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Lewis writes: "As we continue to bargain in good faith, we stand in solidarity with parents, clergy and community-based organizations who are advocating for smaller class sizes, a better school day and an elected school board."

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, right, tells reporters at a news conference outside the union's headquarters that the city's 25,000 public school teachers will walk the picket line. (photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong/AP)
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, right, tells reporters at a news conference outside the union's headquarters that the city's 25,000 public school teachers will walk the picket line. (photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong/AP)


Why We're Striking in Chicago

By Karen Lewis, Common Dreams

11 September 12

 

Teachers, paraprofessionals and school clinicians in Chicago have been without a labor agreement since June of this year. Following the inability of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to reach an agreement over benefits, the role of standardized tests in teacher evaluations, and physical improvements to schools that teachers say are harming both teacher and student performance, the CTU has announced that a city-wide stirke will begin today - the first teachers strike in 25 years. Pickets are expected at 675 schools and the Board of Education. The following are remarks from CTU President Karen Lewis.

egotiations have been intense but productive, however we have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent a labor strike. This is a difficult decision and one we hoped we could avoid. Throughout these negotiations have I remained hopeful but determined. We must do things differently in this city if we are to provide our students with the education they so rightfully deserve.

Talks have been productive in many areas. We have successfully won concessions for nursing mothers and have put more than 500 of our members back to work. We have restored some of the art, music, world language, technology and physical education classes to many of our students. The Board also agreed that we will now have textbooks on the first day of school rather than have our students and teachers wait up to six weeks before receiving instructional materials.

Recognizing the Board's fiscal woes, we are not far apart on compensation. However, we are apart on benefits. We want to maintain the existing health benefits.

Another concern is evaluation procedures. After the initial phase-in of the new evaluation system it could result in 6,000 teachers (or nearly 30 percent of our members) being discharged within one or two years. This is unacceptable. We are also concerned that too much of the new evaluations will be based on students' standardized test scores. This is no way to measure the effectiveness of an educator. Further there are too many factors beyond our control which impact how well some students perform on standardized tests such as poverty, exposure to violence, homelessness, hunger and other social issues beyond our control.

We want job security. Despite a new curriculum and new, stringent evaluation system, CPS proposes no increase (or even decreases) in teacher training. This is notable because our Union through our Quest Center is at the forefront teacher professional development in Illinois. We have been lauded by the District and our colleagues across the country for our extensive teacher training programs that helped emerging teachers strengthen their craft and increased the number of nationally board certified educators.

We are demanding a reasonable timetable for the installation of air-conditioning in student classrooms - a sweltering, 98-degree classroom is not a productive learning environment for children. This type of environment is unacceptable for our members and all school personnel. A lack of climate control is unacceptable to our parents.

As we continue to bargain in good faith, we stand in solidarity with parents, clergy and community-based organizations who are advocating for smaller class sizes, a better school day and an elected school board. Class size matters. It matters to parents. In the third largest school district in Illinois there are only 350 social workers-putting their caseloads at nearly 1,000 students each. We join them in their call for more social workers, counselors, audio/visual and hearing technicians and school nurses. Our children are exposed to unprecedented levels of neighborhood violence and other social issues, so the fight for wraparound services is critically important to all of us. Our members will continue to support this ground swell of parent activism and grassroots engagement on these issues. And we hope the Board will not shut these voices out.

While new Illinois law prohibits us from striking over the recall of laid-off teachers and compensation for a longer school year, we do not intend to sign an agreement until these matters are addressed.

Again, we are committed to staying at the table until a contract is place. However, in the morning no CTU member will be inside our schools. We will walk the picket lines. We will talk to parents. We will talk to clergy. We will talk to the community. We will talk to anyone who will listen-we demand a fair contract today, we demand a fair contract now. And, until there is one in place that our members accept, we will on the line.

We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the state and country who are currently bargaining for their own fair contracts. We stand with those who have already declared they too are prepared to strike, in the best interests of their students.

This announcement is made now so our parents and community are empowered with this knowledge and will know that schools will not open on tomorrow. Please seek alternative care for your children. And, we ask all of you to join us in our education justice fight-for a fair contract-and call on the mayor and CEO Brizard to settle this matter now. Thank you.

 

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+8 # dkonstruction 2012-09-11 10:46
Since it seems like the vast majority of Chicago public schools are funded at least in part based on a school's daily attendance why are the teachers not "striking" by continuing to teach (so the students don't suffer and parents aren't alienated) but refuse to take attendance? This would be like the Milan bus workers strike in the early 1970s in which the drivers went out on strike by continuing to drive but refusing to collect fairs.

