Congrats! Now What?

Today's news is mostly about the strike authorization announcement and not enough (in my opinion) about what happens next -- though Progress IL and Catalyst have some interesting tidbits on that front.  CPS may yet challenge the vote, which was unaudited.  (CTU will have to prepare to show excellent documentation of the process if its vote is to survive such a challenge.)  Meanwhile, we're told that the strike vote may actually reduce the possibility of a prolonged contract dispute and/or an actual call to strike.  (No one but a few of you really wants a strike, but it's in some ways harder not to strike having roused the rabble and now with the authorization vote in hand.)  The Lewis team will have to win enough concessions to justify not going on strike, or face the wrath of those members who have become most radicalized.


Teachers roar Tribune (editorial): There's plenty of time, and 405,000 reasons, to avoid a strike Chicago teachers have now unsheathed their nuclear option. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis announced Monday that nearly 90 percent of the union's membership authorized a walkout, should contract talks fail.

What's Next After CTU Strike Authorization Vote Progress IL:  Andy Shaw, executive director of the Better Government Association, notes CTU did not use an outside auditor. Past CTU votes featured “irregularities and investigations,” Shaw points out. CTU turned to an outside auditor in their 2010 election for union president. CPS has demurred on whether it may legally challenge the vote.

Can Chicago teachers win a strike? Tribune (Steve Chapman): So if the teachers decide to walk out, I'm betting Mayor Emanuel will let them stay out. The success of his administration hinges in large part on his ability to restore fiscal sustainability, and in the immediate future, that means curbing the costs of public employees. He has to win this battle. I hope the teachers see reality and spare themselves and the rest of us the cost of fighting it.


Chicago public school teachers authorize strike Tribune: Nearly 90 percent of the Chicago Teachers Union rank-and-file members voted to authorize a strike, exceeding the required 75 percent, the union said on Monday. A strike would affect more than 400000 students.

Teachers "overwhelmingly" authorize strike, media report Catalyst:  The win is not a huge surprise. Last year, a new law laid out a process for the CTU to call a strike and put in place the requirement that 75 percent of all members vote to authorize. Initially, advocates of the law, called Senate Bill 7, said they thought the provision effectively eliminated the possibility that the CTU could ever strike.

Ninety percent of teachers authorize a strike WBEZ:  More than enough members of the Chicago Teachers' Union gave union leaders the green light to call a strike—89.73 percent of them to be exact.That’s well above the 75 percent now required by state law.Teachers’ union president Karen Lewis says the vote will give the union much-

Chicago Teachers Authorize Strike WTTW: Nearly 90 percent of Chicago teachers authorize a strike. Elizabeth Brackett has the latest.

Chicago schools head says strike vote premature Yahoo! News:  The head of Chicago Public Schools says he's disappointed that the Chicago Teachers Union took a strike authorization vote before an independent fact-finder presented a recommendation.

‘It’s not even close,’ CTU source says about strike authorization vote Sun Times:  Chicago Teachers Union officials are expected to announce Monday that they have handily met a new 75 percent strike authorization threshold, despite a blitzkrieg of emails and ads against the action, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.


Literacy and book pop culture: A global survey WBEZ:  As Front and Center wraps up their coverage of how reading and writing skills impact Americans’ chances for academic success and employment, Worldview looks at the culture of literacy in India, Latin America and Afghanistan.

Special-Education Morass CNC:  A children’s health advocate discusses problems with special education services in Chicago.



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  • Come on!! Sometimes this blog is so juvenile. What next?? The CTU will wait for the recommendation from the fact finding committee. Point blank. They will then review the recommendation and make a decision within 15 days. People looking for something radical to happen because we now have the vote should probably look at city hall and the mayor's office. Stop waiting for the CTU to trip up. We support our leadership 89.7%. Please focus you're attention on Rham and Brizzard. What's their next move?? We have the vote, and we really don't owe a explanation to anyone as to what we are going to do next. As for me, I'm going on vacation and will enjoy my summer break. I'm going to need all the rest I can get to fight this fight if need be.

  • President Lewis' speech was brilliant.

    Arguing that the vote was not so much an authorization but an indictment against the mayor and CPS encapsulated how many teachers were feeling. Also, referring to education reformers as dilettantes was masterful stroke that we can all agree with.

  • Not really on topic but a Garfield Ridge Area school today sent home letter saying that the school hours unless anything changes will be 7:45 - 2:45. Wasn't it supposed to be 90 minutes extra for elementary schools? Not complaining , just trying to get some feedback. The hours now are 8-1:45

  • The Progress Illinois article with Andy Shaw quoted is nice and balanced. FINALLY someone got the numbers close to right. With the longer day, the teachers are being asked to stay in the building only 9.5% longer (the article rounded up to 10%). There is no way it is 20%.

    Maybe the first step in arbitration is to check the math. See we already save 10% of the ask which brings us down to 19% ask.

    Then we can take that 19% and deduct the 4% that CTU is asking for from denied raise last year. Teachers compounded got 17% raise over the prior 4 years of the 5 year contract when the economy sank. Be lucky and thankful you got 17%+ during that time and let the 4% go. This brings us to 14%.

    CTU asking for 5% COLA (cost of living increase) is fantasy land. Or they are saying it is a "raise". Wake up and read the economy. The 2% from CPS seems more than fair on this one. So give the 2% and minus 3%, brings us to 11%.

    This is where true arbitratioin starts. 11% for CTU and 2% for CPS. The question then becomes, do teachers deserve more than 2% raise to work a 7 hour 40 minute day for at most 193 days per year? (the kids get 180 days and state law says 193 for teachers, although not sure they work 193).

    Next on the list "benefits". Normal family medical coverage costs about $1000 per month for a $5K deductible. Teachers, if you have any better deal than that, take it.

    Next on the list merit based pay or "being evaluated on job performance". I am a parent and put the kids first. So I am bias on this. I want not only the bad teachers gone, but the mediocre who call it in gone too. I want the good and great teachers to excel in pay, perks and motivation. I don't see the CTU motivated to do anything but protect the lowest common denominator teacher. IMO, the core of the problem in education.

    This recall red herring is troubling. Don't make it even harder to close a crappy school for the kids. Instead allow flexibility to truly turn these schools around BEFORE you need to officially make them a "turn around". There is already so much red tape and CTU adding to it does not help the students and makes them suffer in a poor educational environment even longer. CTU please be part of the solution to this problem!

    Class size. While a very sexy thing appealing to parents, I do not see how it makes sense in reality. Going from 32 to 28, not a material difference. Yes, if you can get 18-20, that would make an impact. Also, in overcrowded schools there is no where to put additional classrooms and having other schools that are fine now space wise, all of a sudden find 5 extra classrooms? Is CTU proposing building MORE brick and mortar? Beyond the prohbitive cost of this option, I don't see it going anywhere beyond a sound-bite.

    Art, music, pe, drama, language. Now here is where some traction can be made. I would rather pay for more teachers to provide these subjects than give additional pay to current---well paid---teachers. As a union that is firmly together (quite impressive by the way), are they in unison to forego some percentage points in raise to hire more PE teachers for example? I think this is where some good things can happen if both parties are truly trying to do what they can in realistic terms.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Nice analysis on this post. It's full of reason, accuracy, and constructive ideas. Get ready to be called a troll, member of Stand for Children, or part of a privatization conspiracy.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Paul:

    You are right - some interesting points. (I won't take the bait on the $1000 per month and $5k deductible - not true.)

    I personally am not so afraid of performance merit pay. I also agree that bad teachers should have no where to hide. HOWEVER, you get what you pay for. So, if you tell a teacher that thier pay is dependent on how well a child does on a test....DON:T COMPLAIN THAT THEY FOCUS ON TEACHING WHAT IS ON THE TEST! I'm not talking about cheating - fire those who do. I can then see the same set of reformeres complain in 2 years that the curriculum is to narrow and does not enrich the lives of the students becasue the evil teachers are teaching what they are being tested on. Do you see the viscous cycle here? It does, as the aboce post does mention, go back to making the school day better. That's not free! Neither is a longer day - Rham didn't care.

    Wouldn't a logical application of the longer day be to add these classes - PE, language, art, music to the curriculum. It would even be logistically possible to keep the classroom teacher THE SAME LENGTH and tack on these classes to the end of the day - or before the traditional day. What would the classroom teacher or CTU have to complain about - nothing! Queue the scare music...this kind of approach didn't even come up from CPS becasue they knew they couldn;t pay for it! A longer day with no thought, and no money to support it. I shows that Rham wanted the teachers to shut up, get in line, and do it for free.

