The Very Public Execution Of Marc Wigler

Today's news is a hodge-podge of this and that, but the story that grabs my attention is the expulsion of Marc Wigler from CTU.

First off, I want a copy of the 15,000 CPS emails that CTU got via FOIA -- Jesse, you know my email.

Second, I want to know the backstory here -- why Wigler was kept on, for example, since he seems to be from a previous regime (or two) and why CTU cares since there seem to be so many other people telling CPS (and me) what happens at HOD meetings?

Last but not least, I want to note the red-meat way in which Wigler's announcement was handled -- publicly and with great executorial relish -- which seems like it might be intended to serve uses other than simply firing someone.

It's a theatrical signal to CPS of some kind, but even more so seems like a signal to CTU members and to other delegates that the current occupants of the CTU office want to appear on the ball or even tough.

Schools hold their breath on pension reform Riverside Brookfield Landmark: The pensions of Chicago Public Schools teachers are funded by Chicago taxpayers, so Chicago taxpayers are paying for two different teacher retirement programs. State Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside) said he is keeping an open mind on the issue.

Poll shows support for longer school day Tribune:  Rahm Emanuel's push to extend the school day is overwhelmingly backed by Chicago voters, but far more of them side with the teachers union than the mayor on overall efforts to improve education, a new Tribune/WGN-TV poll shows.

Teachers union accuses ousted member of being a ‘spy’ for CPS Sun Times: Wigler was accused of sending CPS labor relations chief Rachel Resnick a 50-bullet-point email at 11:51 p.m., Aug. 24, detailing what CTU officials told union delegates during a special meeting the evening before, CTU officials say.

Neighborhood group seeks to head off CPS Catalyst:  The Logan Square Neighborhood Association is establishing the Logan Square School Facilities Council to make sure no closed-door decisions are made at the Board of Education about the future of Ames Middle School.

Daley, a year later Tribune (Zorn):  The more perspective we get on the Daley years, the more we see the mess Emanuel found on his desk on Day 1, and the more understanding we have as he reaches the milestone of Year 1.

Tutor trouble South Bend Tribune:  Thousands of students in Chicago Public Schools could use tutoring help in math and reading. They've signed up for it. They aren't getting it. Is it a money problem, a common refrain at a district facing a $600 million to $700 million budget shortfall ...

Editorial: This is no time for Republican legislators to delay reforms
Chicago Sun Times – With a little more than two weeks to go in Illinois’ legislative session, there’s talk that some Republicans are trying to delay major reforms in hopes of getting more leverage. Don’t do it.

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  • Typical Alex, pushing the real story about the Tribune poll showing folks siding with teachers 2-1 over Rahm, the Dictator! Alex, that was the real news! Get a clue Alex!

  • Maybe he only read the headline (which is cleverly misleading), and didn't get to the real meat of the story that only 17% of those who took the poll side with Emmanuel on educational issues. We all (CTU, parents, CBOE, included) know and agree that the day should be extended. Is this worthy of the headline?...I would say no. But, I would be very interested to know what the brainiacs at 125 S. Clark are thinking this morning.

  • In reply to Maestro:

    polling 700 voters is not even newsworthy. I side with the Teachers but the Tribune is not doing a good job with the news.

  • In reply to 13teacher:

    700 voters take a poll, not news worthy-agreed. Considering the source and it's historic bias towards organized labor, for it to publish this, then essentially question the mayor's tactics- VERY news worthy.

  • Did anyone ever pick up on the possibility and likelihood that tutoring funding was purposefully not used in order to further starve resources for neighborhood schools in an effort to keep test scores low and subsequently use the low neighborhood school test scores to further promote charter schools?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Very, very true.... who would benefit from tutoring the most? Impoverished, Tier 3 schools of course. Now we have an outgoing administration scrambling to round-up students for an after-school program with 20 days of school left.... while the bullets fly because it's warm out.
    If this wasn't my life it would be quite humorous.

  • What Alex doesn't want you to know!,0,2720198.graphic

    How Alex thinks Arne's comments on gay marriage are worthy of headlines and these charts showing that parents support teachers being paid more are insignificant prove how this blog site has become anti-union and an instrument of promoting charter schools.

