My View: A parent’s take on the CPS teachers strike
September 11th, 2012
01:33 PM ET

My View: A parent’s take on the CPS teachers strike

Courtesy Rebecca LabowitzBy Rebecca Labowitz, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Rebecca Labowitz writes about the Chicago Public Schools on her blog CPSObsessed.com which has become a discussion board for parents and teachers in Chicago.  She began the blog in 2008 when her now fourth-grade son was entering kindergarten as a way to share information with other parents navigating school options in Chicago.

Parents of public school kids stayed up late Sunday night, glued to the TV and the Internet, waiting to find out whether they needed to make lunches, arrange backpacks, and get their kids hustled out the door in the morning.  Facebook alerts were flying fast and furious, similar to update I saw during the Olympics and the Oscars.  “She’s coming out now!”  No names needed.

We all collectively were waiting for outcome of the weekend negotiation session between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union – would our Chicago teachers call a strike?

Karen Lewis’ announcement of the strike was not surprising as most parents who’d been keeping up with the events suspected that the two sides were still fairly far apart in their negotiations.  What was a little more surprising was the anger that started to mount immediately.  Many parents didn’t seem to believe that CTU would actually pull the trigger and bring the school year to a halt.  Some parents feel inconvenienced, feel like the CTU is not working in the kids’ best interest by calling the strike, and feel like both sides should have found a way to work something out.

I’ve heard comments from angry parents who feel that teachers should feel lucky to have their job – a job that many feel is well-paying and secure compared to workers in the private sector.  There is a palpable sense of exasperation that the teachers gave up, wouldn’t budge, wouldn’t even prioritize their list of demands.  Whether or not this was true, it was the impression that many parents had after watching the press interview Sunday evening.

Parents who regularly comment on my blog have spent time talking to teachers, learning more about what it’s like to teach in an inner-city school with limited resources and a revolving door administration.  These parents realize that teachers are feeling disrespected lately both within CPS and as a profession as a whole.  Teachers are being blamed for a lot of the ills of the school system.  They’re being asked to work longer, being asked to do a lot with very little.  Most are spending their own money on school supplies.  They tell stories about their students that will break your heart.  Those of us who have listened have certainly had our eyes opened to the realities of teaching in CPS.  Having summer break doesn’t make it an easy gig.

As the school year drew closer, discussions centered on a few key topics:
• How hard is a teacher’s job?
• Are teachers fairly paid?
• Can teachers really make a difference among the most at-risk kids?
• How can our school system overlook some of the basic materials that teachers need?
• What’s the ideal length of the school day?
• Why can’t parents be more accountable to help their kids succeed in school?
• Should teachers be expected to be nurses, counselors, and parents to students?
• Why isn’t there more money to make our schools better?
• If we do make the improvements that teachers want, where will the money come from?

We found there is often not an easy answer, not one we all agree on.  Like many topics in this country, sentiments about education and unions can be quite polarizing.

The surprise I had after the press announcements was sensing the uptick in anger about the strike.  When push comes to shove and families are inconvenienced, when kids’ schooling is put on hold, when student-athlete schedules are thrown off, people start to get mad.  When they see that the union leaders appear to have a disregard for negotiation, they get mad.  When they don’t know what the situation will be day to day, they get mad.  When they realize that they have conflicting feelings for the wonderful teachers in their schools versus that of the CTU, they get mad.

There was a general expectation that during negotiations, each side would give a little.  Many parents want to see the CTU give a little.  Or at least learn more about what the CTU wants to meet their demands.  Parents I’ve heard from often agree with many of the demands of the CTU.  We DO need better schools.  We DO need smaller class sizes. We DO need teachers to feel respected and to feel motivated.  But some question whether striking is the way to get these changes to happen or whether there can be a more collaborative way to make it work that doesn’t keep kids out of school.  Other parents are standing side-by-side with teachers on the picket lines.  We are a city of mixed opinions, for sure.

Tempers are going to be high for a while.  Teachers are mad and parents (and CPS) need to realize that.  Now parents are mad and are just going to get madder if the strike continues beyond this week.  CPS – well, I’m guessing they’re mad too.  But despite all the challenges of CPS, most parents I know want to stick it out in the city.  And teachers really want to find a way to make CPS succeed.  We’re all in it together, for better or for worse so we’ve got to find some common ground soon.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rebecca Labowitz.

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Filed under: At Home • Parents • teacher unions • Teachers • Voices
soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. CPS child of a single parent

    You don't realize how my dad feels about the issue! During the strike I had to go to another state! I feel even more outraged then you! Needs more exclamation points.....

    !!!!!!'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    PS. I am an older student so no comments saying "oh u poor thing"
    PPS. Nice picket signs!

    September 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  2. jonimadsen

    I am a teacher in Iowa. I love my job and my students. When I became a teacher, I knew I would not be paid according to my education. I have a Masters degree. After spending over fifteen years as a union member, I looked at how my union dues were being used: To protect inadequate teachers. Last year was the first year that I did not join the teacher's union. A few of my colleagues said I was crazy NOT to join. What would happen if I needed a lawyer? I thought to myself–If I EVER get in a position at my job where I need a lawyer, then I shouldn't be a teacher. I love my students, and I love going to work every day. I laugh at the "summers off" comments. Every summer since I became a teacher 17 years ago, I take classes and work part-time to supplement my income. I am a single parent and my yearly salary, with a Masters degree, is less than $46,000. However, loving my work and going into the teaching profession knowing I wasn't going to be making money is my choice. Unions are greedy.

    September 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • jmh

      I agree 100% that the Unions are now only protecting the bad teachers. I applaud you for not joining the union. Tenure needs to go and teachers should get paid for performanace like the regular working sector of people. My son was a special ed student due to some learning diabilities and some teachers would not work with me and him and ridiculed him as being stupid. what kind of teacher is that! I do believe teachers are being paid more than fare for the 9 months out of the year. I wish I could work 9 months and collect thier salaries......

      September 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  3. CC

    "All this anti-teacher stuff is from corporations who ripped off pensions, destroyed jobs, created credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, brought us a phony media and the military-industrial complex in all its police state glory."
    Do people actually believe this kind of dribble? Some of this 'anti-teacher stuff' isn't about vilification of teachers as much as people in Chicago schools who are fairly well paid being asked to do a little more for their above average paycheck. And I don't think most bankers, corporate executives, or Wall Street traders give a rat's behind about a Chicago teachers strike. They don't care because it does not affect them, so why would they expend energy trying to demonize Chicago teachers? It really is paranoia if they aren't out to get you.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  4. BmoreTeacher

    I have taught for 7 years in an inner city school system. I grew up my whole life wanting to be a teacher because I was so lucky to have so many great teachers as a child. I want to come to work every day to help students learn and become productive members of society, but it is getting harder and harder to do so. The percentage of our parents who seem to care about their child's education is so low that when we get a parent who does care, we are floored. In the city I teach in, we have a large amount of refugees and immigrants and often times these students are the best behaved and hardest working, even though they often don't speak English as their native language. It is not unusual to be cussed at by parents or students while in school. Often our administrators are teachers who could not handle teaching in a classroom, making them ineffective administrators. As a traditionally trained teacher, I am insulted that programs like Teach for America think that after 6 weeks of "training", they are ready for the classroom. You wouldn't walk into a hospital and say "I've read a book on surgery, so I'm ready to perform brain surgery". They refuse to release retention rates, but based on my experience, maybe a third of them last a year and maybe 10 percent more than 3 years. Between parents, students and administrators, teaching is becoming more and more difficult. Why do I keep teaching then? Because every class has kids who look up to you and who want to learn. That gets me through the day.

    September 17, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  5. Jen

    I have great respect for teachers. However, we Americans spend more on education than any other country in the world and yet are test scores are still severly lacking, especially in Science and Math. Personally, I don't see this as the teacher's fault. It's the result of a government funded system that just isn't working. Teachers should be given more freedom and less time and money should spent on useless regulation. I have decided to homeschool my young children, partially because I have little faith that the public school system has my daughter's best interest in mind.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  6. Donna

    It is ludicrous to base teacher evaluations on test scores. The home life of a child has a tremendous influence on whether or not a child is successful at school. Basing a salary on that is unfair. How about we test students as soon as they register for kindergarten? If the child is not performing where a typical kindergarten student should, then we will blame their parents and not allow them to have more children. Really, it's the same concept!

    September 15, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • CC

      Sadly, Donna, parental licensure might not be such a bad thing. If through actual demonstration parents prove themselves woefully inept at raising children, they currently tend to make lots more of them. "Idiocracy" in real life.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  7. Mr. S

    And thisis why after 14 years teaching at, and be devalyed by, CPS (with phenomenal standardized test scores), I took a 9K paycut, a loss of 20K on selling my house, and I now happily live and work in the suburbs. I suggest that other teachers do the same. The teacher bashers in Chicago don't deserve us.

    September 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Doc_q

      You're a teacher and don't know how to spell "de-valued" Let's look at the accountability of both teachers and parents.

      September 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
      • Bouge

        I think anyone with half a brain can tell that was typo. Try again.

        September 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  8. Co teacher

    One reason that I have felt undervalued as a teacher has to do with the discrepancy between child care costs and teacher pay. Here in Colorado, one can expect to pay between thirty and fifty dollars a day for child care per child. As a teacher, I am expected to not only supervise thirty five kids every day, I am also expected to teach them. I get paid about $100 a day as a teacher. If I were ACTUALLY only concerned with money, I would quit teaching immediately and open up a day care and easily quadruple my income overnight.

    I haven't quit teaching, because I love what I do, despite what I make. But I can't help feeling undervalued. Even if extra funds were not put toward my salary, but we're instead spent on improvements in schools, I think many teachers would be satisfied.

    Why are families willing to pay so much for child care, yet so hostile to the idea of adequately funding schools?

    September 15, 2012 at 4:01 am |
  9. thetruth

    Part II / It's amazing. People throw up on teachers all the time. Right up to the time there is a strike and then folks are blubbering, "But ... but.... .whose gonna teach my baby girl / boy?" Everyone hates teachers – until someone needs one.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  10. thetruth

    Parents, a reality check! This may be hard to believe, but as a teacher I do NOT – I repeat ... NOT – live and breathe to educate YOUR kid. Your kid is NOT the first person I think about when I wake up in the a.m. nor the last person I think about when I go to bed. I do not exist, thereby giving up my own family and my own children, to live to make your kid happier than mine can be. I do not exist to make your child feel oh-so-loved 24/7.

    I know you as the parent feel like your child is the smartest person around – maybe they are – maybe they aren't. Personally I don't care if they are or not. I only care what they do in my classroom for the hour I'm with them. Beyond that, they are YOUR problem – not mine.

    I am paid to teach a curriculum. I am paid to treat your child with dignity and respect at school. I am not paid to sacrifice my personal well being on behalf of loving my child – that is YOUR job mr. and mrs. parent. I know this sounds cruel, but your kid is your kid. They have nothing to do with my job contract or anything else. My job contract is just that – a contract – separate and distinct from "your baby girl / boy or it thing."

    So the next time you want to slam a teacher for not considering "your" kid over all else, do us a favor. Take contraception. Problem solved.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Mrs. Bart

      As a former teacher myself and the daughter of a teacher, all I an say is I'm glad my kids aren't in your class. No reasonable parent expects any teacher to put any one child before all others. We expect you to do your job -more than just adequately. And at the very least (just like any other job) we expect you show up for work.

      September 16, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Deb Mase

      Hence, the problem with CPS and schools around the country: abject apathy...

      September 17, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • Doc_q

      Please do us all a favor and quit teaching!!!! Go open your Child Care Facility and see what it is like to have to worry about the turnover from your clients because all you care about is yo' self.

      September 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  11. Robert

    How about this? Since so many people think teaching is so easy, why not try an experiment? Take 100 randomly unemployed people with college degrees. Put them to work in the Chicago Public School System. Give standardized tests at the beginning of the year and at the end. Compare the results with 100 random existing CPS teachers' classes. Wanna bet on the results?