    This is the real point here - all along Rham wanted big PR driven goals that he knew he could not afford in reality. Every one wants to talk about reality - why did he force a situation that he couldn;t pay for? It's his bully mentality.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Since you are so on top of this, be sure to add the 5% (rounded DOWN) for the extra 10 days teachers are working. Which, despite your snarky comments, we do work, and usually far beyond the day since we are primarily responsible for professionally developing/mentoring one another.

  • In reply to Teacher:

    This is to the PREVIOUS 299 reader, if that is not obvious!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Your math is off. You forget or don't want to acknowledge the actual nature of the extra time that teachers will spend in schools--especially the most capable and skilled ones. I am all for the longer year, though not for or against the longer day. But as it is imposed by CPS, I have two extra classes to design, plan for and teach as part of the extended day (I teach in a high school). I'm not sure why, unless you really are a CPS PR plant, you don't count prep time in considering how teachers should be paid. It discredits you. It's a negotiation or PR tactic, not a serious way to talk about teacher workloads.

    Some other points in this "reasonable" post that aren't so reasonable:

    You say you want the less than excellent teachers gone (most of the hard-working and actually qualified teachers agree with because we have to see the effects daily, from up-close of incompetents and paycheck-collectors). But you don't want the rest of us to be able to do our jobs. Nothing in your post evinces even basic awareness of or concern for the ways that we are prevented form doing this by overwhelming and recently multiplying clerical work, unfunded state and district mandates, disorganized and peremptory network staff, and so on. Given your amazing knowledge of the salary negotiation points, and your claim to have more than one child in CPS schools, I am frankly shocked that you either don't know or don't care whether your children's teachers are able to do what's necessary to really work with them.

    You also ignore the key clue here from the vote--it was also the good teachers in the best schools who voted to authorize a strike, and not because we want more pay or we want to save the jobs of the bad and mediocre teachers or any of the generally malicious things you suggest about this vote. That's Stand for Children rhetoric and it's another reason why folks here think you are a plant. If you cared about your kids, you'd talk differently. I don't know many parents who talk to me or about me as in the crude way that you do. We mostly talk about how to help their children take advantage of the opportunities and meet the challenges they have in and through school.

  • hahaha!!! district299reader is definitely from a private group. Thanks for the numbers. Maybe we'll consider using them when we go on strike.

  • In reply to SickandTired:

    Thanks Paul and sure enough, you are right, I am accused of being from a private group? LOL! In reality, I am just a parent with kids in several cps schools. I guess real parents don't count to some on this blog. Or perhaps it is easier to keep ones head in the sand and pull the "ostrich defense". Real parents, have real concerns and real recommendations. Accusations will do nothing to get to resolutions.

    M Wesoloski, the health care number is what my family pays and what many others I know pay. You can try to apply for yourself and I bet you get a very similar number. You will pay much more with the ICHIP programs if you or any member of your family are hard to insure.

    Interesting ideas about the longer day. I personally do not have a problem asking teachers to stay with students more than 5.75 hours, so I am personally not a fan of creating various staggered start/end times for teachers so they can keep that perk. But, it certainly can be a negotiation approach.

    Also, I do believe a lot of this can be funded today and even yesterday. There is money at the school level to fund music and art. I am not saying a huge surplus, but when you look at schools that have it, they have the same budgets as schools that don't. I am just sayin...............Andy Shaw and BGA do some detailed school budget analysis and I think we can get a whole lot more kids music!

    I fully admit I am looking for solutions and not to place blame. Reading blogs is like groundhog day and arguments come full circle. Very valid points and genuine frustration come through loud and clear. I think there is plenty of historical blogging here that spreads blame around quite effectively. Alexs' topic is "What's Next?" so I am focusing on that.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I am exceeding pleased to see posters who are over all critical of the CTU's bargaining stance support the union's position on opening at least some of what SB7 call section 4.5 issues that are currently closed by CPS. Specifically the union is legally blocked from bargaining over "Art, music, pe, drama, language" that you see as legitimate issues.

    Specifically SB7 at sec 4.5 (4) makes any additional class staffing or assingments an area under the exclusive authority of CPS to determine unless it decides to open that area for discussion. I would urge you and others (Paul too) to contact the Mayor and CEO Brizard and ask that the specific area you reference relating to staffing for art, music, PE, etc be opened for bargaining with the CTU.

    Let's get this issues to the table, lets avoid a strike.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I don't want all matters of education policy decided through collective bargaining between CPS and CTU. That's how, as Rahm said, "the kids got the shaft."

  • In reply to Paul:

    So Paul if you only agree that 4.5 issues relating to Art, music, pe, drama, language should be opened I can accept that, but still not agree with your larger position relating to "all matters of education policy." I am sure there are others that might agree with you on that issue and that is fine.

    But right now CPS will not bargain over even those narrow issues with the union. This morning on WBEZ Rebecca Vevea ran a story on the closed areas relating to CPS/CTU bargaining. In it CEO Brizard stated if all these areas were opened it could cost CPS $2 billion. I am not sure how that number was determined, but I would suggest it won't cost $2 billion for increased art, music, and other such programs for children like your own in CPS.

    So you don't have to agree to open up all 4.5 areas, but asking the Mayor to open up at least some starts the process Paul and it will help prevent a strike.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Why should art, music, pe, drama, and language be chips that CPS and CTU can bargain over? Do we (parents) trust the CTU to have the best interests of the kids in mind as they barter over higher pay versus higher benefits versus longer day versus hiring more pe, arts, and language teachers? Parents are not a party at the bargaining table, and the teachers have some self-interests here.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Paul that's what you get when you have a board of Ed that is not elected and a mayor who answers only to the 1%. I understand your think that if teachers have to choose between a raise and giving kids art and music, they will choose the raise. I don't fully support that, but I think you can compensate a teacher for longer work days and thn fund those days properly by adding music and art. I think it speaks to the mayor and his administration with how little the full school day was planned.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Agree Paul. The kids will not get priority for music, art darma if left as a bargaining chip. Realistically, these things were "on the bargaining" table for decades. What happened?

    What happened is that while I do think teachers find the subjects of value for children, they have NEVER placed it as a priotiy in negotiations. Thus, they have disappeard from many schools. The only reason they are speaking about it now is because they are using it as a negotiation strategy to try and pull on public (and mostly parent) heartstrings.

    PE, music, art and language should be a part of all cps schools (and already is in place in a lot of them).

    IF it is so important to the teachers, why don't they take the 2% offered by CPS and push for hiring more teachers for the additional subjects? They can map out the number and the schools that really need them and agree to add teachers in those schools. Or is getting a higher percentage raise more important to teachers? Sorry, the state can't afford both.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    With the addition of value added as a tool to measure teacher achievement, I doubt any teacher is going to want more art or music. See, we have to teach to the test (the ISAT) and then the test (NWEA-fall) and then the test (NWEA-winter) and then the test (DWWA-spring) and then the test (NWEA-spring) and then the test (Explore-spring) and then the test (Common Core quarterly assessment 1) and then the test (Common Core quarterly assessment 2) and then the test (Common Core quarterly assessment 3) and then the test (Common Core quarterly assessment 4).

    So while I would love my students to have art and music and song and dance and laughs. I have to teach to the test. Whoops...almost forgot...and then the test.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    When were you in the negotiation meetings? You sure sound like an expert for someone who wasn't there.

  • In reply to Paul:

    In the 17 years since it became a permissive topic, art, music and pe have been virtually erased from the curriculum. If CTU doesn't advocate for it at the table, who will?

  • In reply to Paul:

    Next year one large general high school will use the extra
    days length to inset a class called Literacy between 2th
    and 3th periods.This class has no period number-easier
    to fool the folks , this modern day study hall
    carries no grade and has no curriculum..
    that will ensure a longer day full of nothing extra for
    the kids or teachers.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    hmmmm... I wonder what high school that could be? Could it possibly be the one where the principal is obsessed with nothing but attendance because he thinks it makes him look good?

    If the Area Chief (or whatever they are calling AIOs or CAOs this week) approves this "silent reading" literacy nonsense rather than extending periods as teachers have requested then they are all truly empty suits.

  • in mark brown's column Lewis claims the union can't compete with reformers on buying ads and making calls, which i find hard to believe is accurate.

    over at WLS, she's apparently backing off the 30 percent number already.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Dear Alexander, the CTU doesn't have the money to buy all the ads that the billionaire's deform groups have! Just ask for a copy of the CTU budget and they will sent it to you. P.S.- I have it. Thanking you in advance.

  • i'm not interested in their budget as much as their revenues:

    25,000 members times $_______ dues = more than enough

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Wow! Really Alex? Gates, Apple, Broad, the Pritzker's, the Koch bros., the Walton's, Rauner, Bloomberg, etc. CTU compete?? Get off the pipe Alex!

  • In reply to Maestro:

    Apple? The Koch brothers? Apple's not involved in ed reform, really, and there's not any Koch brothers money coming into Chicago that I've ever heard of. You're just listing names.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    The author of the biography, Walter Isaacson, wrote Jobs thought teachers unions are crippling schools. Here is the snippet, courtesy The Huffington Post:

    Jobs also criticized America’s education system, saying it was “crippled by union work rules,” noted Isaacson. “Until the teachers’ unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform.” Jobs proposed allowing principals to hire and fire teachers based on merit, that schools stay open until 6 p.m. and that they be open 11 months a year.
    If these were the man's beliefs, his money couldn't be to far behind.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:


    Don't be naive. Chicago is now ground zero for the education deform movement (even Marc Brown alluded to this in his piece in the Sun-Times), what happens here will have lingering effects nationwide. The Koch's slimy web of PAC's reaches Illinois too. If there is any reason why monies are not coming in from them, it may be they enjoy watching the CTU and Emmanuel (a Obama loyalist) go at it. Never underestimate a billionaire and their ego.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Dear Alexander, what did Democrats For Education Reform get for the $100,000 they spent on radio ads on WBBM-AM, WGN, WGCI, WVON and several other stations urging parents to tell their teachers not to strike handled by AKPD? 482 "No" Votes versus 23,780 "Yes" Votes! That doesn't seem like getting the biggest bang for your buck to me!

  • fb_avatar

    Now Alex, good point. But do the math. what are dues? $100/month * 25,000 members * 12 months (do teachers pay dues over the summer?) = $30mn

    Isn't that a drop in the bucket when you have to constantly swim up the politcal and legal stream?

    Might we stopa nd think that is was good strategy (Art of War kind fo thinking) - don;t fight your enemies fight (I made that up - but sounds good eh?) If the CTU knew it could be outspent and it already had the most important thing in their back pocket - the teachers vote - why would they need to waste money on ads?

    I think they need to save money to fight the inexorable march towarxd Springfield of SB7 verson 2.0....

  • the most recent version of SB7 just wrapped up in CT, and according to the CT mirror each side spent roughly the same amount -- $1.5M.

    for what it's worth, both sides claimed victory.

    can't wait for the battle over SB7 2.0

  • here's the CT story about spending on both sides -- in case anyone's interested

  • I was going to comment on this but then read everything and come back to my realization that CPS system is a mess and CTU system is a mess. It will always be this back nd forth fighting. The system will continue to limp along. In the past 12 years I have been a teacher in CPS, I have seen 5 CEO's who came in and redefined everything to continue the same broken system. All that each has done is disrupt everything over and over. I am certain this whole thing will continue to same. I don't think either side can fix anything.

  • In reply to UghMG:

    I get the CPS Leadership being a total mess on many levels. I hear that from vendors, University Profs, teachers and parents weekly. That speaks about the lack of real leadership on Clark St. On the other hand, CTU is finally a democratic institution. The Schools Chicago's Students Deserve is a solid research based proposal to CPS to help Rahm and CEO Brizard get their priorities straight. A logical mayor and CEO of CPS would embrace the CTU proposal. BUT, Since Rahm sold his soul to the corporate interests, which is heavily documented in terms of who he gives access to in his office and by his attack on the unions to satisfy his hedge fund friends who want to make a good buck on our tax money by offering an inferior product called charter schools.

  • This blog is annoying. Is this your real job? Why don't you engage your readers. This is nothing more than a clearinghouse for all things "Waiting for Superman". You're a tool. I'm done

  • In reply to wtf:

    If you don't like it, ignore it, duh!

  • Headache299
    In education leadership, they call it ‘buy in.’ Regarding Russo, people are calling him ‘sold out’.

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