Strike Prospects, Pro & Con

Today's education news (so far):  The Sun Times' Rosalind Rossi has an update on strike prospects -- and the editorial page cautions CTU against operating out of rage.  Curtis Black at CMW says that any strike will be on Rahm.  The Tribune describes how SB7 has fallen short of its supposed features. And more -- see inside.Parents need not panic over threat of Chicago teachers strike — yet Sun Times:  Given the threatening turn in Chicago teacher contract talks last week, Anna Coleman is thinking of selling her house in leafy Edgebrook — again. Unimpressed by most Chicago public high schools, Coleman checked out 50 suburban homes in the last two years. The hunt stopped the day her daughter was accepted for fall admission to Chicago’s coveted Northside College Prep, the state’s highest-scoring public high school.

Teachers vs. reality Sun Times (editorial):  That rage, which Benn describes as “understandable,” is fueled by a decision by CPS last fall to cancel a 4 percent raise for teachers, coupled with a move to a longer school day and year without a major bump in pay. Understandable, yes. Yet CPS’ decisions are deeply and correctly rooted in an undeniable fiscal reality.

CPS finds few wins after school reform legislation Tribune:  The CTU upended the law by taking a strike authorization vote long before the arbitrator had ruled, and then reporting that 90 percent of its fired-up members approved a walkout. And when the nonbinding arbitrator's report was released last week, it upbraided the district for thinking it wouldn't have to compensate teachers for working a longer day.

It’s Rahm’s strike CMW:  If there’s a teacher’s strike in Chicago this fall, it will be the result of Rahm Emanuel’s approach to implementing the longer school day. And the simplest – and perhaps only – way to avert a strike will require Emanuel to take another look at the plan.

South Loop RGC Update – New RGC Opening? CPSObsessed:  Someone in the South Loop Elementary community passed this note on to me that seems to explain that a new RGC will open within 5 miles of South Loop.  It’s unclear what grades it will have initially or where it might be located, although it seems like it WILL be an option on the form this Fall.

Rich South band falls short of fund-raising goal, but some members still Olympics-bound Sun Times:  Watch closely for the red-white-and-blue uniforms of the Rich South High School Marching Band during the Summer Olympics’ torch-lighting ceremony Friday night. Only 21 of the 109 band members from the Richton Park school will participate in the ceremony. That’s because the band’s fundraising drive for the Olympics’ trip fell far short — collecting $35,000, a little more than 10 percent of the $300,000 goal.

3 killed, 23 hurt in shootings since Friday night Sun Times:  Three men are dead and at least 23 other people wounded from gun violence across the city since Friday night.

Suburban couple sentenced to 35 years for murdering a retired CPS teacher Sun-Times:  A suburban couple will spend 35 years in prison for the 2010 robbery, beating and murder of a retired Chicago Public Schools teacher inside her west suburban home.

Aspire to expand residency program for teachers in training EdSource Today: The Academy for Urban School Leadership in Chicago, affiliated with Chicago Public Schools, is one of the few to receive funding from its school district.

Burger King Mode Tim Furman:  CPS and Emanuel "just wanted to take away our ability to stop them from doing anything they want to do," said CTU President Karen Lewis last week. "So let's get out of Burger King mode where they think they can have it their way and let's work together to actually put bones to this contract." I love Karen Lewis.  She's the secret sauce.

What I Learned From My Google Class Tim Furman: This business we're in is about relationships and credibility, and wisdom. It's about making people think and feel things they remember years and years later, and giving young people something to fold into their thinking over time. And these things are basically incompatible with direction we're heading as a result of policy choices. Anyway these things have all been said. Nothing's ever new, unless you're a reformer.

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  • fb_avatar

    Should Your Teacher Strike? A Teaching Unit on Rights of Public Employees
    Q: Do teachers have the moral right to strike even though the law or a court injunction may forbid it?
    A: Yes. Injustice, such as forced labor or involuntary servitude, is morally wrong and refusal to comply with immoral laws or rules is morally justified. Philosophers such as Jefferson, Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the late Chief Justice Holmes have set for this concept many times.

