Strike Vote Pro / Con

Today’s education news include more about the big rally on Wednesday and the possibility of a strike vote being taken next month (which starts a week from today). Principal hirings are starting to trickle in — got anyone new named at your school let us know. But it’s hard to concentrate on anything other than the possibility of a strike vote, and comments this week have including an understandable mix of views pro and con about the strike vote and the possibility of a real strike.

What’s the downside of a strike vote held before the end of school, besides teacher distraction?  Well for CTU it’s the possibility that they don’t meet the threshold, and for CPS it’s the possibility that they do.  For the rest of us, perhaps the biggest concern is that CTU gets the numbers it needs but then goes too far in the negotiations and Chicago ends up with yet another pricey contract that doesn’t address contract changes needed to make the schools better.

That would be a short-term victory for CTU and for individual teachers but a long-term loss for Chicago schools.  Or perhaps I’m getting it all wrong and you can explain it better for me.

CPS teachers say more than dollars and cents at stake in next contract Medill Reports: The average salary of CPS teachers has gone up nearly 29 percent since 2006.  The current collective bargaining agreement went into effect in 2007.

Editorial: City teachers: ‘We need a voice’ Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union members march along Michigan Avenue to the Chicago Public Schools headquarters on Wednesday. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times “We need a voice and we don’t feel it’s happening,” said Chicago Public Schools teacher Kara Witte.

Teachers march Tribune letter (David Stieber): We do not want to march. We want to teach. We do not want to strike. We want to teach. We do not want to be forced to implement the newest, latest, ineffective and untested educational policy. We want to teach.

School reform groups urge no strike for Chicago Chicago Tribune: Stand for Children, an Oregon-based education reform group that helped pass legislation last year that makes it harder for the Chicago Teachers Union to strike, today joined another reform-driven organization.


Sam LeDeaux Named Mann Principal Patch: Prior to joining Julian, he was the assistant principal at Henry Wadsworth Longfellow School for a year, a K-8 technology teacher in Chicago Public Schools for three years and a third grade teacher for Community Consolidated School District 54.

New principal named in wake of testing problems Tribune:  You’ve heard the phrase “no good deed goes unpunished”? Cammie McDaniel might just be the poster child.


Columbia College considering selective-enrollment admissions policy Sun Times:  Columbia College Chicago is considering altering its admissions policies to be more selective, part of a Blueprint for Action 2016 strategic plan for the college, a proposal that could hurt some students if approved.

University of Illinois fundraising efforts brings in $2.5 billion WBEZ: The University of Illinois Foundation says its Brilliant Futures fundraising campaign ended with nearly $2.5 billion in pledges.

Child-care cuts smaller, advocates still fight Catalyst:  On Thursday, parents, children, and members of the group Pilsen Neighbors held a press conference at Pilsen’s Plaza Tenochtitlan to demand a neighborhood meeting with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn about the cuts.

Clarifying property tax law Chicago Sun-Times: Monique Davis in a dispute over back rent and property taxes involving the Chicago Public Schools. No “gift” for Rep. Davis. It’s the state, not she, who’s responsible for paying the bill. The general rule is that governments don’t pay taxes.


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  • you can tell that this blog caters to non-teachers when you talk about distractions at memorial day weekend of the school year. buddy its about over at the second week in May in high schools and for sure by now in grammar schools. if you think there is learning going on in June in Chicago, you either are silly or have no idea what goes on in a school. Actually the opposite is true, a strike vote would focus teachers and students on a city wide issue and geek everyone up to pay attention and wonder what is next.
    Who's got the power?
    We got the power.
    What kind of power?
    Union power

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Maybe you're thinking about suburban schools when you say school is over at the second week in May, but that's certainly not the case in my Chicago public high school.

    My seniors, for instance, won't finish until June 1, which is their last day in classes. My juniors will be working until June 8, and then have final exams on the 11th and 12th.

    Perhaps *you're* the one that is silly or has no idea what goes on in a school.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    A far better chicago blog is Mike Klonsky’s SmallTalk Blog –he regularly cuts through mainstream media garbage with more relevant contrasting educational research.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Answer Sheet has to be the best on the national level. Answer Sheet contributions are usually excellent!

