Voices of the Chicago Public Schools strike
Teachers strike in Chicago on Monday. CNN.com has reached out to teachers, parents and students for their take.
September 10th, 2012
05:16 PM ET

Voices of the Chicago Public Schools strike

by Sari Zeidler, CNN

(CNN) Amid blaring horns and intermittent chants, Chicago Public School teacher Xian Barrett called CNN from the picket lines Monday morning.

“I’m a union activist, but most of us are these days,” said Barrett, who teaches law in American society and Chicago history at Chicago’s Gage Park High School.

“At the height, we’ve got about 50 students and our entire staff of about 70 – it’s more like 80 – staffers, teachers, clerks, assistant teachers. And we had a rally, we had a singalong, we picketed the entrances,” he said describing the first morning of a strike that left about 350,000 Chicago students without school today.

Surrounded by supportive staff and students, Barrett explained that in the afternoon union buses and buses furnished by community organizations would come to gather Gage Park supporters and transport them to downtown Chicago, where they expected to join a larger crowd there to support the union that represents nearly 30,000 teachers and support staff.

My View: The whole world is watching Chicago, once again

"It shows the power of what happens when unions work with students and families directly," Barrett said.

But parents might not stay supportive for long.

Rebecca Labowitz, the mom of a fourth-grade student in Chicago's public schools who runs a blog about the school system, said she started to see a shift in support for the union.

"I feel like people, parents, kind of went in open-minded, understanding that the teachers had some grievances, it's a tough school system to teach in, but then a lot of what was going on with negotiations was really kept secret and behind closed doors and we really didn't know what was going on," Labowitz said. "And then last night as both parties emerged to give their two sides, it appeared last night - we're still getting more details - that the CPS had given in in a range of areas on some of the sticking points but the teachers union had not and were really kind of digging their heels in."

"People were feeling like they're just striking because they want to strike, they're striking on principal, they're striking because they're disgruntled. Are all the reasons they're striking really valid reasons for shutting down this school system?"

What are the key issues in the Chicago Public School strike?

Labowitz noted that the issue is complex, and parents don't all fall on the same side of the line. Crediting her blog, she said that some parents were frustrated with the union while others were out at the picket lines bringing doughnuts to striking teachers.

She also pointed out that the stakes for all students aren't the same.

"If you have a high school student, the stakes are a little higher because kids need ACT scores to get into colleges. Kids who are in sports who are looking for scholarships need to be in these games."

Three students who spoke to CNN by phone from the picket lines agreed that the strike was cutting into their education at a crucial time but said that the strike needed to be settled in favor of the teachers.

One high school student pointed out that he was falling behind in ACT prep and his Advanced Placement classes because of the strike, but he felt that conditions in his school were not adequate for a proper education. Another student at the same school said temperatures were so hot in classrooms that her classmates had passed out. She also said that while her school day had been lengthened, resources were sparse, forcing students to share text books during long days in sweltering classes.

"Most of the issues we're focused on have to do with student learning conditions," Barrett said. "Like class size, the building conditions. It was 96 degrees in my classroom on Thursday because we have no air conditioning."

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara, another blogger and mother of elementary-aged schools in the Chicago Public School system, said she had seen her children's teachers pay for student resources out of their own pockets.

"As a parent, I sincerely hope that some compromise can be reached and a fair compromise can happen soon," Kenaz-Mara said. "But we support them (the teacher's union) no matter how long it takes."

Labowitz suspects that not all parents will have the patience Kenaz-Mara does - and if the strike drags one, it could spell trouble for the union when it comes to public support.

But for now, the strike is in full swing.

"We've got a good chunk of our student body out here. We've got our whole staff, and we're able to spend some time building our community," Barrett said.

"It's really uplifting to be working directly with our students and community to improve the schools. It may not be the ideal situation for that, but we're making it an ideal situation."

Posted by
Filed under: Policy • Practice • teacher unions • Teachers • Voices
soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. Name* tasha perry

    Hmmmm.....let me see, teachers walking out on their jobs? Boredat complaining about it? You have no patience cuz if u did ur child wouldnt be attending school. They would be home schooled. Im betting ur a parent who is complaining about their kids being out of school. Its only week wat 3? You already hoping they hurry up and get it over with. Regardless of what the outcome is. And wat did u mean wat are they teaching the students? Dummy its called a democrocy.....duh. I can see who actually paid attention in civics class. That's y the teachers have a union. They cant be fired dummy. The union is there to be the voice. Jesus, just shut up already

    September 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  2. Flood Restoration Los Angeles l Fire Damage Restoration Los Angeles l Los Angeles Restoration Service l Water damage repair Los Angeles l Restoration Services Los Angeles

    Valuable information. Fortunate me I discovered your web site by chance, and I am stunned why this accident did not took place earlier! I bookmarked it.

    September 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  3. rob

    The first question should be.....How are Chicago students fairing against the rest, state, country, the world. Chicago spends $5.11 BILLION a year on public education. It's the same stoy all over the U.S.A. We are behind educationally in this country and the fight is allways about the wrong thing. WHAT ABOUT THE STUDENTS, GRADES!

    September 15, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  4. Mel Jones

    "Because your evaluation has nothing to do with your contribution to charity. Because they need to show up to your job. Because the effect to the city is far above any squablings that remain and they need to be held accountable. Because you can be replaced very easily with recent college grads that see the red herring fallacy that you are trying to use.

    So yes. Fire all 30,000 of them. Enjoy the blacklist and the looking for work far away from here."

    You're leaving out one very important factor... Something the Powers that Be realize. They could rush in like a bull in a china shop and fire everyone. But the fact is, they won't be able to find 30,000 scabs that meet the qualifications. Your "solution" would create a huge vacuum that the city may not recover from for years. When it comes down to it, Chicago is showing the nation something that anyone with a fully functional brain realizes: Treat the teachers right and give the students decent learning conditions, or the job will not get done. If this happened in all 50 states at the same time, maybe people would wake up and stop dumping their responsibilities and wishes in teachers' laps.

    September 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Name* tasha perry

      Mel I agree with you. CPS teachers have to play miracle workers to too many kids and some of those kids dont even have guidance at home.

      September 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  5. Laura (CPS Parent)

    Karent Lewis should be sidelined immediately. An intelligent, articulate, unemotional professional needs to step in for CTU and complete negotiations. The strike and its continuance are not victories for Ms. Lewis, but rather stark admissions of her inability to lead, compromise and close the deal. She has failed her membership, period. Her long standing inflammatory and insulting behavior has only increased. She claims unfair tactics by CPS and the Mayor while spewing divisive personally charged union rehetoric to protect the status quo in Chicago's broken education system. Count how many times she shuts down press conferences or barks at a reporter asking a very straightforward question about CTU's positions. Count how many times she responds, "It's complicated" in order to dismiss inquiries for more explanation behind CTU's positions. She is the embodiment of union largesse and lapping up her 15 minutes at the expense of our kids!

    September 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  6. tnteacher

    In Tennessee, our legislature has done the same thing to teachers that is now happening to teachers in Chicago. A large percentage of a teacher's evaluation in Tennessee is tied to an arbitrary test score. Kindergarten teachers' evaluations may be dependent upon the school district's ACT score. A music teacher's evaluation score might be determined by the state's 10th grade science exam. A first grade teacher's score may be determined by the 5th grade social studies exam. Teachers have always been observed and evaluated by their administrators – that is not what this is about. A teaching license and "tenure" has never guaranteed a teacher's job, only that the loss of employment would be for "just cause." The Chicago teachers are protesting the loss of employment by means that are anything but "just."

    September 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  7. Joe Zrnchik

    The evaluations have too much subjectivity and give too much power to those who have been installed to destroy schools so as to implement the new corporate model that destroys public education and the teaching profession.

    We spend a trillion dollars on defense so we can be lied into wars. We invade and destroy other nations on false pretense and then pay to rebuild them. We spend as much on Homeland Security and our new intelligence-police state apparatus than France, with the 4th largest military, does on its entire military budget. We give billions of dollars to Israel so it can conduct ethnic cleansing, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and Rahm never says a peep. We gave bankers $14 trillion dollars after they deployed economic weapons of mass destruction in the form of CDOs and CDSs and Rahm profited from this fraud.

    Rahm is a corporatist who wants to destroy teaching so nobody can or will stay in the profession. This is being done so corporations can hire hugely under-qualified and underpaid new teachers who will leave the profession and never collect a pension. And, Rahm wants this because he and his corporate friends want to profit from education like they profit from war.

    Once corporations take over schools there will never be a mention of test scores again. The schools will have as much accountability for humane treatment as our prison system.

    Think I am kidding? Google "Halliburton Gang Rape Protection Act" and see how powerful corporations wrote laws to protect themselves from the gang rapes of their employees.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • suburban school board member

      So the union doesn't like the fact that 28% of teachers face dismissal in 2 years in the board's latest proposal? They should go to the non-union private sector, where 100% of workers face dismissal every day. Tenure does not make better teachers. The schools are there for the students and communities, not the teachers. Go back to work CTU.

      September 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
      • CPS mom

        Exactly, school is for children, not for jobs. And CPS teacher's benefit is not bad at all.

        September 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  8. Joe Zrnchik

    The evaluations have too much subjectivity and give too much power to those who have been installed to destroy schools so as to implement the new corporate model that destroys public education.

    We spend a trillion dollars on defense so we can be lied into war. We invade and destroy other nations on false pretense and then pay to rebuild them. We spend as much on Homeland security and out new intelligence-police state complex than France does on its entire military budget. We give billions of dollars to Israel so it can conduct ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity and Rahm never says a peep. We gave bankers $14 trillion dollars after they deployed economic weapons of mass destruction in the form of CDOs and CDSs.

    Rahm is a corporatist who wants to destroy teaching so nobody can or will stay in the profession. This is being done so corporations can hire hugely under-qualified and underpaid new teachers who will leave the profession and never collect a pension. And, Rahm wants this because he and his corporate friends want to profit from education like they profit from war.

    Once corporations take over schools there will never be a mention of test scores again. The schools will have as much accountability for humane treatment as our prison system.

    Think I am kidding? Google "Halliburton Gang Rape Protection Act" and see how powerful corporations wrote laws to protect themselves from the gang rapes of their employees.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:13 am |
  9. scholarpon

    Scholarpon launch september 1st get signed up now
    Video Link – https://scholarpon.com/how-it-works.html

    September 12, 2012 at 1:57 am |
  10. boredat

    In what other profession can you have summers off, a week in the spring, a week at Christmas,and 3 days at Thanksgiving? And lets not forget insurance and pension. And to top it off when you fail at your job you get to blame it on the parents. What would your pay be if you worked The whole year like most people? YOU choose this job, now go do it! Teachers should not be able to strike your too important to the community. The USPS can't strike. Firemen can't strike. Police can't strike. They have a responsibility to the public to serve and to protect and to support the infastructure of the community. Your selfishness is costing the children.

    September 11, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Jane Addams

      Boredat we don't make the school schedule, so our "vacation" time is just more evidence of an antiquated educational system in this country. We should be on a European model of many small brakes , but I digress. Your comments demonstrate your embittered ignorance. Don't criticize, organize and maybe your working conditions will improve. Also, consider this: I have a masters degree from the University of Chicago plus 30 additional masters level credit hours, a certification that costs 400$ per year to maintain through continuing education, and a professional license that also requires about 400 a year for classes. That is not all! CPS gets reimbursed for the services I provide!!! More tha. Half of my salary is paid back through Medicaid, and some clinicians make a PROFIT for CPS. I think you should keep quiet and learn to problem solve instead of whine.

      September 11, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
      • boredat

        THe point is You choose this job. What kind of example are you setting for the children? They depend on you for an education. I go to work. when I have an issue I work within the system to fix it. I don't whine and walk out on my responsibilities. It seems that the teachers of Chicago do.

        September 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
      • meg

        Yes this is a chosen profession. However there are times when the lines get crossed. Have you ever stood in a 100 degree classroom with 34 students looking at you barely able to keep their heads up because of the heat? It is impossible to teach in an environment like that. How many times do you go to work and get cussed out not just by parents, but by children as well? How many times have you gone to work and had chairs or desks thrown at you? This strike is not about selfishness, this is about letting everyone see what our school systems are becoming . and what these students face everyday when walking through those school doors. Of course every teacher wants to make a difference in a child's life that's why we choose this profession (it sure isn't for the money or the countless hours of our own upaid time that we put in). We in this country are doing children a diservice when we areasking them to learn in these deplorable conditions and it is about time somebody stood up and said it was wrong!

        September 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Steve

      What about parents who NEVER read to their kids when they were young? What about parents who are not home at night because they are working? What if this is a single mom? Point is we SHOULD blame parents for not parenting which means making kids do homework and reading when young.

      September 11, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Jane Addams

      Yes I chose this job and do it well. You could use some social work services. They are free at school.

      September 11, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Jane Addams

      The example I am setting is sel advocacy and not allowing others to bully me or to be afraid of negative opinions when I believe in something. I stand up aand risk the ridicule instead of laying down. I have a kid in CPS. He is learning to be ethical and moral based on the principal of Benefit Maximization. Look it up. My 9 year ld is more enlightened than you.

      September 11, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
      • boredat

        Hey I'm not name calling Or putting you down just voicing my opinion. No need to name call or bully me I hear teachers don't like that. I'm sure you are very proud of your educated son sounds like CPS is a great school. I have a couple of well educated children of my own and i am very proud of them too.

        September 11, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Sydney

      Teachers are very important I don't deny that. They can teach people the difference between " your" and "you're". But what people who aren't teachers tend to neglect that fact that teachers are people too and they deserve the basic rights of freedom granted to us in America. Teachers care so much about the children and that is why this must be done.

      September 11, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  11. Vicki

    Ok,so the teachers get evaluated on the results of student test scores. Some people think it is the teachers fault 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 6:31 pm |
    • Kelsey

      Just remember that the only thing that Standardized Testing predicts is success on future Standardized Testing.

      September 11, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  12. Big Al

    Ducan, Emanuel, Obama – all Chicago politicians. All have sold their souls to the unions. In the meantime, America's most violent big city continues to pratice the art of fratricide. By the way: Where are Ducan and Obama? Oh, Obama is probably campaigning in a state other than Illinois, while Duncan is studying for his master's degree.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • bertha59

      Nothing in the story is saying Obama is supporting this strike. He said he is not taking sides (and that was after Romney made up a story about Obama supporting the union). Sounds like you have blindly accepted something as truth that is not.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  13. KT

    We need to get rid of all schools and let teachers teach at our home or their home. Pay them 5000.00 per student, and if student passes the end of year exam, give them a 1000.00 dollar bonus.
    If a teacher teaches 10 childrens he/she makes 50,000.00 a year, if he/she can instruct 20 children he makes 100,000.00 and if all the children past end of year exam he would get a 20,000.00 bonus. ( we are paying a average of 11,000.00 a year per student in my district) we would save 5000.00 a year by doing this.

    No more bond elections for new schools, no more school dollars spent on eletric,water,gas,maint. on buildings.

    Less fuel spent by teachers going to work, they can teach in their own neighborhoods, No more fuel spent on busing.

    Less sickness due to flu out breaks at schools, not to mentions gastro bugs.

    Could take vactions when ever parents would like no more rushing to beat the crowds to vacations spots when school is out.

    No leaving child or slowing child down on learning. The teacher could teach the students more to thier abilities, smarter children could progress much faster, and slower children would progress at their on rate.

    no more bullies at school, no more school shootings.

    The kids could do group sports, more kids in sports instead of the few great or special choosen players at high school level. you could have 20 football teams instead of the one our two per school district. like youth football leauges. Teaches social skills and get more kids off john madden xbox and puts them on the real football field.

    we stop using schools as day care and let teachers teach, not baby sit. For those parents who need day care we can use the 5000.00 per students saving to par for thier day care.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  14. Robert

    The city offered the teachers a 16% raise that would have brought average teacher pay to $90,000 per year. Teachers with more than 8 years of experience would make over $100,000 per year...with a really nice pension and other benefits reserved for the few....and yet the teachers turned this offer down?