Public employee unions need to bring their tactics into the 21st century and understand that since they are now a small fraction of the overall labor force (with better pay and benefits than most...this isn't a criticism just the reality...all workers should be making union wages and have good benefits) and since most people that defend on their services are the very same workers that should be on their side and whom they need on their side they need to learn that the purpose of a strike is to hit the employer in their wallet. in the old days this meant shutting down production. But, today, public employees can strike by continuing to provide the services for free (i.e., not taking attendance in school, "losing" hospital bills etc).

I fully support the teachers but, like with the NYC transit strike a few years ago (where they should have continued to drive the buses and trains but refused to collect fares) their tactics are almost "ancient" and in need of serious updating.
 
 
+17 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2012-09-11 17:16
I'm not a lawyer. I know striking is legal. But, is not taking attendance illegal. Is not collecting bus fares illegal. I do not know. Seems the last two choices could get lots of people fired. Frankly, I would hope that all of American workers would pick a day and go on strike. May wake the Plutocrats up.
 
 
+2 # dkonstruction 2012-09-12 05:26
Quoting Eldon J. Bloedorn:
I'm not a lawyer. I know striking is legal. But, is not taking attendance illegal. Is not collecting bus fares illegal. I do not know. Seems the last two choices could get lots of people fired. Frankly, I would hope that all of American workers would pick a day and go on strike. May wake the Plutocrats up.


In Milan, when the bus drivers went out on strike by continuing to drive but not collecting fares, the city caved in 24 hours and gave in to the drivers demands. As for transit workers, the city can not do anything to workers if people just get on and ride for free. All they can do is call the cops which then puts the police in the position of having to decide whether they want to oppose the strike of their fellow public employees and make mass arrests or not. The point about strike tactics is to hit the employer in their wallet but in the case of public employee "service" workers it is also about gaining the support of the majority of people whom they serve and this can best be done by continuing to provide services (think how parents would react to a strike by teachers in which they are continuing to teach) but doing it in a way such that their employer doesn't get paid.
 
 
+22 # Virginia 2012-09-11 20:09
No Chicago you probably aren't "Recognizing the Board's [real] fiscal woes" because nobody has informed the mass of teachers that the Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois gambled away their retirement funds on Wall Street in a securitization Ponzi scheme.

Making matters worse, USDC Judge Cote threw out the Illinois Retirement Funds investors' lawsuit against Goldman Sachs earlier this year(interestin gly note - the judge had a $15k-$50K Goldman Sachs CD in her financial disclosure).

You've got financial woes because Wall Street scammed your retirement and pension monies like most of the retirement funds across the US. See www.deadlyclear.com - THE SUCKER PUNCH.

Letting Goldman Sachs off the hook recently is a serious mistake. US Sen. Levin's COP report laid out the indictment verbatim and it was ignored. Well, Chicago - whether you know it or not this directly affects you.

The state will play hard ball because they spent your funds. It's time to throw the dirt right back at 'em. Make the state tell the membership exactly how much they have lost, how they lost it, when, why and to whom.

Before you were just wound up. Are you pissed yet?
 
 
+4 # cynnibunny 2012-09-11 22:53
I like the idea of using innovative organizing strategies, but like the commenter below, I believe such tactics would cause more problems. In addition, it would make the point of the strike meaningless.

A strike is the most powerful tool that unions have - and thank God there are unions who still use it - for it makes clear the determination of the workers to win their demands.

In a nice world, one that can never exist, no one would ever be hurt, upset, or 'put-out' by a disagreement. Well folks, this ain't that world, and really this ain't the time. We must fight for what we believe!

As an underpaid, under-appreciat ed part-time college teacher, living one quarter at a time (about half of my colleagues were fired a year ago), I support CTU in their strike.
Thank you for your leadership, and may your cause bring you success - for your own sake as well to benefit your students, their parents, and the community as a whole.
 
 
0 # dkonstruction 2012-09-12 05:29
How would "striking" by continuing to teach but refusing to take attendance so that the city doesn't get paid for the work the teachers are doing be "meaningless". The point of a strike is not to shut down production but rather to hurt the employer economically. For industrial workers this means shutting down production but for service workers, particularly public sector service workers, the city gets paid based on the work the workers do which then must be billed for...if they can't bill they can't be paid.

A strike is the most powerful tool that unions have - and thank God there are unions who still use it - for it makes clear the determination of the workers to win their demands.

