card use Tribune: : A Chicago high school principal has been called on the carpet for allegedly charging nearly $17,000 on a district-issued credit card for travel to Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

CTU Chief Vows No Strike This School Year CNC: In an interview, she said the union will not open its contract with Chicago Public Schools and will continue working at least until the contract expires in June–after the school year ends.

ALSO: Wisconsin labor leaders offer backing to Chicago teachers on East Side NWTimes: But then the roughly 200 people who gathered outside an East Side neighborhood woman's home for a rally remembered their common enemy -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Museum passes offered to CPS students who attend first day of class Sun Times:  As an incentive to attend school, the Museum of Science and Industry will offer a family pass to every child in grades K-12 who attends the first day of classes.

Chicago school to expand Arabic offerings to district, community WBEZ:  Now, this school on Chicago’s South Side wants to create an Arabic language and culture center – for the school district and the community. As the principal at Lindblom says:  It’s all Arabic, all the time.

Pension fund suit claims CPS board shorted teachers Tribune:  The board that oversees the Chicago Public Schools teachers’ pension fund filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court today alleging that the Chicago Board of Education owes the fund about $32.5 million.

CPS teachers sue board over pension fund contribution Sun TImes:  The pension and retirement fund for Chicago teachers hit the Chicago Board of Education with a lawsuit Wednesday, alleging the district fell short of this year’s $198 million contribution.

Common Core standards tests starting this fall Catalyst: At least 30 schools will participate, according to the district. Applications are due Sept. 6.

Early childhood facility money up for grabs; up to $9 million for CPS Catalyst: By law, Chicago Public Schools must receive one-fifth of the money that is awarded each school year. That could be up to $9 million altogether or $5 million of the $25 million that will be allocated in the program’s first funding cycle.


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  • CTU has sacrificed power to negotiate because so many teachers are fearful, shortsighted and have stood for little. Over the past few years, thousands of union teachers have lost their careers as other teachers stood by saying, 'better them than me", and then wondering why class sizes keep increasing.

    Karen Lewis could do a great job; she is limited by the people she represents: pushover teachers.

    By January, teachers will be working an additional 45 to 90 (most likely 45 will be negotiated) minutes per day with little or no compensation. They will be required to submit detailed lesson plans for the extra minutes, but will not be given the necessary materials to implement the new mandate. Class sizes will increase to the max and beyond, as they already have. Local news will turn a blind eye, as they already do. Discipline problems will escalate; teachers will continue to routinely lose preparation-periods, be fearful of submitting grievances, be required to attend mind-numbing professional developments that spell out in specific diagnostically prescribed detail exactly how the extra minutes is to be implemented… I can guarantee, the additional workload will come without support. If, in the beginning, support is offered, it will soon fade to nothing. The city will claim another budget shortfall; teachers will collapse from exhaustion; columnists on the corporate dole will advance their attacks on teachers, and the general public will be reinforced to believe that even more privately managed schools are the only solution.

    Teachers are always yellow-bellied of public opinion, a fear equivalent to adolescent peer pressure; you can see and smell their fear in professional development and common planning meetings. Teacher need to disregard the agenda driven opinions of columnists paid to manufacture contempt for public school teachers. For too long, negative campaign strategies designed to shape attitudes to demonize teachers and union protections have been fashioned, packaged and sold by interests seeking to concentrate more power in the hands of a few; this will continue and grow worse if teachers fail to stand up for themselves.

    A strike should not even be in question; it should be a natural defensive reflex.

    Any normal group would defend their territory, but teachers are well-trained masochists, and the laughing stock of corporate America.

  • In reply to headache299:


  • fb_avatar
    In reply to headache299:

    Excellent!! Well-said! This should be printed and passed out to the union reps to pass out to all CPS teachers!

  • brizard call-in tonight, don't forget


  • Good Job

    A lot of what you say is correct. Just remember the union is suppose
    To fight for the collective good of teachers ,not the “ Children”.
    I can assure you if John Desmond or Jackie Vaughn were president
    There would be a donny brook . Raise enough hell and even the media will have
    To take notice. We should immediately disband the union. Hire the best lawyers
    In the country and declare SB7 null and void. Spring back as the Chicago Education
    Association and assume the high ground in matters of education.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Thanks RBusch for reminding us parents out here that when Karen Lewis and Jesse Sharkey argue that they are doing it "for the children" they are . . . ehem . . . selling you a bill of goods. That is not their motive, never was and never will be. . . but they won't tell you that. RBusch just did and we should honor him for his honesty.

  • In reply to Anonymous:


    Don’t forget that Union officers wear two hats, elected officials of a labor
    union, and teachers. I am sure they are sincere even passionate about children
    but they must be equally as focused on being union leaders.

  • Here's what I found strange: in the Wednesday, August 31 edition of the Tribune, James Janega wrote in “Trib Nation” that there were a “couple of noteworthy education stories” in that day's paper. One story he found noteworthy was about IL public school grads not achieving the high grades in state colleges that they got in high school. The other story was reported by Joel Hood concerning the new CPS curriculum that will be implemented by a few schools this year and implemented more widely, “along with a longer school day”, in the 2012-2013 school year.

