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  #1  
Old 09-10-2012, 07:15 PM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
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Teachers' Strike

Is there a prevailing feeling amongst the general public w/regard to sympathy or lack of it for the teachers?
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  #2  
Old 09-10-2012, 07:37 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Everyone I know, who has expressed an opinion, thinks the teachers union is a bunch of greedy thugs.
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  #3  
Old 09-10-2012, 09:40 PM
typoink typoink is offline
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I've heard mostly sympathetic views, but I know relatively few parents and more people involved in education.

I honestly don't know the current demands well enough to feel like I have an informed opinion.
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  #4  
Old 09-10-2012, 09:48 PM
Happy Lendervedder Happy Lendervedder is offline
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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
Everyone I know, who has expressed an opinion, thinks the teachers union is a bunch of greedy thugs.
So they think their kids are being taught by thugs?
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  #5  
Old 09-10-2012, 10:11 PM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
Everyone I know, who has expressed an opinion, thinks the teachers union is a bunch of greedy thugs.
Yup. And I hang with a bunch of liberal douches who always support all workers who strike, and they're all "Whiny little bitches."
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  #6  
Old 09-10-2012, 10:31 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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Ontario feels the same way: $60,000 a year, including summers off, to teach 8 year olds to add and subtract.

Fuck you.
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  #7  
Old 09-10-2012, 10:35 PM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Oh, and just so we're clear, I don't think the teachers are "thugs," but there's been a lot of talk of lack of regard for "the children" and greed.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:30 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Originally Posted by Happy Lendervedder View Post
So they think their kids are being taught by thugs?
Most of my friends (and I) don't have kids. So yes, to us, they are thugs who want even more of our money to provide us something we have no use for.
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  #9  
Old 09-11-2012, 03:11 PM
typoink typoink is offline
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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
Most of my friends (and I) don't have kids. So yes, to us, they are thugs who want even more of our money to provide us something we have no use for.
Because there is, of course, no secondary benefits to living in a country where education is a field that might actually attract and reward talented individuals.
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  #10  
Old 09-11-2012, 04:34 PM
magellan01 magellan01 is offline
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I heard that the teachers there were the highest paid of any big city. And they turned down a 16% raise. That doesn't make them look good. One more reason to rethink our school system. Starting with getting rid of the teachers' unions.

But the good news is that Rahm Emanuel's children aren't missing a single day in their private school. He can afford it, fine. But the poor people are stuck with the government is able to cobble together and serve up, with the unions' blessings, of course. We need to more charter schools in our cities and work our way to a voucher system. This is disgusting.
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  #11  
Old 09-11-2012, 04:50 PM
Sparky812 Sparky812 is offline
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Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
Ontario feels the same way: $60,000 a year, including summers off, to teach 8 year olds to add and subtract.

Fuck you.

No offense, but you seem to be ignorant and/or uninformed as to the situation in Ontario.

Secondly, to bemoan the salary and benefits of a profession that you chose not to pursue is ridiculous.

And FTR I am not a teacher.

That said, in the court of public opinion, a general strike does not promote their cause.

Last edited by Sparky812; 09-11-2012 at 04:51 PM..
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  #12  
Old 09-11-2012, 04:53 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is offline
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Because there is, of course, no secondary benefits to living in a country where education is a field that might actually attract and reward talented individuals.
Or if you aim slightly lower (as I am wont to do): no benefit to preventing---or at least slowing---society's inescapable descent into Idiocracy.

I confess to being mostly ignorant about vouchers and charter schools, but find myself reflexively skeptical--- as with the flat/"Fair" tax initiatives, the loudest proponents (all due respect to magellan01) always seem to be people with whom I disagree on almost every other issue.
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  #13  
Old 09-11-2012, 05:01 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Originally Posted by typoink View Post
Because there is, of course, no secondary benefits to living in a country where education is a field that might actually attract and reward talented individuals.
I understand your position, and under different circumstances I could almost agree with it. But this is the CPS we're talking about, remember?
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  #14  
Old 09-11-2012, 05:07 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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How does this sound for an idea? The city sells the entire CPS system - schools, land, contracts, everything - to a private management firm. We never dump another city dime into it, and all our property taxes go down (or at least, stop increasing for awhile). The private firm runs it as they best sees fit, and charges students for the educational services they provide. If the students (or their parents) don't think it is good value for their money, they are free to spend their money at other private schools.

It's a win-win!
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  #15  
Old 09-11-2012, 05:24 PM
Condescending Robot Condescending Robot is offline
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I knew someone who was a CPS teacher until two years ago. Eighty thousand bucks a year, could take nearly six total months of vacation between seniority benefits and the summer, and managed to charge all of his travel expenses from his vacations to the school district as "educational research" no matter what he was actually doing.

The idea that Chicago teachers need MORE is bullshit. I hope they dissolve the union permanently over this.
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  #16  
Old 09-11-2012, 05:58 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
Everyone I know, who has expressed an opinion, thinks the teachers union is a bunch of greedy thugs.
Oddly enough, my experience has been exactly the opposite, and mostly from people who are Romney supporters, of all things. I guess they hate Emanuel more than the unions, or something.