In a nice world, one that can never exist, no one would ever be hurt, upset, or 'put-out' by a disagreement. Well folks, this ain't that world, and really this ain't the time. We must fight for what we believe!

As an underpaid, under-appreciat ed part-time college teacher, living one quarter at a time (about half of my colleagues were fired a year ago), I support CTU in their strike.
Thank you for your leadership, and may your cause bring you success - for your own sake as well to benefit your students, their parents, and the community as a whole.
 
 
+12 # warrior woman 2012-09-12 05:14
We really do need to stop parroting the elite's message that teachers make better pay and benefits than most. They are college educated people who must have this education in order to do their jobs. Do nurses and engineers need college educations? Of course. The tests are beacons from the right wing who want to obliterate public education for a voucher system. Imagine what a national voucher system would look like? Much like a deregulated Wall Street with Social Security funds in its hands.
 
 
+10 # dkonstruction 2012-09-12 06:11
Quoting warrior woman:
We really do need to stop parroting the elite's message that teachers make better pay and benefits than most. They are college educated people who must have this education in order to do their jobs. Do nurses and engineers need college educations? Of course. The tests are beacons from the right wing who want to obliterate public education for a voucher system. Imagine what a national voucher system would look like? Much like a deregulated Wall Street with Social Security funds in its hands.


Agreed. The reality is...

starting salary for a teacher in Chicago is $50,777 to a teacher straight out of college and $54,080 to one with a master’s degree.

And, after 25 years of teaching they would earn $82,899 if they had a Master's degree or $88,259.

Hardly millionaire salaries.
 
 
0 # in deo veritas 2012-09-12 18:54
Way more than I was making in WV after 35 years with nearly a doctorate.
 
 
+5 # dkonstruction 2012-09-13 09:24
Quoting in deo veritas:
Way more than I was making in WV after 35 years with nearly a doctorate.


so does this mean that because some folks are making more than we do that we believe they should be making less?

This only demonstrates how effective capital's "divide and conquer" strategy has been.

Why is not the response that we should all be making at least what chicago teachers are making. they aren't pulling down millions especially if we are talking about supporting a family in a major american city on $50,000 a year.

By this logic we should all be making minimum wage.
 
 
+46 # ER444 2012-09-11 12:30
Is it really about the "benefits"? Imagine how much bickering and wasted time could be avoided if there were Medicare for all. The fact that every company and city, state and county must negotiate rates separately is an immeasurable financial logistical nightmare. I can imagine the teachers, like all workers in the USA, are afraid to have less Health Care to keep them in their homes in case of a real emergency. We are wasting billions on this silly SOLVABLE issue. Health care for all must be a national priority.
 
 
+27 # Sea Star RN 2012-09-11 15:54
[quote name="ER444"]Is it really about the "benefits"? Imagine how much bickering and wasted time could be avoided if there were Medicare for all.

This is such an important point and I don't know why it hasn't gone viral amongst the unions.
We are an indentured labor force, working to have health care, forgoing raises in REAL wages and letting our labor standards deteriorate.

Medicare for All would be funded partially by a payroll tax, but would always be there no matter if we worked part-time, took a leave or retired early.

Imagine how much freer we would be as a society!!!
 
 
+9 # Virginia 2012-09-11 23:11
It's more than just benefits. The funds have been depleted because the state spent them on Wall Street in a securitization scam. Illinois is not alone - the happened nationwide. Hence, the bankruptcies of San Bernardino, Scranton, Stockton, etc.

Why should the teachers, firemen, police and gov't workers have to make steep household adjustments and argue for the right to receive what they were promised? How many state legislators do you see taking a pay cut, reducing their benefits and cashing in their Wall Street stocks? When's the last time you heard a Governor or Mayor significantly reduce his salary?
 
 
+11 # RMDC 2012-09-12 03:00
ER444 -- exactly right. We need socialized medicare and pensions. Then idiot cities like Chicago and its corrupt administrations could not piss away the pension funds in fraudulent investment schemes with likes of Goldman Sachs.
 
 
-23 # wipster 2012-09-11 13:33
I agree with the Chicago teachers points and their right to strike, but it would have been much more advantageous for them to extend their contract an additional year and fight this battle next year, given the probability that the President will be reelected.

Not a smart move IMHO.
 
 
+2 # dkonstruction 2012-09-12 09:02
Quoting wipster:
I agree with the Chicago teachers points and their right to strike, but it would have been much more advantageous for them to extend their contract an additional year and fight this battle next year, given the probability that the President will be reelected.

Not a smart move IMHO.


Wipster,

Respectfully, given that Emmanuel was in the Obama administration and both favor "privatization" (including public support/funding for privatized for profit charter schools) as does Obama's Secretary of Education (another Chicagoan) what makes you think that anything will change after the election?

And, how is your belief that this is not the right time for the teachers to strike any different than those who told the civil rights leaders such as Dr. King that they needed to be more patient and were moving too quickly?

My problem with the strike is with their tactics (i think they should have continued to teach but refuse to take attendance since this is the way the schools get their funding from the state) and not with their timing. when workers are being screwed their is never a "bad time" to fight back...the question is rather how to do it and how to get the support of the majority of people (most of whom are non-union workers).
 
 
+31 # Buddha 2012-09-11 14:12
The issues are complex in why our education system if failing, and the teachers bring up some critical issues. It will be lost in the politicizaton of the strike, because to conservatives, this will just feed their "public unions are an enemy" reality. But as city after city shifts funding to subsidizing for-profit charter schools, who self-select for the best students, this will de facto mean that the remaining public schools will increasingly become drop-out factories filled with the children of the poor and those with learning disabilities. And since the two largest determinants of scholastic performance is socio-economic status of the student and involvement of the parents, tying teacher employment to such standardized testing ensures that poor district schools will become a revolving door of newer untrained teachers who get fired every year or so and new teachers plugged in, over and over, while teachers in good wealthier districts will have greater job security and become over time better teachers through gained experience.

If your goal is to make sure the kids of wealthier parents do not have to compete with the children of the poor, and that our already bottom of the OECD ranking in economic mobility becomes even worse, I can't think of a better way to do it than what we are doing to our schools today.
 
 
+7 # Mark Leonard 2012-09-11 15:41
I agree with both Wipster and Buddha. I totally get why the teacher's are striking and support them, but the timing could not be more unfortunate and the long term nationwide consequences may be much larger and worse than any good the CTU may accomplish. Why couldn't the mayor and the union have worked out a short term agreement until November? What hubris is at work here?
 
 
+2 # dkonstruction 2012-09-12 09:07
Quoting Mark Leonard:
I agree with both Wipster and Buddha. I totally get why the teacher's are striking and support them, but the timing could not be more unfortunate and the long term nationwide consequences may be much larger and worse than any good the CTU may accomplish. Why couldn't the mayor and the union have worked out a short term agreement until November? What hubris is at work here?


Why, becuase Rahm Emmanuel, like most of the rest of the so-called "new democrats" have all but abandoned their support for union wages and benefits (sure they say workers should have the right to organize but at the same time say we can't afford to pay them what they had been making nor give them the same benefits). Emmanuel and Obama (and his secretary of Education; also from Chicago) support the ongoing privatization of our public school system and public subsidy of privatized for-profit charter schools. This is Emamanuel's agenda (along with his political future) so how exactly wa the union supposed to "work out" a short term solution when the long term plan is to dismantle the hard fought gains that union workers have made over 100+ years of struggle (which is also in large part what the dismantling of the entire "welfare state" has been about)?

Emmanuel (like his conservative rethuglican counterparts) simply believes that it is "good politics" to "stand up to the unions" rather than get behind and support them.
 
 
+2 # in deo veritas 2012-09-12 19:14
And he should be behind bars for his continuance of municipal corruption that started in the early 20th century
 
 
+1 # in deo veritas 2012-09-12 19:12
The arrogance and hubris of the ruling class aka the oligarchy of Wall Street and their shills posing as public officials (school board). Did I see something about an elected school board? Is the Chi school board NOT elected? If not how the hell did they get their positions?
 
 
+2 # in deo veritas 2012-09-12 19:09
The goal of privatization and the takeover of public education by big business is to create a bumper crop of slave laborers and/or cannon fodder for the wars they start and/or support to enrich themselves
 
 
+17 # cordleycoit 2012-09-11 14:15
What we have is a failure to communicate.You r Mayor and our President are committed to privatization of public education. They are both stooges for large dark corporations that are bring back Milton Freedman and B.F. Skinner. Skinnerites died off before their psychology became patented and used to correct the thinking of our children into the Maylasian control model student. Pour facts in close lid leave simmer twelve years and you have an ideal costumer. NLT has been with us since the seventies and was the basis for torture and the American Prison Industrial System now so deeply rooted that it will take generations to undo the damage done the minority males. Remember when they gave Syphilis to Black males? They are doing same thing now with prison conditioning, starting in the high schools. This fight is far bigger than Chicago the Bosses Town.
 