    The education story that he did not find noteworthy was placed next to Hood's article and was about raises that were just approved for New Trier teachers.

    Here's the deal the New Trier teachers got, according to the article on p. 5: the New Trier Township High School District 203 board voted 6-1 to approve annual salary increases of 3.5%. The negotiations were “heated” at times, were conducted since January, and required a mediator starting in June. The article was titled “New Trier teachers get raises, longer year.” The “longer year”—get this—is one extra day of instruction per year.

    What a difficult concession.

    Meanwhile, there was no comparison between the New Trier District's deal for its teachers and the draconian proposal that is being forced upon CPS teachers by the Board under the disingenuous, tired old phrase “whatever it takes.” It's like teaching in Chicago is a whole other world and drastically different expectations apply.

    I worry that the endless drum beating for a longer school day, for which the Board has no plan (anyone listen to the WBEZ call-in show, Schools on the Line, tonight?), is going to be repeated so often that it seems inevitable and right. If you say something loud enough, long enough...

    I don't buy the lovely dream of the Raise Your Hand (RYH) folks that the longer school day will provide time for the kids to get frequent instruction in Music, Art, and PE, as well as recess. Where are those certified music, art, and gym teachers? Nah, it will be spent on worksheets, test prep...it will be a burden, an unsupported initiative, for classroom teachers to implement.

    What are the goals of the longer school day? To keep kids off the streets? To raise test scores? To provide enrichment? The goals are not defined.

    I want to know if anyone can comment on the feasibility of getting the necessary 75% strike vote. What was the percent of teachers voting to strike in 1987? The Board is betting on the union not being able to get 75%. Will they be right?

  • In reply to cpsteachermom:

    I don't know. We did a secret poll at our school and there was only one vote that would not support the union if it decided to strike. I think may teachers were able to live with a job that didn't garner much respect from people, because we do teach "for the kids." But teachers are a different breed when they are directly disrespected as has been the case ever since Rahm decided to use the words "our children are getting the shaft." Since then it's been a nonstop barrage of blatant and direct disrespect. I seriously believe that teachers have had enough and if things are going to be forced down our throats, a strike is not just a possibility, but a likelihood.

    And that's sad, because there is plenty of room for compromise and negotiation. Working an extra 30 minutes, adding a week by getting rid of report card pick-up and three inservice days, etc. But it seems that Rahm is actually more interested in the thrill of the fight than actual results.

  • In reply to cpsteachermom:

    I think that the New Trier township district 203 raise issue is a little more complex than is being discussed here. I recommend that people read the pioneer press article http://winnetka.suntimes.com/news/7374824-417/new-trier-teachers-formally-approve-new-contract.html While the deal averages 3.5 percent a year it is not a 3.5% raise for all teachers.

    Here is how it works: The increase is composed of a base salary increase of 0.65 percent and an average step increase of 2.3 percent in the first year. Some teachers get more than 2.3% and some get less. The teachers will be paid for one extra instruction day the first year, which equals 0.55 percent of their salary. The three factors combined equal to an average of 3.5 percent of all the teachers. The second year of the contract, the teachers’ base salary increases 0.75 percent, the step increase will average 2.2 percent but some teachers will get more and some less, and teachers will be paid an additional 0.55 percent for a second added day of instruction, for an average of 3.5 percent.

    The step and lane increases at New Trier work this way, teachers’ salary schedule gives them an automatic pay increase each year they work, before the raise set by their contract is applied. For teachers with a bachelor’s degree, the step pay hikes stop after nine years. For teachers with a master’s degree or advanced certification, the step increases stop after 20 years.

    According to the article I read this was New Trier's lowest salary increase in 20 years and one member of the school Board voted against the deal because he thought it was too high of a salary increase even with the additional school days that were part of the deal. The reason these teachers are able to get these raises is because of the property taxes people pay in Winnetka. The citizens who live in District 203 pay 92% of the costs for New Trier High School out of their property taxes and the district get very little federal or state money.

    CPS is very different, it gets only 49% of its revenue from local resources including property taxes, the majority of money comes from federal and state resources which are in decline. Residents of Winnetka take ownership for New Trier H.S. the richest residents of the Gold Coast in Chicago for the most part do not take similar owership of CPS and see it as the most part as education for other people's children. That is the difference to a big degree.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Thanks for the information regarding the New Trier district's funding and salary increases. I did not know anything about the district; I was commenting solely based on that short article I read the other day. I still think that it's telling that James Janega didn't find that education story “noteworthy”. The title of the article about New Trier, “New Trier teachers get raises, longer year”, while technically true to the outcome of those contract negotiations, seems a little misleading to me in light of the much longer day and longer year proposal for CPS.

    It seems to me, then, that even if you can't really fairly compare the deal for the New Trier teachers to the proposed deal for CPS teachers, there was a missed opportunity for discussion about the way the districts are funded, the 92% property taxes you mention for Winnetka supporting New Trier versus the 49% property taxes and other local local resources that support CPS.

    I wonder what it would look like for the richest residents of the Gold Coast to “take ownership” of CPS?

  • In reply to cpsteachermom:

    I think if Chicago's most wealthy families had a higher stake in public education in Chicago it would look somewhat different. There are very wealthy Chicagoans who are very involved in education at the policy level and some are on the CPS Board. But the majority are not and they have a very real interest in keeping their property taxes down.

    Chicago would not have numerous private schools for the more wealthy if that were not the case. These schools rage from the Lab, Parker and Latin, to the expanding British School. If one goes on these schools websites and look at what it cost to put a child from K-12 in these schools one realizes how much money we are talking about.

    A very wealthy family in Chicago that lives in a multi million dollar condo or stand alone home will pay far less in property taxes than would a similar property in Winnetka. Property taxes are basically flat taxes that do not in any way take into account the wealth of the owners, so middle class and lower middle class owners pay about the same rate based on the assessed value of the property as far more wealthy owners.

    Moreover, for those of us who have greater wealth borrowing big money for a home provides a tax shelter on income tax. I can assure anyone reading this that when property tax reform is discussed in the context of our state the discussion is not about taxing private homes of great value at much higher rates than those of low value. I can also assure you that the members of the CPS Board would never even think of progressive tax measures impacting the City's most wealthy residents. Not because they are bad people, but because they are for the most part representatives of a social class that has self interest in keeping things in terms of taxes the way they are.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    above should be range not rage sorry.

  • In reply to cpsteachermom:

    You really can't compare a current strike vote to the 1987 strike vote. The strike vote was pretty much a certainty so a lot of teachers didn't even bother to vote. This time around the numbers will be important. CTU runs the election and no outside organization or government body has a right to tell us how to run it. CTU will make sure that everybody and I mean everybody votes since not voting is the same as voting no. I'd expect that the vote will take about a week and involved delegates going around with a checklist until they have 100% participation. At my school, I would say it's about 80% for a strike now. for exactly the reasons loserboy said. Not giving teachers raises isn't such a big deal however, the way it was done is.

  • Crain's is reporting that Chicago workers are predicted to receive raises of 3% next year. Why can't CPS do the same for its employees?

  • ken--you sold your soul when you allowed them to raise that beautiful historic building and then sell out all those poor kids for a rich high school. karma ken karma.

  • Thanks "headache299" for remembering all of the teachers (tenured and newbies) who were laid off this summer. There doesn't seem to be as much hoopla about all the people who lost jobs as there was with last year's lay offs. I hope that doesn't mean the trend is getting easier or more acceptable. Don't think you won't be next.

  • On Chicago Tonight this week Mayor Rahm commented that teachers have been receiving two raises for the past eight years. One is referred to as the "Step" increase, not just the CTU raise that the CTU has been referring too when they agrily speak about in reference to the longer school day. With these to totals combined, What is the average increase overrall been for the past eight years? Just curious?

  • I can answer part of your question....if you have more than sixteen years your step increases stop...if you receive a masters you move from Lane 1 to Lane 2 and receive about $1,200 more a year ....my Lane changes stopped twenty years ago after my second masters'...I would have liked to go to the last lane which is the doctoral lane but when I found out it would cost $80,000 I nixed that idea...child's college tuition came first...

  • More Bull.

    Why in the name of anybody do we fall for this bullshit
    Year after year. It takes 16 years for a teacher to get their
    FULL PAY!!! .As if somebody in their fourth year isn’t
    working as hard as a 30 year vet. Why don’t we call the
    ignorant bastards out on this. Nobody I know of has to serve
    a 15 year apprentice except us.

  • If they do add 45 min to the high school day - will they "add" a class or lengthen the minutes of the classes?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Under SB7 CPS high schools could do it both ways if CPS allows them to. Let me explain. SB7 allows CPS to ban CTU from having any provisions in its contract on class size, school days, or the length of classes. Therefore if CPS wants to it can leave the issue of adding a class to the day or making periods longer in theory up to the principal and LSC.

    SB7 allows CPS not to have uniform rules on the length of school days too. For example CPS can now have schools that are not making AYP and are under the NCLB gun work one length of a school day and other schools that are making AYP work another. Up to now CPS has opted for uniformity, because it is easier. But under SB7 they do not have to. As I have said many, many times teachers are not grasping how SB7 changes everything.

    Rod Estvan

  • Thanks Rod. Yes, we haven't grasped it all. What I really cannot grasp is how so many Wall Street thieves can steal billions and then get a golden parachute. And yet the public is outraged that we only ask for what has been promised. When did teachers become the bad guys?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    When did teachers become the bad guys?
    When teachers and other municipal workers (cops, firemen, streets and san) began voting republican.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Don't even go there. The Democrats run this state, county, and city.

    What you should complain about is people who vote for whoever the Democrat candidate is--or in primaries--whoever is the incumbent.

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