CPS Strikewatch 2012

August 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm 2,017 comments

I hope they look this pretty if they strike!

I figure if CNN does Storm Watch, we should do a strike watch.

Post any news you hear about the negotiations, etc.  There should be some interesting developments arising soon, I imagine.

I had forgotten about the possibility of crossing a picket line and I can’t remember why this is considered inherently wrong, sacrilegious, almost.  Is it assumed that people all agree with any given strikers?  Is it considered disrespectful?  What is the protocol?  I don’t feel like dropping my son off to watch movies and sort-learn a little is violating the teachers’ efforts.  It’s certainly not like we’re gonna go on forever with parents or whoever manning the schools (assuming schools can get it organized.)

I have mixed feelings about the whole issue: unions, CPS, strikes, CTU, Rahm, etc.  You guys have more to say about it than I do so have at it….

Find out if the CTU is officially On Strike here: http://isthectuonstrike.com/

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

CPS New School Locator The Back-to-School Teacher Appreciation Thread

2,017 Comments Add your own

  • 1. CarolA  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Well, I have to admit that all along I’ve always said that there won’t be a strike. Neither side nor the children can afford it. That said, I’m now worried about the possibility because both sides seem to be digging in their heels to prove a point. Not good. I predict that tomorrow she will announce the 10 day warning with the strike beginning the day after Labor Day. Not sure whether it will happen. I don’t think so, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking. I wasn’t happy yesterday to hear CPS approved some huge amount of $$$$ to keep schools going. I thought they didn’t have any extra money. Seems the city can find money for NATO, the Olympic bid and all kinds of stuff except education. I wonder if they will require all new hires (there are many) to report. They would not have joined the union yet.

    As far as crossing the picket line……my opinion is that it’s a personal choice. If you don’t agree with the teachers, then I guess you cross it. If you agree with what the teachers are trying to achieve, then you support it. Keep in mind that teacher pay is only one issue. Let’s not let that be the focus. Children are getting recess, art, music, computer, etc. depending on the school’s focus because of this new contract fight. Children are getting a BETTER school day, not just a longer school day. Another issue is the new rating system which uses test scores as an indicator. Yesterday someone showed me a graph of test scores last year for our DIBELS test. I start by letting you know that we were complimented on our great progress and our principal awarded recognition for it. However, on paper, it showed that my class actually had an overall decrease in learning growth based on the numbers they chose to use. The beginning of the year tested their ability to recognize alphabet letters (quite easy, most did super) and the end of the year tested their ability to read a story and answer questions about it (much more difficult). Obviously, there was a small number of children who didn’t score well on the last test (we have inclusion of special education students and their scores average in with everyone else) which makes the overall progress of the room go down. Comparing apples and oranges to me. I think it’s a ploy to make sure they don’t have to give out raises if raises are tied to learning growth. I also think it’s a way to make sure no one gets the top category on the rating chart. I wasn’t at the meeting, but I’ve heard that our principal has already said that most of our teachers will be in the second category from the top even though our school performs with an over 85% achievement record.

  • 2. Marketing Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I do not think there will be a strike because it will be a disaster for working families. The city cannot afford to have children roaming about getting in trouble.

  • 4. stand for children  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Whatever side you are on, I think we can all agree that the children are going to be the ones hurt most with a strike. Let’s stand for the children.

    http://stand.org/illinois/action/chicago/get-back-table

  • 5. CPSMom&Teacher  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Teachers are part of working families, too.

  • 6. Paul  |  August 23, 2012 at 8:07 am

    At the end of all the strike threat or strike, I wonder how close the school day will be to the longer school day pioneer program that CPS originally offered the schools. I know the school day is a half-hour shorter than that original plan. But, the $150,000 for the schools is pretty close to the additional 1 or 2 teachers that schools have been able to hire. And, the small raise provided to teachers under the program ($800 or $1,600 I believe) may be pretty close to what they end up with if Rahm plays hardball on the raises and says there’s no more money. And how close will the actual teacher day be to what that program required? It seems that most teachers still need to show up early and stay late to do their job. They may end up actually working the hours that the longer school day pioneer program originally planned.

    It makes me wonder why people, like the union’s leaders, think that fighting is better than cooperating and working with CPS. And why the hard-core personal attacks on the Rahm and Brizard? I don’t know how that helps or how any of that makes for a better school system. I understand how you can’t have a good school system without good teachers. But, can you have a good school system without good administrators and leaders? Has the union been happy with any of the CEOs and mayors that CPS has ever had?

  • 7. Danaidh  |  August 23, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Workers are expected to honor the picket line. Scabs are people who take the jobs of striking workers.

    I saw a comment in another thread where a mother said she would take her child to school and expected no harassment. Let me assure you that teachers are not going to harass children. Children are not responsible for the actions of this city’s politicians; rather, they are the victims of the policies of the Mayor and his unelected Board of Education.

    The mistake the mother is making, I think, is that she will be taking her child to school (unless it’s a charter school). If teachers and paraprofessionals go on strike, there won’t be school. State law requires that only certified teachers deliver instruction.

    The Board’s “contingency plan” ($25 million?) involves providing a place for children to go and for meals. According to the Sun-Times report, the locations would be park district, libraries, and similar facilities.

    Again, if there’s a strike, there won’t be school, and thus, no worry about parents and children “crossing a picket line.”

  • 8. City Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 8:17 am

    @stand for children. Why do I find that any organization that says it’s “for the children,” invariably isn’t? Wasn’t it SB7 that helped create at least part of this mess? And wasn’t SB7 Stand for Children’s baby? Frankly, my kids don’t need you to stand up for them. You’ve stood up for them enough already. While I’m frustrated with both sides, I’m not sure, at this point, that a strike isn’t necessary to save the kids from greater pain in the future. I’m more sure Stand for Children isn’t doing anything to bring both sides together.

  • 10. jef park mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I have a friend that works for the union. They had their big meeting yesterday and she said that they gave the go ahead to give the 10 day warning for a strike. She also said that she is certain that if it does go to a strike it will not be a long one. I also have a teacher friend that said she was called by the union to stand in front of a school today (or maybe tomorrow?) and hold picket signs as pre-strike work.
    All this talk about the teaches needing to give up the ideas of a strike because it hurts the children, in my opinion, is phewy. I would rather know that my children are being taught by teachers that are happy, respected, and excited to be there and are getting paid what they deserve, They haven’t gone on strike since the 90s – and I think it’s about time they do. With the lack of raises and now adding more work without compensation,,, I know that wouldn’t fly in my profession, which is a public service profession, why do we expect it from the very people that are teaching our children? So, it’s inconvenient for us for a few days. Most of us have a family member for a babysitter we can turn to for a few days. I do think this move is in the long run “for the children.” I think a longer school day is better for the children in the long run, I also think having teachers that feel respected and are compensated for their work is better for the children in the long run. Why all the attacks on the teachers? Why not the School Board? The budget? The unfair tax policy that funds the schools?

  • 11. AnonMom  |  August 23, 2012 at 8:42 am

    When will we learn of the start date for the strike? Could it be announced today?

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  August 23, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Seven hour bargaining session today? That’s gotta be fun…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 13. CarolA  |  August 23, 2012 at 8:53 am

    I’m guessing it will be announced on Friday. You can be pretty sure the strike would happen the day after Labor Day. Teachers are required to attend next week. Students start after Labor Day.

  • 14. CarolA  |  August 23, 2012 at 8:53 am

    That is, if it happens at all.

  • 15. WendyK  |  August 23, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Yesterday the Board passed a resolution setting aside $25 million to provide “Family and Student Support” in an event of a strike and “Recess Facilitation” was listed as part of the cost. I find this amusing as some parents at Track E schools are telling me their schools still do not have adequate staff to cover recess. No clue where the Board is getting the $25 million because they also claim to be draining the reserve fund….for next year and up until the end of 2015 if need be.

    I know the CPS and CTU have a 7 hour bargaining session today so I think some of what we are seeing is still posturing and some of the topics that they are far apart on haven’t even been discussed yet.

    I don’t know what the CTU is going for but from talking to many teachers I think they would be content with a 4% raise for this year. I personally think that’s fair – it is untrue that their day is not a minute longer. Few teachers are going to get to school at the exact same time as their students, it’s just an absurd concept, they have to deal with a new evaluation system, and the staffing that was promised by CPS is not coming through in some cases. I am not sure what is going on with this but trying to find out. I also think it’s hard for teachers to see an increase of funding to charter schools this year of $76 million and believe that the district can’t afford a raise higher than 2%, even if it’s just a little bit higher.

    I am not sure what else other than recall rights and benefits ctu is working on but I know they are concerned with class size and have been working on a bill this year to try and reduce it. They aren’t allowed to bargain over it but CPS has the right to introduce it as a permissible item. Everyone probably knows that already. Mayor Daley allowed language with class size provisions in the contract but from what I understand that has been removed and is one thing many people are worried about.

    Anyway, this is just my personal opinion not the opinion of RYH.

  • 16. cpsobsessed  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Wendy, I was thinking about what you said about the $76mil for charters versus just giving the raise so we can move on.
    It makes sense. Perhaps this is not the year that cps can afford to expand charters. However part of the problem is that the raise isn’t a one year expense. It’s an eternal expense, every year.

    I’m not saying teachers don’t deserve it. I can see both sides of the coin. Teachers in cps are well-compensated compared to other large-district teachers. On the other hand, what human would want more time at work without some extra $?

    But from a budget standpoint, that’s $ paid out year after year. There would be other ongoing trade-off. Maybe that works, maybe not.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 18. Paul  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:20 am

    If you took the $76 million from charters, wouldn’t you have to give that to traditional public schools to hire teachers to teach the kids that would have gone to charters? I don’t think that money could just be given as a raise to teachers, unless that money was just going to corporate fat-cat, capitalist pigs, as profit on the backs of the teachers. I’m just trying to get into the strike spirit. 😉

  • 19. Old Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I went to the meeting at Old Town the other night where they discussed some of what has been brought to the table. One of the items the CTU wants is for CPS to guarantee that the appropriate textbooks would be at the schools on the first day of school. The board would not even agree to that. One of the speakers was a 15 yr old from Albany Park who was talking about how kids sit on the floor because there aren’t enough chairs and desks for the number of kids in the classroom. He said, “I never thought my education would be on a first-come, first-serve basis.” If this is the type of atmosphere that the teachers are expected to function in, and be evaluated on, I can fully understand why they feel threatened or frustrated. Yes, some CTU members might just want to keep the old system where they are paid per year of service regardless of performance, but I do think the majority are truly vested in their work and they should be compensated fairly. Everyone talks about how hard it is in the private sector right now, but I doubt they would be OK with being evaluated on their performance without the proper tools to perform it. Every time we, as parents, say it’s OK for these conditions to continue (hey, it’s not like that in my school) then a precedent for mediocrity is set and we (and our children) all lose.

  • 20. cpsobsessed  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Paul – heh heh. Yeah, where’s the ugliness in all this??

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 21. Mayfair Dad  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:38 am

    @ Paul: you make a good point for a teacher-loving, bleeding heart, liberal, tax money sponge civil servant (catch the strike spirit, yeah!). It’s not like the $76M to charter schools is a Wall Street bonus — it is the start-up and operating costs of opening public schools that hire non-union teachers. This is the problem CTU has with charter schools – teaching jobs filled by non-union teachers. To which I reply: boo flipping hoo. Yes, Juan Rangel makes a lot of money. Tally up K. Lewis’ two salaries and do a comparison.

  • 22. Cap_Bucs  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I spoke to a friend who is a teacher yesterday. She said the date for the Strike would be Sept 18, it had something to do with new teachers getting their first paycheck so that healthcare benefits were in place. She sounded like a strike is a near certainty.

  • 23. stand for mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:45 am

    @City Mom, of course you have to blame someone else for the CTU/CPS mess. If you really read what they are trying to do is not take sides on who is right and who is wrong. Everyone has there own opinion on what they think should happen, but all they want is for the children to go back to school. School is to get an education, if I am not correct. If not in school, no learning and again, we lag behind….

  • 24. WendyK  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:50 am

    ps- I forgot to mention merit pay. That seems to be a big issue as well.

  • 25. AnonMom  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:50 am

    @21 – I agree, “boo flipping hoo”.
    @22 – Yes, I had been given the impression that a strike wouldn’t start the first day of R Track school. This is one reason I posed the question. The September 18 date makes more sense. At one point I had even heard possibly Oct or Nov.

  • 26. sfw  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Does anyone think it’s possible Rahm will abandon the longer school day? It seems that he’s wasting a lot of political capital on it. I admittedly lead a sheltered life, but on the Northside by the lake it seems that parents are opposed of ambivalent to longer school days. What do people in other parts of the city think about it?

  • 27. WendyK  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:54 am

    @Paul – no, they did a flat increase to existing schools, this is not just to hire new teachers and staff new schools.

  • 28. cpsobsessed  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:57 am

    @SFW _ many parents were opposed to a 7.5 hour schools. Doesn’t seem to be that much opposition to 7 hours, although I think many parents agree with the union on this one – they want a better, not just longer day. I think all parents are happy about recess or some kind of break and a longer lunch.
    Personally I’d have been fine with 6.5 though. If you’re gonna have my kid 7 hours, I don’t want to have to be the one teaching him math at night. I hope the time is used well….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 29. cpsobsessed  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:58 am

    @wendyk, so you mean 76mil per year to charters?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 30. WendyK  |  August 23, 2012 at 10:10 am

    @cpso- they can give a 4% raise for one year and 2% or whatever they want after that. They can craft it however they want. Either way, I can see how it would be difficult for CTU leadership to settle for 2% when the fact finder said they deserve 14%% or whatever it was. Kind of puts them in an awkward position. KL stated yesterday she knows that amount is not doable financially but how do you tell your membership that 2% is fair when the guy that was appointed to settle this had such a higher number?

  • 31. WendyK  |  August 23, 2012 at 10:17 am

    @CPS0 – yes, if you look at the interactive budget report on the CPS website and scroll down school by school, you will see that CPS increased funding to all existing charter schools by quite a lot. Existing UNO schools got a total of $10,132,678. CICS got $7,116,447. Charters were not getting the same amount of funding from CPS as traditional schools so CPS made the decision to do a flat increase this year. That said, most of them have outside funding that brings their per pupil spending much higher than traditional schools, so the issue of parity is really murky.

    I believe if they are going to get this funding they need to be fully accountable. I don’t see Juan Rangel’s salary as the same as Karen Lewis’. He is getting tax dollars and making a bigger salary than our mayor while supposedly pushing out kids who don’t comply and not disclosing data that the public has a right to know about. What are teacher salaries? How many IEPs are served? What are student retention rates? How much does the school make in fines? I think the public has a right to know these things if we are funding these schools. I want all kids to be able to get an IEP at a school, charter or otherwise.

    Karen Lewis’ salary is the concern of her teachers who pay the ctu dues, imo.

  • 32. City Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 10:19 am

    @23 Stand for Mom. No, I blame both CPS/CTU for this mess; mostly, though, if truth be told, I ‘d blame CPS. I just don’t see why Stand by Children had to get into the mix. I particularly don’t like it when an organization tries to pursue their own corporate interests under the cover of doing something “for the children.” Perhaps you and I are reading things differently but it seems to me that Stand by Children’s past interests have been pretty much aligned with the mayor’s. It is not a simply a matter of ‘all they want’ is for the kids to go back to school. though that may be what they’re saying right now. It’s SB7, which they’ve championed in the past, which has both escalated the stakes and limited the ability of the teacher’s to negotiate over issues other than pay unless CPS introduces those issues at the table. To claim that ‘all they want’ is for the kids to go back to school is disingenuous and I’ll continue to call them out on that. By the way, my kids have been a learning a great deal lately. . .and will continue to do so, whether they’re in or not in school.

  • 33. City Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 10:19 am

    @ 32 should read, “I’d blame CPS more.” Sorry.

  • 34. OutsideLookingIn  |  August 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

    When you add up all the requests, it seems like the CTU’s “quality affordable day” within the city’s budget limitations isn’t 7 hours, 6.5 hours or even 5.75 hours, it is more like 3 or 4 hours. Of course, teachers would need to take substantial pay cuts to accommodate the shorter, shortest day. Sound ok to everyone? Didn’t think so.

  • 35. Sped Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Considering that my kid wrote an essay about Mother Jones, the strike option is a teaching moment for her.

  • 36. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Wasn’t the fact finder report based on when teachers were asked to work 7.5 hours? The interim deal kept the work day satus quo at 7 hours and hired the additional teachers from the displaced pool. Did the fact finder include a sliding scale for shorter hours? Also, the fact finder used the inaccurate 20% number and others on this board have pointed out it is really about half that or 10%. Why would this be difficult for Karen Lewis to communicate? She can claim victory for the additional teachers from the pool, better longer day, not having her teachers work longer. If the issue is she rattled the cages to bring everyone to the end of a cliff and now it doesn’t make much sense to jump off——–that is a difficult thing to save face. But even this can be overcome with a few of the “no cost” points that teachers seem to really be concerned about.

    YES, YES, YES hold charters accountable. I am charter neutral and am a big fan of holding all parties accountable. While we are at it, we need to hold ALL schools accountable (charter and non charter) for our tax dollars and progress on all students learning. Hope they can figure out that merit pay issue!

  • 37. cpsobsessed  |  August 23, 2012 at 10:53 am

    @patricia, I thought the same thing – fact finder was before the current plan where teachers don’t work as much more as was initially proposed.

    I like the term “charter neutral.”. I am too. But after reading the diane ravitch book, I have to wonder — if reformers are all for charters and data for accountability, why not give the public all the data on the charters. It seems only fair, ESPECIALLY since they state the importance of data in decision-making. They can’t have it both ways.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 38. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 10:58 am

    CPSO. Absolutely, release all the data! For not only charters but all CPS schools. It seems there is a lot of info starting to “get out there”. I especially liked the WBEZ piece yesterday about the HS ACT scores. They included links to data on every HS BOTH charter and non-charter on the same page. That is a step in the right direction. Also, didn’t CPS take the steps to hold some of the under performing charters accountable? That was an eye opener for me because it seems there is legislation red tape to discipline a charter too. Legislators cut deals and pay off favors—which leads to it being very difficult to implement any of their “solutions”.

  • 39. Paul  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:01 am

    @27 WendyK, Yes, but won’t that money be used to pay teachers and buy equipment and supplies to teach the kids in the charter schools? It’s not just sitting in a bank account to be used for the pleasure of fascist profiteer one-percenters is it? 😉

    Also, if the CTU is successful in taking tax money from charters and giving it back to traditional public schools, then won’t we be giving up that additional outside funding that chartes receive? That may be short-sighted. I think everyone with kids in school wants more money in the school system whether it comes from the private sector or not.

  • 40. NBCT Vet  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:02 am

    re: 10 day notice vs. strike dates

    The 10-day notice referenced in the media and the timing of an actual strike are two totally different concepts.

    The House of Delegates yesterday asked the CTU president to give, at a time of the leadership’s choosing, written notice of the Union’s intent to strike .

    This notice is purely a formality. Without this notice, the Union is not legally allowed to strike. Jumping through this legal hoop merely means the Union is following the rules that will allow members the opportunity to strike under the law should it become necessary.

    The 10-day notice has nothing to do with when or if a strike will occur. It has only to do with whether or not a strike is legally allowed after a specified date (at the conclusion of the 10th day after the notice is delivered).

    A strike will occur *only* if and when the 800 members of the House of Delegates vote to set a strike date. Even then it is still possible for the two sides to reach a tentative agreement and postpone or avoid a job action.

  • 41. CPS Parent  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:10 am

    On a more practical note, I have a question about alternative childcare. I am not originally from Chicago, and thus do not know much about the 1987 strikes except what was in the papers. How did employers in the city deal with parents needing to take days off to watch children who did not attend school because of the strike?

    Is the $25M contingency plan supposed to provide all CPS students with adequate care to allow parents to work? What type of back-up child care plans are other parents exploring?

    Thanks for any thoughts.

  • 42. WendyK  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:19 am

    @Paul – I think it’s unclear and that’s part of the problem. There are no provisions outlined for where they put the money. I know it all won’t be spent in this way but one of my friends was working in an UNO school this year as a clinician and she said staff was out regularly bringing grocery bags of food and transit cards to families in the neighborhood to recruit them. If that’s part of the budget, I’d like to see it.

    I am not “against” charter schools, I am against the rapid expansion of them at a time when we’re supposedly broke and there is no rhyme or reason to how they receive money, ie some of them don’t perform very well and have test scores that should put them on the cps closing list.

    CPS put Casals school on the turnaround list this year. It’s a 20 yr old building that we will now pour millions of dollars into? This year their test scores rose by I think 8 and 12% in reading and math and are higher than many schools in their area. They’ll be turned-around in the fall though.

    I know I am changing the subject but these practices are troubling. Charters, contracts, turnarounds have less accountability and CPS often makes decisions that don’t make sense.

    It”s possible some of the outside funders are about to ditch some of the charter schools that aren’t performing like Noble b/c they are catching wind that they aren’t the panacea that they’ve been told. Who knows.

  • 43. WendyK  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:22 am

    @Patricia – I think the fact finder report covered the change from 7.5 hours to 7 hours but didn’t include the interim agreement deal. I also think CTU has stated a bunch that they don’t think that number is realistic – the 14%.

  • 44. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:42 am

    @WendyK. My continually degrading over 40 eyesight can’t find the 7 hours in the fact finder report 😉 I did find the following though “the Board can reduce its costs by correspondingly reducing the length of the school day and/or year. That reduced percentage will then be applied in the formula in Alternative 1 to compute the wage adjustment for the longer school day and year.”

    Since both CPS and CTU kept it status quo in the interim agreement (which really is a win-win solution) AND applying it to the formula from the fact finder as stated above…………tt looks like the teachers get no raise—or owe money because the fact finder accounted for the 18-48% wage increases from the “Great Recession” in the last contract. Yikes! That would hardly seem fair, at least give teachers the 2%.

  • 45. Hmmmm...  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

    “Latest corruption indictments handed down in ‘Operation Cookie Jar’ probe”

    “Of the six public education employees charged, one used a district credit card to buy personal items including alcohol and groceries, totaling $500,000.”

    http://www.wbez.org/news/latest-corruption-indictments-handed-down-operation-cookie-jar-probe-101888

  • 46. mom2  |  August 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Can we get something settled? I am still a bit confused. With the new “longer day” for elementary school teachers and the proposed longer year (with Pulaski Day and Columbus Day at school), is it correct that “on paper”, teachers (not students) will only be required to be at school 2 additional days and no additional hours? I keep hearing this, but want a teacher to tell me if I have that right.
    I know you will find yourselves in the school building more hours than the “on paper” requirement. I know you will find yourselves spending more time in front of the kids than before. However, will you only be required “on paper” to be in the school building the same number of hours and only two extra days?
    I also have heard that teachers are finding that they are spending their lunch/free time watching kids at some of the track E schools.
    But, if that last point was worked out/fixed, am I correct about the required hours and days? If not, where am I incorrect?
    Thanks in advance.

  • 47. window  |  August 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    logistical question: if they vote to give 10 day notice on the strike can they still come to terms and avoid a strike or does that mean that the strike goes on regardless?

  • 48. Mayfair Dad  |  August 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Is Junior on strike? Or on a tropical island with no internet?

  • 49. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Mayfair Dad LOL! Maybe Junior and Agnie and chicagodad are at the negotiation table 🙂 I miss them all.

  • 50. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    #15~Wendy~you put that exactly as I wanted to word it. Thanks!

    I don’t know how the longer day can really go on. Track E schools are a mess and every1 is complaining. Seems like every1 read that same article where it said Rahm took an 11th-hour deal that was weak in which it has students going longer to school than teachers. He agreed to such a weak deal just to get longer day and now many are complaining. and he looks foolish.

    This is not the yr to expand charters. Neighborhood schools should be given proper funds…many have seen decreased funding.

    And ALL schools~traditional/charters should be transparent in where their funding is going.

    I do think they will give the 10 day notice 2moro if CPS/CTU can’t come to some sort of agreement 2day.

  • 51. Mayfair Dad  |  August 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    At the risk of repeating myself, is there a reputable source for statistics on wages and wage increases factoring in the sluggish economy over the past several years? For instance, the US Department of Labor. Many non-union non-teaching work-all-summer types have opined that teachers’ salary demands are out of touch with reality. How can we determine what reality looks like? I doubt most people have seen a 4% raise in this economy – even college educated professionals, some with Masters degrees – but I could be way off base. Since average taxpayers foot the bill for these salaries, shouldn’t any raise be tied to the economy?

  • 52. mom2  |  August 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Mayfair Dad – I agree. People keep talking about what is fair and shouldn’t people that work harder or work more get more money. Of course they SHOULD, but we need to be talking about reality and making the best use of tax payer money for our kids in this economy. It isn’t just about what seems like the nice thing to do. (I wish it was that easy to just give money to anyone that works hard and works a long time and does a good job. I’d be making a whole lot more than I do, that’s for sure).

  • 53. Chi-town Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Apparently a bad economy only affects the private sector – – the public sector seems to be another story

  • 54. northwestsidemom  |  August 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Personally I have a Masters and work in Social Services with developmentally disabled adults – we have not had raises in 5 years because of dismal state funding and various cuts and it looks like this will be year 6. Prior to that our raises were always 3% or less. I am all for the teachers being paid fairly and feel that they are enormously important but at this point I just don’t see how anyone can be asking for high percentage raises and realistically expect to get them.

    I also do not know how I would deal with my two boys NOT being in school if there really is something against the idea of families crossing a picket line. I want to be supportive to the teachers and hate the thought of them thinking I am not simply because I am taking my kids to “school” during a strike – it would be because I have no other options! My husband and I both work full time and we do not have family members nearby to watch them. What to do??

  • 55. Paul  |  August 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I’m trying to think through the CTUs way of improving schools. If the CTU had their way, the following changes would occur: 1) teachers would get significant raises, 2) more teachers would be hired, 3) teachers that were laid off for economic reasons over the last few years would be rehired, 4) the school day would be shortened, 5) the school year would be shortened, 6) charter schools would be defunded and/or closed, 7) regular public schools would never be closed for performance or underenrollment, 8) teachers would get raises for experience and level of education but not for performance, 9) teachers would get more prep time during the day, 10) teachers would get more professional development throughout the year, 11) all schools would be guaranteed certain facilities, like a library, playgrounds, etc., 12) high-stakes testing would be discontinued, 13) neither teachers nor schools would be held accountable for student performance based on standardized test scores, 14) all schools would be guaranteed certain additional staff, such as social workers, assistants, etc., 15) additional money would come into the school system that were going to TIFs, charter schools, contract schools, and elsewhere, 16) teachers would be treated with respect, in the form of high pay and benefits, 17) no schools would ever be “turned around” or otherwise disrupted because of low test scores, 18) CPS would fully fund their pensions, and 19) CPS would pay more for health plan costs rather than passing them on to teachers.

    I think that’s all possible through significant property tax, sales tax, and state income tax increases. Parents who could afford it could make up for the short day and short year by supplementing their child’s education elsewhere. If we forget about the current economic situation, the government’s fiscal situation, and the decline in student enrollment in CPS, it makes a lot of sense. It protects and respects the economic standing of teachers. It acknowledges that teachers are not completely responsible for the educational outcomes of their students. It stabilizes school communities, and it guarantees more staff and facilities at all schools. It also protects against any strike or disruption like the one we’re currently risking.

  • 56. DZV  |  August 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    This is the first time I’m posting, but I have been reading people’s posts for several months now…
    I taught for CPS years ago and upon having my children, I’ve decided to return to teaching. This past year has been volatile and depressing working in the district. More and more resources and supports are being pulled while teachers are asked to do more and more.
    The only description I can give as to what is going on is to compare teaching in CPS to a horrible episode of “Iron Chef”. The fast pace, running back and forth, grabbing ingredients trying to make a gourmet meal. Except CPS’s ingredients are sub-standard, the utensils are broken or unavailable, and there is no sous chefs around to give you a hand. You’re all on your own. And the judges are sitting there scowling at you because you’re not producing.
    I love my students, I see their possibilities, I want the world for them, but I just can’t do it all because there are so many of them, all really truly needy. Not to mention the fact, I’m being pulled in so many other directions: the administration, the Board, the testing, and so on.

  • 57. RL Julia  |  August 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I would gather that most/many teachers are striking for a better, more reasonable working environment first and pay second. While everyone welcomes more money in their personal pocket, let’s face it, the day to day reality of CPS teacher’s work life is constantly being told to make gold out of straw and then be berated when they ask for a shovel. Most of the teacher’s I know would be happy if they had smaller classes, relevant PD, prep periods where they actually could prep (not meet with students, proctor recess/lunch etc…), had a budget for their classroom spending. The proposed raise is really just icing to a huge dysfunctional cake.

  • 58. why can't we just get along.  |  August 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    How is it that charter school teachers, who make 10K to 20K LESS that public school teachers, school hours are 8:30 to 4 monday thru thurs. till 1 on friday but they have meetings on friday till 4 and work from august to july do it and public can’t. And there are some good ones with good scores. Just a question and not trying to be bitchy about it

  • 59. MSS  |  August 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    @mom2

    Yes Roman Polanski and Chrissy Colombus days will be school. But also 4 end of quarter days and 6 Staff development days. So 12 more days of instruction. Correct me if i’m mistaken.

    Aside from the issue of percentage raises, what I took away from yesterdays meeting is that we don’t want merit pay. CPS wants a four year contract, with the first two being at 2% and then a merit pay system. It’s a scheme. Their negotiators don’t have answers to how it will work, and neither do principals.

    So we’re looking at two years with no raise followed by CPS’ idea of tying pay to “performance”. My bosses don’t observe me nearly enough to judge my performance, nor do we teachers need to be at the mercy of uninformed speculation. In the burbs teachers don’t have merit pay and their is an appeals process to their ratings. As we stated yesterday evening: HELL NO

  • 60. DZV  |  August 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    @MMS
    Don’t forget report card pick up days!
    Also, I see the longer day as being a flop based on the amount of unfilled “enrichement” positions that have not been filled for Track E or R schools.
    Which means the majority of our students are just getting a longer day, not a more meaningful day.
    I don’t even know what our school is going to do with the longer day. I don’t see our extra position filled either.
    I can’t exactly see my prinicpal really observing all of us long enough either for merit pay.
    Maybe would I allow it if I could evaluate Brizard and the whole school board and base their pay on merit?

  • 61. Mayfair Dad  |  August 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    @ Paul 55: I gave your very thoughtful post a read and here’s the take-away. In your scenario:

    – City dwellers will pay more taxes.
    – City public school system will still suck.

    There must be accountability. There must be a fair system to reward highly competent and motivated teachers, and flush the incompetent and unmotivated imposters from the profession. That would be in the best interest of the children, but not best for the lowest performing teachers who rely on union work rules to protect their jobs.

    By the way, I think the merit pay scheme proposed by CPS is too reliant on high stakes testing. Surely a few certificate 75 masters degreed, national board certified educators could devise a better scheme. So let’s hear it, instead of a flat “NO” to merit pay.

  • 62. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    @59 MSS and Mom2 Below is how I map out the change in calendar and have posted on different threads because it keeps coming up. All I see is 2 arguably superfluous holidays eliminated. Feel free to correct me if I am incorrect. Also, wasn’t CPS in violation of number of days per state law or whatever they call it? This change to 180 just seems to get it back to where it should be anyway. Correcting a violation of the past.

    Regarding the calendar and 10 additional “student” days of attendance. It seems to again be an issue of “teacher time” vs. “student time.” It is 10 more days for the students, but not for the teachers. When comparing the 2011-12 to 2012-13 calendars I get the following:

    Holidays = 10 old; 8 new
    Teacher Institute = 5 old; 4 new
    Professional Dev = 3 old; 6 new
    Staff Dev = 5 old; 0 new

    A loss of the 2 holidays of Columbus and Pulaski. More PD time and it takes place when students are not in school anyway. One less teacher institute day (now aligned to when quarters end). Staff development now takes place ongoing during the year instead of full days of student non attendance.

  • 63. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    @61 Mayfair Dad. I am in complete agreement about accountability. It has to happen. There has to be a way to let the good teachers be treated differently than the bad or mediocre.

    I have said this before, you ask any school community which teachers should go and it will accurately identify the weak links. Survey the principals, teachers, students and parents even add the other non teaching staff and there will be a cross section of agreement. It is no secret who needs to go and who needs to step up their game and who needs more PD. The stumbling block seems to be resistance to getting to this fact.

  • 64. Old Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    @58 – Charter teachers are paid less but their students are “selected” and their students can be asked to leave if they don’t behave, live up to academic standards, or pay (disciplinary fines.) They are given the supplies they need, when they need them, instead of buying them themselves. Their classrooms are not crumbling around them and they actually have current technology in them. They have gyms, lunchrooms and playgrounds and a guaranteed budget that seems to increase every year instead of being cut. Oh, and if they manage to save some of their salary they could always invest in the stocks of the companies who own their school and possibly share in the wealth. 🙂

  • 65. increible  |  August 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    How does anyone truly believe there isn’t $? Really? 41% of budget goes to teachers’ salaries?
    Really? Good God, how does one possibly side with an unelected Board and have a clear conscience? ??

  • 66. DZV  |  August 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    @62
    We received our Track R schedules per the CPS Talent Website and teachers are now working 208 days versus previous 203 days (I’d love to send the link, but you need an employee login). If students are in school for 180 days as per your count, then teachers are in school for an extra 28 days.
    In the suburbs students average 175 days, which is what my own children have. They also have a 6.5 hour day with a 45 minute lunch/recess period. They also have 2 P.E. days, 2 computer days, 1 art, 1 library, and 1 music day per week. I don’t see CPS coming anywhere near that as far as enriching their students.

  • 67. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    @DZV Are you including the spring and winter breaks? This added to the holidays you still get would get to about the 208.

  • 68. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    @DZV or perhaps it means you are paid for 208 days, but work on site for 180? Not sure because I do no see what you are seeing, but there is no way this blog or the press missed an extra 28 days.

  • 69. DZV  |  August 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    You’re right Patricia, but it’s still up 5 days compared to last year.
    I don’t understand how other districts manage their holidays ( my children have Columbus and Pulaski). They have a full enriched day, but CPS can’t pull it off.
    CPS is notorious for not paying attention to anyone else except themselves. They’re always reinventing the wheel. You’d think they’d look to other successful districts and schools and try to model after that, but NO, they all live in their own little world.

  • 70. mom2  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    MSS and DZV – I asked how many extra days teachers must be in the school building. I didn’t ask how many extra days teachers must be in front of students.

    If Patricia is correct, and it is really only 2 extra days, I would like to think that most educated teachers would agree that asking for any raise for only 2 extra days (after having had huge increases/raises over the last several years in a horrible economy) is asking too much. If CPS still offers anything, even 1 or 2 percent, you are way ahead of most people in this country.

    If there is this secret money that “increible” above seems to think there is, it should be used for things that benefit students and teachers – playgrounds, gyms, libraries, books, supplies, room air conditioners or whatever – not take home pay – not now.
    However, if we all suddenly found billions of dollars and we had to spend it on salaries and nothing else, I’m all for giving it to teachers and others that work at my kids schools. Almost all of them are wonderful and deserve it.

    If we really don’t have the money, someone said before that there were things that CTU wants that don’t involve money. But they never said what they are. What are they? If they help the kids and create a better work environment for everyone, we should do it and do it now!

    As far as merit pay goes, I would think if we could find a method that is close to accurate, with some objectivity and some subjectivity in the plan, it would be great for most teachers I know. There are just those few that would have to re-focus, re-energize and get back to teaching. Most of you would be better off, not worse.

    If we can’t find a plan that works right now, I’m all for waiting a year and trying to find a plan that works for next year. Let’s just get the kids in school, with the longer day and more teachers for gym, music, art, etc. If we can, find some money to improve the school facilities and move on.

  • 71. really  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    59 – Roman Polanski? Wow…how do you celebrate that day?

  • 72. junior  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    @48 MFD
    Yes, I am on strike until further notice. I am demanding the following from future blog posters:

    –14% increase in wonkishness
    –32% increase in humor
    –57% increase in accuracy
    –36% decrease in whining and self-pity
    –64% decrease in rambling
    –20% increase in snarky, personal, but entertaining attacks on those who deserve it.

    In addition, I think CPSO should double my salary. Because I am now am taking my lunch break in the middle of posting to CPSO, that means I am working much longer.

  • 73. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    @70 Mom2. Very rational approach and great questions. I too would like a list of non monetary negotiation points.

    @64 Old Mom. I have to admit that when I read your post the thing that came to mind was, “wow, it looks like charters are much better at managing their budgets, teachers, students and schools than many other cps schools.” From this lenz I can see why there is a push to open more.

  • 74. why can't we just get along.  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    @64. Thank you, that does help a bit. I do know with the supplies, they do have to write a check and the teacher goes and buys them. Also kids are ‘selected’ the same way that magnet schools select there students, with magnets being public school. I actually think there is a true, pick out of the hat lottery and no tier or proximity. I guess having a corporate backing helps with the budget, I just don’t get how they can do it.

  • 75. why can't we just get along.  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    @64 parents have to write a check for supplies.

    @74, agreed, should have gone charter….

  • 76. DZV  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    @ 70
    The school year is now 10 days longer, so right there, teachers are working an extra 2 weeks.
    Report card pick up days were non-attendance days for students, but now they are in school for 5 hours and teachers have to stay an additional 5 hours (there are two of those).
    Columus and Pulaski days were paid holidays, now they are not (don’t get on me about how most of the world works these…bankers, postal workers, and most government employees get those off).
    So in essence, that’s almost 14 more days.

  • 77. mom2  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Nice to hear from you, junior. Now back to work or we will have to pay you something 🙂

  • 78. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    bargaining update
    http://www.ctunet.com/blog/excerpt/Contract_Bargaining_Update_8_22_2012.pdf

  • 79. Mayfair Dad  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Whew. I was worried you were being held hostage by CTU thugs but then I thought “who in their right mind would pay ransom for junior?”

  • 80. junior  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    @76 DZV
    You crossed junior’s picket line with that?

    F in math.

  • 81. junior  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    @79
    I know a few … uh, maybe… if the ransom were less than a buck.

  • 82. karet  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I heard from a teacher/friend that if there is a strike, schools will all be open and principals are required to be there. If parents drop kids off, he/she must supervise them. Is this true?

  • 83. DZV  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    @80
    I crossed your picket line?
    You don’t like what I said?

  • 84. City Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Something that has been troubling me. . .Does anybody know if the 477 positions created by the Interim Agreement are guaranteed for the length for the contract? Since we’re already draining the reserve funds, is there anything to stop these positions from being cut next year or further down the road? (I know there are problems trying to fill these positions, but assuming we ever do get them filled. . .)

  • 85. Chris  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    “bargaining update”

    If that’s actually a comprehensive look at the CTU’s “asks”, then the *only* think I see that isn’t comp/head count related is class size, and that’s really head count related, too.

    My take away from that document–which may well not be a complete representation–is that the CTU’s PR about “we’re negotiating for a better day” is just PR BS.

  • 86. junior  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    @83
    I can’t reply because I’m on strike, but harassment for crossing picket lines will continue. 🙂

  • 87. DZV  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    @84
    The positions are only for this first semester (as you can read on the CTU website). There is no guarantee that any of these positions will be around after January or longer.
    Also, if CPS has no money and is draining it’s reserves, how did it apporve a $25 million dollar budget for feeding and babysitting students if the teachers go on strike?
    Where is this money coming from?
    Rod Estevan (Access Living) quotes on another site…”CPS has zero legal obligation to provide these services to children in the event of a strike. In this instance, CPS, which has declared itself in a dire fiscal condition, cuts staffing for students with autism by 4.5%, has no money to pay sign on bonuses to fill the over 300 empty special education positions, and cannot even maintain a reserve fund until the end of FY 15, comes up suddenly with $25 million.”

    http://www.chicagonow.com/district-299-chicago-public-schools-blog/2012/08/inching-closer-still-not-there/#image/1

  • 88. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    @78 Soxsideirish4. Thanks for the link.

    I just skimmed it. My initial reaction is, can CPS do a management lockout? Then I realize I am a mom and my kids would not have school.

    I do think the duty free lunch and preps need to be protected and enforced.

    The job protection is frightening. So they have to hire ALL displaced teachers before considering any new hires. NO WAY!

    They are complaining about changes to the archaic sick pay system. Now at least teachers would get maternity/short term disability, but they want to nix that too?

    I just laugh at the expectation to fully pay for healthcare increases.

    2% per year……………..very generous given the status quo hours, budget crisis and nonexistent raises elsewhere in the economy.

    Yep, looks like a strike. Time to join Junior on his picket line 🙂

  • 89. City Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    @87 That’s what I was afraid of. So the CTU agreed to a 7 hour day for our kids and only negotiated a half-year’s worth of support? So much for a better day. Sigh. . .

  • 90. Chris  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Patricia: “I just skimmed it. My initial reaction is, can CPS do a management lockout?”

    I won’t even go that far (even in jest), but why is anyone buying CTU’s line about their first priority being “a better day (for the kids)”, when their aska are *ALL* about union headcount, compensation and a better day *for the teachers*??

  • 91. Paul  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    @61, Yes, it doesn’t look good for the city’s schools. We’re off to the ‘burbs next year. But, we’re gonna ride it out this year. It’s like watching a car wreck. I can’t take my eyes away from it.

  • 92. Mayfair Dad  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    What do we want? School for our kids!
    When do we want it? September 4th!
    What do we want? School for our kids!
    When do we want it? September 4th!

  • 93. junior  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    $25 million is a drop in the bucket when teacher salaries/benefits make up more than half of the $5 billion CPS budget. Anything that provides leverage in negotiating a more favorable CPS contract over the next four years of time can easily pay for itself many times over. We’re talking about roughly 0.1% of the expenditures over the next four years, and the $25 million wouldn’t necessarily be spent — it’s probably meant more like a “we mean business” show of force.

    It’s just like CTU spending money to print 30,000 strike picket signs. Both sides feel that the money spent on posturing and brinksmanship at this stage is a good investment in making the other side move off their positions.

    I’m going back to my strike to protest all the trees that were killed in this process!

  • 94. Danaidh  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Here is a comparison of the previous and current calendars for teachers.

    Days of… Previous New
    Student attendance 170 180
    Teacher Institute 4 4
    Professional development 3 6
    Staff development 4 0
    RC Pickup/Conference 2 0
    Subtotal–come to work 183 190
    Paid holidays 10 8
    Paid vacation 10 10
    Total 203 208

    Each day is approximately 1/2% of salary. With the conversion of two paid holidays to work days, teachers now have to come into work seven more days than they did last year. As far as I am concerned, the Board should compensate me 3-1/2% just for the new calendar. That doesn’t include any raises or cost of living adjustments. It’s simply the cost for providing 7 days more labor.

  • 95. junior  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    My post @93 was a response to @87 DZV

  • 96. junior  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    @94

    How about the board just pays you the average national salary for working the average national hours?

  • 97. mom2  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I looked at the things on the table. Explain how they can possibly say what they want is a better day for the kids? I agree that if we already promised duty free lunch and preps, we need to make that work. I also agree on limiting class size or at least student to teacher ratio That is a good use of money. Making sure the school is staffed with nurses, aids, and others to help with IEPs makes sense. I just really have an issue with wanting more money, no increase in health insurance, hiring all displaced teachers before you can hire anyone else (even if they are a much better candidate for our kids), and having job security beyond the already crazy job security they have now. I just can’t agree with striking over this list. All of the other stuff is not “best for the kids.” Admit what is really wanted is much more selfish.

  • 98. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    “I spoke to a friend who is a teacher yesterday. She said the date for the Strike would be Sept 18, it had something to do with new teachers getting their first paycheck so that healthcare benefits were in place. She sounded like a strike is a near certainty.”

    No strike date has been set yet. So I’m not sure where this information has come from.

    The insurance is paid based on being employed on the first of the month.

  • 99. karet  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    @51 (Mayfair Dad):

    This article give a pretty good sense of the raises that workers have been getting over the last few years (these are national averages):

    2010: 2.7%
    2011: 2.9%
    2012: 3% (expected)

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/07/27/pf/employee_pay/index.htm

  • 100. Old Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    @94 “How about the board just pays you the average national salary for working the average national hours?”

    With the average national working conditions, average national amount of supplies and average national student population? Might be doable then. But, that’s not what the average CPS teacher deals with.

  • 101. DZV  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    @89
    I agree with you. That just made no sense on both sides. I can see why these positions aren’t being filled and a lot of schools are in chaos. What displaced or other prospect would want a job until January. Since these positions aren’t part of the contract, you can bet CPS will get rid of them as fast as they can.
    I personally think it was shoddy on both sides and I have no idea who came up with it: CPS just wanted the longer day, so they agreed to it. CTU wanted teachers hired back and probably wanted to see how the “longer day” would work out.
    It hasn’t worked and it’s the kids once again getting the shaft: “Club time” for an hour with no engaged learning. Recess for over a hundred with inadequate supervision (dangerous).
    This is sad on both sides.

  • 102. Danaidh  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Okay, the calendar information above looks a lot better in my Excel worksheet than what got published here. The data is supposed to be arranged in three columns.

    Re: something Patricia wrote @62
    “Also, wasn’t CPS in violation of number of days per state law or whatever they call it? ”

    No, that’s not true.

    In 2004 15 minutes were added to the school day, but only 8 of them were “instructional” minutes. The state requires 300 minutes (5 hours) instruction per day. Chicago was offering 308 minutes.

    Because CPS wanted extra staff development time, they “banked” the 8 additional minutes. It came out to about 4-1/2 days. (My arithmetic here is 170 school days x 8 minutes, and then dividing the product by 300 minutes.) CPS asked the state for permission to use those four days for staff development (in addition to the 4 teacher institute and 3 professional development days they already had).

    The state agreed and CPS was in compliance with the law. (The minimum number of attendance days is 174 or 176 depending on how report card pickup is handled.) As far as the state was concerned, CPS taught the equivalent of 174 days in its 170 day calendar because of that 8 “extra” minutes of instruction per day.

    btw–The state funding formulae are set for the minimum. School districts don’t get one extra cent for either a longer day or longer year. That’s why most districts in the state are at the minimum. Any district above that is paying for the extra time from local funds.

  • 103. mom2  |  August 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Just getting tired here – if teachers really won’t work an extra week without wanting a 19% increase in pay, how about if each school has one week of cultural activities or something like that? Kick out the teachers. Bring in entertainers, speakers, movies, etc. It doesn’t have to be a whole week at a time. One day here, one day there per school. I know the last week of school is a waste of time already. Many teachers stop teaching the week before that anyway. (Hey, maybe we could pay less on the last week since it is really just movies, parties, read to yourself type activities). Gotta be cheaper and maybe even more interesting than paying all teachers 19% more. OK, just letting off steam.

  • 104. Chris  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    “paying all teachers 19% more”

    But mom2, it’s not about the money. If CPS just agrees to everything else in that update (@78, above–thx again SSI), then CTU will agree to the 2% raises, right?

    And, if CTU gets *every* ask in that list (except the raise), can someone help me work out what benefits the kids get:

    1. possibly smaller classes; definitely a cap on class size. (which would likely result in more busing and some kids with bigger classes)
    2. more nurses/counselors.
    3. ??? (help!)

  • 105. DZV  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    @103
    That sounds like a great idea. Parent can volunteer to come in and read books, show movies, talk about their careers. I’m sure you’ll be the first in line to volunteer your time.

  • 106. DZV  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Parents can volunteer. Typo

  • 107. Tchr  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Patricia, I noticed that among your teacher bashing, you missed/ignored my comment about how yes, my day is longer.

    Please stop spurting misinformed lies.

    Please come visit my classroom and see for yourself.

  • 108. Chris  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    “Parents can volunteer to come in and read books, show movies, talk about their careers.”

    Isn’t banning that one of CTU’s asks?

    From page 3 of the bargaining update:

    “a protection from bargaining unit members losing work due to ‘volunteers,’”

  • 109. Mayfair Dad  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    @ 99: nice find. A little higher than I thought but at least its a starting point based on data, not rancor over broken promises.

  • 110. WendyK  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    @103 – teachers are not asking for a 19% pay increase. I have heard the ctu leadership say repeatedly that they know the cps can’t afford the 14% the fact-finder recommended. I am not saying that the ctu can’t give in in certain areas, but I think it’s false to keep promoting this idea that teachers expect this size of a raise.

    Re: funding, I don’t know what the right amount for a teachers’ salary is in Chicago but I do know we have a demoralized workforce that’s under the microscope like no other profession, pretty lousy working conditions in many of our schools, and we can’t really compare this to the private sector where apparently, people are allowed to spend time on the computer commenting on how lazy other people in other professions are much of the day. No offense, but teachers don’t get to sit at their desk and blog about lazy police officers or lazy dentists. And we have neighborhoods where a lot of experienced teachers don’t want to teach – because they’re unsafe, have a lot of “level 3” schools that could be closed at any minute. So I think this idea of kicking out “bad” teachers is pretty complicated.

    Can the CPS afford 4%? Who knows. Perhaps they can cut a little from the $300 million office of Assessment instead of adding a new high-stakes test every year. Perhaps they can increase funding to charters by $45 million this year and not $76 million. It’s all about what the district sees as a priority. We don’t have enough money imo to provide the education all kids in Chicago need (that’s why I’m starting to work on a graduated income tax campaign) but that doesn’t mean we can’t “afford” one piece in the budget puzzle.

    Re: charters, I am hearing that the charter teacher retention rate is very low. I don’t know the stats. But now charters are getting unionized so who knows what will happen with the salaries.

  • 111. MSS  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    There must be a fair system to reward highly competent and motivated teachers, and flush the incompetent and unmotivated imposters from the profession.

    There must be – maybe go check out what they do in whiter districts

    Survey the principals, teachers, students and parents even add the other non teaching staff and there will be a cross section of agreement

    Who conducts it? It’s done for every teacher? Every year? What is the appeals process?

    if we could find a method that is close to accurate, with some objectivity and some subjectivity in the plan

    What????

    We’re off to the ‘burbs next year.

    Sounds about right. Teachers there are SOOOOO accountable

    @71 Someone asked me once why we celebrate Roman Polanski Day here in Chicago – I was shocked

  • 112. Chris  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    WendyK: “teachers are not asking for a 19% pay increase.”

    Look at page 1 of the “Bargaining Update”; it says: “Union’s last proposal was made during fact finding for 19% and 3%.”

    Until they make a different proposal, that’s still their ask.

  • 113. CPS Teacher  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    @103…We tried for years to work until the end of the school year, but grades are sometimes due almost a full two weeks before classes ended. Have you any idea how low attendance rates are at some schools during that time? I HATE working that week, entertaining kids is not my job. Sounds like you don’t mind if you child is just entertained.

    @110 WendyK…thank you for your informed posts.

    Interesting read.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kenzo-shibata/the-battle-of-chicago-tea_b_1812729.html

  • 114. DZV  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    @108
    That was my response to 104’s “kicking teachers out” and bringing in entertainers.
    @104 Remember, school’s need certified staff. When speakers, entertainers or such are in our classrooms, a certified teacher needs to be present in the room per state law.

  • 115. CPS Parent and counselor  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Yes, thank you, Wendy.

  • 116. Chris  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    “That was my response to 104′s “kicking teachers out” and bringing in entertainers.”

    I realize it was sarcasm. Still making the point about the current “ask” list.

  • 117. CarolA  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    When I asked some of my classroom parents last year what they thought about the longer school day proposal they said they love the idea. When I asked why they love it….was it because their child would be getting more education or was it because they’d be off the street and taken care of… they overwhelming said……….to be off the street. So I guess some parents wouldn’t mind if entertainers came in. Sad.

  • 118. ISupportMyTeachers  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    I, for one, am supporting our teachers.

    I think it may be because I worked as a volunteer for one summer (long, long ago) in a high school in Pilsen serving low-income kids who had to leave CPS due to gang issues, drugs, pregnancy, etc.

    It was, by far, the hardest summer of my entire life. I was never more emotionally or physically drained. No job has ever had the kind of importance this job had. Our student’s very lives were at stake. Kids had to worry about being killed. Kids had to worry about kids of their own. We had to worry about them while we tried to teach them basic subjects they’d need to function in the world. Oh. And my life was at stake, too, as one student drew a knife on me and another was on crack and out of control.

    After that summer, I cannot even begin to imagine what it’s like to be in a situation such as that year-round or Track R for that matter.

    And there’s no amount of money in the world that could get me to go back to that job — even though it is the most important job out there.

    In my safe little desk job, I would not want others telling me what I should or shouldn’t be paid at my job or what hours I should or should not be willing to work. Do you?

    I find it shocking that so many parents think they know better than the people doing the job every single day — for years and years.

    Remember, most parents on this board have kids that go to magnet, SE or the very best neighborhood schools.

    If you feel so strongly that you know better than your children’s teachers, please spend one single day in an “average” CPS school, with no air conditioning, no supplies, kids that threaten you, parents that are nonexistent, and a school board consisting of private school parents and wealthy people with hidden agendas that doesn’t have your backs.

    I hope there is no strike. But I will support my teachers if there is one.

  • 119. Chris  |  August 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    CarolA–

    That stinks. Gotta have parents at least partly engaged in their kids education for it to work for teh “typical” kid. It is definitely sad.

  • 120. DZV  |  August 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I agree with Carol IA. A large handful of my students average 60-90 days of absence. There is no truant officer to go and check up on them. Many of the parents in my school only care about what their kids “get for free”, not what’s going on with their education.
    It’s sad there are parents that are more worried about their kids being off the streets more than their education.

  • 121. Old Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    @118. ISupportMyTeachers
    Thank you. I completely agree.

    It would be very easy for me to look our family’s school, one of “the best in CPS”, and think well, a few more days a year what are they complaining about? I haven’t gotten a raise in years, yada, yada yada. But, when I asked my child after their first day at this school what they thought about it, this was the conversation we had:

    “So, what do you think of your new school.”

    “You should call me Charlie, Mom.”

    “Why should should I call you Charlie?”

    “Because I think I got one of the golden tickets.”

    If a six year old can see the disparity, why is is so hard for us to see it? For every supposed teacher “phoning it in” there are so many who work in the conditions described in the post above, and who give everything they’ve got. I’ve been in my child’s classroom, which is filled with resources, high-scoring kids and involved parents, and there is no way I could get through a week of what their teacher does in the “best” of CPS conditions.

  • 122. Chris  |  August 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    “It’s sad there are parents that are more worried about their kids being off the streets more than their education.”

    Heirarchy of needs. The kids need to be safe and fed before they can worry about stuff like book learnin’.

    Can’t really hold that against the parents, tho it’s more than fair to ask them “if you want them in school to be safe, why don’t you *at least* get them here everyday?”

  • 123. mom2  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Just to be clear, I want my children being taught by teachers every day. I think what teachers do every day is very hard and I greatly admire and respect them. I know they put in long hours planning lessons and work at night, weekends and over the summer.
    I would much rather teachers be there to teach my children every day and give it their all.

    I also realize that the reason they don’t teach near the end of school is because grades have to be turned in early (which makes no sense to me). I don’t want my child entertained rather than being taught. I was just trying to find a way around this argument of need to be paid more or you can’t work an extra week. Sometimes kids learn a lot from seeing shows or listening to presentations and having discussions with business people, etc. I would be willing to volunteer, but I would rather the kids just have another week of school with real education and not parties and movies like happens now. (Guess that can’t happen because teachers must be there even though they won’t if they don’t get paid more)

    So, you see I am on the side of teachers. I think that most of them have one of the hardest and yet most rewarding jobs around. There are a few that have lost that fire, but that’s another topic.

    However, I really don’t believe that what they are asking for in their negotiations is reasonable considering the state of our city and CPS and the economy. Just because people would rather have tax payer money used to improve facilities, offer supplies, and only do things that directly benefits the kids and just because parents like the idea of choice with charter schools doesn’t mean they are against teachers or don’t respect or value them.

    It drives me crazy when people cannot separate money and respect and admiration.

  • 124. CarolA  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    @122: That question could start WW3! Believe me, I had a parent whose child was always late or absent and I talked to her about it. I don’t dare post her response to me. Some inappropriate language was used (by her in front of her child) and she basically told me to mind my own business. I said her child was my business. It didn’t go well after that.

  • 125. Paul  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Thinking through how CPS and the emperor Rahm and his trusty corporate hack Brizard (still getting into strike mode) would like to improve schools. If CPS leaders had their way, they would improve schools this way: 1) lengthen the school day, 2) lengthen the school year, 3) give teachers lower raises and make them pay more for their healthcare, 4) move to a merit pay system where parts of a teacher’s raise is dependent on the test scores adjusted for socio-economic and other factors (value-added), 5) close or turnaround schools that are the lowest-performing or underenrolled, 6) expand charter schools into areas with high demand, 7) enhance curriculum through the common core curriculum being adopted across the country, 8) give principals more autonomy, 9) require recess and a longer lunch so students get a rest, 10) require a break for teachers so they get a rest, 11) add programs like IB and STEM, and 12) hold teachers and schools accountable with a variety of different types of tests.

    I can see all that happening if the teachers union and/or parents get on board. It could possibly build public support for public schools. It could bring in more private sector money and foundations through charter schools. It would provide more choice of schools to parents. It would result in change, i.e. instability. Schools that don’t perform well would be closed. Teachers that don’t perform well could be fired or would get low or no raises. If a better curriculum and more instruction proves to improve educational outcomes, which seems to make sense, then it could be called a successful reform.

  • 126. Old Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Why should we separate money and respect and admiration? In other portions of society, when someone does a job that we could not do, and we admire them, they are paid well. Why is it so hard for this country (especially lately) to embrace that idea for teachers? If we won’t show them respect by giving them decent working conditions, realistic expectations for their outcomes and the supplies needed to achieve them, why shouldn’t they bargain for the only thing left to show them some respect? Why aren’t people pissed at Rahm, the board, and CPS for making their kids possibly miss school? Just because the teachers might have to make that call, I don’t think the blame is all theirs. Rahm (and friends) started putting the pieces into play a long time ago that have gotten all of us into this mess. Maybe I’m naive, but I believe there are more teachers that have our children’s best interests at heart, than politicians, charter CEO’s, or discretely financed “stand for” groups. It’s easier to stand on a podium and declare that you’re there to protect a child from getting shafted, than to stand in front of them and teach them.

    I’m just asking, in order to start a real conversation, not criticize.

  • 127. TeachingintheChi  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Stop bitching about the charters. CPS is the problem.

  • 128. CPS Teacher  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    “So, you see I am on the side of teachers. ” Yes, you definitely seem to support teachers.

    I am fortunate enough to work at one of the top schools in the city. But, I spent several years at very low performing, challenging school. The kids, although street tough and soooo hard to work with, were not the problems. The problems were the crazy admin, out of touch network and parents who had no clue that I wasn’t just a daycare provider. That being said, although I love my school, and am happy with what I am earning (at the moment), I will walk with my fellow teachers because all students deserve a better choice. And those choices shouldn’t involve corporate takeover for capital greed.

  • 129. cpsobsessed  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    CPS teacher, that is really why you support a strike? Because you view charters only as corporate entities with profit as the only goal, with no other reason for being?
    “Charter neutral” here, but that seems like labelling them as more one sided than they really are. If one wanted to just make $ in this day and age, there’s gotta be better ways to do it than opening a charter school.
    Are there charter companies for-profit? I didn’t think they were.
    Do they have literally NO other agenda than to earn money?
    That seems like an extreme view to me.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 130. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    @126~Old Mom~The things being negotiated are the things that were on the table in February but Rahm thought SB7 would take care of everything. I am pissed ~at Rahm & CPS. This whole LONGEST day pisses me off…track e is having a hard time~teachers/parents & students are complaining. CPS still hasn’t released data for track e first day~heard the #s were down. Kids from charters have already left and have gone to track e~some will start track r on Sept. 4th.

  • 131. HS Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Chris – I agree that the “better day” is CTU hype. Everyone wants a “better day” thats why it was extended – not as a means to punish teachers. I thought schools submitted plans to work out how they would most benefit. Kids do need test prep. Some schools think the tests are way easy and others struggle. Something needs to be done. Some schools need an art program and others don’t. CPSO mentions that she would not like to spend evenings teaching/learning math. I second that.

    Paul – love your list of ctu visions. Is there even one that we can afford? Cop out moving to the suburbs just when it starts to get dicey. Good luck with that 😉

    I agree that teachers are disheartened. Parents are too. Every year I see school spirit get lower. School functions, parties and celebrations cancelled. @118 I would love to see teachers given the pot of money and decide for themselves who gets what.

    Lastly, speaking of alum – copy editor/CPS depressed – If you are still out there. I thought your decision to turn down SEHS and go private was risky. Now, wondering if you might have a drink on us! Cheers!

  • 132. CPS Parent and Counselor  |  August 23, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    ISupportMyTeachers, Old Mom, RL Julia, Jef Park Mom (and any I might have left out) — I just want to say thank you for your thoughtful and supportive words. I know I’m not the only one who appreciates them. Your words mean a great deal.

  • 133. CarolA  |  August 23, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Count me in on that appreciation thank you.

  • 134. CPS Teacher  |  August 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    CPSO….yes, rereading my post, I realize that my view does seem extreme. But right now, with everyone talking about the lack of funding in Chicago, it seems wrong to put money into them when neighborhood schools are begging for money. I just would like charters to post the data to see what they really are about. What do we have that is solid to judge them on?

    I think I am seriously just worn down by all of this bad publicity and teachers just being cut down after spending my summer working on projects and unit plans for my kids. The directives that have come down from the board to the schools over the last five years have been absolutely crazy. It gets exhausting. I have worked in private industry and never dealt with anything like this.

  • 135. Paul  |  August 23, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I appreciate teachers. My kids have had awesome CPS teachers. I’m amazed at what they can accomplish. I’m convinced they use some kind of magic spell to control their classrooms so they can teach all their kids. It’s really impressive. I’m sure that parents in private schools, catholic schools, and charter schools appreciate their teachers as well.

    I also appreciate police officers that risk their lives every day. I appreciate firefighters. I appreciate the CTA employees that bring me to work every day. I appreciate soldiers that fight oversees and their families that sacrifice. I appreciate the city’s social workers. I appreciate the real estate agents that work to sell my condo and find me a house in the ‘burbs. I appreciate all the parent volunteers at my school. I appreciate the volunteers at my condo association. I appreciate the streets and sanitation workers that clean the streets and keep the sewers flowing. I appreciate our car mechanic who is honest and keeps our car running. I appreciate my coworkers who work crazy hours and do a great job. I appreciate my kids’ sports coaches and instructors that do such a great job. I appreciate all the people at our church that work and volunteer there. I appreciate all the hospital employees that have taken care of me, my wife, and my kids from time to time. Those nurses were always nice and went out of their way to make us feel comfortable.

    If I could afford big fat tips and higher salaries for all of them, I’d fully support it. And, I’d hope that somebody would express their appreciation for me financially as well. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten lower raises than the average teacher every year for the last four years. And, I think there are a lot of people in my boat. We just had a pretty big recession.

  • 136. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Paul, your two posts and #125 #55 are a very interesting way to look at the negotiations. I copied them below.