Last edited by pulykamell; 09-11-2012 at 05:59 PM..
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  #17  
Old 09-11-2012, 06:04 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Here's some poll numbers

47% support it
39% against it
14% no opinion

So the plurality of voters, so far, are pro-strike. I personally thought the number would be closer to 60%+.
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  #18  
Old 09-11-2012, 06:05 PM
Beware of Doug Beware of Doug is offline
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Originally Posted by Vinyl Turnip View Post
Originally Posted by typoink
Because there is, of course, no secondary benefits to living in a country where education is a field that might actually attract and reward talented individuals.

Or if you aim slightly lower (as I am wont to do): no benefit to preventing---or at least slowing---society's inescapable descent into Idiocracy.
The average person doesn't give half a wet shit about education until it comes to their own child, and fuck all the other kids.

I think this is the root of a lot of problems with our approach to education. The parent's who don't even care about their own child's education get all the blame; maybe it ought to be shared.

Then there is the deep mistrust of learning which is our legacy as a frontier nation. That's not talked about nearly enough.

Last edited by Beware of Doug; 09-11-2012 at 06:06 PM..
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  #19  
Old 09-11-2012, 07:04 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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I am not a CPS grad, a teacher, or a parent, so in some important ways I don't have a dog in this fight. I do, however, pay Chicago property taxes and have several friends/colleagues who are current or former CPS teachers, or who have a CPS teacher in the immediate family. And I also have a number of friends with kids in CPS, including some who had the choice of sending their kids to private school but chose not to for various reasons.

Pretty much everyone I know backs the teachers. As far as I can tell, much of the contract dispute is not about money, but about working conditions and performance evaluations and protecting teachers from BS politics. I agree that it should be easier to get rid of underperforming teachers, but how can you determine which teachers are underperforming when the deck is stacked against their students in some very difficult to quantify and quite uneven ways, which are not their fault and which they have little to no ability to control? The teachers have what sound to me like some quite valid complaints, as outlined by a friend of mine (who is not a teacher or CPS grad, but has 3 kids in CPS at the moment) here.
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  #20  
Old 09-11-2012, 09:35 PM
Condescending Robot Condescending Robot is offline
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I understand that there are a lot of factors boiling down to "bad parents having kids they are incapable of raising" that make it difficult to teach some students. Not that the people backing the teachers' union are willing to do anything to address those factors, of course. My question for YOU is, if you believe that those factors make it impossible for teachers to do their jobs in a better or worse way, why NOT hire any old people at minimum wage? Why do teachers deserve six-figure salaries and a golden benefits package if they are just putting in hours at a job that no one is apparently capable of actually performing well at?
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  #21  
Old 09-11-2012, 09:55 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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Originally Posted by Condescending Robot View Post
I understand that there are a lot of factors boiling down to "bad parents having kids they are incapable of raising" that make it difficult to teach some students. Not that the people backing the teachers' union are willing to do anything to address those factors, of course. My question for YOU is, if you believe that those factors make it impossible for teachers to do their jobs in a better or worse way, why NOT hire any old people at minimum wage? Why do teachers deserve six-figure salaries and a golden benefits package if they are just putting in hours at a job that no one is apparently capable of actually performing well at?
If you're addressing me, that's not what I'm saying at all. I am not by any means saying an uneducated parent or a non-English-speaking parent or a poor parent or a single parent is necessarily a bad parent. I'm saying it's unrealistic to have a classroom of 40+ kids, of whom 80% fall into one or more categories that makes them more difficult than the average American kid to teach, and expect miraculous results. I believe smaller class sizes would make a huge difference. I believe that having appropriate instructional materials and a bearable atmospheric temperature would make a huge difference.

And if I were a teacher, I'd be pretty damn pissed off at a unilateral 20% increase in the school day that added exactly zero instructional time. I imagine quite a few teachers also have their own kids in school for whom they will now have to make additional after-school care arrangements.
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  #22  
Old 09-11-2012, 09:58 PM
sisu sisu is offline
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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
How does this sound for an idea? The city sells the entire CPS system - schools, land, contracts, everything - to a private management firm. We never dump another city dime into it, and all our property taxes go down (or at least, stop increasing for awhile). The private firm runs it as they best sees fit, and charges students for the educational services they provide. If the students (or their parents) don't think it is good value for their money, they are free to spend their money at other private schools.

It's a win-win!
What a complete and utter disaster. High School education should NEVER be run as a profit engine, well sorry what I mean there should ALWAYS be a "free" state run system that can run alongside the private system as it does in Australia. I send my kids to a private school but I know that if couldn't afford it there are state alternatives that are pretty damn good.

When I didn't have kids I had no issue with my taxes going towards schools, I saw it as beneficial to society and I also went to school at some time as well. So in short there should always be a decent level of state funding for schools, it is as critical [probably more so] as roads and other infrastructure.

So do I have sympathy for the Teacher's Union? Yeah.
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  #23  
Old 09-11-2012, 10:02 PM
NAF1138 NAF1138 is offline
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Originally Posted by Condescending Robot View Post
...why NOT hire any old people at minimum wage? Why do teachers deserve six-figure salaries and a golden benefits package if they are just putting in hours at a job that no one is apparently capable of actually performing well at?
Just because not all students are able to be taught (and I don't know if that is true, but let's roll with the premise) doesn't mean that NO students are able to be taught.

