Sunday, September 30, 2012

Won't Back Down II: The Sequel

Charter Manager: Oh, Jamie, I'm sorry to tell you this, but all you did with the trigger was force a change. No one said you would have any say in what that change would be. No one made clear who would make the decisions about how the school would be structured or who would run it. No one had a procedure to appoint a board of directors. I'm sorry Jamie, but when you allowed this school to be converted to a charter, you gave up many of your rights as both a taxpayer and as a parent.

Jamie: Well, I'll go the local school board! They'll force this charter school to have parental involvement!

Geoffrey: My dear Jamie, you didn't think this through, did you? Charter schools offer you "choice"; they do NOT offer you "involvement." If you don't like the way we do things at KSSA, you can "choose" to leave;
that's what school "choice" is all about. But your local district, even though it must give us money to run the school, has no say in how we run the school. We are, in effect, our own district now.
Hilarious must read as Jersey Jazzman skewers KIPP and WBD.


Illuminating radio show from Education Radio: the Truth about #parent trigger

It’s longish but well worth listening to.  Includes interviews w/several parent activists incl. me; most fascinating interview w/ CA parent telling what really happened in Adelanto where parents were tricked into signing petition by Parent Revolution who told them, among other things, it called for cleaner bathrooms! 

When they learned the truth, parents weren’t allowed by the judge to take their signatures back.  Any law that calls for radical changes to be made through signing petitions alone is one that cannot be supported, no matter what it calls for.

My interview was done over the summer before I’d seen the movie; I regret that I said that I’d heard it was well-written etc. when this is far from the truth.  I was unfortunately relying on 2nd hand accounts.  Lesson learned: never comment on the quality of anything until you’ve seen it yourself!

Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters

GEM ITBWFS Movie Screens at Washington Irving HS Campus as Part of Fightback Against Eva Invasion

A campus wide screening of the the GEM movie on Tuesday, at 3:15 in Room 845.

Planned:  October 18th morning Press Conference.

Lisa Featherstone Reviews "Won't Back Down" at Dissent

“Be the change you want to see!” Jamie crows to a throng of cheering parents—but democracy is the enemy. Getting rid of representative government and calling in a private entity to handle things, in our current Opposite Day political moment, represents a glorious triumph of people power. The “parent trigger” invites parents to use their vote to give up their vote—that is, to be enormously powerful for one short moment of direct democracy, which they will use to dispose, in the long run, with the “public” part of public school, and thus with any actual power over their children’s education.----Liza Featherstone, a real, not fictional, NYC public school parent.
according to data from National Center for Education Statistics, there is no correlation between teacher dismissal rates and union membership. In Massachusetts, where almost all public school teachers belong to a union, the firing rate for experienced teachers is nearly twice that in North Carolina, where just 2.3 percent of the teaching force is unionized.
Oh Liza, those pesky facts just get in the way of the message.

"Empowerment" Against Democracy: Tinseltown and the Teachers' Unions

“You know those mothers who lift one-ton trucks off their babies?” says Jamie Fitzpatrick, a working-class mom (played Maggie Gyllenhall), in a confrontation with a corrupt union rep in Daniel Barnz’s edu-drama, Won’t Back Down. “They’re nothing compared to me.”
It’s a “you-go-girl” moment. But real moms can’t lift trucks. And just about everything in this movie is as wildly fantastical as that image.

Fed up with her daughter’s horrible public school, Jamie learns about a law that allows parents and teachers to “take over” a failing school. Against the odds, she organizes the powerless and wins over the naysayers. The movie is inspired by real-life “parent trigger” laws, which are pushed by right-wing groups like ALEC, but backed with equal enthusiasm by progressive urban mayors nationwide. The laws allow a charter takeover if 50 percent of the parents agree to it. Charter schools are mostly non-union, and democratically elected officials have little control over them.

Won’t Back Down is liberal Hollywood’s second blast of gas on what was once a bugbear of the Right: the badness of public schools and teachers’ unions, and the magic bullet of hope offered by privatization. The first was Davis Guggenheim’s documentary Waiting for Superman. Barnz’s movie, featuring great actresses Viola Davis and Gyllenhall, is far more watchable than Guggenheim’s, but the fantasy world it inhabits is exactly the same. Its release, just on the heels of the Chicago teachers’ strike, feels eerily timely, as its anti-union talking points are just the same as those of Rahm Emanuel and the monied interests of Chicago.

The film’s presentation of the social context is heartbreakingly accurate—poor kids like Jamie’s daughter, Malia, don’t get the education they deserve. But otherwise, the movie presents a Mad Tea Party view of urban education, and of social change itself. In Won’t Back Down, and in the bipartisan neoliberal fairytale that passes for education reform, teachers and parents are good, but the institutions that represent them—unions, the state—are bad. “Empowerment” is desirable, even ecstatic—“Be the change you want to see!” Jamie crows to a throng of cheering parents—but democracy is the enemy. Getting rid of representative government and calling in a private entity to handle things, in our current Opposite Day political moment, represents a glorious triumph of people power. The “parent trigger” invites parents to use their vote to give up their vote—that is, to be enormously powerful for one short moment of direct democracy, which they will use to dispose, in the long run, with the “public” part of public school, and thus with any actual power over their children’s education.

Jamie leads the fictional takeover because her daughter, who is dyslexic, can’t read. Yet not a word is said in the movie about the need for more services and teachers for special needs kids. The school is depicted as depressing and shabby—what about the need for more resources? What about all the extra support poor children need? We see kids acting out and falling asleep in class—where are the social workers to help those kids?
Never mind those wonky details. The problem, we’re repeatedly led to believe, is the teachers’ union. But if unions were to blame for failing schools, wouldn’t unionized public schools in Princeton or Scarsdale also suck?

Hollywood hasn’t been known to let logic get in the way of a good story, and neither do education reformers. Facts are similarly irrelevant. In the movie, Malia’s teacher—a repellent timeserver who locks the little girl in a closet as punishment—can’t be fired because of the union. There are more than a few problems with this scenario. Outside of Tinseltown and the corporate reform imaginary, union members do get fired. In fact, according to data from National Center for Education Statistics, there is no correlation between teacher dismissal rates and union membership. In Massachusetts, where almost all public school teachers belong to a union, the firing rate for experienced teachers is nearly twice that in North Carolina, where just 2.3 percent of the teaching force is unionized.

