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Union Wins All In Chicago

A summary of what the Chicago Teachers Union said it “won” and “wanted to win but didn’t,” published in the Chicago Tribune:

“Our brothers and sisters throughout the country have been told that corporate “school reform” was unstoppable, that merit pay had to be accepted and that the public would never support us if we decided to fight. Cities everywhere have been forced to adopt performance pay. Not here in Chicago! Months ago, CTU members won a strike authorization vote that our enemies thought would be impossible- now we have stopped the Board from imposing merit pay! We preserved our lanes and steps when the politicians and press predicted they were history. We held the line on healthcare costs. We have tremendous victories in this contract; however, it is by no means perfect. While we did not win on every front and will need to continue our struggle into the future; we soundly defended our profession from an aggressive and dishonest attack. We owe our victories to each and every member of this rank and file union. Our power comes from the bottom up.”

” is a side by side comparison that demonstrates how far we’ve come in these tense, protracted negotiations with the Board.”

Did the Chicago Teachers Union Win?

Choice Media
September 20, 2012

The great Chicago teacher strike of 2012 has ended, and it’s time for Ed Reformers to look back and decide what really happened.  We know kids didn’t go to school for 7 days.  We know the union extracted a 17.6% raise from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and succeeded in getting merit pay dropped from consideration.

The Chicago Sun-Times today said the Union President Karen Lewis won congratulatory messages from the likes of Gloria Steinem, as well as supporters in Australia, France, Italy & Canada.  It also says she basked yesterday in what some say is her new status as a union rock star.

With all this, how are prominent education reformers summing up the results of the Chicago strike?

Jeanne Allen is with the Center for Education Reform.

“Sure the Chicago unions won. They got even more that wasn’t on the table to begin with. They threw an additional time off for professional development days. There were some healthcare benefits they had. I mean they loaded this thing, and yet at the end of the day, Rahm Emanuel still declared victory. Strange how he can declare victory when 350,000 kids were out of school for more than a week and the unions won.”

“Yeah, I think one of the more interesting and quieter points that was covered in the media was when they reported that AFT President, Randi Weingarten, was on the phone with Secretary Duncan over the weekend, discussing how they could have an end to the strike, and yet at the same time she kept distancing herself and saying, ‘This is a local issue.’ So this was absolutely about politics. At the end of the day, just deal with it. Make it go away. ‘Make it go away Rahm,’ is I’m sure what happened. Plus, ‘Rahm, don’t you want

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Chicago Teachers Strike Highlights ‘Societal Problem’

by Fawn Johnson
National Journal
September 19, 2012

There is a bright spot to the Chicago Teachers Union strike that ended Tuesday after keeping the city’s kids at home and its public-school teachers picketing the streets: People are actually talking about education.

They are saying things like this: “When you have two-thirds of our children not college- and/or career-ready and we spend more per student than any country in the world, that is a societal problem. What’s going on in Chicago is sort of a leading indicator of things to come.” That’s Florida’s former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush on MSNBC. Bush is an advocate of student assessments who occasionally clashes with teachers unions.

Or this: “The more difficult task is to make sure the right people are getting into the classroom. I think it is the wrong mental model to let anybody in and then make it easier to fire our hiring mistakes.” That’s National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel on C-Span. NEA is not involved in the specifics of the strike, but it is supporting the Chicago union in principle.

Voters care greatly about education. In a Pew Research poll earlier this year, 72 percent of respondents rated education as “very important” to their vote. Yet both presidential candidates have largely ignored the concept in their campaigns. For whatever reason, education isn’t the kind of winner that moves the dial for a candidate in the electorate.

“People typically put education in their top three, or at worst, top six issues. But I believe they don’t know how to vote on education. They are so convinced that schools are local,” said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, a group that is critical of teachers unions.

Allen says the Obama administration isn’t weighing in on the Chicago dispute because it is afraid

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Chicago teachers’ strike hurts our kids

by Terry Moe, special to CNN
September 11, 2012

Editor’s note: Terry M. Moe is the William Bennett Munro professor of political science at Stanford University, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a member of the Koret Task Force for K-12 Education. He is the author of “Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America’s Public Schools” (Brookings, 2011).

It is easy to see the Chicago teachers strike as an unfortunate incident that will soon pass. This is, after all, their first strike in 25 years. The norm is that the district and the Chicago Teachers Union have regularly negotiated their way to contracts every several years. So it might appear that, almost always, collective bargaining “works.”

But does it? The purpose of the Chicago school system — and of the American school system more generally — is to educate children. The way to assess collective bargaining is not to ask whether it works to bring labor peace. It is to ask whether it promotes the interests of children in a quality education. And the answer to that question is no, it does not. Not even remotely.

