Chicago Teachers Union strike suspended, students returning to school tomorrow

On Monday, September 10, members of the Chicago Teachers Union took to the streets to protest scandalous proposals such as merit-based pay raises, teacher evaluations, and a paltry 16% salary increase. As a result, 350,000 Chicago students were kept from learning. After more than a week of very public whining and foot-stomping, an agreement has apparently been reached between the CTU’s House of Delegates and the schoolboard.

A summary of the contract terms went out to all delegates, and it included this statement:

“Our brothers and sisters throughout the country have been told that corporate ‘school reform’ was unstoppable, that merit pay had to be accepted and that the public would never support us if we decided to fight. Cities everywhere have been forced to accept performance pay,” the statement said.

“Not here in Chicago. Months ago, CTU members won a strike authorization, one that our enemies thought would be impossible. Now we have stopped the board are imposing merit pay! We preserved our lanes and steps when the politicians and press predicted they were history. We held the line on healthcare costs. We have tremendous victories in this contract; however, it is by no means perfect. While we did not win on every front and will need to continue our struggle into the future, we soundly defended our profession from an aggressive and dishonest attack. We owe our victories to each and every member of this rank and rile union. Our power comes from the bottom up.”

Among the terms of the tentative agreement is that evaluations of first-year teachers won’t affect tenured teachers. Additionally, CTU Delegate Dave Hernandez, who teaches at Social Justice High School — yes, Social Justice High School — was thrilled at the prospect of teacher pay being irrespective of job performance:

The defeat of merit pay — something other urban districts have instituted — as well as the preservation of “step” pay increases for additional years of experience and “lane” increases for additional degrees also was seen as a plus, Hernandez said. So were special pay hikes for the most veteran teachers.

Hernandez et al. must be so proud of themselves. Accountability? They don’t need no stinking accountability!

CTU’s supporters are lavishing praise upon the striking teachers:

That guy sounds like a walking, talking argument against the Chicago Public School system.

Oh puh-leeze. Students first? First off the cliff, maybe.

Teachers returning to the classroom already have instructions from CTU president Karen Lewis:

Call us crazy, but Karen Lewis is the last person who should be doling out educational advice. Contrary to the badge of victimhood she displays so proudly, it’s the children of Chicago’s public schools who have suffered during this debacle.

  • J.N. Ashby

    So what’d they get?
    Also, I hope the students give the teachers the respect they earned from this.

  • stuckinIL4now

    It’s @6:30p in Chicago and Rahmbo is currently pontificating on local TV. The strike is over, it’s back to business as usual–let the next set of games begin. Massive school closings anyone?

  • CalCon10

    Likely a Pyrrhic victory for the teachers. “If a thing cannot continue, it will not.” If there’s no money, it doesn’t matter how much your contract is.

    They’re about to learn that the hard way.

  • SAndrews

    Delegate tells us Karen Lewis suggested teachers tell students about the value of standing up for yourself.

    Of course with the poor graduation rates, many of them simply won’t understand, but that’s besides the point.

    Oh wait! That’s exactly the point!

  • Dennis Spring

    Lord forbid that anyone have to have merit-based pay raises, and not just have them handed to them. That is part of the reason the public schools are in such a wreck

    • buermann

      2% a year barely keeps up with inflation, due to which they took a 3% real reduction last year when they city didn’t give them a raise at all.

      • TomJB

        And they currently make almost twice the salary as the average person living in Chicago, and work 75% of the number of days.

        • buermann

          11 hour days more than make up for the breaks and most of them have graduate degrees.

        • buermann

          11 hour days more than make up for the breaks and most of them have graduate degrees.

  • buermann

    “Accountability? They don’t need no stinking accountability!”

    They’re moving forward with the plan CPS had been working on for years before Rahm showed up, based on Charlotte Danielson’s evaluation framework, so there is accountability. Merit pay isn’t about accountability, it’s about crowding out the intrinsic motivations of work, c.f. Bruno Frey, never mind disincentivizing collaboration, which is an extremely bizarre thing to want when CPS schools are already plagued by extremely high attrition rates.