Despite scapegoating teachers’ unions, Won’t Back Down is not an anti-teacher movie. Most of the teacher characters—especially Nona, played by Viola Davis—are heroic. That’s because one of the film’s messages is that busting teachers’ unions is better for teachers. In one scene, a meeting to discuss the possible takeover, Nona argues that losing the union will be worth it, “because we’ll be able to teach the way we want.” (The movie is vague on Nona’s pedagogy and why the union prevents it. In real life, charter teachers certainly don’t have any more control over curriculum than public school teachers do.) It is a ruling-class wet dream: workers who are happy to help destroy their own institutions. By giving up the organization through which they wield power, the fictional teachers reason, they will gain more power.

We have wandered deep into the swamp of Upsidedownlandia. Yet the same paradox colors the film’s view of parent power. The movie celebrates parents rising up and taking control of their children’s education—in order to rid themselves of all representation. Though the film does not discuss such pesky governance matters, a “takeover,” in real life, usually means that the school is run by a private organization with limited accountability to the public. While the state does decide ultimately which charters to shut down, there is no oversight by the school board, nor the city government, and certainly not the parents.

Of course, democracy and its institutions are horribly flawed. But to conclude that, therefore, dictatorship would be empowering is just weird. It’s not the first time that idea has been presented in film. Daniel Barnz is no Leni Riefenstahl, of course—he’s not as skilled a filmmaker, and there’s nothing racist or hateful in this movie—but the emotional experience of Won’t Back Down is, for the viewer, not unlike that of the best propaganda. As we cheer for Jamie and Nona, we are rooting against ourselves, against our own capacity for self-governance.

Liza Featherstone is a contributing writer to the Nation. She also writes about education for Al Jazeera English and Newsday, as well as the Brooklyn Rail, where she is the author of the “Report Card” column.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Portelos Won't Back Down

Dear parents/guardians of IS 49,
    This email list originated back when I was the STEM teacher of your children during the 2011-2012 school year. I apologize if you are receiving this in error. Please reply and I will take you off future mailings.

     Most of you know that I was removed as your child's teacher, 157 days ago, after I raised questions pertaining to how money was spent at Berta Dreyfus IS 49. For months they attacked me at school and in the media. They went after my colleagues and made your children's learning environment a hostile setting. What they didn't plan on was going up against the worst opponent... a intelligent, resourceful and very upset parent. The worst part for them is that I have a backbone of steel and no matter how many DOE officials, DOE lawyers and administrators they put up against me my convictions to help this community are unwavering. 

     After beating me down, causing me stress beyond belief and sending me 20 miles away to an empty cubicle in Queens I have picked up more speed and momentum that anyone could have imagined. I uncovered horrible financial misconduct that directly affected your children and have been sharing the play by play saga online at <> . I shared allegations,pictures and video of a staff member mishandling students <> . I have a federal lawsuit, smalls claims law suit for the personal items they won't return to me and a NY State PERB complaint. I've been fighting alone, but I have been fighting big.

Now for the next phase....YOU. YOUR NEIGHBORS. YOUR FAMILIES. <>

    Instead of repeating everything that I have listed on the site, please see the new site that has been set up for this new movement. I'm not sure I can change the community alone. Please view site and if you agree share and share again. I can assure you that what has been happening at Dreyfus 49 over the years would not have been allowed in some other neighborhoods. Are our children not worth the fight? If we don't fight now, we can fight in a year if they decide to close and still lose as we did in PS 14.

    I have a 16 month old and my wife is about to give birth to my second son soon. We have approximately 10 years before they attend Berta Dreyfus and change takes time. Currently Berta Dreyfus is ranked 939th out of 1,124 middle schools in NY state. That is unacceptable! NYC DOE has a budget of $24 billion dollars and if they will it they can do anything to fix a school. 

Please see <> and attend the first meeting on October 8, 2012 at 8PM
Vanderbilt Avenue Moravian Church YMCA center
285 Vanderbilt Avenue
Staten Island, New York 10304
Tel: (718) 447-2966

-Francesco Portelos
Educator <> <>

Portelos: Warrengate Files -Unleashed

while I was holed up in a basement copy room of 8201 Rockaway Blvd, Ozone Park, Queens I witnessed a man shred countless time cards right in front of me. This is the home of my school’s Network CFN 211 office. I believe that is where time cards are sent for approval, but I could be wrong. What are the chances that the same cards I was waiting for were shredded right in front of me? --- Francesco Portelos
Posted at

I'm going to sit back and let Portelos tell his story:

On January 26, 2012 I, Francesco Portelos, teacher at Berta Dreyfus Intermediate 49 of 101 Warren St. SI, NY had ZERO unsatisfactory ratings, ZERO disciplinary letters and ZERO investigations on me. On that day I informed the Special Commissioner of Investigation (SCI) that I had reason to believe that Principal Hill, of my local school community, may be engaging in financial misconduct. It was believed that she was double dipping and getting paid for two different programs at the same exact time. If true, it would be of public concern and affect every American taxpayer.

On January 30, 2012, just 4 days later, I had at least THREE investigations started on me and TWO Disciplinary Notices written. Another ONE Disciplinary Notice came soon after as well as another FIFTEEN additional investigations and ONE unsatisfactory observation a month later. On April 26, 2012 I was removed from school. Principal Hill, as well as others who are alleged of wrong doing, continue to remain in the school building with direct access to students and taxpayer funds.

Here is what I uncovered for the fellow hardworking, taxpaying American.

From 2009 to 2010 Linda Hill apparently sat in and was paid for both School Leadership Team as well as the Achieve Now Academy (DANA) at the same time. Findings from an internal audit conducted by the NYC Office of Auditor General in January 2011 also found about $40,000 in financial discrepancies.
See gallery below:

Friday, September 28, 2012

R U Going to UFT Chapter Leader Training this weekend?

Download the MORE membership toolkit and print a few copies to help spread the word and recruit your fellow new chapter leaders to MORE.

Open distribution of caucus literature will be quickly shut down, but there will be plenty of one on one opportunities for conversations.

View from the Right: EIA on Chicago TU, Strike and Karen Lewis as AFT President

Mike Antonucci comments on Chicago story:
The stars aligned when CTU members elected Karen Lewis and her CORE slate to power. Lewis stood for genuine union militancy at a time when previous regimes were considered to be sellouts.