    I could teach an AP (advance placement) Physics class and the only thing I know about Newton is that it usually tastes like fig. The advanced students will all pass their exams anyway. But what about the extremely autistic kid who has been put into a regular classroom and is too frightened to speak until the middle of the school year. Or the "troublemaker" who constantly disrupts class, only to find out that she was functionally blind and could not afford glasses...covering up her disability because of undeserved shame. How about the kid who doesn't speak English and has spent the last three years in a relocation camp in Lebanon? Or the kid who can't do the online assignment because a) he has no access to a computer and b) even if he did, there is no wireless in the car where he lives. How do you evaluate "success" with these students? Sometimes getting them to come to school is a major triumph. How do you measure a teacher's heart? How do you measure their resolve to keep trying long after some of their students (as well as parents and administrators) have given up hope. Teachers are not the problem. If you want to know the real culprit, go take a look in the mirror. Ask yourself what you have done lately to improve the lives of our community's children. If all you can think of is whining about unions or how much teachers make, you might try volunteering at a children's homeless shelter for a few months to gain a little perspective.

    An no, I am not a teacher. Or a union member. But I am a decent and productive human being because of the guidance I received from many teachers. If you can't say the same, maybe its time to go back to school.

    September 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  12. AJ

    are there bad teachers? yes, but i can tell you, given that most of the people in my family are teachers or work in education that the vast majority of teachers are good, decent, and hardworking people who care a great deal for the their students and their work. but the push over the last decade with standardized testing, no child left behind, disasterous school board policies, and outright criminal actions have made their job infinately more difficult. teachers, who have a right to make a living like the rest of us, also sincerely want to help and educate children but are hindered by inept administration as well as lack of parental involvement and responsibility when dealing with their children. teachers have been whipping posts for far too long. let them teach, fund schools to actually hire more teachers and build better facilities and get parents onboard to realize that their example can help their children learn

    September 14, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
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    September 14, 2012 at 2:08 am |
  14. irulan18

    A rampant misconceptions from folks who have never experienced how schools/education is run on a daily basis:
    Teacher's can't be fired/it's impossible to fire teachers.

    I have seen two teachers fired over 14 years in my building for incompetence and for not living up to educational standards. If sub par teachers are still actively teaching, it is the fault of their building administrators for not effectively using the evaluation process. A teacher with tenure and a contract can be fired AT ANY TIME if an administrator shows evidence that they are violating the terms of his/her contract and expectations as a professional. Why is it not common? BECAUSE MOST TEACHERS ARE COMPETENT and caring individuals. The media and public want to make it seem as if there are giant groups of incompetent teachers running rampant throughout the country. It's a very SMALL percentage. Changing the evaluation process is unfair for many reasons, most of which relate to the home life, previous education and factors existing with STUDENTS, not the qualifications and professionalism of teachers!

    September 13, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • irulan18

      Pause before you post (teachable moment for a teacher):
      Grammatical errors I would like to correct in the previous post – I mean to write:" a rampant misconception" and "teachers" (no apostrophe). Heaven forbid an Internet troll would use these mistakes for nefarious purposes...because no one ever makes mistakes! As I tell my students, we need to constantly be editing ourselves throughout life; it's not the mistakes, it's how you grow from them :-)

      September 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • CS Parish

      Ever seen a sub-par machinist? Or a rude sales clerk? Or a dangerous truck driver? Get real!! At all levels, in all professions there are "bad" employees. Why should the sole exception be education? Seems to me it is a good life lesson, in maturing young people, that life is often not fair, and how to work around obstacles. In high school I took it upon myself to transfer out of a situation with a "bad" teacher. Younger students should have parents intervene if the situation warrants. Education is everyone's responsibility, not just the teachers.

      September 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  15. Janet

    One of the commentators here had it completely correct: Professionals do not unionise. Teachers do. Do not ask to be treated as professionals if you are not prepared to be tested on merit. It is high time that teachers got rid of their union. It debases you all. I am sure the elite of the union will feel the need after this strike, to go to Boca Raton or Las Vegas for a so-called debrief conference....err....using your union contributions to pay for their 4* hotel suites. I will not respect teachers until they deign to put themselves on the same footing as normal professionals.

    September 13, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Veronica

      Really, you think that when this is over they're going on some fancy four star get away? Do you have children? When was the last time that you stepped into one of Chicago's public schools? Do you realize that teacher's tend to spend more time with children than their families? Teachers have been handed the monumental responsibility of educating our children, not only in core curriculum but also in social situations and just day to day life. They have to be on the lookout for everything from kids who don't get fed enough, to those being bullied, those doing the bullying, to those being abused at home. Teachers deserve to be evaluated fairly on how effectively they teach, not on how motivated a student is or isn't to take a test that day. We have to teach our children that they will get out of school what they put into it, instead of the idea that if they fail it's somehow the teacher's fault. Unfortunately, the situation in Chicago is not isolated; teachers nation wide are experiencing the same trials and tribulations. The teachers in Chicago were just the first to say enough is enough. For all the people that are so angry because they now have to deal with their children not being in school, perhaps you stop for a minute and think. If you're so upset with having to find solutions for the children within your family, imagine being a teacher and finding solutions for AT LEAST 30 kids every day. Give these people some respect.

      September 14, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Lpad

      Please know that not all teachers belong to the unions. I have been teaching for 22 years and have not been a union member for 20 years of those years. It is a tough choice, however. I don't have any backing should a student, parent or adminstrator decided that they have a problem with me. I am professional, highly qualified and sane, so I take my chances. Teaching is a tough job. I work my hours for summers and breaks during the school year, routinely putting in 12 to 15 hours a week beyond school time. In addtion to that time, I am also expected to attend sporting events, chaperone social events, meet with or take phone calls from parents in the evenings and on weekends. I must serve as a class sponsor. I am required to spend half of my lunch period on duty, leaving me a 15 min lunch. I don't mind doing all of these things, but please understand that every hour I spend on extra-curricular and supervisory duties is that much less time I have for preparation of innovative lessons, less time to give feed back on submitted work, less time to spend to spend in one-on-one consultation with your student. My only complaint with my job is that folks seem to think that I can do a great job of educating when my time is commandeered for social and supervisory activities. I want to teach, and do it effectively. I want to challenge and encourage my students, I want to provide innovative and meaningful lessons and engage my students in the educational process. My community and administration want me to sell t-shirts at the football game, sponsor the prom and watch the kids while they make cool banners for the band competiion. It is frustrating.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • english3teach

      I teach in a state where the teachers are not unionized. Our insurance benefits gets changed from one year to the next. Our health insurance has a $1000 deductible; and after that, we pay 40% while the insurance co. pays 60%. Every year we have more responsibilities – after school tutoring, sports duty – at no extra pay. I work in one of the states that pays teachers the least. Sometimes a union might be nice.

      September 15, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  16. kafantaris2

    There are no clear winners of strikes anymore, only losers - and on both sides.
    The singular question day after day is who is going to blink first. Let both sides blink with an old fashioned deal.
    But if we're going to have a deal we'd better hurry.
    Each day that goes by hardens the soul and makes compromise illusive.
    Before long, both sides are bitter and have lost their way.
    Let's muster then whatever respect we still have, and agree to fight another day.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  17. salary lies

    Anyone quoting the +$70,000 salaries is a moron. A teacher with a bachelors degree would only make that salary after working for 10 years. To make more than that it would take a Masters or PHD. I wouldn't teach the inner city low lifes with parents that don't care about them for double that. You might as well work in the prison system and teach there. At least there would be guards.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Seriously

      Anyone who tags the inner city people as "low lifes" is a complete moron. Open your eyes. There is a whole world outside of where you live and that world is filled with poverty and people that don't have the means that many of us do have. They have no choice but to send their children to public school. They have no choice but to work endless hours just to put food on the table.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • CPS mom

      On day 3 of Chicago Public Sschool strike, not only my daughter is crying, I started crying too. CTU protects teacher, but who protects children? CPS surely dose not care for children at all. You are ruining my kid when she's ready to learn. My anger turned to sorrow now. Look at Karen Lewis, the greedy mouth, she wants the strike last forever. Who really cares the children? No one!!!

      September 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
      • CPS Mom 2

        I agree, No one is thinking about our children! They all say they are but why are we still sitting at home with them. Our children are the ones who suffer while the teachers are having a hard time with change. If we are fighting for our children, fight while they are learning in classrooms. I am having a hard time supporting the teachers in this strike, as my children sit at home wanting to learn and still we continue to stay home. How is this bettering the schools for our children to learn??

        September 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
      • vivian

        I absolutely support you. The union leader is a greedy lady.

        September 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
      • Doc_q

        I'm not sure who "really cares the children" but the ONLY ones that are responsible for caring for the children are the parents. Parents, stop the pity party and move on. Either home school your children, where the overwhelming majority of children do so much better, or get your children in a program that is going to accomplish for your child what you want.

        September 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • CPS mom

      Here is all CPS teacher's salary, including support staff. The regular teacher's salary is pretty high, and it's for 9 month only.

      http://chicagoschoolsproject.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/chicago-public-schools-employee-rosters/

      (click on the 08-01-2011 Excel file)

      September 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
      • dmb41fan

        while I truly appreciate letting people see the actual salary figures, and it helps people make more educated positions on the issue. Even though I am not an educator, I would like to point out that they are asking to provide more than teaching services, they have to be motivators, innovators, creative negotiators, and psychologist. They have to do this in sub par environments with little to no resources, and for close to 9-10 hours a day. If we break down the average pay per hour worked, it would be less than that of a city/public worker in my opinion.
        I'm not saying the numbers are not right, but there are some outside factors that need to be taken into account.

        September 14, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  18. Joseph Zrnchik

    But Rahm the Zionist would rather tens of billions of dollars be sent to Israel where he served in the IDF so his fellow Jews could exterminate Palestinians. American and their kids come far behind Rahmbo's corporate benefactors who paid him $14 million for two years work after he left the Obama administration. They also come far behind Rahmbo's Israeli-firster concerns for the Jews stealing Palestinian land.

    What American teachers ought to be teaching is how the Zionists have committed genocide against Palestinians and destroyed the capitalist free market.

    September 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • dubbs

      Thanks for posting, you crazy nut job.

      September 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Gaylen

      After reading this, and your later comments,I must say that I highly recommend mental health counseling for you, my friend-you have some serious persecution issues......

      September 12, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • cpsmomof3

      Dear Mr. Zrnchik,
      Your anti-semetism doesn't belong anywhere near this discussion.

      September 14, 2012 at 1:52 am |
  19. irulan18

    I am a teacher. I'm proud to be a teacher. I love my job and I work long hours with little complaint because I work, at the end of the day, for the kids and for the promise of what they can achieve when given the right tools and the opportunities to shine. I constantly attend workshops and research how I can improve my students' progress and how I can make my classroom both enjoyable and a center of academic achievement. However, I still have to deal with an ever-growing misconception in the community and the media (especially misinformed and often ignorant "commenters") that teachers are only concerned with money and job security at the expense of what's best for students. Spend a day in a teacher's shoes. Talk with your student's teachers and let them share with you what they have done for your child throughout the year. Learn how you can partner with them to help them when times are tough or learning is difficult. 99% of teachers are supportive and caring people. Don't punish the 99% for the mistakes of a small few. Don't spout political jargon or twisted, secondhand data that just ends up creating more hostility. Hear both sides of the story with respect and consideration. I am a highly qualified, well-educated professional with a good heart, but every time I see how distorted and hostile people become when slandering hard-working teachers, I wonder how long I can continue to be undervalued before I decide it isn't worth it. I love my job, but I am not a volunteer. Remember, when you criticize teachers for being "selfish and uncaring" that we have families to support just like you. We're not off on world tours or buying fancy cars with those "HUGE" salaries (which are distorted data, especially when compared with the Cost of Living for different states); we're trying to to what's best for both our students AND our families.. It's unfair to compare a teacher's salary with the "median" for a community. They are professionals and should be considered as such, not put alongside those with less education for comparison. Yes, I knew what I was getting into when I chose this career and will keep my head held high despite the ignorance and cruelty of others, but being positive doesn't help put food on the table or pay for braces. Support your teachers, or you will lose the good ones who can no longer deal with how little the nation values them.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • vicki

      irulajn18, don't give up! There are alot of people who support you and appreciate all the hard work you put in to educating our youth. Unfortunately good teachers like you have to deal with all the negative comments. Please don't loose heart we need you and you are appreciated!