Collective bargaining is not fundamentally about children. It is about the power and special interests of adults. In Chicago and elsewhere, the teachers unions are in the business of winning better salaries and benefits, protecting job security, pressuring for restrictive work rules and in other ways advancing the occupational interests of their members. These interests are simply not the same as the interests of children.
And they inevitably lead, through the exercise of union power, to contracts whose countless formal rules are literally not designed to create an effective organization for schools. In fact, they guarantee that the schools will be organized in perverse ways that no one in their right mind would favor if they

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Job security at heart of 2 stumbling blocks

by Bill Ruthhart and Diane Rado, Chicago Tribune reporters
Chicago Tribune
September 11, 2012

Two issues being cited as primary stumbling blocks to a Chicago teachers contract are a recall policy for teachers and a teacher evaluation system. Both affect job security for teachers and are part of larger efforts to overhaul schools in the city and nationally.


The Chicago Teachers Union is pushing hard for a procedure to recall teachers who have been laid off because of school closings, consolidations and turnarounds. The issue is of critical importance, the union has said, because of rumors that the district plans to close as many as 100 schools in coming years.

Earlier this year, CPS and the union struck a deal over the longer school day that temporarily allowed for such a recall. In exchange for the union agreeing to an extra 30 minutes in high schools and 75 minutes in elementary schools, CPS agreed to rehire nearly 500 teachers in noncore subjects from a pool of teachers who had been laid off.

The district, however, has resisted making such a recall policy the permanent method for filling vacancies in Chicago schools.

“Teachers in this city agreed to a longer day … and what our union got in return for that was a promise there would be a recall procedure for those teachers who are going to be hired,” said Jesse Sharkey, vice president of CTU. “Now we see that offer is being taken away from the table, and there is no sign of respect there. That’s important for our members.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has framed the issue as one of accountability, saying he doesn’t want to place the district’s hiring control in the hands of the union through such a recall process.

“I don’t believe I should pick ’em. I don’t believe CPS should

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State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons on Chicago strike: ‘Michigan teachers are better than that’

by Dave Murray
The Grand Rapids Press
September 10, 2012

Adding teeth to Michigan’s law preventing teachers from striking won’t be a topic in state House Education Committee meetings despite the walkout by 30,000 Chicago educators, the committee’s chairwoman said.

State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Ada, said there is a bill before her committee that would allow the state to suspend certification for teachers who strike.

But Lyons said there are more issues before the committee that she wants to address first, including making sure veterans have more educational opportunities.

“It’s so heartbreaking to see children being hurt because adults cannot find solutions,” she said of the Chicago strike.

She said the Education Committee last year conducted hearings on the bill, sponsored by state Rep. Bill Rogers, R-Brighton. She has now immediate plans to call for a vote.

Lyons said she doesn’t think Michigan teachers will follow the lead of the Chicago teachers, who walked off the job on Monday in part because of objections to a plan to use student test scores in evaluations.

“Michigan teachers are better than that,” she said.

A group of 14 Michigan school districts are piloting four programs that would look at ways to link student achievement to teacher evaluations.

Michigan teachers strikes have been illegal since 1994, though there have been three strikes — two in Detroit and one in Wayne-Westland.

Michigan’s Public Act 112 stipulates striking teachers be fined one day’s pay for each day they refuse to work. But a district must report a strike to the Michigan Employee Relations Commission, which has up to 60 days to verify such an action was taken. The commission must then conduct individual hearings for each employee before approving fines or employee dismissals.

HB 4466, which has been on the House floor for more than a year, would allow districts to consolidate the hearings and

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Costly Chicago Strike

Windy City teachers are striking, leaving approximately 350,000 students out of class today. It is unclear how long these students will be out of school. The Chicago Teachers Union got nearly 90% of its members to authorize this strike, surpassing the 75% threshold required by law to authorize a strike. The teachers union says pay is not at the heart of the stalemate, but rather benefits and teacher evaluations.

Tensions with teachers unions have been brewing since Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has been pushing for longer days and tougher teacher evaluations. The CTU has made it clear they’re unhappy with Chicago reform proposals, even going as far as protesting at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house at one point. Unfortunately, this commotion is over evaluations that aren’t that strong to begin with — student performance only counts 25% in teacher evaluations, and that’s only by year five.

There’s a common misconception out there that teachers generally do not make very much money, but the average teacher salary in Chicago is $71,000 without benefits. CPS offered teachers a 16% pay raise, but the Chicago Teachers Union would not accept that offer. That raise was offered while the longer day issue was actually worked out so that current teachers would not have to work over the allotted hours they already work; CPS agreed to hire more teachers to fill in the extra hours students would be in school. The 90 minutes added to the school day would put CPS at the national average for student instructional time. Before that, CPS had the shortest school day in the nation.

Taxpayers are left to bear the brunt of the strike, as parents and students are left without the education their taxes support. Not only that, but taxpayers are the ones who have to

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