Chicago deal looks like union victory

The “framework” for a new teachers’ contract in Chicago looks like a victory for the teachers’ union, if early reports are accurate. The deal includes an average 16 percent pay hike over four years (that’s not new) with no change in how raises are calculated, reports CBS News.

The latest proposal includes retaining STEP wage increases — which are based on teacher experience — with larger increases for tenured teachers. Those increases will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but both sides differ on the exact cost.

It also calls for an annual 2 percent cost-of-living increase for the four years of the deal, retaining current contractual class size language, and establishing a joint committee to craft a new teacher evaluation plan.

Kicking teacher evaluation to a committee could mean another fight in the future — after the election.

The details haven’t been finalized, but it’s likely Chicago schools will be open on Monday.

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  1. Roger Sweeny says:

    To those who say that a major function of K-12 is day care: you have another piece of evidence for your theory.

  2. From a different article, I gather that a significant issue is possible closure of up to 120 schools next year – both for declining enrollment and for school takeovers or charter conversions for poor performance; hence the big push for laid-off teachers to be automatic first hires. However, teacher/union official comments are very off-putting – “we’re not trash (to be thrown by the wayside), we’re teachers” – in the entitled-to-a-job mentality – not to mention the 16% pay increase with 2% cost of living thrown in, and no eval for student achievement.

  3. Perhaps if I refer to this victory by the CTA, again, as Pyrrhic in nature Mike in Texas will expand on his marvelously brief but not particularly informative “you’re wrong”.

    This really is the twilight of the union movement and now it’s looking very much like both the hope of unionistas going forward – government unions – and the fears of their critics, will turn out to be unfounded. The 2010 mid-terms makes it clear that despite the political clout of the municipal unions it’s not without limit and the greater electorate provides that limit.

    The unions have had a pretty good run, especially when you consider that the basis for their existence is to make sure that some people have a legal opportunity to screw other people, but thankfully the curtain appears to be coming down on unions and with it public tolerance for thuggery regardless of the rationalizations used in its defense.

  4. Yes Allen, I’ll comment. How dare those teachers demand they have actual textbooks on the first day of school, instead of 5 weeks in which is the norm.

    How dare they get angry about Rahm playing dictator and violating their contract by refusing to give them a 4% raise.

    How dare they demand something be done about huge class sizes.

    How dare they demand the district not excess experienced (expensive) teachers in favor of Teach for Awhiles.

    Since I know you won’t realize it, that was sarcasm.

  5. Ahh, forgot one. How dare they demand Rahm do something about the 150 schools in the CPS system with no library.

  6. You really have to spend less time with twelve year-olds. Skews your perspective when you have to deal with adults.

    That wasn’t sarcasm.

    It is gratifying that I can sting you into activity with a tart observation about your productivity. Bet you didn’t see *that* coming given your profession.

    In any case, your list, as self-serving in nature as it is, unsurprisingly doesn’t address the question of the reason for the strike which, if education is so pulsatingly important, clearly takes a back seat to big, fat pay increases, bullet-proof employment and, oh yes, none of that nasty accountability stuff.

    Since you didn’t have anything to say about the strike other then some eye-poppingly ludicrous talking points you cribbed from some unions web site I suppose you’ll also cling to the belief that the strike won’t generate any repercussions in the general election less then two months away now.

    Oh darn. I was going to include some sarcasm so as to educate you on the subject but it occurs to me that you might be poor and black which means, according to you, that you’re not educable.

  7. Yawn, as usual not a single fact in your post.

    And, as always, you ignore the core issues.

    Let’s start with text books, Allen. Do you believe its reasonable for students and teachers to have to wait 5 or 6 weeks into the school year for textbooks?

    • Stacy in NJ says:

      Yeah, but Mike, that’s NOT why they went on strike. They went on strike because they objected to the 40% performance pay program. Chicago’s been delinquent for how many years in providing adequate texts? I’d have more respect for teachers if they did strike because of inadequate textbook supply or air conditioning or even discipline issues. They chose to strike because of performance pay. Geez. Yeah, it’s all about the kids.

      • Well Stacy let’s start then with breaking the law. The teachers were due somewhere between a 2% to 4% raise, written into their contract. Rahm canceled it. Does that give the teachers the right to strike?

        How about the class size issue? Do you really think its appropriate for some kindergarten teachers to have 40 kids in a class? Is that worth striking over?

        How about libraries? Is it an unreasonable demand that all schools have a library? Is that worth striking over?

      • And how about all the research saying standardized tests are an unreliable measurement of teacher ability? Should the teachers just roll over for a system they see as totally unreliable and invalid?

        • Stacy in NJ says:

          Well, in your terms, they’re going to be rolled eventually. Do you really think there’s much of a long term future for teachers in the current union structure? The public is clamoring for charters, vouchers, parent triggers. Do you think the actions of the union have made it more or less likely those options will look more attractive to both politicians and parents in the future? Just last year Indiana introduced what has proven to be a hugely popular state-wide voucher program. Chicago may not be quick to introduce those options, but you can better other cities and states are looking at Chicago and learning a thing or two.

