Two Weeks Left (To Strike)

Today's news includes: Youth Connections isn't closing its Bronzeville school or firing all the newly-unionized teachers (at least not yet), CPS is going to return its federal TIF grant, and a mishmosh of other updates.  No word yet on when the strike vote begins (just two weeks of class left), or what Jean-Claude's baby's name is (a little help?).CPS to Return Nearly $35M Federal Grant NBC:  The Department of Education doled out the money with the stipulation that CPS and the Chicago Teachers Unioncollaborate with each other on how to implement a pilot Teacher Incentive Fund, a merit-pay program.

Chicago schools battle closely studied across country Chicago Tribune: The two reform groups are playing a role in an increasingly heated fray, and last week held a joint news conference to lambaste the Chicago Teachers Union for threatening a strike while talks are ongoing.

Youth Connection: No plans to close campuses for now Catalyst: Board President Linda Hannah told the board and dozens of spectators that it was “unacceptable” CPS' proposed contract listed closure as the only option for failing campuses. She added that “we will work with teachers to address the performance issues of their campuses.”

Newly Unionized Chicago Charter School Stays Open For Now Progress Illinois: Including YCLA, the union – which is affiliated with the Chicago Teachers Union and its parent organization, the American Federation of Teachers – has organized 13 of the city's 85 charter schools, including four YCCSschools.

Ex-dropouts at Chicago Public Schools win honors in film fest Sun Times: Today, Johnson and some of his peers — Chicago Public School dropouts who found their way back through the Alternative Schools Network — are using film to tell their stories of struggle and redemption.

Senate passes 5 percent tax on satellite TV to help schools Sun Times:  The Illinois Senate narrowly voted Thursday to impose a $75 million tax on satellite television providers in a move GOP critics described as “just another tax increase.” The measure sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) passed 30-27 and now moves to the House.

The death of cursive writing WBEZ:  New Common Core standards require students to become proficient with a keyboard. Forty-five states have adopted this comprehensive change to K-12 curricula. Now educators must decide whether they want to make time to teach cursive writing – even if there’s not a grade for it on report cards.

Censory overload: banning words at school Tribune:  How would you respond if someone called you “gay” or “retarded”? Some teens may laugh it off, but to others, these words are offensive and harmful. In fact, some words have been misrepresented so many times that they’ve lost.


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  • updates from WBEZ:

    Teacher retirement numbers near 2000 already, a 40 percent jump over last year @WBEZeducation

    WBEZ explains why @ctulocal1 is concerned about the TIF grant NBC says CPS is giving TIF money back

  • The current Chicago Teachers Union leadership under President Karen Lewis refused to be manipulated with what teachers familiar with the issue are calling "blood money" by refusing to become a partner with Chicago Public Schools officials in another round of teacher participation in the firing of teachers.

  • Tweeted this yesterday afternoon but here it is again: WTTW says @ctulocal1 will commence strike vote on monday

  • From the Sun Times... “We are asking for a strike-authorization vote to send a signal to the Board [of Education] about how unhappy our members are about their proposal,” said Jesse Sharkey, vice president of the 25,000-member teachers union.

    I'm just curious, how many CTU members have actually read the Board's proposal? Is this something that only a few people at the CTU get to view or has a summary of points been distributed to CTU members?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to NotTheMayor:

    Actually good point....but...

    Why doesn't CPS simply post the official proposal on it's website?

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    The CPS proposals are on their web site. Go to the bottom of the home page and click on the "collective bargaining" link. They've been up there for weeks...get with the program, guys!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Keep in mind that the proposals CPS shares with the public are only vague and general summaries crafted to solicit support from various constituencies. The language is heavily loaded and does not necessarily represent with any accuracy the full meaning, context, or outcomes of the proposals themselves.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to district299reader:

    No no sorry....I mean the "actual proposal" - the actual document/contract that the members need to vote on.

    I say go for it. Publish it. Not half of it - not sound bites of it. All of it.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I assume you are referencing these two documents:

    I have to agree that these statements are not the actual contractual proposals. Neither the CPS or CTU have revealed these documents. In contracts phrasing is critical.

    One issue is what is called "latent ambiguity," which can happen when a contract appears straightforward at the time it's written and agreed to but certain facts that were not apparent at the time of execution later make the contract language ambiguous and open the entire contract to multiple meanings. The last CTU contract had numerous sections that became difficult to enforce. So seeing the real contract language is important.

    Rod Estvan

  • no need to go to the CPS website for a detailed and confusing interpretation of contract proposals. Here is the executive summary of what the Board says to teachers and PSRP's

    Screw You!

    Time for Action!
    No More playing word games.
    No more playing paper games.
    No more playing lawyer games.
    Time to take Action!

  • Friday afternoon press conference announcing strike vote is coming later today, says WBBM radio @ctulocal1

  • IL leads way in coordinating ECE & K12 services for ELL kids, says WP oped #5bb Shout out for Erie House

  • Wish CPS and the mayor would read the tentative deal Elgin just cut with their teachers --

    Basically, the Elgin teachers turned down the first proposal their board made in which they would have had a 2% to 4.5% raise because they would not have been allowed to have a say about the structure of the school day. They DID accept a .75% and .75% for each of the next two years because a new provision was written in that allowed them to help plan the school day.

    There is a lesson here that CPS needs to understand. Teachers want to decide what our what our school curriculum, class size, and structure of the day looks like. I know Elgin is allowed to bargain about these issues and CPS teachers can only bargain about money, but if the mayor/Brizard would open up the discussion to allowing us to decide these important issues, I guarantee that raise number would begin to drop proportional to how much say we have about the actual running of our schools. We really do know best.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Are you one CTU's PR people who flood this blog . . .CTU can bargain over a lot more than money. It's a lie to suggest otherwise . . . In fact, according to CPS's website, CPS offered to but CTU refused:

    "On January 12th of this year, CPS notified the CTU of its decision to lengthen the school day and year. It also offered to bargain with the CTU over the impact of the longer day, including compensation. However, on that same day, the CTU informed CPS that it did not want to bargain over the impact of the longer day." Go to

    Why would CTU tell CPS it did not want to bargain over the impact of the longer day?!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Bullocks! You are not part of the negotiation meetings. Quit making dumb attacks on CTU! Get it right before commenting. CPS is all BS! But you know that, since they most likely hire you to post.

  • In reply to viniciusdm:

    Here is the Dr. David W. Magill, University of Chicago Laboratory School page that Matt Farmer alludes to:

    “I shudder to think of who would be attracted to teach in our public schools without union.”

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I disagree with you that the CTU does not want to open bargaining to issues beyond salary/compensation. This is from the Catalyst report on Friday's CTU press conference:

    "Further, union president Karen Lewis pointed out Friday that the fact-finding panel can only make recommendations about a limited number of issues, primarily compensation. She said that CTU asked CPS to let the panel deal with broader educational issues, but CPS said no. If either side rejects the settlement proposed by the panel, the union must wait 30 days before it can strike."

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Who in their right mind would believe anything that's coming out of the CPS communications office? Talk about not having credibility... people in central office don't believe a single word that comes out of that office these days. Why should teachers or the media?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Principals do not believe it either. There is no credibility with the CEO. Citizens are realizing he is just a mouthpiece puppet for the mayor.

  • Where they say money will buy everything. When they say I''ll buy the Chicago Teachers Union with the checks. I'd spit in their eye before I'd vote for anything but the strike! — CTU President Robert M. Healey, February 2, 1980

  • Where they say money will buy everything. When they say I''ll buy the Chicago Teachers Union with the checks. I'd spit in their eye before I'd vote for anything but the strike! — CTU President Robert M. Healey, February 2, 1980

    The video of Healy’s statement can be seen at this link

  • this didn't work -- strike vote apparently called for wednesday the 6th

    CPS Chief Pleads With Teachers to Hold Off Strike | NBC Chicago

  • from CTU:

    "Today, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) announced it has set a strike authorization vote for Wednesday, June 6th, which will be conducted in all Chicago Public Schools (CPS) with CTU members. State law requires 75 percent of Union members to vote in the affirmative in order to authorize a strike. More than 90 percent of teachers, clinicians and paraprofessionals have already rejected the Board of Education’s current contract proposals.

    “A strike authorization vote is not a vote to go on strike,” Lewis said. “…We want to avoid a strike. Strikes aren’t good for anyone—not our members, not our parents and certainly not our students."

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Let them strike over a 30% demand . . . let them go, and let the door hit them in the ass as they go . . . and let's give their salaries to the people in the form of vouchers, . . that's the real power to the people. . .

  • The strike authorization vote will empower teachers. It's time they showed those who don't know the ultimate power rests with the teachers, not the mayor. Does anyone know about the rumored layoffs that took place at central office today? Fill us in.

  • Actually Sammy it will disempower teachers.

    I was fascinated see Lewis and Sharkey side step this issue with their rather misleading "this is not a strike vote" statement in the press conference. Unfortunately the press is too daft to ask the important follow-up question, "if this is not the strike vote, will you ask the membership to have another vote after you give them CPS' full offer"? And Jesse and Karen won't volunteer the answer because it's a big fat NO.

    What they are doing is making the membership to give its authority to call a strke to Karen Lewis and Jesse Sharkey. So they'll decide whether to strike. If teachers give them that power, Jesse and Karen will never come back to them with what CPS' final offer is and never will tell them what crazy final offer they make.

    They'll just strike because this is a self-fulfilling prophecy for them both . . . Karen Lewis didn't make her gross Seattle speech for nothing . . . . Her stint as insult comic at the rally last week wasn't her "proudest moment"; it was the penultimate moment, the one before she martyrs herself for a cause she can articulate coherently . . .she thinks this is her superhero moment, but it's more like "Thelma and Louise" going off the cliff. . . Jesse's her sidekick, the prtty one . . .and they're leaving behind what she might call a "hot buttery mess" for everyone else to clean up. .

    And just so no one's hoodwinked here, if Jesse and Karen have the ability to declare a strike without coming back to the membership for a vote, there will be a strike. What's more, it may be an illegal strike given what we're all hearing out here and no one's saying what that means for strikers.

    So if they say they've got 75% to authorize a strke, you might as well extend your vacation to the end of September or longer cause I am doubting there'll be school after labor day. And who knows what could happen if it's an illegal strike . . . CTU doesn't say in its planning literature.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You don't seem to understand our union. And that's okay because it's not your union. Either you're a "member" in name only, or you're an outsider looking in trying to tell us what we should do. It's OUR union. If you had been in the streets with us May 23rd in body or spirit, you'd have seen and felt the power of a union. Only half my members could be there in body, but we were all there in spirit. My school stands together, and my school stands strong. In 675 schools we stand together, and we stand strong.

    Karen Lewis and Jesse Sharkey are only two of our members. They are rank and file teachers just like me and my 25,000 active sisters and brothers. They spent years in the classroom teaching children, and would be there now if they had not been called to take action. They are not fat cat bosses. They speak from their hearts and do the right thing. They may be the ones speaking in front of cameras a lot of the time. Or they may be the ones whose sound bytes are deemed most newsworthy by an editor.... But they speak for all of us. When I hear them speak, I hear my thoughts given voice.

    The CTU is a democratic organization. Karen Lewis does not decide if or when we strike. Jesse Sharkey does not make that decision.

    We are not being "made" to do anything. We are not giving Karen Lewis and Jesse Sharkey any such power. That would violate OUR constitution. We will know what the offer is. It will be shared freely. If for some bizarre reason it is not, we will demand that it be shared and then it will be.

    If by some chance you are actually a member, come to a House of Delegates meeting. You will actually see democracy in action. Not this non-sense we see in DC, Springfield or City Hall. Real and true democracy, Athens style.

  • District 299 Reader I don't think it's a self fulfilling prophesy. I think it's about the money and all of the other particulars within which teachers would like to have input. Karen and Jesse are just at the forefront of the labor struggle due to their elected positions just as Jackie Vaughn was in the past. This is what they're supposed to do, right? I don't know what makes the vote and eventual strike illegal, but we can tell what side you're on. Someone told me you're JC in cognito.

  • Dear Reader. Clearly you are not a teacher because you would know that many schools were strike polling well before CTU officials got involved. In fact, the rank and file actually caught them by surprise and they only moved off their heels after a grass roots movement was well underway. Thankfully, they recovered and are now back in the lead. I expect we will see more CPS posts in the next few days that attempt to either intimidate or frighten, but you will have to do better than that. This is a bottom-up movement that isn't much taking orders from either side. Have a great weekend and get some rest.

  • Rahm, why were you kicked out of Washington DC? On the Reals! Why?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I would like to know this too.... something happened, and were stuck w/ a fool for 3 years.

  • To avoid a strike CPS must pay teachers for the extended day (or remove the extended day), adhere to class size restrictions, maintain staff for support services and stop charter school expansion. It's simple.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    And what part of your list of ways to prevent this strike has not been spelled out by the union? If memory serves, these are the same arguments that "our" union has been making. If we "the rank and file" vote for the authorization that is our voice. "So they'll decide whether to strike. If teachers give them that power" thus the wording AUTHORIZATION. I am unclear in the diatribe...we have a voice, we don't have a voice, these are the demands and not the demands. Be honest, did your party caucus not get elected? I for one can interpret a strike authorization as giving the authority to strike. What is deceitful in the language? Will the real identity of district 299 reader please stand up... please stand up!

  • In reply to urbanteach:

    It took me a while to figure it out too because it seemed like district299reader was always saying contradictory things. It's a general login that allows people to be anonymous. Dozens of people use it.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Dist299reader says:
    "To avoid a strike CPS must pay teachers for the extended day (or remove the extended day), adhere to class size restrictions, maintain staff for support services and stop charter school expansion. It's simple."

    Good list 299, but I would also add job protection for current teachers and recall procedures for the thousands of displaced teachers who were laid off through school actions and through no fault of their own.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Plus there is the sick day issue. Oh and we need to correct the evaluation system and prevent workplace bullying. Bring and end to senseless testing which wastes (not kidding here) 10% of student contact time.

  • In reply to BillyTurtle:

    I agree. I also think that we should look into how Finnland runs their school system, they are at the top and guess what; they do not even do all that teach to the test stuff. They take tests, but they just use them as a mere guide, they do not focus on testing at all, but yet they are at the top!! Also, they NEVER fire teachers, their turnover rate is like 0. They treat their teachers with nothing but respect. I think Chicgao could learn something from them!!

  • In reply to fedup:

    Finland is 5.5M people, mainly (90%) ethnic Finns, living in a European-style social system with relatively high taxes. Surely there are lessons to learn from virtually anywhere, but Finland is not facing remotely the same set of problems as Chicago.

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    What does ethnic homogeneity have to do with it? I hope you are not suggested some ethnicities are inferior or that a multi-ethnic nation is problematic. Bangladesh is 95%+ Bengali Lesotho is almost entirely made up of people from the Sotho ethnic group. This line of thinking has always struck me as racist.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    My point is that the Finnish system is not trying to educate a student population composed primarily of a relatively poor subset of students (three-fourths of CPS students come from families who are eligible for free lunch, see CTU Report) and primarily of ethnic and racial minorities, with the concomitant history of prejudice and discrimination.

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    Yes, Finland is NOT facing the same set of problems as Chicago, but then you have to ask yourself, well, Why is that???

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I'm a CPS teacher and I think one of the scariest part of the CPS proposal is the "differentiated pay scale." It's weird how few people write about it being an issue. In two years, it seems to me at least, they could cut all of our salaries to something called low-base-pay (i.e. get rid of all lanes and steps) and then only give us more money if we 1) teach hard-to-staff subjects or work in hard-to-staff schools (market forces), 2) have good "value added" test scores, or 3) take on leadership roles in our schools (I think this is the third piece -- not 100% sure).

    So, here's how I figure this: I teach English, which is not considered "hard-to-staff." I have two young children, so the idea of taking on a lot of extra responsibilities when I already teach AP classes is intimating. This means my only recourse is "value-added." If this is the case, how predictable would my salary be from year to year? One year, my students do well and I get the salary bump -- woohoo! Then the next year, if they don't do as well, I fall back to the low-base-pay, which is, what, $40,000? This means that although I have fixed expenses, I have no predictable salary other than "low-base-pay." Add to all this the fact that health insurance premiums for people with families are the premiums that CPS wants to raise and the fact that I have to live in an expensive city because of the residency requirement and, well... It makes me want to fight back. Not strike unless 100% necessary, but fight.

    It also makes me wonder if CPS basically wants to staff the schools with young 20-somethings who will work for that salary and don't have families and are willing to take on tons of extra responsibilities: Teach for America types, perhaps. It's a way to save money, that's for sure.

  • In reply to kmcj:

    kmcj - If properly designed and implemented the metrics would tap your acquisition of increased skills and abilities and motivation. These could fluctuate year to year but only increase as you gain experience. Your total salary would (only) increase - sometimes more sometimes less. The system would not be punitive in the sense that your salary would decrease because of "performance".

    For this type evaluation I don't think the standardized test taken by students can be used. A protocol which is quantifiable but truly assesses the qualities of good teaching would need to be developed. I'm sure that is possible but it will take time. I would suggest that the CTU agree that development to ensure propriety and fairness.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    It would generate more trust if CPS communications people didn't write on this blog as "CPS Parent". Clearly the information in this post is from downtown. Having said that, I don't think this addresses the concerns of CPS teachers because it is ignoring the contextual issues that are more and more impinging on our ability to meet any metric. Teachers right now are highly sensitized to the context of our work--the effects of charter schools on enrollment, the increasing time we are required to test and prepare students for basic skills testing, the proliferation of "unfunded mandates" as we are required to do more and more clerical work to make up for cuts in support services, the decimation of special needs support... And then there is the general failure of CPS to actually prepare teachers and administrators to meet the requirements of the new policies being imposed from above. Any teacher who has taken district or network provided Common Core training knows what I am talking about--the trainers not only do not know how to use Common Core Standards in the classroom, they are more tragically unfamiliar with standards-based instruction to begin with. Administrators are woefully unprepared to administer the Charlotte Danielson rubric in evaluations, and the district and networks simply don't have the people to do the backup or monitoring needed to supplement Principal evaluation.

    While, looked at in isolation, the "CPS Parent" post seems to be reasonable, the devil is in the details. There are no commitments in it whatsoever. "For this type evaluation I don't think the standardized test taken by students can be used" is not a way to talk to professionals. For one thing, whoever is writing this is either unaware of or is patently ignoring SB7, which requires that 40% of teacher evaluation be based on value-added measures within a short period of time.

    Teachers are disturbed because we see no sign that the people who now run things downtown are acknowledging these problems--let alone addressing them. The focus on evaluating every single teacher by a single set of criteria is another sign that current state policies are being formulated based on an agenda that has nothing to do with improving CPS schools. Such an evaluation system does not recognize the differences there are from one student to another, one class to another, and one school to another. Principal autonomy to set school-wide goals and policy is severely undermined by such a system. And then, too, the obsession with evaluating individual teachers threatens to distract attention from schools as learning communities. No wonder teachers are resorting to "just-say-no" tactics!

    Finally, CPS teachers are digging in their heels to protect the very profession of teaching. As a result, it is virtually impossible for an amicable agreement to take place between the union and the district. Privatization of urban schools means the end of professionalism. There will still be a a market for professionals--people who make a long-term commitment to an honorable and successful career in education--in wealthier schools, both public and private. These schools will continue to pay for the best teachers and to provide them with working conditions that make it possible for them to work at the highest level. But the downward pressure on wages in schools populated by disadvantaged students, combined with the increasingly demeaning and constraining working conditions means that, as kmcj wrote, these urban schools will only be staffed by 20-somethings who can live in dorms or with parents and can take on tons of extra responsibilities. This is really what privatizing schools means in the inner city. And that is the end of the profession of teaching. Will education be improved when the shift to this type of labor is complete? Only a cynic who denies the need for teachers at all would say yes.

    I think the general view of education policy types is that the battle is won and unionized teachers have lost. The teaching profession may indeed be a thing of the past. However, there is simply no way for the union to agree to a contract that stipulates this.

    So, my personal view is that there will likely be a strike, despite the best efforts of the anti-union crowd in SB7. It will be a long and a bitter one, but it will probably end in a short-term fairly generous contract, because Emmanuel and Brizard's credibility is too damaged for them to go for a win this time around. Then we will see the final solution to the problem of unionized teachers in Chicago implemented in time for the end of that contract.

  • In reply to Donald:

    Donald, I appreciate your nuanced, informative, commentary which helps shape this public discourse in a productive way.

    I am, however, truly just a CPS parent and I am responsible for all the "CPS Parent" posts here. I offer as evidence my misunderstanding that SB7 is that rigid about value-added only methods for teacher evaluation.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    "If properly designed and implemented the metrics would tap your acquisition of increased skills and abilities and motivation." Really? If this is possible, maybe a start is to inquire information on the flawed rating system of teachers or lack there of. The "board" has been unsuccessful at this and now to incorporate pay on performance measures that are narrow-sighted is laughable. How about merit pay for police...decreased crime stats in a community means more money... or for the fire department... decrease in fires...more money for you... i would never want the teachers in my child's classroom/school to concern themselves with performance on a standardized test to determine their pay. What will this do to the culture of the classroom, the focus of instruction and the development of planning. Do you want your child's teacher concerned about his/her individual progress or whether or not your child has the skills necessary to "value add" to his or her performance? Really?

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    CPS Parent is a lying liar who lies. You are a BOE plant. You were taught to string a bunch of corporate eduspeak mumbo jumbo together into exceedingly long sentences at the Broad Factory for the Destruction of Public Education. You make 6 figures and have never had to stand in front of a classroom.

    Perhaps you are the parent of a child in CPS.... Are you David Vitale? I love that your daughter can see the negative impact of the long day on extracurriculars.

    "Don't scab for the bosses. Don't listen to their lies."
    -Which Side Are You On?

  • In reply to BillyTurtle:

    Matt Farmer a real CPS Parent. Worth viewing and sharing! Gives a real reason why total mayoral control of CPS has failed. One, are the millionaire members of the CPS Board, working actively against the interests of the students of CPS.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    That's not how it was explained when I called in for the teacher teleconference. The HR woman said that our salary would predictable insofar as it would never go below that low base pay level. Everything else is gravy. And "fluctuate year to year" is really not acceptable. What if I have a tragedy in my life and I have a bad year?

    I have a family! And as the post from Donald mentions, 40% of our evaluation will be based on value added scores within two years. So if our pay is based on our evaluation, it will be significantly affected by test scores. Market forces, leadership roles in the school, and our evaluation/performance. That is differentiated pay.

  • In reply to kmcj:

    Oops. That paragraph break should have come after the emphatic "I have a family" part.

    Also, there's a contradiction in your post, CPS Parent. You say that my salary would only increase -- sometimes more, sometimes less. Well, the year that it goes up less will feel like a punitive decrease because for one year my family was able to count on my salary being "x" and now it will only be "y."