    @ Paul your post from #55.
    I’m trying to think through the CTUs way of improving schools. If the CTU had their way, the following changes would occur: 1) teachers would get significant raises, 2) more teachers would be hired, 3) teachers that were laid off for economic reasons over the last few years would be rehired, 4) the school day would be shortened, 5) the school year would be shortened, 6) charter schools would be defunded and/or closed, 7) regular public schools would never be closed for performance or underenrollment, 8) teachers would get raises for experience and level of education but not for performance, 9) teachers would get more prep time during the day, 10) teachers would get more professional development throughout the year, 11) all schools would be guaranteed certain facilities, like a library, playgrounds, etc., 12) high-stakes testing would be discontinued, 13) neither teachers nor schools would be held accountable for student performance based on standardized test scores, 14) all schools would be guaranteed certain additional staff, such as social workers, assistants, etc., 15) additional money would come into the school system that were going to TIFs, charter schools, contract schools, and elsewhere, 16) teachers would be treated with respect, in the form of high pay and benefits, 17) no schools would ever be “turned around” or otherwise disrupted because of low test scores, 18) CPS would fully fund their pensions, and 19) CPS would pay more for health plan costs rather than passing them on to teachers.
    I think that’s all possible through significant property tax, sales tax, and state income tax increases. Parents who could afford it could make up for the short day and short year by supplementing their child’s education elsewhere. If we forget about the current economic situation, the government’s fiscal situation, and the decline in student enrollment in CPS, it makes a lot of sense. It protects and respects the economic standing of teachers. It acknowledges that teachers are not completely responsible for the educational outcomes of their students. It stabilizes school communities, and it guarantees more staff and facilities at all schools. It also protects against any strike or disruption like the one we’re currently risking.

    @ Paul your post at #125
    Thinking through how CPS and the emperor Rahm and his trusty corporate hack Brizard (still getting into strike mode) would like to improve schools. If CPS leaders had their way, they would improve schools this way: 1) lengthen the school day, 2) lengthen the school year, 3) give teachers lower raises and make them pay more for their healthcare, 4) move to a merit pay system where parts of a teacher’s raise is dependent on the test scores adjusted for socio-economic and other factors (value-added), 5) close or turnaround schools that are the lowest-performing or underenrolled, 6) expand charter schools into areas with high demand, 7) enhance curriculum through the common core curriculum being adopted across the country, 8) give principals more autonomy, 9) require recess and a longer lunch so students get a rest, 10) require a break for teachers so they get a rest, 11) add programs like IB and STEM, and 12) hold teachers and schools accountable with a variety of different types of tests.
    I can see all that happening if the teachers union and/or parents get on board. It could possibly build public support for public schools. It could bring in more private sector money and foundations through charter schools. It would provide more choice of schools to parents. It would result in change, i.e. instability. Schools that don’t perform well would be closed. Teachers that don’t perform well could be fired or would get low or no raises. If a better curriculum and more instruction proves to improve educational outcomes, which seems to make sense, then it could be called a successful reform.

  • 137. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    @107 Tchr. Not sure what you are talking about with “your day”. It is not teacher bashing to try and understand what the negotiation points are on paper. Maybe you want to check with your union on the details of how they assess the minutes in your day? What exactly have I said that is misinformation and lies?

  • 138. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    @102 Dainaidh
    Thanks for illustrating how the students days and minutes got whittled away over the years. The “banked” 4.5 days contributes to the shortened student calendar. We already know how eliminating recess and shortening the day worked by moving the teacher lunch to the end of the day. This was all during CPS and CTU negotiations. Looking at it from a practical standpoint, it is little comfort that these absurd changes “were blessed by the incompetent state”. I know you are just sharing the timeline and I really appreciate it. It is just so frustrating that all this is restricting movement forward today.

    How are we to believe that there will be any better outcome for the kids in this negotiation? The CTU list of demands is not student focused at all.

    Also thanks for the details on how the days map out. I am still digesting it as I was going off the school calendars published. I appreciate the data.

  • 139. Old Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    @129CPSO – There are non-profit and for-profit EMO’s that run charter schools. Some of the for-profit EMO’s operating charter schools in IL are Edison Learning, K12 inc., Mosaica Education, Inc., and Victory Schools, Inc. There are others. Noble is considered a non-profit EMO. Every one of the schools they run in Chicago did not meet the standards for AYP in 2010 – 2011. If you really want to read about charter management use this link. http://nepc.colorado.edu/files/EMO-profiles-10-11_0.pdf It’s just one of the many studies out there.

    On a side note – Arizona is one of the charter capitals in the US. I have family out there who, had been sending their kids to the Catholic school, had to find other suitable choices. They have 4 kids from 4-12 years old and they drive them to 4 different charters because that’s how the chips fell. One school is 25 miles from their house. Neighborhood schools are looking better and better aren’t they? 🙂

  • 140. Patricia  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    @138 Let me clarify one point in my above post. I do think duty free lunch and preps need to be respected. I do think the 477 hired enrichment teachers interim agreement needs to be followed through.

    All the other monetary demands do not make sense in this economy unless someone finds a money printing machine.

    Forcing the hiring of displaced teachers before hiring anyone new is an absolute NO WAY.

    Accountability measures need to be incorporated.

  • 141. cpsobsessed  |  August 23, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Thanks, Old Mom, I will take a look!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 142. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Can someone please post where they found the information about the positions ending in January?

    My thought on the process – which we talked about repeatedly in another thread was that people can be let go from the positions until January- after January if they are not “clicked off” then they will become official members of the school.

  • 143. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Also count me in on the appreciation @132.

  • 144. CathFamily  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I am so glad I am paying the $450 a month for the local catholic school. I was actually considering going back to my public school roots. It’s a stretch, but seeing the public school mess, worth the money. The extras (music, etc) missing in catholic schools can easily be found at the park district, scouts, and the YMCA. It is worth the money to focus just on education.

  • 145. CathFamily  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    I agree with you Jess Mom, civility seems to be lacking a bit hopefully it is just a momentary laspe and not how people behave when they are not hidden behind the computer. Well, I’m off to pack a sack lunch and iron a couple plaid skirts.

  • 146. Jess Mom  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Did I just get censored? I guess this is NOT an open forum with a free exchange of ideas. Disappointed CPSO

  • 147. CathFamily  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    I wondered what happened to the comment I just read, it disappeared,,,,,,Big Brother at work.
    No profanity, no insults in the post from Jess Mom so what gives CPSO??

  • 148. cpsobsessed  |  August 23, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Open forum for comments related to the topic at hand, as always. Feel free to contribute.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 149. Jess Mom  |  August 24, 2012 at 1:19 am

    I made a comment on civility in the post about contract nego. and a observation about the that lack of in talks of a strike from both pro ctu and pro cps. Nothing that warranted deleting. Not sure how you determined that this was off topic? seems very relevant to me. In talks of a strike emotions run high and that was my point that civility seems to die. How exactly is that “off topic”?? Jeez……. Sorry didn’t get the memo that only certain posters could make comments . As someone new to this site…great way to welcome me.

    Wonder will this get deleted?

  • 150. Jess Mom  |  August 24, 2012 at 1:23 am

    71. really  |  August 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm
    59 – Roman Polanski? Wow…how do you celebrate that day?………

    How exactly is this comment related? Don’t mean to pick a fight but jeez…irritated that I can’t contribute my opinion to a discussion.

  • 151. J  |  August 24, 2012 at 5:52 am

    We also went with Catholic school – we have Spanish, PE, gym twice a week, music and art. And no threats of strikes.

    Anyway, in regards to the longer day and the extra teachers. I mentioned on a previous post that it was going to be bad news. The funding will not be consistent, the teachers for the classes are going to be hit or miss. Facility issues will crop up…I think this way of patching together a longer school day was nonsense. Come January the regular classroom teachers will be working that longer day, and the displaced 477 teachers will be right back where they started.

  • 152. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 6:40 am

    This morning I heard on the news that Mayor Rahm might step into the negotiations to “get it done”. It’s about time he stepped in. Same with Brizard. Why haven’t they been a part of at least some of the previous meetings? I think everyone has had just about enough of all these negotiations. When things can’t be solved in a classroom, we have options. Maybe CPS and CTU should try some of them: rock, scissors, paper…….put ideas in a jar and pick one……take turns using one idea, then the other’s person idea…….follow the advice of a book I just discovered called You Get What You Get (and you can’t throw a fit). Although joking, I feel like we are at that point.

  • 153. anonymouse teacher  |  August 24, 2012 at 6:45 am

    My viewpoint on pay is this: I spend about 5% of my pay (before taxes) on my classroom each year. So a 2% raise still puts me in the red. When CPS pays for all needed items in all schools, (needs,not wants) then we can talk about what a fair raise is. Why am I lying awake at night trying to figure out how I can beg, borrow or steal bookshelves from somewhere because my school doesn’t supply them?

  • 154. Skinnermom34  |  August 24, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Relax Jess mom, I think with all the strike talk cpsobsessed had a momentary lapse. I sure sheets the point that folks will leave if she become too “big brother”. Welcome aboard. Except for personal attacks and profanity, like you said I love the free exchange of ideas.

  • 155. Skinnermom34  |  August 24, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Woo….auto correct.

    I meant to say…I am sure she gets the point that folks will leave….etc.etc.

  • 156. cpsobsessed  |  August 24, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Jess, sorry to dampen your enthusiasm. Your comments are below so everyone can read them. I tend to delete maybe 4 posts a month on average and those are posts that do not mention the topic or education, but rather focus on commenting on the comments or a commenter in a negative way as I feel that it detracts from the tone of positive discussion. Positive discussion to me CAN include a lot of arguing and criticism of ideas, but not of people. That is my stance and will continue to be. I don’t want this to be the nasty place that people come to gawk at. I want it to be a place where we can learn from each other.

    Some other posts I deleted this month included “You people make me sick,” “@### you are so 1% it makes me vomit,” and “Guess it’s a lot easier to worry about what one wears to school rather than what one learns in school.” I apologize if I misinterpreted your comments.

    From Jess:
    “RIP-breeding and manners. Long may rudeness and personal attacks reign. After all, no one knows us in cyberspace.”
    “Civility is DEAD.”
    “Long may the fastest and most obnoxious poster reign! All hail!”

  • 157. cpsobsessed  |  August 24, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Wait, if brizard and rahm aren’t in the negotiations, who is?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 158. mom2  |  August 24, 2012 at 7:26 am

    anonymouse – ” When CPS pays for all needed items in all schools, (needs,not wants) then we can talk about what a fair raise is.” – Exactly my point, too. If CPS would take any found money and use it to pay for items needed by teachers in all schools, it should be used for that first and not for take home pay for teachers. The end result is the same since a teacher would have had to use the take home pay for things for their classroom. It is a win/win. If more money is found after that, then offer a raise. In that order.

  • 159. Patricia  |  August 24, 2012 at 7:54 am

    @Mom2 See below from page 9 of the CTU document. I can’t tell if this is something they both agree on or not. Can you tell? Also, was there an old number prior to $250 or is this completely new?

    Texts and Supplies: “Each fiscal year, the Board shall appropriate sufficient funds to each school or unit
    to reimburse teachers, clinicians and speech-language paraeducators up to $250.00 per employee for
    instructional supplies and materials, classroom library books and therapeutic materials purchased by
    them for student instruction and support.”

  • 160. Teacher4321  |  August 24, 2012 at 7:57 am

    @157- their bargaining team consists of other people from the board, many new to CPS, out of state people and consultants from what I have heard. Hmm. I wonder how much money they are paying for their “bargaining team”?

    I think it should be mentioned that the CTU bargaining team is not just Karen and Jesse, but consists of about 40 people that represent different facets of CPS such as PSRPs, high school teachers, elementary school teaches, special education teachers.

  • 161. Patricia  |  August 24, 2012 at 7:59 am

    From page 3 of the CTU document is concerning to me as a parent volunteer and all the volunteers who are helping with recess. It looks like CTU wants this and CPS does not. Maybe someone knows more about exactly what it means?

    “a protection from bargaining unit members losing work due to ‘volunteers,’ ”

    I remember with the recess debate that there was a suit filed in the past when parents tried to volunteer at their school for recess. I really hope that is not what this provision means. Anyone know more about it?

  • 162. Teacher4321  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:05 am

    The supply money used to be $100. $250 is a large improvement, but many teachers, especially new teachers spend $1000 or more on their classrooms each year.

    In some schools “the basics” (soap, copy paper, Lysol wipes) are brought in by parents because they are on the supply list. In some schools these are supplied by a teacher.

    This is another difference between the public and private sector that has not been mentioned much since I have been reading and contributing to this board,

    Teachers often supply folders, notebooks, glue, cleaning supplies, soap, sanitizer, pens, pencils, glue etc. We are really really good about knowing when the back to school sales are happening, but with the economy, stores that once offered great deals (free lamination, penny items) have cut back.

    I hope you are appalled when you hear some schools don’t put toilet paper, soap and paper towels in the bathrooms and teachers are responsible for bringing these items to/from the bathroom,

  • 163. Patricia  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:13 am

    @162 This happens at one of my kids schools. It was at first it was appalling, but then I asked the principal why. He said the reason was twofold, (1) our bathrooms were old and (2) it cut down on discipline issues because kids can wander/get in trouble in the bathrooms and clog toilets, put wads of wet paper towels on the ceiling, etc. He said it was better for all to just remove that temptation and the bathrooms are cleaner as a result. The teachers do a nice job having it be assigned as one of the “student jobs” of the day like being a line leader or telling the weather.

    Not sure I completely agree with why the school does it, but it certainly seemed like the principal was making a rational decision and the teachers were managing it well.

    NOW, parents and teachers having to buy the toilet paper is another story which in one way or another happens at all my kids schools.

  • 164. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Wait……is this $250 something new for this coming school year? I only get $100! Please clarify!

  • 165. NBCT Vet  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:27 am

    @Mayfair Dad

    There are no Union work rules that protect poor teachers. I don’t really understand how or why this fiction has lived on for so long.

    Poor administrators protect poor teachers, not the CTU. CPS has every tool it needs to easily and with reasonable efficiency eliminate teachers from the district who are not cutting it.

    Teacher protections in CPS are much, much weaker than in the surrounding outstanding suburban districts – and those other districts seem to do just fine under much more strict and restrictive, but equally misunderstood, “union work rules” like tenure.

  • 166. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:27 am

    The 250 is proposed in the new contract- and I believe accepted. Though until it is settled- I’d just assume $100 cause I’m sure it could still be changed.

  • 167. Patricia  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:32 am

    CarolA. It is in the CTU document pg. 9 and I can’t tell if it is something agreed to or not or if it is still on the table. Anyone else know?

    Is this something that would be a good win-win for teachers, students and strike talks?

    $150 increase per teacher x 30K or so teachers/others = 4.5 million which may be offset in some schools who would direct supply money elsewhere (toilet paper perhaps 😉

  • 168. cpsobsessed  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:36 am

    @NBCT Vet – why do so many principals act like it’s impossible to get rid of dead weight teachers? I assume the process is doable but time-consuming?
    I got the sense that it requires a lot of documentation that a principal doesn’t have time to collect unless they are observing a lot. Also, I imagine that certain undesirable qualities might not qualify for dismissal?
    Why do principals seem to use more passive aggressive means to push people out?
    I just can’t get my head around it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 169. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:38 am

    I think it has been officially agreed to. But like I said, until the whole contract is agreed upon, I am not considering it happening. This is how life works in CPS.

    I have been very busy this week and haven’t 100% kept up with the threads- but I believe on this board and on this thread someone asked if any teachers have liked any of the last four CEOs. I think there was a pretty unanimous liking of Mazany. Of course you will always have your outliers. Of course he was only an interim put in by Daley and was probably put in to make us temporarily happy.

  • 170. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:41 am

    @168
    I am not sure. It does involve paperwork and setting up a mentoring plan I believe.

    I am not sure what “undesirable” qualities you refer to- but I believe to qualify for dismissal it has to be something to do with the job. For example, I think you can get rid of something for chronic attendance problems, but not because they don’t stay for after school activities outside of contracted hours- but this could be a really bad example so don’t hold me to it.

  • 171. Paul  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

    CTU math.
    Current pay + significant raise = respect
    Certification + years of experience = good teacher
    High test scores + well-supplied classroom = teacher going the extra mile
    Low test scores + poorly-supplied classroom = CPS fail
    Board of Ed – charter schools = more money for teachers
    Shorter school day + shorter school year = better education
    Higher property taxes + draining reserve fund = no problem
    New curriculum + lunch during school day = demand for significant raise

  • 172. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 24, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Tim Cawley said that the “highest property tax” increase equals $28.00 a house. Perhaps he is wrong, but if he is in fact wrong about this- might there be other things he is wrong about?????

  • 173. Old Mom  |  August 24, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I think the highest allowable increase means about $30 more for the year on a $250,000.00 home. I can’t remember where I read that.

  • 174. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 24, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Oh and by “highest property tax” I mean the highest property tax increase- he said the average per house is $28.00. The way I worded it seemed confusing.

    Investigate some of the TIF spending of your property taxes that is supposed to go to the schools too. Ben Joravsky and Mike Dumke of the Chicago Reader has many articles on the TIFs.

  • 175. WendyK  |  August 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

    @CPSO – I have been told that Brizard hasn’t attended one of the 44 negotiating sessions. I think Tim Cawley, David Vitale and Beth Swanson (mayor’s deputy of ed) are making most of the large-scale decisions. It’s hard to know what Brizard is working on. He’s mostly been on a marketing tour this year for the longer day, if you haven’t noticed. Maybe he’ll get into some substantive educational issues this year. It would be great to hear what the district values other than the number of minutes in the day.

  • 176. Paul  |  August 24, 2012 at 9:40 am

    This is going to be interesting. Rahm is entering the negotiations. Isn’t this why we Chicagoans elect the strong mayor?

    I picture him behind the big desk with a cigar and drink, facing Brizard in one chair and Karen Lewis in the other. Rahm says “I want to hear the last best offer from each of you. He listens patiently, asks a few questions, let’s them argue for a while. Then he says, “this is what we’re going to do…” And, he outlines the final agreement. Karen Lewis says it’s not acceptable and Rahm goes on a 5-minute tirade filled with expletives and threats about what he’ll do if the teachers don’t accept it. I have no idea what the final result is, but it’ll be fun to watch.

  • 177. cpsmommy  |  August 24, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Rahm must really want to speak at the DNC. He can’t speak there unless this gets resolved. That’s why he is getting involved.

  • 178. WendyK  |  August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am

    @Paul – isn’t it natural for teachers to advocate for more resources when we’ve seen an $800 mill cut to education over the last four yrs in IL? They feel the brunt of it in their classrooms, as supply budgets, staffing, etc. gets cut. I am not sure why we would be surprised that teachers are fighting for a raise or more resources when they’ve been dealing with declining work conditions.

    The Board wants to do more, a lot more this yr, with less resources and it’s their job to do that. The ctu wants to not just protect teacher benefits but protect the profession so that it’s a place where qualified, experienced teachers want to stay – not just low-cost college grads, which I’m guessing the Board would be happy to move towards.

    They have an overlap in mission – educating our children – but often very different views on how that’s best achieved. They are not all bad or all good, as you seem to be portraying here, although I agree that both sides go to lengths to portray one another in this fashion and the media has not helped at all in portraying the issues in a more nuanced, informed manner.

  • 179. WendyK  |  August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am

    @174 – the TIF issue is complicated. If you live in a tif district your property taxes go up to make up for the diversion of tif funds, so the. It is really a tax increase but no one really wants to tell you that. Also, it’s hard to investigate this because it’s not on your property tax bill. This is something the tif review commission recommended to the city last year, but the mayor, in all his talk of transparency, did not agree to do it.

    We all have the right to know if we live in a tif district, where the property tax money is going, and a say in where it goes. Some alderman are better than others in engaging the community on this, some put a lot of the money back into the schools.

  • 180. RL Julia  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:02 am

    @168 – while it might be possible to (easily) get rid of a tenured teacher on paper, the reality is a lot more time consuming -sort of like trying to evict a bad tenant. It’s not like you can just snap your fingers and the person is gone – it is a system of multiple meetings (with the teacher and union rep etc… setting up a system to remedy the poor performance, tracking and then multiple suspensions – all of which gives the teacher major amounts of time to either improve their performance, or in one case I know of, bad mouth the prinicipal and administration, try and polarize staff and parents to her cause, threaten the principal with multiple lawsuits (including defamation of character), upset her classroom of children by crying and making inappropriate comments about how “everyone hates her” and spread vicious rumors about every conceivable thought/topic. Even after the teacher was removed from the classroom (as part of her final suspension, I think), she still remained on the payroll for the remainder of the school year. In the meantime, because this teacher had been so set in her ways of not teaching and so poisonous her mobilization of the gossip chain, the LSC eventually ended up with roughly 20 extremely upset parents at the meeting all clamoring to know EXACTLY what was going on in their child’s classroom, spreading their own versions of the truth and, demanding that they be privvy to EVERY detail – which of course couldn’t be shared because personnel records are private and its not appropriate for the principal to talk about. I am not sure if this is an extreme case or not – I suspect it falls somewhere in the middle – but it was a lot or work for a lot of people. Sometimes you can push a person to consider retiring at the end of the school year but even that isn’t easy. As far as I understand the system, after they’ve been tenured, teachers basically have the right to work until they fail multiple times… or retire. Its a major effort to get rid of one – and then you have to find a replacement – which mid-year can lead to some pretty slim pickings.

  • 181. Mch  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

    With few exceptions, these days everyone in America is enduring pay cuts, reduction in benefits, and increased workloads. Teachers aren’t the only ones earning less than they hoped they would be. My friend is an accountant. She got a pay cut last year. She’s not trying go on strike. She is happy to have a job and she smiles. Everyone needs to make sacrifices. Unfortunately that includes teachers (and plumbers, and doctors, and librarians, …), too.

    Like everyone in the world I’ve got friends and family who are/were teachers in the public school system. But disagreeing with the CTU’s position is not the same thing as saying you are “against” teachers. Anyone who says differently is insulting our intelligence, or worse preying on the lack thereof.

    This politicking and self-aggrandizing is disgusting.

  • 182. Paul  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:13 am

    @WendyK, I agree. But, I don’t think the CTUs tactics are likely to bring more resources into education. While many members of the public may say they stand with teachers and support their teachers and love their teachers, they generally don’t support a significant increase in taxes to pay for it. And, I don’t think that threatening a strike in order to protect a 7 hour part-year work day and to get significant pay raises is going to convince a lot of taxpayers otherwise. I think the school system, like every other organization, has got to live within its means, and CPS and CTU have to work together in order to convince the public that significant investments in traditional public schools is worthwhile.

  • 183. Patricia  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:32 am

    @ Paul & WendyK

    OK, so $800million cut in education over the past four years in Illinois. During that same 4 years (called the “Great Recession”), teachers got a 19-46% raise. Maybe this is why programs and positions got cut?

    From the fact finder report: “For many employees, combining the four, 4% increases actually received along with the multiple step increases during the 2007-2012 Agreement, resulted in employees actually receiving, in real money, wage increases ranging in the area from 19% to 46%.”

    Horrid economy = lower tax revenues = greater fiscal strain on the state = cps gets less funding = teachers already have contract for huge raises = must pay raises = cps has to cut programs/positions/things that impact the classroom = teachers frustrated with lack of resources and cut programs/positions = rightfully complain to try and change things = told there is no money = further frustration for teachers = money still not available

    Sounds like a vicious cycle and a downward spiral.

  • 184. HS Mom  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I’m sorry, but this mentality that it’s only a few more dollars in taxes so its “OK” is insulting. Just got my new assessment in the mail the other day. My property was just reassessed through the roof. Unrealistic. Expensive. Hurting my resale value even further. I have no doubt that the city financial issues are behind it, which includes CPS. Residents take the real estate tax issue very seriously.

  • 185. Patricia  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:38 am

    @181 Mch “Like everyone in the world I’ve got friends and family who are/were teachers in the public school system. But disagreeing with the CTU’s position is not the same thing as saying you are “against” teachers. Anyone who says differently is insulting our intelligence, or worse preying on the lack thereof.”

    Agree. From this board and the many good teachers who post on it, I sense a real disconnect with what the CTU is actually bargaining for and what these teachers need. Just because parents try to figure out the facts, motivations and what may impact our children, does not mean that person is against teachers. I really want happy teachers and love the great ones my children have had (I wish the bad ones were fired–but that is another issue). How do we fix this? I think a strike would only make it worse.

  • 186. WendyK  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:40 am

    @182 – I hear you, Paul. I don’t think there’s any consensus on this issue. People are all over the map. Some people would gladly put more tax money into education, especially if it went to classroom spending, some not. Thank goodness we can debate and discuss these things.

    @181 – why is talking politics about a very political system disgusting? Education in CPS is super political. We have mayoral control – so policies often match election cycles/promises, CTU is an elected body. I’d rather be informed on how the system works than not.

    Not everyone is going to agree with one another, it’s not the end of the world, it’s normal.

  • 187. junior  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:54 am

    @165 NBCT Vet

    The evidence that it is extremely difficult to get rid of bad teachers has been discussed on this board at least a couple of times. It is pretty irrefutable evidence, and it’s sad that people continue to deny and distort that reality.

    In the end, this issue comes down to most teachers — even decent teachers — are willing to abide bad teachers and subject our children to those failings simply to enhance their own job security. This is a conflict of interest, and I feel that this is one of the big items discrediting the union in the public’s eyes. How is the CTU defending and improving public education by making it impossible to get rid of bad teachers?

    There may be plenty of issues where teachers’ interests and kids’ interests coincide, but there are also plenty where those interests potentially conflict (tenure, recess, longer day, compensation). Anyone who tries to paint one side or the other as always right is either ill-informed or deliberately pushing an agenda.

    Related — I don’t normally get much through TV news but happened to see this last night about how union-backed legislators in California killed a bill that would make it easier to get rid of teachers accused of sexual abuse and other criminal acts involving students. Warning — some acts described in this piece are incredibly despicable and disgusting:

    http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/24/special-interests-over-child-interests/?hpt=ac_bn2

  • 188. WendyK  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:58 am

    @Patricia – I think teachers got a 4% raise for three of the years I mentioned (plus step and lane) and no raise last year.

    I am not saying I know what the right amount of a raise should be, I am saying I understand the viewpoint of teachers who see the positioning of their raise as the cause of the drain on the system as false when they see so much spending in other areas — standardized testing, charter expansion, UNO getting new funding at every other board meeting, etc. I think it’s difficult to parse out one piece of the budget and say “that’s the problem,” and I also think that teachers are feeling that the mayor went overboard this year with initiatives CPS can’t afford.

    I also think a lot of the anger we are seeing with teachers is not so much about a raise but about their view about what is happening to public education here and nationally. And I think the mayor damaged any potential for goodwill this year, along with Stand 4Children and DFER and we’re seeing the result of what happened there.

  • 189. RL Julia  |  August 24, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Again, I would love to see more coverage/discussion (?) in reference to the strike that talks about how what’s on the table would improve teacher’s working conditions (and children’s education) and less about their raises. Giving raises without addressing (or in lieu of) how their day is spent and/or the incredible deficits/barriers teachers encounter in trying to educate our children is a short term solution that no one can really afford.

    Junior – is it possible that I am actually agreeing with you about something? 🙂

  • 190. Mayfair Dad  |  August 24, 2012 at 11:08 am

    @ 165. The process to eliminate bad teachers is onerous, time consuming and fraught with union-actionable peril for the principal who has the temerity to try and remove a tenured teacher. To say otherwise is misinformation. A seasoned, highly respected principal told me changing the culture of a mediocrity was the most difficult part of his job. Removing one bad teacher per year was his goal, and it was difficult for a “Jedi” principal. In recent years, principals have had to change the job descriptions and certification requirements of teaching slots to remove bad apples from the staff. These are the same bad apples CTU is demanding get rehired instead of eager, enthusiastic, non-burnt-out recent grads. Every involved parent on this board can relate to the $98,000.00/year librarian in our neighborhood school… without a library! Kids watched videos. Couldn’t get rid of her, she finally retired. Not fiction – reality.

  • 191. Patricia  |  August 24, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Wendy, you said 4 years in your original post, that is why I said 4 years…………now you are saying 3? The fact finder report is over the 5 year contract and did account for the 4% not happening last year (4 of the 5 years, not 3). Despite that, he still calculated as was quoted, 19-46%.

    My point is not looking at one line item in the budget, although you can’t ignore it since it is about half the budget. The point is that it created a vicious cycle when the bottom fell out of the economy. I do not see the CTU currently negotiating for anything that addresses the real problems. It all seems focused on salary and benefits……..and killing charters. How does that help the classroom?

  • 192. NBCT Vet  |  August 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    @CPSObsessed
    re: termination of unsatisfactory teachers

    I can only speak for the principals I know or with which I have worked. In every case they have acted like it is impossible to get rid of dead weight teachers because in the end they didn’t really want to get rid of the teachers. They were simply unwilling to make the difficult choice to put someone out of a job.

    There are some real tyrant principals out there, but there are also plenty that are simply too nice for the good of the school. Some of them also do not feel that they have a high likelihood of replacing the poor teacher with someone better.

    The documentation for an unsatisfactory evaluation (and the resulting termination) is actually not that bad. Does it take time? Sure, but it is hardly oppressive. Also, through the remediation process many teachers actually improve. Everyone benefits from that. My principal has also effectively removed teachers through the mere threat of an unsatisfactory rating, as in: “If you return next fall I will more than likely be forced to give you an unsat. You should consider finding another school.” That passes the buck to some degree, but it has been proven workable for the individual school.

    Principals historically have had 100% control over evaluations. The content of those evaluations cannot be challenged by the CTU. As you say, there are undesirable qualities that might not qualify for dismissal. But principal power in evaluations is so strong (and will continue to remain so strong) that a teacher can be fired for those undesirable qualities though the evaluation documentation states other reasons.

    Leadership is a very difficult thing and my take on it is that CPS principals on the whole just aren’t up to the level of quality we need to attract and retain outstanding teachers. I think the passive aggressive style of many is a result of insecurity and/or feeling conflicted about their responsibilities.

    I should also be clear that the percentage of dead weight teachers is quite small. Certainly less than the 5% that some reformers have suggested for annual elimination from the profession. We should also remember that It is literally impossible, as is true in every other profession, to eliminate poor teachers entirely from our system.

  • 193. Danaidh  |  August 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    @187 “The evidence that it is extremely difficult to get rid of bad teachers has been discussed on this board at least a couple of times. It is pretty irrefutable evidence, and it’s sad that people continue to deny and distort that reality.”

    Well, I refute that. It simply isn’t true. There is a process enshrined in both law and contracts that allow administrators to fire teachers for poor performance.

    @190 “The process to eliminate bad teachers is onerous, time consuming and fraught with union-actionable peril for the principal who has the temerity to try and remove a tenured teacher. To say otherwise is misinformation.”

    Again, that is simply opinion–and not one based on the facts of the matter.

    Courts have ruled that under the 14th amendment, teachers have property rights in their jobs and that depriving them of those property rights can be done–but only with due process.

    If you think due process is “onerous, time consuming and fraught with…peril” then perhaps you should give up your due process rights if ever anyone accuses you of a crime and you stand before a judge who may deprive you of your property, your liberty, or even your life.

    Serious matters require thoughtful deliberation.

  • 194. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    RL Julia: I think you are referring to this post regarding more discussion about what would improve teacher working conditions. Am I right?

    Someone earlier had mentioned that perhaps $$ should be spent on providing teachers with the necessities for teaching and if anything is left after that, we could use it to raises. Brilliant! I’d be for that! However, (and there is always a however) each teacher has their own idea of what would help them in the classroom. My experience with office help and administration ordering what they think I need is, most of the time, useless.

    In preparation for my response, I totaled my receipts for my purchases so far to get my room ready for the 2012-2013 school year. From July 2012 until now, I have spent $734. School hasn’t even started. Schools will only reimburse what they feel are educational materials. As the school year moves along, I will be buying several boxes of Fruit Loops used for making repeating patterns. ( not deemed educational ) I will buy Cheerios for spelling words that have /oo/ vowels. (not deemed educational ). Soil, cups, seeds for my plant unit (not reimbursable). Ink for my home computer since I do a lot of work on weekends. (not reimbursable) Celery, cheese, pretzels to make edible models for the butterfly life cycle. (not reimbursable) Cotton balls, oil, feathers to illustrate how ducks produce oil on their feathers to help them float and stay dry. Play-Doh for my tactile learners (not reimbursable) I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Much of what I use from now through June are little things that add up, but make such a difference in the life of a first grader. We also don’t get the $$$ first. We have to buy our stuff and then wait until January or February to get the $100 back. So what helps me in the classroom….all the little stuff.

    My daughter was at a social event this past weekend and overheard parents talking about the supply lists. They said they were not going to send in the Kleenex because they just knew the teacher was bringing it home for herself. Who could possibly need 30 boxes of Kleenex? Really????????

  • 195. RL Julia  |  August 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    NCBT Vet – that sounds about right. Thanks for shedding some light on this. Firing anyone is extremely difficult – even when it is warrented. With so many veteran principals retiring this year, I wonder what many schools will look like. Being a principal is an extremely difficult job – as a person who helped hire a principal I can attest that there are not huge tons strong candidates out there and how one gets the Type 74 certification is nnt entirely clear either…

  • 196. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    It’s been reported that the union will not call for a strike today or Saturday~school will open on Sept. 4th. The door to Sunday strike call was left open.

  • 197. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Oh, I forgot to add in the 2 times I donated to my own project on DonorsChoose.org @ $100 each… Cha-ching…..$934. Why did I donate? To show I am really committed to the project. What did I get? I will receive one project that connects art to literacy and one project that will teach the children critical thinking skills with money….total…$1050. YEAH! Thank you DonorsChoose!

  • 198. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  August 24, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    @36 @37 The fact-finder used the April 2012 7-hour day. He explains the calculation on p.84, footnote 64. It accounts for the longer day and the longer school year and does not include the :45 min. lunch period. CPS did not challenge his calculations in the fn.

  • 199. mom2  |  August 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    CarolA, your classroom supplies list that you purchased yourself sounds like wonderful items and I would be all for using found money to pay for things like this. Paying you back for these items or giving you money up front to pay for these items makes much more sense to me than giving a percent raise to all teachers (that could be used for anything from supplies (good) to beer or a trip to Vegas (not as good for the kids :))

  • 200. Mch  |  August 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    WendyK: you write “I also think a lot of the anger we are seeing with teachers is not so much about a raise but about their view about what is happening to public education here and nationally”.

    Really? Those are the kind of platitudes KL and the CTU PR machine want everyone to think the union cares about, but do you honestly believe this is true? If so, then congratulations you live in a much better world than I.

  • 201. OutsideLookingIn  |  August 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    CarolA – you sound like a resourceful, generous and creative teacher. Your students are very lucky to have you.

  • 202. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Thank you mom2. Keep in mind that with the new rating system, if teachers want to make it into the top two categories, they are going to have to purchase many items like I mentioned and be quite creative in order to run a rigorous, yet exciting classroom. Others will find their way out the door before you know it. If CPS supplies us with what we need….great, rate us on it. If they don’t, I think it’s a lot to ask, especially of the new teachers who don’t make as much as I do. Imagine all I’ve spent and I have over 20 years in the classroom. But supplies run out and some supplies aren’t usable from year to year.

    I was thinking this morning after reading some posts and wondered…..who else besides teachers have jobs in which they must purchase (out of their own money) what they need to be successful at their job? I know when my tax accountant got a new computer system, it cost me more the next year to have my return done. I know when I had some remodeling done, the cost of the items needed to do the job were part of the cost I paid. I know that because of the drought, fruit and vegetable prices will be going up and I don’t see Jewel or Dominicks absorbing the cost for us. Does anyone else have a job which requires you to spend a lot of your own money in order to be successful at it? Just curious.

  • 203. anonymouse teacher  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    @159, $250 would be $150 more than I got reimbursed for last year. I will gladly take that if it is offered.
    But the greater issue is that $250 doesn’t even begin to cover what I spend on my room. I spend that EACH month. There have been years when it has been more.
    I have a classroom library with approximately 1000 books in it. 90% of those have been purchased with my own money, or I’ve taken them from my own children’s bookshelves or I have spent the time needed to get them donated. 10%, or around 100 of those books were in the classroom when I arrived.
    I have purchased book binding clips so we can make student authored pieces that look nice, permanent markers, bins for my books, games, nearly all art materials that we need, border for bulletin boards, balls, jumpropes., hula hoops, sidewalk chalk, math manipulatives, tons and tons of paper, folders, stacking paper dividers, glue, multiple staplers, tape, scissors, heavy duty pencil sharpeners, a rug, name tag holders, chart paper, more ink for my printer at home than I care to remember, individual book bins for each child, pocket charts, need I go on? How about coats for kids without them, gymshoes, gift cards to Dominick’s for hungry families, clothes, and more.
    Did you know CPS is not supplying teachers with any new material to use when they write the new common core units? So the complex texts we are supposed to incorporate–yeah–that’s right, teachers have to write and do the units but CPS won’t put a dollar into them. So guess who is purchasing ALL that material? Us. I’d refuse if I thought I wouldn’t be fired for it.
    And it appears as if this year, I am buying bookshelves.

  • 204. HS Mom  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    193 states – “Courts have ruled that under the 14th amendment, teachers have property rights in their jobs and that depriving them of those property rights can be done–but only with due process.”

    I find this statement concerning. I know teachers don’t like being compared to other professions, but to restate from a prior post, workers in Illinois and most other states can and are fired without reason. It’s perfectly legal. We can feel bad about it, it can ruin someones lively hood, cause emotional and financial distress – all the negatives. Firing can be justified or not. Keeping someone employed is not part of the constitution. But for teachers who work with children these rules don’t apply.

    I know its “kind” to give someone the “heads up” that their performance is lacking and they might get a bad review that could lead to a lengthy process with potential paid suspension or law suit settlement is the “right” thing to do, but in the meantime, they continue to WORK WITH KIDS. I just have to remind myself that it’s only a small %. After all, I’m fortunate to have had only 2 teachers that had a habit of publicly humiliating the kids and abusively picked on certain kids and only 2 other teachers that were deficient in their duties to the extent of needing outside enrichment.

  • 205. Chris  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    CarolA: ” They said they were not going to send in the Kleenex because they just knew the teacher was bringing it home for herself.”

    People are fricking crazy! It’s $2 of kleenex.

    SSI: “It’s been reported that the union will not call for a strike today or Saturday~school will open on Sept. 4th.”

    Only thing that would be *more* of a PR disaster for CTU than any strike would be a strike after 5 or 6 days of school. If there’s no strike called for 9-4, I’d wager it’s clear until October (and I seriously doubt Rahm lets that hang over his head).

  • 206. junior  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    @193 said:

    “Courts have ruled that under the 14th amendment, teachers have property rights in their jobs and that depriving them of those property rights can be done–but only with due process.”

    Incorrect — its actually the CTU teachers’ CONTRACT that bestows the property rights. And we all know a new contract is being negotiated right now. There is no reason that the same tenure system should be perpetuated in the next contract. Oh wait, there is one reason — union demands it under threat of strike.

  • 207. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    DNC already told Rahm not to come if there is a strike and he really wants to make a speech. Some ppl are saying that they are closer to a deal that they are letting on, But why??? I’ve heard 9/18 being the date the union is looking at, who knows? I think many others are hanging the CTU over Rahm’s head.

  • 208. Chris  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    “I’ve heard 9/18 being the date the union is looking at”

    A Tuesday? Are they really that stupid? Talk about a recipe for losing public support.

  • 209. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Everyone needs to make sacrifices.

    I agree that everyone should make sacrifices, but everyone is not doing so. The CPS leadership received higher salaries than their predecessors; they did not make sacrifices, so why expect that the teachers will?

    Plenty of non-unionized private sector workers lose pay in downturns, but many also gain pay in upturns. Public sector workers never see those upturns.

    @183 The fact-finder did err here. His “in real money” phrase is either incorrect or ambiguous. Usually “real money” refers to inflation adjusted gains. But the 19-46% refers to nominal gains (annual raises plus the step increase, not accounting for inflation). When inflation is taken into account, the maximum gain a teacher made was 31.6% and lowest was 7% over the six-year period. So in real money, 7-31.6%. Still very good, at least at the high end. At the high end, this is average annual real increases of 5.64% (raises plus steps).

    I don’t think that is sustainable, even if the economy were to improve. A raise & step schedule that created 2.5% real annual increases would be fair. This means limiting both the annual nominal increases and the nominal step increases. But this is not what CPS is offering. It is offering only nominal 2.25% to 2.5% annual increases and freezing step increases.

  • 210. RL Julia  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Can teachers at least deduct the money they contribute to their classrooms as business expenses?

  • 211. S  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    @soxsideirish4- Where did you hear that DNC told Rahm not to speak if there is a strike? Looked at the Convention website, and Rahm is still listed as a featured speaker. Seems like they wouldn’t have his name up there if that was the case. The convention is in less than two weeks. The 9/18 date would be after the convention

    Saw lewis on WTTW the other day and one item really bothered me. She said the Union is looking for a short term contract less than two year. I didn’t understand why we would want to go thru this so soon. Sometimes I think of moving to the suburbs and continuous strikes talks is going to push me there.

  • 212. Chris  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    “A raise & step schedule that created 2.5% real annual increases would be fair. This means limiting both the annual nominal increases and the nominal step increases. But this is not what CPS is offering. It is offering only nominal 2.25% to 2.5% annual increases and freezing step increases”

    Right now, there’s a decent argument that *actual* inflation is negative. So a nominla 2.5% is a real 2.5+%.

    But yes, the fact finder misused terminology badly.

  • 213. Jeanne  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    My daughter is supposed to start tuition-based pre-k in September. Very curious as to what will happen with that if there’s a strike – I’ve already paid her Sept. tuition!

  • 214. Chris  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    ” the Union is looking for a short term contract less than two year. I didn’t understand why we would want to go thru this so soon.”

    They believe that the city’s financial situation will be much rosier in two years, so they don’t want to lock into a recession-based contract for 4 or more. That’s one aspect of their strategy that makes total sense to me. I also expect it to be a non-starter for Rahm, unless CTU gives on *almost* everything else–from Rahm’s perspective, it sets the baseline for the next go.

  • 215. NBCT Vet  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    @ Junior

    The evidence that it is *not* difficult to get rid of bad teachers has been discussed on this board at least a couple of times. It is pretty irrefutable evidence, and it’s sad that people continue to deny and distort reality. = )

    Show me a principal that has difficult getting rid of a bad teacher and I will show you a poor principal. Or at least one that did not bother to navigate and fulfill the very simple mutually agreed upon policies between the Board and the Union. The inability of some administrators to terminate poor teachers is not reflective of bad policy. The policy works. It is reflective of poor leadership. Teachers and unions do not hire and fire, administrations do. How teachers and the Union are somehow responsible for inadequate leadership is something I’ve never understood.

    I am not willing to abide bad teachers. I want to see bad teachers remediated or removed. And I have seen both types of cases happen with ease time and time and time again over my career in the schools in which I have worked despite protestations to the contrary (primarily from non-teachers and non-principals).

    My interest in a mutually agreed upon process for teacher removal has little to do with my own job security and everything to do with fundamental fairness in an overtly and at times disgustingly political education climate.

    “How is the CTU defending and improving public education by making it impossible to get rid of bad teachers?”

    The simple answer is, despite the rhetoric embedded in this question, the CTU is doing no such thing.

  • 216. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    @210 RL Julia: We can deduct $250 as an income tax deduction per year. That’s it.

    @208 Chris: Haven’t we already lost a lot of public support? p.s. Glad you see the craziness in the Kleenex response!

    @203 anonymouse: Thanks for reminding me about the classroom libraries that we are mandated to have but are not given any money for. Years ago it was garage sale books just to get some cheap. Now administration wants quality books in a large variety of genres, categorized, labeled, leveled, and in great shape. Don’t suggest those half-priced book stores….usually not quality children’s books there. For those parents thinking of Christmas gifts for teachers…..PLEASE gift cards to Barnes and Noble! LOL

  • 217. cpsobsessed  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    @RL Julia, I’m pretty sure to deduct a business expense you have to declare a business on your taxes, so it wouldn’t work. I haven’t figured out a way to deduct CPSO expenses yet. Not that there really ARE any, but still…. 🙂

    Hey, how come nobody but me uses smiley faces??

  • 218. WendyK  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    @Patricia – The CTU is prohibited from bargaining over most issues outside of pay/benefits (I know you know that). SB7 added length of day and year to the list. They have been pushing a class size bill in Springfield and I know they are trying to push more swers and other clinicians, along with wraparound services and arts, but they can’t bargain over these things.

    The city has sole discretion to broach other issues. I know we’ve gone over this a ton.

    The convention is 9/4-9/6 so there won’t be any backdrop of a strike during the convention when the mayor is speaking.

  • 219. Chris  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    “Show me a principal that has difficult getting rid of a bad teacher and I will show you a poor principal.”

    No view either way, but is everyone talking about the same thing? There seem to be 2 types of “getting rid of”:

    1. Get the “bad teacher” out of a particular school.
    2. Get the “bad teacher” out of CPS entirely.

    Seems to me, based on totality of comments I’ve read, here and elsewhere, #1 *should* be easy, but I am unclear on the ease of accomplishing #2.

    Any thoughts?

  • 220. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    #211~it was reported in the Suntimes if a strike should occur Rahm will not speak at the convention and also that he wouldn’t attend…I believe they asked him not to come should a strike occur.

    As for the 2yr contract, Lewis said on Chicago 2night that they don’t want CPS stealing their raises in 4 yrs. It was reported Rahm wanted a 4yr contract.

    What upsets me is they could have had this all worked out if Rahm didn’t use PR for his negotiating. They are talking abt issues they could have cleared up months ago and Rahm knows he made a mistake. I feel and this is just my opinion, he really let down the CPS community but not engaging parents. Brizard was on chanel 2 a few weeks ago and said they really want to engage parents now…a little 2 late.

  • 221. WendyK  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    @mch – I do because I talk to and get emails from teachers every day who have little to no contact with the ctu. We have about 5500 people in our membership so I read a lot of emails.

    Is there any other blog like this dedicated towards scrutinizing the value and worth of another profession?

    Teachers don’t need Karen Lewis to make them feel berated right now.

  • 222. Chris  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    “Haven’t we already lost a lot of public support?”

    I think your leadership has handled the PR battle poorly. I think that a mid-week, third week of school strike–even (or, perhaps, especially) if only a day or two–would be worse than all the bad to date.

  • 223. Old Mom  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Maybe the CTU wants another crack at Rahm before he gets re-elected in 2015, or puts in a bid for governor 🙂

  • 224. NBCT Vet  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    re: compensation

    The reason I oppose merit pay is based on three issues: 1) fundamental fairness, 2) the intense collaborative effort necessary in education, and 3) the inability of merit pay, as shown in study after study after study, to show an improvement in academic achievement.

    Teaching is that rare profession where workers – men and women, whites and blacks and Latinos and Asians, those educated at Harvard and those at state schools, those with the same amount of experience and training but from different backgrounds or different social or familial connections, the clouted and the regular joe – are all paid the same. Even as a top tier teachers I like that. I can be personally rewarded for my excellence by my principal in other ways: a simple thank you or acknowledgement among my peers, department chair or leadership positions within the school, class subject assignments or opportunities to teach electives, my choice of classrooms or grade levels, better office space, additional financial and administrative support for my classes and extracurriculars. This list is certainly not comprehensive – it can go on and on.

    Merit pay, especially based on test scores, pits employees against one another. The pie of compensation is finite. And so we all compete to see who gets a bigger piece of the pie. So, while if I do better I will earn more there is also the simple reality that if my colleague does worse I will also earn more. That’s not an environment conducive to collaboration and it is not one that has been proven effective in education. A Google search of merit pay evaluation (including here in Chicago) will show plenty of studies that show it is equally ineffective as a motivator to teachers and as a means to improve student outcomes.

    I am, like most teachers, intrinsically motivated to do my job. I did not know my elbow from my backside my first few years of teaching, at least compared to my effectiveness now. Experience matters. It matters in every other profession and it matters in education. Education and training matter, too. In every profession including education. But the pay schemes thus far offered in Chicago and elsewhere like Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. do not typically value experience, education, and training. I think that is unwise and frustrates me as a top professional. I am not frustrated that my colleague down the hall, who is not as good at teaching as I am, is paid the same amount of money.

  • 225. RL Julia  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Chris @ 219 –
    if scenario #1 is easy (i.e. the teachers is basically told to go elsewhere) then #2 doesn’t happen, the teacher can just float from school to school and depending on what their certification is get hired again and again (for instance there is a serious lack of certified bi-lingual and SPED teachers).

    If scenario #1 is hard (as I over described in a prior post), then #2 is taken care of.

  • 226. RL Julia  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Oops -I forgot 🙂 🙂

  • 227. HS Mom  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    @209 Christopher – “Plenty of non-unionized private sector workers lose pay in downturns, but many also gain pay in upturns. Public sector workers never see those upturns.”

    This is a presumption that perpetuates the myth that everyone out there with a college degree is making big money or at least more than teachers. This may be true for some but not for most. Again the conundrum of which profession you compare teaching to and how the market salary is determined.

  • 228. Chris  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    “The pie of compensation is finite.”

    Isn’t it always? Whether merit pay or not, there’s a maximum budget.

    “Merit pay, especially based on test scores, pits employees against one another.”

    Not advocating, but curious: what if the credential-based step increases were done away with, and replaced with achievement-based (measured in multiple ways) salary increase? Do you feel, as a teacher, that one is *genuinely* a better teacher if one have a masters degree? Should we, as a community, encourage teachers to spend money on coursework of questionable relationship to educational outcomes?

    I’m all for encouraging teachers to be better teachers–with financial incentives or otherwise–but I question whether the financial incentive we currently provide has any relationship to increased quality.

  • 229. Jeanne  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    @225 RL Julia – Scenario 1 sounds like management techniques stolen directly from the Catholic Church!

  • 230. GeorgeABC  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I can see this playing out in 2 ways. First the CTU waits for Rahms new negotiating people to come in and see if progress can be made and cut a deal on the contract. This would also buy time for the CTU in order for new teachers to join the union and be prepared. Second, I can see a strike being held in the middle of the month and teachers walking off the job would have more of an impact in regards to pushing the negotiators in to compromising. I personally don’t see a way to avoid a work stoppage since Rahm and company want a two tier compensation system one for veterans to retain their steps and lanes and one without it for new rookies. It’s a classic case of divide and conquer between the union members. I just don’ t see the CTU taking that deal, which is bitter poison.

  • 231. Chris  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    RL Julia:

    Right, I understand that. But I can’t figure out, from context, whether the two sides of the argument are both discussing the same sceanrio.

  • 232. RL Julia  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    @229 – all successful techniques can be replicated, I guess. The thing is, very few individuals are comfortable with the idea of (more or less) singlehandedly destroying someone’s way of making a living – even if it is for the perceived common good – hence the popularity of the pass-along/ at least they are not my problem, maybe someone else can make them shine, tactic.

  • 233. Chris  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    ” I just don’ t see the CTU taking that deal, which is bitter poison.”

    It’s bitter poison that applies to all state employees, and is going to happen to City employees, too, as their contracts come up.

    Say, that is one reason that the powers keep puttin off hiring more cops–need to have a new, two-tier, pension in place before bringing too many new officers on.

  • 234. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    All I can say is what I saw happen at my school. It took 3/4 of a school year to take a “bad” teacher out of CPS altogether. It happened twice in the last 5 years at my school. Is it hard work for the principal? Yes. Is there a lot of paperwork? Yes. Is it overwhelming and stop him from doing other duties? No. It can be done. Blame principals, not CTU.

  • 235. Chris  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    “It took 3/4 of a school year to take a “bad” teacher out of CPS altogether.”

    Compared to “how hard” to just make the “bad teacher” someone else’s problem?

    If there is a major differential, then the problem lies in having too much discrepancy b/t the “easy” make it someone else’s problem and the “hard” get em out of CPS.

  • 236. RL Julia  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Chris – I think they are – but that there are gradations to the severity of the scenario. Also, what is easy for one person might not be for another. Just the same way it takes on average 17 mistakes to crash a plane, firing a bad teacher doesn’t just “happen”. Are there cracks in the system which allow bad teachers to continue working? Sure – but not one party is wholly responsible – I’d bet both principal and the CTU are anywhere from 10 to 90 percent responsible for every firing -depending on the variances of the individual case. Does this make any sense?

  • 237. S  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    @214 The CTU is more optimistic about the economy than me. I hope they are right, and things look better in two years. I just fear a return to the 80s, when strikes were very common. I think we had five in that decade.
    @220, it will be interesting to see what the DNC does with Rahm if the strike is pushed to the 18th.

  • 238. anonymouse teacher  |  August 24, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    If the CTU goes on strike before a certain time, all the new teachers will not be able to get or keep their health insurance until after the strike is resolved. This is a huge factor in strike timing. I don’t know the details, but I’d imagine that we’d be looking at October 1 or after (not sure what day of the week that is) so that new teachers would be able to stay on the insurance. I know my school, like many, is holding an emergency meeting on Monday before working hours to discuss these kinds of details.

  • 239. Angie  |  August 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    @234. CarolA: I will not blame principals for not wanting to jump through the ridiculous hoops set up by CTU.

    A few months grace period may be acceptable for a rookie teacher whose bad performance is caused by lack of knowledge or experience, and who is working hard to improve. But a veteran teacher who’s been known to be bad for years and years needs to be shown the door in 30 days, max.

  • 240. NBCT Vet  |  August 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    @219 Chris,

    1. Get the “bad teacher” out of a particular school.
    2. Get the “bad teacher” out of CPS entirely.

    Doesn’t number 1 accomplish number 2? My principal gets rid of bad teachers at our school with ease. He is operating under the same policy as every other principal. If it can be done at one school it can be done at many schools. I really don’t believe the problem is one of policy, it is one of implementation.

  • 241. RL Julia  |  August 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Unfortunately, I think becoming a good teacher might take more than just a few months. On the other hand, would you feel comfortable firing a teacher who was once stellar but who is now burned out (thanks in part to working in your (under resourced) school) or what about the teacher who is stellar but who for some reason the principal doesn’t like? How many years do you have to be bad before the 30 day rule goes into effect?

  • 242. HS Mom  |  August 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    RLJ – no problem getting rid of a burnt out vet who takes out their issues on the kid/job.

  • 243. Angie  |  August 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    @241. RL Julia: Yes, it will take more than a few months to become a better teacher, but hard work and ability to learn fast and adapt should count for something. Every teachers has to start somewhere. On the other hand, someone who is phoning it in because of burnout, is not likely to improve any time soon, and does not belong in the classroom.

  • 244. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    @239 They are not ridiculous hoops. My principal is detailed right down to the drink of water she took while watching the children at bathroom break. It doesn’t need to be that detailed. As far as new teachers……principals have 4 years to watch them and decide if they are a good fit for the school or not. They can release them at any time during those 4 years. It’s BECAUSE of principals that we have let this go on year after year. In the most recent case at my school, the same principal who fired her gave her a Superior rating for 6 years in a row. She was the same person the whole time. She wasn’t good from the start. So why did he continue to give her a Superior rating? Who knows? Don’t blame CTU!

  • 245. anonymouse teacher  |  August 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    I realize the topic of striking and teacher compensation and teacher quality isn’t going to go away anytime soon, but I wonder if sometime we could talk about something else other than these issues? There are a myriad of issues in CPS to discuss. Sometimes I feel like every single conversation always reverts back to “bad teachers”. Aren’t there any other education topics worth talking about? What about curriculum quality? Innovative things some schools do? Great literacy programs? I get it that this thread is going to be like this because of strike issues. I respect that. But isn’t there anything else?
    I’d love, just once, if there was a thread that ONLY talked about people’s positive experiences with teachers or schools.

  • 246. Angie  |  August 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    @244. CarolA: Does you principal have nothing better to do than to tag along with the teacher for several months, record their every indiscretion and producing mountains of paperwork to support their case?

    And BTW, who pays the legal fees on the school side in case the union sues for improper firing?

  • 247. EdgewaterMom  |  August 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    @Carol – the principal gave her a Superior rating for 6 years and then fired her? This makes no sense to me. What steps did the principal have to take to fire her?

  • 248. Paul  |  August 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    It’s difficult to talk about curriculum, innovation, and great literacy programs when teachers might shut down the school system.

  • 249. Mayfair Dad  |  August 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    @ 245: I propose we start an “I Love Teachers” thread and give a shout out to all the great teachers who have touched our children’s lives, or teachers we remember fondly from growing up.

    It would feel like a cool breeze to leave Planet Negative for a while.

    cpso?

  • 250. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    @249 and anonymouse: I agree. Let’s move on. We are getting nowhere here. I acknowledge and respect everyone’s opinion, but it’s seems we are still on opposite sides. The same info has been shared over and over. We’re stuck. CPSO: Help pull us out!

    @247: Yes. The first thing he did was put her in another grade level that he knew she couldn’t handle. Lucky for him, she wasn’t the fighting kind. However, best for the school. I just disagree with the manner in which he did it. He could have accomplished the same goal in another way.

  • 251. kikiandkyle  |  August 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    If it interests anyone, Lake Forest teachers just announced their intent to strike today, over salary and benefits. You can see what Lake Bluff and Lake Forest voters think of their schools and teachers here, and it’s not pretty.

    http://gazebonews.com/2012/08/24/lake-forest-high-school-teachers-issue-intent-to-strike/

  • 252. cpsobsessed  |  August 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Oh, you guys, those are such teacher-y topics! I suppose we parents can learn a bit. What part of that do you want to discuss? I’m going to fabulous Indiana Beach for sat-mon so you can discuss it while I’m gone.

    I’m working on some more data-oriented posts in the meantime.

    Just lemme know where to start. The topics are a little out of my realm.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 253. cpsobsessed  |  August 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    @kiki, I couldn’t see anything about what the voters think of the teachers. Is that part of the article? I’m also curious what the previous and current contracts are — just out of curiosity to compare to CPS since teaching in lake forest is about as far as you can get from one of the worst CPS schools.
    The district probably spends almost twice per kid on eduction as chicago. Those teacher (I hope) have supplies, air conditioning, books, desks, and I’m assuming good pay given the higher tax base. I wonder what they feel is unacceptable compared to what chicago teachers feel is unacceptable?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 254. anonymouse teacher  |  August 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    @248, I get that and I respect it. And I am not suggesting ending this thread. I’d just love something else to balance it out. Plus, I have been on the board for 2 years or so now, maybe more. And the entire time, things seem to disintegrate into this same conversation. Two years ago there was no threat of a strike. Even a year ago there wasn’t, not really. I know the threat of a strike exacerbates all the tension, but this is not the only topic of importance.
    Personally, I would love to hear people’s positive experiences with teachers. Not the pie in the sky made for TV movie kind. Just ones along the lines of, “this teacher x really went out of her way to meet my child’s need for harder math by doing ____.”
    I hear over and over in posts that people here really believe in rewarding good teachers. This is one way to do that. It doesn’t have to mean you can’t feel angry and worried about a strike or about the teachers who phone it in or any other valid issue.
    You all are in some of the best schools in the city. I KNOW you believe, as I do, that the quality of the teacher matters and that your children have had some of those fabulous teachers. I am only asking for a teeny bit of the other side of things.

  • 255. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Edgewatermom: Forgot to mention…..she was quite old and I’m sure he was hoping each year that she would just retire. When she didn’t, year after year, he got fed up and did what should have been done years earlier.

  • 256. CPS strike? - City-Data Forum  |  August 24, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    […] […]

  • 257. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    anonymouse: I’ll toot my own horn to get us started. LOL Many, many years ago, a little boy transferred into my room from the suburbs (imagine that). He had several learning issues and previous teachers evidently didn’t offer any suggestions or different ways for him to learn. I took him under my wing and made terrific progress that year. To me, it was just a part of my job. To his mom, I was some kind of angel. The boy loved coming to school (something new for mom to witness). That Christmas, the boy and his mom made a handcrafted ornament of me with angel wings using a mason jar lid for the face area. She wrote the nicest and kindest of letters that really brought me to tears (happy tears). I still have that letter and still have the ornament. I remember it whenever things get tough. I don’t remember who gave me the coffee mug. I don’t remember who gave me the apple topped pen, but I sure remember the letter that mom took the time to write. It’s moments like that one that keep us going.

  • 258. anonymouse teacher  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Carol, thanks for your work with that student.
    I’ll continue with a story about two of my children’s teachers. I sent my son to a preschool for all program. One morning, my friend had to bring him to school for me so I could attend a meeting at my daughter’s school. Apparently he was missing me and melted down, outside the school doors, into a screaming crying mess. His teacher could hear him from inside the school (yes, he’s loud). She came out, during her morning prep time, and asked if he could come inside with her. She let him play on the computers until he settled down. She gave him a hug, sent my friend on her way where she proceeded to call me to tell me how amazed she was at this teacher’s kindness. I liked the teacher so much I wanted to name her as guardian of my children if I died, not kidding. Warmth does not begin to adequately describe the tender care she provided to each and every child in her room.
    Next, I had the chance to watch my kids’ kindergarten teacher many times when I’d volunteer in the room. I saw the single best writing instruction I’d ever witnessed in my life. I thought so highly of the methodology and the delivery that I model my own writing instruction after hers.
    My kids’ teachers are not perfect, but I have so appreciated their work and efforts and skill. Thank you to Ms. M and Ms. E.

  • 259. MSS  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Some quotes from Ms. Charlotte Danielson about the metric she created and that which CPS seeks to judge us by:

    That’s been a pretty good process there (in AR), AR has not had a lot of backlash the way some states and districts have where they’ve been in a hurry to do it

    The important stuff like the teacher’s use of questioning strategies to help students develop concepts, that’s much harder to assess

    The higher level of supervision by a principal takes time

    Many of them (legislators, in this case MI) don’t understand the complexity of it. They don’t have a clue what is really involved (in teacher assessment)

    Make it (the framework) high stakes (i.e. as a dismissal tool) where you have to (in “failing” schools? Isn’t that like all of them?)

    When a teacher or union activist says that principals don’t know what they are doing when they’re evaluating teachers, they are usually right!

    The problem that teachers and unions have had all along with teachers’ evaluations is that they basically don’t trust the administrators to know what they’re doing. It’s not an unrealistic fear.

    To have an effective evaluation system, you need good trained evaluators and more time from teachers and administrators to discuss performance.

    Being able to ensure the accuracy of the evaluators and to have backup systems, to let teachers videotape the same class during an observer visit, send it to an external expert for another opinion

    Evaluators may see certain aspects of teaching and not know where to mark them down. Now your assessment of that component is going to be inaccurate

    You come in, observe my lesson, write it down, and tell me what I did wrong or right…the school culture is one of inspection…there is no learning for me as the teacher
    My expertise is on defining good teaching. It’s not on how to use test score data. I’m not convinced that it (test score accountability/pay) can be done fairly for teachers based on what we know now.

    Sources: Rick Hess EduBlog – Interview w/ CD
    Ed.gov Developing Effective Teacher Eval Systems
    A conversation w/ Charlotte Danielson
    Theodoric Meyer NYT 02/15/12
    @ 251 Are merit pay/arbitrary dismissals being asked for in Lake Forest? My guess is up there it really is all about the money and nothing else.

