Union Files Strike Notice

It’s all here — Strike notice.  Recess.  Common Core.  Violence. What else you got?Chicago Teachers Union to file 10-day strike notice Chicago Tribune: The Chicago Teachers Union plans to file a 10-day strike notice Wednesday, meaning a teacher walkout could begin after the majority of the city’s students finish their first week of school, sources said. The union and CPS have been in talks for months …

Report: Teachers Union To File 10-Day Strike Notice Wednesday CBS2 Chicago: CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov has learned Chicago Public Schools officials are ready for the worst. CPS officials have been waiting to be notified about a strike – hoping to avoid it altogether.

Report: CPS teachers to file strike notice Wednesday ABC7Chicago: Chicago Public Schools teachers will file a strike notice Wednesday, according to published reports, which means they could walk out in 10 days. Filing a notice does not automatically mean teachers will walk out.

Chicago teens write about violence plaguing city: ‘I don’t want to be next’ Sun Times:  When Columbia College’s high school writing applicants are asked what they want to write about, overwhelmingly they’ve said “violence.” In the past, they were diverted to topics like teen joblessness and attributes of rap music. But this bloody summer most of the teens insisted. “It has become so much a part of their lives it can’t be ignored. So we said, ‘Go ahead.’ The result was poignant, revealing, candid and uncensored,” says Executive Director Brenda Butler.

New math and reading standards trickle into Chicago-area classrooms WBEZ: Illinois is one of 46 states adopting a new set of national math and reading standards called the “Common Core.” It was a key requirement for billions in competitive federal grants. Schools have until 2014 to adopt the new standards, but some districts aren’t waiting.

Recess in schools Slate: How do you introduce recess to kids who have never left the classroom?

Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • JC Buzzard has had sixteen months to get to a fair deal. For the past year he, Alicia Winckler and Pat Rocks played games at the bargaining table with Becky Carroll spinning lies about the intent of the union and the board spending the system to the brink of bankruptcy. In the end they produced nothing! Now Rahm with his club hands wants to get serious about a deal? We can't believe him. His minions failed, he will fail and it will be a rough fall for the teachers and students in our city. The strike is not good for any of us, but unfortunately it now seems to be the only way forward.

    is going to try and save the day. We are head

  • Putting emphasis on personalities is easy and masks what's important.
    There's nothing up for negotiation that changes fundamentally important issues for teachers and students. You're going to strike because you're mad. You're going to strike because not striking reduces the chance of union leaders winning reelection.
    The board likely plans to to add a couple percent to salary to give you all a reason to go back to work after ten days. The union can say "we didn't get all we want, but we won". Yea victory.
    Job insecurity, turmoil brought on by change, chronic under resourcing of needy children in your care are not addressed. The union simply can't negotiate what's important. The people at the other end of the table don't have the money to make many changes that make long term sense. They do have the power to offer more job security, but their explicit goal is a reduced CTU.
    You guys get to haul the inflatable rat around for ten days in some nice late summer weather, principals get ten days to get better organized, Rahm gets more political cover for major changes next year, kids get an extended "snow day", not yet caring that they will make up all the lost time.
    Lot's of drama that won't matter by Thanksgiving.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Donn:

    But Donn, isn't that the sad part. That the CTU has to do ALL of this just to mainstain status quo becasue they do not have a real seat at the table to make real change. That's not their fault.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    Who wants to maintain the status quo? It's time to move past the idealistic but flawed assumptions of the past century.
    If you accept the environment of a typical south side high school as normal you've lost your way. There's plenty of young educators who showing "expert" CTU members that they became too comfortable with the environment in which they work.
    The more capable people in poverty work themselves out of poverty. It's happening now, if you bother to look.
    The CTU can seek more art classes and a "nice day", while thousands of tier 1 and 2 students and their teachers in charters are working several more hours each day to NOT attend city colleges for a few terms and quit to a life of part time jobs and welfare.
    Sincerity and and a short school day with a short school year do not allow capable children to escape poverty. Even with art classes.

  • In reply to Donn:

    "The more capable people in poverty work themselves out of poverty. It's happening now, if you bother to look."

    I would like to live in your reality.

    No, on second thought, I'll live in this one.

  • In reply to urbanteach:

    No new Natalie Merchant quote? Your aggrieved white suburban guy in the hood just doesn't make it as a martyr.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn with two nn s (compensating?) I am neither guy nor suburban but your hatred for teachers must have a source. I suspect other kids buried your coat in the snow and maybe your teachers let me?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Donn:

    And those same charters are able to kick out hte students who, through their laco fo effort and behavior, have proved that they don;t want to be there - care to give that same power to a public school?

