Sunday, September 16, 2012

What's in the CTU Contract and Will There Be a Backlash?

Let's put this contract in the context of 17 years of ed deform in Chicago. Does anyone want to compare it to Cleveland, Washington and other cities? Was the CTU strike a line in the sand to send a message to the ed deformers but delivering little in substance? We will find out more today.
No deal was going to be in place until two or four layers of real democracy had examined it and held the deal — not the personalities — accountable. -- G. Schmidt
 

MORE's JULIE CAVANAGH DID A GREAT JOB ON MSNBC CHRIS HAYES THIS MORNING - HERE'S THE LINK.

I was at a meeting the other night where there were already hints of blow back when one person said "we must hold the CTU leadership feet to the fire." Listen, not everyone will be happy. Clearly there will be 30% on evals but that is state law, so that is a given. Rahm wanted to escalate each year. Sadly nothing so far on class size.

9AM UPDATE FROM MICHAEL FIORILLO:
My understanding is that Illinois state law requires some test-based teacher evaluations, so that was the benchmark upon the CTU was negotiating. The next step for the CTU is to work towards changing the law, but if by striking they have been able to lessen the damage caused by these evaluations, they have made real progress.

Not knowing the details of the tentative agreement, it's premature to judge it overall. Nevertheless, teachers (and all working people) across the country own the CTU a debt of gratitude: they took on a very broad coalition of Power, stood up the bullying of Emanuel and the lies of the media, reawakened people to the power and potential of collective action, and have started to change the terms of the debate. The CTU was also able to keep Weingarten from helicoptering in and betraying them. As Norm's report on his encounter with Mark Sternberg suggests, there is no doubt much anxiety at Tweed, TFA, StudentsFirst,  the foundations, etc. 

And at 52 Broadway and AFT headquarters in Washington.

Can't we at least take satisfaction and feel some gratitude in the CTU wiping some of the smugness and arrogance off the faces of these bastards, and showing that the destruction of the public schools will not be passively allowed to happen? 

This was an epochal strike, one that will be seen as the opening round in the battle to reclaim public education. After decades of being slandered and knocked back on our heels, the CTU has shown that we can fight back and begin to reclaim the territory that is rightfully ours. They deserve our thanks and support.

George Schmidt posted on what may be in the contract this morning: CTU press release gives some inkling of the content of the deal so far
The Bargaining Team is expected to share new details about proposed contract language which includes a number of victories for teachers, paraprofessionals, clinicians, and students.
The earliest teachers and other school personnel could return to their schools could be Monday; however, no decision has been made to do so. Delegates, the elected leaders of their schools, have the authority to suspend or lengthen the strike. They could also ask for at least 24-hours to talk to individual members in their schools before making a decision on what to do next. The 29,000-member CTU has been on strike since Sept. 10.

“We are a democratic body and therefore we want to ensure all of our members have had the chance to weigh-in on what we were able to win,” said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. “We believe this is a good contract, however, no contract will solve all of the inequities in our District. Our fair contract fight has always been about returning dignity and respect to our members and ensuring resources and a quality school day for our students and their families.”

The new proposed CTU/CPS contract will: 
*Secure Raises & Ensure Fair Compensation:* The CTU wants a three-year contract. It will secure a 3% raise in the first year, 2% raise in the second and 2% raise in the third, with the option to extend to a 4th year by mutual agreement at another 3% raise.

*Defeat Merit Pay*: The CTU successfully fought the star of national misguided school reform policies. The Board agreed to move away from “Differentiated Compensation,” which would have allowed them to pay one set of teachers (based on unknown criteria) one set of pay versus another set of pay for others.

