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  1. #1
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    Default Teachers Strike in Chicago

    From time:

    Behind the Chicago Teachers’ Strike: Why Talks Must Be Made Public

    With city officials and the Chicago teachers' union at an impasse, both sides should heed Louis Brandeis' call and start negotiating in the open


    Spoiler alert: when Maggie Gyllenhaal’s new feature film, Won’t Back Down, hits theaters later this month, its plot hinges on the forcing of school officials to make big decisions in front of parents rather than behind closed doors. The film is fictional, but raging against backroom power politics is not. Teachers’ unions and district officials almost always negotiate privately, so when those negotiations reach a deal or an impasse — or lead to a strike, as they did in Chicago yesterday — the public gets to hear only part of the story as families scramble to figure out what to do with their kids. Chicago, whose 400,000 students make it the U.S.’s third largest school district, today offered safe havens for kids in dozens of public libraries and churches and, for a four-hour stretch this morning, in nearly 150 public schools staffed with nonunion workers.

    At issue in the Chicago strike — the first by the city’s teachers in 25 years — are clashes between the union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel on how to handle teacher pay, evaluations, benefits and layoffs. In public, the Chicago Teachers Union uses generalities to describe its demands, with the union president, Karen Lewis, saying the teachers want a “fair contract.” But according to one senior Chicago official with direct knowledge of the negotiations with the union reps, “Their public rhetoric has almost nothing to do with what’s happening at the table.” Media accounts indicate that the city’s latest offer was to raise teacher pay 16% over the next four years, but the senior city official and other sources with knowledge of the negotiations say the union demanded raises that would amount to at least a 35% salary increase over three years as well as guaranteed jobs for any teachers who get laid off as Chicago’s schools downsize. The city does not have that kind of money, and other changes the union is demanding would essentially render meaningless a new law in Illinois that mandates improved teacher evaluations there.

    But the transparency problem isn’t just with the unions. Management, too, takes requests to the table that they would rather not have splashed across the front pages of newspapers. In Chicago, for instance, city officials aren’t eager to broadcast some of the provisions in the teachers’ contract that are designed to control costs, because that could make it more difficult to attract seasoned teachers from other school districts. That’s a hard one to explain to parents, who want the best teachers for their kids but don’t understand the ins and outs of personnel rules.

    Airing these kinds of issues out in public could turn contract negotiations into teachable moments for both parents and taxpayers. For starters, people need to understand that while policy debates over standardized testing and school vouchers grab most of the headlines, in practice, what’s in a local teachers’ contract generally matters more to the day-to-day experiences of students. In 2006, I co-wrote a book with Jane Hannaway, titled Collective Bargaining in Education, in which we proposed holding contract negotiations in public as one way to break education’s gridlock between labor and management.

    It’s a hard sell, and few places have been motivated by Louis Brandeis’ famous statement that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” Making talks public can be a messy process. Earlier this year, Douglas County in Colorado decided to negotiate its new teachers’ contract in public, announcing when and where the meetings would be held so anyone could attend. Among the sticking points was whether taxpayers should continue to pay for half of the salaries of teachers who are working full-time for the teachers’ union. The school board, which has been standing firm in its demands to stop paying for this, voted last week to stop negotiating with the teachers’ union altogether but declined to put the issue to voters to decide. A mediator ruled against the school board last month, and the entire dispute seems headed for court.

    But negotiating in public shouldn’t be about tilting the field one way or the other. It should be about moving important education issues into the light of day. At least then, citizens could get a full understanding of what’s behind the drama in places like Chicago and Douglas County.

  2. #2
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    Yall are real quick to comment when its the GOP in Texas.

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    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Does the article happen to mention that the average teacher salary in Chicago is $71,000 per year? Yeah, I have no sympathy for them....on the other hand, the Democratic machine in Chicago pretty much brought this crap on themselves. The only real victims are the children.

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    I sure wish I was guaranteed a 16% raise in the next 4 years.

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    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Does the article happen to mention that the average teacher salary in Chicago is $71,000 per year? Yeah, I have no sympathy for them....on the other hand, the Democratic machine in Chicago pretty much brought this crap on themselves. The only real victims are the children.
    teaches should be paid more than celebrities. teachers have to put up with other's snotty nose brats and i think they should have their pay best on how well they do, if they;re a shitty teacher less pay if they;re a good teacher better pay great teacher best pay. than again i don't think celebrities should be making as much as they do
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

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    From CNN:

    Chicago teachers' strike hurts our kids



    Editor's note: Terry M. Moe is the William Bennett Munro professor of political science at Stanford University, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a member of the Koret Task Force for K-12 Education. He is the author of "Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America's Public Schools" (Brookings, 2011).