    September 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • bertha59

      Pay was not their only issue. Read the stories.

      September 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Jane Addams

      Those numbers are not correct. If they were, I would be able to afford the same lifestyle as my friends in advertising. We don't make anything close to that and it is not 16% on the table. Get that straight.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  15. JOE

    Fire all these teachers. Hire new ones who want to work and actually educate the kids.

    September 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Teachforall

      Shame on you. I can't wait to get back in the classroom. I miss my students and doing my ACTUAL job. but i have watched my students pass out and vomit from the heat over the past 2 weeks. I have purchased supplies for 12 of my students that brought nothing to school with them. I have written countless grants and purchased hundreds of books so that my students can develop literacy skills. Today I walked the line with 3 of my students, holding the hand of a 4 year old all day who begged me to take her home with me. I love my job and give everything to these kids, but that doesn't mean I have to be walked all over for the rest of my career. When did teachers become the enemy? If the streets are so dangerous, is that my fault, or does the blame lie somewhere else? It's interesting that we are blamed for test scores, student success, city violence, child safety, lack of manners and all of the city's financial problems. Seems like we have become the scapegoat. ALSO, we do NOT make 76,000 a year. I make more than 20,000 less than that with 6 years experience and a masters degree.

      September 11, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Jane Addams

      Joe, you are not very smart, and obviously impulsive. I'm glad you are not a teacher.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  16. al

    Fire them all. Those positions will fill quick. Ban the union and rebuild the entire system. They are not teaching the kids what they need to move on in the world. Instead of teaching them skills to pay the bills they are teaching political bias.

    September 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Philip George

      Who decides the carricula for schools? Are we looking for a fair resolution that is sustainable? Would those who frame the performance evaluation accept similar measures? The change needs to happen at all levels. The norm should be responsibility followed by authority to discharge that responsibility! Would we fire the governor for not being able to solve the state's financial crisis despite the tax increase? That was the objective of tax hikes...

      September 11, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  17. ChicagoTaxPayer

    How about teachers offer to give back some of that 16% pay increase for additional resources for the kids... then I'd believe them when they say "we are doing this for the kids"

    September 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • AnotherTaxPayer

      We already do. It's called buying the supplies that the city won't give us.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Jane Addams

      How about spending the 15million bucks the city gave to Walmart on schools, then we would believe they really care about kids.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Jane Addams

      How about spending the 15million bucks the city gave to Walmart on schools, then we would believe they really care about kids. How about not lending cps staff or money to charter schools? Move to Naperville .

      September 13, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  18. Elisa

    I am very disturbed by commentary I hear on TV from both news anchors and parents. "Where will the children go? What should parents do with their kids when they go to work?" While I understand this strike is inconvenient, there are serious issues to discuss here and this should be about education and fair working conditions. Teachers are not just glorified babysitters, and when you reduce this debate to only that, you reveal just how taken for granted and disrespected teachers are.

    September 11, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Democrat hero

      So, the teacher's jobs are important but not the parents? How incredibly short sighted.

      September 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
      • L.C.

        The point is that teacher's jobs are just as important as yours. thats why they are striking.. the comment was that we undermine a teacher's job to just babysitting. Your comment is short sighted one.

        September 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  19. Elisa

    I am seriously disturbed by some commentary I hear on TV, from both news anchors and parents, complaining about how the kids are out of school. What are the parents supposed to do with their kids when they have jobs to go to, or jobs to find? I'm sorry...but teachers are not glorified babysitters. There are real issues to discuss here, and at this point I am not taking sides. However, I do think we need to focus on what this should be about – education, not free babysitting.

    September 11, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • m1234

      It;s not free babysitting, it's paying outrageous taxes and expecting your kids to go to school
      YOu wouldn't talk like that if it affected you

      September 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
      • Elisa

        You pay taxes and you expect your kids to go to school. That's fair. But we live in a country in which people are not forced to accept working conditions they find unacceptable. I pay taxes too, and I expect to have firefighters, cops, teachers, etc...but that doesn't mean they just have to roll over and accept whatever is offered. This is not a fascist state. If people refuse the contract offered, they can strike, quit, etc. We can't force them to take it, and we need to stop taking their service for granted. Clearly, we miss them when they're gone. Shouldn't that prompt us to treat them better when they're here?

        September 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  20. Jon

    OK. So CNN just provided some more info on the evaluation content and if it's true then I really am disappointed with the teachers. It doesn't sound like the evaluation is just based on student test scores. The system is using a new beta model evaluation that was DESIGNED BY TEACHERS. It's supposed to help improve their craft. So what's the problem? It sounds more and more like teachers just want a free pass. There's nothing wrong with having assessments if it will ultimately improve performance. PLEASE work things out. This is very sad to watch with 400,000 students out of school.

    September 11, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Democrat hero

      I was surprised when CNN first reported that it was an issue with the test scores. I had read at MSNBC that it wasn't. the teachers wanted their evaluation to be based off of test scores and the mayor wanted it to be base off of teacher performance and the union said absolutely not....according to MSNBC.

      September 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • AnotherTaxPayer

      The evaluation system is more complicated than that. I'm a middle grade science teacher, but there is no middle grade science test that is going to be administered to the kids. I wish there was, but the city has not been able to get around to that quite yet. I will be given the students' collective reading score throughout my whole school, which will count in my evaluation. I am all for accountability, but is this the right measure if they are taking scores from students that I don't teach? Apparently, I can be rated as a unsatisfactory 8th science teacher because the 5th graders at my school can't read.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  21. drew Parker

    The teachers make over $70,000 a year, I'm sorry I mean in 9 months, that is more then 90% of hard working Americans, and they want more?, screw them. They will cry they became teachers to "help the children", wow what lies. If that was true they would ask for a pay cut to help the local goverment to save money. Greedy whinners is what they are.

    September 11, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  22. ktb123

    While everyone should be evaluated in some way, I disagree with using only test scores. There are just too many factors that are out of a teacher's control. Having said that, I'd have to leave it up to those more knowledgeable than me about the education system to come up with a good method for evaluations.

    I have a high school daughter taking calculus, physics and statistics this year. Sometimes, she comes home and just doesn't understand some of the concepts that were taught in class. Since I am an engineer, I am able to help her if she doesn't understand some concept or problem. If she has homework that is not for a grade, we'll go over the homework, and I'll help her if she misses something. (if it's for a grade, she's on her own). Sometimes, I can explain a concept in a slightly different way than was taught at school, and helps here understand it better. We spend at least an hour every night doing this. I say this not to pat myself on the back, but to point out that many (or maybe most) kids don't have the support at home that my daughter has. Those kids, if they don't "get" something, have no choice but to go back to school and hope that the teacher has time to go over the concepts again. And with larger classrooms, it becomes more and more difficult to get that one-on-one time that many kids may need. And in many subjects, the concepts build on each other, so once your are behind, it becomes even harder to catch back up.

    In a perfect world, all kids would have a strong support system at home, with parents or guardians who are able to help reinforce what is being taught at school. Learning (and teaching) difficult subjects like physics and calculus in 50-minute classes is very difficult. Unfortunately, for many, the support system once they get home is not really there. It's not their fault; it's not the teacher's fault. I wish I had an answer for it. But I don't.

    September 11, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Alice in PA

      As a teacher, I have a different interpretation of what you daughter experiences. And I teach physics. As you probably know, there are many concepts in physics that students do not understand at first. Therefore I work many many days in many many ways with students on those concepts. For assignments, I expect students to not get everything and what they don't get I then plan to teach again in a different manner. This is called formative assessment. Unfortunately, many students ,especially bright ones, are used to understanding school work within the first few minutes and they get frustrated with the more analytical courses. I am posting this as an example of how teaching may not be what people think it is.

      September 11, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  23. Lara

    I think principals, as managers of their schools, should be able to pick their teachers. And, similarly, if teacher pay is to be tied to student performance, then teachers should be able to pick their students...

    September 11, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  24. ruby

    If every other job gets evaluated why not teachers. They are doing an important job. Parents would like to know how competent they are. What is wrong with it?

    September 11, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • hhmmmm

      Do dentist get evaluated on how many of their patients get cavities? Do doctors get evaluated on how many of their patients stay healthy and do not get sick?

      September 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
      • ChicagoTaxPayer

        hhmmmm... are you serious? You get to pick your primary doctors and dentists, thats how they are evaluated. Also, if they are negligent, they can be sued by malpractice... but parents don't get a choice as to what teacher their kids get and if the union gets their way, horrible ones will be able to stick around on my dime and teach my kids.

        September 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
      • Philip George

        Everyone evaluates everyone else but the basis should be something over which the person being evaluated has contol. Otherwise it would be meaningless and non-objective.

        September 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Alice in PA

      Teachers are already evaluated both before becoming a teacher and after by their administrators. The problem is when they are evaluated on things beyond their control. For example, next year part of my evaluation in PA will be on the scores of a 10th grade Bio exam. I am a 12th grade physics teacher! I will be evaluated on students that I have not taught!

      September 11, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  25. Babs

    Way to go. Prisons are big business in the USA. Kids are lucky these days that they have computers to help them learn. Also, private companies offer ACT prep. Anyway, I did not think schools were to teach to the test. Here in Georgia, where teachers are most often afraid of the powerful union, extra hours are added to the school day at any time the powers say. In the middle school in which I taught "they" added another hour to the school day, and I paid for extra after school care for my own child who was not in middle school at the time. Additional pay was never mentioned,and teachers who complained were told they were being "negative". Poor teachers, they will learn that the administration and the union leaders are all the same in the end. Anyway, everyone has an opinion about public schools; because, most of us attended at some time; therefore, everyone is an expert, and the ones who care and are educated in that field, well, they do something else. Sad

    September 11, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Blaire

      Georgia is a right-to-work state. There are no teachers unions and the "professional organizations" you speak of have no bargaining power. Last year, our county gave "bonuses" at the end of the year, but then took the money right back by adding on additional school days without pay. That would never happen if we had teachers unions.

      September 11, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  26. unbelieving

    US prisons provide more for the inmates. AC, healthcare, education and all the expected comforts of home. Why should our children receive less? We have our priorities on backward. What incentive is there for kids to strive to achieve when the greater rewards come from rejecting society. Pay for education now or prison later. Teachers are not babysitters. We need to invest in those that will become our future political and business leaders. We need our children to have an education that is not off a fast food dollar menu.

    September 11, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  27. Bill

    I vote the teachers get what ever pay they want. The local governments should raise property taxes 20 percent or add a gas tax of 25 cents per gallon to pay for it. Unions are good for America.

    Bill from Virginia

    September 11, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  28. TheycaneatCake

    Fine. Lets put cameras in every room. Lets see how good their teaching is. Since they dont want to be evaluated.

    September 11, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • pauldaniel7

      I am a teacher.. put a camera in.. I would rather be evaluated on what the world would see, than what sleeping, or disturbing students do or don't feel like doing on their test that day! I do my job.. I do more than my job asks.. and many times students will not meet you even half way...

      September 11, 2012 at 8:43 am |
      • stan

        Oh, did you not know what would be demanded of you in your chosen career? Did you not know the salary you would be given for said expected work? Seems to me that if you are not prepared to do the work expected at the salary offered you should not have taken the job in the first place. If you were truly altruistic and chose your career 'for the sake of the children' then your wage should not matter, especially when your wage is already twice the local average. On top of that you get 2-3 months of holidays each and every year. Tell you what, how about either shutting up and doing the job you chose at the wage you accepted OR you quit and go find a real job like the rest of the citizenry.

        September 11, 2012 at 11:58 am |
      • L.C.

        how uninformed you are. If you ever went to school you would know that not all children are the same. There are your delinquents and your excelling students. The best you can do is give them more attention but it is up to the student to do their best. Twice the local average? I think what you mean is twice the minimum wage, which I can tell you is sometimes not enough especially with the taxes that Chicago has to pay. We expect these people to do their jobs to shape our country's future and how can they when the conditions of some of these classrooms lack proper cooling and heating or even supplies? Also, I hate the argument that teachers get 2-3 months off for summer. That is the most blatant lie I've ever heard. Many teachers are in school in the summer teaching summer classes, preping for the school year, and have to go to meetings with the staff in order to determine what will be different for the school year. I've taken summer classes in Lane Tech and I can tell you that teachers do not live a life of luxury in the Summer. They are in the classroom when students have gone home. They are grading, prepping, and attending staff meetings long after your children come home. Get a clue... and then a education.

        September 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  29. jaijai

    Strange bedfellows. But perhaps an indicator for the union to reconsider their position.
    The development of an evaluation process for teachers is inevitable. A teacher in a low-economic community may say that their students are poor, they have no support system at home and are distracted by crime and constant danger and that's why they fail more often. A doctor in Eastern Kentucky may say that his patients are poor, they smoke and are overweight with diabetes and that's why they die younger.
    Both statements are true and need to be taken into consideration. And both the teacher and the doctor may be doing a top-notch job, but it is not unreasonable to establish a system of oversight that attempts to determine whether or not incompetency is part of the problem

    September 11, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • yarbird

      Why can't Rahm refigure his position? He is asking people to work and hour and a half without pay. If he couldn't afford it,then......

      September 11, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  30. Akiba

    I'll 4eva respect d teaching profession,as part of my experience service,i took up voluntary appointment for 3 months as a teacher in a public school 2 gain experience,what i learned change my thinking abt teachers.D job is not easy bt lets get a settlement 4d sake of our children.In Nigeria,we say "no victor,no vanquish".

    September 11, 2012 at 6:59 am |
  31. Diane

    What our teachers are doing to this country by striking is wrong and uncalled for. There is no job security on any job and if the schools were not evaluating you by the grades that the children recieve on his or her benchmark exam, then how does anyone know that your doing your job teaching our children. Is it going to take putting up cameras into our school class rooms to prove yourselves. As teachers you are supposed to be an example to the American public and our children. That's why it is imperative that your in your class room doing your job. Now that you are not, your putting the parents in bad situations and the lives of our children are being endangered because they are not being put into safe places where they need to be. Do you ever see the police or fire department going on strike? They get up everyday, go to work, do their jobs and risk their lives everyday for our country. They are over worked, underpaid, on call all the time but they wake up, get up and go to work and do they jobs that they were hired to do which is to protect and serve our country. As teachers you need to be doing the same, teaching and serving our children. They need to put into safe places, and need food to eat. There is no job security on any job, in any postion in the entire USA. As teachers your are paid a fair wage, you have sick days, health insurance, have all the holidays off, nights off to be with your families, weekends off to be with your famiily, the entire summer off and then your are paid year round when your physically not working at the school year round. (Some schools are your round). I am talking in general speaking to the schools that are not year round. How in the world can you even figure that your job is so bad?? There Americans who have been working for five years plus, that have gotten a raise, there are no more cost of living raisies anymore, but we get up and go to work everyday. If we are a paid employee and we don't get up and go to work, then we will be replaced or fired. So as teachers don't think your obsolete. If I were in your shoes, I think I would be looking again at to how good you have things instead of focusing on the bad and get up and go to work, before you don't have a job to go to. This is all this country needs is more Americans in the unemployment line, when all of this striking can 100% be avoided and is uncalled for and then have more children deprived of their education and food to eat.

    September 11, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • Michelle

      Is there a retired teacher out there that can teach Diane the difference between "your" and "you're?"

      September 11, 2012 at 7:10 am |
      • Nikki


        September 11, 2012 at 8:01 am |
      • Sanster

        Diane were you asleep during ALL of your english punctuation classes?

        September 11, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Nikki

      I'm just curious, Diane, did you even read the article? You are spewing off a lot of random thoughts. To me it sounds like you are a little bitter towards teachers because you *think* they have it better at their jobs than you do. Is that right? You may think they find themselves invincible and the truth is, they are. Teacher unions are some of the strongest in the country, as they should be.These teachers WANT to be there and they deserve to have decent conditions to work under!

      September 11, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Ashley

      Teachers are not paid year-round. They work 10 months and are paid for 10 months. If they receive paychecks from the school over the summer, it's because they have signed up for a payment plan that stretches out their 10 month salary over 12 months. I'm not sure where this myth that teachers are paid for summer vacation came from, but wouldn't everyone teach if they thought they would be paid for 3 months of vacation days?