I wrote back then that "Lewis's election may have large implications for the Chicago Public Schools. Her politics are significantly to the left of the machine Democrats who run the city and the school system. 'What drives school reform is a single focus on profit. Profit. Not teaching, not learning, profit,' she said in her post-election press conference."
I believed that Lewis would join a long list of union outsiders who quickly became insiders. I was wrong about that. Oh, she almost did, but she learned that her muscular activism filled a niche left empty by Illinois and national teacher union leaders. She may be AFT's most well-known local president. [OVERSHADOWING MULGREW]
We all forgot - including me - that Karen Lewis and her slate were elected in 2010 by less than 60 percent of CTU members in a run-off, after she managed to unify all the opposition against incumbent president Marilyn Stewart. By all accounts, the members and various union factions have all been united behind Lewis during the strike, but some fissures appeared over ending the strike. An NBC-TV affiliate reported some infighting, but even if the story is overblown, the House of Delegates did not meekly acquiesce to Lewis' wishes, and that opposition had to be organized by someone.
 ----Mike Antonucci, Education Intelligence Agency.
I look forward to Mike Antonucci's take at EIA on things even though I often disagree. But  the insights deserve a debate. Mike did a number of posts regarding the Chicago strike, some with a little snarkyness.

He also covered the victory of CORE and distinguished them from the Randi Weingarten crew right away. And he gets that Unity Caucus controls the AFT -- I can't tell you how many local and national ed reporters have asked me to explain.

He gets a lot right and when he is wrong he says so. Mike assumes there were some organized forces behind the resistance to agreeing to a settlement at the Sunday House of Delegates meeting. Interesting point. CORE is selling that as allowing democracy to flourish. Maybe CORE is so democratic it allows for internal debate, something that seems outside the pale for people used to reporting about the control exhibited by strong arming union leaderships. (I was hanging with one national ed reporter at an AFT convention who couldn't quite get how CORE could have its people running both with and against Randi's caucus.)

I do want to remind everyone that of the last 4 Chicago elections since 2001 only one incumbent was elected (Marilyn Stewart in 2007). Remember there were 5 caucuses in 2010. With former reformist president Debbie Lynch retired where does that leave her caucus? What about the Unity-like UPC that CORE defeated? And the offshoots of that caucus? Debbie Lynch lost her 2004 re-election partly due to a much-criticized contract in 2003 by the very people in the UPC who had been signing sweetheart contracts. Would you be surprised to see the UPC remnants that had cooperated with the deformers swing into attack on CORE for not getting enough in the contract?

And I will make this point again and again: every ed deformer and maybe even AFT people want CORE out. Would you be surprised to see a Student First/DFER supported group pop up with loads of money to undermine CORE?

I've had these EIA reports saved for a few weeks but thought it worth sharing, especially since anti-Randi people have been pushing the idea of Karen challenging Randi for AFT president (no way). So let's tackle this one first with this post from Mike's Intercepts.

Karen Lewis for AFT President? Numbers Don’t Add Up

Analysis: NEST+M Teachers Meet With Mulgrew

The UFT brought out the entire crew. There were almost as many of them as us...... Attendee at meeting of NEST+M teachers with Mulgrew & core of advisors
With the story hitting Gotham Schools, Mulgrew now, out of nowhere, wants to meet with the entire staff.  My guess is that they are furious with the chapter because the teachers did all of what they did, without any backing of the people at the Manhattan Borough Office.  The Manhattan Borough Office, though, has always felt that because the teachers at Nest don't have the serious issues other D1 schools have they should just be happy and not complain about anything.  Therefore, they have done very little over the years to get through to Livanis.  Well, the pressure has been building for six years and has finally blown.  I think they need you, and the organizers of MORE, to help and guide them through the no man's land between UFT and DOE. --- Anon source
If you haven't been following the story at NEST+M you must get over to Gotham and read the story and the comments. Many parents support the teachers.

Simmering tensions at NEST+M boil over on Curriculum Night

Teachers at a school where hundreds of parents signed a petition against the principal this summer continued the protest today by boycotting Curriculum Night. Teachers at New Explorations in Science, Technology, and Math, or NEST+M, announced the boycott via email this afternoon, telling parents that Principal Olga Livanis had not soothed relations with the staff after she surprised several of them with “unsatisfactory” ratings. -- Gotham Schools, Sept. 20, 2012
Teachers took action by boycotting curriculum night (which they have never been paid for in the past), not an easy thing to do but given the background of the deteriorating relationship with principal Olga Livanis, their frustration came out. Most of this is fleshed out in the Gotham comments where teachers, parents and students (and me and others) have been commenting. They tried to meet with the principal to discuss some arrangement where they would get some comp time for showing up -- really, as a show of faith on her part that she was willing to work with the teachers and show them some respect -- but she rejected, insulted, abused, etc.

Apparently, Livanis is so socially inept, she makes Mitt Romney look like a  smoothie.

As always, I'm interested in what the UFT did and didn't do both before and after the teachers took their action and it went public last week which led to Mulgrew asking the teachers to meet with him, which 20 of them did on Monday night (Sept. 24) with about 10 union officials, an indication of the level of crisis mode the UFT was viewing this.

The union promised to get more involved and become more of a presence in the school. The key person on the ground for the UFT has been the District Rep who many people at NEST+M seem to like but feel her hands may have been tied from above, with some blaming the Manhattan Borough chief for ignoring the situation.

I get two types of stories. One is that the District Rep did what she could do, arranging meetings with higher ups, etc. And another that she and the union did not do enough. She does get credit for helping turn back a Discontinue for an untenured teacher but might have done more on the U-ratings.

Someone left a comment at Gotham about the principal's treatment of the Chapter Leader - disrespectful and practically abusive. To me that should be a call for a press conference. But that is me.

7 U-ratings in one year at a top schools should raise a red flag

Principal Olga Livanis gave out 7 U ratings and a Discontinue to a non-tenured and popular teacher last year, in addition to driving at least one top notch fed-up teacher into resigning. The D is a career-ender (vs a U which would have allowed the teacher to remain in the system), a vicious act on the part of any principal --- how the UFT allows the handing of a loaded gun to every principal is outrageous. Even if a principal wants to hire a Discontinued teacher, they couldn't, so this amounts to perpetrating an act of murder on a teacher's career. The clearly unfair D outraged teachers and parents to the extent that the union did make some arrangement with the Superintendent to overturn it. So give the union a plus for that  – though I can tell you loads of D people who got fired and not a peep from the union, which throws up its hands. It does show you that it takes enormous pressure on the union, mostly when things threaten to go public, to get them to pressure the DOE when it wants to.