  • In reply to JohnKugler:

    Whoa, there! I am a teacher too, but I question your description of the "moral right" here that is totally defined with respect to how I am treated by my employer. My day to day activity, as that of most teachers, is infused with, if note exclusively motivated by, a sense of moral opportunity that I have to do this extremely difficult work. When the opportunity to make a difference in a way that I regard as moral is taken away, then this opportunity to live a moral life--something this is quite important to me--is taken away. Then, I might choose to strike,to leave the profession, this system, or perhaps surrender to the demand that I cease to regard a moral life as a worthy goal.

    It's not the money. If I am still making a living wage and I can exercise my moral prerogative to engage in the best kind of livelihood, then I don't see why I would get upset.

    For me, as I think for many of my colleagues, then, it is indeed not the money. It is the erosion of the moral opportunity in teaching--the conversion of teaching into an activity that harms rather than benefits those in schools. For me, to harm a student means to treat them in such a way that their opportunity to live a moral and thus happy life is restricted. And there's the rub.

    We are being asked to harm students by turning them into unreflective consumers of vendor products, by reinforcing the notion that their worth is measured on a single morally indifferent scale, and that they must comply with orders rather than learn to be independently responsible. There is so much more to list here!

    SB7, of course, does not list that as a strikeable condition. But if you want to get to the heart of what teachers are mad about, I think that's it. We are are being asked to be complicit in a process of harming young people. AAnd the way that our treatment figures into this is that the mayor is modelling on us what we are to do with students. It's like a gang initiation or a fraternity hazing. Those of us who show a willingness to endure this for lack of a better job are the ideal employees for this adventure in teaching students that it is worth doing anything for a paycheck. And that carries over to the increase in gang violence in Chicago, because school does not present the possibility of a moral life, just a certain type of submission to amorality. Why not try your luck on the streets if school is too hard?

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    In reply to chicago:

    The right to withhold work, either as an individual or as a group, is what distinguishes free men from slaves.

  • Rage

    Sometimes a little rage is a good thing. Although I hope the rage our
    editor writes of is not the violent kind .I presume they are writing of the
    Kind of rage that sent thousands to enlistment offices the day after the day
    Of infamy. Or the deep burning resentment that caused a tired seamstress
    to think “not this time” when she refused to move back on a bus.
    Both these examples of rage led to profound action, like a 90% strike vote.

  • All this proves is what I said last week that probably Rahm and definitely the Tribune Editorial Board were duped by SB7. All it did was provide a clear path on how to call a strike.

    The final piece of this is whether the teachers will actually walk on command. One must calculate that the economic risk to the teachers is small, in that it only involves deferred pay, in that the days have to be made up. That doesn't make them any different than the private garbage haulers, who said they were not giving credit for the 3 weeks of the strike, because they eventually had to pick it up, but certainly different from any other industry that loses production during a strike, and often does not recoup it.

  • In reply to jack:

    98% of all teachers who cast a ballot voted YES. We made a decision, nobody is commanding us. We all know there will likely be a strike and most of us are well prepared.

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    In reply to jack:

    You are wrong. While they have to make up the work - they will do so using a shorter spring break or summer vacation. So in your example it is like having a garbage person come in on Saturday to make up the work. So yes, there is a labor loss in a strike for teachers. So there is askin in the game so to speak - giving even more foder to their resolve.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    So you are saying that having your off days rearranged is a real economic detriment? Yes, the garbage collectors had to work weekends, but they also do so whenever there is a federal holiday on a weekday.

    So, you admit that you are no different. You should be ashamed.

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    In reply to jack:

    OK - take it easy. I should be ashamed? And all of a sudden I am admiting something? Let's have an intelligent exchange.

    What I am trying to say is that there is skin in the game for the teachers. And I beleive that you are incorrect in saying that it is rearranging days off- it is taking them away. They are losing exactly the number of days pay that they strike.

    It is clear that you are on the side of Rahm and CPS - that's OK you have the right to an opinion - as do I.

    One cannot ask someone to do more work for an unproortional amount of pay - epsecially when you pass a law that says that is the only negotiable part of your contract talks. Are you proposing that CTU wanted SB7 to pass?

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    1. Karen Lewis said on TV., "thanks to SB7" when the factfinder's report came out. So, ask her.

    2. No they are not losing the day's pay for the days they strike, because they get the pay back when they work the makeup days.

    To assure that they are losing their pay, Illinois should do what the fascist right wing state of New York does under its Taylor Law--deduct two days pay for each day of a strike, Then the teachers would have skin in the game. But that's not going to happen in Illinois.

    3. You made the "garbagemen working on weekends" analogy, and I said you are no different than the garbagemen. If you were trying to make a point in intelligent conversation, maybe you just highlighted what is wrong with Chicago teachers.

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    In reply to jack:

    This is a good excahnge thank you Jack.

    1) "Thanks to SB7" meant two things:
    1a) That the union busting sentiment of that law (which I do believe that Karen was asleep at the wheel allowing it to be passed) fired up the membership allowing for such an unprecedented authorization to strike.
    1b) Thanks to SB7 the fact finder could only try to arbitrate on wage - that's it. That is the only thing he could legally submit.

    2) Please help me understand. Sincerely, I might be misunderstanding you. Holidays during the school year are paid and summer vacation yeild a deferred pay (portions of teachers paychecks all year go into an escrow account where they continue to draw pay over the summer.) So, do you suggest that the summer after a strike that those days that teachers have to make up (which I agree they must) they will get DOUBLE pay? They won't. But maybe you are correct and I just don't understand.
    3) I'm not a teacher - I don;t understand this point.

    Let me ask you a question - what would make you happy? If CPS teachers would simply do as they are told and work more for no more compensation?

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    Apparently you can't comprehend a simple proposition.

    Say the school year is August 15 to June 15. You go on strike from August 15 to Sept. 1, but since you have to make up the days, you work until July 1. The 14 off days are moved, but you don't lose any money.

    If your salary is $65,000 a year, you still get the $65,000, just two weeks late.

    Now if you taught in New York, the double penalty for striking would mean that you would only make, say $61,000.

    All I am saying is that if Illinois had the Taylor law, you would have real skin in the game, But it doesn't, and so the teachers don't.

    You can't argue your way around that.

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    In reply to jack:

    I see your point. As long as the deffered pay for the remainder of the summer is greater than if they did not go on strike then indeed the net would be the same over the 12 months. I was wrong.

    HOWEVER, why are you condescending and agressive with your tone though?

    Thank God neither of us are teachers - me with my apparent lack of ability to understand simple propositions and you wtih your school yard bully disposition.

    CPS Parent - I am unsure if there are hardship loans. I doubt it - but I do not know.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    I think Jack is right, the net annual income for teachers will be the same since work/school days will be made up. Those lost vacation days are not really lost since the strike days are not work days. Teachers who are living paycheck-to-paycheck will struggle though. Does the CTU offer short term loans for this purpose?

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    I have to jump in to correct this misunderstanding. Teachers do have skin in the game here. That money will not be recovered.

    Teachers are paid a set amount every two weeks, all year round. (Money is saved from each paycheck during the school year so that this can happen. In other words, we are NOT paid for our summer vacation; we earn the money and then receive it a little later on.) Let's say that a teacher's bi-weekly take-home pay is $1500. During the strike, that teacher will not receive that pay. When we are making up the days in June/July, the teacher will simply receive his or her deferred pay, i.e. the $1500 that he or she would've received anyway. There is no way that the board will -- or should -- pay that teacher $1500 in deferred vacation pay PLUS an extra $1500 for making up the days. This means that if the strike lasts for 2 weeks, teachers will lose an entire pay check for the year.

    Low interest loans are available. I forget the details, but CTU did mention something about this at one point.

    And wow, Jack's tone is so nasty and confrontational and his position is blatantly anti-teacher. M Wesoloskie did a good job of not sinking to that level.