 
-28 # JTHinSD 2012-09-11 15:06
Given the consistent, long-term failure of these Chicago "teachers" to actually "teach", the Chicago students are probably better off OUT of these classrooms!

~50% of black kids do not graduate high school;
Only ~25% of students are math/reading "proficient"

Oh, and don't forget the ridiculously high murder rate in Chicago, that toddling town! Thanks, Arne! Thanks, Rahm! Thanks, Barry!
 
 
-7 # jtatu 2012-09-12 07:08
How could anyone give a thumbs down this post which lays out the facts of the matter.
 
 
+2 # dkonstruction 2012-09-12 09:17
Quoting jtatu:
How could anyone give a thumbs down this post which lays out the facts of the matter.


How? Because the "facts of the matter" need a context and to suggest that a problem that is national in scope and has been developing for almost 50 years now (i.e., the decline of our public school system) is all the fault of Duncan, Emmanuel and Obama is disingenuous at best. I'm no fan of Obama's education policies (which i think support the same kind of privatization and public support/subsidi es for for-profit charter schools that the republicans support) that doesn't mean that i have any illusions that somehow this is all Obama's fault. To present "the facts of the matter" in this way is to totally distort them so that they may still be "facts" but that doesn't make them (in the way they are being used) "true"
 
 
+5 # Eliza D 2012-09-13 09:15
How? Because some of us know what happens inside schools. Lazy,incompeten t administrators, lack of supplies,violen t,aggressive students who cannot be removed by law, and parents who are too busy working to read and study with their children. Rahm Emanuel's Chicago epitomizes the drive to turn teachers and professors into grovelling peasants who will dish out whatever the latest philosophical drivel is in the classroom, rather than be permitted to use their own brains, in pathetic fear of losing their jobs. They can't fire parents, so the powers that be have decided to intimidate, starve, and fire teachers. Hurrah for Karen Lewis!
 
 
+21 # Glen 2012-09-11 15:07
There are many aspects to this action in Chicago:
Increased privatization of schools.
The attempt to break up unions rather than reforming them, to the detriment of
citizens.
Rahm Emanuel's coming bid for the presidency/dictatorship.

Nothing is ever as presented or as any government wishes it to appear. Emanuel is a bully and a crude manager. He wishes to translate this into his power play to downgrade the worth of teachers and how they should be supported.
 
 
+3 # in deo veritas 2012-09-12 19:16
Hard even as a Democrat to support a president who supports this corrupt mayor.
 
 
+7 # hilo 2012-09-11 15:40
The problem is that the too many people buy the anti-union line and too many poor teachers are defended by the union. Instead of teachers seeing themselves as professionals who need to police their own body and eliminate poor performers, they hurt children with subpar teaching and the result is subpar learning conditions. In the meantime, if the Republican'ts can use this to hurt the nation, they will, and children will be the ones to suffer.
 
 
+25 # psutton@du.edu 2012-09-11 15:47
Teachers and students In Chicago are working in conditions most of the readers of thus blog would not be willing to put up with for an hour let alone a daily basis. We need a general strike to let the 1 % know that it is only a matter of time before people start lighting torches picking up pitchforks and storming the gated communities. I don't want to see that but we are heading in that direction. I support this strike and I think we need more of them.
 
 
-4 # CatDancer 2012-09-11 16:06
I suggest that readers look at Malcolm Gladwell's book "The Outliers" to get one set of insights about how toget the level of education higher, or look at the results of the KIPP Academy founded in the NYC Bronx neighborhood.

To paraphrase Gladwell (p.268): [Students] don't need a brand-new school with acres of playing fields and gleaming facilities. They don't need a laptop, a smaller class, a teacher with a PhD, or a bigger apartment. They don't need a higher IQ or a mind of a genius....They need a CHANCE to succeed. They need someone to bring a little bit of the rice-paddy [culture] and explain to them the miracle of meaningful work.

I urge you to read the book or look at what the KIPP Academy accomplishes.

Asian students are usually very far ahead of Western students in basic skills. They don't always have the amenities that these teacher say is necessary. What they have is a work ethic and dedication that we don't cultivate. That's what makes the difference; they don't treat the development of childrens' minds like the development of wheat fields--schools work, but there just isn't enough of it.
 
 
+14 # Kootenay Coyote 2012-09-11 18:38
The Rice Paddy culture is broken backs, exploitation & poverty. Meaningful work is only meaningful if it's justly rewarded. Dedication does not grow in rice paddies but in the philosophy of a healthy community, some of which also grow rice.
 
