Today, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) voted to end its strike. After seven long days of boisterous rallies and protests, the CTU agreed to the offer made by the city of Chicago through the leadership of Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
NaysayersAi??condemned the strike from the onset as harmful for the district and harmful for kids, but a look at what teachers won shows that it actually did a lot for the schools. Here’s a list of just some of the highlights, drawn from a CTU draft of what its members agreed to:
- A REASONABLE SCHOOL LENGTH: Chicago originally proposed a 7 hour, 40 minute school day that threatened to overwork students and teachers (especially without proper compensation). CTU won a 7 hour day for elementary school and 7 hour, 15 minute day for high school
- FUNDING FOR A COMPREHENSIVE EDUCATION IN ARTS AND MUSIC: CPS originally had proposed no funding for additional staff. CTU won funding for over 600 new positions, mostly for arts, music, and physical education — important outlets for a comprehensive education.
- MAYORAL ACCOUNTABILITY: The original contract called for a length of five years, meaning that Mayor Rahm Emanuel would not be responsible for negotiating another one within his term. The new contract lasts for 3 years, meaning the next negotiation would be during the mayoral race and allow teachers and parents to hold the mayor accountable.
- KEEPING HEALTH CARE COSTS DOWN: The original contract would’ve had a nearly 40 percent increase on families and couples. Now, there will be a freeze on health care premiums and co-pays for all CTU members.
- FAIR EVALUATIONS: 70 percent of a teacher’s quality rating will be based on their practice rather than student test scores.
- A MORE FAIR PAY RAISE: Originally, CPS was only offering a 2 percent pay raise with no guaranteed raise for the following four years. Now, there will be a 3 percent pay raise and a 2 percent raise each of the next couple years.
- MORE MONEY FOR SUPPLIES; TEXTBOOKS ON DAY ONE: Originally CPS was only offering $100 for supplies per teacher. Now that will be raised to $250. Additionally, there will be guaranteed textbook distribution on the first day of classes, for the first time ever.
These are just a few of the concessions that CTU won. Read the full list here.
This was a hard-fought victory for PCCC and the labor movement at large. Let CTU’s example stand for all workers: when you’re being mistreated, if you fight back, you can win. PCCC is airing the following ad to show why unions fought this fight:
You can help air it in Chicago by clicking here.Ai??
Ahh the union managed to protect the weakest members of the profession and guarantee the continuation of the highest paid part time workers in the world. Only Teachers would thing a 7 hour and 15 minute day is long. Chicago Teachers now make more than area Nurses many of whom work 12 hour days and do so the entire year.
Clearly, you have never actually taught. After the school day, teachers have to go home and plan for the next day and grade!
My husband, in his small business, worked many 70 hr wks. And, he worked ALL yr round. I’m not saying a teacher should have to do that, but I am saying…..there are many who work as long or longer hrs. Its their job, either they don’t mind doing it, or they find another profession. When I was in school, 50-60’s, ALL of our teachers stayed after school 1 hr, THEN went home. My teachers were available for questions, etc. Since the mid-80’s you’re lucky if you find a teacher at school, in their class room, 10 mins after the last bell rings.
Sorry you feel teachers are lazy and don’t work hard. You must of never met a teacher with a work ethic like mine. I am often at my school until the custodians kick me out. I spend thousands on supplies for my students. I teacher after school clubs w/o pay. I often fed my students, drive them home, and build relationships with my parents by giving them all my cell phone number. When I am not doing the above I take classes that I pay for myself, write grants, grade work, set up art displays, and collaborate with my colleagues on how to better met the needs of all of my students especially those I may have difficulty getting through to. I also work to comforts students after they are exposed to gang violence in thier neighborhoods. When people complain about teachers pay please take onto consideration baby sitter rates and I do much more than that! I do have to say that people that bash teachers NEVER make the teaching situation better. Oh! I have my
Masters degree, national board certification, and have been a teacher for 17 years. It would be the most rewarding career if people like you supported teachers rather than bash them.
Art H. I’m sorry to be so critical, but your grammar and spelling is appalling for someone with a Masters Degree. Perhaps your haste to post a note prevented you from proofreading it.
I don’t know what schools and teachers you’re talking about, but I’m a school social worker and I see numerous teachers throughout different schools and rarely if EVER do I see a teacher leave 10 minutes after the last bell. Good teachers are some of the hardest workers you will ever meet. They spend their evenings, weekends, and other days off working to make sure their students are getting the best education possible. They work harder than many of our students’ parents in making sure these kids learn. Kudos to your husband, but schools are not a business, they deal with young lives, many of which need a LOT of extra help to learn the things they need to know this day and age. I recommend anyone who thinks a teacher’s job is easy to try it for ONE WEEK. Do the lesson planning yourself, be in charge of 15-25 students (sometimes more!) for 7 hours straight with 15-25 minutes to eat, and maybe 40 minutes of planning time. Deal with the multitude of issues that working with children brings, then say what you have to say about whether or not teachers have it “easy”. For those who complain how teachers have summers off or 2 week breaks, I say find another profession!