      September 11, 2012 at 8:52 am |
      • karen

        70k is good money for ten months work. I am a nurse. I have worked every shift at one time or another, most holidays and weekends, That is not a complaint. I knew that going into this profession. I save lives. For patients in the hospital I am the link between you and the dr, pharmacy, testing dept, and anything else you may need. I am that link because i am the one who spends the most time with you. I will help save your life or try to give you comfort in death. And while I have never made what the teachers make, do not have that pension or preset raises for four years out..I love my job. Everynight I go to bed knowing I made a difference in someone's life each day. Maybe you should reconsider your profession choicde or accept the money limits most school districts have living under these days.

        September 12, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • hhmmmm

      So to you a fair wage is $29000 a year on a bachelors? To be expected not only teach your subject area but to prepare students to be good citizens, help coach them in sports, provide after school homework help, sponsor clubs, help plan dances and floats for parades, take tickets at football gamers, grade on your couch every night , plan for the next weeks classes all weekend, spend all summer begging for a job because you are considered seasonal staff, then work all summer just to get a few pennies that will either pay part of a mortgage payment or go straight back into your classroom? Diane, what do you do for a living? People who claim teachers have it easy because they get summers off is misinformed. Teacher pay clearly reflects those months they "don't work". In fact most teachers spend the summer preparing for the next year by attending mandatory meetings, workshops etc that they don't get paid for. Walk a mile in a teachers shoes before you blast them and claim they are not true hard working Americans.

      September 11, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  32. No Bull

    This is a symtom of the status of America. It is a no win dispute. The city is broke. The teachers' salaries buy less and less due to inflation. The school environment is getting worse due to gansterism and drugs seeping into the school, affecting both teachers and students. Politicians will do things for the sound bites and not do the right thing. The union leaders only take care of themselves really. Tough.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:30 am |
  33. Gryla2

    Ok teachers, calm down! I can fix this!

    The city is broke so you need to be on the same salary BUT what if instead we just kicked all the black kids out of school? They're all failing anyways and without their monkey-shines and vandalism to contend with, you can focus on teaching actual humans!


    September 10, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • freedom

      I am from India. When i was kid i used to go to Govt. School. In my school we used to sit on the floor till middle grade. All of us used to get a mat from home. we used to spend our physical education class by running around the field and some girls used to sneak in to boys school. Yes we had separated school for boys and girls. We used built dolls with paper. i had deep interest in origami as well as my friends. we used to love math as it was easy and u can do math when you are listening music. i had 70 classmates. i got scholorship in 3rd, 5th and 7th standard but i could not get a penny of my scholorship because of currupt beaurocrats. Still we used to worship of our teachers. In indian culture we consider teachers higher than god. i had my share of bad and good teachers. Our teachers are not nicely paid but hey are highly respected. Teachers make around 5k us dollar per annum.
      Here I meant to say that teachers are very important of any society. Just like Farmers or military people. They shape the future. and i want to say to kids in your developed country please respect what are you getting. You should learn to do hardship. 96 degree is not hot baby. you got to learn to be better person by hardship and hardwork.
      You have to over come obstacle and love the education. Because many people in the world are still dying to get roof in their school.
      Many schools even dont have proper number teachers.
      Many schools dont have lab.
      I wish well for kids that they will love the life they got because they are staying in wonderfull country and with nice parents and teachers.

      September 11, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • Andrew


      That is one of the most racist things I've ever heard.

      September 11, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • meme

      Jesus!! I know it sounds funny to you but I promise you this, some1 important to you will one day experience the pain I felt after reading your comment.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:36 am |
  34. P.Morgan

    Wow! It really is no wonder that students have no respect for learning, schools, or teachers. They have learned it from adults like so many who have posted here. I challenge any one of you to volunteer to help out at a school for just one day. You'd be amazed at the utter crap some kids pull in the classroom, leaving the teacher to have to ignore 35 kids for 10 precious minutes out of a 50 minute period while he or she has to discipline a child who for whatever reason cannot control themselves. If the last time you were in a classroom was as a student, you are grossly under informed and have not a clue.
    If teachers are going to be evaluated based on student test scores, then districts need to stop advancing students to the next grade when they fail the standardized tests, which are written to the lowest possible level.
    No child left behind means your child only has to do as well as the lowest achieving student.

    September 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Sean

      I have volunteer experience and have taught Summer School. It's true kids can be a handful. And I agree the evaluation shouldn't be based on test scores. But I don't think it's unfair to evaluate teachers. They just need to find a better way to do it rather than relying on test scores. We got bad kids and bad adults alike. There's no getting away from the bad. Since this is really supposed to be about providing the best education for our kids, I don't think much is achieved by placing blame. Instead, we need to take a wide angle view of the situation and come up with a solution that will protect the interest of teachers and parents and most importantly, our kids.

      September 10, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • stan

      Quite simple really, enact a three strikes rule for students. Three instances of disruption or criminal behavior and the student is permanently tossed from the system. They don't want to learn, they have no self control, and they have no structured family life at home. These, ahem, children are just fodder to fill the for profit prison system of the usa. Allow them the right to challenge the tests on their own, whether home-schooled, self-taught or tutored. Let their parents and themselves be held solely responsible for their anti-social behaviors. If any of these animals want to live like normal humans let them get their OWN act together. These dredges of society do not deserve the time or the effort as they create their own reality.

      September 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  35. Kyle Schreiner

    Aight this status should go in a blog post…but whatever...make sure you get to point 7, or you can just skip there if you want...

    Everyone and their grandma is talking about how they should fix our school systems and for the most part they are all pie in the sky, good stuff for everyone, unrealistic ideas…here’s how you could actually do it.

    1) The number 1 thing you need to understand is that teaching is a gift…like speed or arm strength…some people have it and some people don’t and you can work at it some, but ultimately you are never going to be as good at it as others. (Exp…you will never be as good a QB as Peyton Manning)

    2) The phenoms should therefore be paid handsomely for what they do…there are very few teachers in this country who can coach state championship teams, while teaching AP chemistry and being the head of the Science Department. That man or woman should be paid over 150,000, maybe over 200,000 dollars because their abilities are soooo rare.

    3) Therefore abolish the pyramidal pay scale. Why is it that administrators always make more money than teachers. The principle at my school made 175,000…far more than any teacher. Yet when he left the school did not miss a beat. Do you know why? His talents were not unique. A-Rod makes more than the GM of the Yankees because his TALENTS are rarer and in greater demand.

    4) Keeping with the sports theme…Teaching Unions should be like sports unions…strong but highly performance based. This tenure thing is absurd and flies in the face of every free market principle in the history of mankind. School districts have the right to cut teachers they no longer want on the team. They also have the right to lower someone’s salary if they are no longer performing as well as others.
    a. As a side note to this…it also means school districts should have the right to pay science and math teachers more because these degrees are rarer and are worth more in the private sector. This relying on the goodness and charity of our American science grads will never work as a national plan.

    5) The Union needs to remember its primary purpose, which is to secure a safe and humane working environment. Compensation and negotiation of contracts should be left to the individual for negotiation. (The Union could provide its members a few lawyers to aid in the process though…that would be useful)

    6) In order for this plan to work standardized tests don’t have to be important…they have to mean everything!!! There is no better objective way to measure success. An AP test is the best measurement I have ever seen for assessing what you have learned by the end of a course. In my opinion every class should have one. What drives GMs to pay their athletes…the fear of losing, and therefore losing their jobs.
    a. Yes this means that states will have to shell out for nice new tests every year…and should release the entire old test once it is used.
    b. It also means the state has to shell out for objective test monitors. Having the teachers monitor the test is stupid because you are once again relying on everyone to be moral. (Most will but SOME ALWAYS WONT!)

    7) Which takes me to my last point. The state or national government should divide up its schools into leagues of 32 districts based solely on average student household income. If that school scores at the top its league it gets massive cash bonuses. If it doesn’t personnel changes are made immediately by the BOARD MEMBERS!!! (Who happen to be elected officials...yes I am telling you to get out and vote for the right people if you care about your child’s education)
    a. Good teachers would be drawn to poor schools then because they might stand a better chance of making big bucks if they go to a well run low income school, rather than a poorly run high income one
    b. Next you should shorten school board member’s terms to 2 years
    c. Its perfect because if the school doesn’t perform the board brings in new leadership…there will be tons willing to take the risk because of the HUGE reward potential for everyone…and the board will be motivated to do something so they don’t get voted out of office
    d. This means you cannot have enormous districts like CPS. A school district should consist of no more than 3 schools. Local communities know what is best for their schools and their neighborhoods. (Yes even the poor ones)

    How’s that for some concrete changes…

    September 10, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Charley

      Kyle, you have no idea what you are talking about. I read your entire post and you don't make one salient point.

      September 11, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Carmen

      You are anti teacher and learn to spell.

      September 11, 2012 at 4:30 am |
    • Taxman

      Wow, I like a lot of what you had to say. The superstar teachers should be making bank and the ho-hum teachers should be making much less. I tell you this much, I would have been a teacher if that were the case. Instead, I never even considered teaching because I prefer to earn my pay based on my own performance, not based on how long I manage to survive at the same job.

      What blows my mind are the people that say you are anti-teacher! How is it anti-teacher to say they should be paid $200k if they are great at their job?

      September 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  36. Joey zarlengo

    Stand against Chicago teachers union, there greedy and don't care about kids, they rather have more money than have kids in school, take it or leave it teachers

    September 10, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Megan

      Joey – I would encourage you to read and listen to coverage of the negotiations. The salary questions have been put aside, as teachers push for greater respect and more understanding of professional limitations. Many of the debates feature disconnect around teacher evaluation. Image I gave two people the task of building a car, however, I only gave one person tools to build. But no worries, you'd be judged using the same parameters regardless of equity. Seem fair? Thought not. Who would you rather be?

      September 11, 2012 at 12:14 am |
      • TheycaneatCake

        They dont want to be evaluated. Funny.

        September 11, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Carmen

      Again with the spelling errors. You need teachers.

      September 11, 2012 at 4:33 am |
  37. Jane

    There are a lot angry people out there including teachers and parents. And rightly so!
    But I wonder how much of what's going on in Chicago truly reflects their concerns?
    The way I see it, the number one priority should be to find a way to provide the best education possible to our kids.
    The Chicago strike (at least on the surface) seems to be about teacher evaluation and it's tie to job security.
    On one hand, I don't think it's fair to just evaluate teachers on student test scores alone.
    On the other hand, everyone gets evaluated on their job performance so it seems fair to have an evaluation for teacher performance. They need to come up with a solution that will work for all involved so the kids can get the most benefit out of their education.

    September 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Joey zarlengo

      Teachers are greedy, take it or leave it, there's plenty of people needing jobs

      September 10, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
      • yarbird

        However, not any ole person can teach- you need a degree, no arrests,etc

        September 11, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  38. Name*MsShae

    It amazes me that people think the ignorant thoughts that they do.I live in Virginia.The average teacher doesn't make 70,000.I also have a child that goes to school and when I went to open house his teachers informed me that they didn't have enough books to go around in the classroom let alone assign one to go home for him to study with.I also work in the school system as a teachers assistant and the teacher as well as I have bought school supplies for the classroom out of our own pockets.I am talking about basic supplies (pens, pencils, crayons, paper, staples) I guess people find this acceptable. Parents don't or can't contribute to the classroom when asked. For anyone to say that these teachers are selfish hasn't been in a school in a long time. All children need to be in school but I don't think parents are really looking at the big picture.I believe that alot of them see that they will have to pay for someone to care for their children instead of free daycare at school all day. No one wants to work for free.When one works they should be paid a decent salary.This includes teachers.

    September 10, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Joey zarlengo

      Greedy teachers should be fired, theres plenty of people looking for work, they care about money not the kids education

      September 10, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
      • Name*MsShae

        Well lets take away your paycheck and you work for free.Remember its for a good cause.

        September 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
      • Joey zarlengo

        There not working for free, they get paid more than 80% of the us public school teachers, I know I'm a cps teacher

        September 10, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • yarbird

      Yes, I agree, teachers in Chicago work in rough neighborhoods and have to live in the city. To live in the city, in a better area, it is expensive. My mother lives there and a little 1000 square foot condo costs over 300k on the average. In addition, extending the day places those teachers in greater danger as it is dark during the winter here.

      September 11, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  39. Annie Sullivan

    As a high school sped teacher at CPS, IT'S ABOUT TIME!! That's unfortunate, but the reality is many of us teach in a war zone (without combat pay) and the conditions have gone from bad to worse. The students run the schools, and do whatever they want. One person found a way to reduce discipline referrals, throw the referrals in the garbage! Of course, that make the school safer, doesn't it? I would love for any of the "experts" to spend a day in my school, then we could talk about merit pay!

    September 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Aaron

      Amen Annie,

      I love to see this attention in Chicago. I work in the Tulsa Public School district. It is impossible to teach children who are three grades behind where they sould be. It's really very hard to get through one lesson a day, and our students fall more and more behind. I would think Chicago is a nightmare for public education. My heart goes out to those teachers who had big dreams, did what they needed to in college, and are put through this type of contempt from people on the outside who have no idea what they are talking about. Keep going please, for nothing more than your families sake. God Bless

      September 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Joey zarlengo

      Stand against greedy teachers, take it or leave it, there's plenty of people who need jobs f

      September 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
      • Jo

        Teach a week and you will see. If someone can do better than I do, have at it.

        September 11, 2012 at 9:09 am |
      • yarbird

        Joey- you sound bitter; maybe you should go back to college, etc.. and better your life.

        September 11, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  40. Darwin was right

    The school administrators need to FIRE THE PARENTS for failing to educate/motivate their children! Who is such a naive person to think that teachers in the classroom can make up for parental neglect and indifference? It's ironic that it's the conservatives who are blaming the teachers and unions for poor educational achievement, when in fact they should be blaming the parents who ought to take more responsibility for their children's education and mental/emotional progress!

    September 10, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Pete

      Well, following your train of thought, then shouldn't parents also have what they need in order to raise their kids proper? So what if the parents aren't able to do that? Should the kids suffer because their parents? Individuals don't live in an island onto themselves. We are all in this together, whether you like it or I like it or not. When we have children (whoever they come from) who are not provided the support they need to achieve their full potential, as a nation we all feel the impact because we won't be able to compete globally or keep our own country growing. It's in the best interest of everyone to ensure the success of our children, no matter what their personal situation is. And we can't afford (literally) to give up on them. (Unless you want to continue to live in a world where the have's have everything and everyone else gets nothing. Pretty much why we are in this mess right now)

      September 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Joey zarlengo

      No your wrong, teachers are greedy, fire the teachers and get new ones, yes it's that simple

      September 10, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • bertha59

      You are so right. Education really starts and is maintained in the home. Parents need to be a big part of education.

      September 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  41. Bumba clot

    Where I live you do not send your kids to public school if you can help it! The average public school student costs the taxpayer $ 17,000.00. The private school I send my kids cost me about $10,000.00 but if you look at the test scores I am getting about double the milage for my buck! Teacher unions are for what they say they are (for the teachers stupid).

    September 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Joey zarlengo

      Thank you, teachers are greedy, they f***king suck, fire them all get kids back in school

      September 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  42. Thoughts from NYC

    All things considered, I am disappointed to see this fiasco for 3 main reasons. 1) The students are being inadvertently punished because adults can't work out their differences. And that's a real shame. 2) Everyone should receive an evaluation for their performance, job or school or whatever we do that's worthwhile. How else are we to improve? And job secuirty contingent upon evaluation doesn't seem unreasonable. Where it gets questionable is WHAT is considered in the evaluation. If it's solely based on student test scores, then it's unfair. There should be an evaluation that considers many factors such as environment, supplies and equipment available, and student to teacher ratios. 3) This strike is ill-timed with the presidential election. It's taking focus away from what people should really be paying attention to. I understand that teachers deserve respect and they should get all they deserve in terms of support to teach and to take care of their own lives and families. But the rest of us rely on the teachers to essentially guide our children to a better future. And right now, it just seems on all fronts, a very selfish thing to. I really hope this all gets worked out soon.

    September 10, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • dhubb

      Wow 100000 to do what u do look it up on Google. U need to teaching morals, family values, respect to other humanbeings teachers like this is exactly why we are so far behind China. I'm still in wow. 100000 to work 6months and do nothing but Google. How bout these cops that put there life on the everyday for they deserve way more the u

      September 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
      • Thoughts from NYC

        I'm not really sure what you are saying here. But I worked in education reform in America if you are assuming that all I did was google something. I have some working knowledge of what the issues are. But really, all I am doing i stating is what my concerns are IMHO. Instead of pointing fingers, why don't you state your opinion and make your post a worthy read? LOL.

        September 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
      • yarbird

        You lost all credibility at six months.

        September 11, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • dhubb

      That statement was meant 8gradeteacher read his post below mine I didn't realize my screen rolled up to u. I will agree with u on most u said. It don't change nothing about the election u know they voting for Obama it is a shame its hurting the kids. That comment I made earlier from the teacher says he lets the kids to there own thing and if they need him he will look it up on google

      September 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  43. 8thGradeTeacher

    I'm a teacher and I just sit in class and have the kids do whatever activities they want. But I do help them out if they have questions. I don't completely ignore them. I do my best to google it for them. We definitely need to get raises for teachers. There are some congressmen who will give teachers raises so they make 100,000 per year. I'm glad that those congressmen were elected. If we can get a few more we can get tons of raises for teachers using the budget. We can all retire at 40. Imagine everyone retiring at 40. Then we will all be rich and happy. Also, if the government raises the minimum wage to $100 per hour, we can all be rich and buy anything we want. Also, we the government can implement rent control so everyone only pays $100 per month on rent.

    September 10, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  44. TiredOfCnn

    400,000 Chicago children can't go to school today because of a union.
    Afraid of reprecussions from organized labor...
    Chicago's favorite son, our President,
    says through an aide 'no comment'...

    It is what is wrong with America. ROMNEY 2012

    September 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  45. TiredOfCnn

    Nice coverage CNN – top story in the US today and you bury it in a blog?! I feel sadness for your journalists, for to report something as news at CNN, first rule is 'do no harm' to Obama. A sad day for reporters.

    September 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  46. TiredOfCnn

    Bring in the scabs

    September 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  47. LC

    Ironman666: Thanks to those 'bums" that you can read and write. I am not sure when teachers became the enemy. We ADORE the kids and want them in schools more than anyone. However, CPS teachers DO NOT MAKE AN AVERAGE OF $75k! Are you kidding me?? The average salary at our school is $45,000 for teachers with a Masters degree. Don't believe everything you read. We have one teacher who makes about $70k, but has been a teacher for over 20 years with superior ratings. Why don't you all go into a classroom for a week and see how easy it is. I do not judge you on your job, so do not judge us on our job. Also, having class sizes of 43 which include special needs, gang members, autistic, "regular" kids, and severe behavior kids with no aides (most other countries have teachers aides in the classroom) DOES factor into the mix of student performance. Class sizes are a very large deal in an inner city school. It's amazing to read the hatred by everyone for teachers when WE teachers are the profession who teaches other professions. How dare you disrespect a profession in which has helped ALL OF YOU in some way shape or form. When all you release is hate and negativity, then there is nothing more to be said. You have your opinion and think you know what it takes to be a teacher. Until you step in a classroom, you have no idea. Never judge a profession in which you have no idea what it truly takes educate the future.

    September 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • KWS

      Stop blending teachers with their corrupt, extortionary unions. There should be no unions in public schools; it's an abuse of power that serves politicians and unions while ignoring the customer and raping the taxpayer. I had many wonderful teachers, and I had some bad ones. WHY DOES THE UNION PROTECT THE BAD ONES? Its a bad system that has to go.

      Love the teachers, hate the teachers' unions. It's simple, easy and correct!

      September 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Liz

      I admire the courage of these teachers, parents and students. I feel that the teachers union where I work in upstate NY did not stand up for teachers in this way. Because of this new evaluation system, I had a terrible year. I have been teaching for ten years. Because of one unannounced observation from an administrator that did't even ask me for any information about what I was teaching, I was rated as "in need of improvement." For the rest of the year I had to explain and justify everything I did every two weeks in a meeting with two administrators. In private industry it would probably be called harassment.
      Now administrators are talking parents out of placing their child in another school within the district and providing less services to special education students.
      They are trying to save money by pushing older and more experienced teachers out and not providing needed services. It may save tax dollars, but the children and the community suffer. Teachers have become an easy target. Please don't shoot the messenger.

      September 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Marty S.

      Wow, more propaganda.
      a) Here is a list of EVERY TEACHERS SALARY

      b) The union ADMITS to the average salary being $71k and the city says it is $76k
      "By comparison, teachers in New York City earn an average of $73,751. That would be less than the average $76,000 average salary for Chicago teachers cited by CPS, but more than the $71,000 average cited by the union. "

      c) I know several CPS teachers, many work 32 hourw/wk for 8 months per year (days off, ridiculous holidays, sick days) and earn over $70k. Also, those 32 hours/wk include PROFESSIONAL PLANNING hours and class prep time that is SCHEDULED IN.

      September 11, 2012 at 9:50 am |
      • RGG

        I worked in the private sector 20 years-Healthcare management- before becoming a teacher two years ago. You have no idea of how much work teachers put in outside of your 32hr window. We spend our own money too. However, I can see how many like you want to scapegoat teachers, we're an easy target. Hate the games politicians and union leaders play. Students and teachers are the pawns being sacrificed. I think you know that this strike is about reducing labor costs and weakening/eliminating the bargaining power of a stakeholder{Teachers Union}, Econ 101 indeed. As our 'urban' students' would say 'Hate the game not the player'. The game has been played for a long time and it will be around long after we're gone.

        September 12, 2012 at 2:14 am |
  48. Disanitnodicos

    Looks like it's mostly blacks. Figures. They are troublemakers.

    September 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • dhubb

      Nothing to do with black its all about what people are taught and raised. U look how things have changed over the years. No pledge of allegiance. No prayer. Basicly ur not allowed do have any beliefs. And if do have belief someone is going to sue u cause they don't believe the same way

      September 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
      • Nate!

        You talk about beliefs as if they make a school system.. ....we do not teach our children what to think, but how to think criticallly. The pledge of allegiance is political propaganda to support the religious right .....Under God, indeed.. ...

        September 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Nate!

      What the heck?!?! Blacks? Are you serious?! What kind of trip back to the 1950s racist crap is that?!?!

      September 10, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
      • dhubb

        How is what I said racist. Diffently an Obama support that's all u know is racist

        September 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
      • dhubb

        U right it don't make school system but it shapes there for better success in life it amazes me how stupid u r it may be political but if it offends get the heck outta this country. Under God people like u is what is ruining this country this ONE NAtion under GOD. Without him we nothing

        September 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  49. dhubb

    I wish I live in Chicago. I'd walk right thru that picket line. You already making 70 plus a year. 2% raise more than generous. Rest of the people in this country. Would be happy with that. Unions are what is wrong with this country. Union workers for the most are the worst workers in America they think they sound get paid to nothing. All the union does is protect the lazy ones. And if Chicago had the highest grades in the country maybe us deserve more. Last time I looked Chicago is behind all they produce is thighs so teacher fail bring in all. New ones

    September 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Sw58

      A. If you are not at certified teacher you will not get a job. B. As a starting teacher you will start off at $25,000. C. You will put in well over 50 hour work weeks. C. You will be graded based on test scores, but you will only get the materials a month after the school year starts. D. If the children you teach do not do their homework because they come from broken home, it is your bad luck when the test scores are low. E. Have fun teaching 32 children in your class and meeting all their needs......etc

      September 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
      • KWS

        Boo-hoo da Wah-wah!

        Everyone with a career works 50+ hours a week these days. Test scores were put in because the unions would never allow you to be judged on your individual skills and abilities like most working people with bosses. I never had fewer than 33 kids in my elementary school classes, and we all did fine. Get over yourself. Your union has brainwashed you into thinking "no one works harder"... well, they're LYING. If you do a great job, you should rebell and fight to end the union; then your above-average performance would show, and you'd be compensated as you truly deserve.

        September 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
      • Brad

        The median starting salary, as of 2008, was $45,925. That is quite a bit higher than the $25K you claim. Normalize that salary for a year (we'll count summer vacation as only 2 months), and you are making >$55K a year right out of school...better than most professions.

        I agree that money needs to be spent on education, but teacher's salaries doesn't seem to be money well spent. The CPS is basically a case study that shows you more money to teachers doesn't translate into a better educational system. They are the highest paid teachers in the country, even when you consider Cost of Living indices. Let's look into other places to spend that money that provide better infrastructure to make the teacher's jobs easier, so that they can stop complaining. The fact is, paying teachers more, does not create a better education system. However, money well spent can still have a positive effect.

        I understand that teachers shouldn't be judged solely on a standardized test, but there needs to be some evaluation that has an effect on their job security. Those other criteria may involve some subjectivity, but that is life. I would like to hear from some teachers their ideas for criteria for evaluation besides the tests. No professional should expect to keep their job and get endless pay raises just because they belong to a union.

        September 13, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
      • Brad

        Also, when I hear teachers talk about how many hours they work, I just have to shake my head. Most teachers have been in the education world their whole lives, so they are stuck on the school schedule. 50 hours is not a long week. I can't remember the last time I worked less than 50 hours in a week. I can empathize with bad working conditions, but hours doesn't count as a long week.

        By the way, where is all of our money going? We spend more money per student than almost every country in the world. We need to cut the fat (I'm not talking about teachers), and build some muscle (programs that work).

        September 13, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
      • Brad

        "but 50* hours"....sorry for the typo.

        September 13, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Teache

      Where ever you got your information from should tell you that those salaries only apply to very few people who by the way have worked for many years on the board oh, and yes have had to go and get from one to two master's or more. In other words they have worked very hard in order to obtain to what would only be a reasonable salary. As for the rest of the teachers they DO NOT make that much money. Do your research before you open your mouth.

      September 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
      • dhubb

        Its to funny can't believe u believe that crap union telling u no Chicago votes like they do. Can tell u anything and u believe it. 45 do ur own research. 74 to 76 average salary for teachers there 5th highest in the whole country and of the top 10 highest scores. Chicago is no where to be seen. Overpaid for the production. Let me guess the union tells u that is the best school system.

        September 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
      • dhubb

        Dang that statement. Got all mixed thx auto correct. Lol I must of graduated from chicago

        September 10, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • previous chicago girl

      dhubb if you did live in Chicago then you would understand what they are fighting for. What you fail to realize that unions also make companies stronger. Unions provide living wages for families (where is your thinking) and therefore if you work in management in a union shop your wage will increase so the standard of living will be higher. If employers treated employees well there would be no need for unions, due to the fact that teachers are paying for supplies out of their pockets, schools are overcrowded, schools do not have enough text books for all you should be thanking them that they are fighting for the education for all not just those who can afford it.

      September 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
      • dhubb

        U r just showing ur ignorance. I've worked for unions. When I got out of the north and hot away from the union my eyes opened. And I saw everything without it is better. Union workers are so lazy u cannot them be being sorry not meeting production or anything a union keeps the employer from being able to run the business the way it needs to be run for success.u right u do make skittles more but u just be more union dues comes out to the same. Question for u. Do u work butt off to make ur money. Then u got another that works half as hard as u. That's union life. For what they make I see nothing wrong with them buying things. 30 to32 kids in a room big deal it was like when I was school.

        September 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • bob

      you idiot.......until you survive a week in a Chicago Public School Do NOT speak!!!!!

      September 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
      • dhubb

        Its ur teaching skills. U need some southern teachers or someone to teach u and the students manners and respect others. And by ur comment u obviously don't have the intelligence or the care bout the kids u r just there for a check

        September 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
      • RGG

        A week, I'll give him 1 hour at most in a non-teaching capacity. Don't get upset with this unfortunate being Bob. Rational thought doesn't come easy for many people.

        September 12, 2012 at 2:26 am |
    • L.C.

      i find it difficult to believe you could survive in the city of Chicago for even a week. People who are from other states love to critisize the big cities, but do not live in the reality of it. You claim the problem is with Teachers and Unions, well if you look closely its with the city and the politicians. The city is corrupt on the streets and in the office, and the teachers have been forced into the middle of both of them.

      September 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  50. Claire

    I think maybe ironman666 needs to work on his grammar before he comments on something he knows nothing about.

    September 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • ironman666

      you need to get off the crack just reamber what ever they ask for and get means your taxes go up to pay for them i dont think so

      September 10, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  51. mikey

    Another diversion, the next president will appoint probably 2 new supreme court justices, with a stacked court Obama really will be president for life.

    September 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  52. ironman666

    fire them all and put all new teachers in going on strike now the way everything the way is are the nuts keep in mind people what ever they get that just means your taxes will go to pay for these bums how do you think there going to afaird them

    September 10, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • CT voter

      What makes you think that there are certified teachers lining up to work in schools that don't provide enough textbooks for students, or where the class sizes are detrimental to learning, or who expand the length of the school calendar or school day without an equal expansion of pay? All this, and then to be held accountable for the test scores of students who have challenges that are beyond the control of the teacher? Get real.

      September 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
      • Ling

        I would say the teachers in USA are just as spoiled as the students. Get real? China and India have an average class room size of about 60-80 students. School does not provide text book, you have to buy your own. We never got out of class on time, and teachers volunteer to teach overtime. The last time i checked Asian transfer students out perform US born students on the SAT. So your argument of " the class sizes are detrimental to learning" does not stand. It's about time educators stop looking at their job as a dollar sign, if you want to make more money find a different career path. There is no secrete way to success, its all about motivation. Students do well in school despite large numbers because they are motivated to compete. Teachers in china teach well because they are motivated to help their students, not just because the job pays good money. When i look at these selfish people who call them self educators, i say "Shame on you"

        September 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
      • Jane

        Your point is valid but it's a little out of context. If you are going to do a comparison, then you must consider the similarities in societal, historical, political and economic conditions of both. It's not just about 2 countries having the same size of classrooms. You can say all of that is irrelevant and people should just do what they have to do to succeed. But human being are not drones. Everyone's experience and concerns whether you are from China or America is unique and should be equally respected.

        September 10, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
      • Bryan

        Harvard has classes 100+ classrooms. There are numerous open source teaching tools available for free. You are overpaid as is. Numerous certified teachers are available, I was at the NEIU graduation.

        Make no mistake, the teachers union upset many families.

        September 11, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Liz

      Do you have a job?

      September 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
      • dhubb

        Just read ur post back up. First of all I'm shocked thought everything was union up there. That sux what they trying to I've thought about that a lot. My mom going thru that now had to her a lawyer to fight for her on severance pay she worked for the police department. And yes I work got a little small business. And yes Mr president I built it

        September 10, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
      • bob

        Hey Ling, GO BACK TO CHINA THEN!!!!!!!

        September 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Nate!

      Fire them all? All 30,000 of them? I tell you, have worked for CPS for three years.....and in three years the management of my school has hired friends, cousins, siblings and spouses to do jobs for which they are not qualified. In my own program, I have raised passing rates to over 94% cuz I bust my ass to get kids in so they do the work, not some weakened, simplified version of the work, and they meet my expectation. But I also buy winter coats, hats, gloves, scarves, transit passes, pay light bills, put gas in the tanks of their cars. Tell me, please tell me, why I deserve to be fired when over 20% of my net pay goes back into my students.... ....Tell me, you brat!

      September 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
      • Bryan

        Because your evaluation has nothing to do with your contribution to charity. Because they need to show up to your job. Because the effect to the city is far above any squablings that remain and they need to be held accountable. Because you can be replaced very easily with recent college grads that see the red herring fallacy that you are trying to use.

        So yes. Fire all 30,000 of them. Enjoy the blacklist and the looking for work far away from here.

        September 11, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • AZ Teacher

      Goodness, Ironman. Have you ever heard of a period?

      September 11, 2012 at 10:01 am |