  • Not paying employees for mandated longer work hours is "not tethered in reality". What is unfortunately "tethered to reality" is the moronic decision made by the district to institute the longer day in the midst of its worst "financial crisis". What the district is doing is akin to this, someone signs to purchase a
    vehicle they know they can't afford. When time for payment
    comes the individual refuses to offer the payment. Then the
    creditor seeks to take position of
    the car, the individual refuses to give the car back. Unreal.

  • In reply to Maestro:

    The fact-finders report said that teachers got raises well in excess of inflation over the last 5 years, which in case you haven't been keeping track coincided with the Great Recession.

    Think of the payment for the longer school day as the 2% offered plus not rolling back the gains over the last 5 years.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Think of that as compensation for the years the economy was flying high and the teachers were not compensated like private sector workers. Or think of that as the trade-off for labor stability so Daley could take his shot at the Olympics. More work = more pay

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The "excess" raises were all factored into Benn's equation for what he determined to be fair compensation. So your position is not valid. Read the report.

  • Headache299
    Malicious and sexist spin from the Sun-Times Editorial - this time with a photo of macho-millionaire and President of Tribune Publishing, GTCR Bruce Rauner, venture capitalist who “helped make Mayor Rahm Emanuel a millionaire” and former Senior Adviser for Economic Development for convicted Illinois Governor George H. Ryan, Laurence Msall.

    In todays episode of dancing with the billionaires, the Sun-Times editorial characterizes CPS as rational, masculine, you know: ‘deeply and correctly rooted in undeniable fiscal reality”, while depicting school teachers, predominantly female, as reacting, as they are wont to do, emotionally, you know, irrational, histrionic, ‘enraged’, as in premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The Trib is no better today re: SB7. Print media Fail. Hopefully our kids can find reliable journalistic sources online in their futures, and more importantly, learn to break down the rhetoric of MSM. So appalling.

  • Judge Slams Schools for Effort to Void Settlement Courthouse News Service

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    That was a good read. Thank you. Notable for the following suggestive paragraph: Gettleman denied CPS's "meritless" motion, and questioned why "within months before the termination of the Settlement Agreement, CPS has decided to waste scarce public resources by filing a near frivolous motion to decertify the class and vacate the judgment to which it had agreed in 1998 and again in 2010. This effort is both mystifying and disturbing, driven perhaps by considerations that have no place in the administration of CPS's obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act."

    I wonder how much money was "waste[d]" and to what inappropriate "considerations" the judge was referring? Rod Estvan?

  • In reply to chicago:

    CPS in relation to its motion to decertify the Corey H class and vacate judgement only two months before the case is formally to end used an outside law firm. That firm's payments come through Board reports and I have never checked to see even what law firm was getting paid for this work.

    I agree with Judge Gettleman, who I used to work for indirectly as a consultant in the monitoring process, the filing was pointless. But, I suspect CPS may appeal this decision to the 7th Cir of Appeals and more money will be spent. Please recall that CPS has to not only pay the costs of its outside counsel, but since they lost also the cost of the Corey H plaintiff's counsel unless Judge Gettleman's decision is over turned.

    CPS argued in this situation that a decision by the 7th in Jamie S. v Milwaukee Public Schools that vacated a class certification applied after the fact to the Corey H case. Judge Gettleman does not see it that way and neither do I. But none the less there is language in the Jamie S. decision that raised the possibility that disabled students might not be able to constitute a class for litigation purposes. CPS is hanging its hat on that language and hoping the 7th will ban all class action litigation on behalf of students with disabilities in the future.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Why doesn't this--as a potential fiscal scandal--get covered? What possible justification could CPS have for undertaking this at this point? How much could they save if the settlement were to be overturned now? Do I understand correctly that within a few months the decree would have ended anyhow, accomplishing exactly the same result as if it had been vacated by Judge Gettleman?

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    OK Rod, I just woke up, and am having a hard time believing this. There is language in Jamie S. that could end the right of SPED students to form a class for litigation purposes?
    -How can this be constitutional?
    - This could in effect cost parents (students) the fight to legal action when rights are not recognized.
    - Get ready to disassemble SPED teams, that will be the end result of this , kiss off getting 80% of kids tested.
    - You don't need a crystal ball to see the loss of services down the road to deserving students.

  • In reply to Traveler:

    And WHY would the "student first" CPS leadership want this? Really. I don't understand.

    "CPS is hanging its hat on that language and hoping the 7th will ban all class action litigation on behalf of students with disabilities in the future."

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    Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.(Olmstead v. United States, 277 US 438)

  • Ald. Moore nixes elected school board referendum - Chicago Sun-Times

  • Headache299

    Alderman Joe Moore of Ward 49
    “Doing my part to muzzle the voices of the Chicago taxpayer, limiting voting rights and quietly killing democracy”

    Ward Office

    7356 N. Greenview Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60626

    Phone: 773-338-5796


    Fax: 773-338-5989

    Call or write him and tell him what you think

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    “A group of people who have the power to raise taxes and are not elected by the people is fundamental to reform,” Ald. John Arena (45th) said, referring to an Emanuel board that has raised property taxes to the legal limit for two straight years — by a total of $212 million. Arena argued that Emanuel was “personally offended this was being entertained” and communicated his displeasure to Moore, who promptly “folded” in response.

  • In reply to JohnKugler:

    Alderman Joe No Referendum on Elected School Board Moore pays a visit to CMSA on “Take your Alderman to School Day” sponsored by the

    Illinois Network of Charter Schools!

    Mr. Moore spoke to CMSA students about his ‘belief in choice’, neglecting to mention that his belief in choice is second only to Emmanuel’s belief in ‘no choice’.

  • Lets go back to the 18th century. A group of people who have the power to raise taxes and are not elected by the people is a modern form of taxation without representation. Isn't this what started the American Revolution. The people were not represented when the Kings parliament imposed taxes at will. Why should we accept this when democracy and Liberty is what the USA was built on? Get an elected Board. Moore is out of touch. Dictators are old news. Almost 300 years old.

  • REL .Parents need not panic over threat of Chicago teachers strike — yet Sun Times

    Who in the (blank) is Anna Coleman and why should anyone care if she moves to the suburbs. Please go ahead- short-sell your house ASAP. It will open up a spot for someone else at Northside. Rossi expects us to believe this anecdotal is representative of the thousands of CPS parents across this city. Was the intended message that teacher's better not strike b/c Mrs. Coleman and others like her are going to take their smart kids and play elsewhere. I feel dumber for reading this garbage.

  • In reply to wtf:

    Didn't you read the article? She has to sell her house because the school raised the price of renting a laptop?

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    More Conscientious: It is noteworthy that public employees often seem more conscientious about professional standards than are their employers. Social workers have struck to have their caseloads reduced so that they can more effectively service their clients. Nurses and hospital attendants have struck to have more people employed in order to better care for their patients. And, certainly, one of the major demands of the Los Angeles teachers is the reduction of class size so that they can be better teachers.

    It is equally important to note that much of the discomfort of public employees has to do with the whole growing “urban crisis.” More people in smaller spaces expect more and better services. Family patterns change, forcing public agencies to do what the extended family did, or did not do, before. New thrills, new “kicks,” seduce the proliferating urban young. (An official of the United Teachers of Los Angeles has asserted that in 92 percent of the secondary schools of that city drugs are a major problem.) And race relations continue to be extremely abrasive. Public employees, then, often see no way to change the “horse-and-buggy” structure of their employing agencies except to shock them with desperate action.

    In any case, the teacher should keep in mind that all of his students in all his classes, 95 percent will shortly become somebody’s employees. And increasingly, the employer will be a public agency. We have prepared this teaching unit to help the teacher acquaint his class with what can be expected and what constitutes the problem areas. (Should Your Teacher Strike? May 1970)

  • Complete report of the fact finder - Substance News via @catalystchicago

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