I’m not sure where you went to school or if you even paid attention while you were there, but a teacher’s day doesn’t end when the students are dismissed at the end of the day. Teachers take home almost as much work as they perform in the classroom. And since my mother is a nurse, I can tell you unequivocally that nurses need a union badly. If the nurses in the US would band together then they too could have a decent paying job with benefits fitting the value of their profession.
Not all nurses in the U.S. are without a union. Michigan nurses have a very strong union. And, I’ll say the same to you, regarding the working after school. There are many jobs that don’t end after the person leaves the office. Teachers aren’t the only ones that do that. And, most of the rest of us that do that, work yr round, and don’t have 2 wks off at Christmas, 1 wk of spring break, and all the national holidays, which adds up to more than a month longer off. Yes, some teachers are very dedicated, but if they can’t handle the work hrs, esp. considering what Chicago teachers make, then find another job.
While the school day is only going to be a maximum of seven hours and fifteen minutes, the actual work day is much longer for teachers. They must all arrive early to monitor students as they arrive. They must stay late to do the same (as well as any extracurricular activities they are responsible for). That aside, they also need time outside of teaching to assemble lesson plans, grade student work, and meet with parents when necessary.
A few years back I actually had a roommate that taught at one of the in-need CPS schools and he would regularly end up buying most everything he needed for the classroom out of pocket. He’d leave for work well before I got up for my corporate job, and would get home one to two hours after me. And even then he’d be grading papers while I watched television or cooked dinner.
Until you’ve actually seen what a teacher really does, perhaps you should educate yourself instead of spouting uninformed opinions.
YOU ARE AN IDIOT!! I HOPE IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN THEY TURN OUT BETTR THAN YOU BUT ACTUALLY YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE ANY!
Teachers are what keep ALL professions going…Even in the “olden” times there were teachers. Many parents can’t teach right or wrong..our teachers spend too much time peing replacement parents!
They step into that role, as “replacement parent” during the hrs they teach our children. That is expected, of course.
Nurses don’t go home make lesson plans, grade papers or continue their workday; they also do not work 7days a week by answering student calls. the word is think not thing maybe you should have paid more attention in class.
My son is a ortho tech. He works 3 days during the wk and every other wkend. But, he works 3/12’s, and then that wkend . Once a month, he’s on call from Friday 9 a.m. to Monday 9.am. He stays at the hospital and often gets only a few hrs sleep out of 72 he’s on. There are different jobs, w/different schedules and different demands, but please don’t think teachers have it so rough, the rest of us don’t understand.
Nurses take care of one patient at a time, teachers have a classroom full of students at the same time. You clearly have not ever taught
That’s the student school day, not the teachers hours!
Isn’t that sad?
Excuse me….since Congress only worked four days in August and eight days in September and Bohner has declared a recess until after the election, our highly paid elected officials will not work at all in October. So, that comes out to 12 days in three months and you say teachers are the highest paid part time workers. I Don’t think so!
Teachers work typically upward of 10 hours a day, the 7 hours and 15 minutes is just the school day.
Now let’s get serious about educating our children and raise taxes to pay for the education they deserve. Cutting education is absurd. Get to work, Rahm!
Teachers in Chicago get the highest paid in the nation, next to Washington D.C. Yet, in this article the teachers talk about the students finally getting books on the first day. They talk about getting $250 a day for supplies, vs the $100 they used to get. How sad, w/the teachers salaries in that city, that supplies have to be in short demand AT ALL. I read about all the things that the students were going without, and I’m wondering how the teachers feel they need a raise and all their other demands met, when students clearly should have gotten what they needed first. In Michigan, each student brings in $7800 in funds. Yet, over the past 15 yrs, even when teachers demands were met, the kids has less supplies, less books, and most schools now pay to play, for sports. Where’s all that $7800 per pupil $$ going? I’d like to see a break down of that expense sheet.
Charter Schools! That money is going into the bank accounts of rich people! Teachers and nurses pitted against each other like this is exactly what the hedge fund operators promised their private, corporate education company investors. They are certain that if you make teachers the enemy of children with test scores and hostile rhetoric, they can completely privatize education.
I don’t think the freeze in health care payments is reasonable. What this will mean is that everyone else who is not a teacher will wind up subsidizing your payments. Everyone’s health care premiums are going up — the country is aging.
Yes, Carolynn is right on. Everyone else’s health care premiums are going up. Mine went up last yr, to be exact, and again this yr. copays are up and my deductible is way up! So, why shouldn’t teachers be up as well? What makes them exempt?
You should not talk about a profession that you have never been a part of, simple as that. What do you do for a living? How about people who haven’t worked your job a day in their life start telling you how to do it, making impossible demands you couldn’t possibly meet during your contractual 8 hour work day, and then pay you peanuts? You need to educate yourself by talking to actual teachers, not listening to the media. Have they ever been know to skew anything in order to create a more newsworthy story?? Think about it! CPS teachers are not rich, although they very well should be for the amount of hours they put in and the crap they have to deal with.
