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Union weighs tentative agreement in Chicago

By Paul Socolar on Sep 17, 2012 05:47 PM

Tuesday is a big decision day in a battle that has drawn national attention, the weeklong strike by the Chicago Teachers Union. Union delegates meeting Sunday asked for time to consult with the rank-and-file before a vote on the tentative agreement that they were just learning about in detail.

The union's vote on whether to accept the draft contract and go back to work is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. If they vote it down, the mayor will be going to court on Wednesday for an injunction, attempting to force teachers back to work.

In-depth coverage of details of the tentative agreement  can be found in the Notebook's sister publication Catalyst-Chicago.

A number of the points of contention being fought out in Chicago are hot-button issues nationally and relevant to Philadelphia -- some of them illustrating competing visions of what teachers' role should be in school reform:

• How should teachers be evaluated and how big a factor in that evaluation should student performance on standardized tests be?

• What kind of job security protections should there be for teachers who are displaced by school closings or otherwise laid off? Should principals be free to hire whomever they choose?

• Should teachers continue to earn automatic increases for years of experience and for earning degrees, as most union contracts provide? Or should increases be based on measures of performance?

• How long should the school day and year be, and how should teachers be compensated for additional time?

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Comments (5)

Submitted by Jay (not verified) on September 17, 2012 7:37 pm

I am SOOOO impressed with the solidarity of the Chicago teachers. I wish Philadelphia would get its act together, but I think our complacency is letting others destroy our union and thus the public schools.

Submitted by Joe (not verified) on September 18, 2012 8:10 am

Exactly right. The real question is, is Jordan asleep at the switch or involved with the Charter lie folks in some way ?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 17, 2012 8:54 pm

This interview with CTU President Karen Lewis in Chicago Magazine (November 3, 2011) gives you an idea of how they waged their struggle. They did not attain their solidarity overnight!

CTU President Karen Lewis: Race, Class at Center of Education Debate

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on September 20, 2012 3:20 am

Democracy Now has an excellent interview with Karen Lewis - head of the Chicago Teachers Union.

Lewis spent 22 years as a teacher before becoming the head of the union. She is the only National Board Certified Teacher to head a union in the U.S. In contrast, Jerry Jordan taught 6 years in the 1980s. He, like most of the PFT staff, have been out of the classroom for decades. (Ted Kirsch was the same - he now collects a huge pension and is paid more than Philly teachers for his work with the state AFT.) We need PFT leadership that have at least taught since NCLB! Chicago teachers are fortunate to have a leader who has proven herself in the classroom and on the picket line!

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on September 20, 2012 9:17 am

What a wonderful woman and an absolutely Great leader Karen Lewis is. Everyone in Philadelphia should thank her for her courageous and effective leadership.

I stand and applaud her.

Without democracy in education, there is no hope for a system of Great schools for our children. Of that I am sure....

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