At the elementary school level in particular a child's teacher is the adult that they will most often come into contact with other than their parents. In some cases more than their parents. This person is responsible for more than simply teaching addition and subtraction, but for modeling what it is to be a responsible adult, and this is true even if you think it should not be the case. It is impossible, due to the sheer amount of time children spend with their teachers, for a child to not be profoundly effected by them on more than just an educational level. Do you really want the average McDonald's level worker doing that job for minimum wage? I don't really trust them to make change for me let alone model adult behavior to 8 year olds. That's before you get into the question of knowledge of subject material, and the energy and willingness to try to herd a bunch of kids all day long, or the ability to actually communicate lessons in a way that will be age appropriate and effective. The calculus changes, a very little bit, when you get into middle and high school, but elementary school teachers should get paid a hell of a lot more than they do.*

Teaching is an important and complicated gig and not many people that I have met (including, sadly, several teacher) are capable of doing it with even moderate competency. Get rid of the bad teachers if you are able to find a fair way of judging who is a bad teacher. The current complaint is that the system being used for teacher evaluations isn't accurately reflecting the quality of the teaching staff and has little to do with money, as far as I can tell.

But, why SHOULDN'T teachers get paid a salary that is at least competitive with other white collar professions that require a post-graduate degree?



*I am also of the opinion that all teachers need to be put through a lot more hoops than they are in order to get into a classroom. I would like to see something roughly equivalent to the Bar exam for teaching, but then you have to pay teachers accordingly.

Last edited by NAF1138; 09-11-2012 at 10:06 PM..
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  #24  
Old 09-12-2012, 12:06 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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What a complete and utter disaster. High School education should NEVER be run as a profit engine, well sorry what I mean there should ALWAYS be a "free" state run system that can run alongside the private system as it does in Australia. I send my kids to a private school but I know that if couldn't afford it there are state alternatives that are pretty damn good.

When I didn't have kids I had no issue with my taxes going towards schools, I saw it as beneficial to society and I also went to school at some time as well. So in short there should always be a decent level of state funding for schools, it is as critical [probably more so] as roads and other infrastructure.

So do I have sympathy for the Teacher's Union? Yeah.
You refute your own argument when you put "free" in quotes. Clearly, it is not free. It is paid for by people who use it, and people who DON'T use it. And it is not forced to compete. Maybe in Australia the government is capable of running effective and efficient systems without the competition brought by market forces, and that's cool, and I salute you for it. But in the US, and especially in Chicago, the government is utterly incapable of such a feat.

Last edited by Tim R. Mortiss; 09-12-2012 at 12:07 AM..
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  #25  
Old 09-12-2012, 01:34 AM
Zebra Zebra is offline
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You don't benefit from the 18 year olds in your area having an education?

You do benefit from that. You directly benefit from that.
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:43 AM
sisu sisu is offline
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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
You refute your own argument when you put "free" in quotes. Clearly, it is not free. It is paid for by people who use it, and people who DON'T use it. And it is not forced to compete. Maybe in Australia the government is capable of running effective and efficient systems without the competition brought by market forces, and that's cool, and I salute you for it. But in the US, and especially in Chicago, the government is utterly incapable of such a feat.
Yeah we do have competition and very active debates around education. Education is seen as a right and IMO it should be at least until the end of high school. University Education is more problematic as there is normally a good return for the individual although there is an argument to be made that the country benefits greatly so everyone should pay a bit.

A user pays model is problematic in that even if you don't directly benefit your society does.
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  #27  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:18 AM
Smapti Smapti is offline
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Oh my God, the PTA has disbanded!

(jumps out the window)
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  #28  
Old 09-12-2012, 07:25 AM
Wheelz Wheelz is offline
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One of the sticking points seems to be over the authority of principals; the teachers don't want them to have hiring and firing privileges. This seems odd to me. I’ve never had a job in which my immediate supervisor didn’t have that power. “Job Security” shouldn’t mean “I can never get fired.” As for the evaluation part of it, I admit I don’t know enough to form a valid opinion.

But I do know that the longer the strike goes on, the more Karen Lewis will get to stick her smug, smirking face in front of the news cameras every night. I honestly believe she’s getting off on this, and that doesn’t bode well for a quick resolution.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:36 AM
lance strongarm lance strongarm is offline
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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
How does this sound for an idea? The city sells the entire CPS system - schools, land, contracts, everything - to a private management firm. We never dump another city dime into it, and all our property taxes go down (or at least, stop increasing for awhile). The private firm runs it as they best sees fit, and charges students for the educational services they provide.
What could possibly go wrong with a private firm, after all? They never fail! They always have their customers' best interests at heart!

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If the students (or their parents) don't think it is good value for their money, they are free to spend their money at other private schools.
No, they aren't free to do that, since desks in schools are not unlimited resources. They are free to get on a waiting list.
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  #30  
Old 09-12-2012, 11:17 AM
mckall mckall is offline
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could take nearly six total months of vacation between seniority benefits and the summer, and managed to charge all of his travel expenses from his vacations to the school district as "educational research" no matter what he was actually doing.
There is NO WAY this person had 3 months of vacation time built up, including sick leave, and could travel on vacation as educational research. Cite the contract for that, it reeks of bullshit to me.

Full disclosure, I'm a teacher in Nevada and we've had our own issues. I don't agree with going on strike, it doesn't benefit the kids in anyway, but this bullshit about how greedy we are and this summers off is a crock.

Is it my fault that the government system for the school year is 9 months? I'm sorry, but your rage at teachers over our 'summers off' is a bit misdirected.

Some districts allow a teacher to take a 12 month pay scale, but most are 9 month. That means I'm being payed for work that I've already done for the year. I'm not making money by doing nothing.