A teacher earnestly explains to his high school students the importance of the TEST. The instant the teacher passes out the test, all the students toss the TESTs into the air and do the WAVE.
It’s a moment made for MTV. In fact, I am really surprised that teenagers across the country haven’t figured this out.
As a retired high school teacher from an inner city school, I know as a fact that students don’t give a rat about the tests that educational reformers regard as the Holy Grail.
The TEST scores do not affect a student’s graduation. As a teacher, you cannot count test scores as part of the student’s grade. I have yet to hear of a MacDonald’s outlet that asks students to produce their TEST scores for a job. And TEST scores have no effect on college admissions, and they do not guarantee a full-paid scholarship to the college of a student’s choice.
The only thing the TEST measures is what students think of a sterile, boring academic exercise that has as much relevance to their needs or concerns as a war of cockroaches on one of the moons of Uranus.
Rather than firing teachers for test scores, let’s fire educational refomers for insisting that an antiquated testing mechanism is an accurate measure of student learning.
Bold Progressives has knee-jerk responses to this strike. I consider myself a progressive, supporting the need to expand union membership and rights. But blind support of stultified positions preserving a failed status quo does not serve the union and it does not serve the students.
I live in New Haven, CT. It is in the 3rd year of its radically changed teacher evaluation program. I attended several Bd. of Ed. meetings while the program was presented to the city and its public. I personally witnessed the union rep for high school faculty rise and support the new program. Features: Evaluations based on new testing criteria, namely, the “value-added” assessed by following each individual student’s progress from the previous year as a result of the teachers’ efforts. Subjective evaluations by the administration. As opposed to Chicago wherein all teachers are guaranteed raises by right, a system of merit-based salary increments that gives the teacher an incentive to excel. Strong solicitation of parental support and active participation in their child’s progress. Peer teacher coaching of poor performers in an effort to enhance their skills, and if not successful after 1-2 years, dismissal. The New York Times has editorialized favorably on New Haven’s program at least 3 times over this period.
Tenure is a privilege to be earned, not a right to be granted. BP wants to hold Mayor Emanuel “accountable”, but accountable for WHAT? Is he to be responsible for poor student performance in the schools?
In South Korea, I believe, applicants for teacher’s training programs in university must be in the top 1/3 of their high school class. The U. S. education system is in crisis. It is unconscionable for BP to maintain 20th century positions in the face of this 21st century crisis. New paradigms are needed.
We got a good example of the scornful attitude of the public toward teachers by the recent debate in Boston between Senator Scott Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren. He kept referring to her as “Professor” with the obvious intent of denigrating her in the minds of the viewers. When the public and the elected officials have this attitude, it is no wonder that teachers’ unions behave the same as unions for non-professional workers.
Job well done.
Well there sure is a great deal of anger out there towards teachers, and yes I am one. I will try very hard to use perfect grammar since that is apparently something else we must be admonished for by the rest of society. I am certified to teach language arts k-8.
Now let’s talk truth please. Most teachers have masters degrees and if we were in the business world we would be making in the hundreds of thousands after 20 years. Teachers who are making $76,000 in Chicago are the master teachers. The average pay is $56,000 which tells me beginning teachers are starting in high 40s or low 50s. There is a base of experienced teachers which is pulling up the average, perhaps a median would give a clearer picture. I am also certified to teach mathematics k-8.
With that said, it is good to have some experience in schools, since in all jobs you do really need to apprentice with a master to learn your trade. Many of the experienced teachers are being forced to leave either offered a package or being told that their promised retirement is about to change thus lowering their income in retirement forcing them to retire early.
Schools need to cut costs because there is little funding from governments both state and federal. Much is promised and required but not fully funded. This is what increases class size and decreases monies that can be allotted for books and materials. Let us also check out the new common core standards, which are neither bad nor good in my mind but they are costly. All new materials must be designed and there are no books to support the new curriculum. Book adoption is a huge cost to all schools that was basically sprung on school systems in the last two years. We usually rotate these adoptions by subject area but now all subjects have changed significantly in one year. Teachers can teach without textbooks and I am this making my own materials, but my students and parents are at a lose without these references for work at home.
Finally to address those evil unions, I do not have one. I live in a right to work state. I have not had a cost of living raise in 5 years and my benefits package cost to me has increased 150%. All of my personal medical out of pockets have increased as well by 150%. I was furloughed four days each year for the last three years. Yes three more days off, but that is deducted from my salary. This year I am furloughed for eight days. Our salary is so reduced now that one of my colleagues who started teaching five years ago now qualifies for free and reduced lunch for her children.
To conclude, I know things are tough for everyone out there, but I would hope that you who hold teachers in such low esteem can recognize that it is wrong for someone who went to school and paid for their own college degrees, to make so little that they qualify for assistance from government agencies in order to feed their family. That is not really how we all pictured the American Dream now is it.
I do accept as true with all of the ideas you’ve offered in your post. They’re really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very short for newbies. May you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.