  • In reply to viniciusdm:

    GFBrandenburg’s Blog is also great

  • I'm rather unhappy with the way the strike authorization vote (support or opposition) has been reported in the media. From what I've seen, media outlets fail explain that in a strike vote any vote besides a YES vote is a no vote. Getting 75% of teachers to vote during the summer would be a monumental organizational task and would conflict with many teachers plans for the summer, be they working, vacation, or other.

  • Excuse me? Teaching and learning is all but over by the second week of May? What exactly is taking place the last month of school, where I send my children to every day expecting great instruction throughout the entire school year for which the teachers are paid? Your comment won't do much to support teachers who according to you are aren't really working the last month of school and are very publicly asking for more pay.

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    We are working, but much of the last month is taken up with district mandated testing and early submission of grades, and travel learning opportunities are not allowed.

    Because CPS paid $35 million for a horrendous computer system, we are supposed to adjust our entire schedule to administer final exams more than a week before the end of the year to accommodate that system instead of teaching all the way until the end of the year.

    I don't agree with the earlier poster. I think a ton of teaching is still going on. But the decline by the end of the year is due to CPS management's inability to run a functional school system.

  • this site is troll city! any teacher that has any sense understands the ebbs and flow of a school year and building culture. it is always nice to reaffirm the idea of non-educators getting mad about things they do not understand or wish not to deal with. the best teacher is the one that has their students learning all of the time whether in class or not. It is the simple idea of integration of life experience with structured curricular guidance where the student is the center of instruction rather than bureaucratic suits sitting in plush offices, AstroTurf carpetbagger reform groups, or bloggers in their underwear in front of a computer screen.

  • "Even though the contract negotiations between the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Teachers Union have not concluded, and no one really knows what's going to be in the contract, yesterday clearly showed that a strike authorization vote is near. Now is the time - while the negotiations are still happening - to let the Board of Education and the CTU know that we need to keep our schools open in the fall." Juan Jose Gonzalez
    Chicago Director

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Stand for Children's fine work in getting SB7 passed has in fact made the possibility of a strike far higher than it ever has been. This law added on to a pre-existing law that allowed CPS to prohibit bargaining for numerous areas if it chose to and under SB7 all work rules inclusive of the length of the school day and year were added. SB7 even blocks the formal fact finding panel from looking at these "permissive" issues. For Mr. Gonzalez to make such an statement is really over the top. I think Alexander posted this to get me agitated before I drive 6 hours to northern Wisconsin for the long weekend. But, alas just this post has served to calm me, nothing like a good denunciation.

    Rod Estvan

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    In reply to Alexander Russo:

    A strike authorization vote is not the same as a strike vote. Even if CTU authorizes a strike, we will still vote on a contract (when one is offered) and only strike if the contract is voted down. You should be sure you understand this and stop spreading misinformation.

  • my buddy's mom got paid $16132 a week ago. she gets paid on the computer and got a $338800 condo. All she did was get blessed and use the advice reported on this website

  • Video: Fox's Mike Flannery slams Karen Lewis for mocking imitation of Mayor Emanuel Calls on both sides to hit "reset"

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Mike Flannery needs to hit reset on his career as a propagandist for Fox. He needs to reset his obviously biased reports. Most of all he needs to hit reset on his bizarre 3-day stubble/beard thing that lives on his face. The beard is weird.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Flannery is Alex's hero.

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    Alex has been quite a disappointment as of late. I know bloggers are supposed to be provocative, but his defense of the indefensible is well, indefensible.

    Having said that Alex's beard is far superior to Flannery's. I know you shouldn't judge people by their appearance but that beard of Flannery's is a choice, a completely weird, strange choice that doesn't belong on the news.

    Mike Flannery in his pre-news reader career:

  • In reply to district299reader:

    It is truly sad that Mike Flannery has to sell his soul for his paycheck. I guess Flanney understands that if he does not follow the Murdoch Company Line, he is with out a job. Flannery needs to man up!

    Why Mike, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Murdoch's Fox News?

    Sir Thomas More: Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?

  • In reply to viniciusdm:

    Flannery has been anti-teacher for a long time. He opposed our 4% raise during the previous contract negotiations. He is also anti-union, except to the one he belongs to. I bet Mike appreciates his raises but doesn't think anyone else is deserves one.