  • 260. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    anonymouse: I get the feeling that you and I think/teach quite similiar. We seem to be on the same page often. Glad your children had some great experiences. There are a lot of great teachers out there!

  • 261. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I love Pinterest! I found an anchor chart that I want to do with my students on the first day. It says What Makes a Good Teacher? The students give responses and they get recorded on the chart. The chart gets displayed in the classroom all year as a reminder to the teacher to be the type of teacher every student wants. (Maybe this wouldn’t work in the upper grades.) So my question to the parents on this thread….What makes a someone a good teacher in your mind? What qualities in a teacher would be the perfect fit for your child?

  • 262. Paul  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I’ve loved all the CPS teachers my kids have had so far. None of them were perfect, but they were all great. We’ve been lucky. I know other parents at our school that have had bad teachers. To me, the good teachers keep the kids interested, the parents informed, make sure each child is challenged academically, and generally have their stuff together. They’re professionals, and they do their job well.

  • 263. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    @210
    “Can teachers at least deduct the money they contribute to their classrooms as business expenses?”
    $250 of an “educator’s expense” can be claimed on taxes.

    @211
    “Saw lewis on WTTW the other day and one item really bothered me. She said the Union is looking for a short term contract less than two year. I didn’t understand why we would want to go thru this so soon. Sometimes I think of moving to the suburbs and continuous strikes talks is going to push me there.”
    There are other suburbs striking and I believe Illinois has had more strikes in the last year than it has in many years since the passing of SB7.

    @213
    “My daughter is supposed to start tuition-based pre-k in September. Very curious as to what will happen with that if there’s a strike – I’ve already paid her Sept. tuition!”
    This is a very good question and one the board probably hasn’t even thought of because those at the top I think don’t honestly know the myriad of programs we have in the district. I would call the school or 553-1000 and ask to speak to someone in charge of tuition based programs and ask your question. I know there are several TB programs in the district.

    @244- NBCT Vet

    Right on- Right there with you.

    @250 “I agree. Let’s move on. We are getting nowhere here. I acknowledge and respect everyone’s opinion, but it’s seems we are still on opposite sides.”
    Sort of like the contract negotiation team. This is like our own little microcosm of the negotiations.

    I just found this website. Never saw it before. It is very interesting.
    http://cpswarehouse.etl.luc.edu/schools/

  • 264. CarolA  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    cpsteacher4321: LOL I thought of that after I sent it (little microcosm of the negotiations). Interesting list. Big changes over the last 10 years.

  • 265. cpsmommy  |  August 24, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    @263 Teachers can no longer deduct $250 of expenses beginning this year (2012). Congress took that away from educators.

  • 266. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 24, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Thanks for letting me know I guess….. I guess better than getting disgruntled about it in February, March or April 🙂

  • 267. SutherlandParent  |  August 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    @245–OK, I’m in! With a smiley face 🙂

    We have had great experiences with CPS teachers and our school community. My kids loved singing the French national anthem in front of an audience as part of our spring French event. One of my kids talked about dissecting sharks for months after it happened. The art teacher took photos of each kid doing Munch’s “Scream” pose, and they painted pictures around that (we still have those hanging up). My kids visit their 1st grade teacher when they need a hug, years after 1st grade. Our foundation has a quarterly fundraiser at a restaurant that donates proceeds from each meal purchased on a particular day, and we regularly have teachers who show up in a group to support us. That’s off the top of my head…

  • 268. Tchr  |  August 24, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Another example of what’s on paper and what REALLY happens in schools: that $100 we get? My school thanked each of us for “donating” the $100 to paying for use, supplies, and maintenance of the copy machine. I am serious. The measly $100 we are supposed to get was taken away from us without our choice.

    That is why I am weary of any money given to my school rather than given to me. It doesn’t ever actually get to me and my students directly!

    Imagine if you had to pay for the office supplies at your work! The copy paper, the staplers, the pens, etc.

    Later in the year, my school always “finds” extra money and purchases us supplies, supplies I don’t actually use in kindergarten like regular lined notebook paper and spirals.

    Oh, and if my students come out of uniform, I is marked against me as their teacher. I better have my own supply of uniform shirts and take them home to wash on my time and money.

    Excuse me. I’d rather have that extra money in my paycheck. I can make sure it is being spent on what I need for my students. I can at least be smart about how I spend it and stop at Staples every day and buy my limit of 20 boxes of 1¢ pennies for a total of 20¢ rather than my school spending $50 on pencils and
    giving them to me half way through the school
    year!!!

    And if I want to take a break and buy some beer on a Friday night with my raise, well, after having 31 kindergartners for 7 hours straight, I am going to let myself purchase a beer.

    Ps. Mouse, I have 3 bookcases (I purchased with my own money) that I am getting rid of. No room in my new arrangement wish there way a way to contact you!

  • 269. kikiandkyle  |  August 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    @253 CPSO there are several articles on the Gazebo News site about the Lake Forest teacher strike situation, and some on the Lake Bluff middle school’s renovation plans. The comments are just astounding.

  • 270. anonymouse teacher  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Tchr, I have an email I use for stuff like this. You can contact me at SamanthaJ3226 at gmail dot com I’d be happy to pay you for the shelves or maybe I have something to trade. I teach kindergarten too so would love to share ideas too. Maybe we can meet for coffee.

  • 271. cpsobsessed  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    @Kiki – interesting. I never could find the comments to read. So it looks like they (the teachers) have done some serious research on the budget and comparable salaries.
    So they say the school is in the top 1% nationally, but they don’t get paid as much as the other affluent districts.
    Starting salary with a bachelor’s is $50K in Lake Forest compared to the top payers: Oak Park, Reavis?, Summit? at around $55K.
    Chicago is around $45K? Anyone know?
    Teachers with a Masters start at $56 in Lake Forest vs the top school, Niles Township at $65.5K.

    They say that if they don’t pay top dollar, they won’t get the top teachers. (I have to guess that Lake Forest is STILL getting the top teachers due to what I image are good working conditions.) Do teaches in districts like that ever buy their own supplies? Do the parents have to buy paper towels, soap, etc as part of their school supplies? Makes me curious.

  • 272. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    @270 and 268- I teach Pre-K and I think Carol A teaches 1st grade (why are we all early childhood teachers?) Perhaps we could have an early childhood coffee session. Anonymously 🙂

  • 273. anonymouse teacher  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    @272, cool! Email me at the address I listed and I’ll coordinate with all of you. Thanks!

  • 274. demosthenesinaction  |  August 25, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Honestly, you parents make sense with what you are asking, but sadly, us teachers have 0 trust in the board of education at CPS. Make no mistake, your mayor and you million Doller board of education is intersted in one thing: lessening the cost of public education by terminating experienced teachers and hiring cheap new teachers. What the board is offering is a deal to make that happen, so if you want your kids taught by first year NIU or Loyola grads instead of the veteran teacher that can get your kid a 27 or higher on the ACT, stay on the sidelines and dismiss the union by saying “I love my kids teacher but I think the union is extreme.”. Our extremity comes from saving public education, which, under this administration, is very much under fire.

  • 275. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 7:13 am

    tchr: I can’t believe that the misuse of the $100 is even legal. I suppose you could make the union aware of that, but here it is parents……..HOWEVER….as teachers we need to make decisions like this all the time. Do we report the misuse and run the risk of “after attacks” because of a lousy $100 or do we just shut up and let it go? Principals count on us just letting it go because in the long run, they can make our life’s miserable. If you get in a school where there are a lot of new teachers, they will NEVER report anything like this. That’s what makes this united effort of the union so unique. Everyone is so fed up with lots of little issues that they can’t report. This helps us bring everything to the forefront that we’ve held back for so long. When 90% of anything votes YES, people should listen. There just has to be more to it than a pay raise for personal reasons!

    By the way……CHEERS with your beer! LOL

  • 276. cpsobsessed  |  August 25, 2012 at 7:47 am

    @Demos – I have a feeling you’re just passing through to comment, but if you’re back — what part of the negotiation includes replacing older teachers with younger ones?
    I don’t disagree that the plan is to cut costs. That’s clearly one of rahm’s goals in many parts of the city budget.

    My son is getting a new teacher this year who has maybe 4 years of experience and from what I hear the ideas she has for the upcoming year are impressive. He has another very young, very good teacher. So far, youth hasn’t been a problem. A series of first year grads certainly would be challenging though, I’m certain.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 277. cpsobsessed  |  August 25, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Regarding teacher starting pay of $45-50K is that considered “decent” starting pay for a college degree? I don’t know what market rates are. When I was out of college, my first job in the Marshall Field’s Executive Training Program paid $20k and that was considered a good starting salary at the time. I think the good accounting firms (big 8 back then) paid perhaps $24k.

    My niece just finished college and is looking for her first teaching job in the chicagoland area without luck. Each position has a ton of candidates. Cps is her last resort, but mainly because of reputation of unsafe schools/neighborhoods among people in the suburbs.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 278. Teacher4321  |  August 25, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Well CPSO- I wouldn’t consider a 4th year teacher new anymore. If you can survive 4 years in this district then you have a lot of expertise under your belt, but still a lot to learn. Especially in CPS where everything is always changing.

    I think the grand plan of “cost savings” is to have teachers around for a short period of time, A La Teach for America.

    I guess I should find a wishing well toss a penny in and wish to find the fountain of youth and go back a few years and then ask to be frozen at that age forever?

  • 279. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 8:58 am

    cpso: It’s my understanding that applicants for CPS file with each individual school so your niece would only apply at all the “safe” schools. Of course, so is everyone else, but none the less. Years ago, when I started, there was a central pool everyone was put in and you didn’t know which school you’d be sent to. I know new applicants must file with CPS for approval, but apply at whichever schools they want. My school lists available positions right on its website and people apply to the email listed (one of the administrators)

    p.s. If we are going back in time….my first job was at the fantastic rate of $1.65 per hour and I was happy to have it! Over the years I was promoted to part time manager (I was still going to college) and made the wonderful rate of $3.65 per hour. I had to take care of all the incoming money, lock up the safe, set the alarm, etc. Big responsibilities, big pay! LOL I’m using LOL a lot. I must be getting giddy with school starting soon.

  • 280. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 9:02 am

    By the way…..I’m not against new teachers at all. Most are very good. I worked side by side with a newbie last year and she was great. She had lots of fresh ideas to share. Did she have some classroom management issues? A few. Did she under prepare a few times? Maybe. That just goes with being a newbie. But I love the new ideas and upbeat attitude that goes along with being fresh out of college. So don’t think new teachers are not a welcome sight in schools. By the same token, don’t think that just because some teachers are older, they aren’t with the times.

  • 281. cpsobsessed  |  August 25, 2012 at 9:02 am

    And let’s not even get started on the babysitting rate of $1 an hour!!!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 282. cpsobsessed  |  August 25, 2012 at 9:02 am

    @T4321 – true, 4 years is probably just hitting their stride. But c’mon – the hassle of keeping only 1-2 years teachers on staff seems huge. The hiring, interviewing, etc. I haven’t gotten the sense that cps wants anything that extreme. Is that a slippery slope assumption? Or based on things you’ve read/heard?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 283. Ltwain  |  August 25, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Kids graduating from college in engineering are getting about 50-60k per year, sometimes front loaded to get them to bite, and their increases are less in following years. They get two weeks of vacation. To advance to higher positions and salaries, they usually have to compete against their peers for the next level up, although company sponsored MBAs make these the fair haired ones.
    The struggle to compete and get noticed is interesting as it goes against the collaboration model seen in education.
    My engineering friends gasp at the salaries teachers and especially administrators make for the equivalent number of years of service. These friends are the ones who do not support the union, even though their kids are being taught by union teachers.

  • 284. Mayfair Dad  |  August 25, 2012 at 9:23 am

    In third grade, my daughter was assigned to keep a daily journal, which was reviewed nightly by her amazing teacher, Ms. Rollings. What started out as tentative 5 – 6 word sentences flourished into brave prose as my little author found her voice and became fascinated with words. The running commentary between teacher and student was a very tender and personal conversation – it was like a dam burst and words came pouring out. My daughter will never forget Ms. Rollings, nor will I.

  • 285. CPS Teacher  |  August 25, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I don’t have problem with new teachers at all. As a matter of fact, I really feel good when you get new energy into the school. However, I do have a problem with TFA. That is a completely different game. I don’t think any good to high performing schools in suburbia would choose to hire a teacher with 5 weeks of training. At my school, we have a high TFA number . Last year, 1 left for grad school and the other for med school. I have a problem with contracting with a an education group that is affiliated with anti-union corporations. Here’s an interesting read: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shaun-johnson/teach-for-america-funding-_b_1811291.html

    Regarding suburban teachers and supplies:
    My son’s teacher knows of the disparities between her classroom and those in the city: her mother is a retired 2nd grade CPS teacher. She said that her mother will still buy her stuff at the start of the school year, disbelieving that she doesn’t need to buy her own supplies. Her purchases are for educational purposes, decorating and her own conveniences.

    On costs in suburban schools: In addition to the standard school supplies, I had to purchase 2 boxes of kleenex, 2 bottles of hand sanitizer, ziplock bags in two sizes and a roll of paper towels for my son’s classroom supplies. I pay $185 for bus service (anyone who wants to take the bus in the district pays) and $110 additionally for 1st grade “fees.” I also have a hefty tax bill. The student to teacher ratio is 17 to 1. 78% of teachers have a masters or higher. There are no teachers at the school with provisional certificates and all teachers are highly qualified.

  • 286. CPS Teacher  |  August 25, 2012 at 9:39 am

    @282: “The hiring, interviewing, etc. I haven’t gotten the sense that cps wants anything that extreme. Is that a slippery slope assumption? Or based on things you’ve read/heard?”

    I think TFA supports this goal. I read this last year and thought it was interesting : http://www.greatlakescenter.org/docs/Policy_Briefs/Heilig_TeachForAmerica.pdf

  • 287. Patricia  |  August 25, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I’ve posted this in relation to other topics, but one of my kids had the most amazing math teacher. He is so good at math himself and literally inspires an entire program to think that math is fun and cool. He is able to teach to every single kid individually by using Khanacademy.org (which I had a LONG gushing post about in another thread) and other ways. He is a master “jedi” teacher….to borrow a phrase from Mayfair Dad  This teacher struck a chord with my son and it was like adding water to a wilting flower of math academics. My son was never challenged in math until this teacher. I literally bring myself to tears when I think of how thankful I am to see my kid so challenged and happy. Anything I say about this teacher will not do justice to how incredible he is. CarolA I am glad to hear a note means something to you because I certainly do that with the incredible teachers we come across.

  • 288. cpsobsessed  |  August 25, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Yeah, TFA sounds crazy. I get it if there is a shortage of motivated people to teach in terrible neighborhoods. I don’t get it otherwise. It’s using our kids as a learning tool for young adults who seem to mostly aspire towards other professions. I’m sure it makes them better people, perhaps better at what they do, undoubtably more sympathetic towards education funding. but that is a whole year of kids’ lives wasted with an completely inexperienced teacher.

    Does CPS even pay for those teachers? I assume the cost is way less since it’s basically a volunteer force, no?

    I don’t know the extent to which CPS plans to utilize TFA. I thought it was still a very small % of teachers?

  • 289. Patricia  |  August 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Walking down memory lane here…………..my favorite teacher from childhood is Mr. Brown in 5th grade. I can still name every bone in the body because of him and have vivid memories of my time in his classroom. He found a way to have us go on field trips every single week so we could get out there and actually have hands on experience about what we were learning. We planted trees, went to paper mills, went to the dunes, etc. No budget, he got the parents to volunteer and set up a driving rotation (a different time). At one of my HS reunions a group of us were talking about grade school and everyone said Mr. Brown was their favorite. I also discovered that he made connections with every one of us in different ways. With me, getting a box of bones—putting them together—then figuring out what animal it was and understanding how the skeleton supported the body, etc. was something I could not get enough of. He kept my interest growing and integrated creative writing for me. In relation to bones, go figure, it worked. With some peers he did supplemental tutoring that not only helped them after school, but really set them straight in life. There was a group of boys who were “going astray” and Mr. Brown set them straight and one told me he wouldn’t be so successful today without the tough wake up call he got from Mr. Brown.

    Alas, Mr. Brown only taught one year because he went off to Yale for his masters degree. The post about TFA combined with reading great teacher posts made me think of Mr. Brown. 30 years later to today, he probably would have been a TFA teacher. For me, that one year was magical and for others in the class it was life changing. So, if a classroom of kids gets a teacher like this, I don’t care if it is TFA or a veteran.

    Other teachers are faint memories like CarolA’s coffee mug, but were fine. It is funny because it seems people vividly remember the “best” and the “worst”, if you have had either in those categories.

  • 290. CPS Teacher  |  August 25, 2012 at 10:37 am

    CPSO…it’s my understanding the the district pays TFA a fee, per teacher per year…on top of the salary that goes directly to the teacher.

  • 291. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 25, 2012 at 10:44 am

    @cpsobsessed. My understanding is TFA teachers placed in CPS schools are paid the same salary as CTU and are eligible to become members. My understanding is CPS is paying for their salary. I could be wrong on this so please someone correct me.

    Also- as to your other questions. For a long time I did not believe many of the “conspiracy” theories out there about the future of education, but those I have not believed over the years are coming true.

    I see some of what TFA is doing as similar to some of what the Charters are doing. Taking temporary workers and keeping them in the field for less than four years. Sometimes less than three. Go over to district 299 and read some of the latest postings from Rod Estvan and Retired Principal.

    As for the charters in general- I have heard good things about a few. However, in the name of transparency that everyone is supposed to be showing- when I went to the budget meeting in July- it was very apparent that CPS does not have a huge idea of where the money is going that they are giving to charters (no public budgets) and when asked about the waiting lists that they have been told charters have- they said they have never seen them.

  • 292. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 10:52 am

    A genuine heartfelt letter from a parent means more to me than anything that can be bought at a store. That seems weird, but it’s true. Not to be snotty or unappreciative, but I’ll buy my own perfume thank you. I have enough candles to light up a church on Christmas Eve. Save your money and write me a note about how my class has made a difference for your child (if it has). If it hasn’t, then I probably wouldn’t be getting anything else from you either. LOL There I go again with the LOL. If you feel the need to send something, make it something I can use in the classroom…..gift cards from Staples, Target, or Barnes and Noble.

    Thanks to all those who have shared their good teacher stories. It will make my journey into the unknown (starting Monday) much more pleasant! Should be some good posts once the kiddies arrive!

    Also, I keep forgetting…..not everyone gets an automatic increase AND step increase every year. I bottomed out several years ago. I think it stopped after 13 or 14 years. In this past contract that just expired, there was an increase one year if you have 15 years or more, next year for 20 years or more (I got both) and the last one for 25 years or more (missed out on that one).

  • 293. CPS Teacher  |  August 25, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Monies paid to TFA
    2010 -$212,850
    2011 – $75,366
    2012 -$600,000.

    You can check contracts here: http://www.csc.cps.k12.il.us/purchasing/index.php@tab=2&id=49.htm

  • 294. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Not sure about TFA, but another similiar group was started within CPS in conjunction with Concordia that paid the teachers 1st year starting salary just as anyone with an education degree would be and they didn’t have their degree yet. When finished, they zoomed up to the Masters category. Great deal for them. I know this because that’s the story of the person I worked side by side with last year.

  • 295. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 10:59 am

    HMMMMMM candles and perfume…..maybe they are sending me a message…..I do take a shower every morning.

  • 296. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 25, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I agree with Carol about the notes of appreciation. Those are very meaningful to me.

    CarolA there are several groups in CPS like TFA, but not quite to the extreme of TFA. Chicago Teaching Fellows, I think AUSL has a program. There are more.

  • 297. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 11:34 am

    CPSO: I’m thinking about the old days and your $1 an hour babysitting fee. Let’s bump that up for today’s economy and charge $2 an hour. If I charge parents $2 an hour to babysit AND educate their child, that’s $2 X 7 per day = $14 per child X 30 children = $420 per day……not bad. Maybe I SHOULD open my own school!

  • 298. Patricia  |  August 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I was at a luncheon where a Harvard study was presented and Karen Lewis was on a panel. (Yes, on my free time and on my dime—CPS parents have to get way too involved to figure out this bowl of spaghetti!) LOL! Joining you on the laugh track CarolA 🙂

    The Harvard study pointed out how the teaching workforce is at a crossroads and polarized with different expectations for their careers. There are the experienced veterans who prefer autonomy, do not like change and prefer working on their own. The young newbies want teamwork, are not afraid of performance and enjoy change. I am making it more simplistic and there were charts and graphs etc that provided the data. One was striking that there are not many teachers in between the two ends.

    The take away point from the Harvard education expert was that the workforce is changing and will demand polar opposite work environments. It also pointed out that like the rest of the younger workforce out there today, they expect to change schools or even careers. Today’s workforce is just not going to stay put. Karen Lewis seemed to be stuck in a past era on the panel and was speaking to protecting the veterans and completely in denial about the fact that the new generation of teachers will simply not be interested in the profession for their entire career. Sure, some may, but most won’t. Every company out there is dealing with the same dynamic of crossing career paths and a mobile workforce. No one expects to stay with one company (or career type) their entire career anymore, even attorneys. To be balanced, Nomei from CPS was on the panel also and equally not able to answer how CPS principals would be able to manage this dynamic.

  • 299. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Patricia: Interesting perspective and basically true! It seems ALL the younger teachers I talk to have no reason to believe they will still be in the classroom in 10 years. They plan to move on. They have no fear of it. Many are moving because their spouses got job promotions and need to go out of state because the offer was so good. When I ask what they will do, they say they’ll figure it out when they get there. What a great way to go through life! It always does seem to work out somehow.

  • 300. Patricia  |  August 25, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Ahhh………….youth, it’s wasted on the young 🙂

  • 301. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Maybe it’s because years ago it was frowned upon to have a resume showing that you “job hop”. Nowadays, I think a prospective boss might think it’s weird that you are stuck in the same job for so long. It might look like you are an underachiever. This is true since most bosses are many years younger than me!

  • 302. Patricia  |  August 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    LOL! I had serious “talk with myself” years agothat my bosses will increasingly get younger and younger.

    I think you are right that the “job hopping” perception has changed over the decades. Makes me wonder what my kids will be dealing with………..they may have a completely virtual work environment.

  • 303. Family Friend  |  August 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    There are worse things for children than a strike. One of them is to continue to go to schools that do not prepare them for either college or a career. Unfortunately, a strike won’t fix that. The union negotiated lesser changes to the status quo than CPS proposed, and now it’s about money.

  • 304. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I think you might be right about the virtual work environment. My brother is now able to do a lot of his work from home with a laptop supplied by the company. It is very controlled by the company so they can tell that he is on and working, but nonetheless, he’s at home. Same with a friend of mine who does mortgage approvals. She is in the process of “testing out” of the work environment, getting a company supplied laptop, and being able to work at home. Again, they can tell if she is on and working, but she can work in her PJs if she wants and no travel time!

  • 305. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Family Friend: Life is ALWAYS about money when you boil it down. Many schools are already doing quite well. Those that aren’t need more money for resources. CPS doesn’t have it. They only have it for charters. Charters have not shown any big overwhelming improvements. Let’s not get started on this again. Today is about fun and frolic. LOL

  • 306. Patricia  |  August 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I don’t get the opposition to evaluations/merit pay that says it will pit teachers against each other and destroy the “collaborative” environment of teaching or that the bonus pool is finite. I will share examples that I have from the private sector and am curious to understand why it would not work in schools.

    Every since my first post undergrad job ($14K annual salary) and every job since, there is an annual evaluation period. There is usually a range of ratings from 1 to 5 for example with 5 being “excellet”, “exceeds”, or from my internet start up days the “you rock” category 🙂 You get bonus % based on your performance and there is a finite pool of money that changes every year. The bonus dollars fluctuate based on the collective “team” company performance. It may create some competition, but it is healthy competition that causes all the good employees (rated range 3 to 5) to rise the bar for everyone and the company does better, so the bonus get better, and the opposite when the company or economy goes down. I wouldn’t call it competition as much as teamwork. It is hard work, but it is also rewarding. Some employees are motivated by the ratings, some the bonus, and some are just not “motivatable” —-new word I created 🙂

    The metrics used are both subjective as well as data driven measurable points. One category is always “teamwork” which makes it clear that being a team player is part of the culture. I just don’t get how this can’t be implemented in schools.

    I also have been a VP director evaluating teams by the same metrics. What it does for management is enable a clear message to the employee on where they stand and what they need to do. A poor rating and no bonus makes it clear that you need to improve or move on. If you do not get the hint, the process is pretty swift and in my experience not dramatic—although it is never fun firing someone.

    What kind of workforce do you attract when you have tenure after 2 years and can never be fired? You get the precious ones who are truly in it for the magical moments of teaching and watching a child learn. But you also attract the phone it in types. Or because you can never be fired, you just stick around, and you get burned out and then phone it in. It has to be so frustrating for the good teachers to work in such a dysfunctional work dynamic.

    Saying that teachers cannot cooperate as a team if you recognize the good teachers does not give teachers enough credit. They are adults, they are professionals and they can function in a world that allows the good teachers to rise, be recognized and compensated accordingly. Teachers are not “one size fits all”, yet the CTU is degrading the profession to this level by forcing everyone to be treated exactly the same—-the best teacher in your memory as well as the worst. It is not fair, it is not right and it has to change!

  • 307. Family Friend  |  August 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    @CPSTEACHER4321: Charter school budgets are very definitely public. Charter budgets must be approved by the charter school board of directors by June 1 of every year and submitted to CPS for review and approval. (Of course, the last few years CPS hasn’t been able to tell the charters how much they will be paying per child so they have given extensions on the budget — lots of special board meetings for the charters.) CPS does review them, and lets the charter know if they don’t think the budget is realistic. They don’t like deficits, although they will approve them if the charter can show it’s a temporary issue AND has the money to cover the deficit already in the bank. Every charter school, as well as CPS, is governed by the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. You can get the budgets from the individual schools or from CPS. They can’t say no without approval from the Illinois Attorney General, who will not allow anyone to deny a budget. If I wanted to look at all the budgets I would call up whatever they are calling the Office of New Schools these days and ask if I could come over and look. They would probably want me to file an official FOI request, and would schedule a time. The idea that charters operate in financial secrecy is not only erroneous, it would be illegal!

  • 308. Patricia  |  August 25, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Sorry CarolA, I posted my LONG metrics post before I saw the fun LOL day. We can ignore until later. I do think Family Friend brings up a good point and do not see how it ties with charters. Which, IMO striking over the fact that charters exist will not stop charters either. Can’t really LOL about that 😦

    I am off to some outside sun and hope CPSO is enjoying the beach 🙂

  • 309. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Ok, I’m done for now too. Can’t spend my last two days of freedom on the computer, but it was fun while it lasted. I’ll tune in later. BTW, can someone teach me how to do those smile faces on this post? I’m sure it’s simple, but I can’t figure it out. (I’m old, but willing to learn) WAIT……I found it……yeah for me! Sad, how do you paste it?

  • 310. Family Friend  |  August 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    @Patricia — I agree with you completely. I have dealt with the kind of ratings you describe my entire working life, and although they can be applied unfairly by a biased manager, they are way better than nothing. Life always includes some unfairness, and at this point I would rather be unfair to the teachers than continue to be unfair to the students.

  • 311. HS Mom  |  August 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    I know this is fun day. Just posting some of the latest news – most of which we have already analyzed here at CPS obsessed. We should have our own delegation!

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-08-24/news/ct-met-cps-contract-talks-0826-20120824_1_chicago-teachers-union-president-karen-lewis-rod-estvan

    Couple comments that stand out:

    “What we may be seeing is an impasse between reality and expectations,” said Mazany, chief executive officer of the Chicago Community Trust. “CPS is clearly mindful of the economic cliff that lies ahead, and at the same time, the union is seeking to secure benefits and protections for its members.”

    “The union leadership has a bit of a problem in that it might not be able to deliver a contract to satisfy everyone,” Rehak said. “But Karen, right now, has the membership in the palm of her hand. If she says this is the best we can do, the members will sign on.”

    Lets hope this indicates that we can move forward in a positive direction.

    Just wanted to add – LOL 🙂

  • 312. Teacher4321  |  August 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    About the comments of there being two sets
    of teachers the “lifers” vs. “the newbies” and no one in the middle…..

    Perhaps I am someone in the middle. From high school on I was doing some sort of “teaching.” Reflecting on my time over the years I have always shared part of my time with working with those who had many advantages (I.e. economic advantage, supportive parent advantage, academic ability) and those who have had many disadvantages (socioeconomic problems, difficult family situations etc.) I have worked/ volunteered for many many organizations that work for children as well as well resourced and under resourced schools and communities.

    I thought I would spend the rest of my life in education. I went to a very well known and respected grad school after a few years in the field. What I learned there made me think critically about what I was doing well in the classroom and where I could improve. I saw some approaches coming into education that I didn’t like but still felt good about my job everyday.

    Lately, I am seeing policies coming down the pipes being implemented across the field that both my experience and education tell me are wrong for children. I am being pressured at my job, not by my administration as they are wonderful, but by “downtown/central office” to complete hours and hours worth of paperwork and I see the disparities between CPS schools growing and growing.

    I think about the injustices happening to so many children in the system (and I don’t think the root of the issue are the supposed thousands of bad teachers that people seem to think exsist) and I wonder how much longer I can sit and watch things happen and the difference between the haves and have nots continue to grow.

    So I am one of those “In the middle” and I wish I could feel like I could remain at my job for my whole carreer, but I’m not sure and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  • 313. Teacher4321  |  August 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Um the smiley face is is simply a : and a ) with no space. 🙂

  • 314. kikiandkyle  |  August 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    @CPSO our supply list is very extensive, this year they added copy paper to the list too. We also spent close to $1,000 on school and bus fees, and my property taxes are currently around 4% of the value of my home. One example of some comments on schools in the area http://gazebonews.com/2012/08/19/lake-forest-high-school-board-says-teachers-union-is-out-of-line/#comment-24827

    http://gazebonews.com/2012/08/19/what-lake-forest-teachers-want-lfea-issues-statement/#comment-24823

  • 315. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I didn’t realize it turned into a yellow one when I posted. Let’s see. 🙂

  • 316. CarolA  |  August 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    AHHHH You’re right. I knew about the : and ), but didn’t know it changed upon posting. Thanks. 🙂

  • 317. likethis?  |  August 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    a:a)

  • 318. Teacher4321  |  August 25, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    http://m.nbcchicago.com/nbcchicago/pm_107717/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=LrBXhJgT

    Apparently “Broke Chicago” has 55 million dollars to build us a new zoo.

  • 319. mom2  |  August 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    “The $55 million park will be paid for with public and privately raised funds, city officials said: $10 million from private funding, of which $5 million has been secured; $35 million from leasing the parking garages beneath Millennium Park and Grant Park, and $5 million from Chicago Park District capital funds. Construction will continue through the winter of 2014, officials said.”

  • 320. NBCT Vet  |  August 25, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Even coming into teaching as a second career I’d like to be a lifer and make it to 35 years in the classroom. But I just can’t possibly see how CPS will ever allow that to happen.

    Before I qualify for my modest pension my school will be closed or I will be terminated en masse through no fault of my own and as a result I will likely be unable to secure employment in the education field either in the city or the suburbs. It saddens me to think of this eventuality, but it is a near certainty since I teach in a neighborhood school. I may be fiercely devoted to my school and kids, I may be an outstanding educator, but it won’t matter in the end. I don’t view this as cynicism, just honest pragmatism.

    I look back at my high school days – the traditions, the building wide legacies, the teachers who were there for 2 or 3 generations of kids, the staff who achieved iconic status and were treasures of the school and the larger community, the long standing academic programs and extracurriculars founded by teachers who gave decades of their lives to the school and kids. All I’ve ever wanted to do since I became a teacher is provide those same types of rich, broad, and deep experiences to my poverty stricken students who need those experiences and those relationships much more than I ever did. I’ve wanted to be like those teachers who guided and molded and shaped the community, the school, the classrooms and activities, the students, and me.

    I see little opportunity for this type of career or this type of education in CPS. And what I do see is disappearing at a dramatic pace year by year.

    Sorry, I know this is supposed to be a fun day on here. The start of the school year always excites me. And saddens me.

  • 321. Marketing Mom  |  August 26, 2012 at 6:24 am

    @303 “There are worse things for children than a strike. One of them is to continue to go to schools that do not prepare them for either college or a career. Unfortunately, a strike won’t fix that.”

    Unfortunately, giving good and bad teachers a 30% raise won’t fix this either.

  • 322. CarolA  |  August 26, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Stop with the 30% raise business…..everyone knows that’s not going to happen! Yes, we asked for it, but I ask for a new car every year from my husband and it never comes either! LOL

  • 323. CarolA  |  August 26, 2012 at 7:34 am

    NBCTvet: Your story is a sad one, but one of reality. It would almost make a good documentary. But then again, who would watch it and who would care.

  • 324. Teacher4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 8:21 am

    “The $55 million park will be paid for with public and privately raised funds, city officials said: $10 million from private funding, of which $5 million has been secured; $35 million from leasing the parking garages beneath Millennium Park and Grant Park, and $5 million from Chicago Park District capital funds. Construction will continue through the winter of 2014, officials said.”

    Maybe you still believe press releases like this, but after seeing the projects or expenses that have been paid for by the school board that have nothing to do with the schools- I know longer believe this. The school board and other city funds seem to rob Peter to pay Paul often. (examles-board funds were found to go to 2016 Olympic Campaign, they also went to pay police this year instead of us, the whole TIF issue, the promise of building new buildings for neighborhood schools and opening of charters……)

    Plus 10+ 35 + 5 = $50, unless the first line should say 15 million from private funding, of which 5 million has been secured.

  • 325. Patricia  |  August 26, 2012 at 8:29 am

    @312 Just want to clarify if you were talking about “middle” from my post about the Harvard education presentation. The “not many in the middle” was in reference to the changing teaching workforce in the US as a whole. There is a large number of teachers with 5 or fewer years experience and then a large number with I think it was 15 yrs + experience. Not many in the middle between 6-14 years teaching experience. It was not cps specific and it was not in reference to any socioeconomic issues. While it was focused on education, this trend is happening in all industries and seems like more of a generational issue.

    NBCT Vet makes a really good illustration how the changing dynamics causes a loss of the good things in transition. So it is unfortunate and even sad how disheartening it can be. I fully agree that CPS has its flaws, but some of the frustration is because of a changing world/generation/economy that is forcing the profession to change. That said, I do think that one thing that is timeless is when a teacher makes an “educational connection” with a child. As some here have described, it opens the flood gates of learning, changes children’s lives and brings parents to tears of joy.

  • 326. Teacher4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 8:33 am

    NBCVet and CarolA:
    Yes this happens often. Though I will tell you I had the opportunity to leave a school I thought would get turned around and go to one of the “desirable” schools and we still fear for our positions every time the budget comes out as well, This is a CPS system wide issue were nobody feels safe anywhere, “good schools” “bad schools” “neighborhood schools” “magnet schools.” When you spent the months from January to April – waiting for the budget or school closing list (which never comes on time) you are on edge waiting to see if this is the year the board will decide to close your school or program or position – usually not for “performance” like many on this board believe. You wait with the anticipation and it makes you feel uneasy and unstable (not in the mental sense- but in the life balance will I be able to pay bills in September?

    I’m sure the argument uses going to come back and say “the private sector has this too.” This doesn’t mean that I can’t want what us better for my life. We have the ability to stand up for ourselves and say this is not righit, THAT is what tenure gives us.

    The reason that there is a push to get some recall rights and issues dealt with in the contract is there ae plans in the books to call even more of a “crisis” next year and close 100 more schools. Many of you probably think all the teachers in these 100 schools are horrible teachers. I know that that isn’t true.

  • 327. Teacher4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 8:36 am

    @312 Just want to clarify if you were talking about “middle” from my post about the Harvard education presentation. The “not many in the middle” was in reference to the changing teaching workforce in the US as a whole. There is a large number of teachers with 5 or fewer years experience and then a large number with I think it was 15 yrs + experience. Not many in the middle between 6-14 years teaching experience. It was not cps specific and it was not in reference to any socioeconomic issues. While it was focused on education, this trend is happening in all industries and seems like more of a generational issue.

    Yes I was commenting on this, I am in the middle between 6-14 years, I thought I would do this for life, but now I am unsure was the summation of how I feel.

  • 328. Teacher4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 8:38 am

    The reason I brought up socioeconomics was because part of my issue with the system is the huge differences between the haves and have nots and how it is only going to get worse and I am not sure I can watch it continue to happen for 20 + more years.

  • 329. Patricia  |  August 26, 2012 at 8:40 am

    So are the Lake Forest teachers demanding compensation for measurable test scores? Are they demanding merit pay? I can’t tell from the articles.

  • 330. Teacher4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 8:47 am

    http://www.newstips.org/2012/08/perspectives-on-the-teachers-contract-talks/comment-page-1/#comment-10446

    I came across this article which has many embedded links in it. I am reading some of the links now. Thought I’d share.

  • 331. anonymouse teacher  |  August 26, 2012 at 9:51 am

    I work in a neighborhood school that has nearly 90% of kids meeting ISAT standards, for whatever that is worth. (and while we have good teachers, I believe that is mostly due to economics and parent dedication to education) But anyway, I, too, fear that for some reason, the BOE will decide to close us down and make us a charter. They did it to Casals this past year and they had MUCH higher test scores than their neighboring counterparts and a very nice, fairly new building. Why would anyone think it couldn’t happen to us?
    Every year for the past 3 years, I have sent out hundreds of resumes to suburban schools and I will continue to do so, because CPS is so bad to work for and because I don’t want them to decide in one swoop that my career is over. Eventually something has to open up suburban wise. This year, I expanded my search to up to a 40 minute drive. From now on, I am expanding it to up to a 75 minute drive.
    I know people believe, “oh, the good teachers will find employment”. Completely false. I know too many that haven’t and won’t. People I’d allow to teach my own kids and my standards are unbelievably high.
    So many people I know have their exit strategy planned or are formulating one. And it is odd, but they all seem to be the very best of the best looking to leave.

  • 332. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 26, 2012 at 10:35 am

    @329, thanks for that link. I just read the article and am going to work through the embedded links. The whole section under “Punishing Success” at the end pretty much describes my fear with an increase in standardized testing. This:

    “Last year Colorlines looked at standardized testing, telling the story of a high school student in East LA whose grades dropped when he went into depression amid a family crisis. Teachers rallied to support him and got him through the year; he didn’t drop out, he passed his tests, barely.

    But his scores went down – and under the proposed system, they would be penalized for all that work, for that heroic success of saving a student from the streets. Indeed, they would be incentivized to let him go.”

    Ugh.

  • 333. HS Mom  |  August 26, 2012 at 10:53 am

    @323 – since every proposed city expenditure needs to be evaluated as money that could go to teacher raises.,, Do we build a new park bringing money into the city with increased tourism boosting business and our economy while providing another venue for Chicago kids to learn and have fun or do we give teachers a bigger raise?

  • 334. cpsobsessed  |  August 26, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I got the sense that the lake forest issue is basically about pay. The teachers forewent, foregoed(?) a raise last year that allegedly helped put the town in better financial shape so now they want pay that is on par with the other top suburban schools.
    I’d think the fiscal discussions are more interesting in a smaller town where you can really see how much $ there is and what it’s budgeted for, unlike chicago where it’s all nebulous.

    One thing that’s interesting is the argument in the worst schools that the low test scores are demographic driven. If this is true, can teachers in lake forest claim “success” when they probably have one of the wealthiest student bases in the state?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 335. Teacher4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 11:51 am

    At mom2- once again it is not all about the raise.
    It is however about equity in this city and how/where the money tends to go.

  • 336. HS Mom  |  August 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    that was me not mom2 – Yes, you brought up that the poor city had money for a zoo in context with the potential teacher strike. I don’t know the details – is it inequitable?

  • 337. CarolA  |  August 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    @330 Unfortunately, teachers price themselves out of the market once past the 5 years experience mark. Principals love teachers with some experience, but not so much that they are costly. It’s a fine line and small window. Some might get lucky if they are in a hard to fill position or lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. Mainly it’s about knowing someone already in the school/district or being int he 3-5 years experience window.

  • 338. Tchr  |  August 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    The extra money- is the argument against teacher raises and small classrooms and resource because there is no money in the city (which there is but the city chooses to spend it on other things) or is it really because people feel teachers are already overpaid and don’t want to give them more money, regardless that the work is more this year or harder this year.

    People have said on here that they draw a line between having respect for a teacher and wanting to give a teacher more money. But when someone tells me that they are ok with me working longer hours (I AM working longer hours) and the stakes are higher, it DOES feel like a lack of respect for the profession and for me.

  • 339. Frango Mint  |  August 26, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I know most teachers want (and deserve) a raise this year, especially since we went without one last year.

    For me personally, I’d just love to get out from under the residency policy. If I can’t get my children into a decent school in CPS, I want the option to move out of city limits without having to quit my job.

    Raises aside, the thing about the Board’s proposal that really has me ready to walk out is the plan for merit pay. They want us to sign on to this but they have NO PLAN for how it will be done. If it means bonuses or higher pay for experienced, specially trained teachers to work in very low-performing schools, I am all for that. What I DON’T want is to tie raises to student test scores. There is absolutely no fair way to do it and IMO it would mean that no one would ever want to work in low scoring schools. P.E./art/music/library teachers – how will it work for them? If a teacher gets 100% passing one year and then 99% the next year, will she not get a raise because her scores went down (even though she is obviously an excellent teacher)? There are just so many unanswered questions…and without a plan in place for how it will be done, I just can’t sign on to it. Too much is at stake.

  • 340. increible  |  August 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Charters will continue to proliferate. No doubt. Simple supply and demand. Amongst the confluence of problems with public schools, I believe the most besetting is the fact that many students know they have the upper hand. Charters can get them out. Public schools have a difficult time doing so. As a parent of a generally well-behaved child, I don’t feel it’s nefarious to support schools that schools that can do such. Are public school teachers culpable? Of course not. Should they they be excoriated? Absolutely not. The system is fraught with injustices. Add $ to be made and you have the perfect storm for privatizing schools.

  • 341. Angie  |  August 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    @338. Frango Mint: “For me personally, I’d just love to get out from under the residency policy. If I can’t get my children into a decent school in CPS, I want the option to move out of city limits without having to quit my job.”

    Is this issue even on a table? Seems like it would be a win-win for everyone. The teachers will get to move to suburbs if they wish, their children will be out of the competition for coveted magnet and SE spots in the city, and Rahm will lose a few thousands disgrunled voters determined to bring him down at the next election.

  • 342. Resident  |  August 26, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Residency is not on the negotiating table because it is a matter of Illinois School Code, not a bargaining agreement.

  • 343. CPS Teacher  |  August 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    @341 – I thought it was a CPS rule as CPS has the authority to issue waivers.

  • 344. NoDuh  |  August 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    there are plenty of CPS teachers who use false addresses and send their own kids to suburban schools. that has been going on for years. do you think they want their kids in the crappy CPS schools? No, they just want a paycheck

  • 345. EdgewaterMom  |  August 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    @341 I did not think it was part of Illinois state code. I know of teachers who live in the city but teach at public schools in the suburbs. I doubt that most teachers in Winnetka or Wilmette can really afford to live there.

  • 346. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Apologies to Mom2.

    HSmom- the park/zoo is going to be located downtown in an area with many rich experiences already to be had, while many areas of the city have no easy access to such exciting opportunities.

    I guess it depends on how you look at equity.

  • 347. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    To my knowledge only Chicago in IL and Milwaukee in WI have residency requirements for their employees. No other cities across the country to my knowledge have residency requirements for teachers, but I could be wrong. So therefore Winnetka and Wilmette would not be covered.

    There are plenty of laws/rules and exceptions for the city of Chicago “on the books” that play out differently here than they do in other parts of the state.

  • 348. cpsobsessed  |  August 26, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I think there’s an inherent conflict in being a public employee and being paid in a way that implies respect. What salary would teachers consider respectable? Can this be covered by public funds? It seems like all public professional jobs pay lowish compared to the private sector as part of the nature of taxpayer funding.

    Funding is also very subjective. We all agree that education is a priority. Other people my argue that the violence in the city or understaffed DCFS are more important. Others want parks and free-low cost park district programs. Others value the arts or more police protection. Setting budget priorities is difficult because we all value different thing.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 349. Frango Mint  |  August 26, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Why is the residency rule a state law and not a local one? And why does it apply only to Chicago teachers? If there is a benefit to the people of Illinois in making teachers live inside their district limits, shouldn’t it apply to all teachers in the state?

    I get that the city benefits by keeping teachers’ paychecks flowing back to them in the form of property taxes, but that would be true of any city or town. If it is a state law It should either apply to everyone or no one.

    IMHO the rule hurts the district by reducing the size of the pool from which they can draw fresh recruits.

  • 351. CarolA  |  August 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Well, all good things must come to an end. I’ll drop in again later tomorrow after the first round of all day meetings. Sleep well everyone!

  • 352. Teacher4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    So long summer!

  • 353. HS Mom  |  August 26, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    @346 – Where else would you put a zoo/park to make it more equitable and produce the most income the city and businesses?

  • 354. Teacher4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Well I am wondering why we need another zoo first of all.

    Why not some of the blighted areas where the Olympics were proposed? Washington Park?

  • 355. Teacher4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Humboldt Park?

  • 356. HS Mom  |  August 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    One reason for a zoo would be to bring money in to the city. I’m guessing the proposal would demonstrate jobs created by building the facility, running it, concessions, business to hotels and neighboring businesses, goodwill, tourism. I would also think that a facility centrally located for all residents of Chicago and visiting tourist would be preferred.

  • 357. CA  |  August 26, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Boy, it’s easy to get this group off topic! The Sun-Times article says nothing about a proposed zoo — just a fancy park.

  • 358. cpsobsessed  |  August 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Well, we DO need to figure things out for the city, right??
    Zoo idea seemed kinda odd given LP and Brookfield.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 359. Teacher4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    The NBC website mentioned a zoo and a rock climbing structure.

  • 360. Teacher4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Agreed CPSO- the zoo idea is ridiculous given the current state of the city.

  • 361. Teacher4321  |  August 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    And why not bring jobs and fun to the areas of the city that really need it?

  • 362. Cake for all!  |  August 26, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    When you see how underserved parts of the south and west sides of the city are, it’s hard to justify creating something for tourists downtown. Why not take care of Chicago’s own citizens? Construction and retail jobs can be created with big box grocery stores in food deserts. Extend the red line past 95th. Create more jobs in schools- more instructional aides, money to pay parents to be lunch attendants, have nurses, social workers, speech pathologists, special ed aides in EVERY school and EVERY day. To honor Maggie Daley, have ASM programs in every middle school and high school. Have programs in and after school that teach about healthy eating, safe sex, etc. Have more programs for new moms, struggling families, gang ridden neighborhoods. All of these things will help create jobs. But yes, Chicago likes things that put them in the news and get them more money to toy with.

    There is a giant list of actual needs. Is Chicago’s tourism really suffering right now that there is a need for a new attraction?

  • 363. Cake for all!  |  August 26, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    “This park will remind us of the mission Maggie set for all of us, which is to serve our children, to make it a place where kids can grow and learn the beauty of the city of Chicago,” Emanuel said.

    Does that mean it will be free for visitors or only the ones with enough money to attend? Haves and have nots.

  • 364. Family Friend  |  August 27, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Because it costs less to educate kids in charter schools, taking that $76 million from the charters would result in LESS money for the remaining kids. Assume the per-pupil for charter school kids is $7,600, although it is actually less – significantly less for elementary school kids. That $76 million can educate 10,000 kids. The most recent per-pupil for non-charter CPS schools is over $15,000 — about double. So if they take the $76 million and put it back in regular district schools, it will go only half as far. And even though charters don’t have enough money to pay their teachers as well as CPS teachers, they spend a much larger percentage of their budgets on teacher salaries.

    More on charter financial transparency: you can find audited financial statements for all the charter schools in the state on the ISBE website.

  • 365. Family Friend  |  August 27, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Funding for zoo and park: The way things are funded in Illinois is that each “municipality” is a separate taxing body. “Municipality” does not mean just a town or city, but simply a unit of local government. Illinois has more municipalities, by far, than any state in the country. Check out your next property tax bill: it has separate lines for the city, county, park district, school district, and sanitary district, and maybe more. So even if the new park does come out of the park district budget, it’s not like the park district could give that money to the schools. They have to spend it on park projects. Rahm can’t simply shift money from city services to the schools. I am not saying this is good; it’s just the way things work. I think school districts are separate taxing bodies everywhere in the country, although I don’t know for sure.

  • 366. junior  |  August 27, 2012 at 9:22 am

    So, I’ve always thought that the benefit of merit pay lies mostly in recruitment and retention of the best teachers (while incentivizing the worst performers to go elsewhere), not to mention just plain fairness. I didn’t think that teachers would actually change their individual performance for a few dollars more.

    Now, we have a study that suggests that short-term performance gains might be possible with a specifically defined bonus program.

    Lots of interesting dynamics in this article. This one is sure to stir the pot!

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/14687664-418/cash-upfront-the-way-to-get-teachers-to-rack-up-better-student-test-scores-study.html

    The problem I see here is that there is too much emphasis placed on a single high-stakes test and we are not measuring the totality of teaching and learning. What would be most interesting to see from this study is how the teachers changed their methods — did they actually become better teachers or did they narrow their curricula to teach to the test more?

  • 367. cpsobsessed  |  August 27, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Well, based on what I’ve read in the diane ravitch book, it turns out that focusing on the test has resulted in more “narrow” teaching. Right or wrong, it’s human nature. Ideally a teacher can do both but if my bonus is based on that test, you can bet I’ll be doing some heavy duty review for it. On the other hand, is it bad if more kids in cps can succeed on that test?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 368. WendyK  |  August 27, 2012 at 10:17 am

    @Family Friend – where did you get the figure for $15k? That is much higher than anything I’ve ever seen. Every school is different because of different funding sources, ie # of free-reduced lunch, etc. but the numbers I have been given are more like $7700 per pupil at the school level and $10-11k when you factor central office/costs outside the actual school. If you look at the interactive budgets on the cps website and divide the number of students by the amount of money each school gets, you will see that the per pupil spending at the school level is often under 8k.

  • 369. cpsobsessed  |  August 27, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Yeah, 11k is the number I understood for regular cps schools.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 370. WendyK  |  August 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

    @CPS0 – am researching how much other large districts spend on administrative costs. $7600/per pupil is not very high for actual per pupil school spending, especially in a district with such a high poverty rate. The cost of educating kids in a district that is 85% f/r lunch are much higher than low-poverty districts.

  • 371. Chris  |  August 27, 2012 at 11:38 am

    “Zoo idea seemed kinda odd”

    The one article that apparently referenced the zoo (S-T) has been updated to remove the reference.

    A zoo–even just a petting zoo–there seems all sorts of crazy.

  • 372. IB obsessed  |  August 27, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Ticket give away! I am donating an admission to this fundraiser for IL Raise Your Hand :

    Come out and get dangerously informed! Mayoral Tutorial Don Washington will host an Interactive, Agitational, Informational, Educational, Satirical Town Hall Meeting: The State of Public Education Issues in Emanuel Land – Tuesday August 28th, 7pm at the Heartland Cafe – 7000 N. Glenwood.

    This is going to be fun evening with parents, teachers and citizens from around Chicago who care about our schools. We’ll be playing games, learning things, taunting the powerful and answering lots of questions about public education!

    The Mayoral Tutorial believes that democracy is both a contact sport and a participatory activity. Visit the website: Mayoraltutorial.com for more info.

    Yes, it’s tomorrow night. 1st taker to email me at mwmairead@gmail.com gets in free. Be sure to leave me your full name.

  • 373. anniesullivan  |  August 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    to 364…I don’t know if you realize it but the charters do not enroll very many children with disabilities…..children with severe disabilities who require one to one aides can cost CPS well over $100,000 per child…I do not know what CPS spends per pupil on the children we tuition out to private schools

  • 374. RL Julia  |  August 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    The Cove School costs $38,000 a year.

  • 375. DZV  |  August 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    @342 Resident
    Residency requirement is NOT Illinois School Code. I have quite a few teacher friends who live in the suburbs, they do not have to live in the cities they teach! Teachers in the suburbs all live in different cities, even counties.
    That is a CPS requirement, for teachers to live in the city and that’s not even accurate:
    Teachers hired before Novemeber 1996 do not have to live in the city.
    There are also special needs waivers which exempt you from living in the city. There is a list of these positions on the CPS HR website.

  • 376. lisahazen  |  August 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I’m obsessed with the news about this strike, so I built a simple site to distill the message to its essence: Are the CPS teacher on strike or not?
    http://iscpsonstrike.com/

    Updated obsessively, and with a vengence!

  • 377. db  |  August 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    @375 DZV – That’s not entirely accurate. It’s not a CPS requirement. It’s a City of Chicago residency rule that requires all city employees to reside in Chicago. Not just teachers but firemen, policemen, etc.

  • 378. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Residency-

    I guess the idea behind it is you live closer to work- or at least that is how they sell it. Many (but not all) live very close to the edge of the city in all directions. There are a few areas by O’Hare and on the South Side that are full of city employees. Funny thing is in some instances these people could live in Oak Park and be closer to work.

    Sort of like when we plan field trips if we leave the city- even if the destination is closer to the school than a destination in the suburbs we pay extra for the yellow busses.

  • 379. anniesullivan  |  August 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    We are not city employees. Trust me, I am married to a city employee who has benefits far superior to mine-let’s see tuition reimbursement, paid medical leave and retirement at age 50 without an age penalty…let’s not even compare the insurance!

  • 380. db  |  August 27, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    @379 anniesullivan – you are a city employee but you have a union contract with them. Each union negotiates their own terms for benefits. I work for the city colleges and even job types have different unions within the colleges and they have varying differences in benefits. But the residency rule is imposed by the city.

  • 381. karet  |  August 27, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    I don’t think the residency requirement has to do with living close to work. I’ve always thought it was about the housing market. If city workers weren’t required to live in Chicago, certain neighborhoods would be devastated (Jefferson Park, Norwood Park, Edison Park, Portage Park) … It is likely that the affordable, safe neighborhoods would no longer exist.

  • 382. Kathleen Powers  |  August 27, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I disagree. Anyone can have a contract with the city but that does not mean they are city employees. All city employees are in the Municipal Pension,etc The residency was imposed in 1996 and no other school system (Milwaukee maybe) narrows the applicant pool like Chicago does. We are not first responders so this residency requirement adds to the fact that half of the new teachers leave CPS-within five years.

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 383. cpsobsessed  |  August 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Annie, really?? Well that seems like B.S. Shouldn’t teachers be on par with other city employees?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 384. Teacher4321  |  August 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    ” Daley steadfastly believes that the residency requirement “is the essence of keeping neighborhoods strong.” I wholeheartedly agree.  Teachers who are able to teach in the neighborhoods in which they live builds up a community foundation.  With that foundation, the community is set up for success and growth. ”

    From link I posted above about residency.

  • 385. IB obsessed  |  August 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Aw, come on. Nobody wants this free ticket? Talk about all this with live bodies and maybe laugh?

    Ticket give away! I am donating an admission to this fundraiser for IL Raise Your Hand :
    Come out and get dangerously informed! Mayoral Tutorial Don Washington will host an Interactive, Agitational, Informational, Educational, Satirical Town Hall Meeting: The State of Public Education Issues in Emanuel Land – Tuesday August 28th, 7pm at the Heartland Cafe – 7000 N. Glenwood.
    This is going to be fun evening with parents, teachers and citizens from around Chicago who care about our schools. We’ll be playing games, learning things, taunting the powerful and answering lots of questions about public education!
    The Mayoral Tutorial believes that democracy is both a contact sport and a participatory activity. Visit the website: Mayoraltutorial.com for more info.
    Yes, it’s tomorrow night. 1st taker to email me at mwmairead@gmail.com gets in free. Be sure to leave me your full name.

  • 386. CarolA  |  August 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    OK, so here’s what happened at my school today. All day meetings. Lots of time spent on telling us all about the creation of these unit plans. Our first one is due a week from Friday. Huge amount of planning. Lots of research. No time for getting the classroom together. Tomorrow’s another day. Union meeting with our delegate at 4. No time to chat tonight. Have to go and research what mini topics we want to include in our main topic of Family Roles and how that will tie into our reading program. Cut and paste. Ridiculous. Our school has 85%-95% achievement levels. Do we really need to change anything? Sometimes change is good, sometimes not.

  • 387. cpsobsessed  |  August 27, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Thank you Carol, for the update and for all your work.
    All of you guys.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 388. karet  |  August 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    @384: the quote from Daley is just that the residency requirement “is the essence of keeping our neighborhoods strong.” The rest of that statement (about living close to where you work) is the opinion of the person who wrote that article. The quote from Daley sounds like it is about the housing market to me.

  • 389. Teacher4321  |  August 27, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    At IBobsessed- I’d love to go- but I have another obligation.

  • 390. Tchr  |  August 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I am a newbie teacher. Less than 5 years with CPS, but I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in first grade. I wanted to teach in a high needs school since my freshman year of college. I did all the things young high school and college kids do. I tutored, I volunteered, I went over my hours for observations and clinicals. I loved kids! Sometimes I am not sure if I can teach for 20 years plus.

    I came into the profession being told I could make a difference. That teachers could change and save the world! I am pretty sure my college schooled me to think that. I am pretty sure training programs like TFA, AUSL, and CTF train their students to think the same way.

    As I look over work samples and 1 on 1 assessments from my kindergartners from
    the past 2 weeks of school, and I see this year is going to be my biggest struggle. This is a struggling class. I am going to do my best. Obviously after being at school until 6:30pm and now looking over papers past 9pm, I am committed to my students. I can’t help but worry how my pay check could be different this year based on this class. Yes, my students will work hard, they will learn lots, and they will inprove, but they are not going to be anywhere near students in Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Ravenswood. I don’t get to pick which students I would like to kick out. (I swear none….!) This isn’t a charter school.

    Yes, I will be teaching many before kindergarten skills in this full day, 30+ plus class, no aide, no break, under staffed. Yes, some of my students have already missed days of school and I have no working contact number to harass parents to bring their kids to school. Yes, my pay check could reflect this school year.

  • 391. CarolA  |  August 28, 2012 at 6:34 am

    I hear what you are saying and your situation is far too common in CPS. It is a very unfair system. Even though I don’t have my class list yet, I’ve heard I will be overcrowded. My school gets high test scores but that also makes it difficult to show growth. I go in today with my head held high and my heart heavy.

  • 392. Chris  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:08 am

    “My school gets high test scores but that also makes it difficult to show growth.”

    I’m in favor of some sort of “differentiation” pay, but if it is based *solely* on improvement over prior years, then it’s stupid, and *VERY* counterproductive. It would be beyond ridiculous to have a system that imposed a penalty for going from 90% exceeds to 88% exceeds (and, yes, I know that some systems do).

    I realize that there is NO trust between the rank and file and CPS leadership. I just wish that CPS would put out an actual proposal, and I hope that they have the sense to have multiple avenues for reward and “penalties” only for clear and obvious “failure” (like an entire class of “typical” students regressing on all measures during a year).

  • 393. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  August 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    @298 Interesting that many new entrants to teaching do not see it as a career. Did the Harvard study (what’s the title?) say whether most of the new entrants don’t see it as a career, or just a greater number than in the past?

    That does create a division between the new entrants and the veterans, but I wonder how it plays out in terms of union objectives. New teachers may be more open to innovation, but they may also be more focused on up-front salaries because they don’t plan on retiring as a teacher.

    This also creates a dilemma for mentoring and improvement. Most teachers describe teaching like a craft. Your talent improves over time with practice. But if teachers expect to leave the profession quickly, they may never develop the skills to teach well. A greater percentage of active teachers wil be less experienced.

    @306 A private business and a school, especially a CPS one, have fundamental management differences.

    A principal may have 30 teachers, let alone assistants and others, to evaluate. Actual exposure to their main activity — teaching — is limited. The piloted TAP program to evaluate teachers led to principals’ complaints that the time to visit the teachers, write up the evaluation, and then meet with the teacher to discuss it was too high, roughly two to three hours per teacher. So that’s 60-90 hours of nothing but evaluation for just one round of observations with 30 teachers. I’m sure some business have sales people reporting in numbers over 10 to one person, but sales have a pretty good metric — revenue.

    From what I could make out of CPS’ proposed evaluation system, only new teachers would receive two visits each year. The system would be heavily weighted to the standardized tests. And the evaluation system seemed to be — it was very hard to tell because most of the details have not yet been presented by CPS — a rank-and-yank set-up. So-called stack-ranking was recently attacked in the Vanity Fair article on Microsoft’s demise:

    Eichenwald’s conversations reveal that a management system known as “stack ranking”—a program that forces every unit to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, good performers, average, and poor—effectively crippled Microsoft’s ability to innovate. “Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees,” Eichenwald writes. “If you were on a team of 10 people, you walked in the first day knowing that, no matter how good everyone was, 2 people were going to get a great review, 7 were going to get mediocre reviews, and 1 was going to get a terrible review,” says a former software developer. “It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.”

    Workers don’t collaborate in such systems; it’s a zero-sum game. Mentoring is irrational in such an environment.

  • 394. Chris  |  August 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    “And the evaluation system seemed to be — it was very hard to tell because most of the details have not yet been presented by CPS”

    Like I say, CPS needs to actually put something out there, so that a reasonable system can be reasonably negotiated.

    Of course, I suspect the reason they have no proposal is (1) they don’t know what they want, and (2) not having a clear plan lets them say “that’s not our plan” to all complaints. Likely 2 more than 1, and they jsut don’t seem to care that it *kills* all credibility in discussing it.

  • 395. HS Mom  |  August 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Chris, I think you’re right. I think merit pay would be a much more agreeable issue if there was a well defined, realistic, do-able plan. My understanding though is that CTU objects to any type of pay differentiation. This is something that I’m having difficulty wrapping my mind around. Can someone – teacher or otherwise – give any clarification to that.

  • 396. cpsobsessed  |  August 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    My understanding is that the union pov is that they’re against merit pay because any system proposed in unproven/not accurate. I don’t believe they have proposed anything.
    Several teachers here have offered up what seem like great suggestions (albeit probably costly or time consuming which is difficult in cps.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 397. Chris  |  August 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    “they’re against merit pay because any system proposed in unproven/not accurate”

    If they are *actually* against *all* systems of “merit pay”, they would have to be against the *current* system of merit pay, based on experience and added coursework. Which is also “not accurate”. And is one of the things that diminishes CTU’s (but not individual teacher’s) credibility from my perspective.

    And I *want* more experienced teachers (but also *better* teachers) to be paid more. And experience does not necessarily = better, and an extra degree most certainly does nto automatically = better. The times we see (here and elsewhere) teachers suggesting a framework and/or criteris for merit pay should be hte basis for CTU saying “we’re open to merit pay but *ONLY* if the system does XYZ and measures ABC and not 123”, rather than the blanket “no”, which (as with so much) is bad pr with much of the public and many parents.

  • 398. CarolA  |  August 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    The problem is, as mentioned, there is no system determined for merit pay. CPS has not developed it yet. They want us to sign a contract that calls for future meetings and implementation of a not yet determined system. Sorry, I’m not signing something that is yet to be determined. Give us a 2 year contract. Figure out your proposal, then ask us to approve it or not.

