Fact-Finding Frenzy

We've gotten ourselves into a fine frenzy over this fact finder's report, which is nonbinding but plays a key role in the political drama and -- perhaps -- the substance of the contract negotiations.  I don't recall CPS putting as much emphasis on the fact finder's report as CTU does, but that doesn't mean that the results don't put CPS in a tight spot, rhetorically at least.  What role if any do you think the report has played or will play moving forward?  I tend to discount its impact, but I've been wrong before.  

405,000 students Tribune: His report, to be delivered and summarily buried on Wednesday, offers Chicago Public Schools leaders an incredibly irresponsible choice: Pay teachers a double-digit raise to work a longer school day next school year, or scale back the school day so it ...ALSO: CPS contract talks timeline

Arbitrator: Give Chicago teachers 35.7% raise over four years Sun Times:  The independent fact finder’s recommendation that Chicago Public Schools officials have been pinning their hopes on to resolve a contentious teachers contract dispute is finally in — but Mayor Rahm Emanuel may wish it wasn’t.

Analysis: Emanuel learning a lesson from teachers in union contract flap Sun Times: For a political chess player who never makes a move without thinking three moves ahead, Mayor Rahm Emanuel looks more like a high school clubber than a grand master when it comes to the teachers contract. Emanuel pushed for a change in state law that raised the strike authorization threshold to 75 percent, a benchmark so high, at least one education advocate with ties to the mayor predicted that it could never be met. Instead, the Chicago Teachers Union roared passed that benchmark That same state law championed by Emanuel set up a fact-finding process that has now blown up in the mayor’s face.

Emanuel: District can't afford suggested teacher raises WBEZ:  An arbitrator is calling for teachers to receive between a 15 and 20 percent hike during the first year of their new contract, due mostly to longer work hours from the mayor's push to lengthen the school day.

Mayor: Chicago can’t afford to give teachers 18.2 percent pay raise Sun Times:  Chicago cannot afford to give its public school teachers an 18.2 percent pay raise, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday, dismissing a fact finder’s report as “not tethered to reality.”

Emanuel on CTA Improvements & Schools Report WTTW:  A big investment in CTA maintenance facilities with the promise of new jobs and faster bus repair. We hear how much it will cost and where the city is getting the money.


University of Illinois to offer free online courses WBEZ:  The University of Illinois plans to offer seven free online classes this fall.The Chicago Tribune reports that the university is teaming up with an online education company called Coursera.

It’s time for an elected Chicago school board, some education activists say ChicagoTalks: During the fourth of July holiday, Wendy Katten, director of the parent education group Raise Your Hand Coalition, drove for hours to deliver petitions to more than 50 volunteers across Chicago who have been going door-to-door getting support to change the way the nation’s third largest school district selects its board members.


Leave a comment
  • jim warren says that the pressure's just as much on CTU as it is on city hall, despite the report

    Chicago's labor hot seat really belongs to the union chief http://ow.ly/ckagL @jimwarren55

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    The Trib, Jim Warren, and Chicago media in general has been wrong countless times on the subject of schools. Teachers work and live in the neighborhoods. We know the students and parents in the neighborhoods. We all understand the wider socio-economic issues surrounding education in Chicago. The students and parents are on our side.

    The media and powers that be listen to and regurgitate the talking points of politicians, pundits, suburbanites, insiders, bloggers, and loudmouths. This isn't the reality of Chicago students, parents, and teachers. Ultimately the out-of-touch opinion of some media bigwig doesn't carry any weight with us. We get it because we live it.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Jim Warren's wife is Cornelia Grumman, the Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund. The FFYF is funded by Gates and J.B. Pritzker. Yeah, it may be one of the other Pritzkers, but c'mon we're not that stupid.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Where does Jim Pritzker Warren get the authority to claim that the ‘longer school day is the right thing to do”? Every indictor suggests the contrary, even the recently released ISAT results. Deborah Meier of Education Week enumerates another 8 reasons at


  • In reply to district299reader:

    Once again you have an ignorant (or deceptive) person driving the discussion. Jim Warren and the Chicago media in general are so used to being in the bag for the powers that be that they don't know how to get out.

  • Headache299
    I understand bloggers posting anonymously; bloggers keyboard for free; but the biased Tribune Editorials need signature. Payment warrants name attachment. When checks are cut for services rendered, “Pay to________ the order of_______”, a name is required for transaction.

    Todays Tribune editorial, like most cowardly Tribune editorials, is written anonymously. All we know about the Tribune editorial is that Bruce Dold is the Editor of the Editorial Page, “responsible for production of the editorial, Voice of the People and Commentary pages of the Chicago Tribune”.

    But you would never know that, not from the top or bottom of the overstuffed and overpaid opinion page.

    Bruce Dold may or may not be the author of today’s irresponsible and misleading message.

    Either way, with a reported circulation of 425, 370 daily, as “Editor”, you can be sure he makes more money than any CPS teacher and needs to stop hiding being his egotistical and mysterious title.

    Mr. Dold, take responsibility each day by posting your picture and signature, or post the name of the original author along with your “signature of authorization”

    If you can’t, then ‘honorably’ retire, and have your name legally changed to district299reader.

  • Looking into AUSL's ISAT scores http://ow.ly/ckaBs @jimwarren55

  • Alexander as I recall you posted several articles quoting JC Brizard and even if I recall correctly his memo to teachers on the strike authorization vote that all discussed waiting until the fact finding report was issued. I simply do not understand how you can write above "I don't recall CPS putting as much emphasis on the fact finder's report as CTU does, but that doesn't mean that the results don't put CPS in a tight spot, rhetorically at least."

    Let's go to CEO Brizard's letter to teachers dated June 5, 2012 where he states: "As you know, CPS and CTU are in the middle of the collective bargaining process established in the recent Illinois Education Reform Legislation (SB7), created by CPS, CTU and other union leaders and education stakeholders across the state. This legislation, carefully crafted by a diverse group of stakeholders, was specifically designed to foster negotiation and avoid a strike. Moving forward with a strike authorization vote at this time undermines the intent and spirit of the law, as CTU members would be voting to authorize a strike before allowing the independent fact finder to complete his process and release his compromise proposal on July 16. It’s very important that everyone is informed of the facts surrounding proposals that have been made at the bargaining table."

    He goes on to state: "But the process by which that occurs must be allowed to work itself through. Authorizing a strike will likely derail that process, not aid it. We must continue to negotiate in good faith and wait until the final compromise proposal by the independent fact finder is released before moving forward with an action that will impact every teacher and student in the district. "

    If you don't think that these statements put emphasis on the fact finder and his report how about this quote that Sarah Karp got from the CPS PR director Becky Carroll “The independent fact-finding process can serve as a compromise.Why rush? They should let their members review the independent fact-finder’s report first. They have plenty of time for a vote.” (May 22, 2012 Catalyst on line)

    If anything Alexander the CTU down played the potential importance of the fact finder report and the CPS played it up. I hope these CPS statement improve your memory.

    Rod Estvan

  • good points, rod -- much appreciated.

    i'm not saying CPS didn't try and use the fact finding process to try and derail the strike vote, or to slow things down earlier this year, but i don't never heard them to say they'd take whatever the FF found.

    that's the angle that i heard CTU pushing now, and i think misses the point. CPS never said the FF report would be the last word, at least not that i saw or heard.


  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Unfortunately JC Brizard did make such comments about CPS being prepared to accept the Fact Finder recommendation before it was issued. If I recall correctly he did so on WTTW and possibly in statements on WBEZ radio. To be honest I think he probably over reached in his comments, but clearly he gave the impression that CPS was willing to accept the fact finders deal until they saw it. It goes without saying that legally only the Board itself could accept the fact finder's recommendation.

    Rod Estvan

  • new report about masters' degree costs skyrocketing nationally -- 72 percent increase in pay for teacher's xtra degrees costs states $15B in 2009, reports @teacherbeat http://ow.ly/ckgV2

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    We cannot continue to pay teachers who receive training and education. It is simply not necessary. TFA and their 5 week program proves that.

    Teaching is not a profession, it is a vocation. It does not require special training and it does not require a master's degree.

    There is no reason for teachers to study education theory, historical trends in education, childhood development, or something that contributes to mastery of their subject matter. There is no proof that it makes a bit of difference in education outcomes.

    The cost to the government of all these extra degrees and all this extra training is oppressive. It's just an easy way for teachers to pad their paychecks and suckle on the public teat. For the good of the taxpayers we should pay teachers less.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    This is sarcasm right?

  • Russo,

    I can't understand how you would come up with the statement "I don't recall CPS putting as much emphasis on the fact finder's report as CTU does..."

    The CPS used the still in progress fact-finder's report as an excuse to effectively cancel planned public meetings on the budget and of course you're "forgetting" the Brizard letter to teachers (http://www.cps.edu/News/Announcements/Pages/06_05_2012_A1.aspx) as well as the follow-up (http://www.cps.edu/News/Announcements/Pages/06_11_2012_A1.aspx) and of course Brizard's statements in defense of the fact-finder's "process" on WTTW's Chicago Tonight http://video.wttw.com/video/2242458992/. I haven't even bothered to mention the anti-CTU letter to parents released by Brizard in June (which coincidentally doesn't seem to appear on the CPS website) nor all Emanuel connected anti-CTU commercials that specifically stated the need to wait for the fact finders report.

    Honestly if you bothered to fairly report any of these issues you couldn't possibly make a statement that the CTU was the one beating the drum for the fact finder's report.

  • In reply to marrs96:

    I think Russo is right. And there are a few more things I don't recall. For example, I don't recall CPS torturing small, cute, helpless animals as much as the union has. I could be wrong. Any thoughts?

  • In reply to chicago:



  • Editorial: Look past money to avoid teachers strike - Chicago Sun-Times http://ow.ly/ckg9v

  • From JCB's email to teachers dated June 5, 2012:

    "... teachers deserve a raise and will receive one that is fair. How much that raise should be is in the hands of an independent fact finder. "

    Tell me again, how exactly was CPS *not* emphasizing the fact-finder's report?

  • Listen to Brizard state that the increase SHOULD be based on the fact finder at 1:20. If you can stand the b.s. continue to listen to more lies. Unbelievable.


  • Link below quote from Sen. Lightford about Emanuel's expectations from law.

    "State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), who oversaw the creation of the law that inserted a fact-finder into the CTU-CPS contract mix, said she agreed that CPS created a problem by imposing a longer day in the middle of a fiscal crisis. Initially, Lightford said, Emanuel hoped to achieve this with no pay hike whatsoever.

    “The mayor wants to increase the school day and I agree with that,’’ Lightford said. “But I think that all of us need to take into consideration that there had to be some type of compensation that went along with it. Somehow it got separated and became the big kahuna in the room.’’

    Lightford noted that district officials repeatedly insisted that teachers should have waited for the fact-finder’s report before authorizing a strike.

    “Now the fact-finder comes up with things they don’t agree with,’’ Lightford said. “We should follow the law, whether you like it or not.’’


  • The Trib and Brizard are twisting and spinning the facts. The other "pioneer" schools either saw scores stay the same or drop. Fiske's scores only went up by 11.8% in 2012. They increased by 16% in 2004, 23% in 2006, and 15% in 2010.


  • 299 is spin machine

  • I looked at Fisk's scores and there is nothing significant about their gains. They have had bigger gains in past years without an extended day. Furthermore, I don't even have to look at the scores of other neighborhood schools to know that there are several who had higher gains than Fiske without an extended day. For Rahm to say let's look at Fiske and see what they did that year shows how clueless he is about test score statistics. Fiske's scores could have went up because the 3rd grade class was smarter than the previous 8th grade class. Fiske's scores could have went up because they were given more resources. But it didn't go up because of the extended day alone because you would have seen the same type of gains throughout all the schools who had an extended day. When you don't see gains across the board then obviously there is no correlation between the extended day and higher test scores. There are statistical analysis programs that can mathematically determine if the extended day was the reason why a school performed better. Given that Fiske has had higher test scores and improvements in previous years, and given that other non-extended days had higher scores and improvements, I guarantee a statistical analysis would show that there is no correlation between higher test scores and the extended day.

    One thing that does stand out about previous Fiske scores is a huge scoring disparity between Reading (46.9) and Math (79.7) in 2009 and previously in 2007 (37 in Reading to 63.5 Math). That could indicate test cheating on the second day. I have heard of a test administrator in Chicago copying Math questions out of a test booklet and using it to test prep the students the afternoon after the Reading tests were completed. Some type of test cheating is not out of the question, especially since people are trying to validate the latest reform fad.

  • So true--I shared this info on Fiske with a retired friend from the (old and honest) CPS Accountabulity office and they felt that an investigation was in order on these scores.

  • I would think that if the current administration had information that charter schools, turnaround, or extended day schools were cheating, they would ignore or cover it up. This is the last thing the mayor wants to hear.

  • At my school we had a similar situation and the tests were administered again, I believe ISBE did this.
    We used to have a proctor in each room which probably reduced any cheating.
    I believe the NWEA tests will be a truer indicator of ability IF they are administered in a true testing environment. By that I mean, computers that work, enough physical space, following recommended times and ensuring IEP accommodations are met. Teachers will not have access to the questions.

  • CPS will test kindergarteners and all primary as well. CPS is making us test all grades, 3 times per year beginning the first day of school.

  • Aldermen want voters to weigh in on electing school board - Chicago Sun-Times http://ow.ly/claWL

  • so yesterday and previously the fact finder's report was a big deal and a good thing and CPS was being hypocritical in rejecting its findings, but then CTU rejected the report, too (whatever that means) because it doesn't include art and music?

    i'm not against CTU using the report to score points against CPS for 48 hours, but it's going to have to do a better job explaining its own reversal on the report findings than it's done so far.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    What on God's green Earth are you talking about Russo? Are you high? Too much iced tea?

    Have you bothered to read the dissents?

    The CTU rejected it because the 14.8% was only for teachers. PSRPs were left out. He recommended that healthcare costs increase significantly. He did not weight in on job security.

    If both sides had accepted this report we'd have a contract. It would be about 25 pages long and there would be ZERO teacher friendly language in it. Our current contract is like 250 pages long. Have you bothered to read that Russo? You seem completely ignorant about what is really going on here.

    In what way did CTU reverse itself on the Fact Finder? We were against it from the beginning, and now we've rejected it. CPS did the 180. Not us.

    Art and music are one way of compensating us for the longer day. You want this nonsense. Fine, hire more teachers to give our students a better day. That's worth 2-3%. You want a longer day. Fine. Give us recall rights. That's worth 4%. You want a longer day? Fine. Give us grievable class size limits. That's worth 4%. You want a longer day? Fine. Give us a fair evaluation system. That's worth 4%. Now I need last year's 4% and 4% for this year. 2.5% going forward.

    There. Problem solved. Except CPS doesn't think it needs to pay for the longer day.

  • In reply to BillyTurtle:

    I totally agree with this. With a doctorate I make a pretty decent salary so for me the most important issue is job security. CPS wants to cheapen the teaching profession and would rather place inexperienced teachers in front of minority students as opposed to the most experienced, educated, and successful teachers. CPS certainly doesn't want high salaried teachers like me in a classroom when they can get two cheaper white teachers from Teach for America to replace me. A privileged white community would never accept this yet the white-controlled CPS school system wants to push this upon a minority-based public school system. The CPS system is racist and they get away with it because very few people are educated enough to see what's really going on or they don't care since most minority students are impacted negatively while white people get richer. Without job security, union leaders upon returning to the classroom, anyone who complained about anything legit or not, and high salaried teachers like myself, will be gone in a flash. The working conditions are already horrid, they are becoming more horrid, and they would be more horrid than anything if the contract did not ensure job security.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Carol Marin is great calling out Brizard’s Bluffs
    Brizard is amazing at rambling without saying anything at all
    Jackson Potter answers Phil Ponce with clarity


  • Why can't you accept that teachers are not in it for the raise? Your cynicism should be directed at SB7, which only allows the union to take positions on salary and benefits. The reason so many teachers voted for a strike authorization is not salary, but the problems related to the longer day and the half-baked roll-outs of evaluation and Common Core. From the outside, you could not possibly see this; but eventually the pustule will burst in some kind of spectacular fashion.

Leave a comment