  • 206 tweets and 55 comments for ray salazar's blog post "If You Teach or Write 5-Paragraph Essays--Stop It!"

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    That is old news Alex

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    How about we hit "reset" and put together a democratic school district?

  • via the Sun Times: Scantron pulls pro-charter-school reading passage on interim assessment after complaints of ‘brainwashing’ via @xianb8

  • " For the rest of us, perhaps the biggest concern is that CTU gets the numbers it needs but then goes too far in the negotiations and Chicago ends up with yet another pricey contract that doesn't address contract changes needed to make the schools better"

    According to this Mayor and all his liar cronies everything-and-anything CTU wants doesn't "make the schools better."
    Shouldn't we really be asking if selling out the public schools to corporate interests really "makes the schools better"?

  • "For the rest of us, perhaps the biggest concern is that CTU gets the numbers it needs but then goes too far in the negotiations and Chicago ends up with yet another pricey contract that doesn't address contract changes needed to make the schools better."

    Why is it that nobody hears when the union makes suggestions for improving our schools? I'm wondering which aspects of the union's bargaining stance is detrimental to schools? The way I see it, what the union's asking for would improve just about every school in Chicago. I'm also a bit confused about what contract changes Alex thinks need to be made in order to improve our schools that the union would be against. If we're going to have the discussion about how the union protect's bad teachers I'll direct you to a social sciences teacher to let you know about the right to a defense in a system of due process. Otherwise, I really have no idea what contract changes that the board is pushing, and the union opposing, would help schools.

  • According to the CPS web-site,

    "The CTU proposes to keep the current school day in elementary school, cut all teachers contact time with students significantly (to under two hours per day for special education teachers) and to simultaneously, increase their salaries by 24% in FY2013 and 5% in FY2014 on top of step increases. The CTU's wage proposal would cost CPS $1.2 billion over a two-year period."

    So that's no additional time, less student time, and a 29% increase over two years plus step increases. Pretty rich.

  • So you believe everything on the CPS site? Foolish--since negotiations are to be kept 'secret.' Makes one wonder why CPS feels it has to reveal the dirty laundry--to make the CTU look bad when they think they are negotiating in good faith. I now believe that Brizard IS only a puppet/robot. Our principal, after watching a mandatory webinar from Brizard Friday, shared that the guy kept looking down to read from a script just to greet them and say he was supportive of principals since he was once one himself. He can't look the webcam or his audience in the eye because he is not sincere. We can no longer afford to believe a mouth-piece.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    CPS credo is LIE, LIE, and LIE. Rahm and Jean Fraud, screwing with teacher's pensions and more via manipulating Springfield, when you have the CPS "portfolio" chief already in the planning of closing 100 schools, Brizard spending money on opening and promoting charters, supporting firing all nurses, speech therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, no libraries and librarians in 166 schools, no money spent in the neediest schools...hmmm who is negotiating in bad faith? CPS! No brainer!

  • Why is Mr. B leaving Pulaski? What happened? He was only in his 2nd year.

  • In reply to Guatemom:

    From what I have heard, (from a very credible source) he is leaving for Albany Park Elementary. He also had issue with his LSC and some parents.

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    By the by, New Trier, top non-selective school in the state, has lanes and steps, and no "merit pay" system. No one is trying to introduce pay reforms at New Trier. Wonder why? Top teacher salary at New Trier: $124K. Top teacher salary in CPS: $88K. Starting salary at New Trier: $52K. Starting salary in CPS: $47K.

  • In reply to Melissa Barton:

    Actually, Ms. Barton, during the last contract negotiations at New Trier the school district attempted to institute a low, flat base salary for all teachers with raises attached to various forms of "merit", though not all merit was determined by test scores and test score based evaluations. The issues facing Chicago are not unique; they are occurring nationwide.

    Of course, the teachers at New Trier soundly rejected the ridiculousness that is merit pay (i.e. differentiated compensation) just as CTU will.

  • In reply to Melissa Barton:

    Can you imagine a New Trier teacher trying to control a classroom at say, Gage Park? CPS teachers deal with countless additional issues those in the suburbs could never even imagine.

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