Reasons for U-Ratings a joke

When you hear the reasons for the U-ratings Livanis gave out, even in today's world of lunatic principals, you have to be astounded. Like if a child complains about you once, BAM, you get a U for the year. Just to remind people -- the U means frozen salary steps, no after school or summer jobs, and an inability to transfer. It is a career threat subjecting you to attacks on all sides, including the press and slugs like E4E leaders. Yet Livanis seems to feel, oh, la-di-da, what's the big deal? She's a real lune, with the social skills of an --- I hate to insult them - an ardvark.

Parents support teachers

Not the least of angles here is that most of the NEST+M parents, especially the most active ones who work with the teachers and see how much they give every day, support them. They feel almost all the U's were ridiculous. They are a potentially powerful political source of support for the teachers. This may be one politically interesting case.

Imagine if they actually pulled the Parent Trigger and removed the principal. Hmmmm. One interesting event to watch is the level of parent unhappiness with the possible cancellation of many sports teams because U rated teachers who handle the sports cannot work after school. This may turn out to be a serious flashpoint.

Teachers invited to meet with Livanis - sort of

Last week, Livanis invited the staff to come to a staff meeting, ostensibly to "solve problems together." Words like "we're a family" and "keeping the story inside" and "we'll get professional help to solve our problems" were supposedly used.

Instead they sat through a 40-minute presentation on special ed. Only after that meeting did things open up -- naturally, on the teachers' own time. 75% remained for another hour of venting. Teachers talked about fear of taking school trips because if the slightest thing happened they might be U-rated. They told Livanis if she was unhappy with a teacher they should be told early on so they could make changes, instead of telling them the last week of school they were getting a U. They called on Livanis to revisit the files of the 7 U-rated people.

Interesting point: the UFT people are saying that all Livanis has to do is make a call and the U would be rescinded. Is this true? Hard to believe it is but not hard to believe that some people in the UFT have their heads up their asses.

What does the UFT really want?

So, immediately upon the publication at Gotham, the UFT contacted people at the school that Mulgrew wanted to meet with them. Eyebrows were raised since they had been petitioning the UFT for some higher level of support for some time, but the teachers were happy that they finally were getting a response. Again, there is a feeling in the school that the UFT ignored them because they get top students and even with a lousy principal, compared to the chaos in other schools, the union views them as having things relatively easy.

Monday night, 20 teachers went over to 52 Broadway to meet with what one source said was about 10 UFT officials -- the UFT brought out the house to deal with this crisis. And don't think that the UFT doesn't view this as a crisis -- for them. (It has been a crisis for the teachers for a long time.) It is a public relations crisis for the union because
  • a) they feel actions like this hurt the image of teachers -- and they are not wrong here, but most important 
  • b) they are exposed on a number of grounds -- ineffective in protecting teachers and not caring enough to even try doing something serious about it.
So a major goal of Mulgrew is/was to shut down the public debate -- create a black hole where the only thing coming out is what the union wants to come out -- not necessarily in the interests of the NEST+M teachers, but of the UFT.

As often happens in these type of situations, the teachers feel relieved - initially -- wow, the UFT is finally going to get involved. They will be coming to the school. OK. I don't want to shoot down their bubble, but let's see where things stand in a few months. Maybe an article with loads of pics of in the NY Teacher showing how much Mulgrew cares.Will the UFT lead rallies and protests and help organize parents to call for the removal of Livanis? Don't be on it.

My guess is the UFT wants to bury this story as much as the DOE and the principal does. Why, because it exposes the UFT as
  • a) weak 
  • b) neglectful 
  • c) doesn't give a shit until it goes public  
  • d) all of the above
Here is an edited email from an anonymous source regarding the UFT:
With the story hitting Gotham Schools, Mulgrew now, out of nowhere, wants to meet with the entire staff.  My guess is that they are furious with the chapter because the teachers did all of what they did, without any backing of the people at the Manhattan Borough Office.  The Manhattan Borough Office, though, has always felt that because the teachers at Nest don't have the serious issues other D1 schools have they should just be happy and not complain about anything.  Therefore, they have done very little over the years to get through to Livanis.  Well, the pressure has been building for six years and has finally blown.  I think they need you, and the organizers of MORE, to help and guide them through the no man's land between UFT and DOE.
If the call for MORE was a trigger for UFT sudden involvement then MORE is doing its job just by existing.

NEST+ Background

The K-12 NESt+M, on the lower east side, has been one of the most coveted schools by teachers and parents. An old friend of mine out here in Rockaway, used to drive his 5-year old grandson into Manhattan every day just to go there. There was some controversy about the school years back when Joel Klein tried to shove in the Ross Global Charter run by a millionaire but was turned back by the founding principal who organized parents. Klein got even by finding some dirt on her (she was no angel), forcing her to resign, and installing Livanis, who was an AP at Stuyvesant. I posted - (Ross Launches Missile and Goes Ballistic and urged people to read the great Jeff Coplon piece in NY Mag about the history of the school – (NEST+m: An Allegory). I met Jeff, not an education writer, and told him that was one of the best education pieces I've read.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

TFA and New Teacher Project Condemn Loss of Irreplaceable NFL Officials in Settlement, Walden Media Announces New Film

The New Teacher Project condemned the settlement of the dispute between the National Football League owners and its locked out experienced union-based Officials which will lead to the removal of the replacements.

"Research by the Broad and Gates Foundations shows that these replacement Officials have not only performed admirably, but even better than the old status-quo supporting Officials," said a NTP spokesperson.

The New Teacher Project issued a report called The Irreplaceables which documents the NFL Officials crisis in America’s professional football stadiums: a failure to retain the right officials. "Clearly, these replacement Officials have shown the American spirit through their willingness to undermine a union supported seniority system and their dedication to the children of America who love to watch football."

Teach for America through its subsidiary, FOFA - Football Officials For America, received a contract from the NFL to set up a 5-day training program for the strike-breaking Officials who will now lose their jobs. 

"What a shame these amazing and dedicated replacement Officials have come under attack," said Wendy Kopp. "FOFA's 5-day training program has proven more than adequate to handle the challenges of NFL officiating. Years of experience is an unproven and overrated commodity in proving competence to officiate a simple football game. And yes, that was a touchdown catch Sunday night. Green Bay just has a sore loser mentality."

In preparation for the next the owners attempt to break the union the NFL has announced that it will give FOFA a 5-year contract to develop a 5-week training program that will lead to top-notch officiating.

