Blog: The Educated Reporter

Local and National News About the Chicago Teachers Strike (DAY 5)

Local and National News

Team Notes:

CTU’s House of Delegates, charged with ending the strike through a vote, did not put an end to the work stoppage as many had hoped it would. That’s the word on the street and in the tweets from Chicago Sun-Times reporters Scott Fornek and Lauren FitzPatrickLanguage of the contract will be put forward by union leaders for other bodies within CTU to consider, according to WBEZ 91.5 and Catalyst-Chicago. CTU president Karen Lewis said there have been many changes made to the teacher evaluation plans. A vote to approve  the city’s offer is expected to take place Sunday. For the time being, the strike is technically ongoing. 

More details are coming in about the tentative deal  agreement in principle between the city and the Chicago Teachers’ Union that many predict will put in place the necessary steps to end the strike: CTU is said to have agreed to a three-year contract, though Thursday night they were pushing for two years; salaries will be “generous” according to City Hall and on par with what the district offered earlier; and  the extended school year and school day–features of Mayor Emanuel’s package of reforms–will be preserved. Additional features include some freedom for principals to hire teachers they prefer and at least one nod to parental choice. More to come. (4:01 pm EST)

Source says no vote to end strike today. Waiting for something on paper. 

CTU atty: Negotiations done for day. Union drafting the contract document. 2 sides will meet again at his offices 9 a.m. Saturday.

The New York Times: Among the proposed changes, according to schools officials: teachers’ raises would average 16 percent over four years at a cost of $320 million, as had already been offered, but would be distributed differently; health insurance rates would not rise for teachers with families, as had been planned, if the union agreed to take part in a wellness program; and an appeals process would be created for teacher evaluations, which have been a significant area of disagreement.”

Chicago Sun-Times: “Teachers union and Chicago Public School officials emerged from contract negotiations Friday afternoon saying the ‘frameworks’ for a new contract were in place, while a high-ranking City Hall source indicated that a tentative agreement had been reached.”

Chicago Tribune: The union’s House of Delegateswill review the proposal at a meeting this afternoon and is likely to vote to end the five-day-old teachers strike on Sunday after final details have been worked out, officials say.”

 We have framework in place, but agreement must be approved by CTU HOD to be tentative; then goes to members for ratification.

Vitale from outside the Hilton, where negotiations have been taking place: Kids back in school Monday morning

Bloch: we will present a report to delegates this afternoon and then have another mtg on sun. Where we expect they will approve deal.


CTU lawyer Robert Bloch speaking (report is from WBEZ intern Tricia Bobeda): Both parties will work thru weekend on agreement.

VIDEO BREAK: Between Emanuel and the labor union, who wins?

Latino Ed Beat: “The Chicago teachers’ strike affects nearly 180,000 Latino children enrolled in the school district, many from disadvantaged families, Fox News Latino reports.

“I’m lucky that I can take them to work with me because they can sit in the chairs, but I know that families had to leave kids home alone today or stay home and miss work to be with them and that’s not fair,” Rodriguez told Fox, of her 8- and 13-year old daughters. ”

Catalyst-Chicago: 145 schools are under-utilized and have the lowest possible academic rating, the publication’s analysis shows. The district is putting a plan in place to close such schools:

“CPS officials have told a state legislative committee that they will expand the criteria for closing schools this year to include under-utilization, not just long-term academic failure.

Officials also have been going out to community action councils—CPS-organized groups of community stakeholders—and giving them lists of under-utilized, low-achieving schools, as if to prepare them for what might happen.”

WBEZ 91.5:Wisconsin teachers coming to Chicago to support teachers here.”

The Huffington Post:This article has many of the contract specifics that were leaked Friday early morning, such as the pay raises at stake and how much a teacher’s evaluation will be based on student growth models. ”The negotiations have proceeded in fits and starts, with breakthrough moments quickly leading to hopeless, locked down bargaining. The source in the room said the biggest sticking points were about salary, contract length and rights for laid-off teachers.”

