Straw Poll On Teacher Strike

Today's education news will likely be dominated by the news that CTU polled its members last night about a pro-active strike vote, but there's other news including lackluster science results for IL and the rest of the country.  Oh, and did you hear that Arne Duncan joined Joe Biden in voicing his support for same sex marriage and that the President followed suit a couple of days later?

CTU conducts a poll as a test run to a strike vote Tribune:  The Chicago Teachers Union polled its 25,000 members Thursday on questions involving the school board as part of what one official called a "dry run" for a potential strike vote. The union said poll results would be out Friday.

Illinois 8th graders stuck below national average in science tests Sun Times:  Despite increased national calls to step up the focus on science, Illinois’ average eighth grade science scores were stagnant and stuck below the national average, results of the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress released Thursday showed.

Teachers honored with Golden Apples WBEZ:  Ten Chicago-area teachers got tapped as the best of the best this week by the Golden Apple Foundation.Monique Blakes started crying as Mayor Rahm Emanuel stepped into her first grade classroom Thursday morning.He was followed by some of her colleagues and family, including her sister, aunt and three

Emanuel’s favorite teacher remembers young Rahm: ‘He was smart, he was curious’ Sun Times: A self-proclaimed history buff, Mayor Rahm Emanuel credits his interest in history to his favorite teacher of all time — New Trier West High School history teacher Larry Grote.

Teens charged with pelting cars with rocks on Skyway Sun Times:  Police worked with Chicago Public Schools and “developed information [that] implicated two CPS students as the individuals involved,” police said in statement.

Charter funding bill not yet a done deal Catalyst:  Advocates for charter schools sought to reinforce Burke’s fairness argument. Opponents pointed out that neighborhood schools already suffer from lack of funding, a situation that would worsen if the bill becomes law.

Comings & Goings Catalyst:  Sandra P. Guthman, Nikki Will Stein,  Jay Tavis, Butch Trusty, Jason Quiara, Warren Chapman, & more.

What Chicagoans really think about school reform Catalyst: A new report, "Community Response to School Reform in Chicago: Opportunities for Local Stakeholder Engagement," from Public Agenda collected the insights of Chicago parents, public school teachers and school reform thought leaders to track community wide response to school reform in Chicago.

Editorial: Hands off school money Sun Times: Davis said she stopped paying rent because CPS didn’t send her a new lease, though she asked for one. Maybe she didn’t notice that as long ago as 2002, CPS sent her a letter saying it expected her to vacate the building if she wasn’t going to pay the rent.

The chicken that flew from Chicago to Capitol Hill Washington Post:  High school students from the Chicago Vocational Career Academy got to serve samples of their oven “fried” chicken on Capitol Hill this afternoon — an award-winning example of the healthful food that Chicago’s public-school elementary and secondary students have been enjoying since November 2011.



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  • Did you see Brizard's letter to teachers today in the Sun Times? NOW THAT HIS JOB IS ON THE LINE (Read, we are winning) AND HE OR HIS OVERSEER CAN'T BEAT US INTO SUBMISSION, he wants us to know he cares! He says he is now our advocate. Really? First, we all know Brizard is not in charge. Care all you want, Puppetmaster Emanuel isn't going to allow you to ADVOCATE. Second, do you really feel our struggle? Are you really our advocate? Or, is the $250K salary, bonus for god knows what, free car and chauffeur and all the free meals too good to have taken away for you being incompetent? TOO LITTLE TOO LATE BRIZARD, THIS LETTER MIGHT HAVE WORKED IF DATED MAY 10, 2011. Pack it up and go back to Brooklyn. You are done! 90 days max.

  • I find these hateful comments really disturbing. Notbuyingit needs a time out. I read that letter and felt it was genuine. But what I'm not buying is that the CTU is just "testing the waters" on how the strike "procedure" may go by hosting this vote with its teachers. Call a spade a spade. The CTU is getting ready for a strike. God help us.

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    Genuine?????????????? Are you sure, remember when Jean-Fraud stated that he "doesn't care about adults (i.e. CPS staff) but only children." He wanted to play hard ball and the result was galvanizing the CTU. I cannot fathom how you would be persuaded by his specious rhetoric.

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    Please watch this video. It is from February 2011. RTA president Adam Urbanski addresses the Rochester NY, school board. He reads the resolution drafted by the teacher's union after a "no confidence vote was taken. Tell me, please, anyone is he (JCB) not doing they same shenanigans here at CPS that he did in Rochester. Karen Lewis can reread this very speech (only ammend the legnth of his tenure) to the CPS board and it would fit. I know it's 7 minutes long, but it is worth every millisecond of your time.

  • In reply to Maestro:

    If the link does not work. Search "94.6 no confidence vote Jean Claude Brizard" on YouTube.

  • In reply to Maestro:

    Maestro – great video – everyone should see it – everyone should have seen it before he got here!
    94.6% No Confidence Vote in Jean Claude Brizard.

    More easily accessed at

    here is even more:

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Just watched it and it seems Jean-Fraud has failed to learn his lessons. Much like Professor Harold Hill, he just takes his scheme from one town to another. The scam isn't working so well here because it took the CTU just a few months the discover who this con-artist really was, where in Rochester, Jean-Fraud was able to keep it going for nearly three years.

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    Does everyone else just assume posts like this are not made by actual teachers? With 90%+ voting "yes", you just don't sound like anyone I've ever met in a school.

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    299ReformMinded, are you being serious? Let's tone down the "hate" and let me ask you a few questions since you position yourself as the only thoughtful level headed person on this blog.
    1. Do you work at a school, central office or other?
    2. Have you ever worked in a Chicago Public Schools as a teacher or administrator?
    3. Are you a direct report or in fact one of the following people: Becky Carroll, Beth Swanson, Alicia Winckler, David Vitale JC Brizard or Bob Boik? (I find it suspicious that you are actively commenting just as soon as the wheels start coming off the Brizard bus.)
    3. Do you think JCB has been an "advocate" for teachers in the past year? (yes/no)
    4. What evidence do you have to back up your claim that he is an advocate?
    5. What about NBI's comment is "hateful"? You seems to have a threshold for what is defined as hate that I can't comprehend. I'm Jewish so we have a little history on the topic. Please help me understand.

    I look forward to your responses.

  • In reply to 299ReformMinded:

    First there was "jack", then there was "Donn", and now Donn has begat "299reformminded" (terrible user name by the way)...obvious shills for the board. They've largely ignored this blog for a long time, concentrating on commenting on Trib articles and others with higher traffic, but now feel they need to attempt to sway CTU teachers. Well, you are doing it wrong- not only do your posts appear totally bizarre to people who actually work with kids everyday, they are too late. The union is galvanized. We are going to strike and we are going to force Emanuel and the Board to make some pro-student, pro-teacher concessions.

  • I know, I can't believe the lack of respect for teachers by Rahm and CPS. Why would someone ignorant on education and pedagogy make policy that has no merit. Arrogance at its worst. The ones who suffer are the students!

  • I think that it's hilarious that the news stations and papers have to point out that the 8th grade perpetrators were CPS students. What? Is this the fault of the teachers and their fat cat union too?

    Well, I for one am proud of the lads. They were throwing those rocks at a high school level. :)

  • first off, i'd like to say that it shows fear, not confidence or strength, over-reacting to different opinions on this site -- anonymously, to boot.

    also -- it seems like CTU didn't get the 75 percent even on a straw vote:

    if that's not correct, let me know. obviously, a real vote would be, well, real, and would not necessarily have to take place over a single day

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    What ever the actual percentage of the members that actually took the poll, the CTU knows full well that it is the total percentage of the membership that votes yes that counts as the Tribune points out. Therefore, the CTU's failure to properly present the vote count to the press as number voting yes, no, number not voting, and total eligible members was either a very serious error or the poll revealed that the union could not hit the 75% necessary as Alexander guesses.

    I totally disagree with the comments of Robin Steans that appeared in the Tribune article. Her line of logic is that the spirt of the law was that no strike vote should take place before the best final offers and proposed settlement by the panel is revealed is absurd. What this poorly written law, for which she is in part responsible, does is create exactly the situation that caused the union to move rapidly to a vote and also has caused the CPS not to bargain over foundational issues like the structure of the school day, because the law says they do not have to.