"This dispute was about the adults ignoring the interests of children who love their football," said Michelle Rhee in a statement issued through Students First. "The old NFL Officials only want to maintain the status quo," she said. "Students First was ready to pour hundred of millions of dollars in support of the NFL owners. Unfortunately, they cracked. Really, even worse than Rahm Emanuel's caving in to that scummy teacher union. I'm very disappointed in both the NFL owners and Rahm Emanuel."

Walden Media immediately announced a new film about how fans and football players team up to use a football trigger law to take over an NFL team and replace it with a charter. "Football fans in each city suffer from a monopoly and need a choice of football teams. We do understand that New York City has two teams, but really, one of them is the Jets, so that doesn't  count," said a spokesman for Philip Anschutz and Rupert Murdoch who backed the film "Won't Back Down." The new film, tentatively titled, "We Will Not Back Down From Those Slimy NFL Referee Bullies," will star Jake Gyllenhaal as a hunky referee who graduated from FOFA's accelerated 5-hour referee training program.

Diane Ravitvch and Jersey Jazzman have posted on the NFL Officials story.
I was watching Morning Joe yesterday and Joe Scarboro, who couldn’t get enough of trashing the teachers in Chicago last week, was up in arms over the greedy NFL owners refusal to pay for experienced refs.

 Governor Scott Walker says it is time to bring back the referees’ union so there will be competent referees on the field. Why is it more important to have experienced referees in NFL football games than to have experienced teachers in our nation’s classrooms?


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ta-Ta, Anthony

I couldn't resist. Another Broad-ite and Rhee-ite bites the dust.

This just in from Diane Ravitch:

Breaking News: Wake County, NC, Board Fires Superintendent

by dianerav
The Wake County board fired its superintendent, General Anthony Tata, who had been hired by the previous board majority. That previous majority was elected with a pledge to end the district's nationally recognized desegregation plan.
The vote to dismiss Tata was 5-4.
General Tata previously worked in D.C. as chief operating officer for then-Chancellor Michelle Rhee. He is a graduate of the Broad Superintendent's Academy. He was known as a hard worker and an outspoken conservative who was a political commentator on conservative websites.

Julie Cavanagh: The Truth Behind Won't Back Down

The leadership of our national and local unions do not help when they call for "solutions" and collaboration with deformers instead of calling for teacher unions to lead real reform and collaborate with actual stakeholders.  ----Julie Cavanagh

Julie talks about teachers and parents fighting back in real life, as we did in making our film. See her companion piece on the battle of PS 15 over the PAVE charter invasion: We fought the invasion of PS 15: a real-life "Won't Back Down" Story...

Julie sent this out:
The piece talks about our film, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman, being filled with real "Won't Back Down" stories and highlights the one truth in the film; that it is imperative for parents, educators, young people and community to authentically work together.  It amazes me (though at this point it shouldn't) that the deformers gain the national microphone on education issues, particularly parent empowerment, while they promote policies that result in the exact opposite.  The leadership of our national and local unions do not help when they call for "solutions" and collaboration with deformers instead of calling for teacher unions to lead real reform and collaborate with actual stakeholders.  
Here it is in full from Huffington Post blog: I highlighted a section in blue.
The Truth Behind Won't Back Down

by Julie Cavanagh, special ed teacher, Red Hook, Brooklyn
This week a film partially funded by Walden Media, which is owned by entrepreneur and conservative Philip Anschutz, will be released in theaters. 
The film, Won't Back Down, is a work of fiction but claims to be based on real life events and tells the story of a teacher and a parent in a 'failing' school who join forces to 'save their school.' Walden Media also funded Waiting for Superman, which was billed as a documentary on education and chronicled the stories of several families navigating the educational landscape intermixed with commentary from journalists, economists, philanthropists, and business folks who surmised the troubles of public education today. These two films differ in style, but their substance is aligned and their conclusion is the same: teacher unions are the obstacle to student achievement.

When Waiting for Superman was released, a group of parents and teachers, of which I was a part, responded to that film with our own documentary, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman. We highlighted the myths we believed were propagated in that film, shining a light on the corporate education reform movement, and called on parents, educators, young people and community members to demand real reform. Since then, the national conversation regarding education reform has gained more prominence. When we were making our film, the idea that there were forces attempting to privatize our public education system and that they aimed to use teacher unions as a scapegoat while citing poverty as an excuse rather than an important factor we as a society must address, was controversial. Today it is fair to say this conversation is accepted on national television

Even though the national consciousness has been raised regarding issues related to education and folks are more engaged and informed than ever before, the efforts to misinform, malign, and muddy the truth remain. Won't Back Down takes its viewers on an emotional roller coaster ride and clearly pushes the perspective that teachers and their unions prevent progress. While I have my own views about an alternate vision for teacher unions, I am a proud union member, and know that teacher unions, regardless of their flaws, are committed to progress and student achievement; I also know they are all that stands in the way of the sale of our public education system to the highest bidder and that is precisely why they are being attacked.

In our film, we featured several parents and teachers who actually took a stand against the corporate reform movement. Whether it was parents and teachers who joined together to stop a charter school from being forced into their building against the will of the community, or to fight budget cuts that were ravaging their school, to beg the powers that be to stop the closing of a beloved neighborhood school that was long under-resourced and undermined, or begging for policy makers to prevent ballooning class sizes or stop wasting precious funds on high stakes testing when they could be diverted to culturally relevant and rich curriculum; they all shared real, true, authentic stories about how they, together, would not back down. There are thousands of real won't-back-down stories out there (I have shared my school community's here and you can too), not based on actual events, but are actual events. Most of them involve fighting the very forces folks like Philip Anschutz fund. 

There is at least one thing however that Won't Back Down gets right; it does take parents and teachers and young people working together to make our schools great. Unions are not obstacles in this and in fact are positioned to lead the collaboration. One must only look to Chicago to see a real won't-back-down story where the cast of characters include not lazy unionized teachers, but educators who together with parents, young people and community members are fighting for the schools they deserve

I hope the folks who choose to see Won't Back Down return to their communities energized with the spirit of collaboration, not demonization, and together fight for real reforms for our schools.

Follow Julie Cavanagh on Twitter:

Salon: "Won't Back Down" is an offensive, lame union-bashing drama, which somehow stars Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal

Someone needs to launch an investigation into what combination of crimes, dares, alcoholic binges and lapses in judgment got Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal into this movie” -- Salon
Leonie sent this along (here is her own review of the film and FAQ about its backers and their political agenda.)
Scathing Salon review.  Some excerpts:

“offensive, lame union-bashing drama”…

“inept and bizarre “Won’t Back Down,” a set of right-wing anti-union talking points disguised (with very limited success) as a mainstream motion-picture-type product. Someone needs to launch an investigation into what combination of crimes, dares, alcoholic binges and lapses in judgment got Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal into this movie”

“…. script that has that disconnected, amateurish quality distinctive to conservative-oriented entertainment and plays written by fourth-graders”

“….simpering, pseudo-inspirational pap, constructed with painful awkwardness and disconnected from any narrative plausibility or social reality…”

Go read the rest! Let’s hope other reviewers follow in  similar vein

Salon review: “Won’t Back Down”: offensive, lame, America?

“Won’t Back Down”: Why do teachers’ unions hate America?

"Won't Back Down" is an offensive, lame union-bashing drama, which somehow stars Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal

Where Were TFA/E4E Types During the Chicago Strike?

UPDATED: Sept. 26, 3PM

Did you notice no talk of scabs in Chicago? Where were the TFA people? I think that was one of the most remarkable achievements of the CTU -- 100% support -- on the surface at least -- of the teachers. One would have thought someone would have dragged out one E4E type to protest the strike.

There were rumors that Rahm was going to bring in massive TFA scabs. Even TFA is smart enough not touch this one with a 10-foot pole.

Has anyone seen any comments from any of these teacher groups commenting on the strike?

What the Chicago teachers accomplished

This just came in from Lee Sustar at Socialist Worker. Lee admits the union took a hit: While the CTU had to take a painful concession in reduced compensation for laid-off teachers .... Meaning that the pay period for laid-of teachers is cut in half, they are still laid off -- no ATRs in Chicago. Lee says: Emanuel also had to agree that half of new teachers hired anywhere in the system would have to come from a pool of laid-off CTU members-- This is one I'd have to actually see implemented to believe it. You know how they played games here with the ATR pool. Let's say Rahm closes 100 schools and throws thousands of teachers out of work who get to vote in the next Chiago TU election next May. We know the CTU has a target on its back and front and side.


What the Chicago teachers accomplished

Lee Sustar looks at the significance of the Chicago teachers' strike victory.

September 26, 2012
IT'S TIME to take stock of the significance of Chicago teachers' strike that beat back corporate education reform--not just for teachers and other public-sector workers, but the wider labor movement.

But before considering its impact in on future fights, let's take another moment to savor a labor victory in one of the most important union struggles in many years.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Randi and Karen on the Strike

Needless to say, Weingarten's attempt to leech onto the reflected glory of the CTU's struggle, after everything she's done to enable the deformers, is the apex of hypocrisy, and something she should be called out on. --- Michael Fiorillo
And so Michael does. Another comment: "How is this helpful to the cause of teacher unionism?"

I imagine the use of the term "solutions-driven unionism" seemingly endorsed by Karen Lewis may have put a bug up people's ass. We in NYC know exactly what that means and it is directly contrary to what the Chicago teachers were willing to do as opposed to the Randi/Mulgrew push for agreements in cities just as challenged as Chicago to agree to bad deals.

Full article below the break if this link doesn't work.

Karen Lewis and Randi Weingarten: A Gold Star for the Chicago Teachers Strike -

A Gold Star for the Chicago Teachers Strike

Monday, September 24, 2012

Stills: Real Parents Don't Back Down at Premiere of Won't Back Down

Here are some stills I took at yesterday's  Parents to Hold Red Carpet Event Protesting Lies,...
Will try to get some video up later.

Press coverage with some comments:

Leonie and the other protesters were featured on E!News last night, along with some nervous looking Hollywood types!

The actors clearly don't know this "debate" is being blocked and one sided, and that those who were there have been "there" for a decade and more!!/on-air/as-seen-on/Movie-Premiere-Brings-Praise-And-Protestors/170925861
love the second one:  UNION PROTEST???  hahahahaha---even Fox was more accurate!
Click here to find out more!

Parents protest premiere of “Won’t Back Down”

Union protest greets cast and crew at premiere of 'Don't Back Down' in NY

The producers probably love the protest(s). Gets them free publicity. So ignoring it might be the best policy, but think how much fun we would all be missing. In fact, holding these events -- and a bunch of us were at the screening last week with Leonie on the panel  -- bring people together who might not ordinarily get together and that is the essence of building a movement. People begin to work together and support each other and things begin to click. I can't tell you how many people I keep meeting who quickly become political pals. People I barely knew. I try to have my pinky into as many activities going on as possible so I have a handle on what is happening. And then when people ask I can help them make connections.

Did Education Nation Blacklist Me for a Press Pass?

I have a funny feeling The Wave will not be invited back [to Education Nation] next year. -- Ed Notes, September 30, 2011
Hi Norm,
Unfortunately, I’m way over capacity at the moment for press. I will add you to the waitlist and see if something opens up before Sunday. Everything is streaming on
"I've never heard of a claim of overcapacity for press before." --- a knowledgeable source.

[See previous post: NBC's Education Nation: [Laughably] One-Sided Once Again? Where is Karen Lewis?]

Education Nation press pass blacklist?
As the Education Editor of The Wave, having received a press pass last year, I figured there would be no problem this time. When I received the email from the Education Nation press office telling me there was no more room, I remembered what I wrote a year ago: I have a funny feeling The Wave will not be invited back [to Education Nation] next year. But to be sure, I asked again today after the teacher town hall and was denied again.

Funny, but I was sitting with people who were not even press who had received passes. It was like they were practically handing them out on the street.

Yes, I shouldn't have been surprised that my prediction of year ago came true. Here is an excerpt from my Sept. 30, 2011 column:
I had a chance to do a WAVE one-on-one with NBC News chief Steve Capus, the major domo of Education Nation. I’ll let Huffington Post education reporter Joy Resmovits [Huffington Post] describe the encounter:
While some lauded the increased balance and depth at this year's Education Nation, retired New York City teacher and Grassroots Education Movement member Norm Scott gave Capus an earful on Tuesday. "People see an absence of the word 'class size' in these debates," he told Capus. "This notion that somehow we're skewed too close to the reformers, I just don't buy it and completely disagree," Capus responded. "How did a guy like Jonathan Alter end up as an expert on Sunday night's panel?" Scott asked. He was referring to the Bloomberg columnist and MSNBC contributor who has taken hard-line stances on charter schools and teacher evaluations. "We had Jonathan Alter and 300 teachers," Capus countered.

I have a funny feeling The Wave will not be invited back next year.
And so it has come to pass. I wonder if the NY Times was told to cover Education Nation by watching the live stream.

After my Capus caper, I entered the world of Rheedom when I saw her on a pane and I was able to get to the microphone. The panel was moderated by Rahema Ellis and she questioned  a former school board member from Atlanta about the cheating scandal. I was incredulous that Ellis only talked about the cheating scandal in Atlanta with super-cheat Rhee sitting right next to her. I asked Ellis how can she was ignoring the cheating scandal in DC under Rhee - Rhee looked like she swallowed a frog and said it was minor and under investigation [which ended up being whitewashed]. Subversives usually don't get to confront her publicly, which might explain why I am on a wait list for a press pass.

More from my Sept. 30, 2011 column in The Wave with a little more background:
I went back to Education Nation on Monday for a panel on teacher evaluation and accountability featuring Michelle Rhee the former Washington DC superintendent who was run out on a rail and now is trying to raise a billion dollars to use to undermine the nation’s public school systems. Rhee calls her organization, ahem, “Students First.” After Rhee left DC, a large cheating scandal emerged but much of it has been pushed under the rug. Another panel member had been on the school board in Atlanta, which has had a massive cheating scandal that was exposed when the state put a major team of investigators on the case. Beverly Hall, the Atlanta Superintendent had pulled down somewhere around 600 grand in bonuses for “raising” the scores. And she won’t have to give it back since she resigned while the teachers who were pressured into cheating will be fired.

NBC’s Rehema Eliis who was chairing the panel raised the Atlanta cheating issue twice with a sense of outrage while sitting right next to Rhee without bringing up her cheating scandal. So when I got to the microphone I asked why not bring up DC? Rhee, on the defensive, claimed it was only a few places (sure, without any real kind of Atlanta-like investigation) and said she welcomed an investigation, knowing full well that will never happen. The former Atlanta school board member challenged her by saying, “even if one child is affected it is an outrage” and pointed to all the good things in Atlanta being overwhelmed by the scandal, putting Rhee, glory be, further on the defensive. I’m glad I played my part.
If you saw our movie, we had an excerpt from a great clip of a 2010 Ed Nation panel with Brian Jones confronting Rhee, Canada, Randi (they love having Randi instead of people like Karen -- see if you find even a hint of Lewis at Ed Nation just one week after she lead one of the most significant ed events in a decade). Brian was NOT on the invite list last year -- or this.

Education Nation has been accused of being extremely biased toward ed deform, though in 2011 bit less biased than in 2010. If you check the panels and schedule, this year looks worse than 2010.

See Ravitch for the Education Nation Schedule


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.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

 Parents to Hold Red Carpet Event Protesting Lies, Distortions in New Movie “Won’t Back Down” 

For Planning Purposes Only:

Contact; Stuart Marques, (917) 273-6194;tel:(917)%20273-6194
Parents to Hold Red Carpet Event Protesting Lies, Distortions in New Movie "Won't Back Down" 
Who: Parents, New Yorkers for Great Public Schools Coalition, Coalition for Educational Justice, New York Communities for Change, Class Size Matters, Alliance for a Quality Education, Change the Stakes and Parent VoicesNY.

What: Red Carpet Event at the world premiere of Won't Back Down, a fictionalized story inspired by California's Parent Trigger law, which allows parents to vote to close their school or turn it school over to private operation. Parents calling themselves "the real parents who 'Won't Back Down'" will speak out against the film, walk their own red carpet and hold movie posters with superimposed images of two of the film's prominent supporters, News Corp's Rupert Murdoch and Joel Klein.

Where: Ziegfeld Theater, W. 54th St. and between 6th Ave.   
When:  5 p.m. Sunday, September 23rd. 

Why: The events that inspired the film reveal the true intentions of  Parent Trigger law, namely to turn public schools over to for-profit management companies, which would exclude parents from the decision-making process about the future of their school. The film is being distributed by Fox, whose parent company, News Corp. has an education division headed by former NYC schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

NBC's Education Nation: [Laughably] One-Sided Once Again? Where is Karen Lewis?

You won't see Teacher Julie Cavanagh and Parent Lydia Bellahcene (A Real-Life "Won't Back Down" Story) on any Education Nation panel. Or on Anderson Cooper, who issued a call for teachers to comment on "Won't Back Down" but only if they are of the E4E type who will not be critical of the film.

Read my follow-up on how I have [so far] been denied a press pass, as I predicted a year ago, to

But I supposedly have entry to the teacher panel today at noon -- will be wearing my MORE tee to counter the see of green e4es.

The parent town hall of Education Nation:

Diane Ravitch: Please Don’t Laugh
This is the panel for the parent engagement discussion at Education Nation.
Maybe it is a joke. 
·         Rep. George Miller
·         Randi Weingartner [NOTE MISPELLING]
·         Doreen Diaz, Desert Trails Parent Union
·         Michelle Rhee
·         Joel Klein
         ·         Vanessa Bush Ford, Black Star Project/The National PTA

Is Diane laughing that Weingart[ner] would agree to be on this joke of a panel? She could have said she would only appear if Leonie Haimson were on but Randi has to sell her solutions driven-unionism anywhere she can, even if the solutions destroys public education. Just the mispelling should be enough of an insult.

A teacher commented:
Looks like "parent empowerment" is the new deform narrative for turning parents against teachers.
More scorn for education nation from Ravitch:

Will Education Nation Chose a Teacher

by dianerav
Please read Students Last, who noticed the absence of any real, actual teachers at the New York Times conference on "Schools of Tomorrow."
He says there is a rumor that NBC's "Medication Nation" might invite a physician, to add to the panel of pharmaceutical giants.
Well, here is the teacher list -- anyone see one of the 26,000 Chicago striking teachers?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Teacher Julie Cavanagh and Parent Lydia Bellahcene: A Real-Life "Won't Back Down" Story

Our story doesn't fit into simplistic narrative that the makers of “Won’t Back Down” would like to portray:  that teacher unions are the main obstacles to school reform.  We don’t believe that closing public schools and opening charters are the answers to any of the problems that public schools face.  Our fight is against the billionaires and hedge fund operators who are intent on undermining our public schools in their fierce campaign to privatize the system. Sad to say, our story won't be the subject of any Hollywood film, and it does not have a Hollywood ending, but it is real and should serve as a cautionary tale for parents, educators and all others who believe in fighting to preserve and strengthen our public schools as the centerpiece of our nation’s democracy.
Parent Lydia Bellahcene and teacher Julie Cavanagh, a member of Movement of Rank and File Educators, tell their own "Won't Back Down" story fighting a charter invasion in their school on the NYC Parent blog, a story a told in the film "Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman".

I met Julie in July 2009 after her group contacted GEM for assistance in their fight. Julie joined up with GEM soon after and has become one of the most dynamic voices for the Real Reformers, in addition to proving to be a supreme organizer with a high level of leadership skills. Over the past year she was involved with organizing the new MORE caucus in the UFT. She gave birth 10 weeks ago to her son Jack.

We fought the invasion of PS 15: a real-life "Won't Back Down" story

Lydia Bellahcene and Julie Cavanagh

The following was written by Julie Cavanagh and Lydia Bellahcene, a teacher and a parent at PS 15 in Brooklyn.  This is their real-life “Won’t Back Down” story, unlike the Hollywood version featured in the film of the same name that will open nationwide on Sept. 28.  You can also check out my review of the movie.  If you are a parent or educator and have your own real-life Won't Back Down story you’d like to share, please send it to us at  Thanks!
The movie “Won't Back Down” is a work of fiction but is said to be based on real life events.  It tells the story of a teacher and a parent in a 'failing' school who join forces to 'save their school'.  The tale is a powerful one and some viewers may find themselves rooting for the protagonists.   We too identify with the film, but not because we belong to a poorly performing school.  Instead, we have fought to save our successful public school from the invasion of a charter school, which is not a story that the pro-privatization producers of the film would be likely to tell.

Full story at:

Analyzing the Chicago Contract

James Eterno's take at the ICE blog.


People have been asking if the teachers who were on strike for seven school days in Chicago won. It is a difficult question to answer. On the one hand, in their tentative agreement teachers gained a decent salary increase; they fought off merit pay while keeping their salary steps and differentials; hundreds of laid off teachers will be rehired; and they won an appeals procedure for adverse ratings as well as an anti-administrative bullying provision.  These are solid gains that more than likely would not have happened without a fight.
On the other hand, the fundamentals of privatization/school deform were not changed. School closings can continue so teachers remain as scapegoats. The Chicago Teacher’s Union agreed to cut the time their Absent Teacher Reserves are given to find a new job in a different school from ten months to five after they are excessed because of school closings/downsizing.  Since their mayor plans on closing many schools and opening up more charter schools, many teachers could lose their jobs.  CTU did get the administration to agree that half of the new hires will come from the pool of laid off teachers who were rated highly.  In addition, the new tentative contract allows for 30% of teacher ratings to be based on student scores on standardized tests.  This is the minimum allowed by Illinois state law but rating teachers based on student test scores is junk science and the strike could not stop it. There is also no solid provision in this contract to limit class sizes.
James goes on to look at the positive aspects politically - what wasn't won in the contract can be won. ICE blog.

Summary of contract gains won through the strike by Steven Ashby

I've gotten requests from friends across the country to summarize what was won for students in this contract. I pulled this first part from the union's website, and also quickly wrote my own summary of gains for teachers (which are also gains for students, as we know, good working conditions are good learning conditions.)   I thought I'd share to this list.  This leaves out, of course, the extremely important less tangible gains:  the transformation of 20,000+ teachers into activists, the CTU as the most member-driven, militant teachers' union in the country that is now a national model for organizing, the dramatically increased bonds with community and neighborhood groups,  etc.

....Steven (Ashby)
What did we win through the strike that benefits our students?
  • CPS must hire over 600 additional teachers in Art, Music, Physical Education and other subjects—helping to make the school day better, not just longer.
  • The contract would maintain limits on class size—pushing back Mayor Emanuel’s threats to remove all class size limits and crowd 55 students into a class. We also won a small increase in funding to decrease class size and were able to add a parent LSC member to the class size committee for every overcrowded school, giving teachers a way to continue organizing and fighting on this issue with parents as allies.
  • Needed textbooks will be available to students on the first day of school.
  • Promoted racial diversity in hiring at CPS—fighting the loss of African American teachers in Chicago’s schools.
  • Lowered the focus on standardized testing by beating the percentage of our evaluations from test scores down to the legal minimum. There will be more focus on teaching rather than testing.
  • Provides more attention to students from their school’s Social Workers and Nurses. New rules will lighten overburdened clinicians’ workloads
  • Provides a pool of funding for social workers, psychologists, Special Education teachers, classroom assistants and counselors in schools with high caseloads.
This is FAR from enough. The strike, unfortunately, is NOT the end of the fight for the schools Chicago’s students deserve. We will have to continue to work with parents, students and community organizations to demand all students have access to the arts, world language, gyms and libraries. Our contract alone cannot stop the Mayor’s plan to close over 100 schools or force the Board of Education to stop starving schools in low income neighborhoods by denying them air conditioning, libraries, playground facilities or the resources they need. We could not have won this strike without our allies in the community and we will need to keep working with them as we continue a struggle for Educational Justice in Chicago.

Plus, I would add  --
·         7% raise over 3 years, Board offered 2% over 5 years (PSRPs higher, 4%, 2%, 2% - Paraprofessional and support related )
·         No merit pay -- Emanuel wanted this badly
·         No increase in health care costs -- Emanuel wanted 2% increase
·         Keep steps and lanes, so experienced teachers and those with master's degrees earn more -- Emanuel wanted this gone.
·         Less time on paperwork, more teacher control of their lesson plans -- this received massive signs of relief and applause at Tuesday's CTU delegate meeting
·         More experienced teachers in the classroom, half of new hires must be laid off experienced teachers -- Emanuel wanted principals to have total power to hire only fresh-out-of-college, lowest-paid teachers, with no union history.
·         Anti-bullying language in contract to give the teachers more ammunition to respond to bullying principals
·         Evaluations include 30% standardized testing, which is state law -- Emanuel wanted far more
·         Unpaid labor with longer school day reduced from 20% to 3-4%
·         Board tried to eliminate definition of  a "grievance" -- they were stopped; and disciplinary suspensions banned
·         $250 annual reimbursement for teachers buying classroom supplies
·         Teacher lunch has to occur within the same schedule as students; must be 45 minutes with no work responsibilities -- Big change 
·         All students and teachers on same length school year, no more Track E and Track R schedules
·         Board can no longer cancel raises based on "financial emergency" as did in 2011 with 4% bargained raise.
·         Contract 3 years, ends in midst of mayoral election campaign -- Emanuel wanted 5 years
·         Previously won -- 500 new teachers (instead of unpaid labor) for longer school day
·         Previously won -- 7 hour longer school day, not 7 1/2 hours, in elementary schools

The complete summary is at: