Reaction to CTU Strike

The Chicago Teachers Union turned their backs on Chicago area students today. It is not a big surprise. We all know the CTU leadership values their pocketbooks more than their profession. Chicago is nationally known for it's underachieving public schools, so hearing about a teachers strike will draw little more than a shrug across the country. It's not like award winning Harvard teachers walked out on their classrooms today.

As the Mayor said last night, this is a strike of choice. The CTU wants to make a point. They want more money, no accountability for education outcomes, no teacher evaluation system, no disciplinary policy for teachers and no benefit adjustments. Basically, they want the status quo plus more money.

The reason we know the CTU is not interested in reform is that they have not publicly proposed any plans. What is their teacher evaluation system proposal? Where is their accountability provision? How do they believe teachers should be disciplined for offenses against student?

They have no plan. They are not interested in reforming the school system. And why would they? Their average annual salary is over $70K, double that of the average Chicagoan. Their health and pension is very generous, while many Chicagoans are uninsured and have no pension. They get pay raises whether students succeed or fail. Heck, a teacher could not say a word to his/her class all semester and still cash those paychecks every two weeks without incident.

This strike brings into the clear focus the reason Republicans believe in full school choice rights for students and parents.

While nearly 400,000 students are being deprived of a day's education, tens of thousands of other Chicago students will be going to class on a typical Monday because their parents had a choice.

Private schools such as Catholic parochial schools are open as usual. So are city charter schools. Parents with some extra disposable income have a choice and can simply send their kids to private schools. They don't have to put up with striking teachers and poor results. Other parents who win charter school lotteries also can escape the CTU hostage taking. It is the low income parents who lost those lotteries and don't have the money to send their kids to private school who lose out.

Every parent and every child deserves a choice in education. It would restore the power to parents in local education. No longer could teachers hold them hostage for higher pay or better benefits. The focus would shift back to students and how to innovate so schools can compete against each other for the privilege of educating young minds.

Let's use this immoral CTU teacher strike as an opportunity to shed light on the low income families whose children deserve better. Let's make sure someone takes their side. Let's make sure students have a voice in their future.

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    You suck and so does this article

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    The ignorance in this article amazes me. If you had the correct information you would know this strike is NOT about money, or a paycheck. The Chicago public school teachers are bending over backwards to give the children of this city a fair and equal opportunity to go to school and learn just like the rest of the children in Illinois. It is the political leaders of the city who are making that impossible. I would like the mayor to teach my classes for a week, and until that happens, until he can see through a teachers' eyes, we will never have an equal opportunity here in Chicago. We need to stop hating on the public school system in Chicago and start supporting our teachers. Case closed.

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    And yet another uneducated hot-head making claims about a world that they fail to understand. See I can (as one of them simple folk who cannot do so he teaches) make unfounded generalizations too!

    For anyone who is against the strike, please read up on the entire proposal, and then take one day to volunteer at a neighborhood school before criticizing those who choose to work at these schools. Believe me when I say you're unlikely tio find a more dedicated, caring, and intelligent group of people anywhere in the world. The reason I mention this is tha if the eval process gets pushed through, many of these people will likely choose to flee to other professions where job security and respect are more common, and hours are much more reasonable, leaving the children who need them the most with charter schools that thrive on kicking them out and leaving them with nothing.

    If after volunteering at a school where 35 student classes are leftwithout air conditioning (or running water like in my chemistry class... Good luck figuring that one out), then I will have much more respect for your opinion.

  • I just do not understand how the teachers can walk out when the average salary is either $75 or $71 thousand per year. If it is about working extra hours, well, welcome to the real world.

    How many of the parents of the children you teach, teachers, would be thrilled to have even two-thirds of your income? As a FAMILY!

    No, it is not about the money. It is never about the money.. It's about the children. Yeah, sure.

    If the majority of teachers had any guts they and were really serious about teaching as a profession, they would be insisting that they take control of teaching by giving the kids of Chicago the choice Rahm gives his kids -- private school-- as well as so many of the teachers kids themselves.

    Just keep saying, "It's not about the money." Eventually you yourselves, teachers, will believe the lie. Maybe you do already.

  • Richard, I make $52,000 in CPS, and I support my family with that on a single-income. My qualifications in my subject exceed most teachers, and my students' test scores aren't that different. While I would like to be making the $71,000 average that my colleagues make, years earned matter. As it turns out, they matter less for improving student achievement and more for creating a career for these professionals that we call teachers. It takes 5+ years to be a great, solid-teacher, if you're destined to become that. Sadly, many people quit due to the starting low-pay and the 60-70 hour work week during the school year, and 5-10 hour work-week during the summer. You apparently have a problem with someone that is college-educated and expert in their field making $71,000 per year after 15 years of being dedicated to their career. If you understand what a profession and professional is then you wouldn't have a problem with that. Instead, you choose the path of outsourcing, thinking that the skills of a teacher that develop over time and the training that they bring with them from collegiate study can just be replaced by someone or something cheaper. Your conciliatory mindset to the modern businessman, sir, is why this country is economically downward-spiraling. Walmart's goods are cheaper, and only so slightly more inferior than their now out-of-business competitor's that you can't tell the difference; None-the-less, Walmart shoppers have degraded the quality of goods in America, and you're doing it to our education system. Instead of supporting your brothers in wanting to preserve what they have earned and the dignity that comes with it, you devalue their critical roles in society and assume they are easily replaceable.

    Why don't you begin by acknowledging that the largest problem in C.P.S. is student attendance, and then you could actually have a legitimate conversation about student scores. Even the crappiest teachers can move students' scores when they are present. The lack of movement of student scores in all of the urban public schools is due to inconsistent attendance that leaves student understanding in chaos. That's what every urban teacher knows, but most cannot verbalize quite like I can to education experts like yourself that happened to have a family *(or whatever impetus) that consistently kept you in the classroom. You got your education expertise by sitting in a classroom and being on the receiving end. Try being a teacher and see if you say the same things. The C.P.S. principals that were once teachers in C.P.S. don't agree with your arguments because they've been there and know the realities that I speak of are true. You know no more about education than you do about lawyers, assuming you're not one. Please reserve your judgement for something that you might actually have some credibility with.

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    The teachers HAVE submitted a plan and here it is: http://www.ctunet.com/blog/text/SCSD_Report-02-16-2012-1.pdf

    47 pages, submitted in February of 2012, backed by (wait for it) RESEARCH!

    It's title is "The Schools Chicago's Students Deserve."

  • In reply to Mrs Chips:

    Where is the section in this document on teacher accountability, responsibility, or evaluations? What do the teachers think is a fair way to be evaluated? Lots of reasons why test scores should NOT be used to evaluate teachers, though. So what should be used? There has to be some way to make sure they're doing a good job. Based on the case of that awful teacher in LA who was paid $40k to leave because the union said he could NOT be fired - it is common perception that there is NO WAY to get rid of a bad teacher. Many of us looking at this hear that teachers don't want to be evaluated - and in the private sector it would be considered ridiculous to want job security with no accountability.

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