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Ed Week and other coverage of the Chicago teacher strike

By the Notebook on Sep 11, 2012 12:26 PM

The Notebook has a content sharing arrangement with Education Week, where this originally appeared. Stephen Sawchuk, who writes the Teacher Beat blog for EdWeek, is covering the strike.

Other stellar coverage is being provided by Chicago's public radio station WBEZ  and our urban education partner, Catalyst-Chicago.

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Questions Linger After Day 1 of Chicago Teachers' Strike

 

UPDATED

Chicago teachers put down their placards at 6 pm, signalling the end of day one of the city's first teacher strike in 25 years.

The district and the Chicago Teachers Union's negotiating teams met again today, but details of any progress were not forthcoming by late in the evening.

UPDATED, 10:44 p.m. According to city and union officials speaking after negotiations ended, two major issues remain sticking points: "recall rights" for teachers displaced from their schools due to school closure or shakeups, and the weight given to student growth in an evaluation system. State law requires this to be a "significant" part of the evaluation, but Chicago Teachers Union officials contend such a system would penalize teachers of low-achieving students.

Monday's big event was a rally down by City Hall, where teachers marched armed with posters and placards and called for the ouster of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"We're showing Rahm Emanuel we're strong, we're united, and we're getting what schools need, not just what teachers want," said María Ramírez, a 1st grade bilingual elementary teacher.

Top on her priority list: Working air conditioning, a playground so that the extended-school hours will include a 25-minute recess for her students, and the art or music teachers that were promised to staff the program, which she said haven't yet materialized.

In a release, the district revealed that it is prepared to offer teachers an average 16 percent pay raise over four years (3 percent in the first year and 2 percent each of the three additional years, plus premiums for experience), new perks like paid maternity leave, and a degree of job security. (Some reports say the union was asking for average raises of 34 percent in total).

Still, much remains up in the air and the factors are likely to change as the strike continues this week. Here are a few questions I'd like answered:

How long will it last? The first day of any strike has got to be invigorating, even exhilarating, for frustrated teachers and even for their supporters; plenty of motorists honked in support at the various picket lines at which I stationed myself. A policeman I chatted with said "Good!" when I told him teachers were marching on Emanuel's office.

But if this strike drags on, what will happen in the court of public opinion, especially for parents struggling to make plans for their children?

What will the political ramifications be? Again, too soon to tell at this point, but a strike of this magnitude in a Democratic stronghold like Chicago, especially one with close ties to the administration, threatens to throw a lot of bad PR at a vulnerable sitting president. The Politics K-12 blog has more on how the strike could impact the 2012 presidential race.

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Comments (16)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 11, 2012 6:43 pm

It will likely happen here too this time next year.

Submitted by Joe (not verified) on September 11, 2012 6:20 pm

I disagree. Obama and his minions know they have us in his pocket. With Romney as the alternative, there is no choice but Obama.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 11, 2012 8:53 pm

You know your out of touch when even a super lefty mayor is against the teacher's union.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 11, 2012 8:07 pm

You know you are out of touch if you think Nutter is a lefty...super or otherwise. He is a corporate and bankers shill just like many Democrats today.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 11, 2012 9:28 pm

I agree---Nutter is to the left of Romney but NOT a traditional Dem. He's a corporate follower, planning for HIS future at the expense of the city and the city kids in particular. He's a disgrace just like his buddy, Obama.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2012 11:23 am

The NPR audio clips sound shrill and childish. Whatever one's views, this is a solemn event and should be treated as such. It hardly focuses on the truth of the striking union's claim: that the district has stripped the system of such significant resources as school counselors. Particularly in an urban setting, such as Philadelphia, an alarming number of students arrive in school ready only to disrupt. Little wonder that teacher evaluation, solid in concept, fails in such classrooms. In some high school, only a minority of student complete the entire school year.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2012 4:24 pm

About what post are you responding?????

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2012 11:42 am

The NPR audio clips sound shrill and childish. Whatever one's views, this is a solemn event and should be treated as such. It hardly focuses on the truth of the striking union's claim: that the district has stripped the system of such significant resources as school counselors. Particularly in an urban setting, such as Philadelphia, an alarming number of students arrive in school ready only to disrupt. Little wonder that teacher evaluation, solid in concept, fails in such classrooms. In some high school, only a minority of student complete the entire school year.

Submitted by Concerned RoxParent (not verified) on September 12, 2012 4:04 pm

34% raises! I support teachers but that is absolutely ridiculous, even the 16% the city is willing to give them is ridiculous.

I do agree with the part about the right to return and "student growth" evaluation system. Why should the teacher be punished if a child does not test well, has no support from home, or no tools to do the job?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2012 4:05 pm

My understanding is that the Chicago teachers aren't striking over money - it is the evaluations based on text scores and "quality" of life in schools (e.g. music, art, etc.)

The evaluations on test scores is very real. In Philadelphia, at the high school level, there are many magnet/special admit schools. (There are also charters that require a student to submit his/her report card and test scores - how that is a lottery I don't know). So a teacher at a special admit school evaluated on test scores has a much better chance for a "good" evaluation than a teacher at a neighborhood school. That obviously isn't equitable.

Submitted by Anonymous on September 13, 2012 5:17 pm

The PFT is a JOKE compared with the Chicago Union and it's a joke because of Jerry Jordan for the very most part. He refuses to get his hands dirty and just accepts the garbage the SRC etc. throw his way. We are in serious trouble this time next year.

Submitted by Pseudonymous (not verified) on September 13, 2012 7:20 pm

And then, there's the effect of making it illegal for a union to strike. What do we threaten with? Working to contract?

We really need to attack Act 46 in the courts. There's no other way until they can't void our licenses for participating in a strike.

Right now, we're pretending we have mutually assured destruction but in reality the SRC has all the nukes and we have nothing.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 13, 2012 7:00 pm

Again, the PFT is to blame for that too. Too complacent, too giving, too quiet, too docile, too reluctant to fight, too passive. Sounds like Jerry, doesn't it?? They're not going to fire 10,000 teachers, get realistic. Maybe they'll lock up Jordan but he won't even notice.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 13, 2012 7:47 pm

Feel free to resign and give up all the benefits and job protections the PFT has fought for and won for you over the years.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 13, 2012 7:14 pm

I'll try this once more time----It's about JORDAN not the PFT, boob.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2012 7:01 am

Timing is right for more Charter Schools in Chicago!

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