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    The Redlining of high poverty neighborhood schools is criminal. Starving these neighborhoods of services and more staff, is both criminal and an affront to basic human rights of our children. Setting up neighborhood schools to fail is the aim.

    Seems Alex's NYC School District are experts at it as well under Mayor Bloomberg.

    A Rotting Apple: Education Redlining in New York City

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    This blog site is a Sam Zell production

  • I agree with the posts above that the Tribune/WGN polling data was extremely supportive of CPS teachers. The article written by Tribune reporters Joel Hood and Rick Pearson stated: "The survey results could serve as a warning sign to the mayor not to engage in a full-throated contract battle with the Chicago Teachers Union." Which for the Tribune is a pretty powerful statement and very different than the editorial position of the paper that has supported every CPS proposal for work rule changes it has been given.

    The article stated: "Among all respondents, 40 percent sided with the union, compared to 17 percent who backed Emanuel. Thirty-six percent said they supported neither. Among public school parents, 48 percent sided with the teachers union and 18 percent sided with the mayor. Thirty percent said they sided with neither." The article also stated: "African-American and Latino voters showed the most support for the union, at 51 percent and 40 percent, respectively. White voters backed the union at 27 percent, with 42 percent of them choosing neither the CTU nor Emanuel."

    But it also has to be noted that the same poll overwhelmingly supported the idea of a longer school day for CPS. The article stated in relation to the longer school day this: "If teachers are going to teach longer hours, they should be paid more for it, the poll found. Sizable majorities of Chicago residents as a whole (86 percent) and public school parents (92 percent) agreed with that concept."

    I would suspect that in the minds of the respondents getting paid more means more than a 2% increase. I have to wonder if the fact-finding panel concludes in its recommended terms of settlement that a fair increase is something like 4% year 1 and 4% in year 2 if the public would see that as fair and reasonable? Would the public see a 15% raise for each of the first two years of a contract as reasonable? We don't know.

    I do know one thing, teachers should be writing Hood and Rick Pearson letters thanking them for bucking their own editioral board, because they could have spun this article in a far different way to please the editors than they did. They showed some courage.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, sad that it should take courage to tell the truth. A sign of the times, I suppose.

  • This is the best news I've read in the teacher-bashing Chicago Tribune since...well, it's been a long time. (I'm almost surprised they chose to publish the poll results.)

    The mayor may not know much about education, but he does understand polls.

    What a quandary this puts them in. Support for the longer school day/year is really high. (Just think if they had asked about a "better" school day.) Rahm can't go back.

    And he also can't afford to pay for it. CPS said last year (when reneging on our contractual raise) that a 4% raise for unionized employees would cost $100 million. Thus a raise commensurate to the roughly 15% increase in the school day/year would cost $400 million.

    What to do, Rahm?

  • The Trib and other purveyors of propaganda would be much more successful if they published more investigative reports, muckraking stories, and honest polls. Puff pieces on Emanuel will only get a fraction of the hits when compared to an article exposing his corruption.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    So true!!

  • Execution? Collaborating with 125 is suicide. Maybe he thinks a public repudiation by CTU is good for his career. This has all the markings of "suicide by cop"

  • you guys are funny.

    Building better city schools - Chicago Sun-Times

  • Alex, Can you address the theme of redlining issue in New York, where you live and the same done in Chicago! Grow up Alex!

  • Funny is CPS website saying teachers are the backbone and Nurses are honored when they want to ream the teachers and fire all the nurses! CEO Brizard is the "house negro" on Rahm's ship, the "SS Grinch"!

  • I got the wigler story off the CTU blog and substance, so your problem is with them, right?

    meantime no one's been able to explain why this was done so publicly in front of the cameras.

    did wigler call Schmidt and rossi and get them to cover this or was it someone in CTU?

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    The expulsion was not done publicly and it occurred weeks ago. Mr. Wigler has pushed this into the spotlight in an attempt to martyr himself and perhaps (foolishly, in my opinion) try to demonize CTU leadership in advance of next year's election.

