Tell Us About The Voting

Today's news roundup is almost 100 percent about the strike vote authorization process beginning today, but that doesn't mean it tells you very much you don't already know.  There's also a WTTW interview with Brizard from last night in the previous post.Skim the headlines then head to comments and tell us things that are new and interesting:  how you voted and why, what the voting process was like (who was there, the form, verification processes, and how it feels at your school today in terms of teacher / parent / administrator mood?

Teachers take strike authorization vote today Tribune: Contract talks are ongoing, and the Chicago Teachers Union vice president Jesse Sharkey admitted on Tuesday the vote is being taken to serve as "leverage in the negotiation process."

Email battle ahead of Chicago teachers’ strike vote Sun Times: Both sides Tuesday bombarded CTU members with emailed missives about what could be the prelude to Chicago’s first teachers strike in 25 years.

On the eve of union strike vote, battle lines are drawn Catalyst: Contrary to an assertion Lewis made at Friday's press conference announcing the vote, it appears that teacher strikes are not on the increase statewide in the wake of Senate Bill 7 passing, which restricts teacher bargaining rights.

Teachers Cast Ballots On Whether To Authorize Strike CBS2: Labor peace hangs in the balance Wednesday in the Chicago Public Schools system, as teachers vote on whether to authorize a strike.

Chicago teachers head for polls as CTU ad pushes for strike approval Sun Times: Thousands of Chicago Teachers Union members hit the polls in their schools Wednesday to vote on a strike authorization measure, buoyed by a radio ad from their president trumpeting their cause.

The CTU Contract Negotation Thread CPSObsessed: I really don’t think that Rahm is using his free time to post on CPSObsessed.com under the psuedonym of Angie.  But that would be really cool if he were.  Hi Rahm!  Same for Karen Lewis.  If you’re reading, Hi Karen!

New Technology Empowers CPS Parents WTTW: New technology employed by an advocacy group aims to include parents in the education process.

Karen Lewis Interview WTTW:  Chicago Public Schools reaches a deal with its service employees union. Could a teachers contract be close behind? We speak with Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.

Chicago Public Schools seeking principal for new Crane Chicago Journal: Chicago Public Schools officials are moving forward with plans to replace Crane High School on the Near West Side with a health sciences-focused neighborhood school, but they're looking for a principal first.

U46 names new principals, administrators Elgin Courier News: She is a former principal and assistant principal in Chicago Public Schools and a former special education teacher. Satterwhite received her bachelor's degree in education from Eastern Illinois University, a master's degree in special education from ...

Image via @ampersander Evelyn Pollins (here)

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  • ctu says it isn't giving out the form because it doesn't want it duplicated (why not just paste "SAMPLE" across the top?) but says that the question is as follows:

    "Do you authorize the Chicago Teachers Union to call a strike on such date as may be determined by the HOD?"

    i'm told that members are given this sheet, told to take it to the side and mark it, and then to put the ballot into an envelope marked SECRET (love it!) and then to put it into the ballot bag. then they get a sticker.

    is that about right?

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    It's a pretty normal voting process. Nothing too exciting or dramatic.

    Sign your name. Mark your vote on the ballot. Put the ballot in the bin. Receive a sticker. Done.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Harlan High School on the South Side = 100% YES. Even the principal encouraged me to vote YES!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Way to go Reggie.Of course I would expect no less from
    a Simeon Grad.

  • Westside elementary school. I would guess 100% YES, based on last poll and one to one conversations! Almost 100% voted as well. Teachers are psyched!

  • Checking in from the westside. Just left my third school and two had 100% vote and the third had 99% vote. from what Im hearing the westside pretty much has a slam dunk 100% vote.

  • Our school had 100% vote yes! and we have 60 members who all participated..... also did you see this letter to CEO Brizard from a CPS employee? If not, it's a must read!
    CEO Brizard,

    Thank you for sharing your concerns about the upcoming CTU strike authorization vote. I think a teacher perspective may help you better understand why we will overwhelming vote yes to the authorization this week.

    Though you often tell me how much you respect me and how much you support me, Board policies and CPS contract proposals do neither. If I felt respected and supported, in actions not words, if the thousands of other CTU members felt respected and supported, we would be at a very different place in our relationship, wouldn't we. Unfortunately, the fact that you feel that you and CPS respect and support teachers and staff only serves to highlight how massively disconnected CPS leadership and the Board of Education are from classroom teachers, career service personnel, and the students we serve every day.