    I just attended my school union meeting. Another thing on the table right now is that CPS was to put in a statement for management rights (meaning CPS’ rights). This statement is lengthy and basically does not allow us to grieve anything. It’s basically a union busting statement. No say on class size, no say on programs, no say on school day or school year, no say on……..etc. No say on anything. I’m sorry, but since when does the teacher contract protect CPS. Isn’t it meant to protect teacher rights?

  • 399. CarolA  |  August 28, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Chris: You are exactly right. A teacher can have a class go from 90% to 88% and it would be shown as a decrease in learning. We need to show AYP (annual yearly progress). Going backwards is not showing progress even though other issues could have come into play that are beyond our control (home issues, more students with special needs, etc.)

  • 400. Chris  |  August 28, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    ” since when does the teacher contract protect CPS”

    Always has, as it sets out procedures for CPS to deal with all sorts of things. And it has *always* limited what an individual teacher can ask for, must do, etc, etc. It’s intended to be a two way street–every employment contract is.

  • 401. Chris  |  August 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    “Going backwards is not showing progress even though other issues could have come into play that are beyond our control (home issues, more students with special needs, etc.)”

    Yeah, of course there would be extenuating circumstances, and I don’t believe that a single (genuinely) bad year should be penalized with something as extreme as dismissal, but neither should it be rewarded. Gotta have a review system, so that extenuating circumstances can be documented.

    But, there should be (1) some criteria of achievement that are rewarded, and (2) some evidence of *genuine* failure (like my example of a whole class of 30 kids doing worse than the same kids did the year earlier) that have consequences.

    Still bothers me that the conversation is always about (stealing your phrasing unfairly, carol) ” have a class go from 90% to 88% and it would be shown as a decrease in learning”–and it bothers me from both sides of it–CPS could fix the impression by actually having even a basic framework and CTU could fix it by saying (instead of no merit pay) “no evaluation system that considers [long list of good results] as “failure”–success cannot be considered failure”. If the discussion got to that point, ALL the stakeholders would win.

  • 402. CarolA  |  August 28, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    I agree. I would not have a problem with a system that evaluates fairly. However, to steal a phrase I saw recently…..Fair isn’t giving everyone the same thing. Fair is giving everyone what they need to be successful. As teachers, we encourage our students to “dig deeper” for a fuller understanding. If a rating system showed something that was unusual for a particular teacher, it would be nice to “dig deeper” to see what the cause was. Maybe things in the teacher’s control, maybe not. Obviously, even 50% of a class not doing well indicates something wrong with the teaching. It doesn’t have to be drastic as you indicated with a whole class doing worse. But sometimes people get stuck in numbers only and numbers only don’t always tell the whole story.

  • 403. CarolA  |  August 28, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I also have heard that CPS wants parent and student input into a teacher’s rating. A student is not going to rate a teacher very well if that teacher is always trying to get the student to do their best and the student isn’t interested. The teacher sees the potential. A student might view it very differently and think the teacher is picking on them. Result: poor rating. Today we actually talked about our personal situations as teachers and reflected that several of the teachers we hated growing up were actually the classroom that we learned the most in. Rating those teachers today would have been top notch, but as a child in the class, very low. My daughter had a year like that. She hated the teacher, but jumped up on annual tests by milestones. Now, she realizes how great that teacher really was.

  • 404. HS Mom  |  August 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    @397 Chris – good point

    @398 Carol, I agree with you. That still doesn’t explain why CTU is against any kind of differentiation – merit in varying degrees, working in challenging conditions, working with and mentoring high needs children, bonuses for teachers that are clearly superior in some respect. I don’t get it – unless my understanding of this is off.

  • 405. NBCT Vet  |  August 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    re: merit pay

    I’d like to offer an alternative perspective to the merit pay discussion. Teachers in my building and around the city are already rewarded for excellence.

    They are tapped for duties and recognition as administrators, teacher leaders, department chairs, professional development providers, paid extra- and co-curricular sponsors, instructional team representatives, curricula developers, case managers, public relations point persons, school improvement planners, parent outreach coordinators, academic program creators, International Baccalaureate instructors, Advanced Placement and AVID teachers, community awards, overtime positions (now defunct), teaching award nominations (and winners), local school council members, and, yes, union stewards. High flying flagship schools also are much, much more competitive and selective than neighborhood schools in their hiring practices – another form of merit recognition.

    Some of these responsibilities come with additional money. Some do not. But either way, there are many, many opportunities for outstanding educators to be recognized and rewarded. I am perfectly content with the possibilities available to me for advancement and continued professional training, learning, and development. I have more opportunities for merit rewards than I know what to do with.

    The notion that merit in the current system is somehow unrecognized is misguided.

    The most important thing CPS can do to reward me for being an outstanding teacher is to provide me and my students with the adequate resources and support. Unfortunately, that seems to be a major stumbling block.

    Before CPS offers me merit pay for being “better” than my colleagues they need to first provide the bare, basic necessities. Until that happens merit pay, for me, is a non-starter.

  • 406. Todd Pytel  |  August 28, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Here’s my perspective as a 12-year classroom veteran and manager of numerous school improvement and professional development initiatives. I do not claim to speak for all teachers, the CTU leadership, my school, or anyone else.

    Merit pay seems like an attractive idea – despite what some commenters claim, I know many teachers that are open to considering it. I came from an extremely competitive academic environment and never had a problem holding my own in terms of grades, test scores, awards, etc. As a teacher, I have always welcomed all visitors into my room at any time and without notice – some days are exciting, others less so, but I can explain every move I make and every task I use in my classroom. As far as I’m concerned, the more eyeballs on my teaching the better – every question and every comment makes me think more carefully about my practice.

    However, the simple fact of the matter is that no merit pay system in education has yet been shown to improve student achievement. Google “teacher merit pay research” and take a look around. The Freakonomics article here is a pretty nice starting point…

    http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/09/20/the-debate-over-teacher-merit-pay-a-freakonomics-quorum/

    Of particular note throughout that article is the exploration of how motivation and reward operate differently in schools than in businesses. This seems foreign and utterly incomprehensible to people who constantly live and work in a competitive, business state of mind, but it’s true. I think this difficulty of understanding a motivation system different than one’s own is natural in our increasingly self-segregated world, but it’s also the biggest obstacle to productive dialogue with teachers on this issue.

    Now, beyond just “not helping”, some merit pay systems positively *harm* schools – either by warping instruction around a high-stakes test, discouraging teacher collaboration, or leading to outright cheating as in the scandals in Atlanta and elsewhere.

    So that’s serious problem #1 – the research says it doesn’t work. But, hey… I’m an optimist and a dreamer. Maybe it *could* work, and we just haven’t figured out how yet. But that leads us to serious problem #2 – there isn’t even a hint of a specific implementation plan, and I don’t trust CPS to do anything the right way without supervision.

    My worst fear, which unfortunately seems like the most likely possibility given my experience in the system, is that any CPS merit pay system would be a complete scam. It would dangle the possibility of a career-worthy paycheck in front of new recruits to get them in the door and keep them in the classroom for a couple of years. Meanwhile, the student performance component of the system would be statistically skewed to favor teachers in schools that had adequate resources and strong parent involvement – precisely the schools (strong charters, selective enrollment, choice programs, neighborhood schools in affluent areas) where politically sensitive voters expect experienced teachers in front of their children. Meanwhile, the much larger number of teachers in less desirable schools would be left in the dust and eventually just give up the profession altogether, dooming their students to an endless succession of 22-year old teachers doing three year tours before they land a political/finance job or their spouse lands a law/medical spot. Well-meaning people? Sure, but they don’t build an institution. They’re not even good teachers yet by the time they leave. The net result of all this would be fairly small for families in the right schools and devastating for everyone else. But it would sure lower personnel costs, and that seems like the entire point.

    I guess that doesn’t sound very optimistic. But being an optimist doesn’t mean being blind, and I’ve seen a lot. So when it comes down to it, I will strike relentlessly against any contract offer that implements merit pay within this contract. CPS cannot possibly develop a satisfactory plan from scratch in this timeframe, and I simply cannot trust them to execute an outline of a plan in competence or in good faith.

    What I *would* be open to (optimism again!) is a contractual plan for exploring such a system. Such a plan could not presuppose the eventual establishment of a merit pay plan, the value of which remains unproven. It would have to involve CPS and CTU leadership, classroom teachers, principals, parents, and students from beginning to end – not a “public hearing” process where Board officials curtail public input or simply leave the room altogether. If the process resulted in a proposed system, it would have to produce a set of pilot results before being codified in future contracts. And all records of such a process would have to be freely available to parent, union, and media inspection from start to finish.

    I would enthusiastically support such a proposal. And if my process demands seem extreme, please talk to a parent that has tried to engage in meaningful dialogue with CPS decision-makers above the local school level. See what they say about their experience, and consider whether you would accept that when discussing the very future of your profession and your livelihood.

    Once again, those are purely my own thoughts on the matter. I do think the issue is complex and worthy of discussion, as evidenced by the time I’ve spent here. I’m happy to follow up here or individually.

    Todd Pytel, NBCT
    tppytel@cps.edu

  • 407. CarolA  |  August 28, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Again, develop the system, then let’s discuss it. Right now, nothing is developed. They say it will include this or that, but my experience with CPS is that unless it’s in writing, don’t count on it. Question: How much money would be available for these merit raises? Is it unlimited so that each teacher that deserves it would get it or is it limited and must be divided up? One school might have tons of fantastic teachers and another school not as many. Would the school with tons of good teachers suffer because the pot of money is only so big?

  • 408. cpsobsessed  |  August 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    That’s what boggles my mind – expecting anyone to sign a contract with no idea what they’re signing on for in regards to merit pay. That seems a bit absurd to expect that.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 409. inedgewater  |  August 28, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    they will file a notice according to the media just now

  • 410. EdgewaterMom  |  August 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    @407 I think so too! I don’t agree with everything that the Union is doing, but I think that it is ridiculous to expect them to sign a contract with no specifics about merit pay. The city either needs to provide the specifics or remove that part of the contract.

    The Tribune is reporting that the Union will give the 10 day authorization tomorrow. It doesn’t mean that they will definitely strike, but… http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-chicago-teachers-union-to-file-10day-strike-notice-20120828,0,7855267.story?fb_action_ids=4649364116143&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%224649364116143%22%3A10151179687090050%7D&action_type_map=%7B%224649364116143%22%3A%22og.recommends%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

  • 411. CPS Teacher  |  August 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    @403….I taught at a school where the kids and parents HATED a particular math teacher. They thought she was mean, graded too hard and had expectations that were unrealistic. However, we teachers loved getting her students the year after she taught them. They had good classroom habits, completed quality homework and the grades they earned reflected their abilities. They were ready for advanced classes. I could only imagine how parents and students would have rated her.

  • 412. HS Mom  |  August 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Carol, I hear you. There are some things that are black and white that could start the process. For example the extra pay for taking on difficult jobs that was proposed and funded by grant and turned down by CTU. Just saying…

    @405 vet – Those are all great things to consider and thank you for your POV. Of the things that are “freebies” done out of love of the job, the kids or just plain personal integrity doesn’t that say something about the “quality” of a teacher (in addition to many other factors, of course). Shouldn’t kids get the benefit of teachers like you or one that might be like you because they are rewarded for the extras. The more great teachers, the better and I guess I do see incentive pay as a way to help that happen.

    @410 – true for some. Love tough teachers. That would need to be accounted for.

  • 413. cpsobsessed  |  August 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Found it. Robot thought you were spam.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 414. HS Mom  |  August 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    @411 – Todd, thanks for your input too. Looking forward to the lengthy response. I can certainly see that there is no time to do it right.

    I know teachers fear abuse or unwarranted principal reprisal. This to me is inherent in any system and is not reason to vacate the idea.

  • 415. Todd Pytel  |  August 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks a ton, cpsobsessed. I feel much better now, and can certainly understand the robot’s reaction. 🙂 If you have the power to delete or truncate my abbreviated version, that might be a good way to avoid confusion.

  • 416. Jess Mom  |  August 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    After my last foray into this blog (I was deleated) I am almost scared to add to the comments. If this comment is in the wrong place please let me know CPSO–
    But….. I am hearing a lot of teachers planning to leave it to the younger teachers at December (the next open retirement period). They are basically feeling burnt out and unappreciated by parents, kids, and the community.

  • 417. cpsobsessed  |  August 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Thank you Jess Mom. I’ve been feeling bad about that all week. Please keep commenting!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 418. Jess Mom  |  August 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I guess the thinking is lets see how great we parents like it when our kids are taught by a first or second year teacher every year. Because the vets are leaving in droves, changing careers, etc. I know I for one dont want a newbie teacher every year for my children. This isnt the answer. I don’t care how motivated, eager, and cheap these new grads are. Harvard, NYU, and whatever other “great” school they came from does not always and necessarily prepare them for the realities of CPS.

  • 419. anonymouse teacher  |  August 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Todd, that is the single most reasonable explanation of why so many of us are against merit pay.

  • 420. blainemom  |  August 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    I realize negotiations have been ongoing, but I must say a decision to strike after the students return to school really makes me question if the CTU is really keeping the students best interests in mind here. I understand if CTU feels the need to strike, and they have the right to do so, but I have a child starting kindergarten and one starting pre-school. To have them both start school for a few days and then have the teachers strike will be very disruptive.

  • 421. Jess Mom  |  August 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    It is a no win. If they voted to strike before it would have been labled premature. Right? I remember the mayor indicating this back in June when the CTU had that first vote. So when is a good time for a strike? As I see it, da-ned if they do early, and da-ned if they do later.

  • 422. Jess Mom  |  August 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I have sent off for home schooling materials and a group of us are taking rotations (sick days from work) in working with the children if a strike happens. I realize that I am blessed to have several friends, all with similar aged kids, and willing to do some kind of tutoring/teaching rotation. Thankfully no kids in HS!! Between the six of us we figure we can last about two-three weeks, after that, not sure with jobs etc. I plan to take two sick days to contribute my share.

  • 423. Jess Mom  |  August 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    BREAKING NEWS:

    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.

  • 424. blainemom  |  August 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Honostly, I think the best time to strike would be right before the kids go back. It shows good faith to negotiate until the last minute, but also keeps the best interests of the children in mind. I haven’t fully educated myself on all aspects of the negotiations, and I do support the CTUs right to strike, it just seems tactical to strike after the kids go back.

  • 425. CarolA  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I haven’t heard that rumor about another mass retirement (yet). However, tomorrow at my school we are getting hit with the realities of REACH. I’m not even sure what it is or what it involves, but our principal said to be prepared for the grave details. Maybe some schools already heard about it and that’s why the big mass exit! I’m curious.

  • 426. DZV  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    There are plenty of reasons we would go on strike after the kids start school I’m sure the union knows what it is doing, though as parents I can understand why you’d be upset. I can only guess: make sure that teachers have their health insurance, that new teachers are union members (did you know they keep a “scab” list and you’re on it forever), and that students don’t go to charter schools.

  • 427. Todd Pytel  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    @blainemom – Besides being a teacher, I’m also the parent of twins entering kindergarten in CPS this year. While it seems counterintuitive, I actually think striking a week into school is *less* disruptive for students than striking at the outset. In a week, I can set the tone for my classroom. I can establish my expectations and communicate to students who I am and why I care about them and their learning. I can explain to them that I’m not striking against *them*. I have to imagine that students have a lot of conflicting emotions and opinions during a teacher strike – I know I do. If students have to wait out that time, I would rather they do so knowing what’s going on and who they’ll be coming back to. I can make up disrupted content in a few days’ time. Fixing students’ feelings and expectations after being left in the dark would take much longer.

    Todd Pytel

  • 428. DZV  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Oh and our paychecks are a month behind, so we would be paid through the end of September

  • 429. Todd Pytel  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Sorry, also @blainemom… there are numerous other considerations in picking a strike date, both obviously political ones as well as mundane ones dealing with things like health insurance or union paperwork. I wasn’t claiming that student impact was the only one, or the most important one. Just that it’s actually not so bad as you might immediately think.

  • 430. anonymouse teacher  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-02-07/news/bs-md-ci-performance-improvement-plans-20120207_1_teacher-evaluation-system-new-evaluation-city-teachers

    This article documents how Baltimore, when instituting merit pay, in ONE year went from 200 of its 6900 teachers being rated unsatisfactory (their lowest rating) to more than 4000 being rated unsatisfactory. I can see where 200 was probably too low and not a reflection of reality, but 200 to 4000? That is not about teacher quality. That’s about a district trying to balance its budget by giving more teachers a bad rating than actually deserve it so they don’t have to pay out the merit pay. This is, from my understanding, the model CPS wants to follow. When 60%+ of a district’s teachers are suddenly, after years of good ratings, suddenly dropped into the “we don’t have to pay you much” category, this is no longer about merit.
    If it balanced out to more of a 10-20% unsatisfactory, 50-60% satisfactory and 20-30% excellent, that seems far more like what I see in schools now.

  • 431. blainemom  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    @426 and @427 – I appreciate the teacher perspectives. Todd, I think your points are very valid, but I’m not sure they apply to these young kids. I know this is a much smaller percentage of kids, but I am selfishly just worried about my kids right now :). Fingers crossed it all works out within the next 10 days…

  • 432. EdgewaterMom  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    @430 Wasn’t the evaluation model in Baltimore used as an example of positive way to use evaluations, or was that in suburban Maryland? I remember reading a link from a previous post, about the great system that they had and how they used a committee of teachers to evaluate each other and mentor teachers who needed help.

    The system that they are talking about in the article that you cited certainly does not sound like it is working well, so I am assuming that it must be another district.

    Until Chicago can offer the teachers a useful evaluation system, I do not think that it is fair to include merit pay in the contract. I would like to believe that there is some way to fairly evaluate teachers, but I do not think that CPS has discovered it yet. I hope that the city gives this up and I hope that will be enough to avoid a strike.

  • 433. EdgewaterMom  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    I think that I found the article about the peer review system that worked well in suburban Maryland (Montomery county). http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/06/education/06oneducation.html?pagewanted=all

    Do the teachers on here think that a system like this could work in CPS? I appreciate all of your insightful comments and have learned so much more about CPS from them.

  • 434. Todd Pytel  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    @EdgewaterMom – You’re thinking of the PAR program in Montgomery County, not Baltimore. But note that PAR is about evaluation and not tied to pay, quite a different thing. I would *love* an evaluation system like PAR.

  • 435. anonymouse teacher  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    @431, I teach the youngest students and I am quite worried about them. I do think it will be far more difficult for parents than for kids, especially those with two working parents or single working parents. Hopefully a strike can still be avoided or at worst, it happens but is short.

  • 436. anonymouse teacher  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    PAR sounds better than any other system I have heard of.

  • 437. Todd Pytel  |  August 28, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    LOL, beat me to it…

    Could such a system work here? Sure, if CPS had the desire to implement it. But that would be 180 degrees from everything I’ve ever seen them do. The Union would certainly prefer such a system over REACH.

  • 438. fosterrice  |  August 29, 2012 at 1:23 am

    @366 Junior – you promised to stir the pot by posting the idea of “loss aversion” (paying teachers upfront then taking away the cash if their students don’t meet certain goals). It sounds like you are somewhat skeptical of that plan, about which I am *very* skeptical. For an even more skeptical take (and a hilarious read), be sure to check out Bruce D. Baker’s satire of that model. Baker is a professor of education at Rutgers and a great writer. His satire is in the mode of Swift’s Modest Proposal:

    http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/a-not-so-modest-proposal-my-new-fully-research-based-school/

    @ Todd Pytel – howdy! I was hoping you’d join the discussion. Your comments are always so well considered and I couldn’t agree more. CPS is playing to the public’s ignorance about the well-documented failures of merit pay in academic situations, as well as the public’s tendency to favor those methods of motivation and reward that are most familiar to them in their own workplaces (which are usually quite different from academia). I also agree that PAR would be terrific, but I don’t know if CTU has put that squarely on their agenda. I’ve only heard CTU discuss the Charlotte Danielson model. If people haven’t read about either method they are worth googling. I’m involved in teacher evaluation at the college level and it is incredibly time-consuming, but if done rigorously and in partnership with the person being reviewed — and tied to genuine long-term methods of continuous improvement–, it can be very beneficial for teachers and students alike without being tied to pay. Teachers are motivated by things that are hard to quantify according to traditional econometric standards. It sounds hokey, but it is stuff like “changing the world through helping your students grow” that matter to teachers. …spawning intellectual curiosity. …helping to make students receptive to inspiration. Proper evaluation methods can help generate more consistency and the ability to reach more students in these ways, and that is motivation in itself. Now, before someone says that this conflicts with the CTU’s request for a pay raise, I think that the pay raise is a separate issue that needs to be divorced from the discussions of merit pay. Whatever we as parents think about the pay raise (and I’m ambivalent about it), we should all be supporting the implementation of an evaluation system that genuinely works for our teachers and, therefore, our students. Unfortunately, I fear that some of these subtleties and the ability to distinguish between pay raise and merit pay are getting lost in the crescendo of CPS’ and CTU’s acrimonious discussions (that’s a fair characterization, eh?) and it is coming across as all about the pay raise.

    I also want to give Todd and others a lot of credit for signing their posts with their real names. As I mentioned to CPSO at the book club meeting, my own surname started showing up accidentally when I signed up for a wordpress account and I was initially taken aback at seeing my actual name linked to my posts! So I can definitely sympathize with and respect people’s privacy. But there’s also something very civil about actually knowing with whom you are in dialogue. And to all the teachers posting on the forum, thanks for your hard work all summer and especially the past few weeks as you prep for the start of school!

    — Greg Foster-Rice

  • 439. NBCT Vet  |  August 29, 2012 at 5:46 am

    re: PAR

    As far as I can tell the CTU is supportive of Peer Assistance Review (PAR), but as another commenter has mentioned, that is, at this juncture, unrelated to merit pay.

    Before CPS was allowed to impose its “last, best offer” at the conclusion of the SB7 mandated negotiation period over evaluations the CTU pushed strongly for a PAR component to evaluations. CPS repeatedly refused PAR then and continue to decline that option now.

    CPS is the only school district in the entire state permitted to impose an evaluation system of its choice without the acceptance of the local union.

    re: merit pay

    The research on merit pay is clear that it is ineffective at boosting student achievement or attracting teachers to or keeping teachers in the profession. In the face of this solid and pretty much uncontroversial evidence, why the push for merit pay? It is not backed by research. It is an ideological battle first and foremost.

    I think it is very difficult to emphasize strongly enough how incredibly toxic and distrustful the CPS/CTU relationship is. To provide a little personal insight, I did not initially join the Union when I became a teacher. I did not believe in it and did not think it was necessary or important and did not want in any way to be part of what the CTU was doing at the time. I also used to think teachers were a big part of the problem in Chicago schools.

    How wrong I was.

    As I have taught in CPS I have also been educated myself. After five years of receiving inaccurate paychecks more than half the time, a half dozen unproven and failed mandated academic initiatives since I began, school closure and privatization expansion policies that make little sense and destabilize neighborhood schools and communities, the chaos inflicted by 4 CEOs in 5 years and 6 regional officers in 5 years – all with their own major changes in policy and strategy, and a mayor who is tremendously disrespectful of the profession in word and deed I have learned my lesson well.

    Trust and a collaborative good faith effort go a long, long way. It will take many years (and a new mayor) to repair the damage.

  • 440. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Thanks for the link about PAR. I, too, would be very supportive of a system like that. NBCTvet: Only those working in CPS can fully understand CPS’s dysfunction. To explain it to anyone else, they just wouldn’t believe it. A friend of mine is currently in the process of being hired (I told her to stay away from CPS) and so far they have “lost” her fingerprints twice. HR is crazy. 2 1/2 hours of wait time twice! Not sure if she’ll ever get processed.

  • 441. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 6:06 am

    CPS would not be interested in PAR because it might actually help us. They just want to find a way to get rid of us. I find out more about REACH today. Stay tuned!

  • 442. Teacher4321  |  August 29, 2012 at 7:01 am

    NBCT vet- I too did not join the union for quite a while- maybe 2 years even. I’ve seen the same things you have.

    CarolA- I had a chance to look briefly online at the prek performance tasks yesterday. So far the website says that we have to print the pages ourselves as the bound book they provided has mistakes in it. Another waste. I too suspect I will be hearing more today.

  • 443. rjl  |  August 29, 2012 at 7:02 am

    I, along with many who work outside the home, have been dreading the possibility of a strike because, like it or not, I cannot (will not?) home-school. I’ve been looking at affordable alternatives to the traditional CPS day. On the north side, Sharp As A Tack will be offering curriculum-based day camps at affordable prices. Space is limited, so be sure to pre-register: http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=07c08a20b4829176f13a1e768&id=559f2c84a2

  • 444. None  |  August 29, 2012 at 7:23 am

    @443-rjl – have you used Sharp As A Tack service before? I’m interested. Also, their daily fee ($25) is not adding up to their weekly fee ($200). I wonder why?

  • 445. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 29, 2012 at 8:29 am

    If CTU calls for a strike, they still may settle b4 striking. I won’t homeschool, but wait for the strike to be over…just more vaca time for the kids…it will all be made up and there will be no learning loss…however, I think for the working mothers, it will be beneficial to start to find a place for the kids, as a backup plan, in the event of a strike.

  • 446. mom2  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Nbct and CarolA, I have a family member that went through all kinds of rediculous things when trying to work in cps so I can only imagine how messed up the system is for things such as HR and many other areas. What I don’t understand is how a strike will fix or even improve this. I would love for the mayor to step in and really look at the nitty gritty details of day to day policies and procedures and work to fix that. A strike seems so much more based on pay, benefits and large picture items.

  • 447. Tell Brizard how you feel  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Teachers need your help, call CPS CEO Brizard at 773 553 1500 (his direct linie)and demand a fair contract now for CTU!

  • 448. Tell Brizard how you feel!!!  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Teachers need your help, call CPS CEO Brizard at 773 553 1500 (his direct line) and demand a fair contract now for CTU!

  • 449. HS Mom  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Greg – “we should all be supporting the implementation of an evaluation system that genuinely works for our teachers and, therefore, our students.”

    strongly agree

    “…it can be very beneficial for teachers and students alike without being tied to pay. Teachers are motivated by things that are hard to quantify according to traditional econometric standards.”

    I believe this to be true in many cases. But people (not just teachers) are motivated by money. I feel as a parent that there are some teachers in the system who will only work to the extent of their monetary gain (this is my perception, real or not) . If my child gets even 1 teacher in his 12 year career that does the minimum or less, his education is injured. He and the other kids also lose the major benefit of a good to superior teacher. I think that monetary bonuses do motivate and could elevate the teaching pool. Maybe you are content to work within the system rewarded by a job well done and how you’ve helped shape the course of a kids life, but I would like to see those teachers discussed in the “teacher appreciation” thread get more money. I would like you to get more money. What are the career incentives if salary is set the same across the board and experienced proven teachers get fixed % increases subject to periodic stressful negotiation over time.

  • 450. RoscoeVillageDad  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Do not be fooled. The union officials care nothing about the teachers, and certainly nothing about the children. It’s a power grab for them. The teachers don’t get paid during the strike. Don’t worry though – Karen Lewis won’t starve – she gets paid throughout a strike.

    My wife is a teacher in a CPS elementary school. We have a child in the early years at a different CPS elementary school. My wife had no real interest in the strike. If anything she recognized that it will do the kids a great disservice. She just wants to go to school to teach.

    A union rep came to her school on Monday. The teachers were told that, in the event of a strike, they will be _required_ to show up at school at 6:30am to be sent to a designated rally point. The rep explained that for anyone who fails to attend, it will assumed the he or she is scabbing at another school, and will effectively be blacklisted. And if you are found to have scabbed, your career in CPS is essentially over. My wife inquired as to what she is supposed to do with our child, who will have nowhere to go, since school will not be open. The rep informed her that that is her problem to deal with, but she is free (actually encouraged – think of the photo op!) to bring our child out on to the picket line. The rep then went on to detail how any teacher who fails to join the picket line should be treated (it basically boils down to the silent treatment, mixed with a little backstabbing). This sounds like nothing short of schoolyard bullying.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to paint a broad brush. My grandmother and mother were both teachers. As I’ve stated, my wife is one. I know how hard _good_ teachers work. Our kids have been blessed to have some teachers who far exceeded even our wildest expectations. Their ability, enthusiasm, and dedication are truly unbelievable. My problem is with the union. It is often said that teachers are not paid enough, that society does not value what they do. Teachers are constantly stressing that they are professionals, yet aren’t treated as such. Because they bargain collectively, society pays the teachers what they think they are worth, based upon how they value the services of the average teacher, and based upon the demand for those jobs (i.e., the supply of labor). And remember, no one is forced to become a teacher. If you believe they are underpaid, don’t go into teaching. I do believe that good teachers are way underpaid, but there are plenty of people still in classrooms who should have been fired long ago. Unfortunately, the union exists to protect these incompetents; the strong teachers suffer. And of course, many kids suffer. Teachers want to be treated as professionals. Step one would be to start acting like professionals, and ditch the union. Professional people seek out employment on their own, negotiate their own salary, and strive for excellent performance, both for pride and for pay increases. Let teachers interview and compete for available jobs and get paid on their merits. I am certain that, in communities that value education, salaries will go up.

    Providing public education is one of the most important services that a local government provides to its citizens. Why do we contract out those services to an organization that is concerned first with the power of its leaders, and second with protecting its members from any scrutiny or change, and lastly with actually providing those services (and the results thereof) for which it is hired.

  • 451. RoscoeVillageDad  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:04 am

    … and obviously I needed better teachers. I should have ended with a question mark.

  • 452. HS Mom  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Sorry – one more thing that I was going to add. Striking after school starts does negatively impact all students taking AP courses and those studying for the ACT. Those that can’t afford prep class and are most dependent upon teachers to guide them through the process will be shorted when it comes to taking the tests. The suburbs and charter schools have already begun their AP studies in August while we have just gotten our schedules soon to be interrupted.

  • 453. b  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Karen Lewis just filed the 10 day notice.

  • 454. NBCT Vet  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:18 am

    @mom2

    Thanks for your comment and empathy. It can be very difficult for people who have not lived it to understand the full scope and depth of the problems we face working for CPS.

    I think there are two reasons why a strike seems focused on compensation and benefits:

    1) State law, the recently adopted SB7, permits the CTU to strike only over issues of compensation and benefits.

    2) Historical leadership of the CTU has focused on compensation and benefits using a service model for the organization. The current leadership are in stark contrast with a heavy emphasis on member driven policies and action focusing on student interests, publicly funded public education, and education equity.

    During its formative, founding years the CTU had two main camps – one focused on compensation and benefits, one focused on larger issues of improved education for all, education equity, and social and educational justice. Current leadership harkens back to the priorities of the latter, though they obviously have not forsaken the important issues of compensation and benefits. They (and by they I mean we, the teachers) just have a broader and more inclusive platform.

    These priorities represent a massive change in the structure and purpose of the CTU. Even after two years it can be difficult for the general public to shed their prior notions of how the CTU or “unions” operate.

  • 455. ncm  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:40 am

    @RoscoeVillageDad – I could not have said it better. I am the daughter of a teacher and have an incoming kindergartener into CPS. The union is archaic and detrimental to the profession. It need not exist. I eagerly await the day that teachers will embrace that they can stand alone (and better) without the CTU.

  • 456. Chris  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:41 am

    “re: merit pay

    The research on merit pay is clear that it is ineffective at boosting student achievement or attracting teachers to or keeping teachers in the profession. In the face of this solid and pretty much uncontroversial evidence, why the push for merit pay? It is not backed by research. It is an ideological battle first and foremost.”

    Right, but there is one form of “merit pay” that CTU considers sacrosanct, and is as unproven as all the others: the merit pay for experience and additional credentials.

    Neither CTU nor CPS is doing anything to improve their credibility on the subject of merit pay by sticking to hard, yet amorphous, lines on the subject.

  • 457. LR  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Did they give notice yet? I haven’t heard anything.

    @450: RoscoeVillageDad: I find your post hard to believe. Without the union, your wife would be going back to a 7.5 hour day without any extra teachers and no extra pay. And she’d be totally fine with that? I understand the issue of merit pay is a hairy one. I think most people agree with some sort of merit-based pay raises, but she is ok to agreeing to it without CPS providing details? Don’t get me wrong…the CTU is not perfect (as you pointed out). However, what do you see as the solution? I don’t think CPS should just be able to dictate whatever they want in terms of pay, length of day, raises, etc. It would be great to have a parents’ union, and really have someone who represents the best interests of my child (not the teachers’ or CPS’ interests), but we hold no power over CPS. They just give us a free education, and we have to sit back and watch. The only power we have is to not vote for the mayor again if we don’t like it. Truly this is a hot mess we are all in, but I don’t think ditching the union is the answer.

  • 458. NewCPSer  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Agree with RoscoeVillageDad! “Do not be fooled. The union officials care nothing about the teachers, and certainly nothing about the children. It’s a power grab for them. The teachers don’t get paid during the strike. Don’t worry though – Karen Lewis won’t starve – she gets paid throughout a strike.”

    The union is doing what’s right for the union itself. Negotiating to bring back laid off teachers benefits the union. No benefit to current teachers. Push back on the union, teachers!

  • 459. Chris  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:52 am

    “I eagerly await the day that teachers will embrace that they can stand alone (and better) without the CTU.”

    I don’t think that that is reasonable in a union shop like Chicago. I think that present CTU leadership is doing a poor job representing the rank and file in many/most ways (esp when they spout obv BS), but I don’t think being unrepresented is the way to go, unless CPS (and the city as a whole) went to a Federal-style pay schedule. Which isn’t a bad idea from teh *city’s* perspective, at least.

  • 460. LR  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:54 am

    @ 458: No benefit to current teachers? I don’t know about that. So what should teachers push for? Should they keep pushing for a shorter day and not hiring those extra teachers? Should they push for not hiring those teachers and additional compensation? Personally, I have been and will remain forever in support of a 6.5 hour day. It is a longer day, but doesn’t require lots of extra teachers or funding. However, I don’t know if this is what is fueling the strike at this point. I think they are more hung up on issues of compensation and pay raises. So doesn’t it seem like resurrecting the issue of hiring extra teachers is taking a step backwards?

  • 461. NewCPSer  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:00 am

    They should push for smaller class size. Current teachers know that the 500 brought back won’t put a dent in helping with the full day.

  • 462. RoscoeVillageDad  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:02 am

    @LR – By going to 7.5 hrs, you mean 30 min less than the rest of the working world? why is that so bad? PLUS she works way more than that already with prep and grading. If she differentiated herself, her principal would be pay her more. If not, my wife would be free to leave for a school that did value good teachers. I actually think much more power should be given to the principals. They should be able to manage the teacher workforce as he or she saw fit. And a big chunk of principal evaluation would simply be on demand. Parents are the consumers. If you are doing your job, parents are going to want to get into your school.

    Most of the working world is required to be at the office for at least some minimum amount of time, but most work more than that. Either their job requirements are too much (and maybe they should leave) or they strive to do better than the minimum requirements. Teachers are no different.

  • 463. Chris  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:03 am

    LR:

    The issue is about the pool of who will be hired for those “extra” positions. CTU is on the mat for them *only* being from teh pool of “displaced” CTU members. Forcing that, as opposed to allowing the hires to be from all applicants, doesn’t benefit current teachers, per se (tho including the rule going forward *does* benefit any current teacher who is displaced during the contract).

    But, there is a significant perception issue with it–the perception is that the displaced teachers, who couldn’t get a new CPS job in the “normal” filling-of-spots process, are the “bad” teachers (some likely truly are) that shouldn’t be in the classroom anyway. And protecting the “bad” teachers is a hot button.

  • 464. Union thug  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:15 am

    @450 Union officers have pledged not to accept salary in the event of a strike.

  • 465. LR  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:20 am

    @462 and 463: What you guys are suggesting sounds awfully similar to a private school situation (we were in private school previously). Maybe it would work. At our Catholic school there were teachers willing to do the job for $30K or less per year. However, the suggestion that it would get rid of the “bad” teachers is inaccurate. After being at a private school for 6 years (and one that has a good reputation), I can promise you that there are good and bad teachers everywhere. At our old school, there is one teacher in particular, who is bad enough that several families have left the school because of her. She has been protected because the Principal liked her/had a good relationship with her. I just reject the notion that the union protects bad teachers. That happens everywhere, even where the union is not a factor.

  • 466. Chris  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:29 am

    “What you guys are suggesting sounds awfully similar to a private school situation”

    In what way is what I am “suggesting” like a private school situation? Seriously don’t get that.

  • 467. anonymous  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:30 am

    @465LR: To add to your experience – the opposite happened at our private school. There was an excellent teacher who really pushed the kids and wanted their best work. When she got tired of getting too many projects that looked like the parents had done them, she started a policy where projects were worked on during some of the class time. She demanded real work from the kids and some of the parents thought she was asking too much. They wanted easier “A’s” for their kids. They hounded the principal until the teacher was removed. Oh, and they were some of the biggest donors to the school fundraisers but I’m sure that had nothing to do with it. 🙂

  • 468. NBCT Vet  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:32 am

    @ RoscoeVillageDad,

    Teachers work far beyond their contractually mandated on-site hours. See a recent study out of U of I that found the average CPS teacher invests something like 58 hours per week.

    The Union does not protect poor teachers. It protects due process mutually agreed upon by both the Board and the Union. I have seen competent administrators get rid of tenured teachers with ease. It is not difficult. (Both sides of this issue have been addressed repeatedly on this blog.)

    It’s difficult to provide an alternative perspective to someone so stricken with ideology that obvious Union efforts on behalf of students are ignored. The Union has been fighting for many things, on its own and in collaboration with parent and community organizations, directly tied to the student experience like smaller class sizes, fully staffed neighborhood schools, responsible staffing formulae, peer jury, counseling and other social services, recess, and enriched curricula – art, music, world language, physical education, technology, etc.

  • 469. LR  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:54 am

    @466: It reminds me of private schools in that there are no unions to protect the teachers. Anyhow, the point is, if it is true that the union is truly responsible for bad teachers, then bad teachers should not exist where the union isn’t a factor. You think they would be fired. That is not at all the case. We had more than one bad teacher at our private school…along with some excellent teachers. And as 467 pointed out, a good teacher was fired for trying to demand more of her students. I’m just trying to demonstrate that dismantling the union, is not some sort of magic solution to all the problems. And despite the fact that some teachers feel they would be better off, I think teachers will get trampled with no union. If CPS can pay teachers whatever they want to, what is their motivation to give raises at all? Why wouldn’t they replace all the teachers getting paid $60-70K per year with teachers willing to do the job for much less? I just don’t see how you can be a teacher and not attribute some of the benefits/salary you enjoy to the union’s efforts.

  • 470. Chris  |  August 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    “a recent study out of U of I that found the average CPS teacher invests something like 58 hours per week”

    First, anyone who disputes that even a “typical” CPS teacher doesn’t spend meaningful time outside the school day working is a fool.

    That said, that “study” has *huge* credibility issues. It has a serious self-selction bias. It’s not a representative sample of CPS teachers. It has an “interesting” split between teaching and non-teaching tasks. It includes “free time at lunch” as part of the working day, but still compares to an “8 hour work day” (I know very few who have an 8 hour day with paid lunch included–mainly 8+paid lunch, so 8.5 or 9).

    Basically, it comes across as a study with a pre-determined conclusion.

  • 471. Chris  |  August 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    ” It reminds me of private schools in that there are no unions to protect the teachers.”

    In the post you noted, I was merely clarifying what seemed to be a disconnect. If you look at 459, I say that I don’t think that “no union” is reasonable in this city as currently constituted.

  • 472. SutherlandParent  |  August 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Regarding whether unions are “good” or “bad,” I guess I’m union-neutral, just like I’m charter neutral. I see a lot of the good in unions, and I come from a long line of union members (we were a railroad family). In some ways, teacher unions are more important than ever, particularly since I think the BOE is utterly lacking in a long-term, coherent strategy and big-city mayors like Emmanuel and Bloomberg in NYC have no qualifications to lead an urban educational system.

    But I also think being part of a union means that teachers aren’t professionals in the sense that doctors, lawyers and engineers are. And the CTU can’t claim to be acting solely in the best interests of students. My copy of Webster’s defines a labor union as “an organization of workers formed for the purpose of advancing its members’ interests in respect to wages, benefits and working conditions.” And that’s cool.

    But the CTU can’t have it both ways, claiming to be professionals while seeking the protection of union membership, and planning a strike around its members’ healthcare benefits while insisting it’s all about the kids. That’s where a lot of my frustration comes from.

  • 473. Chris  |  August 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    “I also think being part of a union means that teachers aren’t professionals in the sense that doctors, lawyers and engineers are”

    Agree with the point, disagree with the conclusion.

    No reason that “genuine” professionals can’t/shouldn’t be unionized, if the whole of them are (1) working for a single employer, (2) charged with substantially similar duties and (3) willing to be compensated on the same scale as the rest of the union. Those all fit teachers, and often fit nurses (who are professionals and often unionized) but much more rarely fit doctors/lawyers/engineers.

  • 474. Bookworm  |  August 29, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Doctors services in hospitals are very often unionized. Most medical residents are unionized and their collective power is part of what created new requirements for the hours residents work now. To everyone’s benefit if they ever end up in the hospital.

    ( a service is the kind of team a doctor works with ie internal, hospitalists etc.)

  • 475. NewCPSer  |  August 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Lewis didn’t file, did she? Suntimes says “plans to file” or is that already outdated?

  • 476. Mch  |  August 29, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    RoscoeVillageDad — perfectly said (#450). Your description of what the union is forcing its forced members to do is horrifying, and I wish your wife the best as she navigates this Orwellian plight.

    I also hope that if there is a strike, then assuming it is resolved, one of the terms is that every union rep be required to visit elementary schools and explain to Kindergartners how the strike actually benefited them and their schools. Teachers shouldn’t have to do it because lots of them will have acted out of fear of reprisals from union bosses, not because they think it’s actually a good thing.

  • 477. SutherlandParent  |  August 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Fair points, @473 and 474! I probably should have clarified that traditionally, doctors, lawyers, etc., have not belonged to unions. I think nurses and teachers are a fairly similar cohort, and I’ve seen that comparison made on this board.

    Bookworm, I couldn’t find any statistics on how many doctors belong to unions–I know there have been discussions about it, with fewer doctors maintaining their own private practices and more working for healthcare organizations and hospitals. I’d be curious to see how many are unionized.

  • 478. Kelly  |  August 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I think it’s illegal for doctors to strike

  • 479. Paul  |  August 29, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Where is that strike notice? I’m on the edge of my seat here.

  • 481. Paul  |  August 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    The press release is helpful for explaining why the teachers are giving notice for a strike. They’re giving notice for a strike because:

    1) they were promised 4 percent raises last year that were taken away when money ran out,
    2) they think CPS did a bad job in planning for the longer day,
    3) they have to teach a new curriculum,
    4) they are subject to evaluation based in part on standardized tests,
    5) they want higher wages, and
    6) they want better job security.

    And, what will the public think about that? I think a large number of people will say: “join the club.” Getting lower raises, while having higher expectations, lower job security, and imperfect evaluations has been the work environment for most people throughout the recession. But, we’ll see.

  • 482. Yes!  |  August 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I agree with Paul – if everyone else gets crapped on then union teachers should get crapped on, too!

  • 483. cpsobsessed  |  August 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Or perhaps we should all unionize so none of us get crapped on…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 484. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I’m for smaller classes, no high stake testing, BEST school day not LONGEST~today Brizard said they will replicate best schools~CPS best schools have been proven to be 6.5hr days and CPS is aware of that. Rahm & CPS failed at the longest day and now there will be a strike bc of understaffing and very chaotic day. I want experienced teachers for my kids…teachers deserve job security. My kids have union teachers and I support them.

  • 485. NBCT Vet  |  August 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    @ 476 Mch

    What the Union is forcing its members to do? 90% of CTU members and 98% of those voting support a strike. How exactly is “the Union” forcing its members to do anything?

    I know it’s hard to believe, but the CTU is actually a democratic organization run from the bottom up not the top down. Our leaders take direction and orders from the membership not the other way around.

    I absolutely, wholeheartedly agree that every union rep should explain to *all* students how the strike benefited them and their schools. That’s a big part of what these failing negotiations are all about.

  • 486. Paul  |  August 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    @483 cpsobsessed, that sounds good. Can we all go on strike too?

  • 487. junior  |  August 29, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Saw this Headline on a labor site — “Chicago Teachers Say They’ll Strike for the Kids”

    Whoa, it almost brought me to tears. I can’t believe they would be so generous and self-sacrificing. God bless them all. And here I mistakenly thought that the teachers would reap some benefit from a strike. I bet they told Rahm to keep the raises and put the money towards the much-needed resources for the kids. Bless them. Bless them all. Why don’t we ever see the cops or firefighters striking to improve public safety???

    “Striking Cops Demand Less Murders and Assaults!”
    “Firefighters Join Picket Lines to End Smoking in Bed!”

    Could you imagine the social benefits we could all achieve if only our public servants would put their own egos aside and simply engage in more widespread strikes?

  • 488. Chris  |  August 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    “CPS best schools have been proven to be 6.5hr days”

    With *no* opportunity for those “best schools” to experiment with anything longer than 6.5. That’s an *utterly* falacious conclusion. There is no proof that 6.5 is best.

  • 489. Chris  |  August 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    NBCT “How exactly is “the Union” forcing its members to do anything?”

    So, totally deny that there was any pressure to vote for the strike in any schools? And that there is no pressure from any steward on any teacher to fall in line or suffer the consequences?

    Basically, you’re saying that Paul is lying about his wife’s experience? That sort of behavior constitutes coersion.

  • 490. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 29, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    #488~Chris~when researching all the schools (including the ones that were going longer than 6.5) the 6.5 had the best scores~that’s proof enough for me and many other parents. Rahm & CPS should have been replicated 6.5.

  • 491. Chris  |  August 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    “Saw this Headline on a labor site — “Chicago Teachers Say They’ll Strike for the Kids””

    “CTU demands 4% raise ‘Rahm screwed us out of’ ‘for the kids'”

    “CTU feels righteously indignant about ‘insult after insult after insult’ ‘for the kids'”

  • 492. Chris  |  August 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    “Chris~when researching all the schools (including the ones that were going longer than 6.5) the 6.5 had the best scores~that’s proof enough for me and many other parents. Rahm & CPS should have been replicated 6.5.”

    When researching the schools, did you see any that had 7 hour days? No? How do you *KNOW* that 7 hours isn’t even better than 6.5?

    6.5 is *clearly* better than the 5.75, no breaks for the kids, nonsense that Daley had allowed for decades, but saying that iut is obviously better than something that hasnt been done is not based on any fact, as there are no facts to compare.

  • 493. Chris  |  August 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    ‘did you see any that had 7 hour days? No?”

    Sorry, misread–s/b: did you see more than a handful that had 7 hour days.

  • 494. NBCT Vet  |  August 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    @489 Chris

    I did not deny that there was any pressure to vote for the strike in any schools or that Paul’s wife is lying about her experience. If you thought my previous post was a denial I’d encourage you to read that comment again and I’ll pledge to strive for greater clarity in my comments.

    I did point out that 98% of CTU voters and 90% of CTU members support a strike. I firmly believe that you do *not* get those types of overwhelming numbers by bullying, harassing, and coercing. Those types of poor behaviors result in push back, not support. It doesn’t mean those things are nonexistent, either – some delegates can be quite passionate – but it’s not typical, representative, or common and it certainly isn’t the reason for unprecedented, overwhelming support for a job action.

  • 495. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Several had 7 and more hours…6.5 had the best scores. After reviewing all the schools~6.5 had the best scores. Rahm & CPS know it…CPS is too big to be 1 size-fits-all (a phrase Brizard is saying all the time now), no other district implemented longer day all at once because they couldn’t afford it and neither can Rahm. He showed he’s just a rookie mayor and he’s doesn’t care abt CPS kids or he would have talked abt subjects CTU can not broach~like small classes, wrap around services, ancillary subjects. Only CPS can bring up those topics and they aren’t.

  • 496. HS Mom  |  August 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    @495 of those 6.5 hour schools – how many excellent schools gained that honor by teachers providing their own time to tutor, test prep and scholastic interventions. Ours had plenty of added time including music lessons and sports. You can’t possibly suggest or prove that 6.5 hour schools are better than 7 or 7.5 hour schools based upon the official length of the school day alone.

  • 497. cpsobsessed  |  August 29, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I think I’m with HS Mom on the longer day conclusion. I think the schools with the longer day so far have been more strategic in planning a longer day (I know 2 of the – what’d we call the long day early adopters, oh “pioneer schools” principals I got to talk too had real vision for that day and it sounded like they had motivated teachers who were on board. Not to discount the success, but I don’t know that making every school longer will improve them all by nature of the number of minutes. Unfortunately.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 498. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Wow! So much bitterness today on this site. Because of these negotiations, my school will now have an art teacher and a world language teacher for the students. This is my 24th year at my school and this is the first time we had either. Because of these negotiations, my school will now have daily recess for our children. Because of these negotiations, my school was able to hire 2 technology teachers (one from the displaced teacher pool) so that EVERY child in the school will have a computer period, not just the upper grades. Because of these negotiations, my school will have both a band and a music/choir teacher. So for those of you who continue to say that the teachers are only in this for themselves…..SHAME ON YOU!

  • 499. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    And, while I’m on my soapbox, why is it that teachers are not allowed to think about themselves (and their own families) once in awhile. We think about our students every day, every week, every month. We care about them. We make sure they are successful. We worry for them. We do our best to console them when needed. We provide food and clothing at times. We are proud and happy to do this because it is what we signed up for. But I don’t remember thinking that when I signed up for that I had to completely disregard any of my own needs.

  • 500. Angie  |  August 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    @498. CarolA: Wait, so CTU is actually claiming credit for daily recess, which they stole from the children many years ago?

    Don’t kid yourself. The CTU did not give your schools all those nice things. You have them because Rahm was not afraid to stir the hornet’s nest and push for the longer school day, in spite of the union’s resistance. Otherwise, the teachers would still be zipping out of the parking lot at 1:45 PM and voting against the open campus year after year. And they would still be pocketing outrageous yearly raises instead of using that money to provide music and technology for the kids.

  • 501. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    I don’t know what school you are referring to, but NO ONE at my school ever zipped out of the parking lot at 1:45! How many teachers do you think fall into the category of “not good for the children”? Give me a % systemwide. Are them some? Yes. But you speak as if the system is loaded with them.

  • 502. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Are there some? (not are them some)

  • 503. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    I don’t think anyone is CLAIMING credit as you say. The point is that it is now back. If you feel or know that CTU “took it away” many years ago, then isn’t it nice that they brought it back? Stop being so negative. Would you rather us not fight to bring it back?

  • 504. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Maybe it was a mistake years ago to do it. I make mistakes. Maybe you don’t. It’s nice when mistakes are made that they are corrected. Don’t you think?

  • 505. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Outrageous yearly raises? What pay scale are you looking at? Remember, that contract was made 5 years ago when things in this economy were quite different. The city wanted a 5 year contract so they got what they wanted. Don’t blame us for the economy too.

  • 506. Angie  |  August 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    @503. CarolA: “Would you rather us not fight to bring it back?”

    Just in case I was not clear the first time. You did not FIGHT to bring it back, Rahm did. You had the ABILITY to bring it back via the teacher vote at your school, but chose to go home early instead. And now that you are FORCED to have the mandatory recess, your union is shamelessly claiming credit for it.

  • 507. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    It’s not just about having the ability to vote it back. It’s about who is going to watch the children during that time. Sure, we could have brought it back and watched them ourselves, on our own time, given up our own lunch. Sure, you’re right, we could have done that. I did not choose to go home early instead. Nor did the majority of teachers. Most teachers don’t go home early at all. What we chose was to not to give up more of our own free time. We chose not to volunteer to watch the children. If the school had resources to properly supervise the children, maybe things would have been different. Now, with this new decision that (in your words) Rahm was bold enough to bring back, there is coverage (or should be). It’s my understanding that even that’s not happening in some schools. Teacher ARE giving up their own time. I’m lucky. My school is paying parents.

  • 508. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    So let’s take the recess issue off the table for now since we are at odds with that. What do you think about the new programs that schools will now have as I explained above? Or did Rahm do that too?

  • 509. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    At least Rahm will have one vote next time around.

  • 510. Anna Rooney  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    I support the hard working teachers, the majority of whom are women, who are often told that they should just “make do and sacrifice for the love of children.”. How manipulative! I can’t imagine that a male dominated profession would be told the same. Teachers work very hard and they need to be paid accordingly!!! I will feel much better having my child in a school where her teacher is treated fairly and respectfully!!!

  • 511. anonymouse teacher  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Carol, I can’t wait to meet you and talk about the new performance assessments! We got an earful today and the idea of giving early primary students 5 major high stakes tests, if you include REACH Performance Tasks, in the first month of school had our entire staff in near hysterics today due to the absurdity of it all. TRC’s, Dibels if they do poorly on TRC’s (which they all will), mclass math, NWEA, and these big performance tasks–all in one month–to 5 year olds AND 3 and 4 year olds, I kid you not. I don’t have much lesson planning to do the first 4 weeks because at least HALF of my total instructional time will be spent testing. I am not exaggerating in the least. It is absolute and total insanity.

    Angie, I was just checking, but I can only assume since you have time to note how many teachers leave with the bell each day, you are also checking how many teachers stay 1,2,or 3+ hours after the bell as well, like at my school? And that you are also taking notes on which teachers are peeling into the parking lot, like the ones at my school, 1-2+ hours before students ever arrive? The anecdote works both ways.

    I don’t know, but it must be nice to have a job where you can lazily roll into work at 9 a.m. Or take time during lunch break to go do an errand. Or have time to post on blogs about other workers slackerness and essentially STEAL company money when you are being paid to, oh I don’t know, work? I’ve never had a job like that, so I simply cannot imagine.

  • 512. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Just because a teacher might zip out of the parking lot right after the dismissal bell does not mean she is clocking out for the day. Maybe she has a long drive and wants to beat the traffic. Maybe he has babysitting issues. Maybe she has an elderly parent to take care of. Maybe he has errands to run. My daughter leaves shortly after the students every day. She picks up her daughter. She does all the usual chores we all do. Then, after her daughter is in bed, she pulls out her teacher bag, researches on the computer, grades papers, and puts in another 1-2 hours every night. Don’t assume. Things may not be as they appear.

  • 513. Jay  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    I think the Mayor gets a little too much of the blame here. As I parent whose child is about to start his first week of kindergarten, I feel that if the CTU had a less antagonistic president the teachers would be already be looking at a nice raise and we wouldn’t be fighting over trivial bits of narrowly focused concerns. My son is so excited to start school, now that he finally will he may be told “schools out” a week later. That is so hard to explain–not mention hard to keep the excitement and motivation up. I wish the CTU would consider that perspective.

  • 514. Angie  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    @508. CarolA: “What do you think about the new programs that schools will now have as I explained above? ”

    That’s easy. The new programs cost 50 million dollars. Our former mayor would have given that money to the teachers, no questions asked, but our new mayor spent it on something that benefits the children instead.

    “Just because a teacher might zip out of the parking lot right after the dismissal bell does not mean she is clocking out for the day.”

    I wish I could believe you that every single teacher puts in hours of work after they get home, but the state of our schools suggests otherwise. And all those maybes you described are not exclusive to the teachers. Every working person has to deal with the same issues, and somehow they manage to do it while working 8 hours per day.

  • 515. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Why would a man who took away our 4% raise saying that we had done nothing extra to earn it now want to give us a nice raise? I can’t see it. Plus, the mayor probably shouldn’t get any credit or blame for anything negotiated so far because he has been at the table.

  • 516. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Angie: Everyone else might be working 8 hours a day, but some are getting the luxury of being about to post on this site while at work. (Unless everyone here is self-employed, not working, or works the night shift.) So maybe they aren’t working 8 hours. I think every place of employment has it’s winners and losers.

  • 517. DZV  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    So here’s my day:
    My students come in at 7:45 and have their “universal breakfast”. Then they have an hour of their “enrichment” per the longer day agreement, but OH YES, we still haven’t hired from the “displaced” teachers, so my principal is going to have day-to-day subs cover that period. This is sooooo much better for my students. Do you know what it’s like to have a substitute teacher, and mind you a different one everyday? Chaos, no consistency, no order, no fluidity.
    Now, let’s talk about lunch and that “discretionary money” principals were given. Our building is very old, built at a time when kids went home to eat. We have a very small lunchroom, so we can only accomodate 90 kids at a time (our school have 500 kids). We have 4 people supervising them outside and 3 inside.
    The way lunch period works out, my students and I will get lunch from 1:15-2:00 and our dismissal is at 2:45! I will have to teacher hungry irritable children. I’m planning to have a snack time, where I will be bringing in snacks (out of my own money)
    Does that make sense? NO, but that’s the only way we can do it. Not enough people to cover all those kids because there is no money.
    Yes, we have a LONGER day, but a BETTER ONE, I think not!
    Thank you Jean and CPS for your longer day!!!

  • 518. wow  |  August 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    98% of voting CTU members gave an authorization to strike. 98%!!!!!!! Coercion? Bullied?? All about $? One would have to be extremely naive to believe this is a system seriously screwed up!!!!!!

  • 519. HS Mom  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    @jay 513 – I explained to my HS kid that he would be in school for 1 week and then out – very surprised to see the disappointment. He can’t understand why teachers would do this. I completely understand your concern about loss of momentum. He’s worried about how he is going to handle the homework load and if it will now be heaped at one time while he is trying to study for ACT’s. My heart really goes out to the little one. I remember that excitement like it was yesterday – of course we had to deal with 911 after that first week of school – almost the same thing.

  • 520. CarolA  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I’d love to work an 8 hour day. If you count the hours before, during, and after that teachers work, it well exceeds 8 hours. Yes, there are those that don’t. And it is not my fault as a teacher that it exists. If teachers in your child’s school are slacking, get after the principal. If he/she comes up with excuses, go to CPS. Let your voice be heard to them. It is wasted on this site because we can’t help you change that. If you feel that CTU is protecting those teachers you are mistaken. If a teacher is not successful in the classroom, it’s up to the principal to take care of it. Don’t let excuses get in your way. Move on to district. Move on to downtown. Everyone has plenty to complain about here, but several have admitted to not wanting to speak up to your school. Now THAT is a problem. Fix that!

  • 521. Frango Mint  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Angie – You are mistaken that teachers have voted year after year to keep lunch at the end of the day. It was done 20-30 years ago and at most schools the subject was never revisited, as there was no one to supervise the children during the teachers’ unpaid lunch (the kids used to be able to walk home to eat). Very few teachers currently working in CPS were a part of that initial vote. It is incorrect to state that current teachers had anything to do with it, because we didn’t.

    The teachers at my school are glad to have recess. In fact teachers are volunteering to supervise during our unpaid lunch because there are not enough other staff to do it. We are VOLUNTEERING. No one is making us – we are just doing it. Even doing this we still get treated with hostility by people like you, who are clueless as to what we really do every day.

    As for “the state of our schools suggests otherwise,” it is laughable that you think the state of our schools has anything to do with what time the teachers are punching out. If you read this blog or know anything about CPS, you would be well aware that there are many variables involved in the success of a school. I wish it were as simple as you think – that if we teachers all put in double the hours and double the effort, the schools would instantly become successful. If that was the case, our schools would already be great, as all of the teachers I know put a great deal of time and effort into their jobs. These slackers you think are everywhere – they don’t exist at my school. But it is not the case that teachers can do it alone. Unfortunately the sad state of CPS has more to do with poverty and chronic underfunding than anything else.

  • 522. Frank  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    @ Angie I don’t understand your multiple posts. Please be clear.

    Do you think all or most teachers are bad? And if so what is your solution? Fire them?

    If so who do you think is up for the job and willing to take it on?
    Do you think the new college grads are ready and can take over the current teachers’ place with SUCCESS? And, do they even want the job? Teacher turnover is at a national high. If the job is so lucrative , easy, and attractive then What do you attribute this to?

    Whydo you think colleges of education across the country is reporting an all time low in students enrolling in the education profession?

    If teaching is so attractive, what do you attribute this to?

    So you are the mayor and you fire the 70 percent of teachers who you think are lazy, crappy, floating by….etc. who teaches your kid tomorrow? What is your cure?

    Anyone else out there feel free to help answer. I don’t want to antagonize but want genuine answers or thoughts.

  • 523. Frank  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    My mother was a teacher and she constantly remarks on how she (former Indiana teacher of the year nominee) could not survive with the current state of education and so called reform. It makes me wonder if teachers are most of the problem or is it society that has become the issue. If my mother questions her ability with being effective in the current state then I must pause. This is from a lady who taught for over ten years at a girls detention center.

  • 524. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    So many comments and it is so late to craft my responses to everyone.

    I haven’t watched the news, I was at the Chicago Teacher Solidarity Campaign’s meeting.

    CTU sent Michael Brunson to speak on the panel. He said that there was a shooting across the street from a playground during recess today. I don’t think the name of the school was mentioned, but I am curious if this got into the news. These are the problems that have been discussed repeatedly on this board. Other problems with recess reported to the union have included several incidences of 1:90 or 1:60 ratio during recess supervision.

    To the gentleman who reported his wife’s feeling about the CTU meeting, I can say that THIS WAS NOT the message given by the CTU at their meeting at my school today. Yes people were encouraged to be at school at 6:30 and participate in other events. It was also suggested that we figure out a place to park if we need to, find a bathroom if we need to and figure out a way to pool a babysitting team if we need to. I’m sorry your wife has gotten that information from the Union. Perhaps she should call CTU and tell them what happened and they should ask for a different rep.

  • 525. anonymouse teacher  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    HS mom, 911 and a teacher strike are almost the same thing? Really? Is that what you really intend to say? The death of thousands of people from terrorist attacks is almost the same as missing a day or week or month of school? For real?

  • 526. Patricia  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Quote below from WBEZ – student football players at Lane. I completely agree with HS Mom that a strike has a material impact on HS students. From my perspective, it screws HS kids and kids in critical years like 7th grade.

    “As the teachers met, Lane Tech’s football practice was getting out. A potential strike was on senior Jacob Suckrow’s mind. “As soon as they strike, we can’t practice or anything. And then for however long they strike, every CPS school forfeits those games, and it makes everybody ineligible for state playoffs,” said Suckrow.

    “We just want to graduate on time and play football,” senior Ian Rundquist chimed in.”

  • 527. Patricia  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Roscoe Village Dad. Thanks for your post. I hope you don’t get a big blow up rat in front of your house 😉 I have several good friends who are teachers. One voted against the initial strike vote ans said there was a TON of pressure from the union rep to “give Karen leverage.” Not specifically that it is for the kids or money or whatever. Just vote to give her leverage. I can see that working for soft and hard push union reps. However, the CTU portrays it as unity. While it is a high number an no argument that it is impressive. I think teachers voted for different FRAGMENTED reasons. None of which individually adds up to 90% or whatever the very high number was.

  • 528. CPSYenta  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Honestly Junior I would like to marry you. Always agree w you.

  • 529. Paul  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Things are really heating up. Personally, I’m not worried about my kids. I think they could go without school for awhile without being harmed and we can handle childcare and make it somewhat educational. But, I think there are a lot of families that are going to have a hard time.

    It’ll be interesting to see if the teachers are prepared to go on strike and weather any backlash. If they’ve got the best interests of children in mind, then they have no choice. Settling for a low raise, lower benefits, longer day, or merit pay would be bad for the kids. They can’t accept that. And, what’s wrong with some self-interest for the teachers? After all this work and the sign printing and the practice picketing, it would be anticlimactic to compromise. The line from Braveheart comes to mind “Well, we didn’t get dressed up for nothing.”

  • 530. CPSYenta  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    We’ve been told at our school strike will begin 9/7. Who knows.

  • 531. klem  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    I’m not for or against any side here. I’m too confused by what’s going on and I don’t even care any more. But I do know that teachers have a right to bargain and a right to strike. If they do end up striking, it doesn’t mean they don’t care about their students. It’s just that this is business–it’s their pay and their working conditions they are negotiating here.

  • 532. Patricia  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    My questions from last week remain. What the heck is this “strike” about at this point? I am going to plagiarize Paul’s post because it is late and I am tired (of this strike crap and a long day)………

    1) they were promised 4 percent raises last year that were taken away when money ran out,

    Really? We are still stuck on this one when the same teachers denied the 4% last year got 18-46% the prior 4 years. REALLY?

    2) they think CPS did a bad job in planning for the longer day,

    I am sure there will be examples of horrid implementation. There will also be many that go smooth as silk. BTW–let’s not forget that Karen Lewis refused multiple invitations and pleas from faith leaders, community groups and JC himself to participate in planning the longer day.

    3) they have to teach a new curriculum,

    I think parents need a bit of a wake up call with the new common core. NCLB has narrowed the curriculum and implementation has been a disaster to public education. The new common core, adopted by 48 states helps “bring the bar back to normal”, not “raises the bar”. So yes, lesson plans need to be reinvented. I would think teachers would be energized by finally having a meaty curriculum. Here is a stat: If a school had a 69% ISAT overall, it translates to a 19% in the new common core! 80% ISAT, translates to a 30% explore score. THIS IS HOW MUCH THE CURRICULUM FOR OUR CHILDREN HAS BEEN DUMMIED DOWN OVER THE PAST 15 YEARS OR SO.

    4) they are subject to evaluation based in part on standardized tests,

    The new Maps tests are so much better. I had a child get them last year and it is a world of difference. Note to CPS: make sure you provide the appropriate amount of training for teachers and principals to actually make it meaningful.

    As far as merit pay, which is tied to this point. I think Junior stated it perfectly. It is not so much to scrutinize good teachers, it is to get the lousy ones out and the mediocre to step up their game. With a union pushing for status quo to treat everyone the same, how else do you let the good teachers rise and be recognized? NBCT Vet, I know you think there are “non monetary” ways to do this, but come on, be real, let’s get some cash involved. (BTW–if there are non monetary items to negotiate, let’s hear them………still waiting.)

    5) they want higher wages, and

    Yes, they are currently being offered 2% per year. Much better than the rest of the world. Plus, teachers are coming off of an 18-46% boondoggle from the prior contract. It kind of cracks me up that this is number 5.

    6) they want better job security.

    No, they do NOT want better job security, they want to force teachers in the pool to be rehired first before ANY new hires. This is job security for the bottom feeder teachers who need to get out of the profession. The good teachers who end up displaced will find a better job without this protection. This is the core of why a union exists, to treat every single teacher the same regardless of if they are good or bad, harming or helping the students, genuine or phoning it in.

    So a week from Monday, the strike will be about what for the kids?

  • 533. CPSYenta  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Here, here, Patricia. Agree wholeheartedly.

  • 534. Patricia  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Last point on merit pay. LOL, it won’t be the last from me. I agree it has to be defined. However, CTU participated in 44 meetings and quit letting go a HUGE grant to fund a pilot of merit pay. Their strategy is to

    1) Say no followed by NO, followed by NO NO NO, followed by STRIKE.

    2) While we say no, we just keep employing, DELAY, DELAY, DELAY. So now it appears too late to do anything with merit pay. Hmmmmm……………….all part of the plan from the start.

  • 535. Patricia  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    CPSYenta, I am competing with you for Junior 🙂 I want to send him to the negotiating table. Every time he participates, I either LMAO or agree 100%. Go Junior go!

  • 536. Frank  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Patricia, since you are so outspoken, care to answer my questions since Angie has gone quiet?

  • 537. Teacher4321  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    @ :532

    6) they want better job security.
    No, they do NOT want better job security, they want to force teachers in the pool to be rehired first before ANY new hires. This is job security for the bottom feeder teachers who need to get out of the profession. The good teachers who end up displaced will find a better job without this protection. This is the core of why a union exists, to treat every single teacher the same regardless of if they are good or bad, harming or helping the students, genuine or phoning it in.

    There are plans in the work next year to close 80 – 100 schools. I’m not sure that “the better teachers” will just find a better job- nor do I hope you think that all of the teachers in these schools that will close are “bad.”

  • 538. Frank  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Patricia, let’s say Lewis goes on the record and say we are striking for our pay and our work conditions. It is really about our (kids and families), so what? Does who or what the strike is for automatically make teachers good or bad? I think that most people want teachers to be saints who only does it for the kids. If the stike is about teachers working conditions and them looking out for their kids’ college fund so what? Why does this make them villains? Am I missing something here? As it is constantly yelled they are professionals, so shouldn’t they have the right to say….I am a teacher but I am also a mom or dad with a kid going to college and my concern is my pay and working conditions. What is evil/wrong with that? Isn’t that what most of us care about first? Our families and livelihood? Am I missing something?

  • 539. Frank  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Repost:
    Do you think all or most teachers are bad? And if so what is your solution? Fire them?
    If so who do you think is up for the job and willing to take it on?
    Do you think the new college grads are ready and can take over the current teachers’ place with SUCCESS? And, do they even want the job? Teacher turnover is at a national high. If the job is so lucrative , easy, and attractive then What do you attribute this to?
    Whydo you think colleges of education across the country is reporting an all time low in students enrolling in the education profession?
    If teaching is so attractive, what do you attribute this to?
    So you are the mayor and you fire the 70 percent of teachers who you think are lazy, crappy, floating by….etc. who teaches your kid tomorrow? What is your cure?
    Anyone else out there feel free to help answer. I don’t want to antagonize but want genuine answers or thoughts.

  • 540. Patricia  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Frank, I am sure your mother is wonderful and insightful and nothing I ever say is meant to discredit her. Maybe Angie is getting some sleep. Just because she is blunt, does not mean her points are not valid. She brings up some really great points that people try to tap dance around.

    Frank, you are assuming that posters are saying teachers are bad. In fact, most posters here LOVE good teachers and have and will go to the mat for them. That does not mean that these same people love or support your union. Speaking for myself, I HATE the fact that your union forces all teachers to be treated the same. It is the root of the problem in CPS.

    Think in your own years in school of the BEST teacher you ever had and the WORST teacher. Guess what, your union treats them as complete equals and will STRIKE to protect the worst. So, that is the frustration coming across from parents. You can try to turn it into “teacher bashing” or “union busting” but that is shallow and a cop out argument. It is trying to get the lousy and mediocre OUT and allow the good teachers to rise. It really is as simple as that.

    BTW–teaching is probably going down in colleges because health care and IT is all the rage. It is not just through the single lenz of teaching, there is a whole world out there and that dynamic comes into play in college.

  • 541. Frank  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    @ 537 Job security for the bottom feeders? Wow. You are evaluating them how?? becasue they were laid off? Offensive to any person who was ever laid off a job. This is such a negative and wrong assumption. Displaced does not mean you did anything wrong. If so tell that to the auto workers who are “displaced” every year. I guess they are bottom feeders as well? Drinking the koolade

  • 542. Frank  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Not my union. Not a teacher, couldn’t hack it. Went to law school, thanks to many teachers. 🙂

  • 543. Patricia  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    @541 Frank, you simply misread my posts. YES, there are bottom feeders in the displaced pool. You choose to ignore the fact that every single time I post this, I clarify by saying, “I am sure there are good teachers in the displaced pool, but the good ones will be fine without this protection.”

  • 544. Frank  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Patricia, that is not what colleges are saying. They are not saying people are entering IT and not education because IT is the rage. Deans are saying college kids are avoiding the profession like the plague. I wonder why? Generally people enter careers that are stable, pays well, and rewarding. We are seeing that 20s are no longer viewing a career in education this way. It is a shame. Also, the attrition rate for new teachers is also at an all time low. This has little to do with the “bad” teacher next door. Our kids (college age/young professionals) have been taught to seek pleasure and joy in their work, unfortunately the younger generation no longer finds pleasure in teaching the same way others like my mother did. I don’t think we can honestly say that a “labor organization” is why this is so. Let’s think critically about why? A sad state of affairs whether you are pro or anti union.

  • 545. Frank  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    To sum up: teaching is no longer attractive. If we polled young teachers who left the profession. I doubt many will say that they left because of “the union”. That is my point. The environment has changed, smart and talented people are fleeing the profession, and not because the union wants 19% percent raises or whatever. And not because they worked next door to a “bottom feeder” teacher. They consistently list other reasons why such as mentoring, district support, pay, etc. I will link the study in another post.

  • 546. Patricia  |  August 29, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Where are you getting your info Frank? I am curious, because I talk to many relatives and friends with kids in college and heath care is the hot thing to do now and IT continues to be a hot button for freshman. Of course, it depends on the college you go to and the reason you got in. I guess I do not get your blanket statement.

    Union’s do or did have their place in time. Treating all teachers the same has hindered education and it is a shame for the good teachers in the system. There are fantastic teachers that post on this blog and frankly (no pun intended) it pisses me off that they are treated the same as the “bottom feeders”. To the point of going on strike over it………which then crosses the territory into my kids lives.

  • 547. SkinnerMom  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:00 am

    @ Patricia. The good ones will be fine? Really, tell that to the laid off auto workers. Not sure what reality you live in.

  • 548. Frank  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Teachers quit for several reasons, but the one you’d expect to be at the top of the list — salary — typically isn’t. Even though they start their careers earning roughly $30,000 (and fork out, on average, about $500 of their own money for instructional supplies), less than 20 percent of teachers who change schools or leave the profession cite salary as their primary job complaint, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

    More frequently, the reason is dissatisfaction with administrative support (38 percent) or workplace conditions (32 percent), according to the NCES’s 2001 survey of 8,400 public- and private-school teachers. Poor administrative support, lack of influence within the school system, classroom intrusion, and inadequate time are mentioned more often by teachers leaving low-income schools where working conditions are more stressful; salary is mentioned more often by teachers leaving affluent schools.

    Many of these reasons are just euphemisms for one of the profession’s hardest realities: Teaching can exact a considerable emotional toll. I don’t know of any other professionals who have to break up fistfights, as I did, as a matter of course, or who find razor blades left on their chair, or who feel personally responsible because students in tenth-grade English class are reading at the sixth-grade level or lower and are failing hopelessly.

    New teachers, however naive and idealistic, often know before they enter the profession that the salaries are paltry, the class sizes large, and the supplies scant. What they don’t know is how little support from parents, school administrators, and colleagues they can expect once the door is closed and the textbooks are opened.

    Just one of many:

    http://www.edutopia.org/schools-out

  • 549. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:03 am

    @547 So what was the answer with the auto workers? Status quo? How would that have played out? How many more would be out of a job? How would our economy be right now? That is the world I live in.

  • 550. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Frank, you have gone down a different path. No one argues against many of the things that suck about the work environment of being a teacher. You are missing the fact that most posters here get that.

    How does ANYTHING you say come across in negotiations? How does any of this get resolved with a strike? I think we all can admit that there are significant issues to deal with, but in the end, what will a strike accomplish? I truly am curious, not trying to be bitchy.

  • 551. Frank  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Working conditions play a much larger role than retirement in explaining why teachers transfer to different schools and districts or leave the profession entirely. In an analysis of teacher turnover, teachers reported retirement as a reason for leaving less often than job dissatisfaction or the pursuit of another job (Ingersoll 2003). Among public school teachers who transferred from one school to another, moving to get a better teaching assignment was cited as a deciding factor 38.1 percent of the time. Similarly, dissatisfaction with workplace conditions (32.7 percent) and dissatisfaction with the support received from administrators at their previous school (37.2 percent) were equally cited as other important reasons in their decision to move (NCESa 2007).
    A recent MetLife Survey of the American Teacher also finds a clear correlation between quality school relationships and an increased rate of retention among teachers. Teachers stating that they were likely to leave the profession were also more likely to express dissatisfaction with their relationships with parents, the principal, and their students (MetLife 2005). Another study, by the Center for Teaching Quality, looked specifically at high schools and finds a similar correlation between better-quality working conditions and decreased teacher turnover. Student achievement also improves with better working conditions (Center for Teaching Quality 2007).

  • 552. Frank  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Patricia, I am glad “most posters get it” based on the fact they agree with you. “chuckle” unfortunately, opinion does not make it fact. And, “getting it” is an opinion. After all 25,000 teachers “gets it” that a strike, although not ideal, may improve working conditions. If teachers are saying work environment is what they hope improves with a strike and studies have shown that work environment is one reason why teachers leave then it makes since to strike.

    And, if pay improves the work environment by making it more tolerable to teachers then a stirike makes sense to them and their families. I go back to the premise that we don’t want our teachers to be concerned about pesky things like their own happiness and families. We want them to be all about the kids, but not their kids. Teachers want raises for working in a poor work environment (their opinion but as the employee it matters). What is wrong with that?

  • 553. Jess Mom  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:24 am

    I don’t want to get in the middle of this back and forth between Patricia and frank but I can’t believe the question was seriously asked, what’s does a strike accomplish? Are you for real ? History has shown that it accomplishes a lot for workers. Just my two cents

  • 554. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Patricia, if unions are damaging education why do you suppose such a high percentage of the best performing schools in Illinois and in the country unionized? Why do you think the best performing states for education are the unionized ones? Or the top performing countries, for that matter?

  • 555. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Frank, you stated, ” I go back to the premise that we don’t want our teachers to be concerned about pesky things like their own happiness and families. We want them to be all about the kids, but not their kids.”

    You are yelling at the wrong crowd, the CTU is the one promoting it is “all about the kids”. That is why parents are calling the B.S . and saying to be honest that it is all about pay and benefits. Maybe re-read the entire thread and past threads if you are new?

    Can you clarify how exactly a strike improves the work environment, in a meaningful way that can be agreed upon and written in a labor contract? Beyond just salary of course.

  • 556. SkinnerMom  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Patricia, you said that the good displaced teachers will be fine. My point is how did you come up with this? Thousands of good workers are laid off every year and they are not “fine”. They file bankruptcy, lose their homes, etc. etc. how do you justify making a statement that “good” displaced teachers will be fine? Does not add up to the reality of being laid off, whether you are a teacher or other laid off employee.
    It is fair to say, “being laid off sucks, but it happens” BUT it is not fair to say they will be fine. Trust me, I know several friends who lost jobs in the bad economy and there were not “fine.”

  • 557. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:33 am

    Jess Mom, I have never questioned if labor unions have been effective with striking. Where have I ever stated that? I am simply asking in this negotiation, which is potentially going to put 405,000 kids on the street a week from Monday……………..exactly what does the hope to accomplish?

  • 558. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Why the insistence on changing the way teachers are paid? I *want* to be paid under the current system. Nearly every teacher I have met in CPS – in the hundreds – agrees. And it’s not our union that imposes this upon us. We *want* this type of salary structure.

    I am pretty consistently intrigued that non-teachers have such strong feelings about how I am compensated. I know very few teachers that want a merit pay system of any sort. I also know that if teachers are really bent out of shape about that they have plenty of alternatives available to them for employment – charter schools, private schools, Catholic schools.

    I mean, I don’t especially care about compensation for mechanics or attorneys or accountants or medical staff or restaurant managers or anything else and I don’t know anyone that does care. Why so much emphasis on and interest in teacher salary structure?

  • 559. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Skinner Mom, OK, I get your point now. The economy sucks and it sucks to be out of a job. I have lived it in more ways than I care to share. My question back to you is, how can CPS agree to the CTU demand to hire ALL displaced teachers before hiring anyone new, regardless of who is better for the job and ultimately the students?

    My point is when you have a “bottom feeder” and a “good teacher” interviewing for a job, the good one will get it. That is what I mean by “they will be fine”. What the CTU is pushing for is to guarantee that bottom feeder a job before a new qualified candidate is hired. As a parent and a taxpayer I say NO WAY!

  • 560. SkinnerMom  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Patricia

    If you would read carefully frank said it was about money. His point was pretty much “so what”? We would all do what is best for our families, so why shouldn’t the teachers? Why should they forgo a strike because we want it all about “our kids”. Why should they not bargin for a raise just because “our kids” will suffer for maybe two weeks? When they are thinking about thier kids. Why is that wicked, evil, vile, etc. etc. That was his post. I agree.

  • 561. SkinnerMom  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:39 am

    Aren’t teachers taxpayers? Did they become exempt?

  • 562. Todd Pytel  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:43 am

    @Patricia – I find most of your points entirely reasonable and valid – I elaborate on my minor disagreements below. Honestly, I find the union’s press release disgusting and shameful. It does not reflect my reasoning for a strike. I won’t attempt to speak for others in this matter, as much as I’d like to.

    Here’s what matters to me…

    1) Elimination of contractual work rules – The Board proposes to eliminate *all* contractual language dealing with class size and teacher workload. There would certainly be a vast reduction in personnel costs if my colleagues and I were mandated to teach 6 classes a day of 40 students each, covering 4 different preps (distinct courses). But I would have no choice but to give up even attempting to teach effectively – it would be too frustrating and painful. Instead, I would have to institute some kind of system that kept students busy and minimized grading and personal interaction. That would be incredibly sad, but if I were seeing well over 200 students every day then it would be the only way to survive. I’ve taught HS math classes of 40+ regular, neighborhood students… for a week or two. Making that the norm is unimaginable to me. But don’t doubt for a moment that that’s exactly what the Board would do – maybe not immediately, but absolutely within the course of 5-8 years. Is that the “education” we want for our city’s children?

    2) Merit pay – Please read my post at 406. There is much, much more to this issue than you’re acknowledging.

    That’s it. The rest is just life.

    Now, for the disagreements…

    1) “…come on, be real, let’s get some cash involved.” – As I mention in 406, the difference in motivation between the academic and business worlds seems like a fairy tale to the outsider. But it’s real. You seem like a fair-minded and rational person. So please don’t presume to tell me what my colleagues and I really want. Accept that we might think differently than you do. I’ve spent $1000+ on my classroom every year for over a decade. That should tell you something about where cash sits on my priority scale. If you want to do something, put my name in the paper. Better yet, put my kids’ names in the paper, because they’re the ones who ultimately make the hard choices and sacrifices necessary to rise above their families’ economic and educational background. I’d give up a $1000 bonus any day to see my students get the same kind of respect that students from Northside, Payton, and Whitney do.

    2) The rehiring pool is a murky issue with no clear-cut solution. The Board closes schools for political reasons and then papers over them with questionable data about student performance. There are truly great teachers who have lost their positions for no good reason. And sadly, the schools are not a rational hiring market where true talent gets snapped back up. Principals fear hiring tenured teachers because it’s so difficult to judge their quality and it’s so much more of a hassle to remove them if the hire doesn’t work out. The safe choice is to hire someone new, who frequently works out no better. Are there terrible teachers in that pool too? Absolutely. But ultimately, this is a mess caused by a useless evaluation and tenure system, and *everybody* has contributed to it. I don’t think the Union is wrong to feel aggrieved here, even though I can’t see any reasonable solution myself.

    Todd Pytel
    Mathematics Department Chair
    Senn High School
    tppytel@cps.edu

  • 563. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:44 am

    NBCT Vet, with all due respect, you also think it is easy to fire a lousy teacher and think there are many things other than money to make you feel respected. I think you sound like a fantastic teacher, it just sounds like you are on a different page than CTU. I am not trying to be mean, it just is not what I see as the CTU goal. You seem so eager to strike. Makes me kind of sad 😦

  • 564. SkinnerMom  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Teaching has become social work. One of the complaints. So teachers should suck it up because heavens forbid other “working” folks will have to figure out alternatives for their kids? 450,000 kids on the streets…..they aren’t babysitters. I would have thought more on your post if you said so many hours of lost education but unfortunately it is about “keep kids off the street”. That is part of the problem and the idea teachers keep saying about respect and valuing the profession.

  • 565. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:49 am

    @560 Skinner Mom, you also missed my post that says, FINE if it is about money at this point, just admit it. Many posters on this blog have said the same thing. Yet, the CTU is promoting that it is about the students? That is the point.

    Now, I have to clarify that I think the Interim Agreement is a true win-win where kids get a normal school day length, 477 teachers hired for enrichment and keeping the teacher work day “on paper” status quo. Adding recess is a win-win too. All sides would be well served with ensuring these two gems are implemented well. All can claim this as a victory……………

  • 566. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:49 am

    @ Patricia

    re: what might a strike accomplish?

    A fair pay structure and compensation system that teachers want and support.
    Benefits that teachers want and support.
    A lunch break for clinicians. (Seriously.)
    A private place for counselors and psychologists to speak with traumatized students. (Seriously.)
    A lockable filing cabinet for storing confidential, secure student records. (Seriously.)
    Smaller class sizes.
    More well rounded curricula.
    Less high stakes, standardized testing.
    Recess for every student.
    Art and music and drama and dance in every school.
    Enough textbooks for every child.
    Textbook availability on Day 1.
    Enough desks in each classroom.
    Full staffing of schools on Day 1 instead of Day 20 or 25 or 30.
    Air conditioning in more Track E classrooms.
    An agreement that principals will not degrade teachers in front of peers, parents, or students.
    A fair and accurate evaluation system.
    A recall policy so those outstanding teachers (and even the average ones) can continue to enrich their students and the profession when they are terminated through no fault of their own.
    A short term disability and maternity leave plan.
    Neutral third party input on egregious or abusive disciplinary actions or contractual violations.
    Staff and student access to functioning computers.
    Counselors spending time actually counseling students.
    More equitable funding across the district.

    Ok…that’s my 30 second list. I’m sure there are dozens of other issues on the table, of course. Not all of these things or those things will be resolved. But some of them will.

  • 567. Katy  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:50 am

    It took me a while to read all the posts BUT i am bad. Lol

    CTU is a labor organization!!! They are functioning as is appropriate for a privately supported labor organization!!!! Did we miss a day in History/Civics class about how labor organizations function? What is up? They are doing what the members pay them dues to do. Nego. The best working conditions, including pay.

  • 568. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:51 am

    re: interim agreement is a win-win

    I agree.

    The CTU proposed the content of the interim agreement nearly 9 months ago. I wonder why it took so long for the Board to agree if it was an obvious win-win.

  • 569. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Skinner Mom, of course the natural translation of 405,000 kids on the streets is lost education. Where did I say babysitting? Read my other posts that state the loss for HS students.

  • 570. Katy  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:54 am

    @569. It was implied.

  • 571. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:56 am

    NBCT Vet, half or more of what you list is not in any document the CTU has shared. Again, it sounds like you are a great teacher with great ethics and ideas, but that is not what this strike will accomplish. It may be what you strike about.

    Katy, yes the CTU is doing what the CTU does. That does not mean that parents need to like it…………….especially when the CTU is the one trying to posture that it is for the students. Much better if they just say it is about pay and benefits.

    Again, my footnote, that I think the interim agreement is a win-win that both sides can claim victory.

  • 572. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Katty, no I did not intend to imply “babysitting”. Never posted that, never will.

  • 573. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:02 am

    So, Patricia, if the things teachers strike over will not be the things that are accomplished, what do you think will be accomplished? Nothing? And if so, does not the fault equally lie with the Board of Education? I see a lot of blame heaped on the Union for a strike. How about the Board? Is there enough to go around?

  • 574. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:07 am

    NBCT Vet great question. What will be accomplished with a strike? I fully agree that there are very frustrating conditions, but see nothing in a strike and the CTU documents that will resolve these things. It may make teachers feel better. It may cause much ill will with parents and students. Nos sure. Great question. Anyone………Beuler?

  • 575. Katy  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:08 am

    So you object to CTU saying it’s all about the kids. You don’t object to their right to strike, just to the terminology used? I am hearing correctly Patricia?

  • 576. Katy  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:10 am

    “it may make teachers feel better”. I guess that is why they pay their dues……. CTU is doing their job

  • 577. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Katy, yes you are correct. Of course the CTU has a right to strike and I understand that. I think they have riled up the rank and file on a plethora of issues, most of which a strike will not resolve. That makes me question what a strike will accomplish and the poor teachers who really think it will get what they want when—it will not. Look at this thread and others. Teachers want a whole host of things and think a strike will accomplish their personal gripe. That will really suck for the teachers after the strike. As much as it will suck for the students to be locked out of learning and sports and AP, etc.

    Note, I did not say or imply “babysitting” 😉

  • 578. Katy  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:18 am

    As a parent I have no ill will towards teachers striking. Am I annoyed that I have to figure out daycare? Yes. However, as a worker myself I understand the realities of wanting your employer to pay you what you think you “deserve”. I can think critically about both events and separate my annoyance from their right to want high pay and accept the policies in place that allows them to strike. It is not about my kid, or about my sister’s kid, that is a very self centered way of viewing the strike. As long as I remember what I preach to my son- it’s not about you and the world doesn’t stop for your wants. I will be ok. I want my kid in school and teachers want cash. It looks like my want will take a back seat for a bit.

  • 579. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Todd, I think you are well spoken/blogged, but it is so long, I will have to digest tomorrow night. I too write long posts sometimes and think they end up not being read.

    Your points are well taken. What then is the solution to get rid of the bad teachers and the ones who are mediocre or just phone it in under tenure protection? That is the main reason I want merit pay. If not merit pay, then how can this happen? I am completely open.

    Also, are teachers who are exceptional really OK with mediocre teachers around them? The ones I know are not fine with that and would welcome merit pay. So my comments are not based on assuming what your colleagues would want, it is based on talking to your colleagues when the CTU rep is not around. Of course, not all, but many of the good ones seem to be confident.

    Here is the difference, the teachers do not want merit pay because they do not trust CPS implementation. I can completely see this point of view. No argument there from me. However, the CTU is resisting merit pay in order to preserve membership and treat the best teacher the same as the worst. As a parent and taxpayer, the latter is what I have an issue with. I understand that is what “unions do”, but that does not mean I have to like it and it does damage the education system.

  • 580. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:41 am

    Here is my final thought for the night—-good night 🙂

    Lets have Todd and Junior meet for a beer and hammer this all out. Then they can post the “agreement”. CTU and CPS can learn from the post and we will avoid a strike…………….

  • 581. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:59 am

    @ Patricia 579

    First, mediocre teachers are not going away no matter what policies are instituted. As much as Arne Duncan would like it, not every teacher will be at the top of the profession. It just isn’t possible. The bad teachers or the ones that just phone it in? They should be dealt with the way they are dealt with now – by capable, fair administrators under a fair and just policy for terminating tenured teachers. Merit pay, no matter how it is instituted, will not get rid of poor teachers.

    I’m an exceptional teacher and I am content to work alongside mediocre colleagues. Not every teacher will be exceptional. Also, I know many mediocre teachers who make up for their average classroom performance through incredible relationships with children, building confidence in even the most insecure students, instilling a love and joy of learning despite unimpressive test score gains. We all have different strengths.

    I don’t want merit pay under any circumstances because I am content with the current state of our pay structure and the tradeoffs it entails.

    Many studies have shown that merit pay does nothing to improve student outcomes, improve the profession, or attract and retain top teachers. I still don’t understand how a traditional pay structure damages the profession, Patricia. Can you elaborate?

  • 582. Todd Pytel  |  August 30, 2012 at 2:22 am

    Patricia – Brevity is not my strong suit. 🙂 But seriously… soundbites don’t serve dialogue and progress. Isn’t that what we all complain about in our current politics? I hope you’ll return tomorrow.

    As for getting rid of teachers that are irreparably ineffective, I absolutely encourage that. But that’s an *evaluation* question (and a complex one), distinct from the issue of pay and motivation. Those systems operate in very different ways and shouldn’t be confused. I have no problem with a tough, but meaningful, evaluation system that can result in termination. But I absolutely oppose merit pay, at least in any form that I’ve seen it implemented so far. They’re completely different issues.

    The question about comparison is an interesting one. Perhaps I’ll return to it tomorrow. But I have to be at school in less than 6 hours and still have to submit my summary of my colleagues’ discussion of text usage in the math classroom to my principal before I go to bed.

    Ah, the easy life…

  • 583. Teacher4321  |  August 30, 2012 at 5:20 am

    @541 Frank, you simply misread my posts. YES, there are bottom feeders in the displaced pool. You choose to ignore the fact that every single time I post this, I clarify by saying, “I am sure there are good teachers in the displaced pool, but the good ones will be fine without this protection.”

    Perhaps you missed my post about them wanting to close 100 schools above?

  • 584. Teacher4321  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:17 am

    In response to Patricia’s posts briefly as if I don’t finish my coffee and shower soon I will feel “late” for work.

    “NBCT Vet great question. What will be accomplished with a strike? I fully agree that there are very frustrating conditions, but see nothing in a strike and the CTU documents that will resolve these things. It may make teachers feel better. It may cause much ill will with parents and students. Nos sure. Great question. Anyone………Beuler?”

    Once again due to the law the CTU can only strike over certain conditions. The board wants to abolish most of our contract which was one over years of bargaining. The board has a right to say, oh well we see you want a 39% raise (made up number), we can’t do that right now, but maybe we could hire assistants in Kindergarten or hire aides for recess. You know what I don’t even think it matters what I say any more on this issue. It won’t change your feelings. I’ll discuss the other issues below.

    “Katy, yes you are correct. Of course the CTU has a right to strike and I understand that. I think they have riled up the rank and file on a plethora of issues, most of which a strike will not resolve. That makes me question what a strike will accomplish and the poor teachers who really think it will get what they want when—it will not. Look at this thread and others. Teachers want a whole host of things and think a strike will accomplish their personal gripe. That will really suck for the teachers after the strike. As much as it will suck for the students to be locked out of learning and sports and AP, etc.
    Note, I did not say or imply “babysitting” ”

    I think you are wrong here. At many schools the rank and file has fired themselves up and is showing the union what we want. The union took the strike vote AFTER several schools began doing informal polling themselves and bringing that information back to the union. We know we are not going to get EVERYTHING we want. That doesn’t me we need to sit down, let the board roll over us because we might not win some things we want.

    “Your points are well taken. What then is the solution to get rid of the bad teachers and the ones who are mediocre or just phone it in under tenure protection? That is the main reason I want merit pay. If not merit pay, then how can this happen? I am completely open.”

    The new evaluation system REACH is being implemented this year without being tied to pay. The evaluation is in fact going to be used for three years before the merit pay will be implemented. This is the system used to hire/fire, not the merit pay. So the two are not synonymous.

    “Also, are teachers who are exceptional really OK with mediocre teachers around them? The ones I know are not fine with that and would welcome merit pay. So my comments are not based on assuming what your colleagues would want, it is based on talking to your colleagues when the CTU rep is not around. Of course, not all, but many of the good ones seem to be confident.”

    How many teachers have you spoken to to base your results on that are current CTU members- out of curiosity?

    “Here is the difference, the teachers do not want merit pay because they do not trust CPS implementation. I can completely see this point of view. No argument there from me. However, the CTU is resisting merit pay in order to preserve membership and treat the best teacher the same as the worst. As a parent and taxpayer, the latter is what I have an issue with. I understand that is what “unions do”, but that does not mean I have to like it and it does damage the education system.”

    Yes we have a large mistrust with our employer and the systems being implemented such as so many high stakes tests.

    As I mentioned yesterday the performance tasks for preschool have so many errors on them (the board already printed them) and now we have to reprint them ourselves. This is not an isolated incident. For years we have had trouble with the test for our children going to Kindergarten with the board making their own tests filled with mistakes. Usually in the Spanish versions. Are you okay with you tax money being spent to produce tests (that are not standardized and in some cases appaently not proofread) with mistakes that must be given to the children and then how they do on this flawed test will impact your rating in the system (but as of now- not your pay).

    Once again as of now we have an evaluation system. It is new. It is not the old one you have heard about. It is separate from pay.

    The CTU has asked for a 2 year contract- because the board has not told anyone what the merit pay system will look like. They want us to sign the contact based on the fact that it will be implemented in year four, but we do not even know what “it” will look like. So I see a few solutions. Give us a 2 or 3 year contract and begin to have open discussions about merit pay and start talking about it now. Or let the new evaluation system have time to be tweaked before it is discussed about being tied to merit pay.

    As for our last contract and the raises we received etc. We never wanted a 5 year contract. The city wanted it because they wanted labor peace if we got the Olympics. Neither seemed to work out according to plan.

  • 585. CarolA  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:44 am

    You say the good teachers will be fine. Let me explain why they will not. A principal interviews 3 teacher candidates for a position at his/her school. 2 are new and will be low on the salary scale. 1 is a veteran teacher who will be high on the salary scale. The 2 newbies will have a grace period of 4 years in which the principal can determine at any time they are not a good fit for the school and they will be released. The veteran teacher is a permanent addition right from the start. At the interviews, all candidates look fantastic. Are you telling me that the principal will hire the veteran who appears to be great, but he can’t get rid of if he/she is not? Plus she will cost a fortune. Or does he choose the newbie who he can observe for up to 4 years and doesn’t cost that much. You can’t convince me that he will pick the veteran. That’s why we need this protection. And, as far as the bad teachers in the pool……..they aren’t good enough to fluff their way through an interview. There is also a window of opportunity for the principal to let them go.

  • 586. Katy  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Teacher4321 you are the same person as Patricia? You get confused and reference Patricia’s comments as yours. Why not just post under one name ALL your thoughts instead of pretending that two different people are saying/agreeing to the same thing. Hmmmmmm

  • 587. Katy  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Or are you just missing quotation marks? No offense meant- just trying to figure out the point and comments. After re-reading the comments, Maybe it is the quote marks that are missing??

  • 588. Katy  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:53 am

    537 and 543, one by Teacher4321 and one by “Patricia” are by the same person! Right??

  • 589. Teacher4321  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:58 am

    I am for sure NOT Patricia.

    I am also CPS teacher4321 as I somehow accidently have two different usernames between my devices.

    I was simply replying to Patricia. I’m sorry if missed a quote mark, the iPad and iPhone are not as user friendly as the computer and I was typing while shoving breakfast down my throat, making breakfast and trying to figure out what to wear on a day my building is sure to be over 98 degrees inside since we have no air conditioning. I will try to fix it now and see if CPSO can delete the other post, but I am on the train on my phone and I don’t know if I can make it any better.

  • 590. Katy  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Oh well Frank. No one dared to answer your questions. It is easier to sit and pontificate…..maybe someone on this early morning will. Care to give it a shot CPSOBSESSED?

    Frank’s questions:
    Do you think all or most teachers are bad? And if so what is your solution? Fire them?

    If so who do you think is up for the job and willing to take it on?

    Do you think the new college grads are ready and can take over the current teachers’ place with SUCCESS? And, do they even want the job?

    Teacher turnover is at a national high. If the job is so lucrative , easy, and attractive then What do you attribute this to?
    Whydo you think colleges of education across the country is reporting an all time low in students enrolling in the education profession?

    If teaching is so attractive, what do you attribute this to?

    So you are the mayor and you fire the 70 percent of teachers who you think are lazy, crappy, floating by….etc. who teaches your kid tomorrow? What is your cure?

  • 591. CarolA  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:11 am

    It’s interesting that when this post is faced with some very good questions, they continue to go unanswered. Several days ago I posted a question that never got answered either. Repeat: What other professions do you know of that need to put hundreds of dollars of their own money into it in order to be successful? I am speaking of jobs in which that money can not be recouped in any way. Not jobs like accountants that can tack extra $$ onto fees.

  • 592. AnonMom  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Pardon my ignorance, did the CTU file the 10 day notice? I saw several places implying that the news media got ahead of themselves and that the CTU didn’t actually file.

  • 593. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:12 am

    From the many parents I’ve spoken w/they aren’t too upset abt a strike. Many are more upset abt the interim contract~track e schools have gained large classes, split classes, an ill-planned 7hr day. Many schools are understaffed and the start/end being the same time for teachers and students is chaotic.

    CPS won’t being up what is ‘good for students’ in negotiations and CTU can not broach the subject first. If CPS cared abt the kids, they’d bring up class size (not try and take it out of contract), nurses, ancillary subjects, raises, funding traditional schools and stop spending $$ on high stake testing and charters, etc.

  • 594. Teacher4321  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:13 am

    I think Patricia will also agree she is not me. (It might be the first thing we have ever agreed on) :). You seem to be a fairly new poster so I don’t fault you for not knowing the players here- both Patricia and I have been regular posters all summer and I assure you the regular posters and Patricia will not be confused by who is who
    above. The numbers on the posts do not show up on the iPhone so I cannot see tell which posts you are referring to.

    Teacher4321 on August 30, 2012 at 6:17 am
    In response to Patricia’s posts briefly as if I don’t finish my coffee and shower soon I will feel “late” for work.

    Patricia said,
    “NBCT Vet great question. What will be accomplished with a strike? I fully agree that there are very frustrating conditions, but see nothing in a strike and the CTU documents that will resolve these things. It may make teachers feel better. It may cause much ill will with parents and students. Nos sure. Great question. Anyone………Beuler?”

    CPSTeacher4321/Teacher 4321 said,
    “Once again due to the law the CTU can only strike over certain conditions. The board wants to abolish most of our contract which was one over years of bargaining. The board has a right to say, oh well we see you want a 39% raise (made up number), we can’t do that right now, but maybe we could hire assistants in Kindergarten or hire aides for recess. You know what I don’t even think it matters what I say any more on this issue. It won’t change your feelings. I’ll discuss the other issues below.”

    Patricia said,
    “Katy, yes you are correct. Of course the CTU has a right to strike and I understand that. I think they have riled up the rank and file on a plethora of issues, most of which a strike will not resolve. That makes me question what a strike will accomplish and the poor teachers who really think it will get what they want when—it will not. Look at this thread and others. Teachers want a whole host of things and think a strike will accomplish their personal gripe. That will really suck for the teachers after the strike. As much as it will suck for the students to be locked out of learning and sports and AP, etc.
    Note, I did not say or imply “babysitting” ”

    Teacher4321 said,
    I think you are wrong here. At many schools the rank and file has fired themselves up and is showing the union what we want. The union took the strike vote AFTER several schools began doing informal polling themselves and bringing that information back to the union. We know we are not going to get EVERYTHING we want. That doesn’t me we need to sit down, let the board roll over us because we might not win some things we want.

    Patricia said,
    “Your points are well taken. What then is the solution to get rid of the bad teachers and the ones who are mediocre or just phone it in under tenure protection? That is the main reason I want merit pay. If not merit pay, then how can this happen? I am completely open.”

    Teacher4321 said,
    The new evaluation system REACH is being implemented this year without being tied to pay. The evaluation is in fact going to be used for three years before the merit pay will be implemented. This is the system used to hire/fire, not the merit pay. So the two are not synonymous.

    Patricia said,
    “Also, are teachers who are exceptional really OK with mediocre teachers around them? The ones I know are not fine with that and would welcome merit pay. So my comments are not based on assuming what your colleagues would want, it is based on talking to your colleagues when the CTU rep is not around. Of course, not all, but many of the good ones seem to be confident.”

    Teaher 4321 said,
    How many teachers have you spoken to to base your results on that are current CTU members- out of curiosity?

    Patricia said,
    “Here is the difference, the teachers do not want merit pay because they do not trust CPS implementation. I can completely see this point of view. No argument there from me. However, the CTU is resisting merit pay in order to preserve membership and treat the best teacher the same as the worst. As a parent and taxpayer, the latter is what I have an issue with. I understand that is what “unions do”, but that does not mean I have to like it and it does damage the education system.”

    Teacher4321 said,
    Yes we have a large mistrust with our employer and the systems being implemented such as so many high stakes tests.

    Teacher 4321 said,
    As I mentioned yesterday the performance tasks for preschool have so many errors on them (the board already printed them) and now we have to reprint them ourselves. This is not an isolated incident. For years we have had trouble with the test for our children going to Kindergarten with the board making their own tests filled with mistakes. Usually in the Spanish versions. Are you okay with you tax money being spent to produce tests (that are not standardized and in some cases appaently not proofread) with mistakes that must be given to the children and then how they do on this flawed test will impact your rating in the system (but as of now- not your pay).

    Teacher4321 said,
    Once again as of now we have an evaluation system. It is new. It is not the old one you have heard about. It is separate from pay.

    Teacher4321 said,
    The CTU has asked for a 2 year contract- because the board has not told anyone what the merit pay system will look like. They want us to sign the contact based on the fact that it will be implemented in year four, but we do not even know what “it” will look like. So I see a few solutions. Give us a 2 or 3 year contract and begin to have open discussions about merit pay and start talking about it now. Or let the new evaluation system have time to be tweaked before it is discussed about being tied to merit pay.

    Teacher4321 said,
    As for our last contract and the raises we received etc. We never wanted a 5 year contract. The city wanted it because they wanted labor peace if we got the Olympics. Neither seemed to work out according to plan.

    Now Teacher4321 is saying,
    I hope that is fixed now, I can only see three sentences at a time. I am two stops away from work so until later.

  • 595. Paul  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:13 am

    I’ll try and answer Frank’s questions. No, I don’t think most teachers are bad, but some are, like in most other occupations. Teachers should be evaluated on their performance, like those in most other occupations. Teachers with low performance who don’t improve after being given a chance should be fired. I think there are a lot of people applying to be a teacher. These new applicants are probably the ones who are up for the job and willing to take it on. Yes, new college graduates are typically the ones that are hired and become successful teachers. I think that’s how most teachers were hired originally. Although, some may become teachers after having other careers. I believe that those who apply have indicated that they want the job by submitting their application. I don’t know about the turnover rate. I’d have to do some research to learn more about why. I don’t know about the rate of enrollment in colleges of education. Again, I’d have to do some research on that to find out about it. I think teaching is attractive to some people because they love teaching kids. Some do it because they are particularly good at it. Some do it because it pays relatively well for the hours required. Some do it because they like their summers off and the holidays and breaks that you don’t get in other professions. If I’m the mayor and I fire 70 percent of teachers, I’d implement the plan I spent a long time developing before did all the firing.

  • 596. Katy  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:17 am

    No teacher4231, I am not “new” to CPSO blog. I love the early morning snark. As I stated the missing quote marks confused this vet reader. Maybe you should pay closer attention to that.

  • 597. Katy  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:19 am

    That is the problem Paul, there seems to be no “plan”other than blame.

  • 598. Paul  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:22 am

    I’ll try and answer CarolA’s question too. I think there are a lot of professions that need to put hundreds of dollars of their own money into it in order to be successful. Entrepreneurs, in particular, generally invest a lot of their own money in order to start businesses and be successful. Most other professions require some level of education, and most people generally invest a lot of their own money or take loans in order to get the degree they need to get a job. Many other professionals spend hundreds of their own dollars on home computers, laptops, smartphones, office supplies to use at home, or other items that they use for work in order to be successful.

  • 599. Jess Mom  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:24 am

    I read 537 and 543, one by Teacher4321 and one by Patricia, it DOES appear as if written by the same person. Maybe Teacher4231 shouldn read over what is written before posting.

    FYI, I am new to the site. Does that matter or make my opinion invalid?

  • 600. cpsobsessed  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Oh Paul – is that a fair comparison of a teacher in a public school vs an entrepreneur? What is the upside for the entrepreneur? Big financial success, being their own boss, etc. Teachers do it with no personal gain in mind, rather it more as a donation to the school system. Saving taxpayers money. I can’t think of any other job that requires and employee to buy their own stuff.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 601. cpsobsessed  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:02 am

    I’ll be cranking all day on a report that’s due today so I won’t be reading all the post. So please try to be civil and comment on ideas and not people. I was up til 2am working so I’m grumpy today. FWIW, my raise this year was 2 percent and the year before 1 percent. 🙂

    Katy, I did think about your questions last night but they take some time to answer so I couldn’t respond. I will say that given my niece’s challenge in looking for her first teaching job for 3 months (each spot has 100plus candidates) plus reports from a friends who’s son is looking in wisconsin, logicstically speaking it doesn’t look as if filling teacher slots would be a challenge. From a pure numbers-of-degreed-people standpoint. So in answering your question, that part of the argument did not ring true to me.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 602. RoscoeVillageDad  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:13 am

    @600 – no one forces people to go into teaching. if you don’t like the set-up, become an entrepreneur – see how “easy” it is to gain “big financial success.” “Teachers do it with no personal gain in mind”? A 20% pay raise across the board must be for the kids. I know they’re being asked to work longer days. You know what? In the private sector, most people are being asked to do more with less, and/or working harder and longer in order to avoid being among the unlucky who get laid off. The compensation for all that extra work. Count yourself lucky if you see a 3% raise. Most people have been flat for a number of years. And their are plenty of other jobs that require employees to buy their own stuff. In order to get into my industry, I took $120k in business school debt. I’m going to be making payments on that forever.

    As I said way up at 450, there are plenty of teachers who do way more than what is stipulated in their contract. But that’s because these are hard-working, driven teachers, who do love the kids and revel in the kids’ academic, social, and emotional growth. And you know what? They are waaaay underpaid. Unfortunately, their pay is determined by a contract that was negotiated with the average teacher in mind. If I had no personal pride, and I knew that no matter how little I worked I was going to keep my job and, not only that, make as much money as my harder-working colleagues, I would have very little incentive to improve my performance.

  • 603. Paul  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:20 am

    @600 cpsobsessed. I was just trying to answer the question. Maybe I’m missing something. I didn’t know that teachers were required to spend their own money on supplies. It’s kind of like the school fee where it looks like parents are required to pay it, but it’s really voluntary. There are lots of other professions where people put their own money into them in order to be successful. Most entrepreneurs lose their shirt, and many of the ones that are successful end up making less than a teacher.

  • 604. CarolA  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:22 am

    No one forces anyone to go into teaching. That’s correct. But no one expects to put hundreds/thousands of dollars of their own money into the classroom. A newbie on board this year asked me where to find the bulletin board paper and was shocked to find out she had to go buy it herself. Even if we know $$$ is needed in the beginning, I certainly didn’t think I’d still be spending that much 24 years later. Could I quit? Yes, but why should I quit something I love? Why wouldn’t I want to fight for CPS to give me the things I need to be successful before they choose to rate me on my performance that requires all these things? Am I wrong to think CPS should give us the proper teaching tools? As far as people with home businesses buying their own things…..many (not all) get to write them off on taxes at least.

  • 605. RoscoeVillageDad  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:30 am

    You answered your own question. Why should I quit something I love? So if you love it so much, you should be willing to do it for less money. So just because you love something, you should get paid what you think is a fair wage for it? I don’t even know where to begin with that one.

  • 606. Navigator  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:32 am

    The Chicago Tribune has a David Haugh column in the sports section. It talks about how the strike could hurt athletes and scholarships. I couldn’t post a link, the title is – “When ‘every game matters’ – Potential CPS strike weighing heavily on athletes with dreams”

  • 607. cpsobsessed  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Roscoe Village Dad, you think teachers are buying paper and sharpies in hopes of getting a rasie?? I thought it was because they need it to run the classroom and cps won’t cover that stuff.
    I think education costs are across the board – all professions require that.
    I’ve never worked at a place where routines, each year I need to buy the basics for everyday functioning and I still can’t imagine fields that do. Social work, perhaps? What fields are you thinking of. I’m just curious. (Among jobs where someone has an employer and they don’t stand to profit financially by funding the business.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 608. cpsobsessed  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Very true that most/many entrepreneurs do not suceed. I am one of them. Just finished paying off 20k in debt from a biz I started 15 years ago. But the promise and opportunity are there, or nobody would do it. Teachers do not have that promise.

    I do agree though – what would happen if teachers refused to purchase stuff? It certainly is not “required” but I imagine makes for a better classroom experience.

    Anyhow, small point in all this. I think the bigger issue is that teachers feel they are getting the shaft in many ways, that being one of them.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 609. CPS Parent  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

    CarolA – Regarding: What other professions do you know of that need to put hundreds of dollars of their own money into it in order to be successful?

    When teachers do this do you think they are actually solving the funding problem or aiding and abetting the taxpayers and their legislators who improperly fund (not necessarily under-fund) CPS and so many other schools in this country?

    I would suggest that all teachers in the entire country in all public schools should be prohibited from bringing any didactic materials into classrooms at their own expense.

  • 610. CPS Parent  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:17 am

    CPSobsessed – it’s not only material goods. My spouse, who is a psychologist, always has at least one patient who she sees for free because of our crazy health insurance system. People who can’t afford their Cobra’s, who have run out of the yearly number of “allowed” session, etc. Is my spouse aiding and abetting the perpetuation of a flawed system? I think so but its hard to turn away.

  • 611. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Illinois credit rating downgraded by S&P today.

    http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/SP-Lowers-Illinois-Credit-Rating-Over-Pensions-167870335.html

  • 612. Chris  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:11 am

    ” I know very few teachers that want a merit pay system of any sort.”

    The *current* system includes “merit pay” in the form of step and lane increases. The NewSpeak about “merit pay = always bad” damages our ability to discuss the actual contours of merit pay.

    CPS’s proposal has been to take away a well-established, and easily understood (but of questionable relation to “quality”) merit pay system and replace it with anotehr system that they won’t talk about. The CTU’s response is not, in anyway, structured to elicit more clarity from CPS on their proposed replacement system–quite the opposite, really, as CTU’s approach allows CPS to complete avoid adding details.

  • 613. Chris  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:18 am

    SSI: re the 7 v 6.5 day

    So, with, what 3? fewer?, schools that had an actual 7 hour (not more, exactly 7) day for–how long exactly–versus a couple dozen (demographically dissimilar) schools that had 6.5 days for *years*, you think you can reach a valid conclusion?

    If you do honestly believe that you can reach a valid conclusion on the comparison of 7 v 6.5 day, in CPS, based on the data avaiable as of now, or anytime in the past decade, I think you are either BSing or something worse.

    Here’s a comparable BS conclusion: CPS Elem schools that teach Mandarin have better results than CPS Elem schools that teach Japanese, so we should not teach Japanese, bc the results are better with Mandarin. Wait–there are *NO* CPS Elems that teach Japanese–how can we conclude that Japanese will NOT lead to better results? Answer: We can NOT, if we want the comparison to be valid.

  • 614. CA  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:01 am

    @109
    All of the PTA, PTO and “friends of” organizations would need to stop raising money for the schools as well

  • 615. karet  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:01 am

    This quote from Karen Lewis may sum up what the strike is (at least partly) about: “[CTU members] feel totally disrespected by how (the longer day) has been rolled out.” (Tribune, Aug. 23)
    I spoke with a teacher a few weeks ago at a birthday party (who I’d never met before) who also used the word “respect” several times when talking about her reasons for supporting a strike.
    Unfortunately, I doubt it’s the kind of thing that can be fixed.
    It seems as if CTU members feel that they weren’t treated with respect, so they want to punish Brizard and the mayor.

  • 616. CA  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:01 am

    sorry — @609

  • 617. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:01 am

    @ RVD

    Fortunately, high percentages of teachers have personal and professional pride, remain cognizant of the fact that if they don’t get the job done they may be terminated without much difficulty by a competent administrator, and work hard because they believe it is important to working hard.

    I work many more hours than most teachers in my building. Do I begrudge their comparative lack of effort or equitable pay scale? Not at all. First, I don’t know how much work they engage in while they are away from the building. Second, I am single with no family obligations and invest perhaps more heavily in my work than I should.

    I have tremendous incentive to improve my performance. It’s just that my motivations are intrinsic rather than extrinsic. That does not mean money is unimportant to me. It’s just not much of a motivator, if it is at all, to improve my performance. Extrinsic incentives that are far more important to me include things like recognition, opportunities for leadership, thanks and appreciation, acknowledgement of my good work, professional autonomy, necessary and basic supplies that are so often lacking, opportunities for meaningful development, mentoring and guidance, and being given a voice in my work place.

  • 618. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:06 am

    @ karet

    If you believe a potential strike is motivated by a desire to punish CEO Brizard and Mayor Emanuel then I’m doubtful there is anything anyone can possibly say to disabuse you of that notion. I’ll just finish by saying that I find that characterization, in itself, disrespectful.

    I think it is generally unwise to ascribe motivations to others. I think it is important to let others show or share their own motives through words and action and, if there are any questions or doubts, to seek clarity by asking thoughtful questions.

  • 619. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I want to provide a little historical context about some of the types of issues addressed in the contract. The most recent contract is 271 pages long and, while parts of it are out of date and no longer applicable (truant officers, anyone?), a careful reading provides some insight into current issues.

    For instance, Article 5-6 states that library classes should not have more students in the room than there are chairs where students may sit. Why is this in the contract? The Board of Education declined to provide enough chairs for students in libraries or allowed those classes to rise to levels beyond the capacity of the physical space.

    9-8.1 requires the Board to provide a chair, desk, telephone, and computer access to Computer Technicians. (Counselors are also designated to have access to a chair, desk, and telephone.) Why is this in the contract? The Board declined to provide a chair, desk, telephone, and computer access to, yes, *Computer* Technicians.

    24-5 states that textbooks shall be available no later than the third day of school or “as soon thereafter as possible”. Why? The Board declined to provide textbooks to teachers and students in a timely fashion. It is simply not reasonable to wait 3 or 4 or 5 weeks for books to become available. Personally, I want my books available to me at least 2 weeks before the first day so I can plan and label and such. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any chance of that happening.

    One of my requests for the current contract is that CPS provide access to a functional computer with access to the internet to every teacher. Why? The Board has declined to do so for its employees. Note, I do not want my own computer with internet, just access to a computer with internet.

    The Agreement is chock full of these types of things. They may seem like minutiae to some, but they have a significant impact on my ability to do my job and to do it well. I also consider CPS failure to provide these basic necessities a much greater sign of disrespect than anything that ever gets published in the meeting, including Rahm’s famous “kids got the shaft” commentary.

  • 620. Angie  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:32 am

    @522. Frank: I have a family and children to take care of. Posting on this blog is neither my job nor a union assignment, so I do it when I can.

    Yes, I think there is plenty of bad teachers in CPS schools, and that they need to step up or be fired in a timely manner. Also, there must be many people willing to take the job, or the union wouldn’t try so hard to eliminate them from the competition, and force the principals to hire from the laid off pool. If there was a true shortage of applicants, all those “satisfactory” displaced teachers would have been hired back a long time ago.

    I think that part of the reason for low enrollment in education is that the women have figured out that these days they no longer have to choose the traditionally female profession unless it is something they really want to do. So maybe they go to medical or engineering schools instead, and leave the education to people who are genuinely interested in teaching. It was also said that people who cannot get in anywhere else end up in teacher colleges. For the sake of our children, I hope that this is not true.

    As for the high turnover among the teachers, well, maybe the good ones are getting tired of cleaning up after the union-protected slackers. Take someone who teaches 5th or 6th grade. She is getting the students that already have been in school for several years. If one or more of their previous teachers have been phoning it in, this teacher has to work that much harder to fill in the blanks. Yet it has no effect on her salary, and in fact she may actually be paid less than aforementioned slackers if they have a few years of seniority on her.

    And last, but not least, where did you get the idea that the starting salary for the teachers is $30,000? According to the online sources, effective July 1, 2011, the starting salary for a Chicago Public Schools teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $50,577, and for a teacher with a master’s degree, the figure is $54,080. That’s quite a bit of difference, don’t you think?

  • 621. HS Mom  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:37 am

    @547 skinner mom – you do a disservice to teachers by comparing them to auto workers

    @558 we care about teachers pay because we can’t afford your system and want to see good teachers rewarded. Like Patricia, I too am sad to see that good teachers like you want to strike. I think that your list in 566 can be accomplished in other ways. At this point I fully expect to get the “I don’t trust CPS to do anything” comments but as a parent in the middle of CTU/CPS, I have to trust that they would do something. I had the feeling that teachers were in the middle with us parents too and I try to express that to my son when his education gets interrupted by strike but I was painfully reminded by a friend (and frequently on this site) that there was a 90% confidential vote that says otherwise.

    Clarification to Anonymouse Teacher – “ALMOST the same” as 911 was in reference to a post about the loss of momentum for a kindergartener. Not referring to a loss of life. It was an interesting memory jog to an event that happened 1 week into our kindergarten year.

  • 622. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:44 am

    #613~Chris~With the numbers I saw earlier this yr~YES, I can make that (and many others did as well) conclusion. Your comparison may have been BS and invalid but the CPS 6.5 v 7hr day comparison was not.

  • 623. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:55 am

    In surveys of college freshmen, interest in teaching as a career is at a low level. After dropping in the early 1970s, it rose in the 1990s, and peaked in 2000 at 6.3%. By 2006 it was down to 4.8%, what it was in 1989. In the most recent survey (2011), it was 3.1%.

    See the reports by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA:

    http://www.heri.ucla.edu/PDFs/pubs/TFS/Trends/Monographs/TheAmericanFreshman40YearTrends.pdf

    http://www.heri.ucla.edu/PDFs/pubs/TFS/Norms/Monographs/TheAmericanFreshman2011.pdf

  • 624. SutherlandParent  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    @604 CarolA–I’m not being snarky. I’m really curious about your thoughts and the thoughts of other teachers on this. You write “But no one expects to put hundreds/thousands of dollars of their own money into the classroom. A newbie on board this year asked me where to find the bulletin board paper and was shocked to find out she had to go buy it herself.”

    My first thought (OK, it was snarky 🙂 ) was, “duh–I knew that!”

    Seriously, though, why aren’t colleges preparing education majors for the realities of teaching? I know there’s a great deal of turn over among young teachers, but perhaps those were people who were not suited for the job to begin with. The bar for entry into teaching is extremely low. Should that change?

  • 625. SutherlandParent  |  August 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    OK, “extremely low” per my post above was a poor choice of words. But the barriers are not high compared to many other fields.

  • 626. anniesullivan  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Colleges do “prepare their students for the realities of teaching” but no college can prepare a student for the realities of teaching in CPS.
    Suburban teachers do not spend monies on basics such as toilet paper, cleaning supplies(lunch in the classroom can be unsanitary because CPS refuses to supply cleaning materials) and Xerox paper etc. I have friends in private industry who are appalled at what we spend yearly on basic necessities.

    I was forced to buy a laptop ion order to complete the e-IEPS. Every member of the staffing team EXCEPT THE TEACHER was issued a CPS laptop because they bill Medicare. Talk about a lack of respect…the person other than the parent, who knows the child best,the teacher, is forced to ask other members of the staffing team to use their laptop to add information gleaned at the meeting. I even had parents ask me why I was the only one without a laptop. Ridiculous!

    No one expects firemen to bring their own hoses, policemen to buy riot gear, nurses to bring in syringes but teachers in CPS are expected to because ?

    CPS is again short of 310 special education teachers-this shortage has been going on for twenty years….CPS pays signing bonuses and moving expenses for administrators but is notorious for putting unprepared subs in front of classrooms of students with disabilities on the South and West sides of Chicago–where does the savings go-$120.00 a day sub versus a full time teacher?

    We do have some(not as many as some of the posters think) ineffective teachers who are retained due to lazy administrators. There is a process to fire poor teachers but it takes a competent administrator. We seem to be short of competent administrators these days. Where is the process to fire poor administrators? Out of control schools where the children and the staff cower in fear for their lives are a direct result of a poor administrators. I subbed right out of college in two project schools two blocks apart-one was orderly and learning was going on and the other was a nightmare-same neighborhood, diverse teaching staff in both but one had an inept principal and one had a competent administrator -makes a huge difference but I rarely hear CPS address the issue of incompetent administrators.

  • 627. Nope44  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    626 – why don’t you buy yourself a laptop? Most people do.

    At my neighborhood school, the PTA paid for the teachers’ laptops, which seemed ridiculous…buy your own.

  • 628. Paul  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    My guess is that some of the schools with the incompetent administrators, bad teachers, and inefficient use of discretionary resources may be targeted for turnaround/closure for performance. If these issues are as widespread as the above comments suggest, that may be why there’s a rumored 100 schools targeted.

    Some think the answer to solving these problems is a teacher strike to demand higher wages, benefits, and working conditions (i.e. CTU). Others may think the answer is dramatic turnaround efforts (i.e. CPS).

  • 630. Nope78  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    628 — I’ll gladly take the dramatic turnaround efforts.

  • 631. SutherlandParent  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    @626, I don’t want to get into an unproductive back and forth, but what’s your information source that only CPS teachers spend money on basics? I live on the Far South Side, where the suburbs are places like Robbins and Ford Heights, not Glenview. I can’t think those schools are rollling in money, either. I’m not saying that makes it right, of course, but I don’t think every other school district is nirvana compared to CPS.

    And more directly to my point, if college is preparing students to teach, why is there such a high turnover rate among young teachers?

  • 632. SutherlandParent  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    @Paul, thanks for your point. Everyone complains about large class sizes, but everyone howls when CPS tries to close schools, whether it’s performance-based or due to low enrollment. It feels very odd to defend the Board of Ed, but what are they supposed to do?

  • 633. mom2  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I heard Karen Lewis on the radio today. She is not helping the PR campaign for CTU. She talked about “a better day” but when asked for specifics, she seemed sarcastic and laughed about CPS wanting to set up baby sitting services. Hardly thinking about poor families that have to work and what to do with their children that teachers claim to care about so much. She was certainly trying to tie respect and money together and other than the general comment that kids need wrap around services (which I totally agree with), the focus was more on blasting CPS and wanting more money for teachers.

    NBCT, your list of the more detailed items in the contract are great examples of what the CTU is really doing to help the kids (books early enough for the teacher to plan a curriculum, enough chairs for everyone in a room, etc.) If CPS promised in a contract to have those sorts of things and a much better amount of the wrap around services Karen Lewis mentioned, promised more money for supplies and a limit on student to teacher ratio, but did not promise a raise and you had to still pay a bit more for healthcare (like the rest of us), would Karen Lewis still strike?

  • 634. cps alum  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    @626– the sub issue is huge. It is one of my biggest fears about sending my kids to CPS. I’ve heard about many situations (even at the desirable magnet and SE schools) where CPS will send in a string of day to day subs (not qualified in the subject area) come in for weeks or even months on end when a teacher is out unexpectedly (i.e. medical leave/maternity leave/short term disability). It is cheaper for CPS to send in a different sub every week than go out and find a certified math teacher to teach the class for 3 months. Think about all the learning loss there!

  • 635. karet  |  August 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    @618: I really wasn’t trying to disrespect teachers. I think it’s an understandable response. Respect in the workplace is very important.
    If there is a strike, I will support the teachers at my son’s school.