*Preserve Steps & Lanes:* The new contract will preserve the full value of teachers and paraprofessionals career ladder (steps); and, it will increased the value of the highest steps (14,15 and 16)

*Provide A Better School Day:* The Board will hire 512 additional ‘special’ teachers in art, music, physical education, world languages and other classes to ensure students receive a better school day, a demand thousands of parents have called for since last year

*Ensures Job Security:*Creates a “CPS Hiring Pool,” which demands that one-half of all of CPS hires must be displaced (laid-off) members.
 ·*Adds An Anti-Bullying Provision: *No more bullying by principals and managerial personnel. The new language will curtail some of the abusive practices that have run rampant in many neighborhood schools.
·*Paraprofessional & Clinicians Prep Time:*The new contract will guarantee preps for clinicians.
 ·*Racial Diversity:*The CTU continues to fight the District on its
 lay-off policies that has led to a record number of African American educators being laid off and eventually terminated by the District. The new contract will ensure that CPS recruits a racially diverse teaching force.
·*New Recall Rights &
Tackling School Closings:* Acknowledging, the CTU will continue its ongoing legal and legislative fight for a moratorium on all school closings, turnarounds and phase-outs, the new contract requires teachers to “follow their students” in all school actions. This will reduce instability among students and educators. The contract will also have 10 months of “true recall” to the same school if a position opens.
 ·*Fairer Evaluation Procedures:* The new contract will limit CPS to 70% “teacher practice,” 30% “student growth” (or test scores)—which is the minimum by state law. It also secures in the first year of implementation of the new evaluation procedures there will be “no harmful consequences” for tenured teachers. It also secures a new right—the right to appeal a Neutral rating.
 ·*Reimbursement for School Supplies:*The contract will require the District to reimburse educators for the purchase of school supplies up to $250.
 ·*Additional Wrap-Around Services:* The Board agrees to commit to hire nurses, social workers and school counselors if it gets new revenue. Over the past several months, the CTU has identified several sources of new revenue, including the Tax Increment Financing program.
 ·*Books on Day One:*For the first time, the new contract will guarantee all CPS students and educators have textbooks on day one and will not have to wait up to six weeks for learning materials.
·*Unified School Calendar:* The new contract will improve language on a unified calendar. The District will have one calendar for the entire school district and get rid of Track E and Track R schools. All students and teaching personnel will begin on the same schedule.
·*Reduced Paperwork:*The new contract ensures the new paperwork requirements are balanced against reduction of previous requirements.
 
I think the spin above means there were some victories but there will be critics (I saw nothing on class size -- even a minimal "no sizes over 40 would be something.) Here's a great chance to keep embarrassing Rahm this when he sends his kids to schools with 20 in a class).

I received emails this morning from people here in NYC about a "Unity style sellout." I don't agree. I imagine Unity will spin this as "We got all this without striking." My sense is the very fact the CTU went on strike is a victory. But how will that play with the membership, a crucial point, given that CORE has to run for re-election this spring. (History shows from the Debbie Lynch contract 10 years ago that bad blowback to a disappointing contract can blow you out of the water.)

An interesting article in Substance pointed in the direction critics will take this:

Capitulation in Chicago? Reading the news on a Friday night, it sounds that way by Steven Lendman
 By the time this article circulates, it may be all over but the shouting, finger-pointing, and bitterness among rank-and-file loyalists over another union sellout. As this is written, it looks that way. It won't surprise. Across America, union bosses keep prioritizing their own positions and welfare over workers they represent.
Instead of fighting for rights they deserve, they capitulate to corporate and government scoundrels. Wisconsin public workers learned the hard way. The state was ground zero to save public worker rights.
By the time this article circulates, it may be all over but the shouting, finger-pointing, and bitterness among rank-and-file loyalists over another union sellout. As this is written, it looks that way. It won't surprise. Across America, union bosses keep prioritizing their own positions and welfare over workers they represent. [They] hint darkly that the strike is 'illegal' because teachers are talking about issues the Board refuses to allow into the union contract."
They include class size, recalling laid off veteran teachers, proper year-round classroom temperatures, and others. They're major ones essential for all contracts.
I heard from one parent leader late last week that there will be great disappointment amongst Chicago parents who supported the strike if the CTU doesn't bring back something positive on class size. I'm still hoping they do but not holding my breath.

