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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.

TEACHER RECALL POLICY

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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