          Just a reminder: the union is fighting reforms introduced and advocated by Democrats – in the bluest of cities in the bluest of states. If Democrat politicians believe it’s politically necessary to take on teachers’ unions where do you think the popular middle is?

          Whether or not teachers in Chicago “win” teachers – at least teachers who are in favor of the current union set up – really lose. The slow bleed away started a long time ago. We’re just at the end of the beginning.

          • Stacy in NJ says:

            Oh, and Mike? Why do you suppose Randi Weingarten did NOT offer full throated support for Karen Lewis? Why was old Randi so restrained in her support? Because she knows Karen Lewis just did national damage to teachers’ unions. Karen Lewis won the battle but lost the war. Not terribly smart.

  8. Randi Weingarten is a wuss and much too entrenched with the power elite. Karen Lewis will get my vote if she runs for AFT President.

    Rahm is a Blue Dog democrat, more closely aligned with the Republicans than other Democrats.

    The public is in fact NOT clamoring for charters and vouchers. Check out the latest Phi Beta Kappa/Gallup poll and you’ll see Americans have alot of faith in the nation’s teachers.

    • Stacy in NJ says:

      One of the ways CPS is harmful to students is that they employ awful teachers. Teachers that shouldn’t be in a classroom. When 98% of teachers are highly rated we know the measurement is a joke.

      So, no, I wouldn’t send my kids to CPS, but many CPS teachers share my feelings because THEY don’t send their own kids to the schools they teach in.

      Actually, yes, the public is clamoring for educational choice, not necessarily in Chicago, but across the country it is a tidelwave.

      Good luck to you, Mike.

  9. How about it Stacy? I’ve pointed out policies of CPS that are harmful to students and all you’ve done is dodge them?

    Would YOU send you child to a kindergarten class with 39 other students? Would you be happy if your child didn’t have a library at his school? Would you be happy if your child didn’t have textbooks for 5 weeks into the school year?

    • As someone whose 1-12 school had average classes in the mid-30s, the wife of a guy who had 100 kids in his k-8 classes (1 nun, no aides or volunteers) and the mother of kids who routinely had 30 kids in their suburban classes (36 in AP sciences, I am not impressed with the class size argument. The composition is a different matter, but it is one within the control of the school/district: (1) permanently remove all those with criminal justice and/or dangerous behavior issues to a separate facility (it used to be called reform school), (2) discipline all non-dangerous disruptive kids appropriately, including temporary removal to a separate classroom, (3) group the appropriately-behaved kids homogeneously, according to instructional need, by subject.

      I would not miss a school library, which my kids never had time to use during the school day and none of which were open before and after school. Given the number of kids routinely using/studying at the public libraries, that was the norm. School libraries are an unnecessary duplication. I’ve known of two schools where the school and public library are the same – with public library hours and staff – which makes far more sense. I can’t believe the city of Chicago doesn’t have libraries – those who feel it’s important will find one. Teachers should know where the nearest is and encourage its use. I can believe that CPS students/families have little interest in libraries, because I’ve read accounts of two high-achieving DC graduates (I grad from Brown, the other currently at Georgetown) for whom libraries at (their schools or public) played no role.

      Textbooks are also within control of the school/district. Having lived in several large districts, I am sure that CPS is the same enormous, top-heavy bureaucratic morass of indifference and incompetence and wastes at least as much money. There’s plenty of money for books, if the will is there; apparently it isn’t. The system is a jobs program for the adults, as shown by the strike and comments by the teachers and union officials. I haven’t heard lack of textbooks mentioned as a strike issue.

      Also, (material) poverty is not the reason kids can’t learn and even the “poor” have things that only the rich had 50 years ago. The issue is cultural poverty; the collection of dysfunctional and destructive habits and behaviors which have destroyed the urban family and community; the (hopefully) unintended consequences of government handouts which have separated bad choices from their consequences and therefore have had more bad choices.

      Culture does go a long way to explain why some of the new immigrants do well in the same schools where most kids fail; if education is a family and community priority, kids will behave and work hard.

      Some of us, who live in the non-public-sector world, do not see why teachers should not be judged by their results; test the kids at the beginning and end of the year. Computers can control for things like changing schools, ESL and many absences. The 39% of CPS teachers who send their kids to private schools are showing their opinion of many of their colleagues.

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      I’m not Stacy but

      1. I wouldn’t send my kids to a kindergarten class with 39 students.

      2. I would like an elementary school library but neither of my kids got anything from the middle school or high school library (though the eldest was a big user of the town library). Most students went there to use the computers or to have a nicer place to spend their study halls.

      3. A class should have all the necessary materials when they are needed. However, for the last two years I have taught classes with no textbooks. All the materials are online or in handouts (which are also online).