      September 12, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Katie

      As a para educator inside the school I see first hand what a lot of the teachers have to put up with and for what they get paid it's ridiculous. Each year they cut even more from education and make teachers have to do longer hours, spend money out of their own pockets for supplies, and pay is not all that great. Teachers have bills along with needing to put food on their tables for their families as well as anyone else. I also don't agree that teachers should be evaluated off of test scores especially when you have a lot of students whom miss a lot of days of school and social factors that play into their learning abilities. You can't teach someone that isn't there in class, but when they take their test they flunk and they look at the teacher to question them to why. That is not fair at all. I'm glad you are a teacher that cares and is doing your job and I only pray that these teachers get what they deserve. Just because their striking does not mean they don't care about your children; they are striking for the childrens sakes as well as their own because education keeps being cut more and more as we go on!

      September 13, 2012 at 11:16 am |
      • irulan18

        Thanks, Katie and Vicki! Whenever I get irritated or depressed, I remember the MANY kind, supportive, intelligent and wonderful parents and community members who are out there still fighting for what's best for kids AND teachers in unison. These are the voices that matter, in the end. It's sad, but often those who are the least qualified to make decisions and judgments (and the least informed about the day-to-day realities of education) are those who get the most attention in politics/the media.

        September 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  20. ECLSIC

    I am a teacher and I think parents are severly misinformed when it comes to what is really going on in schools around this country.
    -All that "vacation time" you are referring to... comes out of our annual leave days and if you don't have the leave days your pay gets docked or you have to come in during Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks to make up the time even though school is closed. In order to get paid during the summer we have to take money out of our already meager checks during the school year and save to survive. WE DO NOT JUST GET PAID FOR SUMMER BREAKS! Anyone who thinks that as broke as states are they are just paying teachers for not working is ridiculous!!! We have never gotten paid over the summer anything other than our regular salary. In addition, in this state we hadn't received a raise in four years. We had to fight for the 1.2% raise we received this year. Meanwhile EVERYTHING that we spend money on has gone up. Honestly, how many of you would work somewhere and not get a raise for 4 yrs?
    -The state insurance we are offered where I teach is subpar. And expensive. We pay premiums of ~$300 a month for one child!!! And that is not even for full coverage.
    -As far as accountability it makes sense but the way it is being done is wrong wrong wrong and the teachers are right in this case, In my state the kids are only tested in Math and Reading so those teachers are the ones who get "value added data". While as a math teacher I should be evaluated on my performance, telling me I'm ineffective because as an 8th grade teacher I couldn't teach 8TH GRADE MATH to a child who didn't pass the state test for 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th grade math is grossly unfair. Its like suing a mechanic today because he could fix your car that broke down in 2007. I hope that they reach an agreement but I also hope people wake up. 41 kids in a classroom is inhumane!!!

    September 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • MeMyselfNotI

      Of course teachers aren't payed during the summer. However, that does not change the fact that the average pay for a teacher in Chicago is well over $70,000. ($71,000 according to the Union and $76,000, before benefits, according to ABC news and the Chicago school system). I know averages can be skewed by extremes, so here is another number: The median value is over $67,000. I work 12 months a year and make FAR less than that! Furthermore, during the summer vacation, teachers can still look for work elsewhere... it may not be a well paying job, but it is still a steady source of income. You argue that many haven't had a raise in 4 years. Our economy is in a recession. Going without a raise is not uncommon. I know quite a few people that haven't gotten a raise in the last few years. With an average of at least $71K per year, I am not going to shed tears for them when they complain they did not get a raise. They complain that their skill is being unfairly and inaccurately judged by the results of student grades and results of state-wide standardized tests. Well, there are not many ways the can provide evaluations that are not based on opinion and can be used for comparison to other teachers and schools. Using student grades and the results of standardized test may not be a 100% accurate method for evaluating teachers, but it still provides some base for evaluation that can be used. Furthermore, I have heard some obscenely low numbers regarding the literacy and mathematical skills of children in Chicago schools. There is no acceptable excuse for numbers like that, despite what the teachers may claim. I also hear arguments claiming that the classes are underfunded and over populated. Well with nice salaries and the city offering 16% more due to the strike, it is clear why the classes are underfunded and overpopulated.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Gaylen

      I, too, am a teacher (public high school), with a master's degree (Univ. of Mich.), but, unlike my colleagues commenting here, I have NEVER felt disrespected or underpaid-and I realize I am in one of the world's best professions regarding time off......There ARE many, many under-performing teachers in our public schools–and my co-workers know it (unless they are wearing blinkers)-they ALSO know that due to their union's rules (I refuse to join) it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to fire a public school teacher....As I have often noted to my union co-workers: Professionals should NOT unionize– Do we see Physician unions? Engineering unions? Lawyers unions, etc.? Creating teachers unions, which promote not on the basis of merit but on seniority, I believe, is one of the number one reasons our profession isn't held in greater esteem.....

      September 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
      • thank you

        Thank you for posting this. I understand that these teachers feel the need to stand together and I was very curious to see how some non-union teachers feel about this. I appreciate this comment.

        September 12, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
      • Adam

        Your grammar leads me to believe you are lying about your master's degree. Or U of M has become a poor educational school.

        September 13, 2012 at 3:37 am |
    • Jon

      No, you may not get paid for the summer off, but if I get paid every other week, and my house payment is due on a week that I don't get paid, how am I every going to pay for it? It's called budgeting!!!!! It's not a new concept!!! How much time do you need off? You have all summer, not to mention numerous days off during the school year and every holiday known to man. An yes....I have gone six years without any kind of raise. As far as insurance....Most parents now days both work. You have left the option out that maybe your spouse could have a job and possibly a better insurance plan than you do.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  21. tchrgrrl

    You obviously have no clue as to what goes on in CPS schools. Work there for one year and you will see the kind of political corruption that happens. In 15 years I have seen:
    1. Principals give out fake letters of termination to teachers hoping they wouldn't report to school on the first day so they could then be fired so they could hire their own friends.
    2. Principals saying "loose lips sink ships" when it came to test time and asking us to cover our clocks so kids could have unlimited time.
    3. Principals hiring their own friends who were jobless (and incompetent) and letting go teachers who have been there for years.
    4. Pirncipals using school funds to purchase items they endorsed or their friends sold so their friends could profit.

    Yes, I wholeheartedly believe in teacher evaluations. We currently have them in place and teachers can have their rating lowered if the principal deems necessary. It's not like we are not evaluated. But there are too many corrupt principals who want to hire their own cronies.

    I think you also need to understand that coming into the CPS system, you may be shocked as a new teacher to discover just how bad things are. I would say in my 15 years it has gotten progressively worse also. I can estimate that 50% of students don't come to class with even a pencil!! This occurs daily, they walk around the building with no backpack, no notebook, no pencil. Seriously. We are encouraged to give them these supplies so they can work. I have seen horrible things (as well as many wonderful children) in my 15 years. I have former students (several) in prison for murder and drugs. I have several students who have been shot to death. I have a girl who overdosed at a a party and was left to die on a porch outside of her home. We have had as much as 25% of the freshman class pregnant at one time. We have parents who encourage (yes, really) their students to fight and tell them they don't need to respect anyone but their family. Sometimes you have a class made of 50% of these kinds of students. How would it be fair to evaluate a teacher on their growth when they and their family clearly have little or no value to education.

    What most of you don't realize is that research shows that intelligence is formed by age 3. CPS had a backlog of THOUSANDS of evaluations for early childhood special education because so many 3 year olds were unprepared. We have teenagers having babies and they have no clue how to even read a book to them or play with them. It's extremely sad the state of affairs the city's poorest neighborhoods are in. If intelligence and school readiness is formed by age 3, how can teachers be blamed and evaluated for what happens after that?

    Many teachers went to school thinking they would teach in front of a class and everything would be great. Teaching, at least in CPS, is nothing like what you remember your wonderful suburban education to be. I know, I grew up in the suburbs and went to a great school. I can honestly say that when I started college, I had NO idea that this is the kind of conditions I would be working in.

    These teachers are your sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters. We are the ones you sent off to college not so long ago and we were so hopeful and idealistic. Can you trust our judgment that what Rahm is doing is not right, is not in the best interests of kids? I hope so.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Heidi

      Thank you for stating how tough it is in some school.
      I support the teachers!!!!

      September 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Joy5555

      This is extremely unfortunate and sad, and I appreciate you putting it into words.

      You care about the kids of chicago, I care about the kids of chicago ... we both want this horrible situation you described to change. I believe Rahm can do it. He's a democrat going against the Unions (Unions are part of the Democratic platform). He wants what you want. Let him help you. Don't strike. Work directly with Rahm. Tell him about your school and that you want to help. Set up a website that encourages parents and other Chicagoans to donate supplies to your classroom. Encourage two parents to come in daily to your class to help regulate the children. I am a parent, and I want to help you. You are not powerless. Create a blog and donate the extra 10% raise you're going to get over the next three years, and ask Rahm to put it towards limiting classroom size. Make a stink about it and say that this is who a Chicago teacher really is. She/He are people who really do care, and want to help the city make this system work.

      The fact still remains that the strike is about two issue – evaluations and rehiring. These two minor issues can easily be resolved if the Union wanted to resolve them. The strike is not the answer. Unfortunately, the Union don't want to compromise; teachers are caught in the middle. You sound like a good teacher. If you are working at a very poor school and lose your job based on these evaluations, I think that the world is probably trying to tell you something. Perhaps, that you weren't meant for that school. I have the upmost confidence that you will find another job and quickly, and all good teacher's will. I've been layed off and I've found excellent (better) work. You will too. Let's work together for the kids and not put them out on the street. End the strike.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • tchrgrrl

        Are you kidding me?

        "He's a democrat going against the Unions (Unions are part of the Democratic platform)." So this is why you think he can change things, because he is going against the Union? Are you aware that the very school where Rahm sends his children does not use standardized testing to evaluate teachers, as Rahm suggests we do? In fact, here is a quote from them,
        " Measuring outcomes through standardized testing and referring to those results as the evidence of learning and the bottom line is, in my opinion, misguided and, unfortunately, continues to be advocated under a new name and supported by the current [Obama] administration.” So that's okay for Rahm's 20k/year school, but not our teachers?

        "He wants what you want. Let him help you. " No, sorry, he doesn't want what I want. Rahm has more of a Republican agenda. Are you aware that he gives tax money to charter schools, schools which RESEARCH shows do NO better than neighborhood schools, therefore, taking money away from neighborhood schools? People hear the word charter and they think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Have you done your research? Charters do not outperform neighborhood schools in Chicago. Period. Rahm's friend and campaign manager, Mr. Rangel, is also a rich profiteer of the UNO charter schools and oh, funny, Rahm appointed him to the city Board. Mr. Rangel makes hundreds of thousands of dollars as CEO of UNO charters and can now push his way into any neighborhood as he was now appointed, by Rahm, to the public buildings commission. Is that they type of cronyism you want for your city?

        "Set up a website that encourages parents and other Chicagoans to donate supplies to your classroom. Encourage two parents to come in daily to your class to help regulate the children." I am grateful there are many parents that want to help but unfortunately we need more of them. There are not enough parents to go around. Parents work, remember? A website, really? I am not an inexperienced teacher, I am aware of Donors Choose and I have applied for and successfully won classroom grants. But thanks for your simple solution. So 29,000 teachers are supposed to set up a website and you think you will get donations for 350,000 kids?

        " Make a stink about it and say that this is who a Chicago teacher really is." Ummmmmm....that's what we are doing. Unfortunately, the mayor entered negotiations 10 months ago. He did not listen then, so maybe he will listen now. .

        "You sound like a good teacher. If you are working at a very poor school and lose your job based on these evaluations, I think that the world is probably trying to tell you something. Perhaps, that you weren't meant for that school. I have the upmost confidence that you will find another job and quickly, and all good teacher's will. I've been layed off and I've found excellent (better) work. You will too. " Are you serious? I don't want another job, as poor as it is, I love the kids and community. The kids learn from me, they tell me that. How many teachers do you think you can find that are willing to work in the inner city? Stop kidding yourself.

        September 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  22. Kathy

    I admit to having mixed feelings about the teaching profession and I am offering this as respectfully as I can, not to add to the dog pile, but perhaps to give you a different perspective.

    With respect to compensation, I do think that the levels of compensation are perceived as high given the other benefits of the job. Teachers do get significant holidays that other professions don't enjoy. The 2 weeks at Christmas and the 1 week spring break is often more than most people get in a year, and most teachers I know are out of the school by the end of June and not back in again until mid-late August, giving them 6-8 weeks off in the summer. They also have one of the most generous pension plans in working world (partially funded by tax payers) with an early retirement option, and generous personal and sick leave (and some still have carry overs which I think is out of step with the real world). And that doesn't even touch on issues of job security and non-merit based pay raises. So even assuming a teacher works full time for half the summer (4 weeks), on planning or in courses, that average CPS salary for 44 weeks work is a good wage.

    So I don't know given those economic realities for the state and for most families, that there is an easy way to muster much public sympathy for the idea that teachers work hard for too little pay. Pay freezes have been pretty common for many of the businesses I know of in the last 2-3 years. I don't know that it reasonable for public sector workers to avoid these real market conditions. I'd like to be educated on the teachers' arguments against this particular situation, but tbh I haven't come across much that sways me.

    Now, I'm not negating that they work hard. They absolutely do. And I would rather stick needles in my eyes than spend the day with 25 children who are not mine. I am SOOO not cut out to be a teacher. I completely admire the skill sets, patience and passion that allow teachers who are good at their jobs to do the amazing things they do. I have even more respect for those teachers who manage to hold back the curriculum and testing and the shortcomings of the system to allow kids to maintain control over and love for their own learning, and for those teachers who truly are a port in the storm for troubled or struggling kids
    But here's where I really run into trouble sorting out my feelings. I see teachers who position themselves (individually and collectively) as responsible for a child's education and along the same lines, to be experts on all things related to children and/or parenting. There is a presumption of power and influence among teachers that I am not sure is warranted and that perspective diminishes or negates the immense and important learning that can/does outside of a teacher's jurisdiction. I see the kind of learning my own children do, of their own volition, through interactions in their community, through satisfying their curiousity, through daily living. I'm not a teacher by any stretch and yet my kids have an extremely rich education. So I bristle at the idea that teachers hold primary responsibility for our children's education, when children have an immense ability to education themselves, and true learning often comes through experiences of a child's own choosing.

    My other concern is that I also very often come across teachers who judge parents based on whether or not they are willing to support the system, or the system's expectations for the child, and forget (or perhaps have never understood) that academics is just one small portion of what a child needs. I was an awful school parent. I refused to do reading logs because they sucked the joy out of reading for my advanced reader, and it was obvious that he read extensively. His attendance was not great because his education was better served by a trip to the ROM and his spirit was better served by a hike in the woods with his gran than sitting in a classroom. I argued against a system and with a teacher who refused to take the time to see and know my quirky kid, whose flippant remarks deeply wounded him, and whose entrenched ways of doing things in the classroom despite the fact that they did not work for the students' best interests, caused a number of kids, including mine, real distress. I know I was judged poorly as a parent because the teacher told me so directly, and because I hear my friends and siblings who are teachers make similar judgements based on similar parameters. I know that made the teacher's job more challenging, but frankly, that wasn't my primary concern. To hear many teachers talk, it should have been. But imo that leaves the child and his/her needs out of the equation.

    I have been blessed with some extraordinarily wonderful teachers in my life, for whom and to whom I am extremely grateful – teachers who have changed my life. I have also have teachers who ranged from mediocre to physically and verbally abusive – and many of those teachers have also changed my life. My oldest (the only one of my kids to go to school) had one absolutely fabulous caring engaged teacher who did everything she could to make school a place he wanted to be and where he could thrive. And a second one who, in plain sight and hearing of other teachers, yelled at my bright, sensitive, overwhelmed 6 year old with such vitriol that when I stepped between her and my son I was not sure I would be able to contain my own anger. His crime was that he didn't want me to leave him with her. I wonder why. She's still teaching, at the same school and I have heard a number of similar reports from friends whose kids still attend that school.

    So when I add these two things together – the presumption and the judgement, and couple them with the wage issue, I can see why teachers collectively may not get the respect that they deserve individually.

    We need reasoned, respectful discussions. The vast majority of teachers are not lazy, not by a long shot. They work hard for their money and put a lot into their jobs and their training. But they are not the only profession which does, although it seems they (collectively) think that way at times. I am salaried, but I often work more than an 8 hour day with no Comp or Overtime, and often am called at home, answer eamils, prepare briefs, etc. On what would be considered "my time". That is part of the salaried construct.
    Teachers are an important influence in our children's lives and their overall education, but they are not the only, and often not even the most important ones. They are an important part of our children's community, but they need to be careful not to hold themselves in too high esteem with respect to their positions, because many many others who give/volunteer their time to do very similar things to teachers. Coaches, guide and scout leaders, parents also dedicate themselves to connecting, inspiring, guiding and teaching young people, without training and without pay.

    So when I add these two things together – the presumption and the judgement, and couple them with the wage issue, I can see why teachers collectively may not get the respect that they deserve individually. I'm sorry that it affects you. I do think teachers deserve respect and support for the work they do, but I think we need to be careful that it doesn't morph into an expectation for reverence which is neither appropriate or helpful.
    Hitting submit and hoping this is taken in the spirit it is offered.

    September 12, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Steve

      I think your reply was very well stated and with a great deal of merit. Nice job Kathy!

      September 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • parent-educator

      Kathy, I hear you say that you value teachers, but that they're not, in your opinion, the primary means for your child's education. That you find the school environment too regimental for your exceptional child. Why don't you simply homeschool your child? You can hardly expect the benefits of a typical school environment and then complain about the ways teachers must organize their methods and schedules in order to serve the entire classroom. I'm guessing that you inadvertently communicated your ambivalence to your child, and then the teacher was left to deal with the fallout. Admittedly, it's dificult to share our children with educators who can assume positions of prominence in their lives. But you seem conflicted about what you want - for both your child and yourself.

      September 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Joy5555

      Kathy –

      Thank you for your reply. There are exceptional teachers. In fact, most teachers are exceptional, but not all teachers.

      It is my belief that we need to get rid of the Lemons in the same way that my company let's go of dead weight. Teachers make a good salary in Chicago, and are not held accountable. We need a way to hold them accountable (make it 30% test scores and 70% evaluations from admins and parents ... this would replace the current 40+% that the school board is currently offering), and then we need to show our teachers (the remaining good teachers) all the love that they deserve because most of them are very very special humans. Give the teacher's the 2% raises that the private sector knows and loves these days, take the remaining money and put it towards reducing class size. Set up a CPS drive for school supplies, or step-by-step instructions for teachers to set up their own drive – make a website ... I'll make it for you free of charge..... I am a parent and I would donate in a heartbeat. AND for god's sake ... let the principal and not the Union choose who to hire. This isn't Candyland ... that's how it's done in the real world.

      I truly believe this strike is wrong, and I believe it's the Union who isn't cooperating .. the media is making that obvious to us parents. We've had the wool pulled over our eyes by the propaganda put out by the Union over the past 6 months. When the Unioin looks bad, unfortunately the teachers look bad even when they are kept in the dark. I want to hear the collective teachers' opinions ... not the Union's. If I were a teacher, I would write to Rahm and tell him that I want to go back to work and that I don't support the Union. I would ask Rahm how I could help.

      I love good teachers. I really do. Let's look at this from a fresh perspective.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Deanna

      Very meaninful and touching!

      September 14, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  23. Jon

    $70,000 plus a year.....I see why they don't have enough money for school supplies!!!!!

    September 12, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • John

      Actually $70,000/year plus awesome benefits (large pension, have three months off a year, etc.) The teachers are spoiled and are selfish when it comes to caring about the students. The private sector holds employees' accountable to worker performance. However, the CTU and Nat'l teacher union thinks they are above everyone else and don't have to be held accountable for their poor quality teachers. The stats don't lie, 40% of CPS students drop out of high school!!!!!
      Millions are out of work and the economy is very shaky yet teachers want more guaranteed money and more benefits. Greedy teachers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      September 12, 2012 at 11:45 am |
      • Joseph Zrnchik

        Yeah, right. The private sector really held the insurance companies accountable for leveraging credit default swaps, that why the American taxpayer is on the hook for $14 trillion dollars. And the private sector is really held accountable when big pharma gets legislation written to protect them from lawsuits when they make medicines that harm people. And, the private sector is really held accountable when they engage in torture and wiretapping and the government then writes legislation to protect and hide their crimes. And the private sector really held banks accountable for giving out subprime loans. And the private sector was really held accountable for the frauds it has perpetrated upon the American people as it created toxic derivatives, sold them as AAA and then short-sold them in an insider trading scheme that cost workers their entire pension fund for all their workers. And when Halliburton built showers where soldiers were electrocuted, it seems nobody was held accountable then. And when Bush insider traded his failing Harkin Oil shares to a Saudi prince, there was really accountability there, huh? Ans when Blackwater when on murdering rampages and slaughtered children, yeah, that was real accountability. And when Enron, WorldCom, Bears Stearns, Goldman Sachs all destroyed capital, they were all held accountable, huh? And all the fraud in Iraq, these guys were all held accountable, right? You corporatists have looted and destroyed everything you got your hands on and now you want to do that with education. Destroying the entire middle class and their pension funds wasn't enough. I got a great idea, let's have all the teachers go back to school and teach kids about the importance of violent revolution and assassinating war criminals who commit crimes against humanity. And, let's explain to them how to undertake jury nullification to end government tyranny and protect those who would stand up against a criminal elite. The argument for rule by the elite is always what it has been. Every generation of ruling elites swears the world needs them. This has been the great Hobbsian lie that has come down through the ages. The truth is the elites have destroyed great numbers of humanity and impoverished billions.

        September 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
      • Bouge

        I;m an HR professional and the private sector isn't that much better. How many of you even take your perfromance evealuations seriously? It takes forever to get employees to do their self evaluations and let's not mention the managers who wait until the last moment. Then you have strong performers, who didn't make buddy buddy with the right folks, get caught up in a lay-off while the employee who never produced anything get's to kee their job. Oh wait, cuz they play golf with the manager on the weekends. Please don't try and act like corporate america is a great model for evaluating performance. How would you like it if an HR person, whom you never interacted with, had to write your review, which determined your increase/bonus, cuz your manager was too lazy to do so??? Yes, I've been in that situation before.

        September 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
      • Bouge

        Sorry for my typos.

        September 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  24. Nearly a TEacher

    I can see both sides. Both are wrong, both are right.

    Teachers need to realize that CPS nor any other school district gets to print their own money, nor do they work with and unlimited checking account. In the current economy, most municipalities are running in the red... deeply. They just cannot afford to just hand over what the unions want anymore like they could just over 10 years ago. More than 75% of a school disticts budget is teacher salaries. (this can vary greatly from district to district.) At some point, CTU members need to realize, they are asking for the stars that just cannot be reached. (oh and guess what, Salaried employees are paid to get the job done. Time is not a factor in the thinking. So, if it takes you 40 hours, lucky you, 30, really lucky... 50+... well, you need to work harder don't you (though most Salaried positions are planned to break even at about 50 hours weekly))

    Teaching is not an easy job. You are dealing with a large number of students who are disrespectful, and really would rather be sitting at home in front of their TV's playing their XBoxes and Playstations. The parents are too busy (really busy in single parent homes) trying to make ends meet to really care what trouble their little Susies and Johnny's are doing. I will agree, that judging teachers by test scores done by students who don't give a damn, does not work. But really, what else is there? We have politicians in charge of education, and let's face it, everything they touch breaks soon thereafter.

    From what I can see, CTU needs to realize that CPS is just stuck in the middle between their demands, that they cannot meet not because they don't want to, but because they simply can't, and the government agencies that are making demands about performance of schools (both federal and state level). CPS is in a no win situation.

    Really, fixing school problems is not easy. It is made worse at the shear size of the CPS system. Unions really are the biggest problem to fixing problem schools. CPS should probably break the city into 7-8 smaller districts where the union no longer has as much total power over the entire city...