 
+1 # dkonstruction 2012-09-12 07:03
Then you should also recommend that people read Dianne Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System. This is someone who was once one of the original champions of charter schools but has now completely changed her views based on both the data on charter schools as well as how the support for privatization of public schools has only made things worse for the public school system as a whole.

So, students don't need laptops or smaller classes or teachers with PHD's (i.e., highly skilled/qualifi ed teachers).

"rice-paddy culture"...hope that's not the kind of offensive term they are teaching at KIPP.

"the miracle of meaningful work"...there is nothing miraculous about wage labor which by its very definition is exploitative since wage-laborers are reduced to commodities to be bought and sold in the market place and is a system in which the worker never receives the full value of their labor. Our school should not be factories preparing people to be docile unquestioning wage-slaves but rather institutions that teach critical thinking which of course is harder if not impossible to measure on the kinds of standardized tests which is what places like KIPP base their "success" on but which have been shown to predict nothing about a students abilities nor their performance in college.
 
 
+10 # Susan1989 2012-09-11 16:21
As a former teacher, I can attest to the fact that the problems that public schools face are enormously complex. In order to succeed public schools need to be able to remove disruptive students from the classroom. In order for students to learn...they have to be capable of sitting still and listening in a peaceful and safe environment. In addition, students and teachers need the proper books, equipment, and supplies necessary. It is irresponsible to begin the school year without textbooks. Teachers sould be evaluated on their performance based upon observations by their superiors..as well as test scores. Students should be tested when the begin the school year...and at the end of the year to determine progress. I sent both me children to private schools at great sacrifice du to the inept and irresponsible management of the public schools--as well as the violent and misbehaving students that they were unable to expell. If public schools cannot succed, then we need to try any alternative that works.
 
 
0 # 666 2012-09-12 05:18
Part 1
Like the political system, the education & labor systems are broken. I support CTU but say teachers (& laborers) are often their own worst enemies.

By supporting (participating in) the worst ever educational "reforms", the CTU now seems a tad hypocritical, opportunistic, or manipulative to raise such objections. If pay/benefits weren't at issue, would these teachers ever strike because of standardized testing/teacher evals alone? Class sizes? Poor facilities? I honestly doubt it. I fear these issues are simply bargaining chips when they really should be primary.

This reads to me like an attempt to communalize a personal problem (pay/benefits) by trying to convince everyone it's not just about teacher interests but the broken educational system (everyone's interest). And personally, I fear CTU may have already lost the battle because they are playing right into the anti-union framing discourse (self over community) of the elite.

The risk of all major labor actions is the union gets broken. Yet if CTU settles the benefits issues but sells out the educational issues, they will render themselves irrelevant to those who are actually fighting for a better educational system -- and for the children and families they claim to serve -- as well as every other teacher in this nation.
 
 
+3 # 666 2012-09-12 05:18
Part 2

In the 60s, the elite decided the proles had too much power, so they took it back by duping us into thinking their changes were for our own good (encouraging us to put the self over community). We've been turned upon one another. Until we can unite behind state-wide and nation-wide strikes (won't happen), the situation won't get better. People won't support strikes because it will inconvenience them now (while ignoring the issue of their own enslavement later.)

I do not advocate violence; peaceful general strikes are a method of turning "disaster capitalism" into "disaster socialism". A big battle needs a big weapon. I'm just too pessimistic to see the enslaved and indentured -- who hold true power -- rise up against the masters.

what really needs to happen is that all teacher unions in this country walk out until the government (state and national) address the enormous problems in our educational system. And that just ain't gonna happen. Piece by piece our children are being sold down the river.
 
 
+11 # L. Sabransky 2012-09-11 18:55
Would like to add one angle I haven't seen discussed yet. I live in Chicago, by the way and did not vote for Rahm because I knew he was more "Rahmbo" than "reformer.". What saddens me the most about Lewis' remarks is that the CTU believes that they can no longer be held accountable based solely on test scores - because of the multitude of social problems so many children have now. 80% of Chicago school children are eligible for the free lunch program. How can we begin to reform a school system, when the quality of life of fhe children attending barely - if at all - affords them the opportunity to learn?
 
 
+4 # Glen 2012-09-12 05:30
Thank you Jaz. You brought up probably the most important aspect of communities and schools. That consideration is always overlooked whenever schools are being used as political footballs. Schools have been expected to literally take over parenting, nursing, feeding, and nurturing, equal to teaching any skill.

Kids arrive at school tired from lack of sleep, hungry, without homework, with unattended injuries, sometimes socks that have not been changed for weeks, no winter coats, you name it. Society's ills are not so easy to remedy. Punching schools and teachers is the easy way out.
 