Did anyone think they would purge the contract of any evaluation based on test scores? They did seem to win a partial victory in their version of the ATR pool by requiring half the teachers hired come from the laid-off pool. (Rahm has to protect those TFAs, of course.)

There is going to be great drama played out with whatever the final deal looks like. There is some thinking out there that the CTU could have played their cards given the national scrutiny in more effective ways. Like, I thought they should have emphasized that they are not traditional union bosses (as the writer above calls them) but they are teachers who saw their kids being hurt in addition to teachers and they forced them to take action 4 years ago to move to take over their union from the real bosses.)

After all the excitement of the strike from teachers all over the nation, when the results undergo analysis, expect disappointment with what was and could have been won. To me it looks like there were some victories but watch the ultra left go wild.

My guess is there was a lot of symbolism in the strike led by people just two years out of the classroom and still feeling its way politically. Like who ever heard of Karen Lewis (other than us ed freaks) until a week ago? At the minimum, the strike has pushed many of the issues it was about into the national debate (see Julie Cavanagh on MSNBC this morning and Megan Behrent yesterday) as just one example

So even if they didn't bring back all the bacon, they have moved the ball up the field, bloodied their arch enemy Rahm Emanuel, tainted Arne Duncan and Obama on their ed policies and turned themselves into heroes to teachers all over the nation.

My sense was that there was a limit on how long they could only sustain a strike of a mostly younger team of teachers who the leadership (CORE) is trying to mobilize into a potent force -- and managed to pull them out for enormous rallies, along with parent support. But was that limit reached in one week? Could they have stayed out a month and impact on the presidential race?

And then there is the possibility the teachers actually turn down the contract in the House of Delegates today or in the follow-up referendum of all the members, which I imagine will have to take place after they go back.

See Substance on the democratic process where George Schmidt makes the point that the CTU tried to make the point time and again that they are the anti-union bosses building a democratic union movement. (See the video I put up yesterday of Karen Lewis saying that even if she tried to order people around they would laugh at her -Exclusive Video: Karen Lewis, at the AFT Peace and Justice Caucus, AFT Convention 2012)

Here are excerpts of what George wrote (click the title to read it all):
No Deal?... 'This is what democracy looks like'... House of Delegates meeting at three in the afternoon on September 16, 2012.... The same democracy that transformed the Chicago Teachers Union and transfixed the nation calls a halt to media frenzy about ending the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012.

By George N. Schmidt - September 16th, 2012 |
For weeks before the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012 began, the union's leaders have been warning the union's members not to believe anything they read, heard or saw in the corporate press. "Aren't the corporate media the worst place to learn the truth during a strike?" CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey, less than three years from a history teachers' classroom at Chicago's Senn High School, repeatedly reminded the unions members and delegates at rallies and meetings which eventually became too numerous to list for the history books. And with her almost trade-marked smile, CTU president Karen Lewis had tried (and failed) to remind reporters from the corporate media that the strength of the movement she was leading was its democracy.

And yet, as the first week of the strike ended and the size of the protests and rallies continued to grow, news reports kept looking for a reality that the strike (and the movement that created it) had rendered obsolete in U.S. history: the Chicago "union boss." For all the talk about "accountability" from those in the ruling class who want accountability to only go one way, when the real accountability of democratic leaders was in front of them, those who thought they were telling Chicago what was real were completely missing the truth that was before their own eyes.

No deal was going to be in place until two or four layers of real democracy had examined it and held the deal — not the personalities — accountable.
For weeks before the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012 began, the union's leaders have been warning the union's members not to believe anything they read, heard or saw in the corporate press. "Aren't the corporate media the worst place to learn the truth during a strike?" CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey, less than three years from a history teachers' classroom at Chicago's Senn High School, repeatedly reminded the unions members and delegates at rallies and meetings which eventually became too numerous to list for the history books. And with her almost trade-marked smile, CTU president Karen Lewis had tried (and failed) to remind reporters from the corporate media that the strength of the movement she was leading was its democracy.