    SB7 along with pre-existing law to which it amended are among the worse labor laws ever written. These laws have helped create the current impasse and no matter where the current situation between the Board and CTU goes, it needs to be thrown out. The one small aspect of the law that is good is making the actual offers public, but those offers should be revealed to the public at multiple intervals during the bargaining process not just at the end. After all it is the public that will be paying for any deal cut.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Alex, you have made several snide remarks about people commenting anonymously. If you take issue with anonymous comments why don't you eliminate the district299reader login?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Alex seems to take exception with those who comment anonymously because he regards them as being sneaky, disingenuous, and perhaps unamerican like Madison, Jay and Hamilton who blogged in an 18th century way under the name Publius when writing the Federalist Papers.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Did every single member of CTU actually vote?

  • "Results aren't yet tallied for the [strike & resignation qs] which are, of course, the million-dollar questions."

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Geoff Dougherty makes a hell-of-a-lot assumptions ... all negative.

  • In reply to PDec:

    He also makes no sense. I tallied the votes at my very non-militant school and our of close to 100 teachers the one we were closest to unanimous on was the question of rejecting the board's proposals. We were well above 90% on everything, but the last question about Brizard resigning where we had about 85%. A lot of people who voted no, told me so and said they thought Brizard was a puppet and would have voted yes for Emanuel resigning.

    Anyway, Dougherty assumes that over 90% of the teachers said "yes the Board's proposals are an insult to teachers and will harm education". However, less than 90% thought we should reject them? Not even accept them if striking is our only other option, but we should just accept these board proposals right away. I don't buy it.

    To me this is much ado about nothing. The election was Thursday. Teachers were absent. The press release went out Friday afternoon. I expect to get a final total eventually.

  • 299ReformMinded is a dipwad or the secret screen name for Rahm Emmanuel. It's obvious you don't know much about the system in place and how the contract discussions are in mediation. The CTU is preparing for a strike and must know how many voters are on board. There's no secret about that. Yes! They are preparing to strike, no doubt about that. Ceo Buzzard is going to be sent packing just like Ron Hooterman. This city should know that worker's aren't going to be pushed around anymore. We're tired and ready to fight. I'm responsible for 3 school on the westside. When they voted on Thursday the turnout at each site was unanamous...........there will be a strike!!

  • In reply to Avenger:

    We are all tired of CPS' total disregard for staff and student safety. There is a lawsuit filed over alleged sexual abuse of a six year old child with autism by his teacher. This was reported by another teacher at Ogden School. Yesterday, a teen with disabilities was left at Eckersall Stadium after the Special Olympics finished. All he could tell police was his first name. Obviously, the removal of the aides and the overloading of special education classes is having an adverse impact on children!

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    Am I the only one who found that poll to be simplistic and honestly slightly insulting? It was so polarizing, that there is no real information that can be taken from it. It is an example of the exact problem with this whole situation - everyone is looking at everything from such a black-and-white/right-and-wrong POV, that no one can see the huge gray areas in the middle The gray areas are where we need to be, and by recognizing them is the only way we can work together.

    This isn't to say I'm on Rahm and Brizzard's side, just that I am disappointed that the union is trying to use the same types of polarizing tactics.

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    In reply to Stephanie Hoerner:

    I didn't love every single question, but I think out of all of the parties involved, it's the least transgression. The exact problem with the situation is not some poll that teachers are taking, it's CPS fighting day one staffing, it's selling the food contracts to the highest bidder, it's lying on the data about charters and turnarounds, it's calling everyone in the toughest environments, including children "failures" and it's putting everything under an overtesting system.

    I would have liked to see the union release the actual data from the poll, and I would have liked slightly more strategic questions (especially the Brizard question).

    But I am deeply grateful that the union is doing SOMETHING, as we are facing a deep attack on the education of children in the city, and it's time we all stood together against that tide.

  • In reply to Xian Barrett:

    Very well said Xian.... amen and thank you

  • In reply to Stephanie Hoerner:

    Simplistic? Probably. Insulting!?!? Polarizing!?!? I mean, I know most teachers are open-hearted, but hey, c'mon? It's about time the Union starts using some propaganda of it's own. As if you didn't notice, we are getting creamed by the major media propaganda. We are DOVES in this fight. Well-educated parents are with us on this one... at least the ones that enjoy spending time with their children.