    That's ok. He'll get no gripe from me. Conspiring with the chief CPS labor relations executive, sharing internal CTU strategy and discussions, and offering additional assistance to a top level CPS officer in the midst of the most contentious negotiations in over 20 years is plainly inexcusable.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    The rumor is that this is Lewis' revenge . . . She offered Wigler the opportunity to resign, he did but under protest (wondering why he was being treated differenltyh than all the other known stoolies out there), so she expelled him, he had the nerve to appeal the post-resignation expulsion and well . . .

    Don't cross Karen Lewis . . . in addition to being not so trustworthy, she's got a mean streak. . . that's the message. Jesse's a joke . . . I can't believe we let these folks teach kids. Wigler should feel honored be expelled from this club.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    From Chicago Independent Media Center

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Another insipid troll response that has no basis in reality.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    All the other known stoolies? Please, share.

    If you know of other Union members like Mr. Wigler who are offering strategy and information to high level Board administrators directly involved in contract negotiations in an attempt to weaken the CTU's bargaining positions then the responsible thing to do is to speak up and name names.

    Don't be bashful. Who are these stoolies? And to which member of the Board's negotiating team are they delivering internal CTU deliberations, bargaining strategy, and other information?

  • I think CTU went way too far here. Sure Wigler deserved to be kicked out of the union for conspiring with management, nobody disputes that. However, nobody deserves to lose their life over a negotiation. Executing Wigler in cold blood just goes too far and I applaud Russo for calling CTU out on it. As a union we must demand no more executions. Dismissal from the union is fitting punishment for these types of offenses.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Couldn't we compromise a bit? Maybe lop off a few fingers or larger appendage to make sure we really get our point across?

  • Alexander,

    Marc Wigler's expulsion actually happened weeks ago. It only became public because he attempted to enter an HOD meeting knowing that he was no longer a member. That's where the Substance story came about.

    Also, Wigler did not work at the union anymore. He worked there during the Stewart administration. He was a citywide delegate to the HOD when he was expelled. His time at CTU during the Stewart years was running the Fresh Start program. He helped to fire teachers as part of his duties. One of them at Wells, if my memory serves me correctly, was in cancer treatment at the time.

    These are very harsh times right now. CTU cannot have any members sharing notes and/or strategies from the union with CPS. He was dealt with appropriately. The fact that it has now gone public is of his own doing.

  • Please, the CTU strategy is so easy to figure out, "say no to absolutely everyhting." Don't need a mole to figure that out.

    Wigler actually got a good deal, he no longer has to pay dues to a union that is doing nothing but protect the worst teachers in the system.

    Hey, here is an idea. All the good teachers should send an email to Resnick after the next meeting with the "secret" strategy---which is to just say no and strike at all costs--- and then the good teachers can get expelled from the union and not have to pay the dues. That is money in the good teachers pockets. The bad teachers can keep following the union rally cry. I don't know why the good teachers uput up with the CTU. They surely are smarter than that.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Even better, to save time with the FOIA request from the CTU. Good teachers, just copy Karen Lewis on your "secrets" email to Resnick. This is your chance to get out from the oppression of the CTU. How sad that unions used to be there to free its members, now it is keeping them from succeeding and feeling good about what they do.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    CPS Schools 101: CEO and his band of incompetents run the school system with inane non research based mandates. CTU has no say in the organization and the dysfunctional way CPS is run. The buck stops at the top. Got that troll boy or new CPS PR hire?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Well, I am not a cps troll or pr person. I am a real parent with real kids in the cps system. I have had real great teachers for my kids and I have also experienced an awful abusive teacher that I am still trying to heal my child from----by the way--- of course, this teacher is still in the classroom completely protected by tenure and the ctu defending her.

    It is just like the CTU strategy to cry "it is not our fault, it is cps or the mayor or anyone else" instead of standing up and taking responsibility for the role CTU plays in my kids education. YOU DO call the shots over the years. That is partly why cps is such a mess. (note--I said partly, not solely) You can't pretend that you were an innocent bystander. The only innocent bystanders in this equation are the children. Who frankly have not gotten what they deserve. Everyone has a role in this and until ALL parties come to the table with the kids at the forefront, nothing will change.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I completely agree. And so does the CTU. Check out their plan for improving all schools. It even details how it can all be paid for without leaving CPS in debt.