    September 12, 2012 at 3:23 am |
  25. cat

    Hey parents, why not "home school" you kid during the strike. Oh, does that sound like too much work, are you missing the "babysitting service" of the public schools? It's easy to complain, do nothing and now get angry when you're inconvenienced ..... if you have not been involved to help you school & teachers before now then shame on you and shut up.

    September 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • dubbs

      Who should quit their job, mom or dad?

      September 12, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Jon

      If you ask the majority of teachers why they teach, they will say that it's for the kids that they care so much about. It sure doesn't look like it in this case. I think that $70,000 plus a year is more than enough. I wish I could make that and not have to work a full day or a full year. Sounds to me that the teachers only care about making themselves rich instead of helping the kids. I don't see them out protest the low test scores!!!!!

      September 12, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • bay

      Ok! If I'm gonna home school my kid then don't make me pay over $5k/yr for property tax for your publics school system. Btw my child is two years old and I'm planning to sent her to private or charter school. I work in private company and can't seem to believed why people can retire after working only 25yrs for a fking union/govt job. I know life is not fair but that is
      totally out of this world.

      September 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
      • whitman30

        Wow, only 5k in the city of Chicago??? You must live in a more urban setting with many of the difficulties mentioned. Two, you very well know that all of that money doesn't go to the teachers or schools; it is split up amongst all the governmental needs of your neighborhood and if you are only paying 5k, you have lots of fire and police needs, which is why their salary is also high as they have to live in the city too. You forget that they also pay the same taxes you do, so maybe based on your argument, since they teach, they shouldn't pay property taxes either.

        September 16, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • sara

      you are mis-informed Cat. As the parent of a child attending CPS I am not inconvenienced because I dont' have child care, my children are being disadvantaged by not being in school. You have it all wrong. Don't believe the news reports. There are many parents, like me, who are managing the situation and not complaining about having to manage their days without school in session. I don't support the strike or the teachers. We will wait this strike out. However long it takes to get CTU to be reasonable, I will wait. Oh, and by the way, the smart parents like me are "schooling" their children during the strike. So now I have 2 jobs. My full time job (from which I can't strike because I live in the real world) and now I am my childrens' teacher. Some how I can get 2 jobs done on 1 salary.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • CPSParent

      I wish I could home school my kids, but my husband and I both have to work full time to keep our house and save for college. Juggling 2 work schedules, school and after school activity schedules is a challenge but we are praying to get back to that as opposed to what we are stuck with now, begging grandparents to watch our kids or begging our bosses to let us work from home until this ridiculous strike is over. There was no way we were sending our kids to the 3 ring circus of what CPS is attempting to keep kids off the streets for half days. Walking past angry picketers into a foreign school, not having any clue about the people who will be watching our kids? No way. It was a nice attempt by CPS but I can see why no one is using it. The bottom line is, we have a peeing contest between Lewis and Rahm, and our kids are the ones getting peed on. It's disgusting that they cannot get past their personal dislike for one another and compromise so we can get these kids back in school. These are two highly educated people who have been put in their positions by people who trust them to be professionals and do the right thing. I am not on either side. Lewis is dragging this out, changing her story every day as to what the issues are, and I swear she was dead set on striking no matter what, just to show Rahm she could do it. I feel like now she is trying to have the longest strike in history - wouldn't that be a claim to fame for her? At this point it seems we'll be lucky if our kids are done with school by the 4th of July next year - there seems to be no end in sight. I am mad, very mad. Karen and Rahm – please, just get this thing done – NOW.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • laurie5960

      Cat that is what I was thinking. I am a teacher and a parent. I loved doing things with my kids when they were small like museum trips, getting library books, taking things apart and putting them together, observing nature, making up songs or plays, learning math by cooking things. . Kids grow up fast so parents who are sitting around mad maybe need to smile and be the teacher.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  26. Tripmom92

    Let's look at the bottom line here.... the median income for US is $49,445 for state of Illinois is $50,761 for teachers in Chicago is $71,236.... sounds like these teachers are pretty well paid in the first place.
    These schools are broken and are failing our children but it's not just about spending more money. Look at homeschoolers... the average cost to homeschool with an accredited curriculim is about $800-$1000 and look at how well these students on average fair. Look at charter schools... like those in Washington DC - voucher cost $7500 verses public school cost of over $23,000. DC spends the most on public schools and test scores are among the worst in the nation. While those in the charter schools , the student are excelling. It's not just about spending more money.
    Until there is more parent responsibility and accountibility and student responsibility and accountibility there is not going to be any real reform or improvements our schools. Behavioral problems are one of the biggest issues.... here a thought.. hold the parents accountable for the action of their child... hit them where it will hurt most... the wallets. Fine the parents and or student for bad behavior and use that money to help defray school costs. UNtil we have changes with the parents and student there not a lot the most teachers can do. their hands are tied. You can't force a kid to learn.

    September 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • eileen

      This isn't southern Illinois. A teacher could live large on $50,000 in Edwardsville, IL but this is Chicago where there are 45 kids in some classes and where your tiny Condo cost over $60,000. Anyways the strike is bigger than the salary issues. Teachers are striking to improve conditions for school. Do you think that the school system is going to improve all my themselves? Do you think that the city will just give students and teachers what they need to be safe in there own classrooms. THIS IS NOT ABOUT SALARY ITS ABOUT IMPROVEMENT.

      September 12, 2012 at 12:11 am |
      • Howard

        The teachers WORK for the taxpayers. Period. The union has outlived its usefulness and should be disbanded.

        September 12, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  27. hilesh

    Whether you agree with the strike or not, I think there are some facts that are being blurred.

    First, the $76,000ish salary that is being referenced is the average of teachers salary. Chicago Public Schools employs around 25,000 teachers, up from around 21,000 in 2009. Last year, first-year teachers received $47,250 annually. If you had a master's degree you generally received an additional $3000 annually. If the average CPS teacher salary is around $76,000 and starting salaries are around $47K that suggests higher salaries for certain teachers (most likely those who have been teaching for longer periods of time).

    Second, all of the issues that have been part of the negotiations need to be addressed and seriously debated. Issues such as social services and nurses in the majority of schools, classroom size (specifically teacher to student ratio), and the teacher evaluation.

    Again, everyone has an opinion about all of these issues, including salary, but they need to be debated and discussed legitimately. Do you we need social services and nurses in every school? Are class sizes of 20 students realistic with the CPS budget? Can teachers handle 35-40 students in a classroom? What exactly is the teacher evaluation and how does it work?

    September 11, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  28. Unreal

    I am not a teacher nor am I a parent. I am a hardworking individual and I live in the city. I get up, I go to work every day and I pay my taxes. To argue that this is not about money is absurd. If it wasn't, compensation and benefits would not be a priority in this fight. I see where immediate fixes are needed in this (a/c for the classrooms, better resources, etc) but if those things were at all a priority, then why even mention the money or benefits that only help themselves. We live in a world where jobs are hard to come by right now. The parents of these students, a majority who can't afford to take days off or pay for unexpected childcare for their kids, are being massively inconvenienced by this strike. Some will possibly lose their own jobs in this fight. Neither side is thinking about the children nor are they thinking about the community as a whole. Many, many people have gone without raises, have lost benefits and have lost their jobs in these hard times. I understand and support unions but this is going overboard. Street closures, extra police protection and many other resources that have been used in the last 2 days will end up costing this city more than we can spare. Longer days... deal with it, most of this country does. Its called work. Respect...oh PLEASE...we are adults and we are in the real world. Stop crying about respect. Not many people leave the workday feeling fully respected. As for the issue of evaluations...why in the world shouldn't each teacher be evaluated? If you're doing your job then this point shouldn't bother you. While some issues should be handled at home, if a majority of students aren't learning then the common denominator may very well be the teacher. I don't expect to go to work, not do my job and blame everyone else for the fallout. The only ones losing in this are the children. This is putting them more behind and leaving families high and dry. This is a very self serving strike.

    September 11, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • CPS TEACHERS LOVE THEIR STUDENTS!

      You obviously have very little knowledge about the strike. Know the facts before you comment ... & if your boss asked you to work an extra hour and a half you would expect to get paid right? We don't wantmor, we just want what is fair!

      September 11, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
      • dubbs

        Yea you care and it shows. You have a dropout rate of about 50%. Get those folks a raise. They deserve it. What's funny is you could shift tax revenue from the high performing suburban schools, give the money to CPS and the results wouldn't change a bit.

        September 12, 2012 at 1:05 am |
      • Hmmm...

        ^^If this any indication of how our children are being taught then the evaluations definitely are not strong enough. This is a poorly constructed statement. Use proper spelling and sentence structure then tell me what a great job you're doing teaching!

        September 12, 2012 at 10:46 am |
      • CPS Mom

        Dear CPS Teacher- If my boss asked me to work an extra hour and a half, I would do so. I would not get paid extra. Salaried employees get paid for the job, not the time. I do not support this strike at all.

        September 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
      • A. Dixon

        It sounds like your issue is with the administration and Rahm and not really with sudents and parents...so how is a strike that keep's students out of school and requires that parent's "step in" and also play teacher FAIR? When someone hurts you, you don't go and punch a bystander in the face. Teacher's may feel wronged, but their punishment (i.e. strike) is not at all fair. You are not going to get what is "fair" by being unfair.

        September 12, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
      • A. Dixon

        I'm also in the same boat at CPS Mom – I'm saleried and I can work 6 hours or 60...I get the same amount of money...only health, no dental or vision :( 2 weeks vacation and 10 sick days.

        September 12, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • ha!

      Your position is, the world is a tough place and we should all just put up with it?! Sorry some of us have higher standards for ourselves, the people we choose to work for, and the future. Its okay for you to fight for what right and just. In fact it is a noble effort. Would you suggest we all just go home turn on the TV and ignore our family and the rest of lives until we are dead. I don't get people like you. Fight for something better! Live a little!

      September 12, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Not lazy

      100% agreed. I hope they all get fired and replaced by teachers that give a damn. How do u go into this career not knowing this is what you're gonna get. I don't work at a hospital because I don't like blood. If I didn't like being evaluated, expected to play nurse/counselor/teacher, and to use my own money for supplies I wouldn't teach k-12, but if I got paid 71k for it I wouldn't complain..... And if my boss asked me to work an hour and a half extra a day I would, and I wouldn't get paid for it Esther because I am salaried, just like cps teachers.

      September 12, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • Unreal

      TO CPS TEACHERS LOVE STUDENTS: I am quite in tune with the facts. I have dedicated a lot of time researching both sides and neither side is right in this but, at the end of the day, the only ones who suffer are the students and their families. I am a salaried worker and if I was asked to work extra, I would without complaint and I have many times in the 13 years I have been at my company. I am so grateful to be a part of the working force when so many are not nearly as fortunate. Also, it is not lost on me that the only thing you responded to was the money portion of my post. I think that speaks volumes in itself.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  29. Pugsy Stallone

    If you want to be treated as professionals, act like professionals! Stop dancing around and chanting on the picket lines for a start and act like adults. And while you're at it, Lewis is not helping your cause with the image she projects. Losing her can only help the cause. She can go help her sister on operation repo.

    Throwing the kids under the bus while talks were still ongoing is inexcusable. You should have stayed in the classroom and kept talking, at least for awhile longer or until there was no other choice.

    Speaking as a self-employed person, the safety net you are asking for is unrealistic. Nobody in the real world can even imagine tenured security, and the free markets would not run very well that way if slackers were kept on regardless of their merits. Propose a realistic evaluation system that will cut loose the dregs of the profession and we'll all get behind it.

    September 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Mr. Teacher

      Obviously you haven't been keeping up with this issue. Negotiations have been going on more than a couple days, more than a couple months.. if I'm not mistaken, it began last year. Unfortunately, this is the "no other choice." We went into a week of school without a contract. Teachers' contracts expired in July. Please don't tell us we're not being professionals. I'm sorry that we are trying to keep it light-hearted during our protests, but we have been talking.. for a long time. Would you want to work at a job where you had no formal contract with benefits and salary agreed upon? I think not.

      Also, you don't think we would rather be in our classrooms? I know I would definitely rather be in my classroom instead of protesting. This is my passion, but we need to make the environment more conducive to both teaching and learning. I was hired a week before school started. No curriculum, no budget. I spent the entire week asking for donations, getting m classroom ready, trying to get supplies, and setting up my year's plan. I would assume that most people wouldn't find teaching 25-45 students from 8:00-2:30 without a lunch or bathroom break in a 90 degree classroom with no air very pleasant. There are many issues out there..

