Teachers’ Strike: Dear CPS Stakeholder

THE BALANCING ACT

I received the following message from the Senior Leadership of Chicago Public Schools earlier today.  I commend the efforts to keep us informed, especially since those who are deployed to ChildrenFirst sites are not sure if we should report to our usual locations or the temporary sites where we were staffed during the teachers’ strike.

As you read the statement below and the expenses associated with the concessions, please keep in mind that the district is already nearly $1 billion in debt.  Meeting these obligations is  going to require quite an impressive balancing act.

A MESSAGE FROM LEADERSHIP

Dear CPS Stakeholder,

Since Chicago Teachers Union leaders announced their choice to strike last Sunday night, CPS has presented multiple proposals at the negotiation table to help reach an agreement. We’re very optimistic that a deal is in sight and kids will be back in school this Monday. In the four days that CTU has been on strike, more than 350,000 students have missed more than 28 hours of school. There is no more time to waste as our students need to be back in the classroom with their teachers where they belong. We are committed to work every hour through the night and into the morning to secure this agreement.

Here are high-level highlights of the proposals we’ve placed on the negotiation table:

  • 16% average salary increase for $320 million over four years (including COLA, step and lane)
  • New job securities for teachers who lose their jobs – without compromising principals’ rights to hire most qualified teachers for their students
  • First-ever paid maternity leave – women will no longer need to bank sick days in order to plan for their family
  • First-ever short-term medical disability – employees who get ill will be able to recover without worry of job or pay loss
  • Board will no longer retain the right to take back raises in the contract in the event of a fiscal crisis
  •  A groundbreaking teacher evaluation system that for the first time will couple student growth with meaningful feedback and hands-on support to help teachers improve their professional development and boost student success in the classroom

This week, editorial boards from throughout Chicago and the country lent their support to the proposals offered by CPS on issues ranging from compensation, layoff/recall policies and teacher evaluation. We urge you to take a few minutes to read through some different perspectives on what is at stake at the negotiation table:

Teacher union’s unwise ‘strike of choice’

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES // EDITORIAL

View editorial here
Teachers risk losing a lot if strike drags on

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES // EDITORIAL

View editorial here

Don’t cave, Mr. Mayor: This strike is about who controls Chicago’s schools, Chicago’s future

CHICAGO TRIBUNE // EDITORIAL

View editorial here

Grading teachers: Chicago students deserve the best

CHICAGO TRIBUNE // EDITORIAL

View editorial here

Chicago Teachers’ Folly

NEW YORK TIMES // EDITORIAL

View editorial here

Chicago teachers resisting much needed education reforms

WASHINGTON POST // EDITORIAL

View editorial here

Earlier this week, our Chief Education Advisor, Barbara Byrd Bennett held a conference call with parent bloggers to talk about the issues at the table. Below are some of the posts from parent bloggers that followed our call. Look to see where they weigh in on these issues and the CTU strike:

Not A Good Lesson

The Chicago Moms Blog // Dwana De La Cerna

As a union member within my capacity as a law enforcement officer, I applaud negotiations. I am all for fair wages, healthcare and accountability in the workplace. I am all for getting a raise! What I am angry about, involving this Chicago Teacher Union Strike, is the claim that this “is for the kids“. It says, without saying, “If I am happy, your kids will be happy.” That is a fair assessment and may even be true, but children being educated is a natural born right. Any interference therein is an abomination. Period.

Children belong in the classroom, not on the Chicago streets as target practice.

Chicago Teachers Strike: Issues on the Bargaining Table

Families in the Loop// Wendy 

This morning, I joined a couple of other Chicago mom bloggers on an eye-opening conference call with Barbara Byrd-Bennett, chief education advisor for CPS, and Becky Carroll, CPS’s chief communications officer. I learned about how the negotiations are going, what the sticking points are, and how the strike looks on their end. Now I’m back at my desk, as Ogden teachers walk the picket line right outside my window, cheering and waving at the cars that honk supportively as they drive by. Please keep in mind as you read this that no CTU representatives were on the call to balance out or contradict what the CPS folks were saying. And, to my surprise, my fellow moms on the call did not indicate whether they supported the strike.

Finally, thanks to all the parents, staff and volunteers for your patience and dedication to our children during this past week. We are hopeful that next week our kids will be back in class and on track to great success this schools year.

———————————————

  I am a strong believer in individual accountability and collective action.  When not reading, working or blogging, I’m supporting my favorite charities: Teen Living Programs where I am a volunteer and Executive Board member and YWCA Chicago where I am an Associate Board Member. I am passionate about causes related to supporting youth, women and families. Particularly in the areas of education, social services and housing. I can be reached at sherryclayton78@gmail.com if you would like to know more about my charities or the blog.

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Categories: Professional Development

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