  • 636. anniesullivan  |  August 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    http://www.teachersalaryinfo.com/illinois/teacher-salary-in-ford-heights-school-district-169/

    # 626 Please take a look at the salaries and the class size-buying Kleenex or cleaning materials for a class of 10-15 is a whole lot cheaper than buying for 35…..and I will bet they are supplied with the basics even in though they are the poorest district in the state

    I student taught in Robbins and the basics were supplied as were clean, safe facilities plus the administrators appeared competent to me…granted I was still in school but everyone seemed very supportive and the school was orderly…

  • 637. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    @ mom2

    First, Karen Lewis does not go on strike or order anyone on strike. The membership has given *her* orders for a strike. It’s not about Karen Lewis and a cult of personality, it is about the membership and what the rank and file desire.

    I absolutely believe the members would accept substantive, meaningful changes in working conditions, neighborhood school supports, wrap around services, a cap on teacher to student ratio, and the many components that result in a better day and a better experience for children in lieu of some sort of raise. There is no doubt in my mind the members would support that.

    But CPS has refused to negotiate on many, if not all, of those issues. In fact, the Board has demanded that huge swaths of the most recent Agreement be stricken from the contract, including some of those basic, fundamental necessities I referenced above.

    I cannot begin to express how incredibly frustrating that is.

  • 638. EdgewaterMom  |  August 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    @627 (Nope44) If a laptop is required for the job, I don’t think that the teacher should have to supply that herself. It is bad enough that they have to pay for classroom supplies, but to have to supply their own IT equipment seems ridiculous.

  • 639. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    @ 634

    The Union has tried for years to get full staffing in the schools – especially neighborhood schools – on day 1. The Board has declined those overtures and have stuck to waiting until the 4th or 5th or 6th week to provide enough teachers for many, many neighborhood schools.

    This is a *huge* problem in CPS. It is not a problem for magnet schools and charter schools; they both have strictly controlled enrollment caps. It is only a problem for neighborhood schools. Every fall for the last eight years the Board of Education has left my neighborhood school understaffed for the first 5-6 weeks of school. The result is obvious: massive chaos and huge losses in instructional time and capacity.

  • 640. SutherlandParent  |  August 30, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    @636, thanks for the link and the insights. Although it appears Ford Heights teachers make less on average than CPS teachers, so buying for 10-15 may be as hard proportionally for them as buying for 35 would be for teachers who make more. But moving on 🙂

    And I would say that at my kids’ CPS neighborhood school, the basics are supplied, the engineering crew does a good job keeping things clean and administrators are (relatively) competent. There is a technology budget, but not every one of our teachers has a laptop.

    This is what I don’t understand about CPS (and again it’s a serious question, not a snarky one)–why do we have such tremendous disparities between schools in CPS? Sure, we have a very active and engaged group of parents at Sutherland, but we aren’t one of those schools that raises six figures every year. We also get slightly paranoid sometimes since there doesn’t seem to be much love between the Mayor and the 19th Ward, so I don’t think we get any extra in that regard.

    From what I understand about funding (and I’ve seen the budgets for both the PTA and our Foundation), there is no way our parents come close to closing the gap that exists between our school and schools that receive Title 1 funding (which we don’t get). I’m not questioning that you buy basics and need a laptop, I just don’t understand it.

  • 641. mom2  |  August 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    nbct – if what you say is true for nearly all teachers, someone needs to get that message out to the public. It is certainly not playing that way in the media with Karen Lewis leading the way. You may be right that she is speaking for everyone, but what she says doesn’t sound like what you said at all. I would think if she could get it out in the media (the facts you just mentioned about not wanting more money if and only if CPS agrees to these other items that truly benefit the students, it would change the minds of many people I know. Unlike SoxSide that keeps saying most people she knows support the teachers, everyone (and I mean everyone including previous CPS teachers) are against this strike and don’t see it changing anything except the pay and benefits for teachers (which doesn’t help the kids at all).

  • 642. Chris  |  August 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    “With the numbers I saw earlier this yr”

    SSI: please provide teh complete list of CPS (not charter) elem schools that had *7* (not 7.25 or 7.5) hour days in the last 20 years and how many of those years they had a 7 hour day.

  • 643. EdParent  |  August 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    At the RGC my son attends, our school supply list includes things like tissues, wet wipes, disinfecting wipes and copy paper. Most of the parents are in a position to provide these things and do it without (much) complaint. I can understand how this is not an option for schools that have largely low income student populations, it seems that some sort of bonus or stipend should be added to teachers working at these schools to help cover necessities.

  • 644. SutherlandParent  |  August 30, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Our school supply list includes those things as well–I guess I don’t consider classroom supplies to be basics anymore! I was thinking along the lines of toilet paper and lunchroom cleaning supplies as basics.

  • 645. RL Julia  |  August 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Roscoe Dad (601/605) why begrudge other people potential raises every if everyone else isn’t getting one? Also, why should anyone who loves what they do be expected to do it for less just because they love it? There is a difference between pro bono and being forced/expected to give up your time to something you love doing.

    @627 – Teacher’s shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket (and not be reimbursed) for buying a laptop used for work purposes. They shouldn’t use their work laptop for personal use – but to insinuate that somehow they should buy a laptop for their work and not be compensated is pretty rich. I can’t think of anyone I know who has been asked to do this – because its not fair (and because then your company cannot legally insist you load their software, allow them to snoop in your files etc…

    I am torn about this strike but I have to say, I am pretty blown away by the animousity towards teachers on this particular post. 95% of the teachers I have known are truly remarkable people doing a job I couldn’t do (at least not well) usually under very trying conditions where they are best haphazardly supported by a central bureaucracy which is quick to levy rules and punishments and slow to give schools all/some/none of the supports they need to accomplish the job they are charged to do. My only concern is I don’t know what this strike will really accomplish, how will it change a system that is slow to change and broke (in pretty much every concievable way) to boot? Even if tomorrow JC turned around and agreed to every demand on the table and had the money in hand -how quickly would things really change? Would April roll around with teachers still buying supplies, volunteering their lunches and preps, teaching 30+ kids per class etc….? I am not sure if there is a choice not to strike at this point – but I don’t exactly know what it will truly accomplish.

  • 646. Chris  |  August 30, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    “it seems that some sort of bonus or stipend should be added to teachers working at these schools to help cover necessities”

    Smacks of “merit pay” and is therefore completely unacceptable.

  • 647. Paul  |  August 30, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I think a strike could make some of these probablems even worse than they are now. If CPS has to cut schools’ discretionary budgets in order to pay higher raises to teachers, for example, it could make the lack of supplies an even bigger problem. I would love to think that a strike would make money fall out of the sky, but I don’t think that’s likely.

    I don’t think teachers should have to buy supplies for their classrooms with their own money. But, I think it’s erroneous to think that no other working person has to spend their own money on their job.

  • 648. Justaskin.  |  August 30, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    do charter school parents send tp + paper towels to school?

  • 649. cps alum  |  August 30, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    @639– It is a problem even in SE. I’m not talking about initial staffing, first 20 days etc. I’m talking about an the unforeseen or unexpected death/long term absence of a teacher mid year. I know someone whose daughter at a top SEHS who didn’t have a math teacher for over 3 months. The teacher had an accident in the middle of the year and was out on disability/medical leave. At first the teacher thought they would be back in a few weeks, but the in the end they were out several months. CPS just sent in a string of subs for weeks on end. Not a math sub- just a regular sub who took attendance. The sub did no planning/teaching of the subject matter. No tests, grading or learning. Since short term subs are cheaper than long term subs the district saves money this way.

    I work in a suburban a district (i’m on maternity leaven now) that works unbelievable hard to get a certified substitute teacher (in the subject) if the teacher is out more than 3 days!

  • 650. Justasking  |  August 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    649 suburban … yep I get it.

  • 651. RL Julia  |  August 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I thought that how subs were assigned was part of the principal’s responsibilities. I know at my neighborhood school, the principal tries to generate a list of 3-4 subs that she calls upon consistently. At least this way, the subs are familiar with the school and can maybe do more than just minimal classroom management.

  • 652. Paul  |  August 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Any bets on whether the union will set a strike date tonight? All signs point to “yes” but maybe they’ll wait and see if negotiations improve. In order not to piss off parents too much, I think the union would want to set a date out far enough to allow parents to set up childcare, if necessary. I’m sure the union wouldn’t mind springing a strike on CPS as soon as the 10 day notice is up, but that would really piss off the parents.

  • 653. mom2  |  August 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Parents are already pissed off. Believe me.

  • 654. CLB  |  August 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Everyone complains about large class sizes, but everyone howls when CPS tries to close schools

    I don’t follow the logic. Closing a school means transferring students from one school to others, increasing class sizes. People at other schools howl because a nearby school closing usually means increased class sizes at their schools. (Others howl because in many cases the new school students have to attend is just as bad as the one being closed; students have to travel longer for no better an education).

  • 655. mom2  |  August 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Does anyone know…once we are on strike, how much notice must CTU and CPS give parents to tell them the strike is over? Can they sign agreements on a Wednesday, for example, and tell everyone that night that there is school the next morning?

    Since CPS/CTU is messing with my children’s education and I have a child in high school that needs to tour colleges, I’d like to take time during the strike to visit some schools but if they can spring an end to the strike at any time, then we can’t even use this time for that.

    We won’t be able to tour later because they will be making up time in school that used to be available for breaks and we won’t be able to do it later because they will be cramming in homework in order to catch up on missed AP knowledge and ACT knowledge for test dates that don’t change just because the CTU doesn’t feel respected.
    Sorry, getting angry.

  • 656. Todd Pytel  |  August 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Ah… another day of great questions and comments…

    I’ll emphasize NBCT Vet’s point @640 – the Board’s policy of fixing staffing levels at the 20th day of school is *incredibly* destructive to neighborhood schools. This policy is perhaps the single greatest obstacle to quality instruction in neighborhood schools, yet it receives zero play in the media because it’s just not a sexy problem. Every spring, the Board underestimates our enrollment and we have to drop teachers at the end of the year unless the principal can perform some kind of budget acrobatics to fund their spots. And every fall, we get those positions back after the 20th day. How many great teachers do you think are still hanging around looking for spots in October? The suburbs hire in April and May and selective enrollments and choice schools hire early in the summer. Every business will tell you that hiring the best people for your organization is critical – but even if you get lucky enough to find a gem in the mediocre October hiring pool, you often can’t keep them through the next summer.

    The program changes for students are obviously disruptive as well, but that’s only the easily visible part of the problem. The impact on personnel quality over time is much more pernicious.

    This has gotten a lot better at my school recently, in part because our principal is fantastic at working the budget and in part because we now have some choice programs that give us more flexibility. But it remains an enormous problem for schools across the district. In the short-term, the Board saves a few bucks by understaffing neighborhood schools for a month. In the long-term, they undermine any attempt at recruiting quality personnel that can build an institution.

  • 657. HS Mom  |  August 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    @627/638 – On line computer access is required to do the homework and projects by a student. Many do not have computer access but can go to the library or the student center during a narrow window of time or borrow your neighbors. Kind of the same thing as a teacher needing to borrow someone’s laptop. How do you make it through college without a laptop? Am I misunderstanding, I think this teacher was referencing a particular program that she needed access to.

    Don’t get me started on putting your own money into the job – just ask anyone in construction, sales, design.

  • 658. Todd Pytel  |  August 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    @642 (mom2) – “If what you say is true for nearly all teachers, someone needs to get that message out to the public. It is certainly not playing that way in the media with Karen Lewis leading the way.”

    Here’s the problem, mom2 – As some knowledgeable folks pointed out to me after my post last night, the CTU is bound by the rules of SB7. According to that law, the *only* thing we can strike over is wages. If Karen says in a press release that what we really want are sane restrictions on class sizes and working conditions, then she risks a court injunction declaring a strike unlawful. The politicians have effectively barred CTU from mentioning the educational impact of the Board’s policies. How’s that for democracy?

    I wish I could tell you what “the truth” is, but I don’t claim to have any inside information that others don’t. The best I can say is that you should talk to every teacher you can get your hands on and see what they have to say as individuals. And if you find that most share the views of teachers like myself and NBCT Vet, then parents like you are the most effective way of getting that message out – because our union is legally barred from doing so.

  • 659. SutherlandParent  |  August 30, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    @654, it doesn’t cost half as much to operate a school that’s only half full. You won’t have as many teachers and staff members, but you still have to heat the building, keep up repairs, shovel the sidewalks, keep the lights on and all that.

    That money instead could be used to open new schools to alleviate overcrowding or add on to schools that are overcrowded. Neighborhoods change, enrollment changes, but if the Board of Ed doesn’t have any flexibility to adapt by closing schools and diverting resources elsewhere, we end up with some schools that are bursting at the seams and others that aren’t being fully utilized.

    I don’t know how many schools are considered underenrolled, so maybe it’s not a huge problem. But some schools are very crowded, so I assume it’s an issue. If anyone has info about enrollment trends/demographics over the years, I’d love to hear them.

  • 660. junior  |  August 30, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    @528 CPSYenta, @535 Patricia

    Aw, shucks. But if you always agree with me, then you’re probably as messed up as I am. I think we should just keep it as FWB.

  • 661. junior  |  August 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Why are teachers forced to buy supplies for their classrooms? Here’s the dynamic I’ve observed…

    Normally, these supplies should come from discretionary budgets. More and more, with budget squeezes and elimination of positions, schools have had to make hard choices about where those discretionary funds should go. Inevitably, if CPS cuts a position from a school, teachers, administrators and parents rally to try to save the position by shifting discretionary funds to buy the position back. CPS discourages the use of discretionary funds to buy positions, but the sympathetic dynamic surrounding potential job cuts inevitably trumps CPS’ wishes.

    From the principals’ perspective, they figure that parents and teachers will supplement spending for supplies, so they have no incentive to use discretionary funds for supplies. Schools in poorer communities have even less parent resources, so the problem is much worse.

    Paying teachers more salary to compensate for some of them who buy supplies does not make sense, because I’m sure there is a great disparity in how much each teacher spends. The only way I see to solve the problem is a top-down solution where CPS mandates a certain portion of the budget to go to supplies. However, CPS has no incentive to institute that kind of policy, as that would eliminate all the “soft” funding that they get from teachers/parents buying all the stuff on start-of-year supply lists.

    Bottom line, schools choose to spend the money on things they determine to be higher priorities, and they figure the supplies money will come from elsewhere (teachers and parents). In poorer communities, it’s just the teachers that shoulder this burden. The alternative is a bit tough to swallow — cut that “extra” position and have lots of money for Kleenex.

    If we all continue to agree that additional staff positions are more important than Kleenex, then the supply shortage is here to stay. And so it goes…

  • 662. CJ  |  August 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I only have a couple of comments. I used to teach in Chicago and I am a parent and a taxpayer. Teaching in CPS is a really hard job and I think that the teachers should be paid well, and ultimately, what is good for the teacher is good for the students. That said, Chicago students have had the shortest school day for years which means that teachers in Chicago have had the shortest work day for years. I think the teachers need to realize that those days are over. I do think the city was quick to implement the longer day, but sometimes you need to just do it. Otherwise it could be in planning for years. So it might not be perfect this year or even next year, but everyone will adapt. The taxpayers want that for which they are paying and taxpayers are no longer silent and the city has to answer to them. I also agree that teachers might be in a better spot, if negotiations came across more diplomatically.

  • 663. Tchr  |  August 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    We have been in school 3 weeks and CPS nor our school has supplied the books to read for the assessment. And there are mistakes in the booklet? Our school did not know that! Everyone has been copying from the booklet.

  • 664. anonymouse teacher  |  August 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    @609, if CPS forbade teachers from spending money on their own classrooms, guaranteed, the system would fold completely. Scores would plummet. If teachers removed all items they’d purchased and didn’t purchase any more, there’d be nothing to teach with for the most part. My room could fit 5-6 more kids because, reality is, the entire library would be gone. There’d be no art projects because all the art supplies would be gone. There’d be files, because all the file folders have been supplied by me. I’ve even purchased some of the furniture.
    HS mom, construction workers and folks in design and the like can pass their costs onto consumers. Teachers cannot. (Although, I completely view the pay end of the CTU demand as “passing on the cost”. Any raise for me will merely cover what I give for free to someone else’s children.)

    Here’s my BIG pet peeve for the day. During the strike, CPS is putting a cap of 25 kids to 1 adult in the schools designated as childcare centers during the strike. 25 to 1. Must be nice. Not 30:1, not 35:1, not 40: 1 like many, many, many classrooms. What? The babysitters can’t handle 40 kids at a time? Why not? They aren’t even teaching anything. I think they should do a 60:1 ratio since no one is required to learn anything. I also saw in the press release that kids will be doing independent reading a writing. Hmmm. With what materials? Not mine–I purchased those books. Most of the class libraries in my school belong to teachers. We are not going to allow someone we don’t know to use our personal materials. The kids are going to write independently? Again, with what? MY paper that I bought? Nope. MY pencils? Nope. My $75 heavy duty pencil sharpener that i need to last me 10 years? Not a chance. They stated that kids will be working on computers. Where? No principal is going to let untrained people come in and use the computer labs if she doesn’t want everything to get broken or stolen. Kids are going to engage in sports activities? Again, with what? Principals are not going to allow kids to go in the gym without a certified PE teacher for fear of lawsuits. And the kids are supposed to engage in art projects? Not with our materials they are not. I bought all my art materials and no one else is using them but me. Principals aren’t going to give up their budgets to buy for non academic things. My best bet is kids are going to sit in the auditorium and watch movies the whole 4 hours. Good luck with that CPS.

    http://www.cps.edu/News/Press_releases/Pages/08_30_2012_PR1.aspx

  • 665. junior  |  August 30, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    @645 RL Julia said:
    “Roscoe Dad (601/605) why begrudge other people potential raises every if everyone else isn’t getting one?”

    —–

    Here’s the practical reality. Every dollar we raise teacher salaries reduces the salaries of other workers in the state (who have already been penalized in our current economy, whereas CPS teachers are tied for the highest pay in urban districts for shortest day).

    As Patricia pointed out (@611), Illinois is in terrible financial shape, and if you caught the story on WBEZ this morning, we are now officially in the worst financial shape of any state in the union (yes, California is now above us). Both tax increases and spending cuts are inevitable. Every dollar more we pay to public salaries is an added dollar that must be deducted from the other working people of Illinois through taxation. And with the regressivity of Illinois’ taxes, this is a very heavy burden on the poor, the working class, and the (vanishing) middle class.

    So, yeah, I’m a generally pro-union, liberal who thinks a strike in this climate is ridiculous. The counterside to “a rising tide lifts all boats” is that general economic hardships should beget shared sacrifices.

    Tell the Illinois Caterpillar workers making $13/hour how bad you got it and why they should pay more in taxes:

    “Striking workers at a Caterpillar Inc. factory here ended a 3½ month strike Friday, bowing to demands they accept reduced health-care and pension benefits and wage freezes for veteran workers.” Read more:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444375104577595342394784960.html

    I think CTU leadership is bitter but not dumb, and they will understand that striking will diminish respect for teachers, not enhance it. I’m gonna go out on a limb and predict there will be no strike.

  • 666. momof3boys  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    They just announced the strike for Sept 10th. Bummer… I was hoping that all would get resolved. My poor son, I’m sure he’s bummed all this is happening during his senior year…

  • 667. Tchr  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    @sutherland. My college prepared me to teach. I took child development classes, learned about multiple intelligences, we taught guided reading lessons, we practiced running records, we had hours and hour of observations and student teaching in real classrooms, etc.

    The additional duties and reality of a teacher’s job doesn’t make sense to you until YOU are the actual one responsible for 30 little bodies. When I was in college, yes, I would have said hey, it’s ok. I would love to watch these children on my own unpaid time. It’s okay. I’d love to create a bulletin board for my cooperating teacher. They weren’t my kids. They were hers. It was just fun stuff. Now it’s a huge responsibility and with too much you get burned out. Read the book Educating Esme about a teacher’s first year teaching in Chicago. She is amazing and passionate but realistic. It shouldn’t be a teaching job to watch an infant sibling of a student while teaching! She did it because it had to be done. Of course you will take care of your students and their families. But once it happens again and again, you feel taken advantage of. You are not compensated and told time and time again you won’t.

    We learned in college that today’s teacher isn’t just a teacher. You have to be a nurse, a mom/dad, a counselor, sometimes even a counselor for parents! Yes, I have to do these things and I do them because no one else does it. I clean up blood. I clean up bathroom accidents. I clean up puke. am a janitor too! I serve and clean up breakfast and lunch. I am a waitress and a busboy (girl). I provide uniforms and school supplies. I am a store?

    Ib college, I remember being told that I would do these

  • 668. cpsobsessed  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I have to laugh about the people who say their kids will be sad about a strike. Mine will throw a parade.

    That’s really interesting (and sad) about the caterpillar workers. There really are so few decent above-min wage jobs anymore.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 669. Tchr  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Sorry. Press post on accident.

    I remember being told I would have to do these things. At 18-22, it didn’t make sense to me how often I would do these things. It didn’t make sense to me how physically tired I would be. It didn’t make sense how it would feel year after year to be taken advantage of.

  • 670. CarolA  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    For those who don’t understand why teachers feel a lack of respect please refer to @624 SutherlandParent. Granted, he apologized for a poor selection of words, but still went on to say “not high”. Makes me feel great!

    @609 CPS Parent: To add to anonymouse’s response….we buy these things to help us teach the children in a way that works for them. It’s called differentiated learning. For example: Let’s say I have a child in my classroom that just doesn’t get 2 + 3 = 5. I can use markers to illustrate with circles on the board, but he still can’t do it on his own. (I’ll switch out he/she) Turns out she is a tactile learner and need to physically touch objects and place them into cups. So I give him some buttons and cups to touch and manipulate in order for her to learn. Another child is an auditory learner. She will need to listen to the story about counting m & m’s. So I put her on the CD player so she can listen and learn. If I don’t supply these things, the children don’t learn. So who loses in your scenario…..the children. So despite what many people on this site believe…….drum roll please…….we think about the children first and feel it’s our duty to supply these things or we will have a classroom that doesn’t learn a thing. (Which, by they way, if that happens….my rating goes down.)

  • 671. AnonMom  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    This feels like such a hot mess and I really feel for the high school students.

    I am surprised by this possible date. I thought there was concern regarding health benefits for new teachers (a previous suggested date was September 18)

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/14825405-418/cps-to-open-125-schools-for-half-days-if-teachers-strike.html

  • 672. jusand  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    @668-CPSO. My son will probably be the first to meet up with your son at the parade! lol! But on the other hand, he also thinks about the milestones of senior year, plus the athletics portion of it. No sports during the strike so that means no competition and this is the time HS athletes are trying to get recruited…

  • 673. wow  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    98% of CTU voters give a strike authorization vote.
    I’d be willing to bet maybe only 1-2% are repenting. Stay strong teachers, clinicians, nurses, etc..

  • 674. Tchr  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Are any parents mad at CPS, Rahm, and Brizard or just mad at the CTU/teachers?

    Are any angry posters calling CPS to pressure making a compromise and get this worked out before a strike?

  • 675. CPS Parent  |  August 30, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    670. CarolA I understand completely why you spend your own dollars on didactic materials. Whether you should is a complicated issue which drills down to the very essence of publicly funded education – are we collectively responsible for K-12 education or are some more responsible (you, in this case) than others when it comes to funding.

    At our CPS high school the parent organization refuses to fund any compensation (positions) including overtime, and course required textbooks. If parents have to fund-raise for those basic the whole idea of public education is lost in my mind. We full well realize that by fund-raising for other items more is left over for wages and books but its a message we send to Clark Street nonetheless.

  • 676. CarolA  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    So you are sending that message at the expense of the student’s education? Am I hearing that correctly?

  • 677. SutherlandParent  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    @670, CarolA, just to clarify what I meant in terms of barriers to entry, I was referring to professional testing standards required to begin practicing one’s chosen career, such as having to pass the bar to become a practicing lawyer, or the accreditation process involved in becoming a CPA. I know there is a certification process for teachers, and perhaps it’s far more rigorous than I understand, and the failure rate is significant for those who take it for the first time.

    But to answer your question, no, I don’t consider a Bachelor’s degree a high barrier to entry to a career. And I’m in one of those careers that requires a Bacherlor’s.

  • 678. Paul  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Alright! We have a date. The strike begins September 10th. This is for real, right? The teachers mean business. They are doing everything they can to improve our schools, for the kids. Parents need to make arrangements for their kids. They’ve got to notify their bosses that they may need to take time off, or they’ll have to arrange for childcare. Even the backup plan for CPS only covers half the day. I’m guessing that every preschool and Kindergarten spot open in a Catholic or private school will soon be filled. New parents looking ahead to schools and seeing this kind of instability will probably think twice about CPS. And what will Rahm do? Will he compromise and meet the teachers half way? Or will he double down on his reform efforts? Maybe accelerate the creation of charter schools? Try to take advantage of parent anger and use it against the union? Will Presidential politics come into play? Watching the Republican convention rip on unions, I thought the Democrats might try to tack the other way and try to get on the unions’ good side. Or, they could show how more centrist and reasonable they are by standing up to unreasonable unions. I am on the edge of my seat again!

  • 679. CPS Parent  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    676. CarolA No – CPS always comes through with the dollars that are needed. Individual parents do buy books for the school though but that is their personal decision.

  • 680. cpsobsessed  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Below is the press release from CPS. They are still hopeful of avoiding a strike. The strike date is *if* resolution is not met. I have no idea what compromised need to be made on either side to reach resolution. I do hope we can avoid or limit the strike.

    My mom was just reminding me that back in Gary in the early 70’s we had a 25 day strike in my kindergarten year and a 30 day strike in 2nd grade. 3rd grade I went to private school (a small private school that was formed by the jewish community to avoid the school turmoil.).

    That was 30 SCHOOL days. Yikes.

    Should CTU leaders decide to strike on September 10, more than 350,000 students will be taken out of their classrooms, just as they’re making progress with the Full School Day. Varsity sports for 11,000 student athletes will be suspended. More than 400,000 daily breakfasts and meals will no longer be served. College transcripts and recommendations for 20,000 seniors will be put on hold. If our priority is our kids, then strike should never be an option. That’s why we need to take advantage of each of the next 11 days and work until we reach a fair resolution for our teachers that will allow our kids to stay in school where they belong. Jean-Claude Brizard
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 681. Tchr  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    In response to your question about what professions put up their own money, I cannot think of any… And I disagree with the ones previously stated.

    I am always amazed when my boyfriend is given the company credit card to take his employees out to dinner AND drinks! Wait, your company pays you to drink alcohol?? You had to take a taxi somewhere, oh the company will pay for it? Oh! There is coffee and free snacks at work??? We had to pay $30 each to get water at my school.

    If schools were privatized, could I get the CPS credit card to take potential clients out to dinner too? If schools were privatized, would we all get top of the line technology to use at work? If schools are run like a business, I can get reimbursed for all the things I purchase including the transportation I take to offsite work locations (like PD/training at another building). There will be ample copy machines for 30 staff members to use and enough copy paper so that I don’t have to supply it. Nor will I be lectured on my use of the copier? I will get an hour for my lunch break? Sometimes, it will be okay if I am running late? It will be ok if I show up hungover and just stare at my computer screen instead of doing any real work that day?

    Doubtful.

  • 682. mom2  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Every time I ask a question about how things that the CTU is demanding will help students, I get the response that they can’t ask for anything that will benefit students because it is against the rules. When I say that it looks like CTU is only asking for things that benefit teachers and not the students, I hear that this isn’t true and that if I asked all the teachers, they would say they want what is best for the students. You can’t have it both ways. If the CTU can only bargain for pay raises for teachers and more benefits for teachers, then if they strike, they are striking because they didn’t get what they want for teachers.

    I am an angry parent that feels that a strike for more money at a time like this with this economy makes no sense and seems very selfish. I don’t believe that money equals respect and don’t see how a strike will help fix the things that are wrong with CPS. So, no, I will not be calling CPS to ask them to compromise with the CTU as I don’t agree with their public demands.

    If I could know about the less public demands (such as those mentioned by NBCT), I could get behind those things.

    But when I asked if teachers would be willing to have no raise and pay a bit more for health insurance in exchange for things that make the school day truly better for the kids (and teachers), I am once again told they cannot get that in a contract because they can’t bargain over that stuff. Basically, I got a no.

    I know there is a ton wrong with CPS, (I see it often) but you aren’t allowed to bargain over those things so a strike won’t fix them. It is that simple.

    Rahm knows there are things wrong with the CPS processes and things need to be fixed there, but a strike over raises and benefits doesn’t help him or JCB fix those things. It just takes more money away from those things and gives them to the teachers.

    I think teachers could get parents behind them and asking CPS for changes, but not through a strike that greatly hurts our kids and takes money away from parents to pay for child care which only causes parents to give less to schools and feel more anger towards the CTU.

    What if Karen Lewis campaigned to get parents furious over things such as not having books for several weeks of school or not having seats in the classroom for everyone? She is great at rallying the troops. Why not use it for the good of the kids and not just the teachers?

    They are losing respect, not gaining it with their current actions.

  • 683. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    #642~Chris~’SSI: please provide the complete list of CPS (not charter) elem schools that had *7* (not 7.25 or 7.5) hour days in the last 20 years and how many of those years they had a 7 hour day.’

    The list is online somewhere, I don’t have it at my disposal as of the moment and I’m not looking for it. Of course charters would be included, they are Public right? Rahm said they were, Juan Rangel of UNO said they aren’t. You can find the #s online. They are valid and CPS acknowledged it as well.

    Rahm could have had an IL avg day of 6.5 where teachers are there longer than students and it would minimally impact the budget but Rookie Rahm had to go for the LONGEST day…every1 is correct, parents are pissed and right now all the parents I know and some I don’t know on another CPS message bd are totally pissed at Rahm and CPS BOE.

  • 684. CarolA  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I found out today that we are getting 2 new kindergarten students with special needs including wheelchair accommodations and bathroom needs. The one with bathroom needs is supposed to have a full-time aide, but won’t. We will have to fight for it. That usually takes months. Any volunteers to help out until CPS can fund it? Maybe we shouldn’t take care of that child’s needs so we can send a message until they finally pay for it. In the meantime, that poor child will have to sit in his/her own _______. How does that sound?

  • 685. cpsobsessed  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    @tcher – the “epiphany” I had today (I say this in quotes because it’s sorta “no sh*t) is that the key difference between being a teacher and other professions is that schools (for the most part) are a “business” that don’t generate a profit. So there is really no inherent motivation, other than altruistic, for teachers to buy supplies or jackets or paper or whatever.

    A salesperson who buys stuff (btw any salespeople I know expense everything) or they stand to help the business succeed which may result in greater profits. What is the teacher’s personal benefit?

    None that I can see.

    I did recall one friend who was a social worker who would often buy something for her “clients” I homeless people getting back on their feet. A clock or a small personal item. Again, I see this as altruism, not a job expense. Sorta like the principal at my neighborhood schools who has gone out in the winter to buy a kid shoes.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 686. CarolA  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    mom2: You said you could get behind some of NBCT’s concerns. We have talked about them all summer long. You should know by now. So have you called about those things? Have you voiced your concern to CPS about the things you’ve heard about here?

  • 687. Paul  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Going with the “Rahm plays hardball” scenario. Could the city save any money from an extended strike, or will it just cost a bunch of money? If the teachers strike for a month, could the city save a month’s worth of teacher salaries? Or, is the district just going to forego state and federal funding because they don’t meet minimum requirements? If enrollment goes down because some people go to private schools or move to the ‘burbs, could that lead to more teacher layoffs?

  • 688. cpsobsessed  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I’m sorry – really — one can just “call up cps and voice they’re concerns?” And someone (who matters) is gonna sit there, patiently listening, then run to Brizard to let him know about the phone call? If you know the number for that line, please let us know! Wonderful idea, but I’m skeptical. 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 689. SutherlandParent  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    @CarolA, and just to further clarify my clarification…I never meant to imply that teaching is an easy job. I know it’s not. But I think it is a relatively easy job to get into. My comments were made in connection with the high turnover rate for young teachers. What I meant to say, and maybe didn’t express well enough, is that perhaps if it were a longer process to get in front of a classroom, with more training or certification early on, more education majors would realize this wasn’t the career for them. They would be able to take a different career course, before they (and the school systems they work for) invested a great deal of time and money and training.

    You seem like an amazing teacher, and I understand why you feel disrespected and why the CTU called the strike. I just hope something good comes out of this.

  • 690. Todd Pytel  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    @683 (mom2) – “You can’t have it both ways. If the CTU can only bargain for pay raises for teachers and more benefits for teachers, then if they strike, they are striking because they didn’t get what they want for teachers.”

    I understand your logic, but reality is more complicated than that. The CTU cannot *publically* state that they want desks, nurses, and classes of less than 35 students. That would risk a court injunction invalidating a strike. But at the negotiating table, behind closed doors, and off the record… both sides can make all kinds of deals. CPS isn’t stupid – they know that those work rules matter to teachers at least as much as the money. Of course there’s horse-trading going on… this is Chicago.

    “What if Karen Lewis campaigned to get parents furious over things such as not having books for several weeks of school or not having seats in the classroom for everyone?”

    She can’t. I want that just as much as you do. But she can’t. This warping of the public dialogue is what SB7 brought us, and it’s exactly what the corporate reform movement predicted and desired.

  • 691. CarolA  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    CPSO: LOL, I guess you’re right! Welcome to my world! LOL Good one. 🙂

  • 692. CarolA  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Keep in mind that if a strike actually happens, it is my understanding that those days would have to be made up at another time. Maybe I’m wrong, but I know when we have snow days and it goes beyond a certain number, we have to make up those days. Maybe it means a shorter Christmas break or going longer in June, but I don’t think they just disappear.

  • 693. cpsobsessed  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Carol, yeah – what I’ve learned from teachers about cps bureaucracy is exactly the basis for my skepticism.
    I will say that by posting here, you may have a halfway decent chance of having cps read it as they monitor public sentiment.

    My mom’s recollection of the Gary strikes was that by the time the teachers didn’t work for 5-6 weeks, the system had saved enough $ and just gave them the raise.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 694. cpsobsessed  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Oh yeah, we’ll make em up. I see where for sport or college apps it messes things up. For others, it just pushes is back. So wait, the cps wouldn’t save $ by not paying teachers for a month.
    Sigh. I’m confused.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 695. Paul  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Yes. I think the district has to have school open for a certain number of days, and provide a minimum level of instructional minutes in order to receive state funding. And, I know the district only receives federal lunch and breakfast money for each meal served. Of course, the charter schools will keep on operating and educating those kids, so the money will still flow that way.

  • 696. junior  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    @687 Paul

    There is no downside for teachers in a strike and no benefit to CPS. Teachers only stand to gain. Except respect — but they don’t feel they have any of that anyway.

    That is the situation that SB7 tried to feebly to remedy. If they walk, I’ll be interested in seeing SB7 v2.

    I’d also like to point out that many teachers on this board claimed that their initial authorization vote was not a vote to strike and that the rank and file would have a final vote on whether or not to walk. The way things are going, that doesn’t seem to be the case. A strike date has been set by public voice vote of the HOD. Could it be that the CTU deceived its own membership??? Say it ain’t so, Karen.

  • 697. Todd Pytel  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    @682 (Tchr) – “Nor will I be lectured on my use of the copier?”

    LOL. This is the one that my non-CPS friends can never believe. Just for giggles, I’ll tell a story. Maybe some non-teacher will tell me how this happens in their workplace too. But I doubt it.

    For years, copy paper was the absolute bane of my daily existence. And sadly, it all started with a wonderful social studies teacher back around 2000. This guy was both very smart (Harvard-educated) and unbelievably enthusiastic – he was one of those rare personalities that had this supernatural ability to connect with absolutely anybody and had spent years before he went into teaching traveling the country and the world doing exactly that. Anyway, this guy built an amazing curriculum for his Law and Economics classes with piles of handouts helping kids link the material to current events and social issues. He knew he would blow through his copy allotment in mere weeks, so he *bought his own photocopier* and kept it in his apartment.

    Truly, no good deed goes unpunished.

    One day, he decided to take 2 reams of paper that were lying around home with him, assuredly because his own private paper bills were adding up too fast. On his way to his car, he was spotted carrying the paper by a quasi-administrator. At the next staff meeting, our principal publicly accused the entire faculty of stealing paper for personal gain (I can’t imagine what she thought we were doing with it!). She decreed that all copy paper would henceforth be kept in a locked cabinet and that no more than a single ream would ever be loaded into a copier at once. For almost a decade, this regime held strong. At any given time you wanted to make a photocopy, there was about a 30% chance that the copy room was out of paper, requiring an extra 10 minute trip to the main office to beg someone to come upstairs and unlock the maximum security paper cabinet. This was especially fun during finals week. One ream at a time sure doesn’t last long for a faculty of 100.

    I believe our current principal definitively won my undying love when she declared that teachers had better things to do with their time than bargain for paper and allowed that multiple reams could be brought up at once. They could even be left out next to the copiers without a security detail.

  • 698. Paul  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    That’s a good point junior. But, I think the teachers own this strike. They marched, they voted, they prepared. They elected the union leaders. They’re united to strike. If Karen Lewis jumps off a cliff, I believe the teachers would follow her. I would really be surprised if we see any significant number of teachers breaking from the union and speaking out against a strike. Teachers that don’t like what the union is doing are keeping their mouths shut. There is tremendous peer pressure on that front. Talk about getting no respect.

  • 699. Todd Pytel  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    @697 junior – Philosophically, I share that concern over democratic process. But practically speaking, there isn’t even an offer on the table right now to vote on, and the membership is so united that it’s not worth the trouble of figuring out what a vote would look like. Any final contract will ultimately require a membership vote.

    To be clear, I’m one of only two teachers in my building who voted *against* the strike in the Union’s early straw poll (before the authorization). I’m not a toe-the-Union-line kind of guy. But even I have my limits, and the current Board position is miles beyond them.

  • 700. junior  |  August 30, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    @698 Paul

    Yes, well put.

  • 701. McH  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    We are all like trains in the night.

    Nobody disagrees that the kids should come first.

    Nobody disagrees that teachers are generally great people with very important jobs and who deserve fair treatment.

    But stripped of the rhetoric here is what is at stake. Is it fair or unfair for teachers to earn 76k/year (before generous benefits) or so they deserve 79k?

    Should underperformers be fired (as they are and have been in every profession since the beginning of mankind) or should they be protected by underperformers with louder voices?

    Give me a freaking break. Unions were inventes in a different era for different purposes.

    The issues, however, unfortunately, have been framed for us idiots by Karen Lewis (who appears proud of the fact that she did drugs in college instead of study) in terms of pure politics.

    The problem with the CTU is that independent thinking is punished not encouraged. I certainly hope that life philosophy doesn’t trickle down in our school.

  • 702. junior  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    @699 Todd

    It seems to me that there is an offer on the table from CPS, but there has never been one presented to rank and file. And it seems that the CTU is the one who has not counteroffered. Their offer is still the one based on the longer day, even though it has already been determined that the teachers will not work the longer day that Rahm wanted. And the CTU press release of two days ago deceptively quotes the recommendation of the fact finder (which was based on incorrect facts BTW) when the fact finder himself said that his recommendation for a wage increase should be reduced if the longer day was shortened. I’m sorry if I’m a stickler for processes and integrity, but CTU is losing credibility by the minute.

  • 703. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    @ junior

    There has never been a requirement for a second strike vote or strike authorization vote among the membership. I think you’re referring to the idea that members would have an opportunity to vote on a contract before a strike. That’s still true.

    A vote on a contract at this juncture is not possible because negotiations are at an impasse. If a tentative agreement is reached before the 10th then members will certainly have the opportunity vote it up or down. Approval would obviously circumvent a strike, rejection would hasten one.

    Tonight, the House of Delegates – 800 members representing 20 or 40 members each – voted unanimously for this strike date. Not a single individual spoke in opposition to the setting of this strike date.

    Some here may remember that two years ago the CTU was in complete disarray and suffering from massive dysfunction. The shift from such a dismal state to the current intense solidarity could never have occurred if the member education and coalition building that brought this on was based on deception.

    Also, when is the last time anyone on this blog saw 800 people agree on *anything* unanimously? It is a rare thing. Right or wrong, supportive of CPS or CTU, pro- or anti-union, for the membership to feel so intensely in agreement really speaks volumes about how terribly frustrated, saddened, angry, and powerless teachers feel in the face of relentless attacks, privatization, “reform”, and what members perceive as horribly misplaced Board priorities.

  • 704. HS Mom  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Mom2 -you have been so patient asking the question in multiple ways and in multiple threads about what would be acceptable to help the kids, disregarding pay. We’ve seen a lot of good thoughts and ideas from teachers. Bottom line is they view the raise as a way to pass on those costs (wrong or right). So we have no control over whether that raise does get passed on to the kids – in some cases it may and in other cases, not likely. I completely understand your frustration.

    @664/CPSO – That’s the challenge with sales/construction/design/architecture people always think you can “pass on the cost”. I once took care of a clients cats for a month while they were in China for a box of chocolates (which you know is quite the specialty in China 🙂 . They had no one else, the people were really nice and I wanted to do it. It may pay off down the road with more sales, happy people or it may not.

    If the kids don’t have toilet paper then do them a favor and contact the board of health.

    With that said, I do appreciate everything you do on behalf of my child and others. I realize great teachers step in and do whatever it take

  • 705. junior  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    @703 NBCT Vet

    Hahahaha

  • 706. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    I’ll state again that Karen Lewis is not taking the members out on strike. The members are taken Karen Lewis out on strike. I know this is difficult to comprehend and believe, but the CTU is by far the single most democratic organization with which I have ever been involved or even witnessed.

    There is no final offer on the table from either CPS or CTU because negotiations are functionally at an impasse. Of course, both sides are responsible for that impasse, not just the CTU or the Board.

    @ junior

    The fact finder’s report was the result of his analysis of facts provided by both sides. The information from the two sides that went into the decision about the longer day and pay was not in dispute.

    The Board is still asking for about 4.5% more work. In the independent fact finder’s report CPS should still pay a roughly proportional increase for that increase in work.

    As I have said before, I think a huge majority of teachers give up some of that pay for big wins on non-monetary issues. But CPS just won’t discuss those other things.

    If the members do not support a strike or have somehow been conned or bullied into this scenario then expect scabs all over the city and the strike to fall apart quickly. It won’t take long if that’s what’s really going on. We’ll see.

  • 707. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    @ 705 junior

    Care to share the genesis of your amusement?

  • 708. Kay  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Well said

  • 709. mom2  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    cpsobsessed – if you really think that CPS may be lurking to read these posts, then teachers – PLEASE voice all the very specific issues you are having within CPS and your school Use this as a chance to let them know the things that need to change (since it sounds as if Karen Lewis isn’t allowed to tell them for some reason). Let them know that you would be fine without huge increases in pay and benefits if they fixed all these other things. At least try…

  • 710. CarolA  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    So let’s talk something positive. Today I found out more about the new testing system I will be dealing with at the first grade level. Talk about the power of fighting for what you believe in. Just listen to this. All schools now have to do so many tests it’s just plain silly. Some tests overlap and test the same thing. The month of September is filled with test dates. My principal went out on a limb and argued his case with district to reduce the number of tests we have to give. Our school (not others in our district), was able to drop the DIBELS tests for reading and math. Great news. Very time consuming. CPS is mandating that all schools use NWEA at the beginning of the school year and at the end of the school year. Our principal argued that doing ONLY that would not make for good teaching. He wants us to also do a mid-year test so that we can monitor student progress and adjust our teaching based on that. If we only test again at the end of the year and discover the students didn’t learn, it’s too late to do anything about it. Anyway, his point was that with all the tests CPS is mandating, where is the time for teaching, reflecting, and adjusting? So….our school is a pilot for dropping many of these tests. It puts us in a unique position for change. We hope to prove that more tests don’t make better classrooms. Good tests and making changes based on that data, make better classrooms. I”m sure I’m not explaining this well without going into technical terms, but I’m really excited about it. Sometimes fighting for what you believe in ends up with something positive.

  • 711. CPSYenta  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    NBCT couldn’t that mean that the 800 who showed were pro-strike? That anti-strike ctu members didn’t show up and show dissent so as not to get blackballed?

  • 712. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Re: subs. Our principal used to have a “pool” of qualified subs he knew and trusted, so the kids and school had consistency. The subs knew how the school worked and while not as good as the regular teacher, it was certainly not a wasted day or several months as one of my children experienced.

    He was told the following year that the CTU filed some grievance with CPS and that now all the subs need to come from the generic “sub pool” and he had no say as to who would be sent on any given day. These subs will be the stereo typical “student teacher” in my kids memories. Really some comical stories from the kids during their lost days of learning.

    Just imagine the impact on the system if CPS caves to the CTU demand to FORCE principals to hire from the displaced pool before hiring any qualified candidate, even if there are others better for the job and students. Sub or permanent, taking away principal hiring decisions is a NO WIN situation for the students.

  • 713. LDRmom  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    When I look at a firefighter’s job, I might think, “Hmm. I know fighting fires is hard and dangerous, but there aren’t THAT many fires, and I see so many of them just sitting in front of the firehouse. So, maybe their pay should be based on how many fires they put out each week. If you don’t put out a fire, you don’t get paid for it. That seems fair. After all, in the private sector, your pay is based on performance. And while we’re at it, firefighters probably shouldn’t have a say in their equipment or their methodology in putting out fires. There should probably be a uniform method, mandated from people who have never fought fires before. After all, it’s for the citizens. ”

    Why would I never say that? A few reasons. I do not know the complexities and realities of a firefighter’s job. I am not on the front lines. I do not feel qualified to comment on how much firefighters should get paid, because I have not spent days in a firehouse, because I have never fought a fire, nor am I qualified to do so.

    What do I know? I know that my safety, my neighbors’ safety and my community’s future depend on these people. So, I will support them and cheer for them and trust that people on the front lines would know what equipment is best for their profession, what the best methods of fighting fire is, etc. If 95% of them told me that their bosses did not know what they were doing, I would believe them, because what do I know about it?

    Anyway…pardon the long analogy. I know there are many limitations to this comparison but the idea is simple. I trust people who devote their lives to an under-appreciated profession because I do not have the courage to do the same and am ignorant about the realities of their profession. I support the teachers, the nurses, the firefighters, and the policemen of my community.

    I am a parent and these posts make me very very sad 😦

  • 714. junior  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    @705 NBCT Vet

    Now that CTU is discredited in their public statements, let’s hold NBCT Vet accountable to his/her own contradictions.

    Below is what NBCT Vet said on June 5 defending the idea that rank and file would get to vote on a final offer before a walkout.The idea that there is no offer from CPS on the table to vote on is absolutely incorrect. Where is the democratic process if it’s only the CTU leadership who gets to decide if there’s a negotiation “impasse”. They haven’t moved off their 20% raise, so if their is an impasse it is of the leadership’s own design. Bring the CPS offer to the membership to a vote!!

    ————————

    @258, junior and others
    There are many inaccuracies and misunderstandings of internal CTU procedures here and what this strike authorization means in the context of collective bargaining. That is not surprising, of course, the media has done a poor job getting at the realities of the vote and this is, after all, largely a parent blog. Let me see if I can help.
    Even after the 75% threshold is successfully reached this week teachers and staff will, in fact, make a choice based on an actual proposal.
    CTU members will have the opportunity to vote on a final CPS offer – likely arising out of the fact finding report – before any job action is implemented.
    If that final offer is rejected there still may not be a strike. The CTU House of Delegates, the Union’s democratically elected, representative and deliberative body will still need to call for a strike by setting a strike date within the limits of the law.
    While the 800 or so members of the House of Delegates may choose to set a date for job action, they may elect to set a strike date far in the future, postpone any decision on a walk-out indefinitely, or vote to send the CTU back to the bargaining table.
    The situation is not nearly as dire, as dramatic, or as damaging as CPS, the mayor, CEO Brizard, reformers, and the media make it out to be.
    I hope this helps.

  • 715. McH  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    NBCT Vet

    Hahahahah + 1

  • 716. cpsobsessed  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    @LDRmom, the part of that analogy that’s also true is that if each profession only looks at they’re own, how do they/we know what part or their complaint is unique to their field or is part of working, particularly in a big public bureaucracy.
    Some parts of teachers’ job are uniquely challenging. Complaints like “management makes bad decisions” “they keep changing everything” and “we have a more difficult X this year” are pretty much complaints across most jobs. I don’t see how you can look at jobs in isolation and people themselves determine what their salary should be. Market forces and public funds play a huge part in that.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 717. Tchr  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Patricia, when was this? You say the following year, do you mean this current school year or a few years back?

    I ask because I was once a sub. Not too long ago. When I first moved to Chicago and couldn’t find a teaching job. I subbed at the same few schools. They called me directly actually. But maybe things have changed since 4 years ago?

    Except that last year, my school called the same few subs when we were out. And when they couldn’t make it, and we got someone random from subcenter sometimes it worked out and we called those subs again! (gasp! Some of them were even displaced teachers who were awesome but alas my school would never actually hire them because they weren’t 22 year olds with cheap salaries!- yes, the reason I do realize I was hired)

    And when the subs were awful, yes, that happens too, we told our office staff and they never called those subs again.

    So, I am not sure if what you were told iby your principal was entirely true…

  • 718. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I find the SB7 comments interesting and very opportunistic depending on the question posed as Mom2 pointed out.

    Todd I want to understand your point about SB7 and CTU not allowed to talk in public about points beyond pay and benefits. The CTU printed signs about stuff not “allowed” in SB7. I saw them on the news. 🙂 CTU published a PR “white paper” that included non SB7 allowed items.

    Junior, I too look forward to seeing what SB7 sequel looks like. The CTU has successfully maneuvered around the strike hurdles and the fact finder. (Although it is insulting how they are misquoting the facts in a press release!) They did a good job with negating sb7 and their attorney’s earned their fee.

    The Interim Agreement is a win-win that all sides can claim victory and it adds 477 teachers for enrichment from the displaced pool in order to keep the teacher work day at 7 hours. CarolA mentioned the great things happening at her kids school because of the interim agreement. I see great things at my kids schools and parents I from other schools do as well. Yes, there will be bumps or huge potholes in the road to implementing the longer day, but there is a lot of good happening because of it. In the interim agreement everyone gave a little and it truly benefits the children. Is there any desire to avoid a strike at this point? Seems like CTU will do it regardless and I do believe that has been the plan all along.

    Now that it is really boiling down to pay, we are getting the “but sb7 doesn’t allow that” line. It is OK for teachers to talk about pay demands at this point. I do not see any money to support it tho.

  • 719. anniesullivan  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks 713-great analogy

    No one has commented on the fact that according to Rod Estvan, Access Living, we are again short 310 special education teachers.
    We are short every year and we complain about it every year. Nothing changes.

    NO ONE has commented on the child who needs an aide for diapering and toileting yet there is no aide. How embarrassing for that child. How unsafe for that class if there is a fire.

    If you want to read about issues which concern teachers in CPS all you have to do is read the 299blog. We have been bringing up issues for years. CO reads it and does nothing. Teachers file grievances through the union and CPS denies many of the grievances-grievance hearings are held at CO. District administrators lie when questioned by teachers about unsafe conditions. ISBE does nothing.

    My only surprise is that it has taken the teachers and staff this long to get angry.

    Karen Lewis and her team know how frustrating it is to teach in CPS.

  • 720. IB obsessed  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Is anyone else disgusted by the biased, onesided Tribune reporting on the contract, negotiations, and strike? I am not a CTU member, nor do I have a child in CPS. I am just a concerned citizen who cares about public education, and just want some unbiased investigative journalism.

  • 721. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    @717 It was within the last two years. I do not remember all the details, but not only did our principal say they were forced to use the sub pool with no input, but there was either an article or it was also stated at a board meeting. Sorry, that is all I remember.

  • 722. cpsobsessed  |  August 30, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    @IBobsessed: which way is it biased? I guess I should just read an article and see if I can guess.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 723. anniesullivan  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Mr. Brizard was too busy to attend ONE bargaining session-too busy counting his huge salary….and laughing all the way back to New York.

  • 724. DZV  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    @697
    Todd,
    LOL on your copier paper story!
    I too have a similiar one. A few years ago, the schoool I taught
    at gave us codes to use the copier. We were given 500 copies per month. That does not go far with a class of 30 plus. If you ran out, oh well, we were told to have the children copy from the book or board!
    We were also generously given one ream of paper per month to use for our classroom computer printers. The other reams of paper were under lock and key.
    We were told that if we had to make more copies, we could use our alloted classroom ream of paper and the DITTO machine!
    ROFLMAO…DITTO MACHINE.
    I had to run and find one of the close to retirment ladies to show me how to use it!
    I could see that going down in the corprate world. Your boss feels you use too many cell minutes, so he’s going to cap them. But he still expects you to above and beyond. You go to him and tell him you need those minutes to get the job done, so he tells you to learn morse code and use a morse key!

  • 725. LDRmom  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    @CPSO I think what you’re saying is: “How do we know that they’re really being treated unfairly OR if they’re just pissed because they have to work long days with not as much money, just like the rest of America?”

    I don’t want to get into the whole “Whose job is harder” debate.
    I guess I just believe in the greater good. I believe that if we start believing in these professionals, and treating them like they just might know what they’re doing, and improving their working conditions (not just their pay), that the qualities of candidates will rise. Maybe then we can start trusting our teachers again, stop the testing, and get back to learning.

    When people say to teachers- take a pay cut for the children! I always think, maybe for today’s children, but what about tomorrow’s? Who will be taught by these so called “bottom feeders” who have no other options?

    Right now, frankly, I do not trust that every teacher is qualified to teach my children, but I hope one day I will be. To me, the path to that goal is taking more care of teachers and their profession, not less. I think that’s the great divide in educational policy right now.

  • 726. Tchr  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    So your school really just got random subs from subcenter everyday? I guess tell your office staff to call mine and they can help you work around that.

  • 727. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Todd, I have read the same freakenomics link you shared several times in the past. It is very interesting and thought provoking. It is essentially about CPS implementing merit pay for the principals. I wonder if this sparked the idea to try the timing of merit pay in the recent sun times article someone posted above. Chicago Heights I think?

    Can you help me understand why it makes sense to separate “evaluation” from “merit pay”? Isn’t one dependent, in part, on the other? How can they be completely different issues and not interrelated? I am very curious how it could work if you keep them mutually exclusive. What am I missing because that makes no sense to me?

  • 728. anonymouse teacher  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    AnnieSullivan, Thank You! I have been thinking about the child in the diaper without an aide since it was posted. It made me feel grateful that my children were able to leave the CPS system. It would have been too hard for me personally to know all that is happening and worrying about how it would affect my own kids. I trust the teachers, I don’t trust the system. I actually believe CPS is a system that causes harm to children and for the first year in my nearly 20 years (most of them NOT in CPS) I no longer believe I can overcome the obstacles to good teaching that CPS has put in my way.
    My good friend left her school recently because the principal demanded she break the law in regards to special education. Literally said,”you do what I am asking, I know I am violating LRE, it won’t be a big deal, do it or you’re fired”. I am going to have to give so many tests this month I don’t think I can actually teach anything. I sat in meetings this week and all I could think was, “I can’t maintain any professional integrity in this system–they are literally preventing me from implementing best practice or even so-so practice!”
    I have always looked forward to going back to school each year. I never would even consider leaving mid year for another position because of the hard it causes kids to lose a teacher mid year. Now, I’d walk out mid day if I could get a job elsewhere and a u-haul to take away all my things in one shot.

  • 729. Todd Pytel  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    @719 (Patricia) “The CTU printed signs about stuff not “allowed” in SB7. I saw them on the news.”

    Good point. I don’t know the rationale there. My guess would be that such signs don’t carry the legal weight of an official press release. But I’m a math teacher, not a lawyer.

    “CTU published a PR “white paper” that included non SB7 allowed items.”

    Sure, they can publish whatever they want on their site. Not everything the Union says and does is contract-related.

  • 730. cpsteacher  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    @712 Patricia. This is not true. We have a regular group of subs that we call at my school. It is very rare to have a sub that is not a “regular.”

  • 731. Teacher4321  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    I have had the chance to recheck my post from earlier when I was accused of being Patricia and did not find one place where the quotes were missing around Patricia’s words in my post. I started the post by saying I was responding to Patrica- so I’m still confused about the confusion.

  • 732. DZV  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    @728
    My heart goes out to you. I know to many friends who have done that. Too many kids, violations of LRE and IEPs. Special education teachers who can in no way ever do anything remotely close to what is right or LEGAL for these children.
    I had a co-worker walk her kids to the office mid-day and leave, never to return again. She just had enough.
    It’s sad to say, but that happens all to often in CPS. Lack of support, resources, and everything else make too many teachers give up.

  • 733. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    There is no final offer on the table from the Board of Education, nor is there one from the Union. Call up the Board of Ed communications department and ask them directly. With no final offer on the table there is nothing to vote on. When the Board does submit a final offer, members will vote on it. I’m not sure why this is so difficult to understand.

    Seriously, call them up and ask. See what they say.

  • 734. weteach  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    @730 Yup. Don’t know what’s going on at your school, Patricia, but at every school I have ever worked at (4 CPS) there has been a group of about 5-6 subs who we always have. Wait…why are we talking about sub pools?

  • 735. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Todd, just to be clear, the white paper pr piece was portrayed as what the teachers were bargaining for. However, I would guess CTU attorneys “sanitized” the wording to ensure it did not violate anything.

  • 736. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    @ CPSYenta

    There are approximately 800 elected representatives from every school in the House of Delegates. Attendance today was very high – there were people sitting on the floor because there weren’t enough seats. There is not a pro-strike House and an anti-strike House. A delegate is elected by his or her constituency and votes as the school’s representative. Not a single member of this representative, deliberative body voted against setting a strike date.

  • 737. Todd Pytel  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    @711 (CarolA) – I agree on the need for positive notes… let me just say that our whole faculty is psyched about the start of school next Tuesday. Our school had a great year on every kind of metric last year, our faculty has done a ton of great curriculum work this week, we have some fabulous new hires that joined us this year, and everybody is just really excited about continuing to refine our thinking and practice in the classroom. I truly hope a strike can be averted so that we don’t have to break that up.

    @728 (Patricia) – I’d love to discuss that article in more detail, but I’m pretty deep in curriculum work at the moment and won’t be able to do the ideas justice right this second. And this isn’t a great format for that kind of discussion anyway. Perhaps you could shoot me an email at tppytel@sophrosuneDOTorg?

  • 738. junior  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    @733 NBCT +

    Here’s what you said:
    “Even after the 75% threshold is successfully reached this week teachers and staff will, in fact, make a choice based on an actual proposal.
    CTU members will have the opportunity to vote on a final CPS offer – likely arising out of the fact finding report – before any job action is implemented”
    —————-
    Do you stand by that? How does one know if the offer on the table is “final” — no one in a negotiation says “this is my second to final offer”. I think you’re blowing smoke.

  • 739. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Junior, though my word may not be worth much I am not blowing smoke. The Union can’t just arbitrarily stop in the middle of negotiations, select some group of contract provisions or another of its choosing and give it to the members to vote on. Negotiations are ongoing and the two sides are so incredibly far apart that it is a functional impasse. They’ll keep trying, of course. The Board has not approved any kind of final offer, either. I really am not trying to be snarky and it’s not jest. Call CPS and ask them if they have a final offer on the table.

    Chicago Public Schools Communications
    (773)535-1620

  • 740. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Todd, I am so thrilled to hear how excited you are about school. I had visits at my kids schools today and the same excitement is in the air. I hope it remains after the strike is over!

    I understand the topic warrants longer thought than can come across in a blog. I’ll float you a note during the strike. Maybe I can tie it into a learning experience and enlist my kids to do research on the topic while I have to take time off from work 😉

  • 741. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Patricia~I don’t know where your children attend, but both of my kids’ schools use the same subs and it’s very rare that they have a sub the kids don’t know. I would talk to your principal again bc I don’t think that is happening at all the schools.

  • 742. junior  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    @739 NBCT

    Let me ask again. Do you stand by your original statement? Here it is again:

    “Even after the 75% threshold is successfully reached this week teachers and staff will, in fact, make a choice based on an actual proposal.
    CTU members will have the opportunity to vote on a final CPS offer – likely arising out of the fact finding report – before any job action is implemented”

  • 743. Tchr  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Mouse. I remember the first post I read on CPSObsessed. I think I had googled CPS kindergarten looking for some help with that kindergarten report card! The post I ended up reading was about the end of CPSO’s child’s first year in CPS- kindegarten! CPSO, you were listing things that worked and didn’t work throughout the year. I think you said that you were not really satisfied with the class size but don’t that good teachers can manage large classes but you didn’t really want someone just managing but giving actual personal time to your child. That when kindergartners are practicing tracing letters, if an adult is not sitting right next to them to show them to start at the top and go down, they are going to just write any way they want or make sense of the foreign symbol they are attempting to write. (CPSO, I believe I read this and am not making it up. I appologize if I added my own thoughts on this memory.)

    The past 3 weeks, I have gotten news students almost everyday. For some of my babies, THIS is their first encounter with school and being away from home and their mama. I have 32 now. I can’t give the attention I would want my child to get in school. I can’t show them the ropes as I did on the first day of Track E because I have letter/sound assessments, number assessments, name assessments (this is stuff that matters to me!) This week I was supposed to have REACH done. In 2 weeks, BAS. And when our computers get headphones, NWEA.

    What are the other kids doing while I crank out these assessments? Worksheets. Now wait, handwriting is important in kidergarten. Cutting and coloring are important motor skills too. But when I am giving it to them and off to the side testing… I do not have the time to actually circulate the room and assisting with pencil grips, letter formations, how to hold scissors with dominant hands and the paper with the other, I am letting them practice poor skills. (I also have several children with special needs, no IEPs yet, and no aide. )

    This isn’t what I would want for my child. I hate that I am a part of a system that test, test, tests and leaves little time for teaching.

    That’s what CPS can fix.

  • 744. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I’m relieved to hear that there are fabulous things happening as a result of the interim agreement. Many teachers I talk to are frustrated by the chaos still resulting from poor implementation. So, that’s great news that it’s really working well in some schools!

    I also want to remind everyone that the CTU proposed the type of actions taken in the interim agreement nearly 9 months ago. CPS didn’t act on it until the beginning of the school year.

  • 745. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Junior, sure, I’ll stand by that. Of course, the obvious sticking point is that you haven’t seen the membership vote on a final offer yet before the job action takes place.

    First, there is still time for a final CPS offer. There is no strike until September 10. Second, absent a final offer from the Board (have you called yet? oh, right – it’s late!) it simply isn’t possible to vote on a final offer. It has to exist first. And right now, it doesn’t. Should I have addressed that and any other dozens of possibilities in my post last spring? Sure, I’ll own up to that. I did not foresee the Board declining to make a final offer before the school year started. I confess I am not much of a fortune teller.

  • 746. junior  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    @745
    Here’s what I think. I suspect the CTU leadership can decide to reject any offers without bringing them to membership, and can call a strike without choosing to bring the Board’s offer to members. And yes, absolutely, your original statement is not correct. Are you a member of the HOD?

  • 747. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Junior — I guess I don’t get what you’re so confused about either. When there is a final contract offer — which there isn’t yet, or we wouldn’t be headed, unfortunately, towards a strike — I, as a CTU member, will vote on whether to accept or decline the offer. That’s all NBCT is saying. Of course there’s not a final offer yet — why would they still be in negotiations?