All that certification and continuing education that I'm are required to do to keep my license? Summer. All the lesson planning and research I need to do because I don't/can't put in an additional 2-3 hours after school? Summers.

So, what should we be paid? In your, and anyone else's, personal opinion? 35k? 40k?

Obviously making 60 grand a year, so 5k a month, and 2500 every two weeks before taxes, is too much.

How many of you, who need continuing education, pay for it from your own pocket?

The higher the pay, the more seniority you have. My district caps at 80k, with a Ph.d, and 25 years of experience.

All school districts negotiate a contract with the teachers and agree to it. Blaming us because we make 'too much' is because of the acceptance of the teacher's offer.
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  #31  
Old 09-12-2012, 11:45 AM
Gundy Gundy is offline
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Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
One of the sticking points seems to be over the authority of principals; the teachers don't want them to have hiring and firing privileges. This seems odd to me. I’ve never had a job in which my immediate supervisor didn’t have that power. “Job Security” shouldn’t mean “I can never get fired.” As for the evaluation part of it, I admit I don’t know enough to form a valid opinion.

But I do know that the longer the strike goes on, the more Karen Lewis will get to stick her smug, smirking face in front of the news cameras every night. I honestly believe she’s getting off on this, and that doesn’t bode well for a quick resolution.
Yeah, I agree with a lot of this. I support the teachers in the strike for the most part, but on the two remaining sticking points, evaluation and re-hiring, I think the CTU is overreaching.

The sort of job security they're looking for seems ludicrous to me. Laid-off teachers should be first in line for interviews, maybe even given priority, but they shouldn't be guaranteed a job. I can't believe that every teacher at the former Crane High School, for instance, is qualified or prepared to teach at a top-flight school. The level of education required is just not the same. If a principal is going to be held accountable for his/her school's performance, he/she should be able to pick teachers that he/she can work with. And let's face it, a lot of the time that means personality as much as qualification.

On the evaluation front, it's more of a mixed bag. I have a daughter at one of the selective-enrollment CPS elementary schools, one that has 100% of its students meeting/exceeding standards on ISATs and whatnot year after year. And every single year, they get complaints from CPS (and rejection of requests for resources) that they're not showing growth. Um...growth over 100%? That's one of problems inherent in using standardized tests to measure growth as the primary metric in evaluating schools and teachers. But, the CTU had a hand in developing an evaluation procedure that they later rejected; it seems to me that the changes they now want to make are to protect teachers deemed ineffective "only" after one or two years. Well...how many students should get to be your guinea pigs until you're good at your job? I'm just not that sympathetic to this line of argument.

My son, who's now a freshman in college, attended CPS schools the whole way through, K-12. I'd estimate he's had 40-45 various teachers throughout his CPS career. Of those, I can think of six who were standout excellent teachers and four who needed to get out of the teaching business entirely; the rest were somewhere on the fair-to-good spectrum. In my experience, that's roughly analagous to the range of job competency in the private sector, but it seems like the CTU doesn't want to even admit that shitty, burned-out teachers exist.

All that said, it's Emanuel's, Brizard's, Duncan's before them, and to a certain extent President Obama's policies that brought us here. Renaissance 2020, shuttering schools, and all that. I blame Emanuel for most of this mess; he came in all Mr. Tough Guy with the longer school day and changing the law on percentage of yes votes to authorize a strike and imagined that, like the City Council did, the CTU would just lie down and take it. While I think that Karen Lewis became determined to strike no matter what, I admire her tenacity on this. I think she's about 75% in the right. Unfortunately, it's that 25% that is keeping clusterfuck this from ending, so I think the tide of public opinion could turn against the teachers if it drags on much longer.

Last edited by Gundy; 09-12-2012 at 11:50 AM.. Reason: fix a typo and add a phrase
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  #32  
Old 09-12-2012, 11:54 AM
BlinkingDuck BlinkingDuck is offline
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Few ever have sympathy for teachers.
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  #33  
Old 09-12-2012, 12:23 PM
lance strongarm lance strongarm is offline
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I knew someone who was a CPS teacher until two years ago. Eighty thousand bucks a year, could take nearly six total months of vacation between seniority benefits and the summer, and managed to charge all of his travel expenses from his vacations to the school district as "educational research" no matter what he was actually doing.
I don't buy that either.
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  #34  
Old 09-12-2012, 12:26 PM
Gundy Gundy is offline
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Few ever have sympathy for teachers.
::sad trumpet::

Okay, Eeyore. Plenty of people have sympathy for teachers and still don't agree with them 100%, I promise.
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  #35  
Old 09-12-2012, 01:20 PM
BlinkingDuck BlinkingDuck is offline
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::sad trumpet::

Okay, Eeyore. Plenty of people have sympathy for teachers and still don't agree with them 100%, I promise.
Hey Gundy...do you think you should make more than a teacher?
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  #36  
Old 09-12-2012, 01:40 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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You don't benefit from the 18 year olds in your area having an education?

You do benefit from that. You directly benefit from that.
You don't have much experience with the Chicago Public School system, do you? It is a glorified day care facility and little else.
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  #37  
Old 09-12-2012, 01:42 PM
lance strongarm lance strongarm is offline
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Everyone I know, who has expressed an opinion, thinks the teachers union is a bunch of greedy thugs.
So it's settled then!
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  #38  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:40 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is offline
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I just fear that the teacher's strike may lead to even more superfluous commas...
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  #39  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:49 PM
Smapti Smapti is offline
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I just fear that the teacher's strike may lead to even more superfluous commas...
I'm more worried about seeing apostrophe's in place's where they don't go, like in plural noun's and thing's like that.
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  #40  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:53 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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You don't have much experience with the Chicago Public School system, do you? It is a glorified day care facility and little else.
Just for fun, let's do a little math. One teacher being paid 7.25 an hour X 30 students X 6.5 hours (7:45am-3pm with a 45 minute unpaid lunchbreak) X 180 days = $254,475 a year.

