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Chicago strike stalls over accountability and laid-off teachers

Chicago strike stalls over accountability and laid-off teachers

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has announced their strike will continue into Friday–despite an offer from Jesse Jackson to mediate–after CTU President Karen Lewis said she’s “optimistic, but we’re still hammering things out.”

At the heart of the standstill is accountability: merit pay, the evaluation process, and how appeals over “unsatisfactory” ratings will be considered.

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, after the latest round of negotiations, merit pay is now “off the table” and the city has given in on the formula for evaluating teacher performance. Chicago Public Schools had wanted 40% of a teacher’s evaluation to be based on “student growth,” but now has put forth a plan that cuts this to 35%, with another 20% based on students’ test scores. From Crain‘s:

…It will be more difficult to dismiss teachers who get unsatisfactory ratings than it would have been under CPS’ original proposal. Under the proposal the board made Wednesday, no first-year teacher rated “unsatisfactory” can be dismissed. And in later years, they will have a right to appeal an unsatisfactory rating. The appeals process will be developed in further talks….Overall, it appears to me that CPS has given more than the union — so far. But the issue of recalling laid-off teachers remains yet to be resolved, as of this writing.

CTU would like to change the strike narrative from one of accountability and merit-based pay (they are the highest-paid teachers in the country with an average salary of $76,000 plus benefits) to air conditioining and the number of social workers. In order to do this, the CTU is both playing up the “Air Conditioning” theme while also framing accountability measures as overly reliant on testing. As the offer now stands, only 20% of teachers’ evaluations are based on testing, but you wouldn’t know that from the rhetoric CTU is pushing.

Bill Ayers’s colleague Isabel Nunez, a local professor of “foundations and social pay,” certainly is playing along. She penned an editorial today in the Chicago Sun-Times ridiculing conservative think tanks’ support of testing as “madness,”  writing:

Thank goodness the Chicago Teachers Union is standing up to this madness. Teachers, working people and concerned citizens around the country are watching you, like heroes on a movie screen, with hope.

After a rally today (watch livestream here) outside Chicago School Board Member Penny Pritzker’s family hotel, Hyatt, their largest protest yet is planned for Saturday. Occupy is helping get the word out.

And still, President Obama, who promised in 2007 that he’d “walk that picket line with you,” has yet to show. He never showed up in Wisconsin, either.


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NC Mountain Girl | September 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm

If Obama ever showed up it would be over and he knows it. He won in 2008 by running away from his radical urban roots and presenting a face suburbia could accept. The CTU and its counterparts in other cities are probably the biggest single reason people with children have left cities for the suburbs. No one with a choice sends their own kids to urban public schools.

Indeed I suspect the Democrats in the Congressional and state legislative districts that were gerrymandered to minimize the Republican edge in many suburbs don’t like this strike. Nothing turns off suburban parents more than sky high teacher salaries being paid to uncouth urban thugs who couldn’t teach a duck to waddle.

It doesn’t matter if Obama shows up to support them, they will vote for him anyway.

I think things are to the point where if you want to win your campaign, your issue, your strike, whatever, the last thing you want is for Obama to show up showing his support for you.

“like heroes on a movie screen”

There’s your caption for every photo of teachers protesting in the streets. Use it generously!

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has announced their strike will continue into Friday–despite an offer from Jesse Jackson to mediate

To be fair, I’d turn down any offers of help from Jesse Jackson, too; the man is a complete waste of DNA.

“Thank goodness the Chicago Teachers Union is standing up to this madness.”

Yeah, boy. You can’t have anything like metrics…or objective measures of performance.

Next time you hear a Collectivist claim they are the guys who love science, you can spit in their eye.

They support witchcraft, and would send you back to the Dark Ages in a heartbeat.

9thDistrictNeighbor | September 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm

So they’re upset that Penny Pritzker’s “…Hotel in Hyde Park has received over $5 million in TIF dollars, which could’ve been used to help parks, libraries and schools. Penny also appeals her property taxes (which goes to the schools) every year despite her wealth.”

I suppose it doesn’t matter that she was Barry’s finance chair for 2008 and that she is helping to finance his presidential library, museum and Hawaiian house.

Barry never calls anymore.

How fickle. Well, at least they’re still fighting for permanent employment.

You have to admit there is some entertainment value in watching Big Labor get used by the Democrats.

Big Labor has been saying “You’ll be sorry!” for decades. Yawn.

Dims have created a monster and that monster is turning on them. All this is going to do is bring to light the arbitrariness and me first attitude of the teacher’s union. It also brings to light the difference in pay and benefits between the private and public sectors. No one should have this kind of job security. If a person can’t produce or do the job they need to be let go… as someone famous once said.

    deadrody in reply to BarbaraS. | September 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    And the very IDEA of “tenure” anywhere but in in college needs to completely disappear. It should not be any more difficult to fire a poor performing teacher than it is to fire a waitress or a dish washer.

More and more the country is turning against the unions and they have brought it on themselves with their greed.

Bill, please excuse me for cross-posting from the Tip Line:

Richard Fernandez has a sobering series of commentaries on America, the Mideast, and Obama.

I have learned to loath every thing about Chicago and am glad they are getting the govt. they deserve.

… a professor of “foundations and social pay”

Isn’t that, honestly, all you need to know about the state of affairs in the US in the year 2012 ?

We’re putting a TRILLION dollars a year on the Chinese credit card, borrowing ourselves to economic ruin and to prove we have no clue whatsoever that it is coming OR that we have any intention to prevent it, and we can print the words “professor of foundations and social pay” with a straight face.

It is unbelievable. It is high time we starting cutting DEEP into every single aspect of government at every level until such IDIOCY as “professors of foundations and social pay” are nothing but the punchline to a joke about how very close we came to the edge of destruction in 2012.

When people wonder why the cost of college has so skyrocketed, just tell them, “That’s easy – professors of foundations and social pay”

Its fucking retarded.