Beginning Of The End?

Today's update: There's been some movement on the negotiations.  Brizard is still on the job as of yesterday (complaining about picketing the contingency sites as you can see in the previous post). Daycare, AP courses, and sports schedules are among the many creeping practicalities involved in the strike going on further (plus a looming 9/27 CPS payday). Parents and even pro basketball players are weighing in about what CPS and CTU should do.  Editorial pages and mainstream columnists seem generally against the strike, but fewer than 40 percent of Chicagoans polled recently were against it. The White House would kill him for it, but Rahm has got to be tempted to string this thing along a little longer just to watch that number rise.  That guy with the Nickleback sign used to teach at CICS Longwood but now is at Eric Solario -- my apologies.


Back to school Friday? Progress reported in Chicago teacher talks ChicagoTribune:  “We feel like we’re in a pretty good place, we’ve made a lot of progress today,” Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said as she left contract talks shortly before midnight Wednesday.

CPS releases its latest contract proposal, strike end in sight? WBEZ: There appears to be movement on at least one of two major issues that have kept 350,000 students out of school this week, and their teachers on the picket line.

School closure plans impacting teacher contract talks Clout Street:  Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis today acknowledged that the issue of impending school closings, coupled with the rapid opening of taxpayer-supported private schools known as "charters," are affecting negotiations, particularly the issue of recalling teachers who are laid off when schools are closed.

It’s time for a little give and take Sun Times (opinion):  I fully support their decision to go on strike, although I sure wish they hadn’t. The mayor can stand up every day and say the strike was unnecessary …

Strike highlights division on teacher evaluation AP: One of the key disagreements driving Chicago teachers to the picket lines this week is also a central component of President Barack Obama's education policy: evaluating instructors in part on how much their students improve.

Chicago teachers strike: Illegal under Illinois law? Christian Science Monitor:  Chicago Teachers Union representatives have acknowledged that their gripes with the city are not necessarily financial.

The arc of history Tribune (editorial):  Look around, Ms. Lewis. Nationwide, this fight is over. Chicago Teachers Union officials aren't merely fighting City Hall. They're fighting the inevitability of education reform. They are denying the arc of history.


CPS Boss Brizard Denies Rumors He Has Resigned CBS2: For the first time since the teachers' strike began,Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard spoke out this afternoon, first denying a widespread rumor that he had resigned. He also discussed why he hasn't been attending ...

Rahm Emanuel Walking A High Wire With Teachers NPR: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is negotiating with striking teachers, who are a key part of his — and the president's — constituency. Meanwhile, he's tasked with raising money for Priorities USA Action, the superPAC supporting President Obama. It seems that this election season, Emanuel has his hands full and his feet on a high wire.

Head Of Chicago Teachers Union Rose The Ranks NPR: At the center of the Chicago teachers' strike are Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the head of the teachers' union, Karen Lewis. To learn more about Lewis and the relationship between the teachers' union and the mayor's office, Audie Cornish talks to Joel Hood, education reporter at the Chicago Tribune.

Teachers Test Chicago Mayor's Mettle WSJ:  Any settlement might require Mr. Emanuel, whose administration has already made numerous concessions, to compromise further on an issue that the mayor has made central to his tenure—how to overhaul public education.

Chicago Mayor’s Push to Add Charter Schools Hangs Over Teachers’ Strike NYT: In the Chicago teachers’ strike, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s oft-cited goal of expanding charter schools is not officially on the table, but a union official called it “the elephant in the room.”


As Chicago Teachers Strike, Students Are on the Loose and at Loose Ends NYT: Students could be found in contingency programs at schools, in churches and in costly day care centers. Some slept late, stayed home alone, then wandered their neighborhoods as if there were one more chapter of summer.

AP exam schedules stop for no strike WBEZ: Some Jones Prep teachers expect students to keep up during the strike. They’ve posted assignments online. AP exam schedules aren’t set by Chicago Public Schools, but instead follow a national calendar. And students will have to make up for lost time when they get back into the classroom.