Chicago Sun-Times: “‘We’re waiting to hear from Chicago Public Schools on our proposal,’ CTU attorney Robert Bloch said shortly after talks resumed Friday, the fifth day of a CTU strike that has stilled classrooms in the nation’s third-largest school district.

‘We’re hopeful it will get us over the hump on the most contentious issues. If it doesn’t, then we have no settlement,’ Bloch said.

Even if CPS officials choose to accept the proposal, Bloch said, the two parties ’still have work to do on the contract.’”

Sounds like CTU’s elected officers are meeting with the big bargaining team at 12:30, before the 2pm House of Delegates mtg.

Reuters: ”Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel received far more money in campaign donations from wealthy financiers and entrepreneurs backing school reform than from unions, leaving him freer to confront the city’s teachers than some fellow Democrats,an examination of donations to his 2011 campaign shows.”

Chicago Tribune: David Vitale, the board president of the Chicago School Board, has been thrust into the public as one of the main negotiators representing the city’s ongoing effort to resolve the labor dispute with the union. How the former finance executive got here.

Crain’s: “This week’s Chicago Teachers Union strike could hurt the recently downgraded credit rating of the Chicago Public Schools system, a Wall Street bond-rating agency said.

The Chicago Board of Education can’t give teachers a bigger raise than it already has planned without increasing its budget deficits, and that would be a “credit negative,” said Moody’s Investors Service, which reduced the school system’s credit rating one notch to A1 on July 10 and revised the outlook from stable to negative.

Catalyst-Chicago:The Chicago Teachers Union, whether the strike is settled or not by the end of today, is holding a ‘Stand Strong With Chicago Teachers’ rally Saturday at noon in Union Park. It is expecting thousands of supporters to show up.

The Chicago teachers strike enters its fifth day as ‘number crunching’ apparently delayed a deal that both sides had hoped would be reached on Thursday, according to the Tribune. Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union began the day saying they were close to a deal that could return teachers and students to the classroom on Monday, but officials left marathon negotiations early today saying they were still ironing out details.”

Examples of online courses available: AP Calculus, AP Computer Science, algebra, geometry, bio, American history, Spanish.

Catalyst-Chicago: An actual interactive timeline with brief descriptions that traces the events from earlier in thee year that led to the labor unrest.

Commentary and Analysis

Chicago Sun-Times: “Instead of raising the strike threshold and offering cash bounties to entice individual schools to immediately implement his longer school day, what if Emanuel had worked with the Chicago Teachers Union to structure the longer day?

Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields added, ‘Mayor Emanuel loves to start out by reaching for the stars on everything he does. But he bit off more than he can chew when he picked this fight with labor. Because of his actions, the teachers and all public employees are united. Mayor Daley managed to skillfully avoid that.’” Notes on SB7, the controversial 2011 law that placed limits on CTU’s ability to call a strike. Five myths about teachers unions: “The Chicago teachers strikethrust teachers unions into the national spotlight this past week. In Chicago and around the country, some see unions as saving public education and others as driving it into the ground. But the reality of how teachers unions operate is more complicated than the rhetoric about them.”

The striking teachers are overstating the role student growth models will play in their professional assessments, via Fordham Institute

Teacher observation standards need fine-tuning, as well. New approaches in several large cities are revealing effective professional development in in-class observation can identify strong exceptional teachers:

The good news is that some early results from New York City, which is piloting the use of more rigorous observations, show that new observation-based measures are not just differentiating between excellent teachers and teachers who need improvement.  The observations, which are based on the Danielson framework that was originally designed for professional development, may also appear to be helping teachers to improve their teaching from one year to the next. Gotham Schools’ bloggers Philissa Cramer and Geoff Decker reported on this news yesterday”

Politicized nature of ctu strike is why they are rushing out with framework w/ no legal language trying to win public support

The New Republic: ”Whatever the particulars of the final resolution to the strike, the dustup will besuccessful if it shakes up the wrongheaded, yet increasingly bipartisan, sense that teachers and their unions are what ail American education. Students in Chicago and other big cities face significant challenges, including poverty and segregation and, yes, some incompetent educators. But Democrats need to get about the business of real education reform that addresses all of these questions—without demeaning the vast majority of teachers.”