And yet, as the first week of the strike ended and the size of the protests and rallies continued to grow, news reports kept looking for a reality that the strike (and the movement that created it) had rendered obsolete in U.S. history: the Chicago "union boss." For all the talk about "accountability" from those in the ruling class who want accountability to only go one way, when the real accountability of democratic leaders was in front of them, those who thought they were telling Chicago what was real were completely missing the truth that was before their own eyes.

No deal was going to be in place until two or four layers of real democracy had examined it and held the deal — not the personalities — accountable.

It was always a bit more than many in the media and an era of one-liners, sound bites, an "Gotcha!" could grasp. It is a form of learning disability that has its really dramatic exemplars, my favorite of which is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Having covered more than 40 of his press conferences during his first year in office, it eventually struck me that the man's mind was not only addled, but crippled. He really believed the world could be manipulated like he sort he had been doing with the 24-hour news cycle inside the Beltway. But of course, not matter how big the ego, he is only a spare part in the machine of empire.

The plodding drama of democracy in the Chicago Teachers Union, even as it unfolded month after month, was more than most people in that ruling arena could grasp.

And now come the next steps: [READ MORE]
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The opinions expressed on EdNotesOnline are solely those of Norm Scott and are not to be taken as official positions (though Unity Caucus/New Action slugs will try to paint them that way) of any of the groups or organizations Norm works with: ICE, GEM, MORE, Change the Stakes, NYCORE, FIRST Lego League NYC, Rockaway Theatre Co., Active Aging, The Wave, Aliens on Earth, etc.

14 comments:

  1. 30% VAM is state law - no way they could change that. Rahm wanted 50% in a few years. That they could change. We'll see where the VAM % is when we get the details. My feeling is, if CTU held the ground on VAM at 30%, held ground as best they could on recalls (and that's a tough one too - Rahm plans on closing 100 schools in the next year and firing ALL of those teachers and replacing them with TFA Barbie Dolls), held ground on steps and merit pay, then it will be a victory.

    It would be nice to get class size limits in the contract. And yet, that is the one reform the corporate reformers REALLY FEAR, because it increases labor costs, so my feeling is, they were never going to get it. That is unfortunate of course. The corporate overlord children get class sizes of 15 while the commons get class sizes of 40-50. The only way to combat that is to get personal and make Sascha and Malia and Rahmbo's kids the poster children for the hypocrisy of our ruling classes - in a respectful way, of course. Ask why it is Sascha and Malia get to go to a school with art teachers and music teachers and small class sizes and no teacher evaluations based upon test scores (indeed, no standardized tests!) while the rest of America gets austerity, Common Core rigidity, large class sizes, teachers teaching to a test because they have to and testing all the year round. And you've got to ask these people to their faces about it - Obama will be doing town halls in the next month before the election. Some people have got to put his feet to the fire and ask him to his face. Make him defend his position. It won't change things, but at least it will put him on record and expose him for the bullshit artist/corporate sell-out he is.

    Finally, I am with Michael on this - this strike is epochal because it is the first instance of large scale, organized fight back against corporate reform. You know the Bushies and the Obamaites and the Gatesians and the Broadies and the Rheeformers and the rest are scared of this - if it spreads, and teachers, combined with parents, start fighting back, they will be rocked like they've never been rocked before. Corporate reform - endless testing, evals tied to test scores that result in a narrowed curriculum, students dehumanized into nothing more than test scores and data points - these are difficult things to defend once the public gets the REAL STORY about reform.

    The key is cutting through the corporate media shillery to get them the REAL STORY. the CTU strike started to do that. That is huge.

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    1. It was a 30% minimum by law and did not have to be implemented UNTIL the 2016 SCHOOL YEAR!

      So how does giving 30% NOW, 4 years prior, demonstrate a strong win on this? They had time on their side, it seems to me, with the 2016 deadline. By then, imagine how this insane eval reform will have panned out! And just parsing it so tenured teachers dont get negatively impacted by a bad score in the first year, well, that hardly seems like a fair or strong "concession" by Rahm or, more importantly, a win that will make sense in the lives of teachers. Even tenured teachers can get the ax after the negative evals kick in for them.

      Still a nightmare, unless the rank and file vote this down.

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  2. I agree but we have to see how Unity people spin this behind the scenes given that we are all attacking them for not being Karen. Michael mentions my conversation with Mark Sternberg at the NY Times event on Thursday. I didn't report that publicly yet. He came over to me -- and I have never had one word with him and didn't really know who he was. He wanted to talk Chicago and to me had a very concerned look on his face. I think the strike has shaken them all up. He asked if Mulgrew might follow CTU. I almost choked on my drink. Imagine if the UFT had actually organized people to be like the CTU -- even with the Taylor Law -- like lets' be willing to defy it rather than use it as a bludgeon over the membership. I told him we were trying to organize a group like CORE -- he said "I know." Interesting. Looks like the push to get E4E into the schools is not exactly working out too well and I imagine if MORE gets traction that will send some shock waves. If the UFT were smart (which they are not) they would use a growing MORE presence to wedge some concessions from Tweed --- like, if you don't give us something we end up with Chicago. Actually, Chicago might end us up with a contract before the UFT elections -- meaning by December.


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  3. Here is a report from Leia in Chicago:

    I really agree with Michael. I'm here in Chicago and I can't believe the amount of unity and dignity that has come from a week of striking and the sense of standing up to Rahm and forcing him to concede. Parent support of 66% (although that could change if the strike continues) is massive and lays the basis for the fights ahead for whatever demands they don't receive in their contract. We were marching through an African-American neighborhood yesterday after the big rally and parents and kids were sitting on their stoops waving and chanting with the marchers all aling the route. It was incredible given the climate of media/politician teacher union bashing. There was a sense of heroism of teachers for taking a stand for everyone. As a young girl told me on the train, "my teacher is worth a million dollars." It has really united people here and I can imagine relationships between teachers, students and parents will transform as a result. Rahm is planning to close 100 schools this year which I think will be the next battleground. I know CTU was at the center of that fight last year but I think it will be a more mass movement this year because of the confidence and unity brought about by the strike.

    The strike has put Ed deform on trial nationally and exposed what the conditions of public education really are. It has also trained a new layer of union militants. I walked around with a sign that said "NYC teachers support CTU" and got stopped often to talk with other teachers. I was shocked by how militant everyone was, many of whom were never fully active in the union. Part of having a more democratic union means teachers feel real ownership and have knowledge of the contract negotiations, demands, etc. They were also completely shocked by the conditions of public education in NYC and how undemocratic our union is. It would be a huge mistake for us to make any comparison of CTU with Unity caucus if the contract is concessionary (which of course it will be on certain fronts). Unity is terrified about the lessons people will draw from this. Let's keep it that way!

    The big question which I'm sure will be debated is how do you define a victory? I think the house of delegates meeting today will be very interesting. Expectations are very high.

    This is the first major battle in a war on public education. I think CTU has already won!

    Ok, more later, with pictures! My favorite signs so far: (teacher) "I teach history. This week I made history" and (student) "This week I learned unions are good"

    Leia

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  4. Mr. Fiorello makes some great points as usual! I believe, however, nothing will change here in NYC or elsewhere anytime soon. I don't think anyone at Tweed, TFA, etc. is worried. Why should they worry? They have in Randi Weingarten a capable ally who is masterful at dividing and conquering unionists. She will be there every step of the way to ensure that she frames the debate in a manner that emphasizes each district across the country as having its own set of contexts and circumstances. In other words, Ms. Weingarten will frame the Chicago Strike as being particular to Chicago and not "doable" everywhere else.
    Thank you Chicago!
    Julie for UFT President.
    MORE = REAL UNITY!

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  5. Good job Norm and Michael on presenting what is in the contract. I do not see a sellout anywhere in here. Curbing abusive principals, having to hire at least 50% of veteran teachers... these are things we do not have here in NYC thanks to the UFT. The fact that the CTU was able to preserve art, music and language contrasts to what is here in NYC where I cannot remember the last school that had all three programs.

    Most importantly, the things they received had to do with learning conditions, proving that the CTU was concerned with the the quality of Chicago public education and not their own positions, which is more than can be said for those who negotiate for us in NYC.

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  6. Michael and Leia are spot-on. Politics (and collective bargaining agreements) need to be considered contextually, in the current climate, the CTU have held off the most onerous aspects of Emmanuel's assault despite the united opposition of the entire political class, the newspapers and media, and a range of education deformers who have held all the momentum for years. We have to keep up a fight against school closures, Race to the Top, standardized testing, etc. No one strike will solve all these issues. If we look at this strike not as the end of a struggle but the beginning, then there's no doubt it is a huge victory.

    What CTU has given us that's bigger than any single contract article is the public acknowledgment of the voices of teachers in the education debate for the first time, it has made visible what had previously been a largely underground, disunited, and local struggle to transform teacher unionism, and it has directly challenged labor's cozy relationship to the Democratic Party. I also think the CTU has amplified the voice of labor generally, as the strikes of Wal-Mart warehouse workers shows. A game-changer, certainly.

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  7. I DONT LIKE THE EVALUATION CAPITULATION

    It is my understanding that Illinois reform/deform law of 2010 demands 40% of the evals be based on student test scores BY the 2016-2017 school year.

    Since this is the case, why would CTU agree to the 30% implementation NOW? And why only to not impact tenured teachers, and why only not in the 1st year?

    Teacher evaluation by test score (VAM) is wrong for even just 1% of an assessment because it is a 100% wrongheaded measure for evaluating teachers! Given this, I do not see a victory in a shaving off of 10%. I would like to know why they didnt insist on postponing it, as it appears the law allows for. It seems time was on their side.

    By the 2016 schoolyear, this completely whack eval system will have been shown to be such a nightmare in its implementation, in outcomes, that it will have to be scrapped or ALL teachers will take to the streets. (Unless they have become "reprogrammed" as Wall Street bots by then, after the entire school system of the USA has been thoroughly deformed!)

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    1. I made an error in an earlier post (9/16 @ 4:03 PM). Illinois LAW demands 30%, not 40% on teacher evals. I had confused that with another quote about what Rahm had wanted (40%). But I was right that it need not be implemented until the 2016 school year. My position stands, that the union had time to hold off on agreeing to the 30%. They should have stuck to that, if I am reading the law correctly and they had time on their side.


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  8. If the law says 30% now would a long strike force them to change the law? Is that capitulation? Why talk about 2016-17 when the CTU has shown how the landscape can change. This is a 3 or maybe 4 year contract. Use the time to create a movement to change that law.

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    1. Why?! Because how would you like teaching in 2012, 13, 14, 15 with a VAM sword of Damocles hanging over your head? As an active teacher, I can tell you it makes me sick. Use the time the law allows... let it go forward, like a car with square wheels, where it must go forward, across the nation. By 2016 the wreckage should be evident. My point is, why put this snake into your life, in striking distance of your career, your colleagues, when you have the time to stave it off?

      Delete
    2. The LAW says 2016 for Illinois. I quote:

      "Illinois lawmakers voted in 2010 to require that all public schools use student achievement as a component of teacher evaluations by the 2016-17 school year. In Chicago, Emanuel is living up to a promise made during his inauguration speech by demanding the Chicago union agree to make the change years ahead of that schedule."

      http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h947IoNsAqNeUn6tHTNFE1Zp41bQ?docId=0d40504674fc458a916802fefaca260d

      You see, it was bad enough that law required it by 2016 school year, but that is a LOT of years for wiggle room. Yet Rahm made an inauguration speech "demanding the Chicago union agree to make the change years ahead of that schedule."

      Why in the world would they not go with the law over Rahm? Looks like they are screwing themselves with premature leap into the fires of VAM. When they had the law on their side!!! I am scratching my head over this one...

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  9. The evaluations are such an egregious aspect of education deform that my posts were directed at that aspect, and based on some misconceptions of the deadline for Chicago teachers. So before I go into the correction, I have to note now what I failed to include previously - my feelings of great support and warmth toward these teachers for STRIKING, and for the supportive community at large. (I have also been heartened by what they have been aiming for and achieving as a union since CORE began.) It does much good for all of us, what they have done with this strike. It feels like we - union members, teachers - can BREATHE again. This was, at long last, a much needed step in the right direction! Now we have to learn and grow from what our Chicago brothers and sisters achieved.

    Okay, that said: Correction! Sorry for the misinformation from me, but the article quoted in my prior post led me to believe that all Illinois teachers had till 2016, by law, to implement the new evaluations. Upon reading other material, it became evident that Chicago teachers were made a very unlucky exception to the rule because of the population of the districts - 500,000 or more. Other IL districts with lower populations have till 2016 to start the evaluations. So, Chicago teachers had to start working under the "student growth" evaluations this year - yet another aspect of unfairness added to an already terribly unfair evaluation method!

    An appeals process is cold comfort. There will be those who will unnecessarily be put thru the stress of an appeals process - in itself a horrible thing even if they prevail (that time). Others who dont deserve to lose their careers will have to go thru the draining, stressful process and will still come out losers.

    That said, I am sure this isnt the last we will hear from Chicago about the evaluations. They shouldnt stand alone here. (Where is the outrage from New York teachers that should be directed at Democrats and complicit union leaders who pushed NY teachers into the same bogus evaluations?) Teachers and their unions, nationwide, need to start pushing back against these deforms!

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  10. Sandrine said...
    The evaluations are such an egregious aspect of education deform that my posts were directed at that aspect, and based on some misconceptions of the deadline for Chicago teachers. So before I go into the correction, I have to note now what I failed to include previously - my feelings of great support and warmth toward these teachers for STRIKING, and for the supportive community at large. (I have also been heartened by what they have been aiming for and achieving as a union since CORE began.) It does much good for all of us, what they have done with this strike. It feels like we - union members, teachers - can BREATHE again. This was, at long last, a much needed step in the right direction! Now we have to learn and grow from what our Chicago brothers and sisters achieved.

    Okay, that said: Correction! Sorry for the misinformation from me, but the article quoted in my prior post led me to believe that all Illinois teachers had till 2016, by law, to implement the new evaluations. Upon reading other material, it became evident that Chicago teachers were made a very unlucky exception to the rule because of the population of the districts - 500,000 or more. Other IL districts with lower populations have till 2016 to start the evaluations. So, Chicago teachers had to start working under the "student growth" evaluations this year - yet another aspect of unfairness added to an already terribly unfair evaluation method!

    An appeals process is cold comfort. There will be those who will unnecessarily be put thru the stress of an appeals process - in itself a horrible thing even if they prevail (that time). Others who dont deserve to lose their careers will have to go thru the draining, stressful process and will still come out losers.

    That said, I am sure this isnt the last we will hear from Chicago about the evaluations. They shouldnt stand alone here. (Where is the outrage from New York teachers that should be directed at Democrats and complicit union leaders who pushed NY teachers into the same bogus evaluations?) Teachers and their unions, nationwide, need to start pushing back against these deforms!


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