By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - Tens of thousands of teachers and support staff in Chicago are set to go on strike Monday after their union and school officials failed to reach a contract agreement, the union president said.
"Negotiations have been intense but productive, but we have failed to reach an agreement that would prevent a labor strike," Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told reporters late Sunday night.
Minutes earlier, the president of Chicago's school board said officials offered the city's teachers a contract including pay increases and other measures they'd requested.
"We've been as responsive as we know how," David Vitale told reporters just before 10 p.m. CT (11 p.m. ET) Sunday.FULL STORY
This strike does not appear to be about salary. It appears to be about the Mayer Rahm Emanuel, school superintendent/CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and school board chair David Vitale trying to bully teachers into accepting an evaluation system that will allow administrators to arbitrarily fire thousands of teachers. Here's the shame of it: This contract provision would be unnecessary if administrators would simply do their jobs. Administrators hired these teachers; administrators are responsible for visiting classrooms to properly evaluate teachers and provide further training/assistance as necessary, and administrators have available to them a logical, fair, agreed-upon process for terminating teachers who are not performing their duties. But administrators, by and large, simply refuse to follow procedures. They want a system that will allow them to fire "the trouble makers", i.e., teachers who challenge administrative incompetence in a system where the school board, the CEO and the mayor will not.
This same dynamic of administrative misfeasance/malfeasance routinely plays out in another area – student discipline – and the collective refusal on the part of many administrators to follow policy in dealing with students who disrupt the education process is KILLING our public schools.
To anyone who bemoans the difficulty of removing bad teachers from the system, I say, "Baloney." The greater problem is that it is, apparently, all but impossible to remove lazy, incompetent administrators. Follow the news: unless a principal has engaged in criminal activity or unless parents start withdrawing their children in droves from a given school, they simply are not fired. Think about that. It typically takes Criminal Activity before a school board and the superintendent will fire a principal. What they usually do is simply transfer principals from one building to another in a shell game.
Meanwhile, reports are coming out that in private meetings, Mr. Emanuel, playing the part of the bully, is cursing at teachers when he gets them behind closed doors. Shameful.