(($60,000/180)/6.5)/30=$1.71 dollars an hour per kid.

Looks like a pretty sweet deal to me. Plus they get an education and lunch.
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  #41  
Old 09-12-2012, 03:02 PM
Gundy Gundy is offline
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Originally Posted by BlinkingDuck View Post
Hey Gundy...do you think you should make more than a teacher?
Are you serious? No, I don't. I don't at all. The idea is laughable. What I do doesn't require a master's degree. I don't have to deal with 30 kids every day, or, god forbid, their parents. And I don't have to bring my work home at all, mentally or emotionally. I recognize and respect the difficulty that is inherent in the job -- especially those teaching for CPS, and especially those teaching in underserved areas. Education is not a place where we should cheap out; you shouldn't have to take a vow of poverty to do meaningful work (I work for a nonprofit myself.) I feel the same way about cops.

But I think the current compensation is fair. (We're now seeing what Lake Forest teachers make, $101,000 on average, and they don't have to deal with nearly the ration of shit that CPS teachers do; it'd be nice if CPS teachers could get in on that kind of action.) It's a good wage for a 9-month-per-year job. It's public education for christ's sake -- we're simply not talking unlimited funds.

I just don't buy that teachers should get to suck at their job and keep it. It's too important a job. Fix the measurements, sure. Make them fairer and more accurate. Include peer review and try to correct for varying circumstances. But if you make it near impossible to fire an underperforming teacher, the schools are never going to get better.

Last edited by Gundy; 09-12-2012 at 03:05 PM.. Reason: clarify a remark
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:31 PM
Jane D'oh! Jane D'oh! is offline
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Originally Posted by Gundy View Post
But I think the current compensation is fair. (We're now seeing what Lake Forest teachers make, $101,000 on average, and they don't have to deal with nearly the ration of shit that CPS teachers do; it'd be nice if CPS teachers could get in on that kind of action.) It's a good wage for a 9-month-per-year job. It's public education for christ's sake -- we're simply not talking unlimited funds.
Do CPS teachers still have to live in the city or did they remove that requirement? Because living in the city on 60k a year is not living fat and sassy.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:39 PM
Gundy Gundy is offline
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Good question -- they do indeed have to live within city limits. I know some that don't, but it is the rule (and a fair point, although my understanding is that median salary is $70,000, for what it's worth.) No, it's not fat and sassy but it's way more than a living wage.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:46 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is offline
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Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
I'm more worried about seeing apostrophe's in place's where they don't go, like in plural noun's and thing's like that.
God damn it.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:59 PM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
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My sister is a teacher. She's not in a union anymore since moving to teach at a charter school in Texas. She had to join the union when she taught in Wisconsin, though. And, as far as I understand it, the vast majority of teachers do not really have a choice in the matter.
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Originally Posted by Vinyl Turnip View Post
God damn it.
Language, 'sir!

Last edited by Rachellelogram; 09-12-2012 at 04:00 PM..
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:39 PM
Gundy Gundy is offline
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Just got this via a school group -- this presents a much more detailed picture of the evaluation process. I'm seeing the CTU's point on some of this...hm.

Quote:
"WHAT'S HAPPENING IN CHICAGO RIGHT NOW: A NOTE TO MY FORMER STUDENTS IN LOS ANGELES" by Michael Rusin, History Teacher

I think that it's important that I share a bit about what's happening in Chicago right now. For the past two days, Chicago teachers have gone on strike for a var
iety of issues. Unfortunately, media reporting on the lead-up to the strike itself was terribly ignorant of the major issues--especially considering negotiations have been happening for 9 months-- and was in large part biased against the Chicago Teacher's Union. Read about this issue in the news media with a careful eye: this is a strike about the future of public education in the U.S.

Here are some of the reasons we are striking in no particular order:

1. COMPENSATION

No one wants to hear about teacher compensation. However, Chicago teachers were mandated to work a longer school day and year-- for high schools: about 20 minutes longer than the typical LA school, and about 10 more days a year. This longer day and year came one year after the school board decided not to pay teachers a 4% raise that they were CONTRACTUALLY obligated to pay, and then literally the next month turned around and started offering raises to individual teachers and schools that "volunteered" to work a longer day. Importantly, while teachers are extraordinarily upset about the way the longer day and year played out, the Union and District have almost come to an agreement over teacher compensation. If you've read about it in the news, it has been reported as a 16% raise over the course of 4 years. However, the actual raise they are offering is 2.25% a year for four years. If you do the math that adds up to 9%. Where are they getting the other 7%? No one knows, but the mayor said it to reporters, so now that's what's getting reported. However, I want to emphasize that compensation will be worked out and is not currently the primary issue in dispute.