      Lastly, the reason for tenure is to count for experience. Teaching is not a profession where day 1 you have all the skill sets you need to do your job. You need at least 5+ years to start a program, get to know your students and community. Teaching is much more than talking in front of smiling willing-to-learn pupils everyday. Please, be my guest and teach in the schools for one week to have some piece of mind.

      September 12, 2012 at 12:45 am |
      • dubbs

        The CPS system i would be joke if it wasn't so tragic. I really feel for anyone who is forced to enroll their kids there what chance do they have? Only government employees could fail this way and ask for a raise. I'm sure if parents were not both working more would home school. I don't think it would be possible for them to do any worse. Tenure based on what? The time for tenure has come and gone, it certainly has no place in primary education. Work for a couple of years, get tenure and coast to retirement, because it is impossible to fire garbage teachers.

        September 12, 2012 at 1:21 am |
      • Flubbs

        The reality of the "accountability debate" is that by evaluating teachers solely on academic performance (on standardized expectations for everyone, rather than individual academic growth), you are removing all accountability from students and their parents. If you want to evaluate teachers, judge them by their students' growth, but also start retaining students who do not make adequate growth. Then it would be fair. Don't listen to generalizations, such as those published by so-called "Dubbs.". They offer no solutions.

        September 12, 2012 at 7:25 am |
      • Hmmm...

        If the contracts expired in July then why not strike right then and there? Or in August? Why wait until school started to strike? Why put all these students and their families in possibe situations that will have some long term disadvantages? You know why... because you are all looking for attention. You're hoping to get your way by bullying andyou're using the children as your leverage. At the end of the day, you will most likely have your job. The parents who have to take time off because there is no other choice will quite possibly lose their jobs. You should all be so proud of yourselves.

        September 12, 2012 at 9:42 am |
      • Treasureisle

        I applaud you! It takes a strong person to be a teacher! I heard about this pending strike through a friend who teaches high school back in February. So when CPS acts like this is such a shock its comical! Plus the 90 degree rooms, is BS! My youngest just started KDG he also has Asthma I don't need to tell you the heat in the room has me worried all the time! Both my kids are soaked and thirsty when they leave school! Again I say the people mad are the ones that lost their baby sitters, and have no idea what the strike is about and have not taken the time to ask questions! Good luck to all the teachers and their families!

        September 12, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • laurie5960

      Ms Lewis is not taking Michelle Obama's advice about laying off the carbs and eating more veges. Just saying.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  30. colleen

    Parents should withdraw their kids and put them into the charter schools. Teachers work hard, yes, so does everyone else in america and guess what we all get fired if we can't perform.

    September 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Lakeview mom

      I agree! I think teaching is hard and tough important work. I believe they should get fair compensation. But I do not agree with their recall and giving laid off teachers first dibs and taking power from the principal. The principal must be allowed to assemble his/her team as they see fit and what works best for their school. And they shouldnt be forced to choose only from this one pool of people On this point CTU is being unrealistic. That's not how it works in the rest of the real world. The rest of us have to compete for our jobs against the best and brightest. Why shouldnt it be the same for them?

      September 11, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
      • colleen

        Completely agree- most of my family are teachers and they are great teachers- the problem is they lump themselves in with all the bad teachers. I always tell them–we're not talking about you–we're talking about the ones you complain about. What's the problem.

        September 11, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
      • MALIZNA

        This is all a joke... THE ONLY THING I can agree with is to get air conditioning and smaller class size... get rid of the useless union, and all the teachers that are striking.... Hire new ones, change all these schools into charter schools.... This is ridiculous...only our children are suffering...
        In any job in the world, you are evaluated by performance, if you suck at your job, you deserve to be fired, end of story... Job security is a thing of the past... I am sick of these teachers living in lala land....

        September 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
      • A. Dixon

        Colleen – THANK YOU!!!! I wish teacher's could see that! The goods ones and the bad are all lumped together by the union. They are trying to protect everyone (including bad teachers) and the public doesn't want that.

        I also want to add that in order to work for the public school system in many large cities (Oakland, San Francisco, Detroit) you MUST join the union... is that right? My partner didn't want to join the teacher's union, but had to in order to be considered for any public school teaching job, even though she had just finished her Master's at a very well-known college. How is that ok? I would love for a teacher to explain how forced participation in the teacher's union is fair to teachers?

        September 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Flubbs

      You wouldn't believe what crap many charter school out there are.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:26 am |
  31. K Morison

    I totally support CPS teachers. My son is a CPS student these last 7 years and he has an IEP due to disabilities. His teachers work in substandard conditions to help him learn and he is doing well. Shame on you Mayor Emanuel for your condescension and refusal to come to a deal quickly enough to avert this strike–your administration knew MONTHS ago of these issues that are so important to our teachers and kids both. I have been a volunteer for 25+ years in CPS and we never had a strike like this under Daley. Come to an agreement with the teachers teaching our kids–yours are in private education so you have little understanding of what the rest of us are experiencing in education. We believe in our teachers, we respect their opinions of wht is good for our kids since they, unlike you, work with our kids 7 hrs a day. Be a Mayor and come to agreement with our teachers' representive, the CTU.

    September 11, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • dubbs

      Totally agree, roll over give the union everything they ask for and let them continue to fail the kids.

      September 11, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  32. Sirius

    This is the only fact you need to know when it comes to standardized test accountability:

    The United States is the ONLY country in the WORLD that uses testing data PURELY for the purpose of evaluating teachers, principals, and schools with NO risk or reward on the part of the students or parents. Most students could care less about their scores, and most parents don't even see (much less understand) their kids' scores.

    You try going into a classroom and bust your hump trying to cram every standard into your students' head, then sit and watch in horror as one of your students finishes a 40-minute test in five minutes, while the one next to her is staring blankly with five minutes left and only one page done.

    Now we're cheapening the ACT by requiring all students to take it, when most of them have no reason or investment in it. When parents and students actually have some skin in the game, I'm sure CTU will start talking about shared responsibility.

    But, politically, no American politician wants to be the one that tells their taxpayers, "You need to be a responsible parent, and we'll reward/punish you depending on how good your kids score on a fill-in-the-bubble test." After all, how fair would that be to those poor taxpayers?

    September 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • dubbs

      Easy enough, tie the test to grade advancement. Done. You can't make parents participate sad fact is there are a lot of crap parents out there. Same with teachers. I can't believe this is the only profession in the country that doesn't have it's share of idiots and lazy people. Did you hear the stats on waiting for superman that pertained to how many teacher's lose their licenses compared to MDs or lawyers? It's almost impossible to get rid of bad teachers and the TEACHER's union refuses to police it's own. Why should it? Every bad teacher on the district dole is paying union dues. So you don't tie teacher's pay solely to standardized testing but it should be a part in order to keep districts honest. Anytime money is involved people will attempt to cheat the system. It's human nature.

      September 11, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
      • Flubbs

        You derive your data from "Waiting for Superman"? How sad. I suggest that you do a little research – actual research – before embarrassing yourself online.

        September 12, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Joy5555

      Sirius –

      Testing isn't perfect – I agree with you on that point. When you get to the details of the contract that the CTU is negotiating however, they haven't put forth a good alternative to the current accountability proposal. Teachers DO need to be accountable; we all need to be held accountable at our jobs. In New Jersey, the Govenor is using evaluations to hold NJ teacher's accountable. Supposedly, at CPS 97% of teachers had EXCELLENT evaluations. That's ludicrous. In a standard private sector job, very few people receive "excellent" on their evaluations. Excellent is reserved for those who go outside of their job description, and above and beyond to excel in their profession. So, we can't use the current CPS evaluation process because it is broken. What does the Union propose to use instead of test scores or evaluations – ??? It doesn't sound like they have an answer. They are on strike ... they need an answer. I think it should be 1/3 testing, 1/3 evaluations, and 1/3 parents and administration. Or something of the sort. I think what is frustrating in this third day of negotiations, is that the Union doesn't have answers.

      And, I also want to mention the other issue that is keeping the teachers on strike. Does the Union/CPS choose who to hire (aka teachers recently out of work), or does the principal decide who to hire? To me and most anyone who run a business, the person who is accountable needs to do the hiring. 1/4 of a managers job is to get the right people on the bus in the right positions. You can't run a company without the principal choosing who he or she is going to hire.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
      • Joy5555

        Did I mention that the current proposal from CPS is that less than half of a teacher's evaluations would be based on testing. (Rahm is not proposing that the entire evaluation be based on testing.) To me that number is a little high. Bring it down to 30-35%. The Union could do this, and my guess is that CPS would agree to it.

        CPS Parent

        September 12, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  33. dubbs

    What did the news report? The # of CPS students who can't pass standardized tests in math and english is north of 70% and they want a raise? So 30% passing is worth a raise I guess that's what they are saying. The union doesn't care about the kids, just the teachers, that's why it's the TEACHER'S union and not the STUDENT'S union. Maybe if your kids pay dues they would work for you a bit as well. So sad. Perfect example of why upper middle class flee the city and you want to take our property taxes and redistribute it in this pit? We pay more per pupil than ever and we keep falling further and further behind in world standards. The teacher's union keeps parroting the same tired lines. "We need more money" and "Standardized tests are biased and don't prove anything". Garbage, math is math, you know how the solve for y or you don't and being Black or White doesn't change that fact.

    September 11, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Uniquemanil

      http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-07-16/news/ct-met-cps-isat-20120716_1_state-test-scores-ausl-noncharter

      Please see the article for the fact. Thank you.

      September 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
      • dubbs

        I did. Thank you.
        Seventy-nine percent of the 8th graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade-level proficient in reading, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.

        Read more: http://times247.com/articles/chicago-public-schools-have-abysmal-test-scores#ixzz26E5ZdO2n

        Pathetic.

        September 12, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • uniquemanil

      Please do not conduct any personal attack. The last line is really unnecessary. I searched the information from Chicago Tribune, which is a local newspaper, you searched the information from Washington News, I am not saying which resources is more accurate, and this goes to me also, to believe anyone report any statistic results, we need to examine its validity.

      Again, any personal attack is merely unnecessary. We are all in here for a healthy debate, and I hope everyone can all understand that. Thank you.

      September 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
      • dubbs

        Uniquemanil, sorry if you took the pathetic to mean you, I was referring to the scores. If the majority of 8th graders can't read or do math at grade level when was the last time they could? How long has the system been failing them? Has economic desegregation ever been attempted? Neighborhood kids might not go to the same schools and it involves lots of buses but why not take the super poor low performing kids from bad neighborhoods, break them up and send slices to better performing schools. You do the same with the kids in the better performing schools. I think that might help with the culture of fail that some inner city schools can't break out from under. It probably wouldn't work due to Not In My Back Yard. People paying massive property taxes in the burbs don't want to hear about busing their kids into the city. If we don't fix this problem it will continue indefinitely. I really don't believe the union has the power to fix anything. That's not their job. The exist to protect and expand teacher compensation.

        September 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
      • Co teacher

        Dubbs, your proposal is strictly illegal by anti-segregation laws. Absurd, right? The laws meant to dissipate de jure segregation practices are now the same laws enabling de facto segregation. Not to mention the cost of a complex web of bus routes that would need to be formed.

        September 15, 2012 at 3:45 am |
  34. Vicki

    Ok,so the teachers get evaluated on the results of student test scores. Some people think it is the teachers fault for the poor test scores and they should be penalized for it. How can the system weed out good teachers from the poor teachers when the family unit is failing the children and the teachers have to take full responsibility of the children's success. Some teachers go to school to get Master Degrees and yes they should be paid more for the education. I agree that the poor teachers should be weeded out but standardized testing is not the answer unless the system can fix problems within the families. How are they going to do that?

