Living in the western suburbs of Chicago gives me ample opportunity to read, listen, and watch what is happening with Chicago Schools. Meetings with the media, rallies, and everything else is contentious continuously. Then add in Mayor Emmanuel and Karen Lewis, head of the CTU (union) and we’ve got quite a mix. It has been interesting to see all the posturing and positions being taken, I’m even more intrigued to see how it is handled through the media and which side they will take (we know that journalism is never one-sided. Right FoxNews? Right MSNBC?)
Read the history of CPS here: Chicago Public Schools – Wikipedia.
From WBEZ (support your local NPR)
Contract negotiations between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers union have now passed the seven-month mark. And although the current contract expires at the end of this month, CPS and CTU still seem to be far apart on many issues.
The divide between the district and its teachers was emphasized last week when news came that 90 percent of CTU members voted to authorize a strike—well above the 75 percent required by law.
via What’s next for CPS/CTU negotiations? click for a radio interview that aired June 18th
Now comes a first person account of the craziness that is the Chicago Teachers Union versus the Chicago Public Schools from a teacher perspective.
“The overwhelming support for strike authorization seemed to confuse the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, who likes to assure us that he loves and respects teachers as he destroys our schools and degrades our union. But the vote didn’t come as a surprise to me.”
From Dipity and WBEZ: CPS negotiations with Chicago Teachers Union: A timeline.
Contract negotiations are never pretty and in Chicago they do a pretty good job of pointing that out.
The Chicago teachers’ fight for justice also has national significance because the city has been a testing ground for “school reform” since 1995, when the state legislature handed then Mayor Richard M. Daley direct control of the schools and stripped the CTU of its right to strike for 18 months.
Daley’s second schools CEO, Arne Duncan, oversaw the closure of low-performing schools and the proliferation of charters, which propelled him to the post of Obama’s Education Secretary. In that role, he worked closely with Emanuel to take the Chicago agenda across the U.S. Their tool was the Race to the Top initiative, a $4.3 billion pool of federal grants doled out to states if they passed laws that open the door to charter schools and undermine teachers’ job security by limiting tenure and imposing merit pay.
The battle lines over public education are being drawn in Chicago. But it’s a fight with nationwide implications–
via How Can the Chicago Teachers Union Win? | The Indypendent. Excellent article, fyi.
- Chicago Teachers Union Votes 90 per cent in Favor of Strike (commondreams.org)
- ‘Chaos?’ High-ranking CPS official resigns (suntimes.com)