Stupid Strike

The HOD has voted to end the strike, as you probably already know by now.  Two extra days for … a cooling off period, I guess. Lewis has spoken.  Emanuel still to come.

As with most contract negotiations, both sides got things important to them. At her press conference, Karen Lewis bragged about how CTU didn’t have to “take” merit pay like in other cities. Indeed, reformers are disappointed in all the things Emanuel gave up or gave back.  (They kept lanes!) In an email, CPS highlighted the extended day and year that Mayor Emanuel had made Priority One. No doubt, there will be some CPS teachers who feel that Lewis and her team didn’t get key items they should have fought for.

It was fun to watch, disturbing at times since strikes have become so rare, but always seemed to me to be more of a function of having two firebrand rookies in charge rather than the issues being debated.  Personality conflicts between labor and management aren’t rare — DC, LA, and NYC have all had it at various times– but it’s not required.  CPS wasn’t proposing something so unusual compared to other cities. Check out this post about Boston and Philly.

As for the larger story, I don’t think that Chicago has told us anything more than what we already know from DC and other places — that firebrands make for great drama but shouldn’t be in charge of negotiations. The substantive issues — including student achievement in teacher evaluations, for example — don’t seem unique to Chicago.

The other shoes have yet to fall:  paying for the salary increases, dealing with the 50 or 100 more schools that will have to close do to shrinking enrollment, seeing if CPS and CTU can end their long run heading an under-performing, highly segregated urban school system.


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  • At the CTU House of Delegate meeting this afternoon the following motion was passed: "The Officers recommend that the Chicago Teachers Union suspend the ongoing strike at the close of this House of Delegates meeting. The strike, picketing, and job actions will cease, and Chicago Teachers Union members will return to work on Wednesday, September 19, 2012." P.S.- CEO JC Brizard will speak at Trinity United Church, 400 W. 95th Street at 7 pm on Wednesday, September 19, 2012. Rev. Moss, the pastor of the church would like to see a sea of red shirts (CTU members) there to ask CEO JC Brizard questions. Thanking you in advance.

  • your funny mr brooklyn

  • emanuel got some things but not as much as denver or DC according to this WSJ article

    Chicago Teachers Strike Ends With Union Vote -

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    In reply to Alexander Russo:

    This seems like an oversimplified take. Weren't Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee able to get those reforms passed because they substantially raised teacher pay (or as Rick Hess sarcastically calls it, "powdered doughnut reform"?) Chicago seems to be more about a combination of failure to pay for extended day, revoking 4% raise from last year, crappy working conditions, and the half baked evaluation system. Seems to me that Rahm needed to either pay teachers a lot more, improve working conditions, or ditch the evaluation system and extended day. He chose none of the above, and that infuriated the teachers

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