 
+3 # in deo veritas 2012-09-12 19:26
Amen! 36 years in the classroom provided me with countless examples of this. I did what I could to ease their situation but it made little difference. The 23 hours a day that I didn't have contact with them greatly offset anything I could do in the hour left to me.
 
 
-12 # MidwestTom 2012-09-11 19:41
It is the 16% pay raise that they want most.
 
 
+3 # dkonstruction 2012-09-12 06:01
Quoting MidwestTom:
It is the 16% pay raise that they want most.


Of course you don't mention that this 16% raise is over 4 years. that is less than 4% a year. While, i grant you that this is more than most workers in this country are now getting by way of salary increases this is hardly a demand for a big salary increase. We should all be getting this for if you include the cost of things not included in the government's inflation statistics (e.g., food and energy) then a 4% annual increase (actually less if calculated as 16% over 4 years) is more like a cost of living increase which is no salary increase at all.

Not to mention all of the other issues (which you ignore) over which the teachers went out on strike such as those contained in their proposal to strenghthen the Chicago public school system...

http://www.ctunet.com/blog/text/SCSD_Report-02-16-2012-1.pdf
 
 
+3 # dkonstruction 2012-09-12 06:13
Quoting MidwestTom:
It is the 16% pay raise that they want most.



starting salary for a teacher in Chicago is $50,777 to a teacher straight out of college and $54,080 to one with a master’s degree.

And, after 25 years of teaching they would earn $82,899 if they had a Master's degree or $88,259.

So, basically you are saying that a starting teacher making $50,000 a year doesn't deserve a 4% annual increase which more or less just keeps up with the cost of living. Sad.
 
 
-4 # Martintfre 2012-09-12 09:21
LEt the free market decide what they are worth -- dkonstruction -- in your arguments I see zero respect for the people forced to pay for this, they deserve respect - not a tax collectors gun and an eviction notice for failing to meet your wants.
 
 
+4 # dkonstruction 2012-09-12 11:06
Quoting Martintfre:
LEt the free market decide what they are worth -- dkonstruction -- in your arguments I see zero respect for the people forced to pay for this, they deserve respect - not a tax collectors gun and an eviction notice for failing to meet your wants.


With all due respect, there is no such thing as "the free market." It's a myth. From the railroads (that were given free or very cheap land from the gov't) to Silicon Valley (which didn't develop because of "whiz kids" working in their garages but rather government defense contracts) no major new industry has developed in the US without major gov't support. So, what free market are you talking about? Most of our major industries are dominated by a few large players...that' s monopoly not a free market.

As for the "people forced to pay for this"...that's what taxes are for...they pay for the social structures and institutions that virtually everyone uses and relies on...roads, bridges, public hospitals, schools, libraries, etc. If you don't want taxes then move to a deserted island and start your own country.

but, you are right that taxpayers "deserve restpect" which is why i don't think the gov't should be using our tax dollars for illegal wars abroad; to subsidize giant and very profitable oil companies or bailout the very same financial industry that destroyed our economy by its criminal activities.
 
 
-2 # Martintfre 2012-09-12 09:22
Quoting MidwestTom:
It is the 16% pay raise that they want most.


Don't forget the cool benefits!
 
 
+3 # dkonstruction 2012-09-12 11:10
Quoting Martintfre:
Quoting MidwestTom:
It is the 16% pay raise that they want most.


Don't forget the cool benefits!


If you study the history of "benefits" you would learn that they are deferred wages which means worker earn them. Workers agreed, through their collective bargaining agents (their unions) to forego pay today so that this money could be set aside for them to receive later when they retire. You (and the rest that want to do away with such things) make it sound like "benefits" are a "gift" from the massa that we should all get down on our hands and needs to thank for being so generous in giving them to us in the first place. Well, workers aren't given those "benefits", they earned them. so, if you want to cut benefits put that money back into the workers salaries that earned them in the first place.
 
 
+4 # Replicounts 2012-09-12 05:17
The larger national problem is that teachers are being scapegoated for Republican political purposes. Like other local and state public employees, they are attacked because they are there.
 
 
-8 # get the money 2012-09-12 06:33
If you don't like the job Quit!!! They should all be fired.. Unions are a thing of the past, they tend to make people weak
 
 
+6 # dkonstruction 2012-09-12 07:14
Quoting get the money:
If you don't like the job Quit!!! They should all be fired.. Unions are a thing of the past, they tend to make people weak


your knowledge of the history of the american (let alone the global) labor movement is a perfect example of why we need to improve our public education system.

Unions have always made individual workers stronger and are the reason we have things like the 8 hour day, weekends and benefits. Try telling a union truck driver or longshorman to their face that their union makes them "weak" and see how weak they are.

The only thing that is a "thing of the past" are unions organized on local or even national basis. Since capital is now global, labor must also be and so unions need to be reorganzied across borders so that all workers in a single industry (or "service") are organized into one big union (if we can't get the truly "one big union" the IWW called for nearly a century ago and which is still very much what is needed) so that companies can't simply "outsource" either to a "right to work" state in the US or to a low-wage country abroad.

Finally, since you don't like unions, instead of telling workers (who have the legal right in this country to unionize) who don't like their jobs to quit and that they should all be fired why don't you just move to a country like china that does not allow independent trade unions.
 
 
+1 # in deo veritas 2012-09-12 19:34
Sounds like that should suit the purpose of Koch puppets like yourself!
 
 
-4 # Martintfre 2012-09-12 09:19
"Why We're Striking in Chicago""

Cause your greedy and heartless and ya don't care how badly the tax payers are economically raped and ya don't care how poorly the kids are 'educated' -- just as long as you get yours.

It is OK to use the force of a tax collectors gun to extort from others what you want - even though you work 9 out of 12 months and fewer hours a day when you do work, unlike the common man who must 12 months a year and more hours a day.
 
 
+2 # dkonstruction 2012-09-12 11:52
Quoting Martintfre:
"Why We're Striking in Chicago""

Cause your greedy and heartless and ya don't care how badly the tax payers are economically raped and ya don't care how poorly the kids are 'educated' -- just as long as you get yours.

It is OK to use the force of a tax collectors gun to extort from others what you want - even though you work 9 out of 12 months and fewer hours a day when you do work, unlike the common man who must 12 months a year and more hours a day.


Right so you'll rant against a public school teacher who starts at 50k a year but have no problem with the FED "lending" 16 trillion (at almost 0% interest) to the same banksters who destroyed our economy or against the Bush administration for spending 3 trillion dollars on two illegal and unnecesary wars abroad? At least be consistant in your critique of how our "tax collectors" use our tax dollars then perhaps instead of making public employees public enemy number one while letting the "real criminals" off the hook and not raising a thing about all of our tax dollars that have gone and continue to go to subsidizing the 1%.
 
 
+2 # in deo veritas 2012-09-12 19:42
I was barely making 50k when I retired after 36 years in the classroom. Too bad the tax collectors Martinfre is tsalking about don't go after the big time tax evaders who have robbed our country and even run for public office. Why don't they nail GE for not paying taxes? Sounds like this person is defending these thieves.
 
 
+1 # in deo veritas 2012-09-12 19:38
Tell you what-paid troll! I taught for 36 years and there was only one year of that when I did not have to work during nthe months when school was not in session in order to make ends meet. Some choose to stretch their 9 months of pay over twelve months but that doesn't help pay the bills.
 
 
+3 # Trouper 2012-09-12 11:02
IN SOLIDARITY 100 PERCENT…… ALL OF YOUR DEMANDS ARE FAIR AND JUST…..
 
 
+2 # Babbzy3 2012-09-13 06:36
I agree that this is probably not the right time for CPS teachers to go on strike. Communities everywhere are scratching their heads trying to figure out how they are going to make payroll when their tax base has shrunk because of the plunge of home values. The strike is a litmus (sp) test for the rest of teacher unions everywhere, and you can't squeeze water from a rock. Lake Forest teachers union, one of the wealthiest communities in the nation with well-paid teachers that clearly don't have 99% of the problems Chicago teachers do, is presently on strike too, and many more will follow depending on what happens with CPS. Villages around the outskirts of Chicago are eliminating their fire protection, laying off firefighters and police. Chicago, like most communities, has some of the finest and some of the absolutely worst teachers in the universe. But more than anywhere else, a great teacher in Chicago can probably save or change a student's life. There must be a way to evaluate teachers everywhere and compensate the ones who are passionate, who are meant to teach, who have compassion and the interpersonal skills to teach (and it's not just by test scores or by who is getting a masters degree, etc.) and impart their wisdom and dump the ones punching the clock getting a paycheck that could give a flying fig whether anyone actually learns. How do we do that??
 
 
+2 # dkonstruction 2012-09-13 09:27
The teachers are not opposed to evaluations they are opposed to evaluations based on standardized test scores which prove absolutely nothing about a student's actual abilities,knowl edge, skills or how well they will do in college.
 

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