  • 748. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Dare I ask this again……………exactly what is the strike, now set for September 10th about specifically? Is it still based on the document that SSI posted? If there is a strike based on the unanimous 98% strike authorization vote, then all 98% of teachers can explain the exact details of what they hope to accomplish………and every answer will be the same because 98% are striking for the exact same reason? Right?

    Yes, teachers have a right to strike, but parents have a right to know why their kids will not be in the classroom learning, HS athletes will lose scholarships, HS students (and 7th graders) will be in a very difficult situation and cause many parents to lose income because they have to stay home. I certainly hope there is a well thought out “end game” from the CTU because a strike messes with a lot of non teacher lives.

  • 749. Todd Pytel  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    @749 (Patricia) – If you go around on November 7th and ask all 51-52% of people who end up voting for our next president what they were voting for, would you expect identical answers? I would assume not. Why then are you expecting absolute, lock-step unanimity from teachers? There are going to be common threads and big issues, of course. But people have diverse motivations and values – that’s why democracy is a messy business. Projecting a unified message at any level of politics is essential to keep ideas from getting lost in the noise, but we all know that the reality behind that message is more complex than the headlines.

    You seem to asking for a soundbite summary of a complicated issue that impacts millions of people. Is that really what you want?

  • 750. Tchr  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    It is a giant district with different needs. Teachers in West Pullman have different need than teachers in Ravenswood. Teachers in elementary different than high school. I think many would agree it is for better working conditions including more teaching support staff, supplies, and being paid for the extra time in front of students which does lead to less prep time.

    Again, I have been at school for 3 weeks. I have yet to have my 45 minute duty free lunch and recess. There aren’t enough adults to watch the kids if I don’t stay! I have to get to work at least 45 minutes before I am paid to be there and I babysit kids for a good 30 minutes after my time ends. Then I begin my real prep work, grading, etc.

    So yes, I am not being paid those 45 minutes before school, those 45 minutes for my lunch and recess that I watch my students, and those 30 I watch my students after school let’s out. 120 minutes! This doesn’t include everything else I have to do.

    Pay me for that time. And respect my time in the future.

  • 751. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Todd, when we vote for president, we do not have to sign a legal document that outlines and stipulates details of why we are agreeing to vote for them. This is exactly what concerns me. At some point there needs to be something put down on paper and legally agreed to. From what I hear on this blog, and certainly from the CTU, are not things that I see being resolved by a strike.

    Will a strike stop charters?
    Will a strike cause teachers to be respected?

    You say it impacts “millions of people”. So you are saying the strike is about something “bigger” than CPS? How freaking long will that strike take? What will really be the outcome?

  • 752. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    TCHR- I know there were problems with the Pre-K assessments. I’m not sure about the Kindergarten. You can access the reach at home- but you have to “sign in.” You should be able to get on the system at your school just fine. We have to reprint our English and print the Spanish due to mistakes.

  • 753. Tchr  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    AND another thing. When people say ACT scores and college applications and sporting events and whatever else are going to come TI a halt because of the teacher strike, instead if putting all this blame, why not stop and think wow how important this job really is for our children. That without these people in our children’s lives, these things cant happen right now. That this job means more than 8 to 3. That your child’s future is dependent on a food teacher. Maybe pay that teacher and respect that teacher so that teacher is having a good day too. Who does their job well when there is so much hostility?

  • 754. Tchr  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Typos. I phone’s mini keyboard. Sorry.

  • 755. Patricia  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Tchr, I respect your honesty.

  • 756. junior  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    @747
    It seems to me bizarre that the leadership can call a strike without having brought any of management’s offers to a vote. We know CPS has an offer on the table — we’ve all heard about it.

    I know many CTU members were under the impression that there would be a chance to vote before striking. Were they misled?

  • 757. Tchr  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    If I could have a classroom of 18, we could get so much more done. My students would actually have a chance at a good education! But something like that is not possible in CPS. If this were a charter school or a private school, sure. We could limit enrollment and kick students to the curb (and then they’d just enroll in the Public school).

    I don’t know how CPS could enforce enrollment caps when there is no room in my school to open up another classroom for the extras…

  • 758. Todd Pytel  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    @752 (Patricia) – There are no rationales provided in a teacher contract either, only rules and regulations. Neither are there justifications included in the laws that our legislators pass. People and factions with diverse motivations ultimately settle on a specific course of action they can live with, but there’s no presumption that they’ve changed everyone else’s mind.

    I’m genuinely trying to understand the distinction you want to draw, but I just don’t get it.

    By “millions of people” I’m referring to the population of Chicago, though one could easily argue that this conflict reaches beyond that too. But certainly everyone in the city has some kind of stake in this decision.

    @754 (Tchr) – Well said, aside from the typos. 🙂

  • 759. Todd Pytel  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    @758 (Tchr) – I hear you. I was just talking with an old friend of mine who teaches Physics in a private school. His AP Physics class this year has 11 students in it. Must be nice…

  • 760. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    @756, no, I’m pretty sure that CTU members understand the process. What you’re talking about is negotiating — we’ve empowered our representatives to negotiate until they hammer out a version of the contract they consider worthy of taking to a vote. Mostly because they couldn’t fit all 21,000 of us at the negotiating table. 🙂

  • 761. NBCT Vet  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Junior, no, I do not believe we have been misled. I also think that the 800 or so representatives that set a strike tonight want to push the Board toward an agreement. I don’t really see that CPS has done much of anything without being forced into it. I think that’s part of the rationale here.

  • 762. CPSTEACHER4321  |  August 30, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    @756- Nope- don’t feel mislead either.

  • 763. Ltwain  |  August 31, 2012 at 12:44 am

    I had a boss once who evaluated us by our “market” value. It didn’t matter what his opinion of our work was – what mattered was what our customers thought of our work. From this followed
    our pay, which was based on what the market would bear.

    If this were applied to teachers, parents would evaluate and decide if a teacher had a positive impact on their children, and parents could reward that good teacher accordingly with a good evaluation, supplemented with a tip maybe and a plate of chocolate chip cookies.

    I think this is better than pay for performance or the automatic raises that are beguiling everyone. It’s clear from this blog that parents can recognize a good teacher when they hear one, so is there a need to do standardized tests to discover those good teachers?

  • 764. GunsaulusParent  |  August 31, 2012 at 4:49 am

    To #756-
    What offers? CPS has agreed to very little of what is being discussed. Talk to the CPS union reps. Brizard is not even at negotiations. CPS will not even commit to providing books on the first day of school. Do you honestly think that if they can not agree to provide basic teaching/learning supplies to students and teachers then they are in a position to discuss bigger issues? CPS has been dragging their feet for the past year to discuss these issues with teachers.
    There was a meeting with school union reps who did vote to strike. Another vote was NOT taken among all teachers because there is nothing to offer them to vote on.
    I fail to see why CPS could not have been meeting consistently for the past year. They always wait until the last minute to do anything.

  • 765. Teacher4321  |  August 31, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Sources say, Brizard is on the way out. See the article in the Trib. This has been a rumor for months. If he is let go, we still pay $250,000 for his salary (but hopefully not his lawsuits).

  • 766. cpsobsessed  |  August 31, 2012 at 6:32 am

    @Tchr – yep, that is what I said about big classes (very good memory!). My son still writes weird. And now he’s learning a bit of cursive which really require top-to-bottom so it’s not working.
    But those complaints are minimal compared to what you mention. So many of those kids needs some one on one or small group attention.
    That’s my problem with the longer day. If the extra time could be used to give those kids the right kind of attention, it could be huge. More of the same won’t get them where they need to be and the deficit in learning just build every year.
    I’m not blaming cps. It takes a lot of money to make that work. I’d say another body in each K class, esp in at-risk neighborhoods. FYI, my son’s class had a free helper (one of the bus drivers who was in teacher school and wanted to practice) as well as one parent for center time every day. I think even hiring a couple para-professionals (is that term still used) would go a long way.
    I felt like you do – cps is fine if a kid can learn on their own sitting with a group of kids doing centers. I also recall those first weeks of school and the teacher spending so much time in the hall doing DIBELS. Argh.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 767. Tchr  |  August 31, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Todd, I purchased my own laminator because no one knew how to properly load the one at school and it was in need of repair more times than it was ready to use. Perhaps with a giant raise I could purchase my own copier too. ;p

    We gave up our $100 for unlimited use of the copier and then when the school didn’t want to buy any more paper, we were told we were using it too much and paper was locked up past 3pm. Who has time to make copies before 3 pm????

  • 768. cpsobsessed  |  August 31, 2012 at 6:37 am

    @Tchr – why are you watching kids 30 min after? The parents are late?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 769. cpsobsessed  |  August 31, 2012 at 6:48 am

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-emanuel-brizard-20120831,0,2508868.story

    Trib article on Brizard. Hard to tell what’s true since there are completely conflicting reports on whether Rahm is happy with him or not.

    Also hard to determine the actual level of autonomy and decision-making power he has. It feels so rahm-driven.

  • 770. Angie  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:12 am

    I’m liking Tribune today.

    Hold firm, CPS
    This is about the future of Chicago

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-strike-20120831,0,7044674.story?page=1

  • 771. Angie  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Don’t back down: Spare the kids, decertify the CTU

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/site/newspaper/news/ct-oped-0831-strike-20120831,0,9150.story

  • 772. cpsobsessed  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:36 am

    From the article Angie posted: Does this ring true? Highest in the country?
    According to CPS, the average teacher in the system makes $76,000. The union says that’s untrue — it’s only $71,000. If benefits are added, the average CPS teacher costs the taxpayer between $100,000 and $107,000 a year. That’s the highest in the country.

  • 773. mom2  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:47 am

    753 Tchr – “Maybe pay that teacher and respect that teacher so that teacher is having a good day too. Who does their job well when there is so much hostility?” – No matter how many times people say it, you aren’t listening. Most people I know respect and value teachers more than words can say. This has nothing to do with money. “Pay that teacher” is what you and the CTU are asking for and I don’t feel that with the school district, city, state and country in the current economic crisis that this makes any sense at all. I think teachers in CPS are currently well paid (and should be – it is a very difficult and very important job). Sorry, but these are facts that keep being passed over.

  • 774. Patricia  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:07 am

    @770 Angie thank you for this article.

    Thank you Chicago Tribune for partially answering my post @748 😉

    Recall is a complete red herring and cannot be in this next contract. Despite the belief from some on this board that think it is easy to fire bad teachers and kick mediocre ones into high-gear, in reality this is not happening. However, for the sake of discussion, let’s say it is “easy” to get rid of ineffective teachers with a strong principal as many have posted. By all means, protect the principals right to hire who they see as the best for the job.

    This is the true sticking point and this means a LONG strike. It is not about supply money and getting books the first day of school—unfortunately.

  • 775. AnonMom  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Amen @773

  • 776. AnonMom  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I understand the importance of teachers. I truly do! I have supported every teacher my children have had. However, I cannot support this strike. It makes me feel like our students’ educations are being held hostage, or being used as a tool in the negotiation process. I know this comment is going to make people angry, but it is how I feel. This strike tastes bitter to me, and doesn’t sit well with me.

  • 777. Patricia  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Reposting article from #611 above

    Illinois credit rating downgraded by S&P. Yesterday, the Illinois “pie” shrunk and will keep shrinking because a downgrade means the state has to pay much more to do anything. Greece, move over, Illinois is going to make worldwide news and make ya look good.
    .
    http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/SP-Lowers-Illinois-Credit-Rating-Over-Pensions-167870335.html

  • 778. Patricia  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:18 am

    @776 Amen

  • 779. inedgewater  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:27 am

    OK, so a strike may or may not happen. What about the central office notices that say the 1/2 day sessions (if a strike occurs) will be at schools that have good leaders, cafeteria & gym, AC and a 1:25 ratio of student to kid-minder.

    WTF!!! Shouldn’t this be what every school does regardless during the school year? Boy, what a way to make the teachers’ points. Some head will roll in the CPS central offer over this statement!

  • 780. HS Mom  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:38 am

    @753 “When people say ACT scores and college applications and sporting events and whatever else are going to come TI a halt because of the teacher strike, instead if putting all this blame, why not stop and think wow how important this job really is for our children”

    In all honesty, it’s not going to effect me – I just wrote a check for test prep. The kids that this will effect are the ones who can’t write that check and depend on the school for all their educational instruction. The fact that there are many colleges that offer financial aid for early applications and kids who will only go to college if they get a sports scholarship means you are penalizing the kids that need it most. But, hey, it’s “important for our children”. Am I mad, yes.

    And you wonder why people are tripping over each other to get into charters. Sounds great – they are able to limit class size and disallow gangs. What else do you expect families that can’t afford private school to do?

  • 781. junior  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:55 am

    @764. GunsaulusParent

    I think your interpretation of the negotiations is a bit one-sided. In the spring, the mantra from teachers was ‘we won’t work longer without getting paid for it’. They got that as a major concession in the negotiations — they won’t have to work longer AND they are getting their displaced pool priority in getting hired back. So, what’s the problem — why haven’t they moved off their 20% raise demand?? I think negotiations will always go to last minute — that’s the nature of negotiation (ever seen government budgets get passed?). CTU has already received major concessions on the biggest issue of the talks. Getting to be about time to ink a deal now.

  • 782. RL Julia  |  August 31, 2012 at 10:10 am

    The more I read (here and elsewhere) the more I am convinced something (well lots of things) have to change. While I support teacher’s right to strike (and pretty much agree that they probably should), I just don’t know how it’s going to change anything in a system so strapped for cash.
    I have occasionally been subject to copier paper use lectures at work as well, but nothing takes the cake to CPS stories.
    In the end, it seems that we all want something for nothing – all the changes we want for CPS will cost money but no one wants/feels that they can afford to pay higher taxes – and those who can pay their way out for their individual children will – but in the end, don’t you think it is education (and a decent one at that) that prevents kids from being in gangs, getting involved in crime etc..? In the end of it all we still only pay about $7,000 a year to educate a kid at CPS but about $78,000 (also of taxpayer money) to incarcerate a kid for a year. It’s about $40,000 for an adult. Imagine what CPS would look like if the per pupil expenditure was even $20,000? Of course, there are only a little less than 49,000 people in prison in Illinois….
    Oh –and for the person who talked about firefighters – I believe at one point a long time ago firefighters were only paid for putting out fires so you know what they did…. Yep, started fires.

  • 783. HS Mom  |  August 31, 2012 at 10:10 am

    @781 Junior – I agree. Initially I was for the hiring pool if it was a viable concession for each side and would bring CTU/CPS to a quick agreement. It seems that this concession is not making a bit a difference. Patricia, you were right all along, I now see it.

  • 784. Patricia  |  August 31, 2012 at 10:11 am

    @780 HS Mom Amen!

    I can’t get the athletes out of my mind.

  • 785. Tchr  |  August 31, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I am paid way less than 71,000. That is the mean, not the median.

    Yes, very late parents.

    And I probably spend around $3000 of my own money on school.

    I work for free all the time.

    I am telling you this: you can say all you want that you respect me, but until you show me, I dont believe you.

  • 786. Paul  |  August 31, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I’m thinking that CPS should get its final offer out there. I know both parties are saying that they’ll stay at the negotiating table to get the deal done. But, I can’t believe that haven’t discussed all the issues and know what options are available. The teachers have put everything they’ve got out there and walked right up to the edge. CPS should make its final offer as compelling as it can. If it can bump up the 2% raise to a 2.25%, in line with the fact finder, and if it can keep the steps and lanes for a couple of years, then it should put it all out there and say that’s it. CPS could also laundry list all the teachers union items they’ve agreed to thus far, and detail all the compromises its made as a result of negotiations. If it can list out all the changes its made “for the kids”, outline the changes that meet the teachers’ needs, and say we just can’t afford all the things the meet the teachers’ wants, then that would help things along, I think. Then, leave it up to the teachers.

  • 787. SEN  |  August 31, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Not liking the Tribune today. Do they really believe all the problems with CPS are the teachers fault? Anybody following the stories of the violence on the west side? Girl from Wheaton is shot dead, it is front page news. Kids on the westside not so much?? The second article just came across as pure anti-union rhetoric. Did the Catholic guy send his kids to public school?

  • 788. cpsobsessed  |  August 31, 2012 at 10:50 am

    @Tchr:
    First, that is BS about parents coming late. Can the principal at least figure out a plan to stick them in the gym and find a way to have them watched? I guess that would just enable parents to come late. You need to put your foot down with the parents or principal. It’s not fair to you.

    Second, what could we (the city?) do to make you feel respected? What salary/benefits/etc would it take?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 789. Paul  |  August 31, 2012 at 11:04 am

    I’m thinking about the rumor of Brizard’s departure. On the one hand, I can see it as a dramatic step the mayor could take that the union would like. If the mayor then appointed somebody the union liked, then it could be seen as a step towards healing. On the other hand, my perception (and I think it’s the union’s perception as well), is that all the complaints the union has with CPS is not because of Brizard. It’s because of all the initiatives, programs, and no raises that came from the mayor. The union wants the mayor to either: a) reverse the longer day, longer year, tougher curriculum programs, or b) give them significant raises to carry them out. You don’t need to get rid of Brizard for that. You just have to roll back the programs or significantly raise property taxes.

  • 790. junior  |  August 31, 2012 at 11:19 am

    @789 Paul

    I think JCB was a hired mercenary brought in specifically to play some hardball through these contract negotiation. When this contract is a done deal, his usefulness will be over. Contract negotiations are in and of themselves bitter, so it makes perfect sense to have someone in there specifically for that purpose and then replace them afterward. Gives both sides a chance to start anew without some of the bitter baggage.

  • 791. OutsideLookingIn  |  August 31, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Third option for CTU happiness: Karen Lewis is elected mayor.

  • 792. cpsobsessed  |  August 31, 2012 at 11:26 am

    @Outside: yikes! You know what? She’s a smart woman and very tough. I don’t think she’d be that much different than rahm as mayor!
    (Well, except for the education priority….)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 793. Patricia  |  August 31, 2012 at 11:35 am

    @791 Funny! IMO, I think Karen Lewis has grander plans than mayor for herself. She is going to go after Randy Weingarten’s job. The foundation is being laid with the “chicago delegation silent protest” at the national teacher union convention. She needs to strike to show her power over SB7 and stick it to Rahm. She will lead the teachers off the cliff. If they come to agreement, she does’t get as much buzz.

  • 794. junior  |  August 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    @793
    Maybe, but that YouTube video might keep her from a higher-profile position.

  • 795. Angie  |  August 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Actually, that Brizard article smacks of the wishful thinking and/or deliberate misinformation to me.

    ‘Look, teachers, we announced the strike and one of the people we dislike is already on his way out. So get out your red t-shirts and start marching. Pretty soon, you’ll be taking that 22% raise all the way to the bank.’

  • 796. NBCT Vet  |  August 31, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    @ Paul

    I agree. I’d like CPS to give its final offer and lay it on the table. Then, let the teachers decide.

    @ Patricia

    I can’t imagine Karen Lewis is interested in the AFT job. Even if she was, the United Federation of Teachers has a stranglehold on the leadership of the AFT. They are so massive that no one outside of New York City will ever ascend to the presidency of that national organization.

    @ Junior

    We agree! (Let there be light!) I think Brizard’s purpose all along was mercenary. I have a slightly different take, though, in that I think it is obvious that Brizard does not set policy in Chicago. He is, in my view, a highly paid spokesperson. The mayor decides the issues in Chicago education through his hiring, his appointed Board, and the massive corporations and billionaires who advise him. I think Brizard was here to serve one of two purposes:

    a) make the mayor look good in the event he was able to crush the Chicago Teachers Union, or

    b) function as the fall guy in the event the mayor needs to save face (for any variety of reasons).

    I think we are obviously looking at the latter rather than the former.

  • 797. Paul  |  August 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    @779 inedgewater, that’s a good point. It is interesting how close the Children First plan meets many of the teachers desires: 1) good leaders, 2) cafeteria and gym, 3) air conditioning, 4) lower class sizes, 5) short school day, 6) really short teacher day.

  • 798. CarolA  |  August 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    @780 HS Mom: If CPS was able to do what charters do (limit class size and disallow gangs), where would all the gang bangers go? Could they afford all the extra classes that lowering class size would bring?

  • 799. HS Mom  |  August 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    @798 – where would all the gang bangers go?

    Parent speaking – don’t care, I don’t want them around my kid

    “Could they afford all the extra classes that lowering class size would bring?”

    Not privy to the budget, which I hear and believe is under water. How do charters afford it – private funding and lower teachers salaries? Just saying, charters are an attractive option for many especially now with threat of strike.

  • 800. Paul  |  August 31, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Does anybody know how accurate this historical strike timeline is from Stand for Children?

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CDEQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fperformancecounts.org%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2FBargainingHistory_CPS.pdf&ei=gDNBUL_ACciP6wGfnoHgDw&usg=AFQjCNGKfPoQ1Eh1kAhxknrXOYXd6H8mhw

    I was looking for something on the history of Chicago Teachers Union strikes, and it came up on a google search.

    Based on this history, I’d say that strikes work pretty well for teachers. They just need to either strike or threaten to strike every year or two, and they’ll end up with pretty hefty salary increases. I can see why teachers would be expecting a nice raise this time around.

    And, I’m wondering, hypothetically, what if teachers never went on strike, never collectively fought for higher pay, and just took CPS’s offer each year? Conversely, what if CPS just paid teachers enought so they never threatened to go on strike. What would the difference in salary be then?

  • 801. Susi  |  August 31, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    It’s interesting as a parent that CPS is willing to offer the children of Chicago daycare in an air conditioned buildings with a staff ratio of 1-25 and in schools with strong effective administrators. These students will be learning nothing and playing games or watching movies all on tax payer expense (I thought CPS was broke, where did the money come from?).

    However, the ironic thing is when it comes to educating our kids, CPS refuses to supply air conditioners to schools that need them, over crowd our classrooms up to 40 students in a room, and still continue to support ineffective administrators all while LEARNING IS GOING ON! Does that make any sense? And you wonder why educators are furious!

    CPS says they can only offer 8% in a 4 year contract. So why not compromise and offer the CPS proposed 8% in a 2 year deal? CPS still pays the same amount either way, just in few years.and it’s a win win for both sides.

    As for JCB, I can imagine him leaving next summer back to the east coast (after the contract deal) with City Hall winking at him it’s time to go.

    Parents wake up, if CPS & the CTU can’t settle their issues than it’s up to us to make our voices heard and put pressure on the powers to be to reach a fair deal. If we all call CPS, City Hall, email, fax and go out and protest 300,000 parents can make a difference!

  • 802. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    @799 — those of us who work for CPS have to care. What’s more, I want to care. Frankly, I don’t understand someone being so nakedly dispassionate about at-risk youth. And BTW, I have kids who will be in the CPS system as well.

  • 803. cpsobsessed  |  August 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    http://cps.edu/Pages/ChildrenFirstFAQ.aspx

    If it wasn’t posted yet, this link has the info for the child coverage in case of a strike. It would be 145 locations, plus extending park district stuff and libraries. Hours would be 8:30-12:30.

    Why are people asking how they can afford this? Um, cause they won’t be paying teachers? And the adult-child ratio isn’t gonna be small.

  • 804. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    But they will be paying teachers, eventually. School will be extended to make up for the lost days, right? So this can’t be extra money. Am I wrong about that?

  • 805. cpsobsessed  |  August 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Hm, that is true. I guess I just don’t see the comparison of running what will probably be half the system with minimally paid staff and biggish groups of kids compared to “why can’t we do this all year.” I just assume it’s coming from that nebulous pot of money that seems to exist somewhere when stuff is “really” needed.

  • 806. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Well, right, the hourly wage I saw mentioned somewhere was $12.

  • 807. Patricia  |  August 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    @801 What? 2% over 4 years does not equal 4% over 2 years when you compound and compare apples to apples over the same time frame. Regardless, I think with all this bitterness and the enormous amount of parent anger that will fester due to the strike, I say 4 years is the minimum length!

    You say “fair” contract. 8% over 4 years for the same contractual 7 hour days, seems more than fair. Especially given, Illinois credit rating downgrade shrinks the amount of money the state has, the continually struggling economy and the fact that money is being directed to hire the 477 enrichment teachers.

    BTW, what is the number for the CTU? That is who parents should be calling.

  • 808. NBCT Vet  |  August 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    re: make up days and costs

    If the strike occurs, which is still in question, CPS may or may not choose to make up days lost to a strike depending on how long it lasts.

    Anything above the state minimum number of school days is at the discretion of the Board or open to negotiation between CPS and the CTU.

    The new school calendar has 180 days of student attendance. The state minimum is 176.

  • 809. Frango Mint  |  August 31, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    @801, Susi – I think 8% over 2 years is reasonable, with steps and lanes staying the way they are currently. I don’t think CTU will accept anything longer than a 2 year contract.

  • 810. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 31, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    @807: As someone who dreads a strike, I am wondering about where CPS parents’ sympathies/anger will lay if it actually happens. Like many, many members of the CTU, it bothers me that we have trouble communicating the nitty gritty realities of the issues (despite wonderful efforts by eloquent teachers on this very site). There are certainly some outspoken, obviously angry parents on this website (but please note there have been many supportive parents sounding off here as well), but can you say more why you’re convinced that there will be an “enormous amount of anger” aimed solely at the teachers and the CTU? Can you share what has you convinced that emotions will be favorable towards CPS and NOT the teachers? The most recent poll I can find disputes that assertion in pretty large numbers.

    “Perhaps somewhat surprising was the support the teachers union garnered over Emanuel. On the question of who voters sided with in the more comprehensive debate over improving the city’s public school system, the union scored a better than 2-1 ratio over the mayor, who has had a testy relationship with the union’s leadership.”

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-15/news/ct-met-rahm-school-poll0516-20120516_1_school-day-chicago-teachers-union-wgn-tv-poll

  • 811. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 31, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Argh, hit post too soon. That poll is from May of 2012. Maybe there’s a more recent one that I don’t know about?

  • 812. HS Mom  |  August 31, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    @802 – Every time I look at the news I care even less – was it 6 kids shot recently? The fact that the mayor, police, teachers and citizens have to divert much needed resources and deal with youth that are shooting recklessly not only at each other but anything around them. I should care about their education? Now we have the feds on board to deal with the problem. NO way. You should care about the victims, kids living in high risk areas that need a safe place to go to school.

  • 813. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Well, I care about all involved, HS Mom. That’s why I made a career change 7 years ago and work at a neighborhood school with a 94% poverty rate.

  • 814. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  August 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    @747 I agree. The process is quite clear.

    CPS only presents a final offer when it presents one and then leaves the talks until CTU members vote. To its credit, CPS has not done this, but stayed at the table.

    CTU issues strike bulletins and briefs the Delegates all the time. CTU makes the documents public; anyone who is interested can read them. For example, http://www.ctunet.com/blog/excerpt/Contract_Bargaining_Update_8_22_2012.pdf

    CTU members authorized the strike in June. The House of Delegates rejected the fact-finder report in July, as did CPS. The Delegates voted to give a strike notice, and then voted again to set the strike date this month.

  • 815. HS Mom  |  August 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    And, do your children go to your school?

  • 816. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    #810~CPS parent & employee~so far~in my area I have not met any parent who is siding w/CPS~all sympathies are w/teachers. They are w/our kids all day, the classes are becoming larger or split; some don’t have libraries or a/c. Why doesn’t Rahm want that for CPS kids…bc he’s spending $91M on bike lanes for the 1% that bike to work. This whole yr has been a let down. There’s money for many things, but not for schools. FYI~my son goes to a wonderful neighborhood school…he’ll be fine, but what abt the other kids…this is a slippery slope. My kids have union teachers and the parents I know and I will be supporting them.

  • 817. Patricia  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    @810 It really is simple why my anger with a strike will be toward CTU and the lousy or mediocre teachers. I will always treasure and support the good teachers. When I look at what is available with the CTU and CPS “offers”, I find the CTU one ridiculous. That is where my frustration stems from. That is where it will fester every single day my kids are not learning in school as they should be.

    Nor do I hold CPS harmless in the history of why the system is so screwed up. But change needs to start somewhere and the mayor and CPS are actually making good things happen. With the longer day, adding recess, the interim agreement that is a true win win hiring 477 displaced teachers to provide enrichment and allow teachers to work status quo 7 contractual hours. This is a HUGE win for the students. CTU was a part of the interim agreement and could claim victory for it, instead they are demanding a crazy recall policy.

    Also, the overarching umbrella of the economy and state fiscal disaster weigh heavily on my mind. The contemplation is no longer just city or suburbs, it is what state should we move to when Illinois tanks and what happens to our property value. We are the worst in the US, now beating California to the fiscal bottom and are poised to “win” the global financial abyss. This is a serious situation and the CTU appears clueless and more interested in providing the teachers false hope instead of looking at reality.

  • 818. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    My children are not of school age yet. It is my fondest hope that the work I’m doing now will contribute to the improvement and eventual success of my current school and it becomes a school I’m proud to have my children attend.

  • 819. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Sorry, my response is to @815.

  • 820. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    @817 — you are excellent at articulating what makes you angry about the current crisis and I appreciate all of the time you put into your posts. But that’s why you’re angry. I’m wondering about your comments about *most* parents sharing your anger and aiming it specifically at the teachers vs. CPS — have you seen a poll that illustrates that?

  • 821. NBCT Vet  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Patricia, just out of curiosity – what percentage of teachers in CPS do you think are lousy?

    And when you say mediocre, are you referring to teachers who are average for the profession? What percentage of teachers fall into that category?

    What percentage of teachers do you think are good or better than good?

  • 822. Angie  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    “A CTU poll in April showed 64 percent of respondents did not support a teacher strike.”

    Source:
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-08-24/news/ct-met-cps-contract-talks-0826-20120824_1_chicago-teachers-union-president-karen-lewis-rod-estvan

    And this was in April, long before the previous raises and current demands were made public. Read the comments for any of the recent articles. The teachers are the only ones who think they deserve a huge raise.

  • 823. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    @822, huh. That poll was in April. The one I cited was in May. Wonder which is more accurate. And, personally, I don’t think you should consider comments on news sites to be indicative of true public sentiment — not very scientific. Though, let me take this opportunity to, once again, thank CPSO for managing such a respectful forum for opinions. 🙂

  • 824. CPS Parent  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    810. CPS Parent and Employee – You are asking whom I side with.

    The way I see it, siding with one or the other is contradictory on many of the issues. Higher raises means fewer new books and such but happier teachers (happy teachers are good for my kid, so are new books). Hiring first from the laid-off pool has no bearing on my kid – probably a 50/50 crapshoot if the veteran teacher is better than the newer one. Banking of the sick days? Will cost the taxpayers (me) down the road when those teachers retire but teachers will be happier (happier is good). You get my drift.

    I think both CPS and the CTU have been playing fair behind closed doors (this is what Ms. Lewis keeps saying) and in the media – kudos to both for a “clean” fight. I “side” with both for being responsible and mature that way.

    More has been accomplished for education in the city in the last two years than has been in decades prior – Daley was always “for the children” but I think he always made the easy decisions which created the financial mess CPS is in. The Normal length day with recces (thank you CTU for having settled on that already), IB programs, STEM programs, transforming the City Colleges. are some of the new initiatives I appreciate.

    Once we get over the acrimony that collective bargaining, by default, produces I think CPS can continue down a path of improvement which the current leadership has begun.

  • 825. Paul  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    My sense is that a lot of parents like teachers, support teachers, and think that CPS has a lot of problems, but few parents think that teachers’ decision to strike is a good one.

  • 826. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Thank you, CPS Parent, that was a very thoughtful reply (a lot of which I agree with). But just to be clear, I think my comment was misunderstood. Patricia (and some others) have repeated that the vast majority of parents’ loyalty is with CPS. I’m just wondering where that info is coming from. I’m not asking anyone personally who they side with. That’s usually pretty apparent (more with some than others!). But thank you for your reply.

  • 827. anonymouse teacher  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    @803, the adult to child ratio for the babysitting centers during the strike is, in writing on the CPS webpage, way smaller than the great majority of ALL CPS classrooms. 25:1. I met with 50 other teachers today. Every single one of them (we all went around the room) have classes between 30-40, with most between 35-40.

  • 828. anonymouse teacher  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    CPSO, you said to tchr, “@Tchr:
    First, that is BS about parents coming late. Can the principal at least figure out a plan to stick them in the gym and find a way to have them watched? I guess that would just enable parents to come late. You need to put your foot down with the parents or principal. It’s not fair to you.”
    I think you overestimate what teachers can and cannot say to their bosses. She might nicely ask for help, but there is no guarantee she’ll get it and if she’s not tenured, it wouldn’t be unprecedented for someone to get fired over something like asking for the students to wait in the office, the auditorium, whatever.

  • 829. HS Mom  |  August 31, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    @818 – that’s a fair response and I hope so too. 94% poverty is not enough information for me determine my “acceptability” of the school for my child. The question posed to me was specifically about “gang bangers” (not my word, I said that charters disallow gangs). I do not hold any respect for violent youth and frankly do not want my child exposed as a potential victim or to possibly be influenced. I’m guessing that most people do not and thus the popularity of charters. So, while you view me as being callused, I look at it as a mother trying to do the best for my child. No moral judgements here – I think the “gang banger” situation has gotten out of hand and is complex in Chicago and needs to be addressed outside of the classroom. You may disagree on that too, my best to you.

  • 830. EdgewaterMom  |  August 31, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    For what it is worth, I am frustrated with BOTH sides. I think that most CPS teachers are dedicated and work very hard. I also think that they are well paid. I think that they have had VERY generous raises in the past and that we all have to deal with the reality of struggling economy. I would rather see that money spent on text books, supplies and other things that will make for a better working environment for teachers and a better learning environment for students.

    I think that it is completely unfair of CPS to ask the teachers to sign off on a merit pay system that it is not yet defined. I also have changed my mind about the need for a merit pay system (thanks to this site). Before reading all of the posts here, I thought that it made sense to pay the teachers who are working harder and performing better more money than those that are just coasting. However, the research shows that this does not improve student test scores or teacher satisfaction. If the teachers are happy all getting the same raises then that is OK with me.

    I think that the return to a normal length school day is a good thing and I really think that the short day that we have had for all of those years really did a disservice to students. I think that CPS and CTU came to a good compromise on this issue and both sides should be satisfied with the result. I don’t think that this should be a factor when considering raises because they are not teaching more hours.

    I hope that both sides come to their senses and come to the bargaining table really willing to come to a solution that works for both sides.

  • 831. CarolA  |  August 31, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    HS Mom: Maybe I”m missing the point you are making and maybe I didn’t respond well. My point was that if people prefer charters because of their ability to limit class size and disallow gangs and CPS changed all schools to charters (which I think you would like), then as a “public” school, wouldn’t they have to accept everyone? Or are charters not considered public schools? I don’t know. Just asking.

  • 832. CarolA  |  August 31, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    EdgewaterMom: I agree with most of what you said. I can only speak for myself, but if CPS did spend the money on books, supplies, etc. that were necessary for me to do my job properly, I would certainly pass on any raise. I agree that in this economy, if I’m not actually working any more hours, then I shouldn’t get any more pay. Sadly, I am working more hours. In fact, because of the new unit planning that is being imposed and the fact that we had full day meetings every day this week, my team was unable to complete the unit plan that will be due one week from today. This happened even though we stayed well past the 7 hour day twice this week. So, next week after our 7 hour day (which for me with be an 9 hour day because I always get there next week and work to complete that unit plan. This weekend, I had to bring home my class list so I can do all my nametags and create my Compass Learning site ( computer based homework ). I didn’t have time to do it at school. I still haven’t prepared my first day of school folders for parents. Then I have to spend time watching 2 videos so I can sign off on them. One is on diabetic children and one is about homeless families. In any case, I would still pass on a raise if all the books and supplies I needed were supplied. But don’t be fooled that we aren’t working any more hours. Maybe not at the school building, but we are working longer.

  • 833. CarolA  |  August 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Sorry. Should say get there early and stay a little longer

  • 834. CarolA  |  August 31, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    I guess I’m tired. I wanted to say that my team will be coming to my house after work next week to finish that plan. No doubt we’ll have to meet at least twice before Friday.

  • 835. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 31, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I don’t think the interim contract is a win-win at all for any1. Rahm took a shoddy deal to get his 7hr day and he knows it’s a flop. No one I’ve spoken to feels the interim agreement is working..only chaotic~kids & teachers starting/ending at same time is INSANE. CPS never had a plan for the LONGEST day and now every1 knows it as it was deemed a ‘flop’ in one of the papers. Globally ~Chicago is being watched for their crime/gangs & CPS~Rahm has failed at both. He has the opportunity to fix CPS…hopefully, he’ll put the kids first b4 his political agenda.

  • 836. Tchr  |  August 31, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    CPSO and mouse- I actually did leave a kid in the office the other day because I had a meeting attend, notified office staff, and then the wrong person (another relative, not a stranger) picked up the child and I was literally cussed out by the parent who arrived over an hour late to pick up the child who was no longer there.

    Respect my time.

  • 837. Seen it all...  |  August 31, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    #799 Charters “do it” because they accept very few children with disabilities which lowers the cost dramatically. A charter school only has to have one certified teacher by law and that is the gym teacher.
    Teachers do not have to have education degrees, be certified, be citizens or even have a degree. Look at their staffs-very few teachers over thirty-the charters use them, burn them out and churn to get a new crop of 22 year olds. There usually is no counselor, social worker, nurse or even an A.P.-after all charters are for-profit.

  • 838. CarolA  |  August 31, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Tchr: I hear ya about the time thing. Last year I had a small group of parents who decided our building was a great place to leave the little ones for an extra half hour or more. They were late daily. The year before, one mother would go once a week to the gambling boat and didn’t return until 2 hours after dismissal on more than one occasion. No phone numbers she had left as emergency numbers worked. Luckily for her, we had an after school program and someone was in the building for that long, but that’s not really the point. And think about that child just sitting there on the office bench waiting for someone to come get her. Sad. And I’ll say it again…. I’m at a “good” school. Can’t imagine what it’s like at a “bad” school.

  • 839. HS Mom  |  August 31, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    831 – I don’t object to charters. We have friends in charters doing quite well. I see the need to provide safety in some areas. We would go to a good charter as opposed to our neighborhood school. Do I think all schools should go charter? No – I like choice. Would I like to see the school system void of the union – yes. I think unions have their place – schools dealing with kids not being one of them.

    My biggest frustration is that for this to be a reality there would need to be major overhaul of the system and a change in how teaching is perceived and implemented. We’ve added such great programming over recent years and my perception is that the union is slowing the momentum.

    Yes, I blame the union, not teachers for the current situation. I still think there are better ways to do this. I have no opinion on Brizard but have only heard him bad mouthed from day 1. The union keeps trying to “shake the money tree” and it has gone dry. We have a lot of needs and little money. But that’s what we have. So, do we stop moving forward?

  • 840. CPS Parent  |  August 31, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    SoxSideIrish4 is the lone ranger still fighting for the shortest day…

  • 841. CarolA  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    You blame the union, not the teachers, but the union IS the teachers. You still think there are better ways to do this. Please list them for me. I’m open to new ideas. Let’s hear them.

  • 842. WendyK  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    @810 – There is no consensus on where parents stand. Anyone who says “all parents” do anything in a district this size is not telling the truth. It’s all over the map. I hear from dozens of parents every day through Raise Your Hand and I can say even in our small group people have varying opinions. I think most parents are sympathetic to teachers in general but that doesn’t mean they support every contract request. Some parents are in full support of a strike, some are vehemently opposed.

    I also think there’s a ton of focus on this site on the raise and there are equally pressing issues such as merit pay and recall to the CTU. Recall is complicated. With the number of school closings the district is planning for the years ahead, the ctu is rightfully concerned about all of those teachers being displaced w/o a job and replaced with cheaper teachers and charters.

  • 843. CarolA  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Teachers don’t necessarily support every detail of the contract request either. But, as with everything, we have to weigh the pros and cons and decide from there what’s best for each of us. There are things I feel strongly about and things I wouldn’t be upset if we didn’t get.

  • 844. Tchr  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    “being flexible- I think that means doing what you’re not supposed to do for longer than you thought you’d ever thought you’d have to do it.”

    Educating Esme

  • 845. CarolA  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Karen Lewis has said over and over again that they haven’t even started talking about the raises yet. Did anyone consider that idea that maybe we are trying to get some other major issues resolved first and if we get those we would ease up on the salary demand? Now that would be a real twist wouldn’t it?

  • 846. EdgewaterMom  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    @844 I loved “Educating Esme” – and Esme is now a fabulous librarian at a CPS school.

  • 847. CPS Parent and Employee  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    @829: HS Mom, I get it, I really do. We all want what’s best for our kids. You don’t want your kids going to a school where they’re going to in danger. I don’t either. And of course, working with this population on a daily basis helps me to humanize them instead of simply becoming desensitized by the bad news on a daily basis. They’re not “gang bangers” to me, they’re just my students. My main point is that CPS neighborhood schools can’t just kick out every kid that causes trouble. We have to figure out how to make it work.

  • 848. anonymouse teacher  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    HS mom, you said, “We’ve added such great programming over recent years and my perception is that the union is slowing the momentum.” Can you tell me what great programming you are referring to? Is it just in your own school or system wide?

  • 849. anonymouse teacher  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Esme has really great things to say about our testing frenzy.
    http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2009/09/educating-esme-10-years-later.html

  • 850. NBCT Vet  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    I wonder, why doesn’t CPS and the state give neighborhood schools the same freedoms that charters get from state and district regulations? Or is it just the non-union part that they believe in?

    Would the parents here support something like that? Allowing neighborhood schools to restrict enrollment and class size, deny entrance to students with special needs, offer fewer services or slots to English language learners, keep out kids from the neighborhood, dismiss students for poor academic performance, send trouble makers away, cut off students who can’t cut the “zero tolerance” policies?

  • 851. Eve  |  August 31, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    As a parent, my concern is class size which apparently has to be addressed through work rules…..If class size maximums are out, then I hope CTU strikes because I would prefer for my kids to miss a few weeks of school and be in reasonably sized classes than stay in school and potentially be classes with 40 other students.

  • 852. HS Mom  |  August 31, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    @841 – I’ve talked to teachers that do not feel that they are the union. The question posed above is do parents blame teachers or CTU, so that indicates 2 separate entities to me. “Blame” is pretty harsh – lets say all parties have a stake including parents/kids.

    I’ve seen multiple list of wants. As I see it, there is a need for a single list with agreed priorities. All stakeholders should be represented as part of a committee that will evaluate all concerns and make decisions.

    Brainstorming instead of striking. How does a school that has recess handle it so that it’s manageable, safe and respectful of teachers time. How can that be implemented elsewhere? Books – they need to be available on the first day (which books are critical, is there free or lost cost options on line or through memberships etc). How do we operate efficiently as quickly as possible? Schools with good fundraising capabilities adopt a sister school in need to get much needed supplies, coat drives, fund raise or find sponsors for things like air conditioning?? I’m just throwing some things out there. Wouldn’t it be easier to work together than to walk out?

  • 853. HS Mom  |  August 31, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    @848 – within the last 10 years CPS has grown from some magnets and very few gifted schools to more magnets, differentiated learning within neighborhood schools, many more classical and selective elementary and high schools, growth of the IB program, career programs – all with their own specialties. So much going on, the growth has been phenomenal IMO.

  • 854. Tchr  |  August 31, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    As I think about the past 3 weeks of school and think about plans for next week, what next Friday could look like, what my school will tell families, and what I will tell my students… When we will see each other again and what will happen as they are gone.. And I think about how I would feel respected by CPS, admin, and parents:

    I guess all in all, I don’t really want more
    money. (yes, of course I would want more money but I don’t need it)

    I would like a morning prep before school and a prep during school. Often, I used both preps to get assessments done to maximize instruction time.

    I would like 1 adult to watch my class at lunch and make sure they actually eat their food, help them open milks when they can’t, and help them cleanup without getting tomato sauce spilled all over their shirts. Having 20 mins to myself to sit down would be amazing. Somedays I do not go to the bathroom from 7:30am to 4:00 pm.

    I would like 1 adult to watch my class on the playground. I want it to be an adult that knows my students and knows how to solve problems with little people without just making them all sit out of recess.

    I would like a Teacher’s aide. Someone that knows what they are doing and could take on a few word study and guided reading groups.

    If no aide, I would like a cap of 20 kindergartners in my class. 32,35,40. That’s too many.

    I would like a school nurse to administer medications to our students and a clinic on site would be amazing. I would like a speech therapist that works at our school only and has the time to meet with my students for the actual minutes listed on their IEP’s.

    I would like a counselor to be available for primary students. When schools have a counselor, they are usually booked with intermediate and middle school students.

    I would like a way to encourage parents to be more involved in their children’s education and well being without dangling a gift card like for attendance on report card pick up day (something charter schools can write in their handbooks that neighborhood schools cannot)

    I would like a reasonable stipend to use to purchase things throughout the year (food for things like carol mentioned: patterns, addition, counting, laminating costs, supplies like construction paper, other craft supplies.

    I would like proper training, ample notice, and research based support/explanations for assessments I am supposed to give. I would like CPS to allow me to disagree and state my case when I disagree about a test’s use. (Carol!)

    I would like to be paid for mandatory meetings after school let’s out. That time is my time to get work done for the next day. I am ok with working extra hours to prep my classroom, look over work samples and assessments, I don’t even mind bringing things home to finish. But if you are going to take back some of that time, you should pay me overtime.

    I would like admin and CPS and parents to thank me for my work once in a while. A nice card with a real story. Not a generic printed card.

    I would feel respected if these things happened.

    I don’t think these are things CPS would or could do.

    Since we do not have enough people to watch my students, please pay me an extra 2 hours of my hourly rate. (but yes, I would still be angry and rather have those 2 hours to work and rest.)

  • 855. Tchr  |  August 31, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    And ps. I would like that support staff because often I am expected to handle crisis situations, provide Occupational therapy and speech services, etc. It is hard to provide special services to 1 student with 31 remaining. I feel like I am not respected when I am asked/expected to do way more than I am capable of. (sure, I make do. I teach manners, we read When Sophie Gets Angry, I have band aids in my room, we play games with tweezers and play doh- these are all things I am able to “manage” but provide an excellent well rounded education to each of my students?? Eek. I am one person. I am doing what I can and some times/days I am not a nice teacher, or at least not the teacher i expect myself to be, not the teacher I would want for my children, because it is a lot to handle. Burn out
    rate!

    See mad tv’s nice white lady skit.

  • 856. Tchr  |  September 1, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Oh! And I would feel respected as a teacher, an early childhood teacher, if I could get a stipend to spend on pertinent professional development like attending kindergarten teacher workshops during the summer or going to the Illinois Reading Conference. (And not yell at me for taking a day off to go.) These would help me be a better teacher. Not listening to how the 5th graders at my school have to take another test and this is how to administer and this is how the score will affect
    our school and my salary.

    And allow me to take sick days without being scolded or harassed or getting a low rating. When I say i have strep or my eye is goopy and obvious it is pink eye, it is best for my students and for myself not to be in school. We dont want me to infect my students and ruin THEIR attendance too. These are not fake illnesses to get me to skip out on work. You will not see me in a parade or at a Cubs game. I would feel respected and VALUED.

  • 857. jennifer oconnor  |  September 1, 2012 at 1:18 am

    I feel like so many posting here are missing the bigger picture about merit pay. I work in an impoverished, neighborhood school. It is not a magnet, select enrollment, or other fancy titled school. The only requirements my students must meet to attend my school is that they live in the area. I usually have 25% of my students entering first grade who have NEVER attended school before. Many cannot spell or write their names. Kindergarten is not mandatory in Illinois. Research shows early childhood education is one of the greatest predictors of future literacy success. in my humble opinion why not legislate these crucial issues and give all public schools a preschool instead of this longer school day which is all politcal grandstanding ment to boost one man’s agenda. We have no preschool. This is a crime for at risk students. I am a dedicated and effective teacher. Almost all of my students make a year or more growth in my classroom. Yet, they are still not on level. Is this my fault? According to merit pay it indeed would mean I am a poor educator. Judge me on the growth of my students.
    All merit pay will do is rob the schools who are in dire need of the best teachers of that very resource. I will leave this school if my pay will be judged on test scores and not growth.
    I will move to a magnet or other high performing school so I will not be deemed an ineffective teacher. That is why merit pay doesnt work. Merit pay will simply infuse schools witb higb performing students with more resources. These neighborhood schools are being bled dry of so many important resources. Most of all I have seen that there is no longer a mixed range of abilities in my class. Basically, neighborhood schools in poor areas are servicing the students no one else wants. I love these kids. It is not their fault that they have not attended preschool or kindergarten. These children are all of our responsibilities. Where is the outrage?? When we discuss this situation, lets remember that most all of our children come from literate, stable homes. The reason I am outraged about what is occurring in cps rests mostly around the disenfranchised students I teach. The mayor is set to close 100 neighborhood schools next year. He most likely will turn over most of these schools to charter schools who are succeeding with a 50% average. Where are these families’ choices? What happens when those parents cannot come up with the student fees that most charters charge? I just don’t get why people don’t seem to care about these issues. Then I sadly realize the reason I hear such little outrage is because the people who are listened to and heeded are most certainly not the parents of these school children. There is a lot at stake here.

  • 858. Marketing Mom  |  September 1, 2012 at 3:11 am

    Karen Lewis is the face of the CTU and is a PR train wreck. Whether or not all teachers agree with her is irrelevant. I keep hearing they want respect. Well if teachers want to be respected, more money will not fix that and will not benefit the children. If anything i have less respect for teachers than before. I have to explain to my kids that even though they will start school next week, your teachers will walk off the job, and mom and dad need to take off work to be with you. I can see why many charters have huge numbers of applicants even though they may not be fundamentally better. I think there are many great teachers that deserve a raise. But why does the Union want to protect those that are underperforming? Let’s stop with all the complaining. If you are tired of coming out of pocket to buy supplies – then stop! If parents come 2 hours late every other day to pick up their kids – call DCFS! If you feel you do not make enough money – find another job. You can’t get blood from a turnip. Many parents and taxpayers in the private sector have endured layoffs, wage reductions and increased responsibilities during the economic downturn. I have not had a raise in years, but I am not complaining because I like what I do and there are probably 50 people that would line up for my job. A good, dedicated teacher will always be great, with or without a 30 percent raise.

  • 859. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 6:35 am

    MarketingMom: Maybe you didn’t read that several teachers here on this post (including myself) have already said they would pass on a raise. It’s easy for you to say….just call DCFS. Did you know that we can’t until it’s after 6:00! Last year my school dismissed at 2:45. That’s a long wait. One time we actually had to do that because it was 6:15 and no pick up. So the child had to go to the police station. Then the child goes through the DCFS cycle of being separated from the parent (not a win/win). 4 days later, the child is back with the same mom because other than late pick-ups, there is no proof of abuse. It’s not as easy as everyone here seems to think. Instead of staying home and yapping to your children about how terrible teachers are for walking off the job…why not use it as a teaching moment to explain that in life, if you want something bad enough, you work hard to achieve it. And if there are things in your way, you work hard to discuss them. And if discussion don’t go anywhere after many months, then you need to find another way. How long should someone bang their head against the wall before they realize it hurts and it’s time to do something else? Teachers want change. We are moving in that direction as HSMom so nicely explained above. Big changes take time. We are getting there. This year we have so many improvements, but many obstacles that we need to get around.

    You also say if we are tired of buying extra supplies, then just stop. Let’s see how long you, as a parent, would tolerate it if we did that. If your child didn’t have the resources that most teachers supply. If your child got an F on a paper because they had lost their own pencil and the teacher didn’t go get pencils on her own so that she could give your child one. If your child received an F because the teacher didn’t purchase the materials needed to clarify a topic in another way rather than just lecture and hope they get it. It would be nice if CPS provided all books, but they don’t. Let see how you would feel if your child was one of 4 children who didn’t get a book on time and I didn’t take the time to photocopy the pages on my own time with my own paper so your child couldn’t complete the work and therefore received an F. I am sure if any of these things occurred, you would find the time to contact the school, the Board, whatever. When it hits home, we all find the time. It hits home for me! I’m taking the time to fight these injustices. You won’t see me fighting for a raise. Do I deserve it? Yes. Will I fight for it? No. Again, CTU hasn’t even discussed the pay raise issue yet. It’s last on our list of priorities or didn’t the parents notice that.

  • 860. cpsobsessed  |  September 1, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Carol, about the pay raise, you mean it is last on your (teachers posting here’s) list or the CTU list? I understand you guys completely. I think the perception is that it’s at the top of the list. And we haven’t seen a list. Actually there probably isn’t “a list.”. I’m not saying it’s wrong to be at the top of ctu’s list. But I just wanted to see what you meant.

    Regarding the late stayers, other schools take the kids to the principal’s office since they stay til 6. Would it at least be more efficient if teachers took turns? You guys have convinced me that parents need to speak up to principals more, but what about teachers too? Do you feel like it’s acceptable to do so? My completely uninformed opinion is that your principal needs to send a stronger message to the parents about picking up their kids. That is a really miserable situation.

    A women I know ran an afterschool program in detroit. Same story. A kid or 2 not picked up every day. She would often walk them home, through the crummy neighborhoods. Its so hard — what would any kind person do?, but it’s SO not fair to teachers. Makes my blood boil.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 861. Teacher4321  |  September 1, 2012 at 7:48 am

    I’ve posted before that I have worked at two very distinct schools. One with more haves than have nots and one with more have nots than haves, always in early childhood.

    We have late pick ups all the time. It happend at both schools. We understand that sometimes circumstances come up but I tried calling a family for an hour one time to remind her to pick up her child and when I finally reached her she said, oh I’m in the middle of grocery shopping should I just leave my cart? Another family took advantage of my kind nature and being a first year teacher and left their child evey single day until 4:00 and this was when CPS schools still had full day PreK and the school had an extended day already – long before the plan to extend the day was even thought about (and we got our hourly wage for the extension). I’ve wised up since that time, but to mirror what CarolA said calling DCFS isn’t that easy, you have to wait until 6:00 and get the police involved.

    As for us not buying supplies, there would be an increase in illness. Many of us supply hand sanitizer, soap and Kleenex for our rooms. There also would also be a decrease in learning as many classrooms would simply have the textbooks supplied by the school (If any) and books borrowed from the scant collection of the Chicago Public library. Many of the books might take days to receive because the inter-library loans take time.

    Additionally, many of the children with special needs require materials and modifications which require teacher made materials or supplies for their accommodations such as visual supports which must be printed and laminated. These accommodations make their ability to learn material increase, or just their ability to be in the classroom. If it is written in the IEP we have to supply it, however we are not given an extra budget to supply these materials.

    We get $100.00 supply money per year. That is it. Next year I hear we will get $250.00, one of the things the CTU bargained for, but according to another poster we can no longer deduct the $250.00 we once did from our taxes.

    Speaking of IEPs, the district’s system for completing them electronically is incredibly time consuming because the system simply cannot handle the amount of people using the system concurrently. This creates significant lag time while trying to complete portions of the IEP. Issues like these are being discussed in contract negotiations.

  • 862. Paul  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I think everybody sympathizes with these problems that teachers face. But, I don’t think a strike is going to solve them. If the CTU got its every wish in these contract negotiations, a parent can still fail to pick their kid up on time, your principal can still spend all the school’s discretionary money on something other than paper and kleenex, and the computerized IEP system can still be overloaded. And, if you put requirements into the contract in an attempt to address these problems, it can be very very expensive (think bureaucratic waste), and cause more problems elsewhere. For instance, you could write into the teacher contract that every school have a social worker on staff after school in order to take care of the kids that are left by their parents. Then, you could have lots of social workers available in schools on days where no kids are left behind. They’d be there just in case, and some days they’d be needed, but the rest of the time, it’s an overpaid bureaucrat sitting around wasting money. I think that’s the type of problem caused by past CPS/CTU contracts.

    One very real problem that the school system faces is financial. The district is broke, borrowing huge amounts of money, and not making pension payments. The teachers striking in order to force higher pay, benefits, and working conditions (that require money), will only make that problem worse.

    Another very real problem the school system faces is providing a substandard amount of instruction, no time for recess, and little time for lunch. It’s had a short school day and school year for a long time due to CPS/CTU negotiations. That problem is what CPS has attempted to address through the longer school day.

  • 863. TeachingintheChi  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I agree about respecting time. There are regularly kids standing at our front door an hour before school begins. Just left there. We are not inhumane people so we let the child in, but then someone has to watch the child. Usually there are many children. My day was just extended by an hour. Then the bell rings at the end of the day and there is usually another group that is picked up 45-60 minutes late. So I guess a big portion of my job is babysitting. In those moments it sure feels like it.

    As for charters – because we love to bash them on here. First note that they will not be striking. So while you are complaining about the strike, make sure you realize charters will be in session.

    Additionally, I have worked for two different charters. Both had certified teachers (at least as many as traditional CPS schools who let subs or paraprofessionals teach classes), there were APs, Deans, and significantly smaller classes. Yes I made less than the CPS salary scale, but not significantly less.

    As for gang members in charters. Lets not kid ourselves. There are gang members in charter schools. The difference is that there is a zero tolerance policy for them representing or recruiting in the building. This is actually something that everyone supports from administration through the teaching staff. CPS has exactly the same “rules” in the CPS Code of Conduct. The problem is CPS doesn’t actually follow its Code of Conduct so gang activity runs rampant in many schools – and I have been at one of those south side high schools as well.

    Now I know when we talk about kicking kids out of charters there is one charter organization that we are largely talking about, ahem J.R., and I will admit my complete ignorance to their program since I have never worked for them. However, the public votes with their feet and there are consistently families lining up around the block to get into these schools. Charters almost always have waiting lists. So while we want to place the blame on charters, if they were so horrible why are they getting so many families??? I am sure the response will be all the money they get. Charters get 80% of the per pupil spending of a traditional CPS school. The rest is made up by fund raising and private donations. Most do more with less.

  • 864. Teacher4321  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:13 am

    CPSO said, “Regarding the late stayers, other schools take the kids to the principal’s office since they stay til 6. Would it at least be more efficient if teachers took turns? You guys have convinced me that parents need to speak up to principals more, but what about teachers too? Do you feel like it’s acceptable to do so? My completely uninformed opinion is that your principal needs to send a stronger message to the parents about picking up their kids. That is a really miserable situation.”

    I think it depends on your administration. The administration at my school is amazing. I trust them and I feel confident asking them for support. I have worked for 3 schools (I know above it says 2 distinct schools, but school 1 and 2 were pretty similar on many population aspects, but not all aspects, so I lump them together as schools sometimes in my thoughts). At one school, I was less confident in asking for what I needed and in fact asking for what I needed got me in pretty big trouble one time. I went to my principal with a letter from the program I work for stating I needed an aide and was berated for asking even though the aide was federally mandated to be in my classroom. I did not have tenure at the time, so I did not push the issue further- suffered through the year and immediately began seeking another school.

    THIS IS WHAT TENURE provides us with, the ability to ask and stand up for what we need and not get fired for asking or standing up, because it requires due process and hopefully refusing to watch children after your work hours and getting written up for it would not look like insubordination when a grievance or hearing takes place.

    I can assure you if some of the language that CPS wants to remove from the contract in terms of tenure and work rights gets removed people will be less likely to speak up about working conditions (which is what CPS wants) or to their administration if they have an administration they cannot trust. There are many administrations that can’t be trusted out there. In the long term, in many schools, this will cause work conditions to continue to deteriorate, which will impact students (class size, supplies, resources).

  • 865. Tchr  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Paul, to clarify, I don’t think schools need social workers to babysit kids or call DCFS after school hours.

    Our school needs a full time social worker and counselor because our kids see awful things everyday and need professional help to help them work those things out. I’m talking about the kids who are drug runners in 4th grade for their uncles. The kids who come to school unbathed and in the same stained white uniform shirt everyday. The kids who steal lunches to take home because there is no food at home over the weekend. The kids who have never learned how to solve something without screaming shut up, punching someone, etc. These are issues that I can skim the surface of in my classroom, but I do not have the expertise to do.

    I dont need a professional to babysit kids. My students have real life problems and sometimes their their parents are good people but also don’t know what to do.

  • 866. Tchr  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:39 am

    And ps. I previously worked at a charter school. If they thought your child was going to be a behavior problem or had an IEP we couldn’t handle, you were counseled to go to a school that was a “better fit for your child”.

    The school was the majority first year teachers willing to work for a salary much less than the public schools. When you are 22 a job is a job. But when you need to start paying back student loans, other bills you didn’t have as a college student, that first job doesn’t seem so dreamy anymore.

  • 867. Paul  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:39 am

    @Tchr. I think I understand. And, I agree with you. I think that each teacher in CPS can probably quickly come up with a list of problems as long or longer than yours. I just don’t think that a strike is the way to get those problems solved. I guess what I need to understand is the link between the problems you’ve identified and how a strike can solve them. For example, the problem is that there are kids in 4th grade who sell drugs for their uncle. If the teachers go on strike, we can get a full-time social worker and counselor in our school (is that a likely outcome?). And, that social worker and counselor can help that child stop selling drugs for his uncle (is that a likely outcome?).

    Incidentally, I think each parent can probably come up with a list of problems with CPS they’d like changed as well. Cpsobsessed and the parents who comment on this blog have talked about those problems for years. And many of us have volunteered and worked very hard in their schools and lobbied in attempt to address some of them.

  • 868. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:40 am

    CPSO: It is last on MY list. The fact that CTU hasn’t even discussed it yet indicates that there are other issues more important to us.

    Charters: Parents are lining up for them. I agree. But is it because parents like the curriculum and what they offer or do they like the longer hours and no risk of a strike so they don’t have to worry about babysitting services. I have been working 24 years in CPS and I can count on one hand how many parents have actually asked for a tour of the school and asked to speak to a first grade teacher to discuss what goes on in the classroom before they make their decision. When my daughter was ready for school (many moons ago), I went to the local Catholic school and did exactly what I described above. I also went to the local public school. Then I compared curriculum, activities, technology, etc. Would you believe that even back then, CPS was better! She went to CPS schools through high school and I sent her to CCD for the religious element. We make our choices. For me, it turned out CPS was better in my neighborhood. But how many parents take the time to ask about curriculum. At Open House, I rarely have a parent ask about the curriculum their child will be learning or ask to see the books being used. They don’t ask how I will be addressing their child’s needs. They want to know how their child is doing. I’ve only known them 7 days…..they are doing fine. LOL

  • 869. Paul  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:50 am

    @CarolA, I did the same thing you did by comparing Catholic schools and the local public school. And, I came up with the same conclusion. The public school was better. But, I have to say that the longer hours of the charter school and no risk of a teacher strike in charters and Catholic schools sounds pretty good right now.

  • 870. NBCT Vet  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:01 am

    The difference is that there is a zero tolerance policy for [gang members] representing or recruiting in the building…CPS has exactly the same “rules” in the CPS Code of Conduct.”

    This is flatly false. CPS schools are not allowed by law to follow the same rules as charter schools. When a gang member represents in a charter school under a zero tolerance policy he or she is sent to the local neighborhood school. Neighborhood schools are allowed to do no such thing. CPS schools are bound by Illinois School Code procedures, progressive discipline, and due process. Charters are not. So let’s stop comparing these two very different types of schools as if they were the same.

    “Most [charters] do more with less.”