Chicago Teachers’ Strike Poses Risks for Obama NYT: Some political analysts say the strike by Chicago teachers could open fissures between Obama supporters like unions and wealthy liberal donors who sometimes back causes that unions oppose.


Strikewatch CPSobsessed: I’ll steal some wise words from a RaiseYourHand email I got this morning: "We believe there are short-term contract issues that must be figured out swiftly. Many of these long-term policy issues just cannot be resolved immediately."

Derrick Rose: ‘Sad that my city got to go through’ teachers strike Sun Times:  Derrick Rose is back in Chicago after spending the summer rehabilitating his injured left knee at his home in Los Angeles, and he weighed in on the Chicago Public Schools teachers’ strike that is dominating the news. “I don’t like that fact that OUR kids are not in school and that’s the only thing we have to SAVE these kids,” Rose tweeted.



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  • Aldermen on WTTW last night

    That was a great discussion with a lot of great idealism. But the hard work is achieving goals within a budget. Ironic that even this group takes the easy way out. Easy to talk ideals, much harder to deliver within real world constraints.
    Interesting that John Arena seemed to be the most supportive of traditional neighborhood schools. Perhaps he hash't noticed that charters aren't focused on his tier 4 ward.
    There is no tier 3/4 neighborhood school problem. The aldermen from poorer wards are a lot more interested in finding real solutions than Arena.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Alderman John Arena spent more than an hour talking to teachers at Taft HS on Wednesday. An Independent Democrat (that is, not paid for by Rahm Emmanuel), he refused to sign a letter to the Chicago Teachers Union asking Karen Lewis to do something she didn't have the authority to do (once the House of Delegates set the strike date, only that body could call it off).

    In stark contrast, the 41st Ward alderman Mary O'Connor, a puppet of Emmanuel, was defensive and shrill about why she signed the letter.

  • just like it's predecessor, the housing market, education will crash. Specifically, charter schools backed by billionaires, will display no return in the investment and the millions of dollars thrown at these "science projects" of schools will dry up leaving the so called school high & dry.

    Housing market crash versus the demise of education: Realtors encouraged people to buy & sell just like the mayor encourages private investors to jump into education. Builders built more homes than needed just like charter schools are popping up on every other block. Borrowers took on risky loans to get “more house” just like charter schools which were effective in their first year with 1-2 schools are now taking on 5-10 schools with poor implementation/results. Deterioration in underwriting standards in an industry lacking policing produced millions in losses just as though charter schools lack teacher certification requirements, “choosing” the students they want to teach & not having to answer to the public DESPITE receiving millions in public tax dollars.
    Say what you want about teachers & their union. There is without a doubt room for the current situation to grow in order to improve the quality of education in ALL of our classrooms. With that being said, when we send millions of dollars into private, charter organizations with the bottom line being profit, not children. The teachers union many have come to hate, is actually the last opportunity for the public to play a role in what was formally known as FAPE or the “Free Appropriate Public Education.” 50,000 students are sitting in charter schools today with no one worried about how we will hold these teachers accountable yet the research has proven them to be no more effective than the public school rivals.

    When the private investors realize the lack of revenue generated from charter schools and pull their money out like race to get out of Facebook, we will be left picking up the pieces & wondering why we didn’t see this coming.

  • In reply to Ed4who:

    Show me a for profit charter in Chicago.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Admittedly, I do not have an extensive knowledge of investments, the market etc. When I think about venture capitalists "signaling optimism that a golden moment has arrived", I see the achievement gap growing, I see the hopes and dreams of a freshmen accepted to a charter school crushed at the start of his junior year when investors in a particular school lose interest and move their money elsewhere.

    When I speak of for profit, this is not something listed on a website acknowledging "hey were are in the education business" but I do see the rise coming to a screeching halt.

    Look at the small schools movement which had a large support from the Gates Foundation. Now, we look back and it was a failure and places like Social Justice HS are headed in yet another direction.

    Is it all directly geared at bashing Charters & the privatization of education? By all means no, a great deal can be learned from the innovation taking place within charter schools.

    Look at the "turnaround" model through CPS. (I know, not charter). ALL the research suggests these schools take 5-7 years to turnaround yet, some schools are just a year in and the funding dried up for the next big thing. This leaves these schools to head back right in the direction they came from. What happens when half the charters are not performing & the investors move on? Do these students go back to their neighborhood school? (The one that was just phased out?) Of course, the school won't have the positions to support these students because the 20th day would have already passed & the positions wouldn't be available.

    Perhaps it is just me looking too deep into things & seeing/hearing everything that is not being said. EVERYTHING is about the teachers in CPS schools yet nothing is mentioned into regards to Charter schools.

    How do we plan for long term success?
    How do we use what is learned and apply it to our own schools?
    Why can't CPS embrace what it has and support GROWING teachers in the direction which they want to go rather than phasing out positions/schools?

    Food for thought and I would love to hear how. I wholeheartedly wants whats best and if charters are it, I want to know about it. Do share, honestly!

  • In reply to Donn:

    Your school, Noble! As in $386,745! It may be listed as a 501(c), but $386,745 sounds like profit to me.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    It sounds like a profit to you probably because you're a teacher and don't know how to read financial statements.
    Excess salaries would be the primary way to take advantage of a non-profit. The second way would be fraud through vendor contracts. There's no distribution of excess operating cash in any non-profit.
    As an aside, do you know where Noble teachers get their pens? The school supply room. The copier works too.
    The primary question isn't what charters are doing with tax dollars. The question is why so much is missing from many CTU schools.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn--uniformed and time waster. Just Google 'charter and waste' and you will find much there. Even the ones where charter leaders bought jewelry and fine personal items with tax money in the name of charter spending--UNO Rangle makes $250K for how many schools? Brizard has 600! You are uniformed becasue you are lazy.
    A new study by the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education [finds that among] charter and traditional public schools in Michigan, where both receive about the same operational funding, charter schools actually spent more per-student on administration and less on instruction than non-charter public schools.
    Controlling for factors that determine school resource allocation like student enrollment and school location, Michigan State University's David Arsen and the University of Utah's Yongmei Ni found that charter schools spend on average $774 more per student on administration and $1,140 less on instruction than do traditional public schools.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn whether you know it or not that was a rather condescending generalization about teachers. There are high school teachers who do teach business and who actually teach students how the capitalist system or free enterprise system works.

    That issue aside, I believe Edison was the last for profit charter subcontrator in Chicago that I can recall. Even they had some limited oversight in the form of a not for profit board. I do not recall Mosaica Advantage or Chancellor-Beacon operating in Chicago.

    The reason for this is k-12 education does not seem to make money. If you go to there is an article by Henry M. Levin that touches on the problem of a for profit k-12 education market place.

    I doubt that charter schools will as a sector will survive the current fiscal crisis of public funding any better than traditional public schools will. The more charters CPS creates, the more likely these new schools will not be able to market themselves to the better functional low income families with children more likely to produce higher test score returns. These schools will be punished by the conservative foundations that provide extra funding and they will become totally dependent on CPS payments which are subject to cuts in the future.

    Donn its a zero-sum game. CPS is cutting a cake, where taking a larger piece reduces the amount of cake available for others, in this situation the cake is composed of children with higher potential for test score returns based on a lower average cost factor per student.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    It may turn out to be a zero sum game, but that would imply equal efficiencies between a very old system and a new system.
    History suggests that more efficient organizations can be found.
    Even if current trends continue, there will likely be many CTU teachers in the city for many years. This doesn't seem to be an either/or situation.
    The CTU appears to be on the brink of an unaffordable agreement. What could be a better indicator to an end of an era?

  • In reply to Donn:

    Agreed Donn...the end of the corporate reformist era. The wave has crested...and Karen Lewis will be championed.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Who needs cash to pay for contracts when you have slogans and good feelings?
    Rod assures me that some CTU members understand accounting and finance. So I'm sure this will all work out just fine..........

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Donn-- Facee itt youu aree onn thee wrongg sidee off historyy.. Givee itt upp dudee. Yourr postss aree counterproductivee..

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, as always, I appreciate your well reasoned opinion.

    I believe charter schools are here to stay. There will definitely be a weeding out process and those schools or systems which are in it for non-altruistic reasons will fall by the wayside. I do believe that charters should be granted only to schools with a specialized focus such as certain pedagogical approaches such as Montessori, IB, Daltonplan, Jenaplan, or distinct philosophical/cultural or special needs based differentiation. The intent to provide choice to parents should be about clear distinctions between schools - between charter and "neighborhood" school as well as between charters themselves.

    I think for many parents the choice between the "neighborhood" school or charter school is a decision making process that involves more than test scores. I find it interesting that the same voices who rail against standardized test based valuation of schools are very quick to deride charter schools which are sub-par exclusively by test scores. It seems to me that parents who are choosing low scoring charters are looking beyond test performance when making their choices.

    I also expect that the majority of charters schools will have unionized labor including teachers. To me collective bargaining makes sense in the teaching profession. I do think the relationship between unions and school boards need to develop away from old-school concepts of unionism. For instance, I think the union should be required to have a voting position on school boards and be required to participate in working groups on those boards.

    I would be not at all surprised if 10 to 50 years from now there might very well be an Access Living school or RYH schools in Chicago and possibly elsewhere.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Access Living was approached several years ago by the then CPS office of new schools in relation to our organization submitting a proposal for a charter school. We declined to do so for several reasons. 1. The actual cost factors involved to providing children with disabilities an education in the least restrictive environment were too high and would have put our organization at fiscal risk, and 2. It is difficult to litigate or mediate on behalf of students with disabilities is you are part of the district itself. As most of you know I am not opposed to charter schools, and I too agree that more teachers in them should join a union. But the fiscal realities make the current CPS vision for charter expansion very unsound.

    Even the Gates Compact does not solve the cost issues related to educating students with more complex disabilities in the framework of charter schools. This is why so few severely disabled students are currently enrolled in charters, not just in Chicago, but nationally.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Donn:

    Which method do you prefer, Donn? Excess salaries or, fraud through vendor contracts?

  • In reply to Ed4who:

    Very well written and excellent points. It is refreshing to see the educated normal people return to engage in a real discussion about Education.
    You really, really have a point. Charters are expanding as rapidly as they put up overpriced homes in Bronzeville/N. Kenwood (and we see the results of those projects).
    I believe we will see a similar scenario play out in the near future with education. Maybe we could look to the east(Children's Promise Zone) and west (Alliance) coasts, if I'm not mistaken they jumped on the charter bandwagon first.

  • poll results from CTU kenzo

  • From post: "Editorial pages and mainstream columnists seem generally against the strike, but fewer than 40 percent of Chicagoans polled recently were against it." My question: How may of those editorial and column writers had children who attended CPS neighborhood grade and high schools outside the current middle-class enclaves such as Beverly or Lincoln Park?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    None. Why would they?
    How are people with good educations somehow less qualified than people with poor educations on the subject of education?
    30 years of organizing south side schools like Winnetka is enough. Time to try something else.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Donn:

    I understand that you don't get around the South and West sides much, but the only map that Winnetka is a south side school on is Rahm's political fundraising map.


    In seriousness, this is exactly the type of thinking that has denied poor people of color education for a generation. We've tried your ridiculous strategy for 25 years. Now's the time to pass control to the communities. It's not only the just option, it's the best practice.

    Revolving doors of rich bureaucrats has failed our community, and why wouldn't it? You are unwilling to show the same love for our youth that you do to your own kids.

  • In reply to Xian Barrett:

    We're just getting started on "my" ridiculous strategy. Viva la Revolution.
    We've already infiltrated your decrepit union operations with our TFAers and their ACTs of 30. Give up now.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Imagery is a powerful thing. Somehow whenever I read your posts I picture a darkened S.R.O. with the L train passing by. Alone, maybe with a cat.

    Yes, Hallelujah the Saviors are here! Your TFAers from a student perspective... must make you very proud.

  • In reply to urbanteach:

    I'm hoping a darkened SRO is a car with tinted windows?

  • In reply to Donn:

    Folks with "good educations" but little direct experience with the people in south side schools are, indeed, "less qualified."

    I think lots of CPS teachers would like to try something else. They seems to have much agreement about what various public schools need to enable the students to learn. Of course, it's not a duplicate of Winnetka schools, in each case. But even Winnetka schools don't work for some students.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I currently have direct experience with west side schools. Does that count?
    A particular school certainly does not work for all students. That the primary benefit of school choice. Not offering west and south side students a choice to attempt a rigorous high school is wrong. There's been enough years of attempting to put rigor into classes at schools like Crane that it's time to do something else.
    The CTU wants to perpetuate the myth of fixing unfixable schools in order to secure teaching jobs.
    But I don't believe we primarily have a teacher problem. We have huge organizational problems. There has to be mechanism to find more effective organizations.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I wish some of this experience included actually observing a large number of classrooms instead of self-reports of how hard people are working. Because in the end, most of this is conjecture and grandstanding. Nothing more.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I do know that all the Crane's in the city have some superbly run classrooms. The students in those college prep classrooms still receive a lot of social promotion and have poor attendance. Students still attend schools with high drama and b.s. Obviously there's no way to fundamentally change these schools and the experience for that student group, as thousands of highly skilled principals and staff have tried.

    I've also mentored and manage a large number of west and south side four year college graduates. They were the good kids from good families who were some of the 'stars' at the Crane's of Chicago and then good city colleges students. Their high self esteem from their cloistered CPS education doesn't last 10 minutes once exposed to the majority world.

    I don't care if students take AP calculus. I care that all students have the choice of trying a school where failure is a very real possibility but completely within their control. Schools where passing a college prep classes is at the same standard as Naperville.

    Tell me what happens when a student calls a teacher a "f'ing bitch" and I'll tell you what chance the graduates of that school have in the competitive world.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn-- Thankss forr educatingg uss.. Yourr insightt iss aa reall revelationn too alll off uss veterann CPSS teacherss..

  • In reply to district299reader:

    While I don't agree with much of Donn's solutions, his report of his experience with the "star" grads of most CPS HSs is valid. Colleges also see this. Must say, even many of the low SES under-represented minority college freshmen coming from Chicago's SEHSs from aren't stars in college.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Charter school grads aren't lighting it up in college either- Noble St., UNO, or any of the other fly-by-night operators. I hope I am wrong, but if Urban Prep's rate of attrition from freshmen to senior year continues, than very few will ever earn a 4-year college diploma.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Like I said, I think it all depends on the homelife of the student and the student his/herself. If a student in High School really wants to do well, they will. It is all about wanting to do well. It all starts in the home. When kids are young and parents work with them and support them, they have a way better chance obviously. This sets the ground work. There are kids today who graduate with honors at Chicago Public High Schools. It is NOT the schools that are the problem, nor is the teachers. It is society and in some cases homelife circumstances that are a huge reason some kids do not prosper in their learning.

    And remember, Charter schools kick kids out that do not do the work they are suppose to do, or if you are a kid with behaviorial probelms. They tell these kids to go to their local public school. They have no tolerance. I am sure if all CPS schools were allowed to do the same things, then things would be different.

  • In reply to Donn:

    You cannot compare some of the suberb neighborhoods with some of the rougher neighborhoods in Chicago. Of course things are going to be much different.

    When any student curses at a teacher, there is obviosuly something wrong at home! It has nothing to do with the teachers or school! I do not care if you take that same kid and put him in the best school, this kid is still going to be the same kid!! The change has to come from within in kid himself and his homelife!!

  • I can tell you were not in Chicago this week. Please do us all a favor
    and refrain from commenting on what has just occurred based on media accounts. Never was the old riddle more accurate than on the streets this week Chicago “ Was black and white and red all over”. This was not a teachers strike a better description would be a urban uprising.
    In the face of 20,000 marching teachers, thousands of parents and cops and firemen the media was desperately trying to keep the genie in the bottle.
    All the talking heads and print scribes must have wondered why the reports were all so one sided, why the numbers hilariously low balled, and none of them were able to convince anyone this was about greed.
    This was about the damaged kids of Chicago, and the future of public educationhere and in the entire country. Take a ride up to the legendary Sleepy Hollow.But go quickly because in Chicago this week we rewrote the story.
    Ichabod Crane and his red shirted buddies saved the soul of the Headless Horseman took the pumpkin and shoved it up the ass of Brom Bones all in sight of the fair Katrina. It was quite a week.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    This post made my day. Thank you. You are absolutely on target.

  • FROM THE DESK OF CPS CEO JEAN-CLAUDE BRIZARD: Dear colleagues, THE REPORTS OF MY DEMISE HAVE BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED. Today, at a CTU rally it was announced that I had resigned from my position as CEO. The fact that I am writing to you directly means that the report is a lie and is meant to distract you. I am deeply committed to the students of Chicago and to the work of ensuring that they get a world-class education. I have been in urban education for more than 20 years and I would never abandon my post, especially during a crisis. Please stay focused and keep the faith. See you soon. Jean-Claude

  • Who's he writing to? The server for all the teachers' emails was shut down on Tuesday. What a joke.

  • In reply to 30 years:

    Right?! No one is reading his emails. We cannot get to them anyway. And seriously, do any teachers even bother opening any emails from Brizard? I am going to see if there is a "mark as spam" option on my google mail when we return to work and can get back into email because I am not interested in reading anything that man has to say.

  • In reply to 30 years:

    That's funny. Not only your comment, but the image of him sitting at a desk typing, sending and having the email bounce back to him for 22K employees. What an idiot.

  • Deer (that's no typo) Jean-Claude

    Teachers are extremely disappointed the reports of your demise were premature. There is no doubt, however, that it is only a matter of time.

    Better luck in your next job. Perhaps the next dictator that hires you as his boot-licker will keep you around longer than 18 months.

  • He sure got out of Rochester fast enough--like the wind.
    Watch for the $21,500k per month bbb to take over.

  • Here is an example of how CPS lies: At children first schools, staff reporting to schools were told that they could be dismissed from work at 12:30 or right after students leave. This was a reward for them coming to work during the strike. Now as of today and from now on, ALL staff (except for 4 hour employees) have to work until 2:30 each day every day. And one wonders why CTU does NOT trust CPS. Here is even more proof.

  • "...right after the children leave." As of Thursday, site hours were extended to 2:30 pm from the initial 12:30 pm. That is why staff must now stay longer. The students are no longer leaving at 12:30 p.m. so the staff can't leave then. Also, the people working at the sites aren't on strike so they have to come to work. Unless they take a pre-approved PD day or are out with a doctor's note.

  • Does anyone know what is going on with HOD meeting? I've been out with my brothers and sisters picketing, but if we have to wait again until late Sunday night to find out if I'm putting on my picket clothes or work clothes, I'll be disappointed. Strike plans or lesson plans?
    I'm sure RP will be on here later, but anyone have a clue?

  • Headache299
    Labor Beat: CTU Strike 2012

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