    The Schools Chicago's Students Deserve

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Why should the CTU engage and/or agree with the Board when the board has no intention I listening to the CTU. The CTU is full of teachers who have doctorate and masters degrees in education, yet parents like you want the show to be run by a mayor with no educational experience, a school board made up of millionaires who send their children to private schools and a superintendent/CEO with a background in top down management style policy that contains reforms that dont work.
    You are a parent you say, right? Are you the best person, most knowladgeable person to raise your kids? I would guess yes. Well, what if I had you take a back seat to raising your kids in favor of some heavy handed politicans who feel they know best? You would say no because you are the professional. Well, the CTU says no because WE are the professionals, and all the BOE does is tie our hands behind our back and get in the way.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    What an ignorant response. You have no understanding on how CPS works. CTU does not make bad educational policy that effect the children in the classrooms. The Rahm "the Grinch", CEO Brizard and the Millionaires CPS School Board, are the one's making educational policy and steering badly needed funds into these inane initiatives. CTU has no control over educational policy. Kudos to CTU for calling Rahm and company on their "Jim Crow" policies against the neighborhood schools in high poverty areas.

    I think you need some professional help. Hint!

  • famous union-basher mike klonsky blogs about the wigler thing

    Rahm's spy got caught red-shirted

  • Are there two bloggers named Mike Klonsky?
    Where did you get the idea he is a teacher basher ?
    Just google his name and read it for yourself.
    When it comes to pension , teacher rights ,
    and the goings on in Springfield his site is much better than
    this one.

  • Sorry you are right I meant Fred Klosky who has a pro teacher blog.
    not Mike Klonsky

  • In reply to rbusch:

    i was joking about mike -- making the point (again) that i wasn't the only one covering the story

  • Whoa!

    CTU City Wide Delegate, Mark Wigler, spoke out quite forcefully at a recent CTU House of Delegates meeting. He questioned CTU President K. Lewis' efforts in obtaining the 4% raise for the members. Wigler implied that the CTU Leadership hadn't done enough to obtain our 4% raise. He said that many members did not believe CPS' claims that they (CPS) couldn't afford to pay us our raise.

    Within weeks of the House of Delegates meeting, Wigler was stripped of his union membership by the Executive Board members of the CORE caucus.

  • In reply to Teacher delegate:

    I am thrilled that the UPC keeps bringing this issue up. It's a losing one for their nearly defunct caucus.

    Mr. Wigler was removed from the Union for collusion with the Board. He conspired with the top CPS labor relations official in current contract negotiations in an effort to strengthen the Board in the contract fight and weaken the CTU.

    I wonder why Mr. Wigler decided to work actively with CPS negotiators against his own Union. Maybe his UPC caucus can help us understand.

  • In reply to Teacher delegate:

    The decision to deny CTU's 4% raise was at the sole discretion of the Board of Education. The former administration - the one Mr. Wigler was a part of - negotiated the contract that specifically allowed the Board to renege on any pay raise.

    Apparently, Mr. Wigler and his UPC think there is some magic word the CTU can say to get the money back. There isn't.

    The current CTU leadership fought for the 4% raise. The House of Delegates, including Mr. Wigler's UPC, has voted unanimously more than once to reject Board demands for concessions and other give backs in exchange for the money Mr. Wigler's administration allowed CPS to take away in the first place. The CTU continues to fight for that 4% via the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board, but that process takes time.

    Mr. Wigler's UPC leadership, and no one else, is responsible for the loss of this year's 4% raise.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Isn't the union appealing the CPS decision that it was in a fiscal emergency and hence the legal basis for denying the 4% raise would be voided? My understanding is that this issue is still before the IELRB. If anyone has a copy of that appeal I would like to read it, as I would like to read any decision on this issue by IELRB.

    Rod Estvan

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