  • In reply to Stephanie Hoerner:

    Bullocks! There is no gray area in what Rahm and his corporate goons want to do with public education, teachers, students, neighborhood schools. He has on the schedule to close 100 schools. CTU has explained what we want to see, a more dignified workplace, treated with respect, providing real wrap around services for our students, instead of cheap band-aid solutions. I am tired of mealy folks with no backbone!

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    In reply to viniciusdm:

    My point is that a poll like that, with questions that are written in such a way that the only way a teacher can answer is "yes," serve no purpose. Of course I think the CPS proposal is disrespectful to teachers - which teachers are going to say "no"? But which part? How disrespectful? Asking an opinionated, yes-no question, with no recognition of the fact that we all might have different parts we find disrespectful, or different parts that we might be willing to concede on, that serves no purpose.

    Neutral questions with a variety of answers would get much better data. For example:
    How do you feel about CPS most recent proposal for the contract? Extremely disrespectful to teachers and students, Somewhat disrespectful to teachers and students, Somewhat respectful of teachers and students, Extremely respectful of teachers and students, No Opinion

  • In reply to Stephanie Hoerner:

    Well, the only question that really matters is would you strike, yes or no.

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    In reply to FrankThompson:

    So why weren't we asked that question?

  • In reply to Stephanie Hoerner:


    First, I wasn't thrilled with the questions either. But I am also far more upset with the Board than I am the poll inquiries. Perspective is everything.

    From my point of view the primary purpose of the poll was to work out mechanical and logistical issues in order to ensure an extremely high voter turnout for a potential strike authorization vote.

    Sure, the poll questions were skewed. So are the questions in the mayor's continuous push polling. It's all part of a public relations and marketing campaign on both sides. Do I find it distasteful? Yes. Am I glad the CTU is finally fighting back? Also, yes.

    Going to the negotiating table with 90%+ Union member solidarity on an issue has a profound impact on the bargaining process, much stronger than "some Union members feel this way, some Union members feel mostly this way, some Union members feel slightly this way".

    When it's time for a strike authorization vote, would you phrase the question in the way you'd prefer? Will you authorize a strike in the event of an impasse in negotiations? a) Strongly agree. b) Mostly agree. c) Neutral. d) Mostly disagree. e) Strongly disagree.

    That wouldn't be very effective would it?

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    In reply to district299reader:

    A strike authorization vote and a poll to gauge opinion on a topic are two very different things. But I think you know that.

    Let me put it this way. If you are trying to get an idea of how teachers really feel, and you word your questions in such a polarizing way, that they have no option but to answer "yes", when maybe in reality they are just slightly north of neutral, are you getting good information? Maybe the teachers are annoyed, but not annoyed enough to strike. If, in your poll, you don't leave room for neutral answers, you might be getting bad information. Because everyone answers "yes" you think they are all onboard, when in reality, their actual opinions are not so black-and-white. A poll in which 90% answers "yes" because it is the only option is different from a poll where 5% answer "strongly agree," 50% answer "mostly agree" and 35% answer "neutral". Would that 55% get you a strike vote now? But you didn't know that because your poll was skewed.

    However, in an actual strike vote, you are voting to take action. That is a yes-no question - either action or no action.

  • In reply to Stephanie Hoerner:

    I found the poll to be polarizing and insulting. There was only one way to answer. I would much have preferred to be asked if I would strike, yes or no, with real factual information to decide upon. I have found that not only does the BOE lie, but our union leadership does so too through exaggeration. I loved how one union rep came to my school and told us just days before the school schedule came out that we were going to have to teach until July. Then two days later the schedule showed that was patently untrue. At this point, I believe neither the BOE nor the CTU. I don't experience CPS to be about teaching and learning and cannot maintain my professional integrity by continuing to work for such a district. It is depressing because like most teachers, I adore my students. But the hyped up union rhetoric, the insane BOE and the teacher hating public have pushed me out into a better school district. Good luck to all those who choose to or are forced to stay behind!