    When my CEO cannot be bothered to attend a single session in negotiations, a process for which dozens of teachers and career service employees have gladly volunteered, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When selective enrollment schools serving 1% of CPS students receive 24% of TIF funding spent on schools and I work in a neighborhood school, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When CPS contract proposals indicate that experience, education, and training are unimportant or even undesirable, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When 4% of my pay is taken (for the rest of my career - not just for one year) even though the Board budgeted for it, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When charter schools dump their least desirable and least successful students into my neighborhood school, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When CPS attempts to mandate a scripted curricula that has nothing to do with the needs of my students, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When CPS closes 100 schools since the start of my career with threats to close 100 more, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When privatized, non-union charter schools receive a disproportionate share of CPS capital funds and I work in a neighborhood school, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When entire swaths of the city of Chicago are left without access to a neighborhood school, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When Board policy terminates or pushes out the door thousands of our most valuable and veteran teachers (I'll be one of those some day), I do not feel respected or supported.
    When CPS completely ignores my Union's positive agenda and its vision for publicly funded public education (The Schools Chicago's Students Deserve), I do not feel respected or supported.
    When CPS takes enormous pension holidays and then complains about later balloon payments required to make up for it, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When the Board asks me to invest 15-20% more mandatory hours in exchange for 2% more pay, I do not feel respected or supported. (By the way, a recent U of I study found that Chicago teachers average about 58 hours of work per week.)
    When students coming in to my high school have never had the opportunity to take a music class in elementary school, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When my field trip request to a CPS sponsored event is rejected by CPS, I do not feel respected or supported. (Yes, this has actually happened.)
    When I am paid inaccurately over and over and over again and invest hours and hours into getting it corrected, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When CPS has offered teachers for years an embarrasingly meager 250 MB of online storage and a decades old communication and collaboration platform I do not feel respected or supported.
    When I cannot access GradeBook or Impact for hours on end, or I wait 13 minutes for a computer to boot up, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When wave after wave of unproven education reform initiatives du jour are foisted upon teachers, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When the temperatures hit 100 degrees on the third floor of our building at the beginning and end of the school year and over the summer, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When the district is so unstable it cannot even keep its most senior leaders in place much less retain outstanding teachers, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When grades are due a week before school ends, or we spend days on end on high stakes exams, or when other large portions of learning time are wasted but CPS wants to extend the school day and year without improving it or funding it, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When counselors and special education teachers are woefully overworked with caseloads far beyond those recommended by respective professional organizations, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When the Board dictates without discussion decisions on important issues like a longer day, a longer year, the number of classes I teach, the number of students I teach, class sizes, narrow test-prep curricula, etc., I do not feel respected or supported.

    I am sure other teachers and employees could add on to this short list and make it a long one, but for the sake of brevity I will stop here.

    Thank you for your respect and support and for sharing your concerns, but I have no choice but to vote yes. Though I expect to be fired or have my school closed or turned around or privatized or transformed or whatever else CPS intends to do to neighborhood schools next, I am confident I will still be teaching in CPS long after you and your team have moved on to greener pastures.

    Sincerely,
    A CPS Teacher

  • ECE City Wide 93%

  • CEO Brizard,

    Thank you for sharing your concerns about the upcoming CTU strike authorization vote. I think a teacher perspective may help you better understand why we will overwhelming vote yes to the authorization this week.

    Though you often tell me how much you respect me and how much you support me, Board policies and CPS contract proposals do neither. If I felt respected and supported, in actions not words, if the thousands of other CTU members felt respected and supported, we would be at a very different place in our relationship, wouldn't we.

    Unfortunately, the fact that you feel that you and CPS respect and support teachers and staff only serves to highlight how massively disconnected CPS leadership and the Board of Education are from classroom teachers, career service personnel, and the students we serve every day.

    When my CEO cannot be bothered to attend a single session in negotiations, a process for which dozens of teachers and career service employees have gladly volunteered, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When selective enrollment schools serving 1% of CPS students receive 24% of TIF funding spent on schools and I work in a neighborhood school, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When CPS contract proposals indicate that experience, education, and training are unimportant or even undesirable, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When 4% of my pay is taken (for the rest of my career - not just for one year) even though the Board budgeted for it, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When charter schools dump their least desirable and least successful students into my neighborhood school, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When CPS attempts to mandate a scripted curricula that has nothing to do with the needs of my students, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When CPS closes 100 schools since the start of my career with threats to close 100 more, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When privatized, non-union charter schools receive a disproportionate share of CPS capital funds and I work in a neighborhood school, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When entire swaths of the city of Chicago are left without access to a neighborhood school, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When Board policy terminates or pushes out the door thousands of our most valuable and veteran teachers (I'll be one of those some day), I do not feel respected or supported.

    When CPS completely ignores my Union's positive agenda and its vision for publicly funded public education (The Schools Chicago's Students Deserve), I do not feel respected or supported.

    When CPS takes enormous pension holidays and then complains about later balloon payments required to make up for it, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When the Board asks me to invest 15-20% more mandatory hours in exchange for 2% more pay, I do not feel respected or supported. (By the way, a recent U of I study found that Chicago teachers average about 58 hours of work per week.)

    When students coming in to my high school have never had the opportunity to take a music class in elementary school, I do not feel respected or supported.
    When my field trip request to a CPS sponsored event is rejected by CPS, I do not feel respected or supported. (Yes, this has actually happened.)

    When I am paid inaccurately over and over and over again and invest hours and hours into getting it corrected, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When CPS has offered teachers for years an embarrasingly meager 250 MB of online storage and a decades old communication and collaboration platform I do not feel respected or supported.

    When I cannot access GradeBook or Impact for hours on end, or I wait 13 minutes for a computer to boot up, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When wave after wave of unproven education reform initiatives du jour are foisted upon teachers, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When the temperatures hit 100 degrees on the third floor of our building at the beginning and end of the school year and over the summer, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When the district is so unstable it cannot even keep its most senior leaders in place much less retain outstanding teachers, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When grades are due a week before school ends, or we spend days on end on high stakes exams, or when other large portions of learning time are wasted but CPS wants to extend the school day and year without improving it or funding it, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When counselors and special education teachers are woefully overworked with caseloads far beyond those recommended by respective professional organizations, I do not feel respected or supported.

    When the Board dictates without discussion decisions on important issues like a longer day, a longer year, the number of classes I teach, the number of students I teach, class sizes, narrow test-prep curricula, etc., I do not feel respected or supported.

    I am sure other teachers and employees could add on to this short list and make it a long one, but for the sake of brevity I will stop here.

    Thank you for your respect and support and for sharing your concerns, but I have no choice but to vote yes. Though I expect to be fired or have my school closed or turned around or privatized or transformed or whatever else CPS intends to do to neighborhood schools next, I am confident I will still be teaching in CPS long after you and your team have moved on to greener pastures.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Thank You! I want to hug you for expressing what we, all across the city, feel.

  • I'm a teacher at a Northside HS . The majority of the teachers overwhelmingly and enthusiastically voted in favor of the strike authorization. I haven't met a single teacher that voted no. The sentiment was a collective you know what (see below to the mayor and brizzard
    /"\
    |\./|
    | |
    /'\| |/'\
    | | | |
    | | | | |.
    | | | | | \ \
    | ~ ~ ~ ~ |` )
    | / )
    \ /
    \ /

    The drawing above underscores the the need for a comprehensive art program in the schools.

  • insidious brizard letter to parents. anyone see the letter to parents they are forcing teachers to hand out today. what a scumbag to use educational resources to union bust

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Yeah, I didn't see any of those in my mailbox. Guess someone forgot to copy them...

  • Brizard's union busting letter to the parents was thrown into the garbage can at my school. This is the lowest form of skullduggery that CPS has done in my 35 years.

  • I'm on the southside and I can guesstimate that we got 100% at our school.

  • Near south side got 95% or more at all schools. Cancel a promised raise, add a longer day, give no extra pay while killing sports and other extracurriculars in the process.... it's a no brainer. Wonder if Rahm's kids have activities after school? Father PFleger and the aldermen have no idea of what this feels like to teachers. Those guys also have their own issues they need to fix in their own areas. I suggest they read the teacher's letter to Brizard which says it all. Then they might understand or get some idea how teachers feel.

  • In reply to sammy:

    Have just heard about CPS sending the lawyers after the ballots. I can't figure them out. They don't seem to have a strategy or a purpose at this point.

  • In reply to Donald:

    Headache299
    CPS has a strategy alright!– they are surely to pretend that the votes are not legal…no doubt CPS is deep greasing their fists for the chapped likes of Father “Paraffin” Plegler (Chicago Archdiocese), Mike “Deep Moisture Creamy Formula” Flannery (Fox), Dane “Leo Lubricants” Placko (Fox), Linda “Unicorn Petroleum Industries” Lutton(wbez), Noreen S. “Silicone Industries” Ahmed-Ullah (Tribune), Sarah “Matrix Exports” Karp (Catalyst Chicago), Rosalind “Nikita Containers” Rossi (Sun-Times), Greg “Allied Udyog “Hinz (Crain’s Chicago Business) Eric “Agarwal Herbal Products” Zorn (Tribune), Becky “Natural Hydro Colliods” Vevea (wbez), Elliott “Minerals Supplying Company” Ramos (wbez), and last ‘butt’ not least, the tribune editorial page

  • Appointed school board can't recognize democracy in action. South side "neighborhood" elementary school overwhelming voted YES to authorize. Letter to CEO priceless and poignant.

  • Wow. Catalyst is reporting that CPS wants access to all the voting materials and has made an emergency appeal to IELRB.

    http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/2012/06/06/20163/teachers-cast-votes-cps-wants-access-ballots

  • How much is this costing the tax payers for CPS to hire lawyers to take our voting materials from CTU? This is true bullying!

  • Rahm and Brizard are afraid. They build institutions built on fear and distrust. Makes sense, they don't trust teachers. CPS already runs in a dysfunctional way. They run an organization of coercion and distrust of teachers. Is that healthy for a educational institution! Hell no! Finland runs on trust of teachers and they are unionized! What does that say about Rahm and Brizard!

    I am proud of my teachers voting YES! to the strike authorization!

  • Refreshing to see Brizard and his band of lawyers running like chickens with their heads cut off. They always want to tell teachers and even the IELRB what they won't do for us after we lose our jobs, get unfairly terminated and have lawyers insist CPS has done no wrong, and generally do whatever they can to F=== over teachers. Glad to see we are standing in solidarity and are sending our message loud and clear to Brizard, the Board, and even the little dictator Rahm that we're tired of being mistreated and we aren't going to take it anymore.

    I noticed the ads on the radio too and I read on the Catalyst website that they seem to be overwhelmingly targeted to the African American community. That's because when you have so many parents that don't have a clue about what's happening in the classroom or with the dismantlling of our neighborhood schools of course you want to create a panic. A friend of mine told me the ads sounded like Moo and Oink commercials and they are paid for by one of the education reform groups. At the end of the commercial they urge parents to sign a petition to keep teachers from voting for a strike. Are these people nuts???? They are hitting AA communities because as the old saying goes, "If you stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything."

    Maybe we can work to change this for the better of our students, our schools, and ourselves.

  • I see no reason for the strike vote today. Why allow teachers who are retiring to vote - this vote doesn't affect them. The vote should take place after all attempts to negotiate a contract has been made. Shame on CTU

  • In reply to fedup:

    Headache299
    You ‘see’ no reason?
    Then visit the Gerstein Eye Institute – Public education affects everyone!

  • In reply to fedup:

    This is a strike authorization vote! Not a strike vote! Grow up!

  • In reply to fedup:

    Wow, I ashamed to have the same page name as you as I totally disagree with you! Teachers have every reason under the sun to authorize a strike vote! They are being treated like complete dirt and with a great lack of respect. Why would the union want to wait and take a vote during the summer when alot of teachers are not around to do it??? Seriously, come on, get real!!!

  • In reply to fedup:

    The union is taking advantage of those teachers retiring. That is what I object to. Authorization to strike should only concern those teachers who will actually be teaching in the next contract year because they will be the ones who have to live with the new contract. I have yet to see where I strike has actually helped the children of Chicago. The students are the ones who lose out and what do the teachers actually gain from a strike - NOTHING!!!!
    Get real let's do what is right by the children that we serve. And yes I am a teacher and I care what happens to the students that I serve.

  • In reply to fedup:

    What about the children? Look dummy, I'm in the classroom with the kids all day. I do not benefit from their suffering. It is a lie to say that which benefits me is to the detriment of my students.

    As for retirees being "taken advantage of", if you honesty think a CPS veteran of 34+ years can be easily manipulated you are naive at best. Furthermore, if you want to complain about retirees voting, blame Emanuel, Brizard, and the state Dems who sponsored SB7. They were the ones that pushed for an undemocratic bill that said we had to have a vote of 75% OF ALL UNION MEMBERS. Hey, howabout this... I'll cede the retirees getting a vote, if you give us democracy 50%+1 of all vote participants.

  • In reply to fedup:

    I really cannot understand where you are coming from. Do you have a blind fold on?? Ok, if you think things are great the way they are going and that there is no need to call a strike vote;Then I guess you will be ok when you have to go to work and work under horrible conditions,work way longer hours with little compensation and absolutely no respect, and being worried about being fired for no good reason at all. So, when you are sitting out on the curb without a job because you were unjustly fired like so many teachers have already been, then you may change your opinion!

    As far as the retired teachers voting, they have a right to vote! They Are still in the system and are part of the union. And remember, alot of them are being forced out early due to how awful the working conditions are getting. They also did not want to lose the benefits they have worked so hard for all these years!

    I do not get why everyone is getting in an uproar. A strike atuhorization vote does not mean there will be a strike. No one wants to strike. But at least it lets CPS know how the vast majority of teachers feel right now in terms of how they are being treated.

  • In reply to fedup:

    You have some very convoluted thought processes-very illogical and unsubstantiated claims. I am wondering how you are able to break down information for your students.

    There are teachers retiring early from schools who have experienced age discrimination at the hands of young principals. Some of these new principals are insecure and are often intimidated by the veterans' experience. Just as there are "many ways to leave your lover" there are many ways to force experienced teachers out of a school or even the system.

    No, I do not feel taken advantage of by CTU but by CPS. The children suffer due to CPS' policies not the CTU.

    It would behoove you to read up on the issues, go to CTU meet ings and CPS Board meetings and speak with the veteran teachers and paras in the building. You are misguided.

  • To fedup: Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire (Shame on you fedup.)

  • The people have the power to elect a mayor. The mayor works for the people as do the aldermen. Dictators went out with Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler and Bin Laden. Why should teachers take it and say nothing. Whoever doesn't understand this is delusional. I admire the CTU for exercising teachers rights and not being dictated to. Maybe they won't strike, but it looks like they will be positioned to use the leverage of a potential strike for a fair deal. If they beat the 75% rule which was designed to hamper them. Where else in america does a simple majority not win? This is proof it was a set-up for failure and control. How can there be trust?

  • In reply to sammy:

    The only time in American government 3/4 approval is needed (unless I've forgotten something) is a constitutional amendment. 3/4 of the states need to ratify any amendment.

    2/3 is needed for a veto proof majority in the Senate and House. 2/3 is also needed to move a constitutional amendment through Congress.