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    You are mistaken if you think a longer school day and a non-union work force equal greater achievement and success in college for students. Actually, most charters fare as well as, or worse than, their nearby neighborhood schools. Many fare worse. And charters rely on uncertified staff (not including TFA, whose members are certified but who have no teaching experience, and many times due to their young ages, no life experience either) to keep their financial numbers in check, meaning students are taught by essentially unqualified personnel. At least in a traditional public school your child's teacher will at a minimum have a degree in education. That is a heck of a lot more than can be said for many charters.

  • According to the FoxNewsChicago crawl: Lewis says reports that will file strike notice today incorrect (web source).

    I guess the real question is why the press gets on the bandwagon of "will" when it hasn't happened yet (and apparently the union did not call a press conference that they "will').

    I have the feeling that the union will string this out awhile to milk its press value. No sense teeing off parents on the third day of school by calling a strike then.

  • Here is what the Chicago Teachers' Union wants, 1. A "Better" Day-with Art, Music, World Language, Physical Education and other services like counseling anchored by contract language that assures prep and break time, limits on teaching load, and limits on duties. 2. Job Security-in the form of guarantees that the Board will conduct future hiring from a pool of displaced members before making new hires, as well as an appeal process and other protections against unfair evaluation. 3. Fair compensation-CTU members deserve a fair raise for work that will be more stressful and challenging. In addition, the CTU wants to protect the salary schedule (steps) and keep out merit pay (differential compensation), insurance premium hikes, and changes to CTU members accumulation of sick days that undercut CTU members benefits.

  • Just another CPS parent, taking things at face value: I hope they work it out, but am not going to hold my breath. I have received emails and last night's "internal communication" from CPS and have identified the rhetoric and obvious pandering. If the teachers strike, they will have our family's full support. The CTU's outline is reasonable and exceeds fair pay, looking to create a better environment for our children. MSM will cower to Rahm's rhetoric.
    We will not participate in any contingency plans, or warehousing. Homeschooling will be our choice, given our current semi-employed status. Bring it on!

  • In reply to tonyloeb:

    You are a terrific parent! Thanks for your support!

  • What the teachers want is what we all want but for the private sector the reality is:

    1: Job security? My husband and I have been laid off 3 times in the last 5 years and countless friends are in the same boat. By the way we are all college educated and good workers. There is no job security in America and Illinois is an at will state no reason has to be given.

    2: Healthcare: Health insurance is a joke and we all have to contribute. For our family of 5 that's $500 a month with employer benefits. What is your contribution?

    3: Pensions: They don't exist. Social security costs us all at least 6% of our paychecks for now and will go up to 7% soon. We get to retire at 67, if we are lucky. And the return is very small. Our pensions are the 401k system in which we make 90+ percent of the contributions.

    4: Most employees work whatever hours are need to keep our unsecure jobs. Pay raises what are they? Most of us have seen our income go down and there seems to be no end in sight.

    Please keep this in mind before striking because not many parents will be as sympathetic as you think.

    Yes, I know the Mayor and the board are trying to union bust but work with them, be smarter than they are and get a deal done.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to district299reader:

    I could comment on each of your points - but 9% (soon it will be even more thanks to Quinn) comes out of teacher's checks to pay for their pension - which is more than what the private sector contributes.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    Wrong. Only 2% comes out. The Board picks up the other 7% of the employee pension cost.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Don't get too excited, they have written themselves vacations from paying it... only adding to the troubles with CPS.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I sympathize with your situation, but please consider that your grievances with the current economic situation be directed elsewhere. For example, how about at the $100s millions that the City of Chicago has spent over the past decade subsidizing massive financial exchanges, real estate companies, and corporate law firms? Why not get angry at the federal policies (such as a tax system that favors the concentration of wealth) that have weakened the middle class over the last 40 years? Think about how much of your taxpayer money has been spent on military aggression, the covering up of state secrets, and the elimination of privacy rights for US citizens. Consider what the financial industry has done for (or to) you lately.

    Is any of this to say that we should simply spend with abandon on education? No. But I am suggesting that if the system responsible for the development of our citizenry puts more well-intentioned, hard-working, descent people solidly into the middle class, it actually improves your chances, and certainly your kids changes, of being financially secure going forward.

  • In reply to WhatonEarth:

    Sorry about the passive construction in the first sentence. Should read:

    "... please consider directing your grievances with the current economic situation elsewhere".

  • In reply to WhatonEarth:

    And teachers are not "descent people". They are decent people on the whole, though.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Maybe you should band together with your fellow workers and fight for what's right, instead of trying to deny teachers what they should get.