  • In reply to teacherparent:

    Load of bullocks. If you have not to read the writing on the wall, regarding the planned closing of 100 schools , a teacher evaluation that does not pass the mustard by research standards, the Jim Crow starvation of high poverty area neighborhood schools of necessary resources like the 166 without a library and librarian, and the privatization of schools and deprofressionalization of our profession. What don't you get. Are you that obtuse to see the ramifications if Dictator Rahm gets his way. I think you are a CPS PR Blogger. Remember Rahm employed quite a few during this campaign for mayor!

  • In reply to Stephanie Hoerner:

    Another kiss *ss bumkin. You must be kissing someone's butt. hmmm who's?.....

  • Stephanie,

    I didn't find it insulting, but I also wasn't thrilled with the questions. On the other hand, I thought the information summarized on the top half of the page was useful. Or did you find that polarizing, too?

    I think demanding 25% more work for a .4% increase in pay each year over five years is pretty insulting and polarizing. I'm not trying to bust your chops, just wondering what you think of the CPS proposals, too.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Two things about this statement: "I think demanding 25% more work for a .4% increase in pay each year over five years is pretty insulting and polarizing"

    First, it isn't a 0.4% increase each year. The Board is offering 2% for the first year, then no increases for 4 years. (0.4% may be an average, but it isn't how we would be paid.)

    Second, it's time to stop saying the Board is asking for 25% more work. It isn't true. The percentage is closer to 14.

    The 7 hour, 40 minute workday for teachers reflects a 39-minute increase in time each day. Less lunch (because we don't get paid for lunch), we are moving from a 6.25 hour workday (as reflected on our paychecks) to a 6.9 hour workday. That's an increase of 10.4%.

    The length of our school year is increasing by 7 days, which is about a 3.5% increase. Thus, the total increase is about 14%.

    I get that your overall point is that it is unfair for the Board to increase our workload by a much greater margin than our compensation for that time. The point is still made, however, whether that difference is 12-fold or 7-fold. The idea of working 14% longer for 2% more compensation is just as repugnant to me as 25-for-2. I reject both offers as inherently unfair.

    And it makes us look mathematically illiterate (or deliberately untruthful) to misquote the actual numbers.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    I think you sugar coat it a bit Danny. 10 teaching days are being added onto the schedule. Even not counting lunch I'm going from a 6 hour and 30 minute day to a 7 hour and 40 minute day. I will teach 35 more minutes, supervise students an extra additional 15 minutes, and bank 15 minutes of pd time everyday. That is considerably over 14% in my estimation. Also, with steps and lanes frozen, that 2% is actually a pay cut for most CTU teachers.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Seven days are being added. The oher three come from switching around days (we're giving up one PD day and converting to paid holidays to work days).

    Days of… Current Proposed
    Student attendance 170 180
    Teacher Institute 4 4
    Professional development 3 6
    Staff development 4 0
    RC Pickup/Conference 2 0
    Subtotal--come to work 183 190
    Paid holidays 10 8
    Paid vacation 10 10
    Total 203 208

    You work a 6 hour, 15 minute day now (not including lunch); and the Board is mandating a 6 hour, 54 minute day for next year (again, not including lunch). The banked time will come out of your school day to be made up at another time.

    Re: BillyTurtle--You are double-counting. The "extra time worked on those extra days" is already included once you add the longer school day and the longer school year.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    No. I am not double counting. I went through and calculated man-hours to make sure I didn't. 1314.17 under the new schedule. 1147.75 under the the 2011-2012 schedule. You can't just add those percents. You're adding percentage change in hours and percentage change in the year. They are different units. You are the one failing to account for the actual change in the school year but calling out others on their math.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    Your math is faulty Danaidh. You can't add those two percents together to get 13.9 because you're missing the extra time worked on those extra days. It comes to 14.9% more man-hours if you exclude lunch.

    But there are some other things to consider. What about the 20 minutes for recess that are in the current contract? Will those go the way of the Dodo too? That's some extra time. If we stop to consider actual hours required to be away from our families and doing the things we choose on our own schedule, there we have a far greater increase for many. Remember, they owe us the 4% from this year. That's another piece of the puzzle.

    There are lots of ways to look at the numbers. There are a lot more ways to look at them when you just make them up...... Hence the constant refrain from Rahm and the Board that accounting and data are "really more of an art form than a science."

  • In reply to BillyTurtle:

    Like last year's 500,000.000 surplus of money when CPS and surrogates were crying of a deficit! Where did that money go? By sleight of hand given to charters?

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    In reply to district299reader:

    I felt like it was insulting to our intelligence - that we are only presented these extremely opinionated, rhetoric-based questions that we can't really answer anything but "yes" to.

    I found the information summarized as helpful, but I have a hard time trusting it because of the way the questions were written - the information was presented in a very attack-oriented way. Yes, again, I am completely aware of the crap that Rahm is trying to pull. But I think when polling the members, and when presenting information to the members, I would prefer neutral and straight-forward, rather than rhetoric, at least if you want to get real data, and not just pad the numbers.

  • In reply to Stephanie Hoerner:

    You must be from Mars! This is the Rahm Chicago Machine we are against. You are not from Chicago!

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    In reply to district299reader:

    Believe it or not, people can disagree with you and not be crazy. They can just have a different opinion. You don't need to be insulting because I don't think the same way you do. I understand the problems just fine. I just think there are other ways we can deal with it.

  • In reply to Stephanie Hoerner:

    I agree with your assessment of the poll, but I think the problem is that if you want a perfect union leadership before you agree to strike, then you are not going to strike. Many teachers think like you do and there are many others who simply don't care, don't vote, can't read the signs that say when to vote, don't come to work, don't know how to use email, have no cell phone, whatever. Between the two of your groups there will likely not be a strike for the dumbest of reasons. Sadly, there isn't much we can do about the other group, but yours has some hope. The reasons for striking have nothing to do with the competence of the union leadership. It's been a very long time since we had anything but a bunch of idiots at the helm of the union. Not sure how long you have been around, but this bunch is MUCH better than the last three awful union regimes. Still, we don't have professional consultants and management school summa cum laude types to lead us. We've just got some teachers who--from better or worse motives--fill the void that you and I leave open. So as I see it, if you care about schools and if you want to teach with dignity and preserve the profession of teaching, then you have to get past your literary critical instincts and pickiness. If, as you say, you are "completely aware of the crap that Rahm is trying to pull," then I am not sure exactly why you are so concerned about the wording of the poll. And I worry that you are going to be easy to pick off when the time comes to vote to strike. Think it through. You won't have another chance after this year.

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    In reply to Donald:

    I never said I wasn't voting to strike. And I didn't say I wanted this union leadership to be "perfect." I'm not looking for excuses not to strike.

    I hate spin, that is where I'm coming from. I like being honest and straightforward. But I understand how spin is used. CPS is REALLY good at it. But the kind of language being used in that poll is frankly amateurish and it makes us look bad - it's not spin, it's just defensive attack language. Teachers are being seen by the general public as greedy lowlifes, and using this kind of attack language is not helping. I think we'd be better served by being above-it-all, logical and straightforward. and countering the CPS spin with straight truth rather than hysterics. But I guess I'm the only one.

    Maybe I'm wrong. But I don't think I, brave enough to be using my real name, deserved to be attacked and demeaned for my opinion the way some of the anonymous users here have been doing.

  • In reply to Stephanie Hoerner:

    Then you are naive! Totally naive. Teachers are looked very high by the public, especially, against politcians. The line is in the sand and your pablum reeks of a person that lacks a spine when contronted with what our mayor has put in motion and has in store for teachers. What hysterics, follow the dots ...the data, as what CPS has in plan for the teachers of CPS. You need a realith check!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    "You are a person that lacks a spine" says someone shrouded in anonymity on the internet...

    Comments like yours are the reason the 'debate' on this blog has ceased to exist.

  • In reply to Stephanie Hoerner:

    Will you be at the Auditorium on the 23rd and Rally?

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    In reply to district299reader:

    I'm going to try. I'm taking my students on a 3-day field trip next week, and we get back sometime that afternoon. If we get back early enough, I'll be there.

  • In reply to Stephanie Hoerner:

    The poll was not about the data. The questions were written to get you used to saying "Yes." We can't be unbiased when it comes to this. The 1% are trying to destroy public education. The facts presented at the top of the poll were the facts. CPS is offering 2% next year, nothing the year after and some sort of merit pay system to be negotiated. They want to pay math/sci teachers more and arts teachers less. They don't understand that competition does not improve teaching or learning. Teachers need to work together, not against each other. They want to take away our sick days. They want to destroy our pensions. They want to remove all the parts of our contract which protect us and our students from over crowding and unsafe conditions.

    They think of us as cogs in a wheel and our students as products to be churned out "college ready" after high school. The Board and Rahm are wrong. They are wrong for our city and wrong for our students. There are no shades of gray here. They drew the line in the sand with their absurd offers and anti-teacher, anti-student, anti-parent policies.

    You may not think we as teachers are at all like coal miners, but when you watch a movie like Matewan you start to see we aren't. Instead of dropping the tonnage rate on us, they move the goal posts for testing and certification. As you look deeper, the parallels are striking. The Board does not think of our students as people. Children are merely tons of coal to be mined and shipped off to adulthood in Rahm's eyes. Actions speak louder than words. Look at what they do and how they do it. Don't listen to what the BOE says.

    Which Side Are You On?

    Don't scab for the bosses,
    Don't listen to their lies.
    Us poor folks haven't got a chance
    Unless we organize !

  • CTU members are at a crossroads and Rahm has drawn a devil and the deep blue sea line. CTU has a right to use tactics as offense to the negative tactics he uses--he used the F bomb with Karen, he uses his minions to spin and stretch the truth and treat teachers without respect and blame them for all problems. (He does not listen to parents either, dominated by women.) He settles with fire and police, but continues to pick on a historically female employment class. There is no other paid profession that spends more time with children in great need. He never has. I doubt any in his immediate family has. CTU is the only profession that is fighting for the children; there are many teachers spending more time with the Chicago's children than there parents can, well before there was longer school day. Rahm has no gray areas.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I want to second the sentiment mentioned above. Mayor Emanuel has had a bug up his you-know-what about Chicago teachers well before he was elected. The Mayor and his flunkies have engaged in far more of the type of degrading, dishonest, and manipulative rhetoric than the CTU. CPS is still more polished at the bullsh*t sound byte release game, though.

    Personally, though I find these types of things distasteful, I'm glad to see the Union finally fighting back. It's only been 25 years since that happened!

    And I love that CPS is on the defensive about their contractual proposals, privatization, and school closings. The fact that the Union is starting to contribute to the narrative and get under their skin, unlike past CTU administrations, means the Union is doing something right.

    Still, all this is only in response to repeated, flagrant, and dishonest attacks against teachers and schools by CPS over the last 10 years or so.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    From my perspective I don't see any fighting back from the CTU. Its leadership was completely asleep at the wheel when SB7 was allowed to pass and again when modifications weren't made to the bill. Apparently even the CTU poll doesn't indicate a 75% strike approval and that is a vote where there is zero financial consequence for teachers on the line. There won't be a strike and CPS knows it. The negotiations, as such, were over before they even started.

  • In reply to casey57:

    Brizard manupulatives and CPS communications states that all principals expressed excitement about REACH (new teacher evaluation system,) in a recent survey. In the survey, principals were given no choice but to indicate they were excited! Now that’s manipulation! Insult to principals.
    Our principal is younger and agrees with the CTU-wish he could have voted.

  • In reply to casey57:

    Look, the Marilyn Stewart regime was the "Do Nothing" leadership. The new leadership had to start organizing from scratch. The research based proposals by CTU in the Schools Chicago Students Deserve, are something teachers and parents are something we are fighting for! What are you fighting for casey57?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I have no skin in the CTU vs. CPS game so i'm just observing that (as others have opined e.g. Rod Estvan) the chance of there being enough votes to strike is practically nil. On top of that, because of SB7, 99% of the issues discussed here can't be negotiated anyway - "research" is immaterial. SB7 pretty much did away with the role of CTU. CPS does not have to negotiate anything - it can just let the process play out.

  • In reply to casey57:

    Yup, I am striking... among a whole a lot of folks!

  • In reply to casey57:

    The CTU can negotiate over effects the
    prohibited subjects have on its members.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    My guess would be that if the CTU brought up non-negotiable issues in that manner, CPS would not respond for fear of giving implicit permission to bring the particular subject to the table (CPS lawyer whispers to others "don't respond to that"). It would be a one way conversation.

  • In reply to casey57:

    I think that is backwards,for example :
    The board has already exercised its right
    to govern the length of the school day.
    That is done and since it is a prohibited subject
    of negotiations the CTU cannot even bring the
    subject up unless the Board agrees.
    Now if the union decides to bargain over the
    effect that unilateral decision has on the members
    it would be permitted by both the 1995 law and SB7.

  • In reply to casey57:

    Casey57 writes: "leadership was completely asleep at the wheel when...modifications weren't made to the bill."

    Actually modifications *were* made to SB7. It's called HR1197--the trailer bill to SB7.

  • WTF? CTU expells Marc Wigler for sharing secrets with CPS "Scabs & traitors won't be tolerated, says @CTULocal1

  • Jesse Sharkey fills in for Lewis on Fox Sunday - explains why strike straw vote is legit, why pay raises for teachers make sense for kids, etc. seems a little bit nervous but then again he's on fox and it's two on one.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Sharkey has always come off as being a kind of intense guy – he seems less nervous than he appears trying to smooth over his rough edges - more like an edgy comic trying to clean it up for a prime time appearance.

    As for a strike, one should be called merely on the grounds that corporate glory-hole Mike Flannery and puckered starfish Dane Placko called Sharkey one of “the architects of the unions new aggressiveness” and later said “this really does show that the union is all about the teacher and the pay”

  • After almost 2 years as a CAO, Dr. Peters in the Calumet area still has North Carolina plates on his car. Is he going back there?

  • Anyone know of there has been talk of striking even if te threshold has been met? And Yes it may be illegal to strike but all the strikes before 1985 were illegal and they can't really arrest or fire 25000 people. My though is if we Don't reach the 75 percent because some folks were kept from voting due to overzealouse administration, we strike.

  • In reply to FrankThompson:

    Yes there has been talk like that. I don't recommend it. If the strike is not legally authorizied without question there will be issued a back to work order by a Court.

    You are correct that it is unlikely that every union member would be arrested. But it is very possible that the CTU as an organization would be heavily fined, its leadership jailed, and a filing made by CPS with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board to decertify the union unless the CTU issued a back to work order to its members.

    My own father who was an officer of the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline, and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express, and Station Employees was jailed for two weeks when his union refused a Court issued return to work order in relation to a strike against the American Railway Express Company. The records relating to my father's jailing can be found in Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives at Cornell University.

    Eventually the union went back to work and the Express Company went bankrupt a few years later in 1975 after the union made numerous concessions in order to sell it's self off to five of its own executives. This sad history can be read in Klink Garrett's Ten Turtles to Tucumcari: A Personal History of the Railway Express Agency. Because Mr. Garrett was an executive he plays down the union's concessions, but he does note them.

    Rod Estvan

  • CTU members, here are some of the key rights that the CTU gained as a result of the strikes since 1980. I walked the picket line as a teacher in all of these strikes. 1980: A 10-day strike was waged over a series of payless paydays and threats to increase class size. The strike resulted in the preservation of the CTU contract, class size limits, and payment of delayed salary. 1983: A 15-day strike won a 5% salary increase in addition to 2.5% bonus pay. 1984: A 10-day strike resulted in the elimination of payroll deductions for health care, a 4.5% salary increase, 2.5% bonus pay, Political Action Committee contribution deductions, and a medical plan that-for the first time-offers a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). 1985: A two-day strike gained an increase in major medical coverage, including improved benefits for maternity and paternity leave, a 9% salary increase over 2 years, restroration of holidays that were lost in the strike, and the ability of members to accumulate up to 234 sick days. 1987: A 19-day strike, the longest in CTU history, permitted the lowest achieving schools to have class size in the primary grades reduced by two, provided an increase in major medical coverage, an 8% salary increase over 2 years, and the ability to accumulate 244 sick days. Because SB7 will not allow the CTU to bargain with the Board of Education on certain issues, you must still remember what CTU solidarity can do to affect educators and education.

  • Dear Rod, the CTU will be striking! Tell the CTU what they need to know to win! Thanking you in advance.

  • See you all at the rally May 23rd....let's show them we have more than the required 75%!!!!!!

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