    And as for the "tragedy in my life" part, I don't mean that I can't continue to be a professional when life gets hard. I just mean that I may have increased absences that would affect my evaluation. My husband recently had a cancer scare and I had to be on hand to take him to and from various procedures for which he had to be under general anesthesia. I missed a few days of school right before my kids took an interim assessment, so I wasn't able to spend as much time reviewing with them as I would have liked. If that happened again, and my pay was on the line, it would really be tough. That's what I mean.

  • In reply to kmcj:

    As a parent (not a teacher) I would be completely opposed to a base salary plus annual "bonus" based compensation method. I could support a performance based annual increase in salary which could not, subsequently, slide back.

    Any other teachers have any insight as to which of the two is being proposed?

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Hell "CPS Parent". I am not convinced. Many of the CPS chiefs also downplay the value-added component of the evaluation system.

    At any rate, you ask a very good question. On one hand, there is confusion because different answers have been given at different times. Only in the third of three tele-conferences did the CPS leaders address the predictability question, so there's a sense that they didn't think about it ahead of time and are making it up as they go along.

    In this third tele-conference, what was communicated was that bonuses which might reflect not only student-performance, but teaching in a shortage area or taking on administrative work (get the picture?). And in addition, these "bonuses" would actually be increases in base salary, and could not be revoked. I find this hard to believe. Imagine that I have a few good years, do lots of stuff for my principal, and then kick back. Isn't that going to create disharmony and so forth down the road? It's just slapped together and it doesn't inspire confidence.

    On the other hand, as kmcj's posts attest, the compensation system is poised to create some very serious problems. Say, for instance, that I am (like kmcj) a high school English teacher, but I stay late four days a week in my classroom (as I do, without pay mind you) to hold an all-subjects study lab. I have student tutors helping their peers and I am comfortable enough in math and science to help out students who are struggling with basics. Most of the students who attend are not even my own current students but are ones I've taught in past years. First of all, such a service is not on the list of things that get bonus pay. Second of all, I am not counted as a teacher in a shortage area. Third of all, in terms of performance pay, I am going to be hard-pressed to continue this service once I am judged primarily and severely on my regular classroom and on the test results of my current students in my own subject only.

    So, you see, from the students point of view and from an all-school culture point of view whatever differentiated compensation system is being offered it is a train-wreck in the making. Not to mention that it is quite clear that CPS inspires confusion and mistrust by talking about the irrevocable bonus system at the same time as they are talking about using pay to encourage better teaching.

  • Bully Principals .. example. Carson School megalomaniac principal for firing ten teachers... He fired about six last year. Sounds like this is the kind of person that should NOT be a principal.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    How about the Columbia Explorers Tyrant?

  • In reply to rockschild:

    Does anyone have a list of the schools with crazy principals who have made it to this blog?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Why not a list of ineffective teachers? It's easy to blame a principal, try seeing the bigger picture. Open your eyes and stop slandering people.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Who is the bully? You are anonymously slandering someone based on limited information. Did you observe the teachers he fired? Doubt it. You're the bully, and it's this total lack of professionalism that convinces people not in the education field that teachers unions need to be broken.

  • The same thing is happening at Morrill and the principal at Marquette who ran it into the ground until it is now closed has been hired by another this a plot to close schools by CPS who often have AREA personnel influence LSCs on who to choose as a principal run the schools into the ground so then they can be turned into charters? Yes, we all know that a certain amount of turn-over is common when new principals take over but when you have 20+ teachers leaving something is very wrong. Or how about the lack of ethics when a new principal issues everyone on staff a satisfactory rating and tells the staff that now no one can leave ( no one will hire a teacher with a satisfactory rating) BUT that he will E3 them whenever he playing with the wonder the teachers are angry .....we are being led by idiots!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Forty staff members left Marquette during the new principal's first year. Then she refused to sign any transfers during the year...this principal now has another school to ruin.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Who is the idiot? What's idiotic is your conspiracy theory that CPS chooses principals to mess up schools so they can turn them into charters. CPS can turn around or close any school for any reason. Many schools they have turned around have been moderately successful and the turn around was to expedite gentrification. Quit focusing on your paranoid and silly conspiracy theories and help improve your local school by actually doing something besides passing false gossip. Where is your proof that a principal gave satisfactories to the entire faculty? This is a lie only an idiot would believe. There is no reason to give an entire faculty satisfactories and it would only encourage the faculty to stand in solidarity. Good teachers need and deserve to be recoignized at least in private during an official evaluation. As for your idea that a satisfactory would affect the ability to get a job elsehwere, principals rarely look at ratings when hiring teachers because they know the ratings are currently too subjective. Giving a teacher a satisfactory wouldn't dampen their ability to get hired elsewhere which is why CPS encourages trhe E3 process, so the teacher will be DNH and not be able to go to another school. Most principals give teachers satisfactories hoping the teacher will leave on their own. Your comment proves your ignorance and I hope you're not a teacher if you so willingly put forward idiotic ideas.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Obviously, you are new to CPS because for years the personnel bulletins stated"only teachers with excellent or superior ratings need to apply" I truly have to think conspiracy or I would have to think something far worse- that CPS for whatever reason has an abnormally high percentage of inept principals. I think you need to self-reflect or investigate the ratings at schools with new principals.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Nothing prevents a principal from hiring a teacher who has a rating of satisfactory. Referring to a generic line from the bulletins reveals your lack of knowledge and understanding.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    "that CPS for whatever reason has an abnormally high percentage of inept principals"
    Where is your proof? What's preventing someone from saying the same about teachers? Pick your battles. Right now the CTU is battling the Mayor. Why cause administrators to lose sympathy for teachers by making such a generalization? One reason the CTU is painted into a corner is because they haven't policed their own ranks allowing and even enocuraging unprofessional and unsupported attacks against potential allies such as administrators.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You misquoted. He/she was saying he/she must assume conspiracy because the alternative is an obscene number of inept principals.

    There are lots of pro-CTU administrators. They know that when we win, they win. When we win, our students win. The only thing keeping CPS from abusing and bullying principals worse than they already do is us and our contract.

    We've been painted into a corner by a nationwide attack on public education funded by billionaires. We were caught flat footed for a long time because they worked slowly for 20 years. They finally started to get cocky and come out into the open. Our eyes have been opened. At least now we know we are in a war for public education and the very soul of this nation.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    6 months ago I would have thought CPS would never sabotage a school by hiring a hatchet man principal to come in and destroy a school to get it ready for privatization. My eyes have been opened. Public education is under attack nationwide. There are sessions in conferences devoted to the elimination of public schools bit by bit. The 1% want to create a permanent uneducated underclass. I'm not exactly sure why. There is enough (food, housing, healthcare) for everyone. The plan is to slowly move to vouchers. Along the way they will have to destroy the teachers unions and the profession itself. Once they get their vouchers, this will send floods of people to private schools. Public schools will cease to exist. Private schools in turn will raise tuition to keep out the undesirables once they have a monopoly, so the only ones who can afford to go to school are the ones who could afford to go to private school before. Poof. A return to the Middle Ages. Uneducated masses, destined to a life of serfdom.

  • In reply to BillyTurtle:

    This is the dumbest conspiracy theory. Is public education and unions under attack? yes, that is no secret. But to suggest CPS is intentionally putting inept princpals or even "hatchet men" into schools not only blatantly disregards the fact LSCs hire principals, not CPS, but also paints the mayor and heads of CPS as cartoon-like evil doers, like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons. Everyone knows that if a kids receives a lousy education he/she will be more likely to drop out and get involved in crime.

    Let's just play out your fevered, halluciantory and paranoid idea for a minute. So Rahm tells JC, "go hire some inept principals so they ruin schools and then we can have an excuse to turn them into charters." JC responds, "but Mayor, that could cause a dramatic increase in crime and cost the City millions of dollars more in police and jails and scare away the middle class you so desperately want to keep. Wouldn't it be much, much easier to create a performance policy in which you rank the schools, and no matter how well they are all performing you can always grade the bottom 100 as failing and close them?" Mayor: "Oh yeah, never thought of that. Its a lot cheaper, easier, and less, um, evil as hiring inept principals and hoping a school becomes chaotic." JC: "duh."

    And your suggestion that the 1% are plotting to create a permenant lower class? Um, we already have that. In fact we have a permenant class of people that are chronically unemployed. You might have seen them, they tend to hang out on corners and sell drugs since they have no other option, and on average make less money than working at McDonalds, often spening time in jail, when they're not killing each other. A permenant lower class that can't get jobs doesn't help the 1%, and we'll never lower our expectations to the level to compete with Chinese labor, so don't suggest the 1% want to bring back factory work. I'm 99% certain we'd have an actual revolution if the 1% tried to do that.

    Your paranoid conspiracy ignores the more simple explanation that perhaps the 1%, and many of the 99% that support the attack on public educaiton, want to stop the cycle of poverty that is already endemic in our society. I'm not saying they're going to solve the issue by attacking public education, and plenty of evidence suggests public education isn't the main culprit in the achievement gap, but I will say you won't stop the attack on public education and unions by coming up with ridiculous conspiracy theories. So many people like to refer to Finland. Well, in Finland, they're a very practical country and they like to stick to facts and find solutions. Your conspiracies ignore facts, propose extremely unlikely scenarios that are far too complicated when you really think about them, and don't offer any type of solution. In fact, your conspiracy only distracts people from the actual fight at hand. Great job!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The 1% have no desire to stop the poverty cycle. They believe it insulates them from losing their own wealth. Why would they want their tax money spent on the rabble? We have a government budget crisis because the 1% don't pay their fair share.

    And that was the way they did it for a long time, fixing the game so that there would be guaranteed losers year after year. But in the last couple years, the moves have gotten extremely bold. They got cocky. They started to think we were beyond the point of no return so they amped it up and came out in the open.

    I have no clue how I am distracting from the fight at hand. The fight IS to ensure the right to an excellent public education. THIS is the fight at hand. Our CBA means nothing if there are no public schools in 20 years.

  • CPS Offer

    Chicago Public Schools are offering a five-year contract that would provide:

    ■ A 2 percent raise in year one.

    ■ A pay freeze in year two.

    ■ Raises based on “differentiated pay’’ in years three to five. A joint district-union committee, to be seated in January, would decide how “differentiated pay” would work but it could reward teachers of high-need subjects, in high-need schools, or in teacher leadership positions, or those who rate highly in a new teacher evaluation system that is tied, in part, to student growth.

    ■ Elimination of “step and lane’’ increases for extra years of seniority and added certifications.

    ■ A longer school day that, under a new law, does not require union approval. The elementary school day will increase from 5 ¾ to 7 hours, and the high school day will increase from 7 hours to 7 ½ hours four days a week, with an early dismissal on the fifth day.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    1) A 2% increase in pay for a 15% increase in mandatory work hours falls woefully short of a good faith offer.

    2) A pay cut in year two is a problem. I know it says pay freeze, but as health insurance premiums and health care costs rise, and with the state likely to increase mandatory pension contributions even further, the end result is a net loss.

    3) Differentiated pay is a 10 syllable word for merit-pay. Salary based on evaluations and student growth, i.e. high stakes exams, The Union will *never* agree to this offer and CPS knows it.

    4) Steps are for experience, lanes are for significant investment in training and education. What other industry does *not* value experience and education/training? Apparently, CPS wants to be a leader in this field. Again, this will never happen and CPS knows it.

    5) See #1. On top of the length of the day teachers now have no input whatsoever into the work day, the length of the school year, number of classes taught, collaboration and preparation time, or anything else vaguely related to working conditions. The result is a massive imbalance of power in negotiations since CPS can impose nearly every part of the contract without discussion.

    One of the biggest problems in this process is that there is no incentive for CPS to actually negotiate anything. They have offered up these wild and plainly unacceptable proposals only to refuse to negotiate over them. The Board has abrogated its responsibility to actually bargain and have instead decided that an arbitrator should sort it out. How do you get what you want from an arbitrator? Throw out something so extreme that even if the arbitrator meets you half way you're still kicking Union tail in the end.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    This disinterest in meaningful negotiation was part of the problem during the discussion on evaluations. Since CPS knew it could impose its "last best offer", there was literally no incentive for them to actually give anything up. Unlike in every other school district in Illinois, CPS knew that in the end they could force the Union to do what they wanted. And that's how it played out.

    The state of both of these negotiations should come as no surprise, especially to the so-called reformers who bought off the legislature to create these unprecedented restrictions on bargaining in Chicago.

  • The current elementary school teacher day is 7 hours, including a 45 minute lunch. The new day will increase the teachres day to 7 hours and 40 minutes, inkcluidng a 45 minute lunch.

  • I dunno little Jean-Fraud's name, but I wish his wife well... after all her husband considers pregnancy, childbirth and maternity to be a SHORT-TERM DISABILITY.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Lumping maternity leave into "short term disability" is actually one of those HR things that you can't blame on JCB. The truly bad part of this is that there is a hard deadline for the change in the sick day policy (at least at CO), but I haven't seen any evidence that the short term disability policy will kick in before that happens. That would leave us with the worst of both worlds.

  • In reply to COwonk:

    Unbelievable.... I really wish this was a movie or book I was reading because you kind of know how this will end. Unfortunately it's a "real-time" scenario for teachers and our students.

  • this is depressing.

  • Can someone tell me a profession, other than education, in which experience and education/training are either irrelevant or devalued?

    That seems to be the vision of the reformers and I really don't understand it.

  • Extremely depressing and demoralizing. Who wants to teach in this type of environment?

  • .........after all the mumbo jumbo and long winded commentaries, at the end of the day CTU members who value education and value their jobs will vote to authorize a strike. The CTU is smart and planning ahead. The SB7 tactic didn't work. Plain and simple. Those who say we shouldn't authorize the strike vote obviously don't work for CPS. You can tell when they spend all of their time posting manifestos on this site. Prtizker, Rauner, and Anderson should focus more on those faling chater schools that bear their names. Charter schools are starting to unravel and eveybody can see it.

  • In reply to SickandTired:

    We are going to end up with an educational system similar to Detroit if not careful. The charter schools are not doing any better than the public schools, I think they should be putting the money into the public schools we have, not investing in other schools we do not need!

  • Headache299
    Karen Lewis-Press Conference, June 1, 2012

  • When you sit back and read the totality of these posts in this thread it is overwhelming. As I have said so many times the bill now known as SB7, which is now state law has brought about this impasse and trapped both CPS and the CTU. I saw one post that got directly to that issue and I appreciated it. I thought the way at least several CTU members on this blog addressed the question of differentiated pay presumed that the CPS’s proposal to open up this issue would equal complete destruction of the step and lane system I thank that assumes too much.

    The position by CPS is their starting bargaining position; other school districts have done the same thing. The end result has been the introduction of elements of both a seniority/educational achievement based system and what CPS calls a differentiated pay system.

    I am totally opposed to paying teachers more for value added gains, it will lead to disaster and corruption. It will be in particular a disaster for students with IEPs educated in general education classrooms, because most teachers would spend their time and effort on those students most likely to show gains rapidly and these will not be students with disabilities unfortunately. It is exactly like a corporate CEO that goes for quarterly profit increases to hit markers in his or her own contract to the long term detriment of the company that we have seen over and over again in our country.

    There are other aspects of differentiated pay that may benefit both teachers and students. For example, teachers who hold both general and special education certificates who are willing to teach on both certificates simultaneously should be allowed to do so and paid more for it. Currently state rules prohibit this practice. Similarly teachers who are also reading specialist should be able to be implement more specialized reading recovery instruction simultaneously with general education instruction and be paid more for that work. These are the type of issues that are in my opinion legitimate areas of discussion in relation to differentiated pay.

    On another issue relating to the strike authorization vote, my reading of the CTU constitution is that the actual final strike vote would have to be conducted by the House of Delegates. There is nothing in the Constitution that would prohibit that body from calling for yet another full membership vote on carrying out a strike. I would defer to the judgment of the CTU delegates that inhabit this blog on this issue, as I do not claim to be an expert in this area.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Mr. Estvan,

    I think your interpretation of the strike vote is functionally accurate. Here are some details:

    The power to authorize a strike lies solely with the full membership of the CTU.

    Once a strike is authorized, the House of Delegates is responsible for setting a date for any job action. Importantly, the authorization vote gives the 750-or-so elected members of this representative, deliberative body the opportunity to decide when, or if at all, a strike is necessary.

    Despite concerns in the media to the contrary, even after a strike has been authorized by membership, the President and Vice President of the CTU simply do not have the constitutional authority to take the Union out on strike. That responsibility lies with the elected representatives of the House of Delegates.

    The House of Delegates may postpone setting a strike date - as they will while negotiations continue over the summer months - but they may also choose to delay such a decision indefinitely. Ultimately, the decision lies in their hands.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Unlike the city of Chicago with its rubber-stamp council and a mayor with an outrageous degree of executive power, the Chicago Teachers Union actually operates as a fully democratic, member driven organization.

    While it may not be obvious to members of the media, the mayor, CPS, and reformer types, the President of the CTU does not give orders to her members or make decisions for them. It is the other way around.

    The President enacts the will of the people, the will of the membership. We do not serve the President. She serves us.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Why are Sharkey and Lewis beign so obtuse on this then?

    As best I can tell the offers that CTU is asking membership to vote on is CPS' initial offer in response to a CTU 30% demand. Presumable the gulf narrows during the process their in, right? So who decides whether to strike over that narrowed gap? Is the membership telling Sharkey and Lewis it's their call, the HOD's call or does the membership get to vote again.

    It seems pretty out there to vote to strike over an initial offer and give discretion to some one else on this point, right? Strange process within CTU if that's the case. Maybe I just don't have faith in Lewis' and Sharkey's judgment.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You are uninformed, as warrented by your comment. Many wiser have commented here, explaining it for you. Either you cannot read, choose not to, can't get with the new CTU program or are working in the CEO's office. Sorry to be so rough, but you should be old enough to read and understand unless you are working in the offices of the CEO.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    What I don't understand is whether a rank-and-file union member that authorizes a strike now will get another chance to say yes or no to a strike based on the eventual final offer,

    If the answer is no, the member is delegating the strike vote to someone else without even knowing what he or she is voting to strike on.

    If the answer is yes, the authorization vote is next to meaningless.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The answer is none of the above.

    The strike authorization vote is not meaningless and does not delegate a strike vote to someone else without knowing what the final CPS offer is.

    A rank-and-file union member that authorizes a strike now should get a chance to see and then approve or reject a final offer from the Board. Since the Board has essentially declined to move from its extreme positions that final offer will likely be the report provided by the arbitrator.

    For a strike to even take place - after authorization and after a rejection by membership of a final CPS offer - the elected, representative, and deliberative body of the CTU must still set a strike date. Without that final step there is no strike.

    An authorization is exactly what that word implies. It gives authority to taken a specified action at the end of a long, arduous, and democratic process.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    So for there to be a strike, there must be a second, 75% threshold vote of the rank and file?

  • In reply to WestLooper:


    For there to be a strike these are the things that must happen:

    1) More than 75% of members authorize a strike.
    2) A final CPS contract "offer" is rejected by a majority of CTU members.
    3) The House of Delegates (750 or so members representing every school) sets a strike date.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    It seems strange to you that the leadership of the teachers union takes its orders from the membership? Isn't that how it's supposed to work? You know, that whole democracy thing.

    You don't need to have faith in Lewis' or Sharkey's judgement. The judgement of whether or not to actually go on strike is not Lewis' or Sharkey's to make. That decision must be made by the membership and then, in response to membership, the House of Delegates. Maybe I wasn't clear enough up above.

    The strike authorization vote has nothing to do with some alleged CTU demand for a 30% pay increase. It has everything to do with leverage at the bargaining table. Since Section 4.5 and SB7 have so heavily tilted the power in bargaining over to the Board and so extremely limited subjects open to negotiation, a strike authorization is the only remaining leverage the CTU has. They would be fools not to use whatever leverage they have.

    As odd as it may seem, the best hope for avoiding a strike is to actually authorize one. The pressure that brings on the Board and the mayor should fundamentally change the tone of current negotiations which so heavily slanted in favor of CPS.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Spot on Mr. Estvan. I read your explanation of SB7 on the RYH website. How wonderful that a parent organization takes the time to explain that the strike is more then a pay issue. As for Stand ON Children who got this law through, in case anyone parent, teacher, board member is of the mindset that this is above board actions by persons with the best interest of children watch Jonah Edelman (co-founder of Stand ON Children) preach how to take down a union and.the legislators of ILLINOIS.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    With the "completion" of the Corey H monitoring and the differentiated pay (value added system), I predict a massive move of Special Education students back into self-contained rooms. The SSA's and OSES turn a blind eye and deaf ear when you call them now, can you imagine the next five years? So very sad. I cant begin to list the adjectives of how I'm feeling now. I can't believe they are really playing with the lives and futures of so many children.

  • Batalle for kids--sucks! Garbage in-garbage out. This is what CPS teachers will be judged on! Where is the media on cost of this program and the inaccuracy? Waste fraud and mismanagment? Look into this please!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    As of now, cost for roster verification reported at $590,953

    Battelle for Kids
    From Department of Procurement & Contracts – Contract Award Report


    BATELLE FOR KIDS, $590,953, CONTRACT SIGN DATE 03/29/2012

    Contract can be found at

    As this is another ‘not for profit’ minorities need not apply.

  • This is essential viewing! Share it!

    Glen Ford: Corporate Assault on Public Education

    Barack Obama has far exceeded George Bush in corporatization of education in the United States. — Glen Ford

    Master dialectician Glen Ford's speech "Corporate Assault on Public Education" draws out all of the historical and material conditions that have created the current crop of African Americans who serve the most reactionary sectors of the corporate education cabal. His peerless voice matched with his uncanny ability to narrate compelling facts like Cory Booker's deep ties to the arch-reactionary The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation make for a powerful and informative speech. This is required viewing for every social justice advocate engaged in the desperate struggle to keep the remaining public commons out of the clutches of corporate coffers.!

  • Why call the vote now and vote yes?-because CPS is playing dirty. This Batalle on kids is forced on teachers to do on their own time-taking hours, with having to input their student rosters in over and over again. Why? To JUDGE every teacher with value added--which has not been 'negotiated'. (Teachers are effectively digging their own graves in the Battalle Cemetery.) CPS and SB7 approached this as CPS wins, CTU loses. One cannot call this process negotiations and CTU is correct in not being forced to 'wait' for facts from a fact-finder.

  • Principals and APs have no union and Rahm and Brizard treat them like sh*t. Teachers are being underminded since the mayor and CEO see the end of the CTU contract. Past practice predicts future performance-without CTU, we must realize that they will treat teachers even worse than the principals and APs.

  • Vile treachery, thy name is union!

    Myron Miner

  • Headache299

    Emanuel, Stop your Circus!

  • Quick everyone- go to the CPS first class distict wide email section! Kuglar and Krysz are having a crazy off! Man I need to get my popcorn cause this is just starting to get awesome! If only George could find a way to post on their...

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