    Oh, and my wife and I are both in private industry. I have 6 weeks of paid vacation per year, and she has 5. We have unlimited sick days, and employer matching 401Ks. She received a 7 % raise last year, and I received 5%. We both also receive comp time for extra hours work and can work from home.

    Not all of private industry is struggling or has horrible working conditions like you and your husband do. Perhaps you need to get more education and change fields. Or, since you're so envious, become teachers.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    When discussing the private sector, there are comparisons which can be made both ways fueling each of the respective arguments. Although I agree with you on many of your points, I find a large discrepancy with the opportunities provided in the private sector.

    To keep it short, the private sector offers a lot more mobility for individuals who do outperform others or further their education. In the public sector, the salary range varies by district, but generally, teachers are stuck. When teachers do take the opportunity to further their education, the value in dollars does not pay for itself in most cases.

    "Most employees work whatever hours are need to keep our unsecure jobs. Pay raises what are they? Most of us have seen our income go down and there seems to be no end in sight."
    This may be true for your case but in most cases, those who put in the long hours have the opportunity to work their way up or find a new job with degrees that can be used in many different fields. A history teacher has a passion for the art of teaching and learning yet when they put in the extra hours, they are still struggling to pay off loans and are left in a field in which they cannot just explore new companies who will value the work they do.

    In terms of social security,

    "Wouldn’t it be cheaper to put teachers into Social Security?....
    No. Under Social Security, a teacher would pay 6.2 percent of salary; the district would pay a matching 6.2 percent. Currently, a teacher pays more: 9.4 percent and the district pays less: .58 percent. The district is required to pay less so more money can be used for educational needs of students."

    Of course the argument can be made that CPS pays more of the pension pick up but if we were to calculate this into teachers' salary and pay it out, teachers would still be underpaid.

    "Please keep this in mind before striking because not many parents will be as sympathetic as you think."
    ---The parental opinion should not scare teachers away from defending themselves, their profession or bringing back value to a field which has been diminished over time.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Really? Many parents asked me where they can order red union shirts so they can stand with us and march!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I think you and your hubby should apply at one of the charters. You both have degrees, are used to working long hours and your children could attend school with you. I am sure the insurance would be cheaper and there seems to be job security if you toe the line. Sounds like a no-brainer....

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I am so tired of private sector complaining that they don't get what union members get. Union members have fought for everything we have gotten. People in the private sector aren't willing to fight. No one forced you to work where you work. If it wasn't for the unions we wouldn't have the labor laws. We would be like China with sweat shops and getting paid a dollar a day. The unions went on strike to get good working conditions and fair pay. You have these rights because of the unions. If we are go on strike we are protecting your children by pushing for safe schools and a school day full of the arts, PE, and the all the academics like the suburban schools. They deserve this kind of education. Without the CTU this will never happen.

  • fb_avatar

    I've been gorging myself on information related to the strike. Here it is at its essence:


    This is about all I can take right now.

  • In reply to Lisa Hazen:

    Lisa, that is brilliant marketing!

  • Notice filed!!!!!!!!!!


  • In reply to district299reader:

    Which side are you on boys? Which side are you on?

    Come all you good workers
    Good news to you I'll tell
    Of how the good old union
    Has come in here to dwell

    Which side are you on boys?
    Which side are you on?

    Workers can you stand it?
    Oh, tell me how you can
    Will you be a lousy scab
    or will you be a man?

    Which side are you on boys?
    Which side are you on?

    Don't scab for the bosses
    Don't listen to their lies
    Poor folks ain't got a chance
    Unless they organize!
    Natalie Merchant

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Negotiations have been taking place since November of '11, how will they resolve everything in ten days!!?????

    Strike! Strike! Strike!

  • What about getting rid of the DNH flag? A single bad principal shouldn't be enough to blacklist a teacher from the city. Hiring decisions should be left to the schools and not the Central office.

  • ...From what I have heard, the "performance task" as part of the reach program is being graded by the teachers who give it.

    Aside from the obvious lack of transparency/validity/ethical issues involved, can someone please share the importance/value which can be found in this process?

    Is this just a dry run? How much impact does it have on the teachers rating?

  • In reply to Ed4who:

    No, it's not a dry run
    Had a day on the new evaluation:
    15% of the performance task will be part of the teacher's evaluation.
    If you don't teach Math or English, they will take the largest group of children you see and base 10% of your evaluation on that.
    Example: You are the gym teacher, you teach all grades, but you have a 6th grade class that has 32 kids ( the most students), they will use those kids scores for your 10%.
    Wonderful isn't it? (That's sarcasm)

  • Oh yes, then there is the NWEA test which will account for another 10% of your evaluation. Your students have to show growth with a certain target. Our target is 65% increase by the end of the year.

  • First off, anyone hear the interview with Buzzard on NPR this afternoon? He stumbled a bit when asked if he was ever at negotiation session and if negotiations are being orchestrated by the mayor. In regards to REACH it's just rehash of other stuff and now they are attaching the value-added "metric." Such BS. Ignore state and national standards for a non-core and just align everything with CRS and CCS, yeah that's the ticket. Then it will be on to something new when kids don't do well on the multiple tests to bubble in this year. Articles & comments section in the Trib/Sun-Times just spew ignorance which surely doesn't help our PR. I support the possible strike btw.

    "work, work, work together!!!" -

  • you say: "Then it will be on to something new when kids don't do well on the multiple tests to bubble in this year."
    That something new will be a new teacher in your job!

  • This principal does not have to live in the city? This principal has another business? Is this allowed?
    An abrupt change came to Norwood Park that has hit many Chicago public schools across the city recently — a new administration, and an abrupt change that has shocked the school culture. In the case of Norwood Park, the change was the result of a new principal who a divided local school council chose to put in place.
    Some would say the changes implemented immediately were harsh.
    “She has been emotionally abusive,” said teacher assistant Toni Scavo, who was fired abruptly after working for 17 years at the school. “Teachers have been crying, and she refuses to take phone calls from parents and LSC members.”
    The new principal is Rene Blahuta, who served as the assistant principal to the infamous Erin Roach at Prescott Elementary School. Roach’s problems stemmed from immediately battling veteran teachers and dismantling special education and other programs at the school that infuriated the community.
    Roach’s controversial ways, that eventually succeeded in eliminating almost the entire tenured staff, resulted in massive protests that put Prescott on the list to be closed. He was voted out by the LSC at his previous school Ravenswood for similar actions.
    It appears Blahuta is following in his footsteps.
    Scavo believes she was fired because she was on the LSC and she stood up to the new administrator that many of the teachers were afraid to confront.
    “One day she comes up and says these kids are too loud to an assistant teacher, can’t you get them under control, right in front of the kids,” Scavo said. “I went into her office and I told her that you do not talk this way.” Scavo said Blahuta, who is also a practicing attorney with an office in Lombard, was very rude and condescending to staff members at the school.
    “People are afraid of her,” Scavo said. “She asked me to rat on one of my co-workers. I told her I’m not comfortable talking about one of my co-workers with you.”
    Scavo filed a grievance with the union to get her job back. In fact, there are many similar cases across the system where teachers are being fired by the new principals who are trained in the corporate style of firing workers.
    Scavo knows a lot about Norwood Park. She has lived in the community for 25 years and worked at the school for 17 years. Why then would this school choose such a controversial figure?
    According to Scavo, it goes back to when the past principal Bill Meuer came to the school 20 years ago and helped turn it into the successful neighborhood school it is today. The parents helped organize massive fundraising for the school that raised “hundreds of thousands of dollars” and with that, questions about the money began to be raised.
    It resulted in a crescendo. Those parents who did not trust how the school was spending the funds then went against the wishes of many of the parents and staff, and voted to hire Blahuta, Scavo said.
    “There were two factions of parents,” Scavo said. “Those who were questioning and those who were not.”
    Scavo said the LSC said there were no other qualified candidates. What Blahuta did next was what appears the Chicago Public Schools has ordered principals to do across the city – lower teacher ratings and fire staff.
    “We had one first grade teacher who was a golden apple teacher in the making, and she was clicked off, which really upset the parents,” Scavo said. “We also had an outstanding music teacher. My son went to school here and he had her, and now he is a musician. She was also fired.” If the teachers choose to go on strike, the case of Norwood Park is an example of how the schools are being turned upside down and infuriating communities across the city. Perhaps a strike will force CPS to back off, or at least get the board to take notice that more and more people are upset about such changes being implemented across the city.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I've heard similar stories about that principal, including that she humiliates teachers and tries to impose bad pedagogy on teachers who know better. Seriously, CPS ought to look into what is going on at this school. It used to be one of the best in the city but morale has shot down. This is an instance when CPS should start talking to and listening to the veteran teachers and realize that the LSC made a huge error in judgment. CPS should address this before the school begins losing its best teachers and families. There really ought to be a process.

  • Officer wounded, 1 other shot on Far South Side

  • 1 dead, 1 wounded in South Side shooting

  • WBEZ reporter finally gets Chicago's quarter million dollar schools 'Chief Executive Officer' to admit he has never been at the bargaining table!..

  • The CEO does not need to be there. CPS has staff along with a high priced law firm James Franczek (sp?) that work full time negotiating and briefing the CEO. Don't forget the decision maker on all city contracts is the mayor.

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