  • In reply to BillyTurtle:

    You're not the American people voting to approve a constitutional amendment. You're not the Congress voting to pass a new law. You're the public school teachers of Chicago voting to authorize your union leadership to call a strike and shut down the school system unless you get higher pay and benefits.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Hello Paul, You seem very righteous in begrudging teachers the right to support their families. And you definitely don't seem to believe that teachers are voting to strike to save our schools. Aren't you the one who claims to be a CPS parent? How can you be so cynical about teachers and yet send your own flesh and blood to CPS schools where probably close to 100% of your kids' teachers are voting for strike authorization? If you really are a CPS parent and you really have these views of teachers, then is it not it you who are sacrificing children--your own children, in fact!--for a few bucks?

  • In reply to chicago:

    Hi chicago. It's true. I am a CPS parent. It's also true that I don't believe the teachers are voting to strike to save our schools. I believe that teachers are voting to authorize a strike in order to get leverage to negotiate for higher pay and benefits. I do believe that teachers would like to save our schools, and I believe that parents would like to save our schools as well. But, I don't believe that a strike will save our schools. I think a strike may make our schools worse. I think a strike will result in a compromise between CPS and the CTU for slightly higher pay and slightly lower benefit cuts for teachers without addressing the long list of problems that parents and teachers would like to see addressed. I send my own flesh and blood to CPS schools because I believe the teachers do a better job than the teachers in Catholic schools, and I believe in a well-rounded education that the public schools provide to a higher degree than the Catholic schools. I also like sending my kids to their neighborhood public school that also serves every other child in the neighborhood regardless of their race or income level or whether they have a disability. I don't think that the high-end private schools are worth the money, and they lack the socio-economic diversity that I think are benefits of a public school education. I don't enjoy the difference in viewpoints between the teachers and parents when it comes to a strike. I think that teachers and parents (and even the school leadership at CPS) need to be pulling in the same direction of improving our schools. Fortunately, from what I can tell, the teachers at our school are not pressuring parents or the kids to join them in calling for a strike. I don't think I'm sacrificing my children for a few bucks. I believe that teachers can still do a good job in teaching my children even if I disagree with them on a strike. I don't think that teachers would hold it against my children if I don't support them in a strike. I believe it when teachers say that they care about the education of my children.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Paul:

    I actually think this was one of the most balanced replies you've put on here thus far.

    But what I think you are still missing is WHY the teachers are only taking about pay - it is SB7 - that LAW now says that is the ONLY thing they are able to LEGALLY negotiate.

    If CTUs salary demands seem crazy - have you stopped to think that it is a way to try to get CPS to put more student centered issues back on the table - which only resides within CPS' power to do.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    That is totally accurate and Paul can read the law if he wants to. Its Public Act 097-0008 and it can be accessed by going to http://ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=097-0008

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Misinformation robocalls now being made citywide by something called edformnow.org telling people that teachers are voting to strike before contract negotations have been completed.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Misinformation robocalls now being made citywide by something called edformnow.org telling people that teachers are voting to strike before contract negotations have been completed. Education Reform Now is a Stand-type group to judge from their website. All four directors are capital managers and charter schoolboard members! They have HQ in Colorado, branches in 7 states, but NOT in Illinois! What are they doing here now?

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I understand that. And I understand that teachers don't see any difference between advocating for their self-interests (e.g. higher pay and a shorter workday) and advocating for the children's best interests (e.g. more technology, more recess, more instruction). But, I see the difference. The difference exists in a real-world budget and time-limited context. In a budget, decisions have to be made, and there are tradeoffs. A dollar spent on higher teacher pay can mean a dollar not spent on technology. A teacher working 40 minutes less per day means 40 minutes less instruction or no recess for their students.

    I think it's unlikely that the CTU--armed with the strike authorization vote--will sit down with CPS and end up with more public funding for eduction, fewer testing requirements, a plan for fixing all school buildings, air conditioning in every classroom, rehabbed science labs and auditoriums, technology in every classroom, etc. I think it's more likely that the CTU--armed with the strike authorization vote--will sit down with CPS and end up with a 4%, 5%, or 6% raise instead of a 2% raise, lower reduc tions in benefits, perhaps a 6.5 hour school day instead of a 7 hour day. And, we'll still have the same amount of public funding for education, the same amount of testing, school buildings in disrepair, hot classrooms, nonfunctioning science labs and unsafe auditoriums, and few computers in the classroom.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Paul, there are also trade offs involved in funding charters and turnarounds (that entail little proof of positive return on those dollars). There are trade offs in giving TIF money to corporations rather than schools. And there are trade offs in spending who knows how much money on outside attorneys to fight a completely legitimate strike authorization vote. You are absolutely right that there is a single pie, but teachers disagree with the administration about how it is sliced.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Yes. I know that's true. And the teachers strike is about how much of that pie goes to teachers in exchange for their teaching. It's not about improving education for my children. It's not about fixing all the problems with public education. It's about how much of the school budget should go towards pay and benefits for teachers.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Rodestvan:

    Paul, I think you are making a lot of assumptions without being familiar with the situation. The current leadership of CTU was elected on a platform of working with the community on the exact issues you are referring to.

    We took tons of criticism from the other side because "the union is not the community" and "CTU must focus on teacher issues". However, teachers come to school everyday not just for a check but to help improve children's lives. We won with a 60/40 majority on the vote. Many of us have been disciplined or lost our jobs for fighting the board on the exact issues you are asking about.

    The pie analogy is only accurate if you consider that with the current pie, the kids are eating a sliver, the teachers are eating a sliver, and the board is feeding the largest slice to their patronage hounds.

    The solution is not to fight with the kids over parts of our tiny slices, it's to reclaim the pie. I hope you will help.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Resonding to Paul:

    While I believe that there are fiscal limits to what CPS can afford to pay teachers, or for that matter for capital programs, educational programs, charter schools, pension contributions, and longer school days etc., CPS does make choices on educational investments and expenditures. So I believe to argue that each dollar going into teachers' pay equates to a reduction in educational services to children is a very simplistic perspective. The CPS budget is massive, last year it was $5.07 billion. Normally I spend one month examining this budget, in particular the special education portion of it, for the not for profit I work for. There is always some elasticity in this massive budget, but that exact amount is based on one's perspective.

    I do believe that there is a very common myth among teachers that there are huge misappropriations of funds in CPS that could be reaped in order to meet salary demands, that too is a simplistic picture of things. CPS is a massive entity and it is the second largest employer in the City. Legally the Chicago Public Schools are prohibited from signing or entering into any contract that puts into jeopardy the school district, the budget must be balanced [105 ILCS 5/34-43],the fulfillment of any contract is based on appropriations by the Board. This means if CPS does not have the money it does not have to pay and it is written into every labor contract. While, CPS does not have sovereign immunity it is legally required to protect the larger interests of students and the citizens of Chicago. Jim Franczek is not dumb, he will not write a contract CPS cannot escape from if they need to.

    So there is no need to get bent out of shape in relation to this strike vote, any deal CPS enters into can be vacated if the school district can't appropriate the funds. Please recall that is exactly what happened last year when the 4% raise was take away.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Paul:

    Paul, you are so wrong in this. This is the situation. The BOE offered a contract proposal of a 2% pay raise in compensation for an increase of 25% more in work time. They are not interested in opening any other elements of the contract for negotiation. The CTU said no, not just to the wage increase but to a five year contract that involves merit pay (which we do not trust), no guarantee of a freeze in health benefits (so a pay cut), no say in the school day, no say in the school year, basically no decision making capability in any education policy.

    So now this contract negotiation is in a board of three people,. and yes, all that can be discussed is wages. But, once this committee has released their findings, if either the CTU or the Board of Education do not accept the findings, my understanding is that the last offer from the BOE is the one that will be ratified. The offer that can feasibly put 50 kids in a classroom, close down your children's neighborhood school, not staff your child's class properly until mid October (which is something that happens pretty often in this district.

    I guess I will leave you with a question, Paul. A test if you will. Answer it honestly because your answer will effect my pay....(sarcasm):

    If you were a teacher given this contract which rendered you powerless, asked you to work more hours for less money, took away any sense of job security and was literally going to make your job of teaching children much more difficult, what would you do? Just take it and swallow your medicine or fight for at least some concessions?

  • In reply to FrankThompson:

    That's a good question FrankThompson. I'd like to say that I'd vote "No" on the strike authorization because I see the big picture and know that my pay and benefits (as a hypothetical teacher) are the highest or among the highest in the country. I'd like to say that I would realize that I get my summers off, pay much less into health care than most other working people, and have only been required to work 6 hours and 15 minutes a day for many years. I'd like to say that I'd realize that most other working people in the city make less money than I do, including the vast majority of the students' families that I teach, and they work longer hours year-round.

    But, I'm a human being with self-interest, and honestly I would probably buy into the argument that voting to authorize a strike is not just good for me, it's good for my students. After all, the students are with me all day, and I should be a motivated, happy, well-compensated, respected, and valued professional. I'd probably buy into the argument that the reason CPS doesn't want to pay me more money is because it is run by billionaires and special interest groups that do not value education and want to exploit poor and minority people. They have the money to spend on providing me with higher pay, they just don't want to do it. I'd probably ignore the so-called fiscal problems faced by the city, county, state, and federal governments, and say it's not my fault or responsibility. I'd probably dismiss as selfish, the complaints of parents who say that a strike will inconvenience them and who point out that they haven't gotten a raise in 4 of the last 5 years while teachers received annual raises during a recession. And, I would place most of the blame squarely on the shoulders of all the mayors and CEOs that have been running this school system. The voters may have elected those mayors. Those CEOs may have impressive resumes and fancy degrees. But, in my view they have been treating me disrespectfully for years by insisting on measurable results and accountability. I'd think that you can't put a price on my services. Teaching is a noble and honest profession. And, if anyone does anything other than agree right away that all teachers deserve pay raises every year no matter what, I would say they're being disrespectful. So, honestly, I would probably vote "Yes" to authorize a strike, and then I'd pray that a strike doesn't happen.

    This article from Greg Hinz is fairly middle-of-the-road on the strike issue. I posted a link to it elsewhere: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120606/BLOGS02/120609893/teachers-union-faces-dilemma-as-strike-vote-nears

  • In reply to Paul:

    Headache299
    Paul,
    You write very professionally, and frequently, too! In fact, today alone you posted comments and/or responses around 7:30 am, 10:30 am, 1:00pm, 2:30pm, and 4pm. That’s a whole bunch of writing!

    Sounds almost like it’s a job!

    Or is your real name Becky Carroll? Or is it Daniel Conley?, or is it Susan Birkholtz?, or is it Robyn Ziegler?, or is it Marielle Sainvilus?, or is it Frank Shuftan?, or is it Jamila Johhnson?, or is it Katie Hickey… ?....?!

  • In reply to Paul:

    Do you honestly think the teachers at your children's school work 6 hours and 15 minutes per day and take summers off? Do you think they don' t spend their money on their classroom and materials? I am paid near the TOP of the pay scale (27 years, Masters plus 45 and National Board Certification). That is 89,000 per year (with pension contribution thrown in...hope I get to see it one day!) I work at a Northside neighborhood school (and feel lucky to do so). Here is a run down of what I do. I work an average of 60 hours per week during the school year, and 10 during the summer, though more like 40 the month before school. I volunteer my time on the LSC, school productions, spend money at silent auctions and other fundraisers, as well as time. Like most teachers, I start every year promising to have a well-rounded life, balanced between family, work and getting an occasional work out in, but find resolve failing as the demands of work pile up. Some of those I take on myself: planning exciting units, thoughtfully assessing students. Much is piled on by the Board and holds little import, but takes too much time (the inanity of Gradebook for Elementary School, assessments that are useless, the new insanity that is Verify). I answer parent emails, and spend hours on a system that doesn't work. I write grants to try to get materials for my classroom. I meet with parents, my principal and other teachers on my own time. I mentor new teachers face-to-face and through email and phone. I have paid for my own education and continue to attend professional development on my own dime. I plan for, and give, professional development at my school and at the network level, again with no recompense. I love doing this and am passionate for my work. But I feel beat up by the parents (like you) who have very little appreciation for the realities of what the REAL day and stresses of teaching are. As best I can figure, I make a REAL hourly rate somewhere between 20 and 25 dollars per hour. I spend 10% of my salary per year on my classroom and school. And I am at the top of the heap, with only a fraction of the stressors of my colleagues south and west. I have always been willing to do this for both the love I have for my work, and the knowledge that it was a secure position. Now I only have the love left. I vote YES to salvage the scraps the Board and Rahm have left me and my colleagues.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Why don't you tell us how you really feel? Do me a favor and print off that last response to my question and show it to your kids teachers for me. Let me know what they say.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Thanks Headache299 for your compliment on my writing skills. I owe it all to my teachers ;) I've also been posting on cpsobsessed.com, so you could add some of those times to your list. Posting on blogs isn't my job, and I'm not Becky Carroll or any of those other people you mentioned. I don't work for CPS, and I'm not even a member of any of the interest groups that are involved in education issues. I'm a father of two CPS kids.

    To Teacher and Letspretend, I'm sure that your students and their parents benefit tremendously for the extra time and money that you put into your classroom. And, I don't believe that you're the only ones. I know there are many teachers in my children's school that work extra hours and do more than is required. It's heroic work, and it makes all the difference to the success of my kids and many others.

  • In reply to Paul:

    It never ceases to amaze me that parents and the rest of the untouched, unaware world think that teachers are only about the money. The strike authorization vote is not about us being greedy, working only 6.5 hours, getting summers off (without pay by the way because extended pay is money we've earned throughout the school year that the board holds) etc., etc., etc. As other comments show, there are many issues at stake. I've worked in the district for over 20 years and the yes the state of our buildings, lack of technology, programs, funding for quality programs for our students, and so much more is missing. We do our best as some have stated in response to you by spending our own money, giving way more off the clock time than most non-teachers could ever imagine, and innovating new and exciting ways to engage our students with little or no resources. For the last eight years I have brought my own laptop and LCD projector to use in my classroom. I've used everything from a dry erase board to a white sheet or the wall as a screen. I get insulted when I read such nonsense but that is the overall perception of many parents and other individuals. I don't see people criticizing the CEO's of major corporations who make millions in salary and saying they only care about the money. I don't see the same negativity towards our elected officials either who are working to reduce or eliminate our pension benefits while they inflate their pension payments with special circumstances. Someone once told me that teachers are the most important people on the planet next to parents and that our salaries should be at the level of professional basketball players or high paid CEO's. But if you asked most teachers they would tell you that they don't teach because of the money they teach because of the love they have for touching the lives of young people. If we really wanted high salaries we would go into other careers where our top end teachers salaries would look like minimum wage. Yes, we make more than many of the parents whose children we teach but if you add up how much money we spend out of our pockets to go back to school to get additional education experience through professional development and advanced degrees as well as materials, copies, etc. it's not like we'll ever get rich teaching. Oh, and don't worry, we won't hold anything against you and we won't do mean things to your children either because you don't agree with a yes vote for a strike authorization. My mother wasn't happy either in the 70's and neither were we when a teachers strike robbed us of our spring break and senior trip. But we didn't hate on the teachers nor bad mouth them because it was a different time. Our children have already been sacrificed if they go to any of our under performing schools but based on your comments and your eloquent way with words, your children are in a diverse environment which means they are in one of the better schools in the district and they won't be watching their school become slated to close or turned around and in the place of experienced teachers they will have the new crop of teachers with not a lick of formal education training but learning the ropes (even special education) as they begin their first year in the classroom. Sounds like that is what you should be in huff about.

  • In reply to Paul:

    My biggest problem with the 75% is that SB 7 singles out Chicago. None of the other unions in the state have to meet this threshold. They're all simply 50% + 1...so why us? We also have to have 75% of total membership, and not just 50% of the votes cast...again the question is "Why us?"

    So, no...we're not approving a constitutional amendment and we're not Congress, but we're also not given the same treatment as the other school districts. I wonder why that is.

    The funny thing, though, is that we'll make 75% easy...in spite of the law being designed to make a strike "impossible."

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYE7Un7C1f0&feature=youtu.be

  • Although the union has failed me (individually) a couple times. I cannot vote no to this. As I understand this, if we don't authorize now, we can start the year and be unable to strike. Also, this fact finding thing means very little, with recommendations rather than anything binding. Lastly, calling this vote is part of this system. Why wouldn't we engage it? Whether it was designed to make it harder etc. We seem to be embracing it. When we get more than 75% it will be that much more useful. Not just a simple majority agrees but xx% agrees. We need to exert this energy and power. Every person I have spoken to has voted Yes.

  • By the way, why is Brizard worried? He has explained many times that he has met with 11,000 teachers that agree with him. With his 11,000 no votes we only have 66% voting yes. Hmmmm. What happened to his 11,000 allies?

  • The Teachers Union backs up their proposals with data and research. CPS lies! It is understandable that CPS refrains from responding with research and data because.. they come up short! Wink Wink! Why can't CPS back up their arguments? The systemic failure of CPS under mayoral control is obvious. Even U of C, who gets the big checks from CPS has said as much.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    While I agree that U of Chicago’s Charter Schools do receive a significant amount of tuition money from CPS, overall it is a money-losing proposition. What is now problematic about U of C’s Consortium is that it is part of the Urban Education Institute (UEI) that also is the mother ship of the charter schools. If you look at the UEI funding list you discover the usual suspects [see http://uei.uchicago.edu/support/our-supporters] including several that also back Stand for Children.

    The biggest problem with the integration of the Consortium with the U of C charter schools is the fact that it creates a conflict of interest in that research organization in relation to examining charter schools as a whole. Not just academically, but in terms of cost benefit analysis too. As CPS goes to a model where charters will make up possibly 40% of all schools over the next ten years or so the actual costs per child of running these schools will become critical. There is an unspoken assumption that in the long run because charters are largely non-unionized that they will be cheaper to operate than traditional schools, I think that is a fatally flawed perspective. This is due to the economies of scale issue and the overall small size of charter schools. So the Consortium largely avoids research relating directly to the charter school model and this cannot go on much longer or the project will become irrelevant.

    Because our nation’s ability to fund public education faces a long-term decline under the rule of either Democrats or Republicans the charter school model becomes very problematic for the future. The Republican Party will verbally nod its head to charter schools and then go full scale in its support of voucher funding for private schools. Because under the voucher model costs are fixed to what the parent is handed and if necessary for fiscal reasons the amount of the voucher can be reduced.

    Ultimately vouchers will have to be for all families, not just low-income families, if a real free market system is going to be implanted. Those families that can afford to make additional tuition payments will attend better schools and those who cannot afford the additional costs will attend those schools that operate based on only what a voucher will provide. It will be the most American of systems truly reflecting a free market ideology.

    Because the U of C is so tied to the legacy of Milton Friedman it seems almost inevitable that its charter schools would be early shifters to a voucher based educational system under Republican rule if that should take place. To be honest there is really only so long that its charter schools can be subsidized by donors or directly by endowments of the University and eventually under a new educational funding system based in part on vouchers moving in that direction would be logical for U of C.

    Rod Estvan

  • Parent Paul,

    As I suspect that you can agree that having the best qualified teacher in your child's classroom only serves your best interests (as a parent) and the best interest of the larger community; I speculate that you can to some degree understand that fair compensation also serves this interest. Someone once said to not disparage the teacher as they are one of the largest contributors to the classroom... not in time and instruction but also in the amount of money spent purchasing materials. The reason why we have such large support from parents (you not withstanding) is because it is my phone that rings in the night to get clarity on an assignment... not Rahms, I get the notes that money is tight and can I please pay for a field trip for their child. It is we (the teachers) who collect funds for the services of family members slain on our streets. It is we who purchase uniforms and pay graduation fees for our children... and it is the teachers (and many fortunate parents) who advocate for our most disenfranchised parents and families whose low wage jobs preclude them from taking days off to maybe get to speak at board meetings. Minimum wage jobs barely keep the lights on and the rent paid. These are the parents who know we are their line of defense and their child's in a system designed for their failure. And, yes, if those parents who have so little want their child's teacher to be fairly compensated and can see the bigger picture at play (they are living it) then I can graciously add that you lack some perspective.

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