2. TEACHER EVALUATION

Illinois passed a state law requiring [only the city of] Chicago to implement a new evaluation system. It required that the union and district work together to create it, but that if they could not come to an agreement-- the district could just implement its own final offer. This has led to an evaluation system that has some good aspects: it does a much better job of creating an objective criteria for "good" teaching. But it also has some terrible aspects. For example, the current rubrics would rate teachers on a 1 - 4 scale (with 4 being the highest). Teachers would then be rated 1 - 4 on four different components and those scores would be averaged together to create an overall evaluation score. Teachers that receive the lowest rating two years in a row not only can be fired, but they will lose their teaching license. While teachers agree that schools should have a right to fire "bad" teachers, the current rubrics state that if you score a 2 (considered basic) on all four components, then you are actually rated a 1. As a comparison, imagine that I graded an essay on 4 components and scored each component as a "C", but then made the overall essay grade a "D". Doesn't make sense, right?

Another problem with the system is that the criteria for category 4 (distinguished) teaching describe good teaching, but they are so stringent that they are almost impossible to achieve. For example, in the component on classroom management, if you have a student that disrupts class, and you deal with the disruption to get the student back on track, you are rated as a 3. You can only be rated as a 4 if you never have any students that are disruptive. This assumes that teachers have total control over all students at all times. To me, effectively dealing with disruptive students IS distinguished teaching, especially when working with students that are not intrinsically motivated. There are myriad other issues with the current proposals, but [the primary issue is that] teachers see a future where the state/district will demand that teacher pay be tied to evaluations. If we allow the district to create an evaluation system that is rigged to rate all teachers as mediocre, it will allow them to justify freezing or cutting our salaries, or even firing teachers whenever they like.

In addition, the district wants to tie teacher evaluation to student standardized testing. To do this, in my school, of the 10 additional days in the school year, 7 of them will be used to give students standardized tests. For 11th graders, this test is the practice and real ACT, so it is significant. For students in other grades, they are all practice tests. So, teachers will be evaluated on student test scores that will mean nothing to the majority of students. Also, the district asked teachers to create what they call "Performance Tasks," which are standardized tests to be given in an individual classroom. While teachers helped to develop these tasks, the district method of grading the tasks is designed to rate all teachers as mediocre. The grading system ranks students on a 0 - 3 scale (with 3 being the highest). Teachers will be evaluated based on whether or not students move up in the 0-3 scale. The US history task (which is similar to a DBQ) is graded out of 30 points such that a 28-30 counts as a 3, an 18-27 counts as a 2, a 8-17 counts as a 1, and below that is a 0. In this case, a student could score an 18 the first time he takes the test, and a 26 the next time he takes it (improving from a 60% to an 87%) but for the purposes of evaluating his teacher that student will not be considered "improved."

3. TEACHER RECALL

The school district plans to close 100 "underperforming" schools over the next several years and replace them with new schools and charters. This is nothing new in Chicago. For the past 8 years, CPS has closed over 100 schools, fired all the teachers, and re-opened them as new schools and charters. To the surprise of no one, the vast majority of the new schools and charters that were opened scored THE SAME as the previous schools. Then why close neighborhood schools and force kids to travel to different areas of the city to go to school...? To fire experienced teachers that earn a higher salary, and replace them with inexperienced teachers that make less money. Since this is the goal of these new schools, is it any surprise that they are not outperforming the old schools? The Union wants a system in place so that if the district decides to close schools, the teachers that get fired (through no fault of their own) have the first opportunity to get the new jobs that open.

4. CLASS SIZE

CPS wants to avoid putting language in a contract that limits the amount of students in a class. Instead, they want to have the right to raise class sizes if they need to. The Union wants language in a contract that limits class sizes to 28 kids per class.

5. WORKING CONDITIONS

Lots of schools in Chicago are ill equipped for the 21st century. They lack libraries, computer labs, and even air conditioning. For example, last week it was 94 degrees in my classroom. This was not an anomaly [and yes, teachers buy and bring in fans]! This happens regularly when it is close to summer time. The Union wants the district to fix these problems.

There are other issues that we are fighting for, but I need to stop there. If you read most articles about the strike you will not read in any detail about the reasons why Chicago teachers are unhappy about compensation, evaluation, and recall - so please consider this and SHARE what I wrote. We are on strike because we refuse to accept a system where the mayor can systematically lower scores on teacher evaluations in order to justify the privatization of education."
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:56 PM
lance strongarm lance strongarm is offline
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Originally Posted by Gundy View Post
Just got this via a school group -- this presents a much more detailed picture of the evaluation process. I'm seeing the CTU's point on some of this...hm.
Hmm. Facts are good things. Sure beat random right wing internet rumors, like we've seen on this thread.
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  #48  
Old 09-12-2012, 05:58 PM
Condescending Robot Condescending Robot is offline
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However, the actual raise they are offering is 2.25% a year for four years. If you do the math that adds up to 9%.
9.3%, actually, because you don't "add up" percentages that compound in that fashion, you multiply them (1.0225 ^ 4 * current salary). I hope this person isn't a math teacher or he may have really shown why we need merit-based performance!
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  #49  
Old 09-12-2012, 11:05 PM
ScatteredFrog ScatteredFrog is offline
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I'm not a teacher, but I'm married to an overpaid thug of a CPS teacher who drives a BMW and can take up to six months of vacation and works only six hours a day for nine months. Oh, wait...that's right...if she were making as much as the media made it out, I wouldn't have to work (well, in my case, scramble to find a job because I got laid off), we share an old Saturn, she spent at least half the summer at school for curriculum planning et al, and all last week she got to school at 7:15am and didn't even leave there until 5:30pm. And we live in a modest apartment and don't take exotic vacations, too. My bad.

Anyway, I don't know EVERYTHING that's in dispute, but here's what I know about the strike and other things:

1) The pay issue has LONG BEEN RESOLVED. The teachers overwhelmingly agreed that the kids could benefit from extra classroom time and extra days (btw, the thing about CPS schools having a relatively short school day -- true, except for high schools..CPS high schools had a longer day than most public high schools in the country...and for comparison, it's about 90 minutes longer than the school day at The Latin School), but what they didn't agree with was not being compensated for the extra time. But that's been resolved. (One of the reasons for the NFL lockout last year, by the way, was that NFL wanted to add more games but not pay the players extra for them, despite the risks et al.)

2) Speaking of pay...the contract that they signed promised them 4% increase per year, but for the past two years, they got NOTHING. That's been in the contract since 1967, btw. Regardless of whether you think that's too much (I always got that much at every job I ever had except the last bunch of @$$holes I worked for), that's still breach of contract. It's up to those in charge to make sure they have a way to fulfill that contract. In the private sector, you know what happens when you breach a contract? YOU GET SUED. The CTU doesn't have that option. However, both sides have agreed on a 3% raise for next year, followed by 2% each for the following three years. Reps from CPS claim that that's somehow a total of 16% increase, but when I did the math (twice just to make sure), I came up with 9.304424; I'll be happy to share the steps in how I calculated.

3) Class size is an issue. Some teachers have over 40 kids in their classrooms. And last Monday my wife was thrilled to find that one of her freshmen classes contained OVER FIFTY. This is WELL OVER THE LEGAL MAXIMUM CLASS SIZE established after the Our Lady of Angels fire. So, the folks at 125 S. Clark are violating the law here. Aaaand...that violates CPS's own policy manual, which you can read here: http://policy.cps.k12.il.us/documents/301.2.pdf

4) I didn't realize this was an issue, but most schools aren't given their books/curriculum until six weeks into the school year, meaning teachers basically have to improvise their instruction.

5) Standardized test scores -- as someone who's worked in test prep for ten years, I can tell you that standardized tests measure NOTHING but your family's income level. Anyhoo, state law is that 20% of a teacher's evaluation must be based on standardized test scores, which is enough of an abomination, but Tiny Dancer wants to up that to at least 40%. Meanwhile, his kids' school DOESN'T EVEN TAKE STANDARDIZED TESTS. These tests, by the way, have no "passing" score announced until the tests are scored, and the kids are given no impetus to do well. (In New Jersey, btw, students must pass the GEPA to move beyond eighth grade, regardless of actual academic performance, and the HSPA to graduate from high school, again, regardless of actual academic performance.) WTF is up with all this testing, btw??? When I was in school (I'm 38), the only legally-required tests I had to take were US and Illinois constitution tests in both 8th grade and HS -- and it was up to the teacher to decide how to format it.

6) Speaking of standardized tests, the electronic media has been EXTREMELY biased against teachers, taking Rahmbo's side. On Sunday night on WGN news one of the reporters actually said, "If your child goes to a Chicago public school, your child will not be learning tomorrow." Uhh...guess what, chicky-baby. At my wife's school, they would have been forced to dedicate the day to....TESTING. New standardized tests in addition to the already-existing 19 testing days in the school year. So THEY WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN LEARNING ANYWAY.

7) So...while Rahm couldn't put any money toward meeting the rest of the teachers' needs (the same needs that the school district in Boston just agreed to for THEIR teachers, btw), he COULD spend $25 million on some outsiders to come in and baby-sit. CPS has the manual for these people available for download as a PDF. It includes verbiage warning them to be prepared for some schools that aren't air-conditioned, schools that don't have refrigerators or microwaves, how to handle kids under certain situations, etc. Basically, it's very "Undercover Boss" in that they're going to learn EXACTLY what the teachers have to go through. Oh...and the table of contents in the manual has an entry for how to deal with kids with disabilities...but the actual chapter doesn't exist. Nice, eh?

8) One of the demands was for air conditioning for schools that don't have it because, well, it gets pretty darned hot at the beginning of the school year and at the end of the school year. "Oh, I didn't have air conditioning when I was in school and I was FINE!" I hear you old right-winger coots yell. Okay, fine, but, consider this: 1) Did you happen to catch on the news last year when Rahm paid a visit to a CPS school on the first day? It was blazing hot out, and they no fewer than six fans pointed at him. How many at the kids? Not enough to be able to count, I'll tell you that. 2) At 26th and California, they're required to turn up the AC for the inmates if the temperature gets to 78 degrees or above. So it's okay for our jailbirds, but not students?

9) All the media have been claiming something like $71,000 or $74,000 as the annual teacher salary. What they're NOT telling you is that it's actually the average of all full-time CPS staff that carry currently valid teaching certificates. Yep -- including principals who teach (principals make 6 digits a year!) and other administrators who aren't specifically teachers but who have the certification and theoretically can jump in if there's an emergency with a teacher and no sub is available. That on top of all the teachers who have multiple degrees and have been working for CPS for upwards of 40 years -- as with anywhere, the longer you're there, the more money you're going to make.

