CTU's Lewis Compromises, Gets Weight-Loss Surgery, & Opposes Common Core

CTU's Lewis Compromises, Gets Weight-Loss Surgery, & Opposes Common Core

The union wants to talk about pension modifications for current members (you guys still get 3 percent cumulative!?).  CTU president got weight-loss surgery (for a possible mayoral run, says Sneed).  The HOD vote against Common Core isn't wise, according to Ray Salazar, and puts CTU in line with conservative opponents as well as liberals. Nationally, the Obama administration is warning schools not to screen out perceived immigrants, and a NYC union head's speech has riled folks up over the new labor deal.


Teachers union offers to compromise on pensions Crain's: In an uncharacteristic peace gesture, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis says she's prepared to offer pension concessions covering thousands of her members — but only under certain circumstances.

Chicago Teachers Union Boss Karen Lewis Hints at Pension Compromise NBC Chicago: Karen Lewis, Chicago Teacher's Union president and scourge of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, says she would consider extending an olive branch to City Hall and negotiate a compromise on member pensions.


CTU chief Karen Lewis gets weight-loss surgery, eyes mayor's race Sun Times: Sneed hears that indomitable Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's nemesis, has decided to tackle a tough personal issue. Her weight. Sneed hears the CTU chief underwent weight-loss surgery in March for two reasons.


Chicago Teachers Union votes to oppose Common Core WBEZ: The Chicago teachers’ vote puts the union, controlled by political progressives, in strange company. Take conservative radio host Glenn Beck for instance.  “Besides being dumber, our kids are going to be indoctrinated with extreme leftist ideology,” Beck has warned. He has called the Common Core an “insidious menace to our children and to our families.”

I disagree with the Chicago Teachers Union decision against Common Core White Rhino: This morning, I learned through the media that the Chicago Teachers Union voted against the Common Core Standards (CCSS).


Lindblom Math and Science principal among Golden Apple winners Tribune: Mather, a 28-year Chicago Public Schools veteran, became emotional as he accepted the award.

West Side schools to get money for capital projects AustinTalks: These projects will be funded by revenue from bond sales, TIF money, state and federal funding, and donations from corporate and private sources.

With gym class, schools try to get creative Catalyst: According to an analysis by the Chicago Teachers Union, 28 elementary schools have no gym teachers, and overcrowding and budget cuts have left many elementary schools without adequate facilities and equipment for physical education classes.

Chicago’s Racist Test Questions CPS Chatter: Argument one is from Arie Payo who used to work for the Bush administration and now writes for the Conservative Journal.  His argument is “I think it is best to keep America for Americans and those who know how to speak English properly.  Save America for those of us who know how to behave in law abiding ways.”

Preschools turn medical miracle: Column USA Today: Early childhood education programs can result not just in better school performance but also in better health. Imagine the astonishing implications this can have on public welfare and public health. If high-quality early childhood programs were available to all America's youngest, even very disadvantaged people could live better and longer lives, saving the state — all of us — enormous sums of money.


Districts Told Not to Deny Students Over Immigration NYT: The Justice and Education Departments said schools “may be in violation of federal law” if they turn children away because they or their parents do not have immigration papers. See also NPRLA Times.

Ted Mitchell, former state board president, confirmed as under secretary of education EdSource: Mitchell, who will oversee higher education in the federal department, has been an advocate for education reform in California and nationally. He was president of the State Board of Education from 2008 through 2010 and was president of Occidental College in Los Angeles from 1999 to 2005.

Two Democrats Seeking To Replace Moran Say They Oppose Common Core Standards WAMU: Candidates in the hotly contested Democratic primary to replace longtime Congressman Jim Moran are divided about national education standards.


Mulgrew’s contract speech draws fierce reactions Chalkbeat: UFT President Michael Mulgrew told teachers at a closed meeting that the union had tried to “gum up the works” of the new evaluation system and said they are "at war with the reformers."

Mass. Education Secretary Expresses Interest in Boston Superintendent Job District Dossier: The district has been without a permanent superintendent since the end of the last school year.

Portland superintendent criticizes unhappy parents AP: Portland Superintendent Carole Smith has criticized a group of parents for their complaints about an African-American principal and recommended diversity training for them....

Mayor Puts Free Lunch on Ice WNYC: De Blasio said he supported the goal, but wanted to make sure the city doesn't risk losing any federal funds if it expanded free meals to all.

Educators Charged in Phila. Cheating Scandal  NYT: A principal and four teachers at Cayuga Elementary School in Philadelphia promoted cheating on standardized tests for five years by providing answers to students and improperly reviewing questions before administering the tests, the state’s attorney general said.

Alleging Bias, Employees Sue School Official in Westchester NYT: Ronald O. Ross, superintendent of the Greenburgh Central School District, is charged in a federal lawsuit with using racial, ethnic and other slurs.


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  • Illinois school funding data fuel reform debate - Connecticut Post http://ht.ly/wFgd7 via @AnnenbergInst

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    The CTU is far from alone in opposing Common Core. Indiana has chosen to abandon Common Core for its own truly meaningful standards. Second, nine states have pulled out of the Common Core assessment consortium, and four others are actively considering pulling out. Four states have never joined. Parents in New York state are vehemently opposing the implementation of Common Core.

    Finally, Diane Ravitch, perhaps the most respected education writer in America, has come out to strongly oppose both Common Core standards and testing.

    Members of the CTU want high standards that are useful for students, parents and teachers. Common Core is not useful for any of those groups.


    Wait, still laughing LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    "Members of the CTU want high standards that are useful for students"

    My this is hilarious LOLOLOLOLOLOL

    Way too funny for words since the only word echoed from CTU for years is the word NO.

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    Nothing like high pitched maniacal laughter to make a point.

  • Who worked hard all year, teaching, and doing every other crazy other thing besides teach to end up with a non-renewal letter today from their administrator?

  • Another CPS principal resigned--so what is that 10-11 this year?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    My goodness-a principal who has the fortitude to stand up for the students. Kudos! I have often wondered where the principals were lately. Teachers who whistle blow, file grievances regarding unsafe conditions and question the status quo are let go/terminated/given a poor evaluation BUT the principals have been as quiet as mice. They follow like sheep and go to their meetings and then return and castigate the staff. These are not leaders. The principal in this article is a leader and I will bet he has no trouble finding staff to work at his school. Please read this article.


  • In reply to district299reader:

    Sometimes, when you don't know what you're talking about it is best not to comment. CPS principals work hard and protect their schools all of the time. Just because we are not acrimonious does not mean that we are not doing what we should be doing.

    Now, if your complaint is that we don't go against professional best practice, that's another issue. However, before you open your mouth to insult former CTU members, you should consider whether you can do our jobs effectively yourself.

    Just from your tone and rude comments, I suspect that, as a principal, you might be one of the crazy principals you love to complain about.

    Note, that if principals start publicly identifying themselves, they would publicly is their teachers as well. Stop attacking principals needlessly. Remember, you might find out how horrible things really could be if you happen to get the wrong principal. Perhaps, you already are experiencing this. If so, congratulations.

    Good principals are leaving because between the ever increasing work load and mandates, we are bullied and disrespected daily by people like you who couldn't lead air out of a paper bag. Except, the Board doesn't find it necessary to protect us, your Union believes professional courtesy only extends to CTU members, and everyone thinks that they can do our jobs. Let's see how that works for you.

    You wouldn't happen to be on the eligibility list would you?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Principal, you do have a really hard job. I thank you for all you do. I do not know how you do it.

    ---from a cps parent

    p.s. the stuff from the principal in the Sun Times sounds like a union playbook and is very unprofessional. Anyone who has a job with a span of responsibility would not be outraged with being put on the spot for their short pitch on the longer day. Answer the question and move on. So childish to be bent out of shape and publish it.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    CPS parent, I don't think you understand. Read some of the other examples principals are sharing on the blog he set up: http://troylaraviere.blogspot.com/

    The mayor is using the public schools, a public asset, as a political tool. If we have disagree about a policy, even if it's an ethical disagreement, we aren't allowed to say anything.

    Anyone with a "job with a span of responsibility" of taking care of hundreds of children should be entrusted to speak their mind if they think a policy is harmful.

    The mayor accuses the CTU of giving families and students the shaft when really it is folks like him that use children like pawns, and we all have to stay silent or face his wrath.

  • CTU taking a stand against CCSS? They are 3 years late. Even though CPS started shifting gears this year, the state started 2 years ago. This seems to be more of a bandwagon move than true advocacy. The state announced this shift during 2011-12 school year, posted frameworks/resources and called for feedback last year and piloted last year and this year. Why protest now?

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    Hi, I also weigh on a Thursday. A little nervous about tonight WI, as I had a bad day on Sunday, but heres hoping its not a unique profit as my second week! Is anyone else struggling with Syns daily / weekly? I am finding it difficult in the weekends as I seem to use my weekly allowance then fight the rest of the week without Syns!

    WI hope goes well for everyone.

  • Principals shut up because otherwise they have to get a lawyer to keep our jobs--that costs us money. Or we are made fun of, put down by our chief, or you get a surprise audit. Principals have no union. Our 'professional organization' is run by a retired principal who has not been in a CPS school for years. No offense meant, but this is our reality. We pay $1000 a year to 'belong.' The attorney we can talk to who is at this organization, used to work for CPS as a lawyer. Everything Principal LaRaviere says is true. At one of the terrible $20 million pd meetings we 'must' attend, a number of us lamented as to why we cannot have a union. I am grateful for his voice and the Sun-times willingness to publish this truth. This is our reality.

  • Yes, this is your reality because you choose to make this your reality.
    When the teachers went on strike as they did in 2012 and in the 1980's IF 1200 plus administrators refused to cross the picket line, took a stand and walked with their teachers maybe you would have a voice now. It is highly unlikely CPS would have fired 1200 plus administrators but you let CPS divide us. It is very hard to see teachers take a stand for the betterment of the schools but not our supposed leaders.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You're mistaken. If CPS could have fired all the teachers during the strike, they would have. But that would have broken some federal laws. So they didn't. They would have loved to dissolve the entire district and banish the CTU and turn it even more charter. If 1,200 principals went on strike they would have fired every one of us and then hired back only the ones they wanted, mainly those in schools where the population have money to turn elections. West side, south side would have been 100% charter. There are far more retired principals in Chicago and surrounding suburbs they could have brought in to fill the voids until they found new principals. Teachers only kept their jobs because they have a union. Stop being silly. Go work at a non-union charter school if you think it's so easy.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Administrators could have taken sick days or vacation days during the strikes. What is the law on forcing employees to cross a picket line at their workplace? CPS can't even fill the substitute shortage. Some days CPS is short 500 subs-where are all of these replacement teachers? There is an administrator shortage in Chicago so where would all of these replacement principals come from....?

  • It's cute how you think that little strike meant something. You stood outside for a few days for an overall pay reduction and an easier dismissal process. You lost 2 weeks of vacation pay, no summer pay, a higher tax bracket for your earnings, and higher healthcare contribution paired with a health support plan.

    Your principal, however, keeps you employed and that is who you antagonize.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Wow! Your posting is full of inaccuracies. CTU has never gone on strike without winning. Teachers do not accrue vacation days only admin. We get a week's pay at Christmas and a week in the spring-we still get that...I have no problem with principals dismissing poor teachers....I do have problem with poor principals. We have never been paid when we are off in the summer. For a time our pay was stretched out to cover the summer months, now we get in when we work and we are old/mature enough to save our own money for the summer months....CPS no longer gets to keep the interest on this money. Everyone is paying more for insurance and if you are employed by CPS you would know that only CPS, not the principal, can hire or fire staff.

  • Reading this and other blogs is very disheartening. The embittered diatribes of teachers and principals and reformers is sickening.

    How is it that public education creates such intractable contentiousness? A pox on all of your houses. If the situation is that godawful that people can't even concede that people of good will see things differently, let's put ourselves out of our misery and end it the system. It isn't worth it.

    Let the private sector do it - give students vouchers and let their parents find the education they want for their children.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Ha! That will solve it. "Democracy is messy, so let's outsource it to Walmart, or China!" Good one! The simpleton's solution, "the private sector." Yes, like the S&L scandal, Enron, the recent housing scandal.....um, many many more that cost us FAR more than public education ever could have. But sure, keep dreaming your little Ayn Rand dream, silly child. The Founding Fathers should have outsourced writing the Constitution to the East India Company.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Interesting that you think CPS employees shouldn't complain etc and when they do vouchers are the answer. Funny that I haven't heard that sentiment from suburban parents when their teachers go on strike due to unresolved issues/intractable contentiousness.

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    Please quote one embittered diatribe from a teacher or principal. Reformers and their trolls are the ones engaging in bitter denunciations of all things CTU.

    And according to a respected Princeton University study, vouchers don't work.

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    Ed you are a teacher right? Read your own posts and you will find your own bitterness fueling the fire. Own it dude.

    Plenty of teacher rants posted here.
    Principal rant in Suntimes.

    It is disheartening and downright depressing. Yes to vouchers!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Vouchers: yes to killing democracy! Own it.

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    In reply to district299reader:

    Quote please, anonymous reader.
    Disagreeing with Rahm and BBB is not the same as an "embittered diatribe."

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    Own it Ed. You are part of the problem. You can't even be objective and understand another viewpoint. You are incredibly disrespectful to parents who have a different viewpoint from you. I hope you teach your students better than you blog!

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    In reply to district299reader:

    Quote my "embittered diatribe" please.

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    Cite for Princeton study: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.economics.050708.143354

  • "I see Brizard is still the same intellectual giant and bastion of morality he always was. So he is advocating that teachers become part of the "reform" process. The preferred method is for teachers to totally sell out to the Gates foundation. As Calteacher so succinctly states "all the groups he mentions are founded by, or supported by the Gates and, in some instances, the Wall Mart Foundations. Viva Teachers is supported by the Wall Mart and Gates Foundations. Teach Plus, is founded by Gates, and Educators for Excellence was set up by Education Reform Now (ERN), Education Reform Now Advocacy (ERNA) and Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), the same groups that were the primary funders behind the anti-teacher, and anti-union television advertising campaign that ran during the Chicago teacher's strike. Educators for Excellence is of course funded by the Gates Foundation, and headed by two former Teach for America recruits. Educators for Excellence also supported efforts to end tenure in New York schools, publicly stating, "We applaud Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to make tenure decisions more meaningful."

    So Brizard wants teacher input, just as long as it is tightly controlled by the message police. The next time any one of these "reformers" asks for real teacher input will be the first time."

    "I'm on my lunch, Tyler. Can I breathe the Board air now or do I have to bring my own?

    Gates and Walton (and Eli Broad) push reform strategies such as competition, choice, deregulation, incentives, and other market-based approaches. In schools, we teachers tend to prefer collaboration. Competition (for grades, students, test scores, etc.) tends to be highly counterproductive. But, again, no one asks the people who actually work in the schools what they think. Gates and the others throw money at the schools to fund charters, overtesting, and punishing students and teachers for things outside of their control. In my opinion, that is a plan to destroy public education.

    TFA puts essentially untrained college kids into classrooms with students who, instead, need the most experienced teachers available. Most leave after two years, making sure they never really develop an understanding of the students, families or neighborhood."

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    I knew that was you Tyler. Well if that counts as an embittered diatribe, then I guess I'm guilty. I thought I was just expressing my opinion on corporate control of the schools.

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    Not me. It must be disturbing to realize that other people come to the same conclusions about you though.

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    "Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed.”

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