    September 11, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Steve

      I think the problem with our children starts with the family. I cannot blame teachers entirely for a student's success. Parents need to take responsibility, put on their big boy pants, and teach their children good values. These include respect of parents AND teachers. Kids these days do not respect ANYONE. Bottom line.....this is poor parenting. Respectful children will make all the difference in the world. Teachers will enjoy their work when they have respect from their students and parents. IT ALL STARTS AT HOME.....wake up people.
      Teachers should also respect the tax payers and be glad they even have a job at all. What private sector industry do any of you know of that is offering a 16-30% raise in this economy? If you don't like your job, and think you are underpaid, by all means, you have the option to go find a better job. Just don't expect tax payers to dig into their pockets to help you.

      September 11, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
      • Denise

        for the past 10 years, teachers raises have been 1/4% to 1% per year for wage increases. However, the co-pays for health insurance have risen more than the raise, so take home pay is lower than 5 years ago.

        September 11, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  35. LL

    I am a special education teacher. I work at least 10 hours a days because it would be impossible to provide my students with a quality individualized education otherwise. I am highly educated with a double masters and Nationally Board Certified because I want to implement current best practices to have the greatest impact on my students. Most of my professional development takes place during the summer. I spend a minimum of 1000.00 per year of my own money to subsidize the resources CPS provides my classroom because it is a necessary and I view it as a part of my professional obligation. I am not complaining. I feel fortunate. One thing I think is worthy of fighting over is the inequality between schools in the suburbs and CPS? How can a nation of civilized people allow this to go on. I urge you to look at many CPS schools and compare them to Evanston schools. The difference is shocking. Furthermore, the inequality exists within CPS schools.

    September 11, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • heyheynow

      why evanston? makes no sense ... Evanston is not chicago - how about compare your schools and salaries and cost of living to LA and NYC? makes more sense.

      September 11, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
      • LL

        I think it's fair to compare all school across the country in regards to resources. Our schools are not equal. I use Evanston as an example because I am familiar with district 65. I also mentioned the inequality that exists within CPS schools. It is not a surprise that the schools with more resources have higher test scores. I'm not sure why poverty is not being discussed in this whole issue. I feel an obligation to strike for better conditions for children in the less affluent neighborhoods. Then comes the issue of how we can evaluate teachers fairly. For instance, my own children had the benefit of learning to read before they even started school. My children's teachers should be paid more than teachers of children who come from less fortunate beginnings?

        September 11, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Joy5555

      LL, You sound like a really good teacher, and I just wanted to write to say thank you. –CPS Parent

      September 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • A. Dixon

      Totally with LL...if we want smart and skilled students, they must all begin on equal footing. This IS a real issue, this IS a strike-able issue. If CTU was striking because of inequalities in the funding of schools, then I would support them 100%. Solving the issue of inequality in the funding of schools is a REAL solution to some of the issues that public school teachers face. This is going to help a lot more teachers than a pay raise.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  36. Treasureisle

    First off I am a parent of 2 CPS students, and I support the teachers 100% . Most people who are angry over the strike are ones that lost their baby sitter and secondly have not taken the time to ask questions on WHY they are striking! Not getting a raise that is owed to you from last year, longer days vacation pay taken away days added that's just a small portion. How can you hold teachers accountable for every students progress? When you have many parents a home that do ZERO to help their children along! Let's also ask the question where is the millions of $$$$$ the state of Illinois owes CPS?? This city we live in is governed by crooks and a useless mayor. Pretty pathetic he was at the big Obama convention front row when his teachers were on the brink of the strike. Most teachers work damn hard for their money I've had teachers call me at home at 7 pm STILL AT SCHOOL WORKING!! Also why is it that most people work their day of work then go home, but teachers are suppose to eat sleep and drink our kids? Bottom line its a JOB and if things a presented unfairly then you must fight for what is rightly deserved!

    September 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • tammy

      I am a teacher in Florida. Thanks for your words about teachers. We really work hard. Florida lives a similar situation about education than Chicago. I support Chicago teachers!
      Tammy

      September 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
      • bay

        I told all my employee if u don't like ur job the door is open and no one will hold you back.

        September 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  37. Love2Teach

    I think this is insensitive to the students and community they serve. I am a Head start teacher with a Bachelor of Science degree and working on a Master's of Art degree and only paid 22,000 a year. Where is the teacher's Union for me?

    September 11, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  38. Mary Markey

    Americans should expect their cbildren to learn analytical thinking skills. No Child Left Behind is barely doing this. Why aren't parents concerned that the current curriculum is substandard?

    September 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • April

      When my twins first started kindergarten a couple of years back I was concerned that their inability to focus during the day would inhibit their ability to succeed in the years to come. I brought these concerns to their teachers and one teacher had the nerve to tell me that she had never held back a student in her 22 years of teaching. Is that really something to be proud of? Either she is the world's greatest teacher or the well being of the students overall success is not of the utmost importance. Just because a child can pass test does not make them ready to move forward. As a child who was held back in kindergarten I firmly believe that a childs ability to succeed is dependent on how well they do in that first year of school. No child left behind is a failure to our children.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  39. Uniquemanil

    The fight is not only for the compensation. I really think people need to get the facts before making judgement. OK, since people here are so narrow minded talk about compensation....why don't you ever complain about doctors and lawyers or those business people who earn more than 150,000....teachers require at least bachelor education, and required to pass at least two tests to become a teacher. The average salary is to average tenure and new teachers. Well, let's go dig it up the first year doctors or lawyers or business people. Few months ago we were just talking about teachers were under paid. Don't be fool by the "average" salary, and don't compare teaching as regular profession...One more time, it is not only fight for the compensation, there are so much need to fix in education system..and I just think teachers were not being RESPECT.....deep thought.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Suraiya Shaik Ali

      Your defense of teachers gives me the impression that you are a teacher. If you are a teacher, you are a prime example of why students are failing! Your English Language is horrible, and your logic flawed. To compare a teacher obtaining a Bachelors, and passing two tests, the Praxis 1 and Praxis II or state equivalence, to what is required of a doctor and a lawyer shows how "narrow" minded you are. Actually, the accurate word is ignorant. Let's see, between bad English, flawed logic and simple ignorance, you are not fit to be a teacher!
      Now let's put it in perspective here. There are thousands of people unemployed and most definitely more qualified than you or the majority of teachers in public education! So guess what, Uniquemanil? Go ahead and strike; "Let the chips fall where they may"!

      September 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
      • Cmoney

        who do you think teaches doctors to become doctors? Teachers influence all professions...without teachers there would be no doctors no lawyers, just ignorant people walking around ... Honestly how can you say doctors are anything without the instruction from quality teachers. Think before you type people

        September 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
      • Uniquemanil

        Whether I am a teacher or not is not the point. I am merely expressing my opinions just like you did. Whether my English is not met your standards is not the key point, again, I am merely expressing my opinions. So, I think any personal insult is really unnecessary, and it also reflects the characteristics of person when we expressed our comments.
        I do accept that to compare teachers' salary with doctors' or lawyers' is a little bit dramatic. I then do ask why do we keep hearing people said that we should pay teachers like we are paying doctors or lawyers. So I admit that I did make a wrong comparison, for that, I withdrawal what I stated in the last comment.
        We are here discussing issues, so personal's opinions need to be respected. I just hope that before we make any judgement, we need to collect all the facts, and consider for every side's perspectives. The compensation is not the key point that both sides is arguing about, there are many issues needed to be discussed.
        To Ms. Ali, I hope the usage of English meet your standard :-)

        September 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Mary71

      Ummm....you're really comparing a teacher to a doctor? Wow...just wow.

      September 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • A. Dixon

      A few things....
      1. Doxctors and lawers are not public workers. They work for the private sector. They also have a level of professionalism that teachers do not. By this I mean to be a doctor or lawyer takes a lot of work. You need an M.d., you need a J.D. Teacher's have not come up with standards for their own profession. Doctors and lawyers also have a pretty strict evaluation and certification process. They must be evaluated and re-certified (which means additional education standards must be met) on a yearly to tri-yearly basis. Also, if a doctor or lawyer goes on strike, they get replaced because no doctor's or lawyers union is large enough to put the brakes on a majors city's medical or legal sector.

      Teacher's have it hard...but again, they are not the only people who have a hard job. The difference is many teachers seem to think they are the only people with difficult jobs and that is not the case.

      If so much more is needed to fix the system, then why are compensation and evalutaion issues the only issues that CTU seems to be willing to strike over. If CTU recieved the compensation it wants and teacher evaluations were taken off the table, would their still be a strike or would teachers be willing to go back in the classroom once all their needs are met?

      September 12, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • laurie5960

      But they go into the profession knowing that. It is to some a calling.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:20 am |
      • Mary71

        Funny you should bring that up. Teachers who teach at my childrens' catholic school are the ones who see teaching as their calling. They work for less than half of what cps teachers make. They also receive an 18 page annual review. They aren't complaining...they're teaching.

        September 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  40. Kris Hudson

    They are not fighting over salary. Currently they are paid by performance if 54% of their class passes. They are fighting to have it lowered to 28%. The union rep stated on local television that 30% of the teachers in CPS will lose their jobs if this standard isn't lowered. So what?!? They want guaranteed employment, salary and raises for passing 28% of their students? I hope the mayor doesn't give in to this nonsense.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Bill

      In some cases, you will need a miracle to pass 28%. If parents like you start getting more involved in your child's education, maybe teachers will have a chance.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
      • Suraiya Shaik Ali

        If it is the parents' responsibility to educate their children, what do we need schools and teachers for?

        September 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • Suraiya Shaik Ali

        BTW, Bill I am an educator who believes I should be held accountable for my students' performance. And to expect less than 50% student achievement via various methods of assessment is to expect mediocrity from me; and that my dear sir, is not acceptable even to myself!

        September 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
      • A. Dixon

        If passing 28% of the class is a miracle...then there is a problem and the solution is not to lower the standards or the pass rate. A 28% pass rate needs to be addressed by the teachers, parents, administration and school board. A 28% pass rate is not doing any favors to 72% of those students.

        September 12, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
      • Lisa

        I was starting to respect Suraiya Shaik Ali's point of view until he revealed his lack of wisdom. Are you kidding? You don't think parents have a role in the education of their children? You are part of the problem.

        September 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  41. HV

    It is perfect time to Start "Khan Academy "
    Let school give labtop to kids to study, hire new graduates who are lookin for job who can be great.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  42. Catherine

    How about this – CPS makes decisions based on what is best for children rather than politics – Teachers go back and teach to each child's best individual ability – Principals support their teachers and give them the aid so your teachers can be at their best for the children – Parents make an effort to get their children to school and give them the support needed to do their best in school- Be fully present in their lives – Students do your best and find something in school that inspires you. Very simple if everyone does what they are suppose to do then life would be great – right – Oh I forget we are human and we love drama – Well put the drama down for once and – FIX THIS DAMN PROBLEM SO OUR CHILDREN CAN GO BACK TO SCHOOL AND GET A GOOD EDUCATION FOR ONCE!

    September 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  43. Mary71

    There are 2 teachers in my family. They each make $72,000. My sister in law makes $59.00/ hr to teach pre school.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Really?

      Where? Name the school.

      September 12, 2012 at 12:42 am |
      • Mary71

        Guggenheim, which closed this year due to poor performance and Richard Henry lee.....so yes....really. I have looked up their names since their salaries are public record. What now?

        September 12, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • naitoose

      If someone made $59.00 an hour, that would be 122,720 per year for a forty-hour workweek. Your sister-in-law may be well the highest paid preschool teacher in the nation, but considering if she is a good teacher that she must work many hours outside the classroom to prepare her lessons, develop curriculum and materials, keep records and perform student evaluations, engage in continuing education, communicate with students, parents, colleagues, and administrators, etc. ~ I'd say that's only fair compensation, in my opinion. I teach preschool in Georgia, and I make around $9.00 an hour, so I have a hard time believing your assertion, but I surely hope you're right.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:29 am |
      • Mary71

        I believe it's for the hours she's in the classroom which is 30.5 or something close to that. She makes $72,000/ yr.

