Terminate The Contract?

Today’s news is dominated by the afternoon meeting of the CTU House of Delegates at which there will be discussion over whether to terminate the current contract or not.  Negotiations over changing the contract have stalled out, as you probably know.  What do you think will happen, and what do you think SHOULD happen?

Talks break down between teachers union and CPS over pay raise Sun Times:  Board officials have emphasized that even without the promised 4 percent pay hikes, 75 percent of teachers will receive a raise ranging from one to five percent for other reasons — either enhanced credentials or increased seniority.

CPS, CTU negotiations snagged Tribune: CPS officials refused to consider these concessions, setting the stage for heated negotiations when the union and district meet later this year on a new teachers contract.

CTU delegates vote Tuesday on terminating contract Catalyst:  Terminating the contract is a risky proposition for the union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It would open up the possibility of a strike. It would also allow for CPS leaders to insist that the school day be extended.

Mayor Emanuel says he kept 100-day promises for schools, but facilities plan left undone Catalyst: CPS Spokeswoman Becky Carroll said that later this week the district will announce who they hired to be the Chief Portfolio Officer and the Chief Community and Parental Engagement Officer–two newly created executive positions designed to point to the district’s new priorities.

Ackerman Out as Philly Superintendent Philadelphia Inquirer: Posts by Inquirer reporter Kristen Graham on the costly buyout of Ackerman’s contract and other reaction from around the city. Use of

iPads is increasing in CPS classrooms Sun Times:  The new batch of iPads were aimed at schools with students performing below state standards, schools lacking technology and ones comprised of 40 percent or more low-income students.


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  • 75% of the teachers will get raises but what about the other 6 unions that are also a part of CTU are 75% of their members getting raises? Somehow I think not, again it is all for the teachers thinking and the poor relations of the CTU getting kicked to the curb-again. Last time I checked the union website there was a great piece on, what to do if you are laid off .Everything was pointed at teachers down to the paperwork, somehow I don't believe that teachers are going to be the only ones being pink slipped.

    Here we go, the RNs, LPNs, teachers aids, food workers, clerks, cleaners the people who keep the schools running. Buckle your seat belt and call your reps, this is going to be a bumpy ride!

  • In reply to Traveler:

    You are sorely misinformed. The other six unions are not part of the Chicago Teachers Union.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    As SRPs we are members of the union, pay dues, have delegates and carry union cards.

  • In reply to Traveler:

    PSRPs, yes. But the other unions themselves are not part of the Chicago Teachers Union. They are their own independent unions and the CTU is not some sort of official bargaining unit umbrella organization.

  • from CTU:

    CTU President Karen Lewis declines invitation to
    join CPS’ advisory council on longer school day

    CHICAGO -- The Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement in response to Chicago Public Schools formation of a “Longer School Day Advisory Committee:”

    “CTU President Karen Lewis will not be a part of the Chicago Public Schools’ “Longer School Day Advisory Committee” tasked to examine how to extend the school year for CPS students. As a National Board certified teacher with 23 years of classroom experience, she is interested in looking at a better, smarter school day for our students and not being a part of a publicity stunt designed to thwart real discussion between the CEO, parents, educators and community leaders on how to end the inequity in our schools.

    “CPS has loaded its advisory council with charter school proponents, parochial school leaders, administration-connected clergy, politicians and union-busting advocacy groups. This news has nothing do with helping our children and everything to do with politicizing a real serious problem. Our children deserve better.”
    – Stephanie Gadlin, spokeswoman, Chicago Teachers Union

  • "CTU President Karen Lewis declines invitation to
    join CPS’ advisory council on longer school day"
    Our kids do deserve the input of a CPS teacher on this council. It's disappointing Lewis won't be representing the views of CPS teachers, the school day is going to happen.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    correction: last line should read the longer school day is going to happen.

  • I can see Ms. Lewis’s point. I have been on committees that are just a dog and pony show for the media and general public. There was talk, but no one listened. There was a report, but no one read it. It gave you the impression that all the work was done for no one. And the sad part was that I really thought I would help to make a difference.
    Not that different from the boards budget hearings. (they will pass that budget even with all the errors that probably made up the deficit.)

    So even if Lewis joined the committee, her words will not count as they have an agenda.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Great point! If anyone knows Chicago Machine like politics, they try to invite good people who have integrity and use them for their "dog and pony' shows. This is Chicago and the Machine rules.

  • If anyone attends the CTU meeting tonight, please post details.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    CTU Veep Jesse Sharkey presented background information on the timeline for contract negotiations. The PowerPoint presentation will be posted to the Union web site and made available for school delegates to share with their members at school-based union meetings.

    CTU President Karen Lewis gave a report on the negotiations, what the Union asked for, insights into the Board's (and ultimately, the Mayor's) political machinations for initiating this whole manufactured crisis, and the failure of the negotations which, after all, were carried out by a Board that came to say "No," and not to negotiate at all.

    Lots of people asked questions. In fact, after time ran out on the first Q&A period, the membership voted to extend it for another period. Since it was a special meeting with a single agendum, Karen Lewis had to keep reminding people who asked off-topic questions that they would have to wait for the next regular meeting to ask their questions.

    DM, a clerk delegate from Curie HS made a sensible motion that was discussed for several minutes. Ultimately, she decided to table her own amendment until the next meeting so that the Executive Board could work on details.

    And then, the meeting adjourned. No votes were taken.


  • I am extremely disappointed that Karen Lewis has decided not to sit on the committee for the longer school day. As a representative of all teachers, the committee should hear our input. This is more like taking your toys and going home and she should be much more mature than that .

    I hope the delegates are smart enough to realize the implications of opening the contract. That is why CPS had no worries about any concessions. The best thing for CPS is for CTU to open the contract and what they are hoping for.

    CTU needs to be a lot smarter from a political standpoint. So far, Karen Lewis is showing herself to be an amateur. The future is coming, whether Karen Lewis likes it or not. She can either be part of the solution or part of the problem. And if she is part of the problem and fights to death on the wrong issues, she'll have a huge PR problem far bigger than the one she has now.

    The longer school day is coming. Merit pay and stronger evaluation is coming. Charter schools are not going away because parents and communities continue to want them and choose them. Karen Lewis and CTU are better off not trying to stop a train that has already left the station nationwide and in Illinois as well.

    She should be fighting for what good teachers need in terms of resources, planning time, professional development, support , effective feedback, etc. She should be creating partnerships and resources to help laid off teachers find jobs, not protecting bad teachers and pushing for a recall system based on seniority that will never happen because principals have autonomy in hiring and should be if they are going to be held accountable for results.

    CTU should be looking forward, not backwards. If they continue to look backwards, they will only lose in the long run.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Oh please. In exchange for giving the CPS stamp of approval on this horrible plan, the teachers of Chicago get the same input as Father Pfleger. You are advocating the exact same approach that the IEA did in bringing us SB7.

    Opening the contract is really meaningless. I think it makes more sense to wait because we have a lot of work to do if we're going to mobilize and fight when it is time for the next negotiation. If everything you say comes to pass there will be no good teachers left in Chicago because everybody with an option will flee this dysfunctional system. It's time to fight. Bargaining from a position of weakness has never worked and never will.

  • In reply to CPSJoe:

    I meant to say, "giving the CPS a stamp of approval"

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    True, true, true and true. The CTU always comes across as looking to save ALL teachers' jobs, because, according to them, ALL teachers are good enough, love kids and just want to do their job, rather than recognizing that there are ineffective teachers out there AND that all of the aforementioned changes are coming. There's got to be a way, as a union, to be smart AND tough. The problem is the CTU leadership, and not just the current one, is always looking to save their elected positions by pandering to the teachers who are angry, negative, and willing to obstruct any move toward accountability. If the CTU and teachers really wanted to, they could take stances that would lead to greater recognition, respect and compensation for EFFECTIVE teachers, and would give teachers a greater voice in the reforms that are already here and will continue to be coming in the future.

  • In reply to Chicago Teacher:

    In the Agreement between CPS and the CTU there is a simple, straightforward process to remove ineffective teachers. Teacher evaluations and the outcomes of the removal process *cannot* be challenged. As long as the proper procedures are followed there is nothing the Union can do to prevent a poor teacher from termination. It is a sign of administrative weakness that poor teachers remain, not Union obstruction.

  • Oh, please. She called a spade a spade and I'm fine with her not joining that bogus committee.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Regardless of whether she believes it is a bogus committee, it is a committee that will influence the final plan and be covered in the media and now our voices don't get to be heard. Crying when what is done is done will not get us anywhere and we will be seen as simply obstructionist. .

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Chicago's media can't figure out what the real stories are in education and parrots press releases and other propoganda mostly. The outcome of that committee's work is already determined. You understand that, right?

  • Did anyone else see Brizard on Chicago Tonight? It's a sweet deal, Wade. We elementary teachers will get a 2% raise next school year if we work another 90 minutes in front of students. Gee, that's almost as much as I made stocking coolers at Casey's Gas station in Iowa during college.

    The board knows it cannot deal with the hassle of finding vetted bodies to work for peanuts to supervise kids while the teachers "have coffee". Therefore, the onus of the next contract seems to be on the backs of the K-8 folks. HS is looking more and more like the ivory tower.

  • In reply to cklaus76:

    Divide and conquer tactic. CPS is trying to split elementary and non-elementary.

  • please by all means take your 2% and go straight to He!! oh wait, no wait you already gave the teacher's raise to the police department. I am certain that they will earn every penny of it. How about this, a one year old is shot in the head at 8am while students were walking to school today. Out of control tactics=an out of control city.

  • As a principal, I do not care about a $10,000 bonus. What I want is Donoso, Brizard and Rahm to STOP closing positions and making schools supplant their budgets. The carrot they offer is rot. You can’t improve/increase scores (without cheating) as long as they keep taking positions away and making schools double classrooms, cut programs, lose great teachers with over 20 years expereince. We are NOT able to do more with the so much less they give to us.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I totallly agree with you. Most principals I know would rather have the $10,000 for their schools.

  • Rod, does the Chicago Public School system have the shortest school day than any major city in the United States of America?

  • It does not have the shortest day, but it is among the shortest. Chicago does have the shortest instructional year, by far, compared to other large districts in the United States. We have 170 instructional days per year, compared to 177 on average for large districts.

  • From yesterday- Noble grad going to Northwestern says: “I grew up with people who said they wanted to be doctors or lawyers and life kind of pushed them a separate way when they went to these neighborhood high schools. If they can incorporate some of Noble's ideas into the current public school system a lot of things would change.”
    Read one comment yesterday that was skeptical of Noble labeled as "non-selective" when reporting its high ACT scores. No doubt there is a skimming and creaming effect, but the scores are nonetheless impressive. Anyone from a neighborhood high school care to comment on this young lady's advice? Anything the board could do to help neighborhood principals become more Noble-esque (without busting the Union)? Any way to integrate the issues unique to neighborhood schools (greater special needs, less parent involvement, etc) into a model like Noble's? Or is it all hocus pocus- a pure skimming effect?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Any discussions hear about Steven Brill's new book, "Class Warfare"? I know this might be a bad time to be having philosophical discussions (start of the school year, contract maneuvering, etc.), but the NYTimes Book Review and Wall Street Journal report an about face by this reform-supporter at the end of the book- where he recognizes the need to work with unions for meaningful reform to be realized. Any reciprocity from union teachers/ reform skeptics (that is, someone making the converse of Brill's about face, ie: a union teacher willing to move closer to the "schools are broken/ we can fix them if we push hard enough" mentality?") ?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Top 10 Noble ideas to incorporate into neighborhood schools:

    1) Require the families of all potential neighborhood school students to attend an admissions information session. If a family doesn't attend, the prospective student can't enroll.
    2) Only distribute applications to each neighborhood school at these information sessions. Do not make them available to elementary school counselors and do not post them online. Also, require a *different* application for each neighborhood school.
    3) Place a strict cap on student enrollment at each neighborhood school. Once the cap is reached no more students may be admitted.
    4) Eliminate the CPS Uniform Discipline Code and free neighborhood schools from state code related to the discipline and removal of students. Allow each neighborhood school to determine its own criteria and procedures for disciplining, suspending, or removing students.
    5) Free neighborhood schools from state code that requires them to educate all students. (The result will be fewer special education students and fewer English language learners. These students bring test score averages down.)
    6) Require students pass *every* class to continue on to the next grade level. If a student fails a class, require summer school - in another building and at the expense of another school. If a student doesn't make up a class in summer school that student must repeat *all* coursework from the previous year, even those classes that were completed successfully. Or, the student may "choose" to transfer to another school.
    7) Require parents to attend conferences, hold their own children accountable for homework, read and sign and return a weekly newsletter, provide students with a quiet place to work, and ensure their own children are "ready for school each day with clean clothing, books, notebook, assignment book, pen, and homework".
    8) Do not allow students to transfer into a neighborhood school in the middle of the year. This reduces the mobility rate, i.e., those students who begin the year or end the year at another school. The CPS mobility rate is about 19%. These students have huge knowledge and skills deficits and, when switching schools, do not receive the planned scope and sequence of academic curricula.
    9) Remove chronic truants from neighborhood schools. (11% of CPS students are chronically truant.) The benefits are obvious.
    10) Inflict monetary fines on students who receive demerits for misbehavior - like chewing gum, wearing the wrong color belt, looking at a teacher the "wrong" way,etc.

    The list could go on and on. This is just a start.

  • obviously the HOD didn't vote on the termination last night -- they put it off until next month and told delegates to talk to members about what to do


  • Steven Brill's book reviewed here


    As to how CPS high schools could become more like Noble Street Charter schools, the biggest idea that comes to my mind is raising money from families by making them pay more for materials and services at year start, and also charging the teacher's hourly rate to parents whose children serve detention on weekends or evenings, did I mention fees for making up failed classes? We could make a neat little computerized system to bill parents and families for a service they've already paid for!

  • CTU members, do not vote to open up the current contract (Agreement), it is a trap set by CPS! Wait for the new contract (Agreement)! P.S.- A word to the wise!

  • I agree because the extra 45 minutes in the middle of the day will prove to be a disaster without teacher supervison. Teachers, please do not agree to do this even for a stipend. Once you accept a stipend for non-instructional time they will go after your preps and the 8:30 to 9:00 time which is also classified as non-instructional. Brizard has just been proven a liar...no monies BUT I will find 2% if you work two weeks longer and an extra 90 minutes. A lot of teachers are retiring at the end of the contract and I do believe they will have difficulty filling positions. Do not foget about half of the teachers in CPS leave in the first five years...they have done a lot of hiring of new people in the last few years...I am sure they are ready to bail. Special education is a mess and the parents are starting to notice and a year of the Brizard/Ram ma dama show will expose these two for what they are....carpetbaggers feeding off of an urban system. Screw em!

  • I was amazed to witness an overwhelming majority of teachers at a southside elementary school agree to 'pilot' a longer school day during 2011-2012 for no additional compensation. Very scary.

  • In reply to Grace:

    I don't know what school you are talking about. But I can imagine a school where the scores are incredibly low, where teachers know they are going to be shut down unless something happens. My guess is the teachers at that school want to keep their jobs and are willing to increase class time in order to try and save them. A poster below calls it dedication. It might be. Or it might simply be survival.

  • I am not amazed that a majority of teachers at a school agreed to a pilot the longer school day. These teachers actually sound committed to their students needs, not their own and what teaching is all about. Please tell us the school so we can recognize them.as the professionals they are. .

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Professionals are typically degreed and go through extensive specialized training. I am a professional.

    Professionals work for a mutually agreed upon salary. I am a professional.

    Professionals reflect on their work, learn from their experiences, and make appropriate adjustments to improve their efforts. I am a professional.

    Professionals continue their formal training with classes, workshops, and both general and specific career development. I am a professional.

    Professionals are paid not just for their expertise and training, but also for their *time*; professionals are not volunteers in their fields. I am a professional.

    It is wholly reasonable for a professional to require more than $6/hr for a 350 hour increase in on-site work hours.

    No reasonable person would ask nurses to invest 350 additional work hours at rates below minimum wage "for the sake of the patients". No reasonable person would ask the mayor to invest 350 additional work hours at rates below minimum wage "for the sake of the city". No reasonable person would ask police officers or firefighters to invest 350 additional work hours at rates below minimum wage "for the sake of safety". No reasonable person would ask public defenders or state prosecutors to invest 350 additional work hours at rates below minimum wage "for the sake of the law". No reasonable person would ask CPAs to invest 350 additional work hours at rates below minimum wage "for the sake of our taxes". And no reasonable person should ask professional, career educators to invest 350 additional work hours at rates below minimum wage "for the sake of the children".

    Everyone who thinks increasing the school day and school year is a good idea (and I think those are good things) needs answer one question honestly: would you work 350 additional hours per year for below minimum wage?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Well said. Thank you !!

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Professionalism is an attitude. The attitude is to do whatever it takes to get the job done and take RESPONSIBILITY for the outcome. They are the ones that sign their names to the work and are held accountable. If teachers want that status they need to agree on some way to measure outcome and not insist that all teachers are equal. They need to be sued personally for negligence/malpractice and live with the knowledge that their license could be suspended or revoked.

  • When and How

    The actual date the CTU became impudent is open to debate 1988 could be one
    Date, maybe 1979, but by the2011 SB7 put the nails in the coffin ,it is the direct
    result of decades of stupid totally
    incompetent union leadership. Jackie Vaughn and Debbie Lynch were the exceptions
    to the long yellow line of so called leaders.
    How we got to this point is as easy to trace as our baby to tit relationship with
    The most corrupt group of legislators in the country The Cook County Democratic
    Organization. They wore us like old shoes took our money and support over the
    decades then totally destroyed us with SB 7.I do not want anyone to comment on this
    post who has not read the whole bill, to do so would idle speculation. Those who do read it
    should realize it is over for the CTU. Poor Ms. Lewis came along too late to save the union.
    The board can in one year do whatever they want. Read the bill and disagree with that.
    It probably would be a good idea to disband the union right now while there is still
    a little protection under the current contract.
    The only consolation those of us who have seen it all will be when this new reform falls
    flat on its face. Or when it gets so bad those in power cannot cover it up, or a reporter
    grows a pair and reports the true condition of the CPS. On that day we can say
    “ Oh well everybody was an expert on education except teachers”

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Dear rbusch, it is not time to disband the union, however, all union members must stand together or they will be doomed!

  • cps obsessed gets political, assesses the rahm vs. union situation


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