10) Speaking of degrees...that's one thing the media seem to forget: THESE ARE EDUCATED PROFESSIONALS (and a majority are also tax payers and CPS parents), and there's a new CPS requirement that you are required to have a Master's degree within five years of your start date. How many private sector jobs that require a Master's degree start you off with a $45,000 salary? (Less without, of course.) Unlike many private-sector companies, most school districts do not offer a single cent in tuition reimbursement when you pursue further education, which is why there's the whole "step" or "lane" thing or whatever...master's gets you a higher salary, master's + 30 credits gets you even higher, two master's gets you a certain amount, etc.

11) Speaking of education (again)...my wife has a master's degree in education, which she got so she could get a teaching job. (And she worked her ass off for it, and literally had to live away from me for a year to get it. That was a difficult year for both of us. And it took her 11 months to get her CPS job despite already having prior experience in other districts, including low-performing inner-city districts, and excellent ratings.) But nowhere in her education was she told how to handle things like what to do if a student takes you aside and confides in you that she thinks she's pregnant; what to do if a student leaves a poem in your teacher in-box in the main office only to find, on closer inspection, that the poem is actually a suicide note; how to handle a situation in which two of your students walk into class stoned out of their minds; or if after school one of your student runs down the hallway and finds you and frantically explains that while she and her boyfriend were outside waiting for a ride home someone pulled up to the boyfriend and flashed a gun; or...thankfully, my wife wasn't a teacher yet when this was an issue, but I have plenty of friends who were...what to do when you realize that many of your students' parents may have just been killed when an airplane flew into their workplace just minutes ago. Tell me teachers don't deserve their demands after going through these kinds of shitstorms.

12) Again, those of you who think that teachers have it made because they have "three" months off (it's more like two and a few days more) and that their work day ends when the kids leave...uhhh, when do you think homework and tests are graded? You don't think there are meetings after school? And now that Rahm wants to take away professional development days (meaning the kids don't get a break until November), when do you think the professional development will be? (Gee, maybe after school?)

13) One of the things in dispute was over principals' right to hire and fire whomever they want. The union doesn't want this, mainly because they know some principals can be quite unreasonable. The principal at one school, for example, (I won't say the name other than to say it's on the near north side) twisted all kinds of rules to fire half of her teaching staff and replace them with her college friends. Another principal had all kinds of issues and was actually revealed to be a fraud: this person actually fired a tenured teacher who got consistently excellent evaluations and was in the military; he has since successfully sued. (Not that it did much good -- this principal was basically run out of town on a rail and he nearly immediately got hired at another school.) She also redefined a few teacher positions to get rid of teachers she had well-known personal vendettas against (but who also got consistently excellent reviews, in writing, I might add). And she coerced some of her new teachers into filing for free/reduced lunch for their offspring. It's this behavior that makes the CTU not want the hiring to be put into the principals' hands, although my wife always speaks highly of her principal.

14) There are currently 48 items on the table in the negotiations. Last I heard, six have been signd off on.

15) One of the items up for negotiation is actually one that many teachers disagree with: Karen Lewis is fighting for laid-off teachers to get first dibs on open positions. The problem is that many of those teachers were laid off because, well, they suck. Not all of them, but some of them, mind you. So if a principal has an excellent candidate in mind, s/he can't offer that job to said candidate until it's offered and refused by a laid-off teacher.

16) Nothing to do with unions, but just busting a myth: CPS teachers are NOT un-firable! Even with tenure! Tenure means nothing. All it means is that tenured teachers 1) aren't among the first teachers to get laid off due to budget cuts, and 2) if they are dismissed, they're allowed some recourse, such as getting a reason as to their dismissal (and it's almost always "Not a good fit"). My wife can count on two fingers the number of tenured coworkers who were unceremoniously let go suddenly in the middle of a school year.

17) Regarding support...I have personally witnessed these teachers getting OVERWHELMING support. I live by a CPS school, and I walked the dog near their picket line and just the massive support and well-wishing they got from passing cars, pedestrians, police officers, firefighters, etc., was unbelievable. My wife reported the same thing at her school. There's a dive bar near where my wife and her coworkers were picketing today, and the owner there had it open early in the morning and let them use the bathroom and even offered them free water -- and refused any money. There are businesses in the Loop offering discounts and freebies to striking teachers. (And as a freelance computer tech, I posted on Facebook, my web site, and Twitter that CPS teachers receive a 50% discount on any of my services during the strike.) We both went to the rally in the Loop on Monday and I personally witnessed nothing but well-wishing...from cops on foot, cops on horses, firefighter's union sympathizers, even panhandlers on Wabash! People in office windows giving the thumbs-up. Among my wife, her coworkers, some teacher friends of mine and their coworkers, I heard one bad thing: someone driving past a few picketers at 125 S. Clark pulled over and yelled, "You people need to be shot!" Oh...and online comments...people sitting on their asses at home contributing all kinds of interesting, uhhh..."facts"...(apparently my wife is getting strike pay. Huh. That's not what her union rep tells her!)...about stuff they know nothing about.

But hey, you all can believe what your little minds want to believe. Believe what WBBM, WMAQ, WLS, and especially Robert Jordan at WGN want you to believe.

Oh, and bt-dubs...interesting that when there were union problems with the NHL and NFL, the media didn't pound down our throats how much the average player salary is. Nor did I see anybody preach about firing all of them and replacing them. Just sayin'.

And if you think that teachers work only six (or even seven or eight) hours a day, then do you also believe that your garbage man only works once a week?

Last edited by ScatteredFrog; 09-12-2012 at 11:08 PM..
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:14 PM
ScatteredFrog ScatteredFrog is offline
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and by "two fingers" i mean "two hands"...oops.
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