        September 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  44. Bob Sullivan

    Chicago Teachers are the most over paid under worked people on this entire planet. Ronald Reagan showed everyone what to do – order them back to work or fire them if they don't show up. He ran the entire air traffic control system (a much harder job) without any incident. Looking at the results that Chicago Teachers produce (greater than 50 percent failure rate) it would be very easy to replace all of these lazy overpaid people.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • AA

      Mr. Sullivan, I am a CPS school guidance counselor and I can tell you that this is not about pay at all. This is completely about principle. Ronald Reagan did not fix this country, and to say that is completely ludicrous. I am tired of people from the republican party, like Mitt Romney, crushing unions. If we did not have unions working people would not have rights. Also, it is really ignorant to say that you are going to fire all of the teaching professionals across the city. Are you serious? Do you know what we face everyday? I agree that we need to be evaluated but give us a say in authoring our evaluation system. The media has it COMPLETELY WRONG. They did not ask us how we were to be evaluated. The classrooms are overcrowded and there is no air conditioning. Kids are sleeping in hallways of buildings and being abused everyday. There is one social worker for 4,500 students at our school. Yes, we should not be complaining about our job but we need resources and we are not getting them. You don't ask a surgeon to conduct surgery in a room that has asbestos and is falling apart without a surgical tools, right? This is what is happening to us. Frankly I am tired of people saying that we should get our butts back to the classroom and they we are greedy. We are really fighting to make conditions better and equitable for ALL STUDENTS AND SCHOOLS across the city. Mr. Sullivan, are you a teacher? Obviously not. We are not lazy and to say that we are is totally inaccurate. I come to school every day to get into my office at 7 am. I do it because I want to do my job better and service my students in the best way possible and go over my strategies for the day and hold parents meetings. I am not getting paid and neither are my fellow teachers who are working in the classroom to prepare their lessons for the day. The mayor is saying that this is a "strike of choice." It is only so because he backed us into a corner and ignored are requests for essential resources such as better health packages, more social workers, air conditioners and other amenities to do our job. Teaching to the test is also not an education. If you want to churn out a bunch of students that memorize facts and cannot think critically then we should all side with the Board of Education. We are trying to reform education throughout this country. Unfortunately people like Mitt Romney and Rahm Emanuel are preventing us from doing so. I would suggest that you speak with a teacher and strongly consider your comments before you write them. You have no idea about our lives or the challenges that we face every day. Glorifying republican policy really got us into this horrible educational mess in the first play. Business has no place inside of schools. Educators do. I am afraid that a lot of republicans will never understand that. Some who want to understand really do. Firing us is not the answer. Neither is saying that we are ungrateful. You can try to help us, or you can stand against us. This is not going to just go away. The children of this city need to go to school. As soon as the board stops proposing ill thought out plans for running the education system we will keep fighting.

      September 11, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
      • AA

        *surgical tools

        September 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
      • AA

        *in the first place

        September 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • Suraiya Shaik Ali

        " You don't ask a surgeon to conduct surgery in a room that has asbestos and is falling apart without a surgical tools, right?" I ask you this AA; have you seen doctors strike in Syria because they have no "tools" to do their job? Have you seen doctors strike in this country over the conditions of public hospitals that are packed with hospital beds all over the hallway? My informed guess is a resounding, NO! The reason is doctors are professionals; educators in public schools are not! Guess what AA? I am an educator who chose to leave public education because of what I saw first hand.
        Maybe you belong to the minority of teachers I saw who were truly dedicated professionals in education with a goal to empower students toward their success. For the most part, teachers are laborers, and these unions and strikes substantiate my statement.

        September 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
      • heyheynow

        IT IS ABOUT $.... Take a paycut and we can afford all the things you are talking about... we maybe can even counsel parents to be better parents... Do the right thing - "for the children" - recognize a paycut would afford Chicago to address all concerns... and ease your stress. only then, would we believe - it is "for the children"

        September 11, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
      • heyheynow

        Newsflash – you are part of a huge business – called the CTU. IF YOU ARE SALARIED - YOU ARE IN FACT GETTING PAIDFOR WHATEVER HOURS YOU WORK - THAT IS HOW SALARY WORKS... no sympathy there. ( but I know you want us to forget the 3 months off too - i know you all want us to think teachers work over the summer - i know way too many teachers in cps to know the truth on that one!) - so what would one call it? people got it right - Greed. As far as this a/c issue - IS THIS A STRIKEWORTHY ISSUE? IS ANY OF THIS STRIKEWORTHY? IT IS SHAMEFUL ... USING THE CHILDREN FOR FINANCIAL GAIN IS ONE OF THE WORST THINGS I HAVE HEARD OF IN A LONG TIME! I didn't have a/c - i somehow survived and excelled... PLUS IT IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT - how about a science project for the school in finding "green" ways to cool the school? how about work with some local companies that specialize in that? How about some INNOVATION TEACHERS! Lots of the other issues you are talking about are social issues that nobody expects a teacher to singlehandedly solve or a counselor and that is life and that is what makes your job your job – right?. And what is it with the constant seeking approval? Do you guys have bad rapport with one another? Do you criticize each other form one school to the next? I dont get the wasted time on constant insecurities. But yes, the strike will affect your reputations and will likely drive legislation and the next election to ensure children are NEVER harmed again in this way... it isn't your salary that isn't fair - it is your actions. You have no idea what the rest of chicago goes through to meet the taxes to pay your salary... 2 to 3 jobs - so the whoa is me saga gets real old - not much sympathy... and you can of course join us if you all are so unhappy ;)

        September 11, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
      • AmigoJose

        Seems to me you have big problems with the Democrats, and not just the Republicans. That's the scary part of this issue to me. No longer can the unions count on the Democrat Party as "friends."

        September 11, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
      • Flubbs

        Suraiya Shaik Ali – Your views are disrespectful at best. If teachers are "laborers," then doctors are mechanics, lawyers are performers, and you're an idiot.

        September 12, 2012 at 7:32 am |
      • Brandon Guy

        Blaming this on Ronald Reagan is ridiculous. If you wanted better schools then you should have voted out the crooks in your city and school board who spent the teachers pensions and failed to limit union contracts years ago. This is a problem of enabling your union to have everything at the expense of students. You should be happy to have a job. I have worked in both the private and public sector. I am currently a high school teacher in a poor district that has plenty of money because we didn't overpromise and raid pensions. Take responsibility for your own irresponsibilities and don't make the kids pay for it. You should continue to protest after work not during. You teachers are giving teachers a bad name.

        September 12, 2012 at 8:59 am |
      • bay

        Why you union teacher keep bring up Mitt Romney name? Is it that Emanuel is the Mayor of Chicago,plus he is Obama buddy?

        September 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
      • Lisa

        According to Suraiya Shaik Ali's logic, if you are a doctor and you have asbestos falling from the ceiling, you should be professional and do nothing about it. Real smart.

        September 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • MALIZNA

      I totally support this idea... get back into school or get fired..period end of story...
      if you did not show up for your job three days in a row...would you still be working there?

      September 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • A. Dixon

        I'm sorry...but this is a great point. I know this is not the issue, but just the fact that the teacher's have an ability to strike and not worry about losing their jobs points to how off balanced this system is...I remember when the Detroit Free Press went on strike, they were replaced with workers in about 48 hours. When the United Auto Workers went on strike, car companies kept making cars. Please tell me that public education is an important and vital as a newspaper or a Ford F150????

        September 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  45. kk redstate

    funny the CPS Union wears red stuff. In a blue pro union capital where they find themselves between Pro Obama and his ex Chief Of Staff and doing what's fiscally responsible. Which is why Romney gave the Mayor kudo's that Rahm quickly denounced. A 35% pay raise? What happened to all that crap about paying your fair share, Mr President? Looks like the CPS Union is in it all for themselves...to hell with the kids, their parents, community....gimme gimmee gimmeeeee! BTW Rebecca, nice way of posting an article and staying competely out of it one way or the other...move to Switzerland!

    September 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  46. razz

    I will again stress the need for everyone to get well informed before we make comments that are based on CPS's fictatious facts and figures. Mr. Vitale said 3+2+2+2 equals 16! Really! I always come up with 9 not 16, no matter how I add those numbers. May be he was just trying to tell us this is the standard of education he thinks the children of Chicago deserve; where they are not even able to do simple addition correctly!

    I also second the earlier comment that the numbers CPS is giving about average teacher pay etc. are NOT correct.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Parent

      Mr. Vitale said 3+2+2+2 equals 16!

      It's not actually addition, annual raises need to be calculated as compound interest. Still, I get 100X1.03X1.02X1.02X1.02=109.30, or a 9.3% raise. I could be mistaken, but I believe the other 6.7% is coming from the average pay increases from gradually rising pay due to seniority. So for some teachers it would probalby be less than 16%, while others might be more. Just because the pay scale didn't increase doesn't mean teachers aren't getting a bump in pay due to increased seniority. The claim that teachers didn't get a raise last year is therefore somewhat misleading.

      September 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  47. Kamil Zawadzki

    Reblogged this on Outspoken.

    September 11, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  48. Teacher

    Those numbers are not accurate. Visit the CPS website and look at the salary schedule. Stop inventing reality to further your agenda.

    September 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  49. Shawn Pelc

    Principals should be able to assemble teams that they believe are best positioned for success. . .could you imagine your athletic team keeping coaches that they did not believe served the best interest of the team??

    In a letter from CPS principals sent Tuesday to Lewis, A.N. Pritzker Elementary School Principal Dr. Joenile S. Albert-Reese wrote on behalf of 30 principals saying "it's imperative that principals be given the autonomy they need in the hiring process."

    "This autonomy is necessary to ensure that principals can hire the most qualified and best fit candidate for the position and our kids," Albert-Reese wrote. "Without this autonomy, principals may be forced to hire individuals whose skill set and value systems are not conducive to the school’s culture, mission, and vision."

    September 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • CPS TEACH

      I agree with that, but there has to be some kind of protection for teachers. For example, we got a new principal. Without talking to mostly any of the teachers that currently worked at my school (or teacher aides that are looking for teaching jobs), started bringing people from his old school. Is that fair? What happens to the teacher aides that have been waiting for an opportunity to open up at the school they are working at and love? Should the principal be able to override that and not even give that person a shot?

      September 11, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  50. WOW

    If these numbers are accurate- then I think your answer is CRYSTAL clear-
    Average salary is $76K for teachers? Not including benefits, they only pay 3% of their health benefits and teachers essentially work 9 months of the year including summer and the long holidays. If you pro-rate $76 over 12 months and this holds true then the actually full time salary over 12 months would be $101K total if you add in benefits that figure is much higher on a cost basis.
    Average Pension taken by teachers is $41K a year?
    I am sure there is more to it, but they turned down a raise based on the above and are demanding not to be held responsible based on performance?
    This is the perfect example of how out of control unions have become and how disgusted as a city and country we have become with them. There are millions of people out there looking for work and I am sure the majority of them would jump at a chance to have this salary level.

    September 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Mr. Orange

      http://www.nottowayschools.org/PDFs/1112salary.scales-11-12.pdf

      September 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
      • Mr Wood

        Mr. Orange, what is your point in posting the salary levels of Nottoway (Virginia) school employees?

        September 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Joe Zrnchik

      Nobody stopped them from going to college to be teachers. They could have done it. But, many decided they wanted to be brokers, lawyers, police, judges, traders, bankers and really rip people off when teachers were making chump change.

      All this anti-teacher stuff is from corporations who ripped off pensions, destroyed jobs, created credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, brought us a phony media and the military-industrial complex in all its police state glory.

      These people want to take over education the way they took over war. And since they took over war we find ourselves in a permanent state of war under the thumb of a police state.

      Corporations are private tyrannies and people must band together to defeat them. Teachers are showing how to do that. Rahm is a one-term mayor and must be put out of office.

      September 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
      • parent-educator

        Actually, "school reform" is often just a smoke screen for the corporate takeover of public schools. Rahm would like nothing more than to dilute the union by opening more and more charter schools. The track record of charter schools often leaves much to be desired. But they certainly can help balance the budget, with all those substandard salaries and benefits. Follow the money if you really want to know why the union is fighting so hard for job security. And when the BOE can withhold dollars from schools already deemed "underperforming," they further stack the deck in their favor. None of this happens without the imprimatur of Rahm Immanuel. Seems Rahm has gone to the darkside by valuing business interests rather than working with teachers to improve at-risk schools. If this weren't the case, he wouldn't have been waging a public relations battle against the union as early as last year. And no, I DO NOT work as a CPS teacher.

        September 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
      • bay

        Is that mean you gonna vote against Obama? Rahm is his buddy you know that?

        September 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm |