CTU Rally Shows Strength, Desperation?

Today's education news is full of coverage of the CTU rally yesterday, plus some of the decisions made by the Board at its monthly meeting.  What to make of the rally?  I'm not sure. It obviously seemed to go off well, and the coverage was wall to wall. It was a big "get" for CTU to get AFT head Randi Weingarten to appear, and to have the Mayor agree that teachers deserve a raise.  Like I wrote yesterday, City Hall and the Board appear to be at least a little worried about the possibility of a successful strike vote.

CPS teachers fill union rally with anger toward mayor Chicago Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel bore the brunt of criticism from angry teachers who filled the Auditorium Theatre on Wednesday to make clear their unhappiness with the administration's efforts to overhaul public education in Chicago.

Teachers give latest contract offer failing grade Medill:  Members of the Chicago Teachers Union didn't use their inside voices at Wednesday's rally. Reporters Meghan Schiller and Simone Del Rosario hopped aboard a school bus full of frustrated teachers.

CTU shows strength at rally Catalyst:  Weingarten said that she had just come from a conference on labor-management collaboration an hour away where 100 districts were represented. “But here in the second city of America, we have to rally to even be heard,” she said. “I will come back every time you need me.”

Thousands of Chicago teachers rally downtown WBEZ: Chicago Public Schools teachers jammed the streets of downtown Chicago Wednesday afternoon, where their union held a rousing rally. The show of force comes as the Chicago Teachers Union and school district are locked in contract negotiations, and as a vote authorizing a strike seems increasingly likely.

Angry teachers rally despite Mayor Emanuel saying they deserve raise Sun Times:  As thousands of Chicago Public Schools teachers rallied against the district’s latest contract offer, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday said they should get a pay raise. “Chicago teachers deserve a pay raise,” Emanuel said. “They work very hard. Chicago school children do not deserve a strike. We are working with an independent arbitrator” to accomplish both.

School reform groups urge no strike for Chicago Tribune: Stand for Children, an Oregon-based education reform group that helped pass legislation last year that makes it harder for the Chicago Teachers Union to strike, today joined another reform-driven organization from out of town to urge the union and Chicago Public Schools to continue negotiating and put aside talk of a strike.


Chicago Public Schools to hire education advisor at $21,500 a month Sun Times:  Barbara Byrd-Bennett, former Cleveland public schools CEO, was hired Wednesday to advise Chicago school officials while they do a national search for a chief education officer.

DePaul, Loyola to partner with 2 Chicago high schools Sun Times:  Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s efforts to provide high school alternatives to stop middle-class families from fleeing to the suburbs got a boost Wednesday with the announcement of new parnterships with DePaul University and Loyola University.

Community groups get their wish for South Shore, Brighton Park schools Catalyst:  South Shore International College Prep will have no neighborhood boundaries, starting in September. Meanwhile, a new elementary school at 48th and Rockwell will be reserved for attendance-area students.

High school hopes to change image two years after beating death WBEZ:  In recent years, Chicago Public Schools has opened a number of new selective, magnet and charter high schools. Those schools pull kids away from their neighborhood schools, like Fenger. Neighborhood schools can become underenrolled and could face ...

The prosecutor rests Sun Times:  “Jennifer is a Chicago Public Schools teacher who is on maternity leave. Pat doesn't want to leave Chicago. Not now. Chicago is his home. Both his parents are dead, and he loves having family close.”


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  • Alex, care to elaborate on how CTU appeared desperate yesterday?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Eh. He's a blogger.

    He's got to do what he can to pull in viewers and rile up current or new readers through "controversy" to boost hits.

    Standard practice.

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    Yes Indeed Alex,

    Please elaborate. Hopefully, this is the first round of "rallying the troops" in advance of a strike vote. In fact, I'd liek to see the "plan" to make sure that EVERY teacher understands that they must vote - even if it is no - becasue not voting equals no anyway! I think we'll see a lot of back peddling fromt the Mayro between now and summer vacation/strike vote. It won't be genuine, just rhetoric to try to distract the process just enought to try to get enough teachers not to vote thinking that the mayor is finally listening.

    ATTENTION TEACHERS - the ONLY way the Mayor will listen is if a strike vote is authorized. Get to your 75%. Then the things he says might be genuine. Until then DON'T BELIEVE A THING HE SAYS!

  • What does it take for the far southside, southwest and west sides to get some love?

    "Emanuel said the partnerships with DePaul and Loyola are two more pieces of the puzzle aimed at stopping middle-class flight." Benefits Lake View and Senn high schools.

  • that's right -- pay no attention to the blogger behind the curtain.

    there's like five news stories to read covering the event, plus whatever else you read or experienced (if you were there).

    i also noted some key accomplishments from the event, if you read past the headline.


  • I'll tell you what it shows. It shows that arrogance and greed is more important to these union thugs than is teaching kids. They should have been at their jobs not parading around town like aging hippies.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Your comment is very wrong on so many levels. Teachers are NOT greedy, they are just tired of being walked all over and treated with nothing but disrespect! As for your comment "they should have been at their jobs not parading around town like hippies",they did this rally on their OWN time!! It is the teachers and ONLY the teachers that care about the kids and their education. If not for the teachers you would not have the benefits of all the advanced technology you enjoy today!!

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    You are wrong wrong wrong, thats why I wrote this song...

    Dude. If your job cam to you and said "Hey Publisforrum, we are going to ask you and your mustache to start coming in every Saturday for the who next year, and even though you are the expert in your field, we are going to set up measures that are counter productive to your ability to do your job. And not only are you not going to get more money for this, but you are really going to take a pay cut because we are going to increase all of your benefit responsibilities." That is what is happening. And if you took that standing up, then you don't deserve the mustache you so proudly wear. If you think I am going to apologize and take it because I am a government or state employee, you are totally wrong. I have a duty to fight for a decent wage, solid health care, and a work environment that treats me like a professional, not one that insults me by saying "I know what the teachers got, but what did the students get?" You know what they got? They got me staying here from 7:00 AM - 6:00 P.M. 2/3 of the year, while spending my weekends lesson planning and grading.
    What does your job get from you, other than that awesome mustache?

  • In reply to FrankThompson:

    Uh..dude, welcome to the real world.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    It seems another member of the Tea Party has escaped from the asylum.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Rahm is the bully! Sorry for your lack of apparent understanding of the issue facing public education in Chicago. Your total lack of knowledge is exhibited by placing the problem on teachers. The CTU Union does not make educational policy nor prioritize where money should go. The buck stops at the top bucko! You know that! I think you should be asking Rahm the Grinch, on his renewing contracts with food vendors, who had no problem bribing CPS Administrators! As a taxpayer, I think you would be outraged at Rahm and CEO Jean "Fraud" on how they are WASTING a lot of money on unproven methods which have no basis in qualitative research data. Before you comment again, please do some homework on the issue before you just parrot Fox News!

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Well I am sorry you missed the 60's.We are aging Hippies but
    yesterday we went back to a place we never should have left.
    Despite the idiotic picture of a few of the thousands that marched
    in the Sun Times today it felt good to be back on the street.
    If all reports are correct the number of teachers who marched
    is only slightly more than those checking out in June.This is there last
    roundup.I just hope a strike vote is taken before then

  • Well, the great teachers were blocking vehicle traffic yesterday, one more thing, in addition to obscenely high property taxes, to endear them to the great unwashed schlubs who work 12 months per year for less money and fewer benefits.

    How much is enough, teachers? Is Karen Lewis' demand of 30% too small? Just how much do you want?

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    First off, your perception of the whole teaching profession is all wrong. Yes, part of your taxes goes to pay the teachers, and to upgrade the schools, but again, it is the teachers who are with your kids and teaching them every day!

    As far as asking for a 30% raise, All Karen Lewis is asking for is for teachers to paid for the extra amount of time that they will be teaching with the longer school day coming at the beginning of the next school year, and I would say that is fair! The teachers were suppose to get a 4% raise this year but that was snatched away saying there was no money. But then consequently there was enough money to bribe some schools to work a longer day this year! Where did that money miraculously come from out of the blue when there was supposedly NO money?? You have to look at it from a teachers point of view.

  • In reply to fedup:

    First, sentencing the kids to more of the same dismal failure is torture in the first degree.

    Second, most public school teachers are making double what the parents of the children they teach.

    Part of my property taxes? How bout the majority of the property taxes.

    You have to look at it from my point of view. Your pensions are not funded, and that shortage is going to pushed back to the local districts. The result, higher property taxes. You want 30% more pay? Where is that going to come from?
    Do you think it is any accident that a good percentage of people are being forced out of their houses because of ever increasing taxes?

    The well is dry. If teaching ain't going to cut it, maybe a new profession is in order?

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Here is the reality of the situation. The board wants teachers to work a longer day and thinks that teachers should accept a 2% raise for the first year and NOTHING after that. I am sorry, I am not sure what profession you are in, but how would you feel if your employer told you that you were going to have to put in alot of extra hours of work, but you would not be compensated for it, or your compensation would be very little???

    I myself am not a teacher, my husband it a teacher. He works very hard. In fact he NEVER has any time for himself at all!! He gets to work in the morning at 6:30 and does not leave work until usually after 2:30 or 3:00. He then gets home only to work another 3 to 4 hours on grading papers, calling parents, doing lessons and so forth. Yes, that is part of a teachers job and I respect that. But it is ALOT of work.

    Most people out there work their 9 to5 job and come home and the rest of the day is theirs as well as their weekends. NOT for the teacher. I do realize that there is supposedly no money, but I thought the lottery was suppose to fund the schools, but now I heard it all goes into a general fund and schools get a very tiny portion of it only. I agree that the property taxes are ridiculous. Our property taxes just went up, yet our property value went down. Dont blame all of this on the teachers, the blame falls on the people who are running things!

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    In reply to Richard Davis:

    If you even live in the city, it is highly unlikely that a majority of your property taxes are going to education at all, and about a third of that small portion are going to teacher compensation.

    If you live in a large TIF district, a good chunk of your tax contribution is going into the mayor's TIF slush fund. A fund that just paid out another $35 million in handouts to construction companies again on Wednesday.

    We also don't receive social security even though many of us paid into it. Instead we were promised a modest pension that legislators raided and broke the promise.

    Whether or not you believe in left or right politics, surely you believe in keeping promises?

    If you are asked to provide substantially more work on a new contract, you would expect more pay, correct?

    If you were an expert at a job, you would expect that the people who were contracting you would discuss with you the best way to complete the job and not do random uninformed decisions and hold you responsible.

  • I was there... after I satisfied my contractually agreed upon hours for the day. This is unlike the vast majority of work days when I arrive at 6am and do not leave the building until 5 or 6pm, and when I leave I teach homebound children at their homes.

    I work 12 months out of the year. The 9 months I work for the board, I am forced to give up a portion of each paycheck for the City to hold (and lean against) only to have it given back to me during the weeks and months when I do not work for the board.

    I understand that I remain under-paid as a professional and that my specific working conditions (impoverished urban neighborhood school) has similar, if not higher, attrition rates than almost every professional endeavor. I also understand that my position is generally agreed to, and proven through research and experience, be a very difficult thing to do.

    I understand that I am bound by my certification, unable to switch locations and employers as others do in the private sector. I understand this to be a fair trade-off for the honor of teaching our nation's next generation of leaders and addressing the inequalities handed down to us by our forefathers.

    Despite all this, I understand my current (inadequate) compensation and benefits are the result of years of organizing and negotiating, and I accept that. Further, I understand that I have a responsibility to organize and protect the profession, the city, the schools, the children, and the future of our nation against the political demogoguery that mark our electoral system or funding cuts resulting from temporary economic constraints placed on society and government.


  • In reply to FSS CPS Teacher:

    Well said.

  • In reply to FSS CPS Teacher:

    from kjl: "Yesterday was one of the proudest days of my life. As I gazed upon a sea of red, our union members’ unity and determination inspired me both in the Auditorium Theatre and on the streets of our city. I hope you were one of the thousands of CTU members who took part in yesterday’s show of strength and that you took that sense of power back to your school today to share it with those who could not join us.

    Many members share responsibility for yesterday’s accomplishment through their hard work and dedication to our union. Another group of people also bears responsibility for educators’ determination to fight, but they should not feel any pride in that role.

    The Chicago Board of Education and CEO Brizard have made a series of unjust and degrading decisions over the past year, about which our members consistently express to me their outrage. From canceling our raises, to jacking up our workload, to injecting student test scores into our proposed evaluation and pay formulas, to closing and privatizing our schools, it is no wonder Chicago’s teachers, clinicians, and PSRPs are determined to fight. The Board’s contract proposals simply add insult to injury.

    We know that we’ll need unity to win our just due and to fight for the Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve. We’ll also need to be active on all fronts. Right now, legislators need to hear from you about HB4277, which would divert neighborhood school resources to charters. Click here to read more and call your representative.

    Yesterday was the beginning of a historic struggle for the soul of public education. We have proven we are up to the challenge that faces us. Now we must each do our part to meet that challenge."

  • I've been a city-wide clinician for nearly 20 years and this was possibly my proudest day. Years of getting beat-up by the media and constantly explaining to friends and family the difficulties of the job really started taking its toll. Yesterday it felt wonderful marching with my fellow teachers, our heads held high, down the middle of the street getting thumbs-up from the people along the way including the police. I always felt the Union's use of "sisters & brothers" was corny, but not yesterday because I felt it. To answer the question, the CTU rally showed strength and was a success!

  • That salary just approved by the board for Barbara Byrd-Bennett is absolutley obscene. Since she has been working since November, why not go ahead and tell us what her pay has been up to now?

  • the elgin charter where kids farm the land and grow chickens? sorta


  • good comments -- here's something from Rich Miller's Capitol Fax.com - Bullying bill comes up short http://ow.ly/b8uzr

  • oops. missed this tribune editorial and then got distracted from posting it at lunch

    CPS teachers: Don't vote yet on strike vote - Tribune editorial http://ow.ly/b8vqJ

  • wow this is intense and depressing
    Get out: A father and former CPS teacher on why he took his son out of CPS and moved to Indiana http://ow.ly/b8xsY

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Faren D'Abell article was of course correct about the overall performance statistics of both the CPS charter schools he cited and traditional high schools. Going to Indiana as an escape from Chicago probably isn't the best choice, even though it appeared his child is going to one of the better schools in that relatively poor state. Indiana is in the process of vouchering off public education and is a race to the bottom in taxes needed to support public education.

    Mr. D'Abell is leaving one state with a collapsing fiscal structure for another. Because he is an education administrator he will soon enough experience Indiana's version of fiscal collapse under Republican rule, which I assure you will be even more harsh than what is taking place in Illinois. But I can't blame him for wanting to try to find an escape for what he was experiencing in Chicago both as an educator and a parent of an African American child who is not one of the lucky highly academically talented students to get access to the best CPS schools.

    Rod Estvan

  • hmmm Did Rahm get his education ideas from Mitt Romney or Rom from Rahm? Class size does not matter!!!! How dumb is that!

  • The rally and march were awesome, and it was all people could talk about today at school. The crowds were energized Wednesday evening, and they took that energy to their schools on Thursday. It will catch on, and we will move the membership to stand up for our profession and for the education of the children and youth of this city.

    Kudos to the Lewis/Sharkey administration. It must have been an enormous job planning and implementing this event, and it went off without a hitch.

    Alex's headline is indeed true. The CTU rally shows our strength. And desperation? That's what the mayor, his puppet CEO, and his appointed Board of Education must be feeling now knowing that they have awoken a sleeping giant.

  • When a woman at work told me that CPS hired a woman for $21,500 a month I argued that it could not possibly be true. I am in shock! How do I get that job?

  • How do you get that job? Two words: Broad Foundation

  • who do you scr-w to get the at job? answer the Union!

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