    This implies that charter schools and CPS schools are working with the same kids. That’s just obviously incorrect as recent local studies have shown. Even if one believes high stakes standardized test scores are the pinnacle of student success charter schools still perform pretty much the same as neighborhood schools but with a selected enrollment rather than a mandated enrollment.

    I have spoken to literally hundreds of families over the last several years about why they send their children to charter schools. The first response I get, literally every single time I ask the question, is that they want to separate their children from the riff raff. Not academics, not test scores ,not curricula, not teachers, not the hours, not supports. Segregation from “those” children. The second reason is also always the same, too: discipline. Both of these rationales are understandable.

    By the way, my neighborhood school turns away hundreds of students from outside our area who seek to attend. We can’t keep a waiting list. We’re already massively overcrowded.

    If charter schools are so effective in certain ways why not open up those same freedoms to neighborhood schools? We would love to select our students, release our “unfortunate” children to someone else’s school, cap our enrollment, mandate parental volunteerism, remove students for poor academic performance, etc. Our legislators and school board, if they really believed charters were the light and the way, could allow every school in Chicago to operate under the same rules as charters. That won’t happen because there is a very different agenda at work.

    I know this is a contract thread. For me the mass termination of experienced, career educators and the closure of neighborhood schools (100 schools in the next year or two) to make room for privately operated charter school replacements that do not serve high percentages of neighborhood students (only 35% last time I checked with CPS) is a huge issue.

  • 871. CPSnoMore3  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:06 am

    868 — 869 sort of…the catholic grammar school in my neighborhood not so hot…the neighborhood CPS grammer school is IB it’s not great, but better than the catholic school. As far as the high schools, can’t believe we are rehashing this again….neighborhood cps hs fair at best. Most people kids to private HS, expensive but worth it…won’t / don’t strike, have supplies / books for all, rules (not crazy) the list goes on. Don’t even get me started on the tier conversation…so tired of it all. have a nice strike.

  • 872. Tchr  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Paul, what you asked, is that social worker really going to help that 4th grader stop selling drugs… That is a question I ask myself everyday. Is what I do in my classroom really going to help my 32 5 year olds? Are they going to be college graduates? Are they going to be able to break the cycle of poverty? If history repeats itself, no. But I can’t go into my job everyday not thinking that what I do doesn’t matter. I have to get past the realities of where my kids live. I do my best to do in my classroom what I would want for my
    children. I refuse to believe that just because a social worker cannot change the fact that a child is helping sell drugs that that social worker has no way to help that child.

    What i am getting at is that the problem with many of our public schools is not just the academics. It’s all the other crap our kids endure everyday. They need more help than 1 person, 1 teacher can handle. Yes, that 4th grader should be able to talk to someone abou what is going on and sort through conflicting things going on in their head. And if our school had more community outreach support, if Chicago spent money on revamping Englewood, Cabrini Green, Austin, etc instead of just kicking people out, giving section 8 vouchers to move to move elsewhere instead of planting flower beds on Michigan ave, if schools and counseling and social service agencies had the resources to HELP people, there could be real change. Help families. Not give them money but help them work things out.

  • 873. Jess Mom  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:11 am

    HS mom, did you really mean to saing you don’t care about poor children getting shot???? I find this statement repugnant.

  • 874. cps alum  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:11 am

    The real problem with CPS is that too much money is being spent paying downtown bureaucrats who have little to no contact with children, rather than school level personnel who do. These same downtown people make the decisions to spend millions of dollars on testing materials rather than learning materials. Shift where the dollars are spent and the whole system will improve.

  • 875. TEACHER4321  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:12 am

    At Paul @862
    “I think everybody sympathizes with these problems that teachers face. But, I don’t think a strike is going to solve them. If the CTU got its every wish in these contract negotiations, a parent can still fail to pick their kid up on time, your principal can still spend all the school’s discretionary money on something other than paper and kleenex, and the computerized IEP system can still be overloaded.”

    Perhaps the principals are not buying Kleenex and paper because there are other pressing things that need to be a priority and are also not part of the budget. Not because the principal is trying to be a problem and cause a health crisis by not supplying Kleenex. So it is an over all funding issue and an issue of funding differences amongst schools in the system. The computerized IEP system is overloaded because there is not enough bandwidth for CPS to have all of the things that once were on paper be electronic now and some schools have not been rewired for high speed internet and wifi. This would require more money yes- and I do agree we are in a budget crisis, however, the slow IMPACT system (which is for many things other than IEPs) probably adds hours to my out of school time working on work for work. These are things that are being discussed in contract negotiations.

    Paul @868 “@Tchr. I think I understand. And, I agree with you. I think that each teacher in CPS can probably quickly come up with a list of problems as long or longer than yours. I just don’t think that a strike is the way to get those problems solved. I guess what I need to understand is the link between the problems you’ve identified and how a strike can solve them. For example, the problem is that there are kids in 4th grade who sell drugs for their uncle. If the teachers go on strike, we can get a full-time social worker and counselor in our school (is that a likely outcome?). And, that social worker and counselor can help that child stop selling drugs for his uncle (is that a likely outcome?).”

    Also part of the negotiations are for there to be a separate counselor and case manager at every school. In most schools these positions are combined and especially when last year the IEP changes seemed to change every month (with the implementation of the longer school day) the counselor/case managers had to devote all of their time to case management and less time to counseling.

    Most schools have social workers one to two days a week (same with nurses). They are there on team day to sit in on IEP teams, and then provide services as indicated on IEPs. They have little time to work with students who do not have IEPs but might have crisis situations going on in their homes. Kids who have crisis situations going on in their homes may not be able to perform in the classroom until they can work through what is going on at home. This is also part of the negotiations.

    I am not sure if it is legal in the world of blogging to repost from another blog, but if you ever read the District 299 blog, you may be familiar with Rod Estvan. He is a disability advocate and a long time poster at the District 299 blog. He is quite knowledgeable about the law and CPS budget amongst other things. He posted this to the 299 blog yesterday.

    “Rodestvan said 16 hours, 32 minutes ago
    In reply to district299reader:
    Salary costs for classroom teachers, other instructional staff , and administrators compose according to the last budget $2,572,441,322 of the $5,162,280,000 operating budget (see page 15 of CPS FY13 budget book). If we add benefits to the salary line we get $3,460,196,905. This composes 67% of the operating budget. In simple terms you still have 33% of the budget to deal with.

    The public at large has no concept of what the CPS budget looks like and for the CTU attempting to explain its positions in relation to wages and benefits relative to the entire budget is far too complex an issue to convince the public about one way or another.

    In terms of PR, CPS will argue wage and benefit demands encroach on improving education, the CTU will argue better paid teachers will attrach more qualified employees. Its a pointless arguement. Besides as I have pointed out there are contractual issues that are not related to salaries and benefits that maybe are more important to the union and on which CPS has not moved at all according to every report I have seen.

    Rod Estvan”

  • 876. cpsobsessed  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Fyi, I will get a chance today to ask cps questions about the childcare during a possible strike. Lemme know if you think on any questions.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 877. anonymouse teacher  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Someone said the things teachers are listing sound like legitimate issues, but they don’t see how those things are tied to a strike or how striking will get what they need or want.
    I speak only for myself when I respond. I am really iffy on the whole “let’s require principals to rehire displaced teachers” thing. But given that 250 neighborhood schools are planned to close and become charters, that’s an awful lot of fabulous teachers who will lose their jobs. CPS has put a lot of money into hiring, staffing and training those people. By rehiring them, CPS saves money and improves outcomes. This is one reason I will strike. The problem of “bad” teachers is related, but it is separate. Perhaps we need to revisit “due process”, and honestly, I think we do need to, but that is a separate issue.
    I will also strike to ensure all kids and staff have desks and chairs. That is a contractual issue that is being negotiated right now.
    I will strike because I need the raise to cover the costs I put into the classroom.
    And I will strike because I refuse to allow “merit pay” to be implemented in the way the BOE is currently proposing (tied to test scores). I am open to conversing about merit pay in some other way, but I will not agree to a contract that keeps it as it is stated now.
    I also spent a lot of time and paid a lot of money for my graduate degree. I will not agree to a pay system that does not compensate me for that degree as is currently proposed by the BOE.
    That is my best, clearest way to tie the outcomes I am going for (all tied to the UNION’s outcomes, btw) in a strike.

  • 878. Paul  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:31 am

    @876 cpsobsessed, I hope you get a chance to ask CTU about childcare during a strike. If you do, please ask “Do you support parents that need childcare and food for their children during this strike in sending their children to CPS’s Children First program?” I would hope that the answer is “of course.” But, there are some crazy, radical parts of the teachers union that are calling that crossing a picket line into a scab school.

  • 879. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:36 am

    @857 Can you or someone else on this post help me understand the student growth measure? My impression is that the merit pay is based on student growth, not just a flat “high stakes” test score. Is it only ISAT or is it the MAPS/MEWA scores? That would be a big difference.

    I completely understand the concern about wanting merit pay defined. Is it partially undefined because NEWA is not in every school yet, but will be by year 5? After 44 meetings, plus many details outlined on merit pay in the CTU document SSI kindly shared, it seems like a lot is in fact defined.

    I do think the CTU goal is to resist any type of merit measurement in an attempt to treat all teachers exactly the same which does not allow good teachers to be differentiated from the underperformer. So, it doesn’t matter how defined or undefined it is, CTU will strike over the concept of measurement to differentiate.

    Like so many issues on this post, it seems that genuine teachers who want improvement are on a different page than their CTU.

    Also, I still do not understand how you separate evaluation from merit pay. They are interdependent. I look forward to an insightful post from Todd on this someday 🙂

    Isn’t merit pay now a legislative requirement? It does has to happen in all of Illinois within the next contract period, right?

  • 880. RL Julia  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

    tchr – I really liked your comments about what you want out of your job – I sincerely hope that through these negotiations you get it. I don’t think your needs are unreasonable.

    NBCT Vet – unfortunately being part of a social democracy means that everyone gets a vote, no matter who they are – and public education is meant for everyone – no matter how unpleasant, disabled or gang-affiliated they may be. As a country we all have agreed that there is a agreed upon coda of skills that everyone in this country should possess – or at least try to possess and that those skills are taught via school. I know it is frustrating to see many more dollars poured into getting one sub-set of the population to say learn to add – when those same dollars could be perhaps teaching your child or children similar to yours so much more but I ask, what do you think are the repercussions to not teaching those with barriers (whether they be physical, emotional, intellectual, social, economic etc…) that make learning difficult?

    H.S. Mom – I am curious, who, in your opinion, should be thinking about kids in gangs? While we should be thinking about the victims – and you don’t respect perpetrators of violence – what if some of those victims were also in gangs and perpetrated violence? Should we be thinking about them (they are victims) or not (they are violent)?

  • 881. cps alum  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:50 am

    @879-Merit pay isn’t a legislative requirement. What is a requirement is the PERA law (Performance Evaluation Reform Act) which states that a teacher’s rating must be linked to student growth. The link below highlights the law.

    http://www.isbe.state.il.us/peac/pdf/perf-eval-faq-0812.pdf

    In short by Sept 2012 principal evaluations will be linked to student performance.
    In Sept. 2012 300 CPS schools must have their teacher evaluations linked to student performance.
    By Sept. 2013 the remaining CPS schools must be under PERA
    By Sept. 2015 the 20% lowest performing disticts in the state will be under PERA.
    By Sept 2016 the remaining the districts in the states are under PERA.

  • 882. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Re Recall Policy.
    While I understand the concern of the union to protect laid off teachers in anticipation of many schools closing for under enrollment or poor performance, the recall policy is very dangerous to the system at large. Plus the CTU is worried about the loss of membership from school closures. While I understand the CTU motivations, I believe it is a dangerous red herring for the system and will negatively impact students.

    This would be one of those things like the “eliminating recess loop hole” that once in a contract is nearly impossible to reverse and will ripple through the system with a negative impact on students. If this is included in the next contract, we would look back on this and think who the heck agreed to this crazy rule?

    You cannot take away the principals right to hire who they see as best for the job. If you do so, you change the entire work environment in a negative way. It is like tenure on steroids and will make it impossible to weed out those who need to find a different profession and be a huge cost burden as we add even more into poor performing teacher limbo.

    I am by NO MEANS saying that there are not good teachers in a displaced pool, but feel that they do not need protection through a recall process. Are there other ways to assist good teachers who are laid off without making a dangerous contract provision? Could an expanded collaboration with AUSL work? AUSL uses CTU teachers, right? Is there a way CTU can fund job transition training for their members in the event of lay offs? Or counsel laid off teachers on developing skills where that teacher may be weak? This may be a productive use of union dues. CTU would start acting like a profession based organization similar to American Medical Association or American Bar Association. I really believe that this point will be at an impasse on Sept 10th and cause a very LONG strike if some creative solutions are not brought into the mix.

  • 883. Todd Pytel  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:00 am

    NBCT Vet, can you dig up a link to the CCSR report on charter performance that you’re referencing? I was looking for it, but came up empty. It’s particularly powerful research.

    @880 (Patricia) (On merit pay…) “Like so many issues on this post, it seems that genuine teachers who want improvement are on a different page than their CTU.”

    On the contrary, all the teachers I’ve seen on this post seem very much in agreement in their opposition to merit pay. There are plenty of other CTU positions that teachers have mixed opinions about, but that’s not one of them.

    As for pay vs evaluation, perhaps tonight or tomorrow… I have to get out the door (with my son in tow) so that I can get into our school to finish getting my classroom ready. After spending all week in school working on curriculum planning, department management, and mentoring new teachers, I haven’t yet found time to do simple things like set up my bulletin boards and organize my desk.

  • 884. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:01 am

    @881 Thanks. So it looks like there are requirements for measurements based on “student growth” legislated to happen in all of Illinois over the next several years. I would imagine there are and will be many versions of implementation.

    So it has to happen in some form, right? Or am I mistaken?

  • 885. Jess Mom  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:02 am

    812—-HS MOM quote
    “Every time I look at the news I care even less – was it 6 kids shot recently? The fact that the mayor, police, teachers and citizens have to divert much needed resources and deal with youth that are shooting recklessly not only at each other but anything around them. I should care about their education? Now we have the feds on board to deal with the problem. NO way. You should care about the victims, kids living in high risk areas that need a safe place”

    You don’t care about the kids being shot or the youth committing violence? Either way, the not caring is why MOST young people are out there committing crimes and on the street. As a mom i care, I have to care. After reading this statement how could anyone not feel for the teachers. They have to deal with their students getting shot, the shooter (if they aren’t caught) and guess what, the parents. It is a misconception that these kids don’t go to school. That is where they recruit. And teachers are required by law to educate them.

    Or at least try. God bless them

  • 886. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Todd, I understand you are busy and was not trying to pressure you on evaluation/merit pay interdynamics. I really enjoy your insight, but by all means worry about your classroom and your son! 🙂

  • 887. Frango Mint  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:10 am

    If the current trend toward charters continues, we will have a system in which charters serve the majority of kids – kids with average and above average behavior and no IEP’s (or only “easy” IEP’s).

    Traditional neighborhood schools will be the “alternative” schools for kids with poor behavior and disabilities.

    Parents choose charters because they want to keep their kids away from those lower achieving and poorer behaving children, and so this future model actually appeals to them. Honestly, I am a CPS parent and a CPS teacher, and it appeals to me too! I can see why parents like it. I don’t want my kids’ teacher having to deal with bad behavior all day long. This is the benefit of “school choice,” but it means a future of segregation and creates a true moral dilemma.

    On the other hand, it could be handy to have all of the very high needs kids together IF (with a capital *IF*) the school system compensated by providing those schools with:

    1. A class size cap of 10
    2. Year round school
    3. An aide in every room
    4. Social workers for all
    5. Full day preschool starting at age 3
    6. Full day kindergarten
    7. Master teachers specially trained for this population

    CTU is trying to stop charters, but even if they do, the status quo is not workable because neighborhood schools are not getting the extra services they need for the students that are left behind.

  • 888. TEACHER4321  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:14 am

    @880 RL Julia “NBCT Vet – unfortunately being part of a social democracy means that everyone gets a vote, no matter who they are – and public education is meant for everyone – no matter how unpleasant, disabled or gang-affiliated they may be. As a country we all have agreed that there is a agreed upon coda of skills that everyone in this country should possess – or at least try to possess and that those skills are taught via school. I know it is frustrating to see many more dollars poured into getting one sub-set of the population to say learn to add – when those same dollars could be perhaps teaching your child or children similar to yours so much more but I ask, what do you think are the repercussions to not teaching those with barriers (whether they be physical, emotional, intellectual, social, economic etc…) that make learning difficult?”

    I think NBCT VET was arguing that the neighborhood schools have to take these students and the charter schools can counsel them out. Not that she doesn’t want to take these students. If the Charter schools are in fact public schools then why do CPS schools accommodate these students, but most charter schools do not?

  • 889. TeachingintheChi  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:18 am

    NCBT Vet and others…

    Stop drinking the CTU Kool Aide. They are making charters the enemy. Most of you have never worked in charter schools or really know how they operate. I interviewed a number of teacher candidates this summer…teachers trying to leave CPS for charter schools. Most of them had a completely skewed idea about charters, and it sounded like a lot of the garbage CTU spews.

    And parents want safe schools more than they are worried about curriculum? Boy thats revolutionary. I think I would prioritize my child’s safety over the yearly changing CPS mandated curriculum any day. Especially considering there is no statistical proof that anything CPS mandates is actually successful – largely because most things don’t last longer than a year.

    Neighborhood schools are never going to be the priority unfortunately. I have taught in one and know what that felt like. In order for them to be a priority the parents need to do the work, and then the school becomes popular and is really no longer a neighborhood school.

    I don’t need a union or a long contract or whatever else to support the work I do with students. I have always done good work in spite of the union – not because of it. I can safely say I will be in front of a room of students on September 10th. My class size will be far less than 30. I will have textbooks, I will have technology, I have more than enough desks and chairs for my students, my IEP students who need aides have them, I have a desk and file cabinet that locks, I am well over the age of 22, and my salary and benefits are comparable to CPS. So while you are busy demonizing anyone for the sad state of CPS affairs, make sure you know of what you are speaking. Perhaps the problem is not the availability in funding many of the schools but the people in charge of managing that money?!

  • 890. TEACHER4321  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Patricia- The CTU does have an educational center called “The Quest Center” The offer professional development. I believe they do regularly have meetings for displaced teachers as well, but having never gone to one, I cannot speak for what happens at said meetings.

  • 891. TEACHER4321  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:21 am

    @ Patricia “@881 Thanks. So it looks like there are requirements for measurements based on “student growth” legislated to happen in all of Illinois over the next several years. I would imagine there are and will be many versions of implementation.
    So it has to happen in some form, right? Or am I mistaken?”

    This is where evaluations and merit pay are separate. The evaluations has to happen. The pay based on them does not.

  • 892. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:23 am

    CPSO, regarding the CPS plan during the strike for kids.

    1) What are the sing in/out procedures?

    2) Will the CTU be allowed to form picket lines outside these schools? If so, will the children/parents be harassed as they bring their child into the school? This latter one is more of a CTU question, but would be interesting to ask CPS. They probably will have no comment.

    3) What will the caregivers inside say when children ask questions about the strike or picket line?

    I would hope all adults, CPS, CTU, Teachers and Parents can communicate a message to children that will not harm relations once the strike is over. It is bitter among the adults already, there will be anger all around, but at some point it has to end and IMO it is very important to communicate a message to the children that will not be negative. My husband and I have been very careful to be neutral with our children when they ask questions, just as we do when we have a disagreement with a teacher/principal. Talking to our kids, you would never know we as parents are pissed off about something. Instead we deal with the adults as adults. I would also hope that Friday before the strike that teachers and principals take the high road with communicating to students and answering inevitable questions.

    4) How about using Rahm’s new infrastructure trust to get air conditioning in every school 😉

    5) A bit off topic, but I am truly curious if parents can step in and do “homeschooling” at school? If the strike drags on for a prolonged period, can parents mobilize and help their kids? I know there are laws about instruction has to be from a teacher, but how can parent rights override this? Or can we not call it instruction?

  • 893. TeachingintheChi  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Personally I would never send my kid to whatever CPS is planning to do during a strike. It is sure to be a logistical nightmare.

  • 894. NBCT Vet  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:27 am

    @ Todd Pytel

    I’ll find the CCSR research later this evening. I’ve got to spend a good deal of time in my classroom today, too. Between the increased professional development and decreased self-directed time I still need to do the same types of basic preparations in my room.

    @ RL Julia

    I am in total agreement with you. Public education should be for *everyone* not just those deemed desirable and capable. I would much rather see charter schools operate under the same rules as neighborhood schools than the other way around.

    I also spent more time at the hospital this past week with three of my students than in my classroom. All three were severely assaulted on the way to school in unconnected incidents. The students were volunteering to help school staff get ready for class kickoff next week. These students will be traumatized for the rest of the year.

    Tying this into evaluations, it frustrates me that no matter what algorithms CPS uses in developing expected growth I don’t see how they can possibly account for the effects of this horrible violence on 10% of my most talented, dedicated class. Though these are smart, wholesome, strong young people their performance will be effected. When I was in high school I was an emotional and relative academic disaster for a year because my parents were divorcing. That was a cake walk compared to what these students have just gone through. Sadly, they won’t be the only ones this year.

  • 895. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

    CPSO, thinking more about my question above regarding what to say to the children when the strike starts.

    While I know people on this board, myself included, does not like OSFA solutions. I wonder if it makes sense for BOTH CPS and CTU to issue a short statement of what they will tell the kids and make this statement it public. Both CPS and CTU can strongly encourage their rank and file CPS employees and CTU members to stick to the “script”. AND wouldn’t it be great to have both CPS and CTU agree on a neutral statement for the kids. Maybe it could even be the first small step to change the toxic relationship. (This applies more to elementary than HS as those students will have a whole different level of inquiry.)

    Just a thought trying to focus solely on the kids.

  • 896. TEACHER4321  |  September 1, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Patricia, while that does sound like a good idea, they have been arguing since last November about this contract, I think getting them to agree on even a short statement would take more than a month judging by how far apart they are on what is right for the kids.

  • 897. CPS Parent and Employee  |  September 1, 2012 at 11:18 am

    @889, while you’re right that I’ve never worked in a charter school, I work in a neighborhood school that’s three blocks away from one. As one of the people in charge of my school’s enrollments I routinely enroll students that have been dropped from their school because of grades, attendance, and/or discipline issues, none of which would qualify my school to drop a child (and personally, I thank God for that — for the exact reasons that @887 details). You sound like you’re saying that charters do not, in fact, get rid of problem children, but I have evidence to the contrary. What am I missing?

  • 898. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 11:19 am

    @896 LOL! I had a similar thought. However, for the sake of the children and healing after the strike is over, it is worth it to issue a joint statement. OR separate statements if it is easier. My point is that we as adults, need to communicate to the children in a way that will not cause damage after the strike is over. In all honesty, this should be a top priority for both CPS and CTU as they plan for the strike.

    To be clear, I am NOT saying they get into the nitty gritty, but what the heck are they going to say to the students next Friday? As a parent, I will certainly find out from my kids. My thought process is that something will be said, so why not make it a message that is neutral and will set the foundation for the day they come back to school. Plus, by providing a joint message it helps parents know what to say too.

    My kids are not pawns. The adults need to provide a message that is neutral and allows for a smooth transition back to the classroom. I don’t want principals bad mouthing teachers to my kids and I do not want teachers telling my kids that school is an awful place to be. I would hope all take the high road.

  • 899. local  |  September 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

    What would be a good script for parents to speak to their children in case of a strike? (Age matters, I guess.)

  • 900. local  |  September 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

    For your listening pleasure: http://www.npr.org/2012/09/01/160401996/whats-a-charter-school-if-not-a-game-changer

  • 901. TEACHER4321  |  September 1, 2012 at 11:34 am

    In the meantime, I posted a number way back that I got at the town hall meeting at Old Town School Of Folk music about the Thursday call in times. I don’t have the number anymore. However I encourage posters on this board to call CPS and tell them what they would like to see.

    Since we are discussing what we want. Here are my desires. If any of them happen to be your desires, please tell the board that they are your desires too. 😉 My desires are mainly in the primary grades as that is what I am most familiar with.

    My top 10:

    1) Smaller class sizes. Especially in K-2. I would like class size capped at 20 for these younger grades when children are learning to read. If it must be above 20 then the classroom should have an aide. This aide should have to meet some qualifications.

    2) Bring back developmentally appropriate practice in Kindergarten. What was once important in Kindergarten (Play) is now the sole responsibility of preschool. Preschool also has to teach other skills that once happened in Kindergarten and they have two hours and forty five minutes to do so.

    3) CPS to bring back developmental Kindergarten or have a Pre-First option, where students struggling in Kindergarten or who struggled in Kindergarten can have a little extra time to work on skills needed before going into first grade. Some children just are not developmentally ready, but will be if given a little more time. There would have to be a set of criteria of course to prevent those who parents want to “red shirt” for an edge on selective enrollment later. So this would be for kids who are not scoring well on NWEA. This could lower the costs for Special Education long term.

    4) A nurse daily at every school. To deal with accidents, sick children, enforce which diseases children cannot come to school with (pink eye, stomach flu, lice, etc.) and give out medication.

    5) Smaller case loads for clinicians (Nurses, OT, Speech, PT, Social Workers, Psychologists) so that children entitled to these services get high quality services.

    6) CPS to work with ISBE to make Kindergarten mandatory.

    7) Pre-K to go to a longer day, Kindergarten to go to full day.

    8) Allow for more co-teaching opportunities to exist for students with disabilities by making caseloads for Special Education students more reasonable. Children with and without disabilities benefit from this model.

    9) Go back to allowing schools with proven track records to be AMPS again. So that they can continue to do what they have proven worked at their schools.

    10) I want my morning prep time back. In addition to the hour prep during the day. That way I could focus on parent meetings and meetings with other teachers about students before school and do other things I need to do during my hour prep such as lesson planning, IEP meetings and other things I need to do.

    Many of the things I listed may appear to cost CPS more money. They might on the front end. However, I think they will save money on the back end in terms of Special Education and remediation.

  • 902. WendyK  |  September 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

    @Patricia – at the last board mtg Tim Cawley mentioned that the city was giving $40 mill from the infrastructure trust for capital improvements. A/C is not on the list, not even for Track E schools. We are only spending $100mill this yr on capital improvements. Looked up NYC and they have $5billion budgeted for the next 5 yrs. I was suprised more money wasn’t given to CPS from the infrastructure trust.

  • 903. local  |  September 1, 2012 at 11:42 am

    887. Frango Mint | September 1, 2012 at 10:10 am

    “If the current trend toward charters continues, we will have a system in which charters serve the majority of kids – kids with average and above average behavior and no IEP’s (or only “easy” IEP’s).

    “Traditional neighborhood schools will be the “alternative” schools for kids with poor behavior and disabilities.”

    You know, I was just thinking the same thing. And to think of the hard civil rights work that went into racial and ability integration in public schooling as recently as the ’70s. CPS might as well just immediately pull out all “undesirable” students and ghettoize them into “special” schools now, leaving neighborhood schools the the elites and the average. While a travesty, it’s where this system is headed anyway. Back in time.

  • 904. local  |  September 1, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Wow, 901. TEACHER4321 | September 1, 2012 at 11:34 am.

    Your Top 10 are smart and humane. I’m glad to hear from the front-line. Thanks for this.

  • 905. HS Mom  |  September 1, 2012 at 11:59 am

    @873 – If you really read what I wrote, you would see that I did not say that.

  • 906. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    @902 Thanks for the insight. The infrastructure trust is a new “tool” right? Fixing crumbing stairs and other hazards probably takes precedent over AC. But, this new trust is not a one time shot, so maybe parents can push for AC. Also, wasn’t a lot stripped down to plug the gaping budget hole? It has been larger in past years. Regardless, yes more money for capital budget would be great. I think NY state is in much better shape financially than Illinois and that gap will just widen.

    Also, the whole vendor debacle needs to be fixed in CPS. I was at a school for a sporting event and the bathroom faucets were the wrong size making it difficult to wash your hands. I was so angry because I know that some vendor was paid to do this and they did it wrong, yet no one caught it.

    Sorry to go off topic. Back to strike watch 😉

  • 907. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    I know someone asked to explain “student growth”. I’m not sure anyone did. Sorry if someone did and I glanced over it. In a nutshell, students will take a test called NWEA sometimes referred to as MAP. They take this right away at the beginning of the year. It gives teachers a starting point of where the student’s abilities are. It’s a wonderful, computer based test. Students sitting next to each other would most likely never have the same question in front of them. The next question on anyone’s given screen is based on the answer previously given. For example…..a question is given, the student answers correctly, a harder question is next. A question is given, the students answers incorrectly, an easier question is given. This continues to go on until such point it can determine the appropriate level of learning of that child. In any given classroom, there will be a huge variance of scores. You will have your children who are below level, at level, above level. Just because a student is above level does not let the teacher “off the hook” for making sure that child shows growth. I must, as the teacher, make sure each child shows one year growth. So, if the child who is above level and doesn’t have any growth because I haven’t challenged them and their end of year score is the same (still above level, but no growth from beginning of year) I am penalized for that. Thus, no growth. It’s all about taking the child from where they are and moving them forward. It’s a wonderful concept and the right thing to do. But only effective if all other problems are fixed (supplies, books, etc.) Also, CPS is only requiring beginning and end of year tests. That won’t allow the teacher to see if she/he is doing the right thing for the student. That’s why my school will also do a middle of the year test so we can use the data to drive our teaching. When done properly, it’s wonderful. When used to test for the sake of testing and using it against the teacher rather than using testing data to drive instruction, it is being misused.

  • 908. CPS Teacher  |  September 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    To all but the teachers: How many of you have experience working in an urban school? How many of you have actually spent time inside a school for 2 or more concurrent days? How many of you have done this somewhere on the west or south sides of the city, outside of your child’s school?

    I find it fascinating that people without these experiences can comment and criticize, repeatedly, without knowing what actually occurs in schools. Furthermore, the teachers at the “good” schools (those your own children attend) also voted to strike. Don’t you think these teachers might know/understand something that you don’t?

    @Patricia…exactly how many lousy teachers have you known? I would seriously consider moving if I had experiences that left me so bitter.

  • 909. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    @907 CarolA thank you for the description. One of my kids had MAP testing last year and i thought it was great. The school did it multiple times during the year, not just 2 and the teachers used it successfully to individualize instruction.

    Another one of my kids schools is using it for the first time this year and it sounds like more than twice a year for the exact purpose you state—to group kids and provide the appropriate instruction, even for those often neglected who are already above grade.

    As part of the longer day, the school is using the Maps to group several grades together, i.e. group 3 & 4th and use Maps to create subgroups for “intervention/acceleration” that is now scheduled because of the longer day. It was great to see the teachers and administration working together on this and everyone seems really excited about it.

    Good luck with the strides you are making in being a pilot to reduce the multitudes of testing in cps! I have a strong feeling from efforts like yours, next year there will be only the NEWA at most schools.

  • 910. CPS Teacher  |  September 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    oops..”concurrent” should be “consecutive” because that really would be challenging.

  • 911. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    SutherlandParent: Our converstion from several days ago is still haunting me and I haven’t seen you comment since then so I hope you’re still out there. I get what you’re saying and perhaps we had miscommunication. But the only thing I’ll add to it is that the only real, true way to understand teaching is to actually teach. I’m not sure any college can prepare you for the realities of teaching. And just because someone only has a bachelors degree does not make them a bad teacher. By the same token, just because someone has a masters degree or higher, it doesn’t make them a good teacher. I can give example upon example of that, but no need I don’t think. It’s just that we have to be careful of how we generalize. People on this site have commented that they think I”m a good teacher and I thank you all for that. Would you be surprised to know I do not have a masters degree? I have hundreds (perhaps thousands) of hours of professional development, workshops, webinars, etc. I’m a grant winner many times over. I have presented at several workshops with Chicago Foundation for Education. But in the end, I just have my bachelors degree. I guess that’s all I had to add. Now I’d better stop or my arm will ache tomorrow from patting my back so much. LOL 🙂

  • 912. Cake for all!  |  September 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Interesting (old) article from Chicago mag about working conditions in a charter school vs. neighborhood school.

    Despite the professed eagerness of some administrators to reward their teachers, most charters generally pay less than union wages. Tim King, the founder and CEO of Urban Prep, says that charter schools enjoy the luxury of a teachers’ contract exemption. “We’re in our third year,” King says. “In the short run, we can stay competitive with CPS salaries because we don’t have [teachers] with 20 years of experience and two Ph.D.’s. It would be difficult for us to accommodate a teacher at that level. We’re trying to figure out a model that will allow us to hold on to our teachers as long as they want to be here.”

    Some charter administrators hope that their teachers might one day feel so viscerally the school’s mission—and see so plainly the impact they have on students’ lives—that the pay differential won’t bother them too much. And there are non-pecuniary ways to compensate teachers, notes Tim Knowles, the director of the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute. An outgrowth of the university’s Center for Urban School Improvement, the institute operates four charter schools in the neighborhoods near the university. “Good working conditions for teachers are absolutely critical,” says Knowles, who came to the program in 2003 from a post as deputy superintendent of Boston’s city schools. “Salary and benefits and vacation days are important, but you can’t neglect the actual day-to-day experience in the schoolhouse.”

    Knowles runs down a checklist. “Do teachers have a professional workspace and laptops and voice mail so parents can reach them?” he asks. “Do they have time when they can think and write and work together? Those are things that people in other professions view as just the basics for getting through the day, but in many urban schools, those things don’t exist.”

    All the items on Knowles’s checklist are part of the workplace environment at the U. of C. charters. But there is also the constant mentoring and collaboration that come from the two-teacher model in place there (as well as at many of the city’s other K-8 charter schools). With two teachers—or a teacher and a full-time aide—in a classroom, it is easier to work with students in small groups; what’s more, teachers have a sounding board right there in the room with them. And at U. of C. charters, Knowles explains, teachers can step up from the classroom level to train younger teachers, lead a literacy program, or take on some other “meta-classroom” role without giving up their first love: the classroom. “We have hybrid roles they can play so they have an opportunity to have a broader impact,” he says, “but don’t leave the classroom altogether.”

    Are these conditions that can be replicated with each new charter school? Or do charter schools function like this because they are in the minority now? Is there money for this to be the norm for every, EVERY child in Chicago?

  • 913. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Patricia: I’m glad everyone was so excited. It is a powerful tool for instruction when used correctly. An added benefit for the primary grades is the ability to progress monitor a child which basically means I can check their progress at any point between tests and adjust my teaching based on the INSTANT results. I agree that we could eliminate all other tests and just use this one. Wouldn’t that be great?

  • 914. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Also, someone was asking about if parents would be harassed if they brought their children to one of the open schools if there is a strike. I can only speak for my school and what my union rep told us. We can only be on public property. We cannot park in the parking lot. We cannot block people from going into the school. My school is set up in a way that the public sidewalk is far away from the entrance to the school. We will NOT be harassing anyone. We might hand you a piece of paper to explain why we are striking. We might ask you to support us. But we are NOT going to yell, call names, make nasty comments if you decide to bring you child to school. I am a person who believes that people should do what their heart is telling them. You have to live by your choices and I have to live by mine. If parents have questions, I’ll try to answer them. If they just walk past me, then they do. Ultimately, we are fighting for your child’s education (even if you don’t believe it). You won’t see me or any of my teacher friends yelling “We want more money!”. You might see me saying “Smaller class size please!”. BTW, my list on Monday had 26 students. My list on Friday had 30 students. I wonder what will walk through the door on Tuesday. Stay tuned.

  • 915. HS Mom  |  September 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    RLJ – “who, in your opinion, should be thinking about kids in gangs?”

    For those who are performing violent crimes (labeled “gang bangers”) – Their parents/families/guardians, police, counselors, professionals/teachers that work with troubled youths not teachers working with a classroom of 30+ students.

    “what if some of those victims were also in gangs and perpetrated violence?”

    Then the above list changes to add doctors to the beginning.

    #885 Jess mom – quotes me as saying “You should care about the victims, kids living in high risk areas that need a safe place” ”

    and draws the conclusion that

    “You don’t care about the kids being shot or the youth committing violence?”

    OK – I’ll bite – It’s all my fault that “gang bangers” are out there killing kids because I don’t care about their education. I’ll just go and turn myself in all problems with CPS will now be resolved and the pending strike will be off 🙂

    Give it a rest Jess mom

  • 916. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    So, why is merit pay that’s connected to test results a problem you ask? Let me explain. Given my example above, I have no worries about getting the needed student growth from my at level and above level students. They usually have involved, responsible parents who are at them at home for their homework. Or perhaps, they are lucky enough to be very self-motivated. My problem is with the low group. In general (and I know I just said be careful about generalizing 🙂 ), the low group tends to be divided between those students that have actual learning disabilities and those students who have uninvolved parents. Let’s face it. At the first grade level, I need the parent to follow through with homework at home. I can only do so much during the school day. I never send anything home that we haven’t already fully talked about in school. The intent is that the child can do it on their own. However, some can’t. And that’s where the parent steps in. An involved parent can see that their child is struggling and do what they can to move them along. An uninvolved parent will tell me they read each night with their child even though they don’t. An uninvolved parent often doesn’t send the child to school or the child is late. You get my message. I’m not sure how I need my rating tied to that score. In no way could I show growth for that child. Parents: TEACHERS NEED YOU!

    I’m not sure who said it, but I agree that I’m not truly on board with the re-hiring process either. I think that’s why it was such a short window of opportunity for those teachers. It was a one-time shot. Our new rating system will not make it easy to be in the top category. I can see CPS willing to rehire displaced teachers who were in the top category to avert a strike, but I don’t see them agreeing to a lower level. With very few in that top category, it will be an easy pool to pick from. As wonderful as the teachers on this post sound, I doubt any of us will be in that top category.

  • 917. HS Mom  |  September 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    In the spirit of brainstorming – regarding early/late pick-ups

    Our school had a strict policy, kids would be monitored 20 minutes prior to the bell ringing. If you dropped your kids off earlier, there would be no one there. There was always a handful and they were allowed to sit in the vestibule on the floor when it was cold. But nothing else. Late pick-ups were done from the principals office and believe me, it’s a whole different feel than picking up from the teacher.

    I realize that this would not work at every school because of the neighborhood etc but just putting it out there.

    Of course, new “full day” should align schedules closer to real work hours for most people. A win there?

  • 918. CPS Parent and Employee  |  September 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    @917: But there are people at schools earlier than 20 minutes before the bell rings, and parents know this (that is, when parents are even aware of where their children are in the morning — if you teach children with little parent supervision at home, all bets are off). They also know that school employees are not going to leave their children outside in inclement weather — our wouldn’t care if they did. Once the child is in the building, someone has to be responsible for them. As far as after school — how many teachers posting on here have administrators who would allow late kids to sit in their office? I’m guessing not many.

    As @857 (Jennifer O’Connor) pointed out, a lot of your perspective is coming from having had children in a “good” elementary school, with supportive administration and plentiful parental support (which includes parents that actually care about their children’s well-being. That doesn’t exist for every child). You do acknowledge that a solution like this wouldn’t work in “every” school, but I submit that it wouldn’t work in the majority of schools, and that’s what’s so frustrating to me — so often those who are putting forth the opinions that teachers are whiners who do not try and find solutions themselves to these problems have no perspective outside their own, which usually includes only the best of Chicago Public Schools.

  • 919. CPS Parent and Employee  |  September 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    sorry, *or

  • 920. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Our school did the exact same thing as you describe. However, even though you say it’s a strict rule, it’s really not if you are allowing them in when it was cold. We always leave the students in the office whose parents did not show up. It didn’t stop it. Most parents didn’t even say thank you. They just motioned for their child to come. Some even called with their cells to let the office know they were there. They were too lazy to come in. (They had to come in. They weren’t happy.)

    I think you illustrate why we, as teachers, can’t just stop doing things that we shouldn’t. We can’t let a child just stand outside when it’s cold. We can’t just sit there and watch a child cry because they don’t have a pencil. We can’t just watch a child come in dirty shirts every day. We have hearts (maybe some of you don’t think so 🙂 ).

  • 921. CPS Parent and Employee  |  September 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    One more thing: the percentage of students living at or below the poverty level in CPS is 87%. If your child went (or is going) to an elementary school or high school where the rate is significantly below that, you are not experiencing the typical CPS school.

  • 922. Tchr  |  September 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    If I worked 9-5, “real work hours”, could I still get 1 full hour unpaid lunch break at around 1? (I get my “lunch break” at at 10:45 and watch students.) Can I leave at 5pm and whatever work I don’t get done, just do tomorrow?

    This job is different. Please stop comparing. And please stop saying what works at your school because those rules and norms do not apply to most other schools.

    And if these kids don’t have counselors, doctors, etc those jobs become my responsibility. Not because I want to do those things, but because I care about my kids and do what I can for them. It is overwhelming and I’m not always 100% but I try.

    And when kids come to school and are unsupervised, parents have something to say. That it is the school to take them in. An hour before school starts. Forget if that is our responsibility or not. The system is taken advantage of all the time.

  • 923. Tchr  |  September 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    NWEA testing is currently not working at my school because we have a 1 lab of computers for the whole school k-8, 1 classes per grade taking the test. We haven’t been told when we will take it, but when we do, I wonder if we will have enough computers for my whole class to get it done in a prep period or if it will have to be done in shifts. I wonder if the headphones will arrive.

    And aren’t there better quick formative assessments to give students than a test on a computer? This is my first year so I am not sure how long it takes to get scores, but I give 1on1 assessments every progress report and report card and we use the Fountas and Pinnel reading assessment. It seems I can adjust my teaching more easily with those rather than a beg,mid, end of year computer assessment.(I could be wrong!). It seems like more of a summarize assessment the way it has been presented at my school.

  • 924. HS Mom  |  September 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    @915/916 – I totally get your point. You said you liked to hear new ideas (not sure what I said was new), just sharing something that did work out at our school. If there’s no “take away” from that experience, that’s cool. Part of brainstorming would be to offer up an idea that would/might work at your school. There has got to be something that would help…or is what we’re doing now (that no one likes) the best we’ve got.

    @915 I hope you’re not suggesting that I accuse teachers of whining. Quite frankly, I’m too exhausted and headed out the door to tackle the backlash.

  • 925. CPS Parent  |  September 1, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    923. Tchr – I’m not a teacher but the computer based NWEA assessment is adaptive meaning that the items the students sees are based on their ability level. It is a good measure for progress which is more usable for you as a teacher than a regular non adaptive assessments.

    “NWEA Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) tests present students with engaging, age-appropriate content. As a student responds to questions, the test responds to the student, adjusting up or down in difficulty.”

    See: http://www.nwea.org/products-services/assessments

  • 926. HS Mom  |  September 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    924 refers to 918 and 920 – oops

  • 927. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    HS Mom: I’m not accusing you of accusing teachers of whining. HMMMMM. That’s sounds like too many “accusings”. 🙂

  • 928. CPS Parent  |  September 1, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    923. Tchr My guess is that NWEA might be fairer way to give insight into teacher performance since it measures student progress in an individualized manner.

  • 929. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    923: Tchr: Although this will be my first year using NWEA, we spent a lot of time on it this week. I love it. For primary, it has a progress monitoring feature so it’s not just 3 times a year. It’s similar to DIBELS for the progress monitoring part. It’s much better because it’s NOT 1:1 like DIBELS. With DIBELS, I had to make sure the other 29 children were busy with a task so I could test the one in front of me. Then I had to repeat that 29 times. That’s just for one of the 4 tests each session. We had 1 computer lab for 2-8 and we have over 1000 students in our building. With careful planning, it worked. Now with the addition of K-1 taking the test, the school purchased 30 laptops on a cart for that purpose only.

  • 930. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    @826 Where exactly did I say *repeatedly* that “the vast majority of parents’ loyalty is with CPS.” I am just wondering where this is coming from? I reread my posts and do not see what you are referencing, although it is pretty clear where I stand 😉 There will be anger in all directions with a strike. I do not think you need a poll to understand that. Maybe you want to ask your union to conduct another poll? Are you posting for the union?

    My loyalty is with my kids.

    I think Paul @825 summed it up well.

  • 931. CPS Parent and Employee  |  September 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    @930: I was specifically referring to post #807 where you made a statement about the “enormous amount of parent anger.” It’s not the first time you’ve referred to the public at large being angry at the teachers, though I have to admit I’m too lazy to go back and find each and every post. And although you don’t specifically refer to the anger being directed at the teachers, as you say, it’s not hard to make the connection you mean based on your previous posts and your concluding reference that for the contract, “4 years is the minimum length!” Are you stating that I have read you wrong? Do you NOT believe that the majority of parents will be angry primarily at teachers if we strike?

    @927: I think HS Mom was asking me if I was accusing her of accusing teachers of being whiny. (Yes, lots of accuses in that sentence!). HS Mom, I was directly referring to anyone in this thread or the many others (I’ve been reading since the beginning of the summer and there have been many discussions about the potential strike, as you know) who characterized what’s going on now as whining (my exact words were “those who are putting forth the opinions that teachers are whiners”) — if that’s not you, I certainly wasn’t addressing you. And I do appreciate your suggestions and brainstorming and share your disbelief that the majority of the issues brought up in this thread can’t be solved — it seems as though it would be so simple, doesn’t it?

  • 932. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I don’t think teachers think it’s a good decision……I think it is our ONLY decision. Nothing is getting done. We are stuck at the table since November. With the possibility of a strike looming, today I hear that CPS will be at the bargaining table EVERY day! Why haven’t they been there every day so far? I hate to say it, but working in CPS, nothing gets done unless push comes to shove. I always tell parents that when they need something done….keep calling and calling and calling and being a pain. The squeaky wheel DOES get the oil in CPS! It’s unfortunate. I agree. But if we don’t have this looming date, we could be bargaining until 2020!

  • 933. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    @931 Rocking the lives of over 350,000 students and their families with a strike will certainly cause an enormous amount of parent anger, especially if it drags on. I also indicated to you that it will be in all directions. You are the one who made the false leap to solely teachers. I’m glad you asked for clarification because i do support the good teachers although I do not support a strike.

    “4 year minimum contract”, heck yeah with how bitter it is already and the fact finder describing it as “toxic”. Frankly, I do not want to go through this craziness in just two years again. It is exhausting! I do not know how this indicates I am blaming teachers?

    I will repeat again, I think Paul did a much better job than I on this point. here is his post.
    “Paul @825. My sense is that a lot of parents like teachers, support teachers, and think that CPS has a lot of problems, but few parents think that teachers’ decision to strike is a good one.”

  • 934. cpsobsessed  |  September 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    I would add that a lot of parents don’t know much beyond the superficial idea that “the economy is bad and teachers want a raise.”. If that’s your only understanding, it could be easy to feel angry about a strike.
    With the number of lower income parents in the system, if you get as far as knowing a teacher makes 70k for 9 months of work, it might seem like they have it pretty good.
    Our knowledge goes way deeper than that, but I wonder what it is among an “average” cps parent?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 935. CPS Parent and Employee  |  September 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Well, Patricia, then I certainly apologize. I interpreted several of your posts as saying you thought the majority of parents would be furious directly at teachers (not just generally furious) in the event of a strike. I must confess, it makes me feel better that you feel otherwise. And no, I wasn’t asking for my union (don’t know if you were serious or being sarcastic about that) but because I loathe the thought of a strike, dread the chaos it will cause my students and their parents, but still feel it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes doing the right thing makes people angry; knowing it’s the right thing doesn’t particularly make it easy.

  • 936. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Patricia: It’s exhausting! I fully agree, but I have to say that what’s exhausting are the discussions on this post. Don’t get me wrong. I love them. It has helped me see both sides on multiple issues. But sometimes I have to wonder if the people who are on this site aren’t more riled up than the general public. When I talk to my neighbors and friends, they want to know what the latest info is. I’ll have a neighbor hear something on the news or read something in the paper and then ask my opinion on it, but other than that, we seem to be having the most (and best) discussions about it. Do you agree?

  • 937. CPS Parent and Employee  |  September 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Does someone maybe need to close their italics tag? Or am I the only one seeing bolded italics? Is the stress finally getting to me??

  • 938. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    CPSO: You and I were thinking along the same lines.

  • 939. cpsobsessed  |  September 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    People I know will ask me if I think there’s gonna be a strike. I say I don’t know. I guess I say I suspect there might be on for a few day. Nobody seems to care beyond that point.

    If we have a strike that goes beyond a couple-3 weeks I think people will start feeling frustrated and talk about it more.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 940. Paul  |  September 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I just read a Tribune article about the City Colleges teachers union and their agreement. They’re agreeing to annual 2.5% cost of living increases, increases in their share of health care costs, the elimination of step increases based on seniority, and a 1% salary bump based on student success. With all the other similar union contracts the city has agreed to, why is the teachers union the one union close to striking and so far from an agreement? Are the teachers being treated worse than all the other city workers? Are they paid less equitably? Do they have worse working conditions? How can the city colleges teachers, school engineers, special ed assistants, school bus drivers, and seemingly every other school-related worker groups agree to 2% raises and the other conditions, while the CTU fights every single one to the point of setting a strike date? Something’s wrong with that.

  • 941. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    CPSO and CarolA, I do wonder what parents who do not ponder the interdynamics between CPS and CTU daily think about. LOL! I remember a mom on the soccer field last year who said, “What? longer day? OK, sure whatever?” At that moment I wished I could be that go with the flow.

    I am sure both CPS, CTU and probably the press are doing polls.

    The one important “block” is taxpayers, who may or may not have anything to do with CPS. My guess is general taxpayers could care less about an actual “strike”, but care A LOT about how much it will cost them as they hear about asking for a huge raise or even any raise. Just my guess.

    CPS Parent and Employee, I am glad you asked for clarification 🙂 And, I too see bold italic. I thought the clever CPSO was just mixing it up for us a bit.

  • 942. cpsobsessed  |  September 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Argh, really? I read all the posts via email on my blackberry so I don’t see fonts. I’ll take a look.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 943. Frango Mint  |  September 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    I just heard about the City Colleges contract agreement too. I think it might provide a reasonable framework for an agreement with CTU.

    What I found really interesting about it is that their “merit pay” is only 1% of their possible 3.5% annual increase, and it is measured by the whole system’s merit, rather than by individual teacher merit.

    So if they, as a system, reach their graduation and student employment goals, they, as a system, will get a 1% bump.

    I’m not positive on it yet…but right now I kinda like that idea. I think we could handle such a system in CPS – getting a raise as a group rather than individually.

    They also get to keep their Lane increases for getting additional degrees. Since we are in education field, it makes sense to reward higher education on the part of teachers.

  • 944. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Paul: You raise some good questions. Off the top of my head: We work with 30-40 children (and, as such, with their parents), they basically work with young adults. I can’t be sure, but I think a lot of the city college professors don’t work a full schedule 5 days a week. I’d be interested in the boost of pay for student success. How is that being measured?

  • 945. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Here’s another one: College students are responsible for buying their own textbooks and bringing their own supplies. If they don’t read the text, they can’t pass the class. They can choose to attend or not attend. Their choices have their own consequences. Our students are required by law to attend school, but the little ones are restricted to whatever their parents decide to do. If mom or dad oversleeps, they don’t get to school.

  • 946. cpsobsessed  |  September 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    test for bold italics fixing

  • 947. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    CPSO, good on my end. Thanks! You do a great job. Thanks for this forum!

  • 948. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    @943 Frango Mint. Very interesting development. I like the merit solution from the little I know at this point. AND, I like the fact that you like it.

    Paul, as always you raise the good practical questions? As Junior said further up, “time for the CTU to ink a deal.”

  • 949. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Yes, it’s fixed! Yes, thanks for this forum!

  • 950. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    oops, sorry Paul, I did not mean to make it a “?” My fingers working as I am hanging with the kids…………..

  • 951. cpsobsessed  |  September 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    I just finished watching Julie & Julia (finally.) It was funny seeing her excitement at getting her first non-family/friend comment on her blog. I remember feeling the same way. And look at this place now. So anyhow…. start thinking about who should play each of you on the movie version. 🙂

  • 952. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    LOL Too funny. Can you make my character younger and skinnier? 🙂

  • 953. CPS Parent and Employee  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Seriously, you’re really doing a service here (I am personally grateful for the opportunity for teachers to give “their side” of the story). And I was shocked when you posted upthread about how few negative comments you have to delete per month. It is to your credit that people are so generally civil here.

  • 954. cpsobsessed  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Carol, oh yes, we’re all young and thin in the made-for-TV-movie!

    On a slightly different subject, would anyone want to give their input on Brizard’s performance after his first year? I was asked by CLTV Chicago Tonight show to be on to comment on the potential strike and they asked if I’d be willing to comment on JCB. I said that I wouldn’t. I don’t really know what to say.

    Do you guys have any thoughts?

  • 955. gdt5  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    The real point of this contract negotiation for me (a cps employee in an urban, neighborhood school) is the agenda that is being perpetuated by the mayor. The mayor is systematically closing neighborhood schools. I understand people say that these schools are not working and to a degree they are correct. But I would zealously argue that if you looked at a very high performing school you would see the same quality of teachers as at a neighborhood school. There are great, average and underperforming teachers at both schools. The ONLY difference between these schools are the parents, students and resources. How is it that people do not understand that to educate an inner city, high risk (poverty, low-literacy home environment and lack of early education) student is one of the most diffucult things to do in education? I am not anti-charter schools if they are working. I am anti-closing neighborhood schools in all predominately minority neighborhoods and handing them over to charters who are not performing any better than the school they just closed. An equitable public education is a RIGHT of each child born in this country. Charter schools, even the very good ones, are not public education. Something needs to change at my school. Our scores must improve. I give of myself every day in my classroom because that is my job. I get paid a fair wage. My job is hard but so are a lot of other peoples. I am not COMPLAINGING. But do not punish me (merit pay which is determined by achievement and not growth) for doing my job without the correct resources to do it well. I demand a pre-school for my students. I demand a social worker and psychologist to come to my shcool for more than once a week. That is why I am willing to strike and lose my income for an undetermined amount of time. There are ways to educate at-risk children. They are capable. But I know these kids need even more than the average student. They need more resources than even my own children. CPS parents need to understand that the school system in CPS is not run equitabley. And it really is important to care about this fact. IT is a MORAL obligation to care. I just wish that the public would trust us, the teachers who do this work everyday. I guess we will see if people are willing to do that or not. I too, as another teacher posted earlier, would settle without a raise.

  • 956. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    @955 What do you think of the City Colleges deal, especially the merit part? Something that could work in CPS?

    Also, hasn’t there been a significant (if not huge) push for early childhood education from the recent administration? It won’t happen overnight, but my impression is that early childhood is one of the earliest things they focused on because they understand its importance.

  • 957. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    CPSO, if Rob Lowe can play Drew Peterson, we are all in great shape for the made for TV series 😉

  • 958. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Sadly, I don’t know him either. Here’s all I can say about him from first-hand experience. When all this longer school day started and all the pounding of the hammer Rahm was doing, we (teachers) started receiving email after email (from Brizard), none of which were very nice. Finally, Brizard sent a nice letter that actually made me feel like my opinion mattered. So, if you know me by now, I shared my thoughts to him. I explained that I felt like that was the first letter he sent that I liked. I explained that it was ironic that CPS has a no bullying policy and yet our mayor and CEO were bullying the teachers into the longer school day by bribing them without taking the time to work out the details. We, as teachers, have to lesson plan all the time. He needed to lesson plan and figure out the details before asking us to dive into something. In any case, his secretary or whoever screens his emails forwarded it to him and he actually responded via his Blackberry. It was very brief, but I know he read the letter because he referenced the bully comment in a gracious manner. He then promised to forward my letter to one of his staff members and they would be in touch with me for some more of my thoughts. I thought….ya, right, I’ll be hearing from them. But, guess what….about 3 weeks later someone called me. Now granted, they didn’t really want any of my thoughts, but they did take the time to explain the road they were planning to take. So, what are my thoughts about him? I think he should have been more involved in the negotiations rather than just sending his team. But I’ll give him credit for following through with my email.

  • 959. CarolA  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    BTW: Shortly after he responded to me, CPS backed off on the pressure attacks for schools to try the longer day right away. I know I had nothing to do with it, but I’m still taking credit for it anyway! 🙂

  • 960. Teacher4321  |  September 1, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    There is an increase in funding for early childhood and we were all excited about it until we all realized that all schools must complete a 20 page RFP due in the begining of November, which we learned about in August and the charter schools were informed about it last year.

  • 961. Paul  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    @954 cpsobsessed, Without any personal experience with him, or any knowledge of behind-the-scenes events, I’d give Brizard a B. I agree with him that many CPS schools are not up to par, and that more needs to be done to raise the bar for school administrators, teachers, and students so that more students are college and career ready. I also agree with the initiatives he is undertaking to lengthen the ridiculously short school day and school year, and to improve the outdated and ill defined curriculum by adopting common core curriculum. I think he’s in a tough position in a school district with lots of problems and between an ambitious and impatient mayor who wants to fix the city’s problems now with a tight budget, and a very resistant and powerful teachers union that wants to protect the jobs, relatively high pay, and short required work hours for its members. He’s done a good job in this environment, I think. To do better, he’d need to build more support and more smoothly implement these major changes.

  • 962. gdt5  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    @ 956- I am most certainly in one of the shcools that is constanlty threatened with closing. We are improving scores with a lot of hard work and a tremendous focus on instruction/best practices. We have BEGGED for a pre-school. I pay money to send my own children to pre-school because I realize the importance. The families that I teach will not pay for pre-school. They can’t afford the price. I have not a heard a peep about any pre-schools going into any schools in my area. I work in the poorest area/district and also the lowest performing district in the city. Trust me…I ask all the time if they are opening any pre-schools and the answer is no. I teach first grade, 25% of my students come to me and have NEVER been in school before. This is disrgraceful. In all of my graduate classes (obtaining my masters in reading) about literacy the research shows over and over again that early exposure to literacy is a defining marker for a student’s future success in regards to school achievement (reading and writing). This fact is especially true for an “at-risk” student (low-income) student. I just cannot understand why Brizzard and the mayor don’t legislate the early childhood issue as vehemently as they have legislated the longer school day. Actually the board only funds kindergartens with a .5 position. If a school wants a full day kindergarten they must fund the other half with their own budget money! Kindergarten is not mandatory in Illinois. Preschool and kindergarten is an issue that might actually make a difference regarding the state of our schools. While this might not be the only answer to turning around our neighborhood schools…it most assuredly is a research- based start. A start with evidence and data to support that early childhood education does make a difference… while there is little to no support about the longer school day and its real affect on student achievement. Also at my school my students had a15 min lunch and 3 preps a week for 40 minutes. EVERY other second they were with me recieving insruction. While the school day at CPS might indeed be shorter the kids are with their teachers more than many other schools. Just something to think about.

  • 963. gdt5  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    @960-So interesting! Iam on the leadership and literacy team at my school. We know nothing about this! We would gladly do any report needed. But someone tell me why this information in not given to everyone at the same time and in a way that we would all know about it? Our system does not operate according to fair rules. What a mess!

  • 964. Jess Mom  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    HS mom, you flat out said that you don’t care about the youth committing crimes. That is YOUR right, HOWEVER, teachers don’t have this luxury. That is my point. Public schools have to take whomever. FYI being in a gang is not grounds to kick a kid out of school. FYI MOST juvenile probation mandates as part of probation that students attend regular school. Guess what? It ain’t the charter school down the block. So, HS MOM, no I will not give it a rest. These are facts not opinion.

  • 965. Patricia  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    @962, what “network are you in” or what area? Not sure how to classify it. Please share and maybe CPS will see you need help. I would assume a lot of stuff goes on CEDO, that principal portal thing. It may be very cluttered as there are so many announcements, etc. I have never seen more than a screen shot, but I believe that is how a lot of principal info is communicated.

    Your area sounds like he perfect spot to focus early childhood.

  • 966. TEACHER4321  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Principals were e-mailed information about the new RFP process. It could be that they were only mailed the information if they already had a PFA or Head Start. Or that they missed it with all of the other memos and the switch to Google mail. For many years, Preschool and Head Start expanded widely. Though both programs require the principals to sign off that they would be willing to deal with the program mandates. Some principals are not willing to deal with the mandates that come from running a state or federal program inside the bureaucracy of a CPS school.

    The information for now is on the ecechicago.org website.

  • 967. Skinner Mom  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Lol—-Facts are such an inconveience when it does not agree with our opinion. You are right Jess mom. Most of us lucky to have a kid in SE can’t fathom the reality of day to day cps. Even in a “good” school a couple rotten apples can throw the most perfect classroom in disarray. I think that teachers when they say they want respect want us to really “get” what a day is like for most cps teachers. I have read multiple posts where comments go…yeah I respect teacher, but in the same breath shows little to no knowledge, compassion, Comprehension, True understanding of a teacher’s day. How can we when there are even naive posts about turning kids picked up late over to the principal? What teacher in their right mind would do this? Most teachers are full of compassion and would never imagine doing this to a child that they have built a relationship with. We as parents at time just don’t seem to get it. In same sentence where we say I respect teachers, we also also lists all the other “tough” jobs with low pay and imply that teachers should suck it up. This does not exactly scream respect. If it comes off false to me, just a parent, I can imagine how it comes off to a teacher.

  • 968. Teacher  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Thank you skinner mom!!!! Respect is just a word. Actions are clearer. When teachers say they want respect, we want actions that show respect. If you respect the work I do this can not be just a word. show me in your actions. As I tell my students, sorry does not mean anything, it is your actions that matter. For teachers, respect means nothing without the actions. So angie, HS MOM, etc..etc. this includes improved pay and improved working conditions.

  • 969. Teacher  |  September 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    From a teacher at Chicago now

    ‘m glad someone here brings up the so-called permissive topics that CPS can choose to bargain over. I agree that many of these provisions are far more important to the union’s leadership and the rank and file than salary. I would gladly freeze my pay for language about class size, prep-time specifics, staffing, and the many others topics that CPS wants to claim “Employer’s Authority” over. Even if I don’t trust the CPS budget I’d rather head off the massive school actions that are allegedly on their way than get into a fight over our raises. Unfortunately the only way to do this is to fight for unreasonable salary demands to force CPS to open bargaining on the permissible topics. I guess it’s not surprising that most people can’t see past the salary demands but it’s too bad because I agree with Rod that it’s not really what is at the heart of this fight.”

  • 970. CarolA  |  September 2, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Thank you Skinner Mom! You hit it right on the head!

  • 971. TeachingintheChi  |  September 2, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Well said Skinner Mom.

    My husband is union and just ratified a contract. It was very weird, andd I have never heard of this or why it would be beneficial. So they had a proposed raise, and if the workers ratified the contract the first year their raise would be paid in a lump sum, and then the subsequent years they would see the increase on their regular paychecks.

    They ratified and we received the lump sum. I guess I am just curious why something like that would be beneficial to the employers.

  • 972. Frango Mint  |  September 2, 2012 at 7:43 am

    @971 – Maybe the lump sum was a “carrot” to encourage ratification. The employer has to dig a little deeper to get the money all at once, but there is a greater likelihood of a deal.

  • 973. Frango Mint  |  September 2, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Thank you 969. I know people have a hard time with the idea of a big raise – so do I! But you have to see it for what it is – a negotiating strategy. If CPS can’t give a big raise (and we all agree they can’t) they might