    (CNN) -- It is easy to see the Chicago teachers strike as an unfortunate incident that will soon pass. This is, after all, their first strike in 25 years. The norm is that the district and the Chicago Teachers Union have regularly negotiated their way to contracts every several years. So it might appear that, almost always, collective bargaining "works."

    But does it? The purpose of the Chicago school system — and of the American school system more generally — is to educate children. The way to assess collective bargaining is not to ask whether it works to bring labor peace. It is to ask whether it promotes the interests of children in a quality education. And the answer to that question is no, it does not. Not even remotely.

    Collective bargaining is not fundamentally about children. It is about the power and special interests of adults. In Chicago and elsewhere, the teachers unions are in the business of winning better salaries and benefits, protecting job security, pressuring for restrictive work rules and in other ways advancing the occupational interests of their members. These interests are simply not the same as the interests of children.

    And they inevitably lead, through the exercise of union power, to contracts whose countless formal rules are literally not designed to create an effective organization for schools. In fact, they guarantee that the schools will be organized in perverse ways that no one in their right mind would favor if they just cared about what is best for kids.

    Because of the formal rules that unions fight for in labor contracts, district leaders can almost never get bad teachers out of the classroom. Nor can they allocate good teachers to the schools and classrooms where they can do the greatest good for kids. Add to this that the evaluation process is a full-blown charade, and 99% of all teachers, including the very worst teachers, are regularly given satisfactory evaluations. Also, teachers are paid based on their seniority and formal credits, without any regard for whether their students are learning anything.

    And so it goes. This is a school system organized for the benefit of the people who work in it, not for the kids they are expected to teach.

    Collective bargaining is not the only arena in which jobs take priority over kids. It also happens in the politics of state and national governments, which should be governing the public schools in the best interests of kids, but aren't.

    A major reason is that the teachers unions are by far the most powerful political force in American education. The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have some 4.5 million members between them, they are among the top spenders in state and national elections, they have activists in virtually every electoral district in the country, they have formidable lobbying machines and much more. They are among the most powerful special interests of any type in the country.

    What have they done with all this political power? For more than a quarter century, this country has been frantically trying to reform and bring real improvement, effective organization, to the public school system. And the unions have used their political power to block or seriously weaken these efforts: by preventing the spread of charter schools, undermining true accountability for schools and teachers, resisting performance pay, protecting teacher tenure and in countless ways defending a poorly performing status quo. Very successfully.

    Every one of us pays the price. Our children are being denied a quality education, fulfilling careers and productive lives. The nation is losing precious human capital, its long-term economic growth is taking a direct and destructive hit and its position of leadership in the world is seriously threatened.

    So, yes, Chicago's teachers are out on strike. That is today's news, today's headline. But the real problem is much larger. It is that power over this nation's key educational decisions — in Chicago and virtually everywhere else — is disproportionately exercised by special interests.

    Long after Chicago's teachers are back to work, this problem will remain. The fundamental challenge facing our country is to find some way of solving it.

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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    The purpose of any labor union is to promote the best interests of the laborers. The UAW doesn't strike to improve the experience of the people that buy the cars they build and Teamsters don't lobby to improve the economic climate for manufacturers and merchants. The teacher's union is supposed to work towards getting the best compensation and working conditions for teachers they can get. That seems to be what's going on. I would imagine the cost of living is pretty high in Chicago, though I've never lived in a city that big. I don't think it hurts to pay a teacher enough to support a family of four in reasonable comfort where they work and live. I want my kids' teachers to be well-compensated and I want them to love their jobs.

    Charter schools, "accountability," and performance pay are often not-so-thinly veiled attempts to funnel public money into private pockets. Often the pockets in question are quite deep. I do not like the move toward privatizing schools or most other public entities, for that matter. I don't think adding a third profit-motivated party is the best way to improve services or save money. There are reforms that can be made. We can learn from education models that work in other countries. However, as long as we aren't willing to address the inequities in our current system and invest in education like we really mean it, it isn't going to happen.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Does the article happen to mention that the average teacher salary in Chicago is $71,000 per year? Yeah, I have no sympathy for them....on the other hand, the Democratic machine in Chicago pretty much brought this crap on themselves. The only real victims are the children.
    -Salary without cost of living data is not useful.
    -I personally believe teachers are paid too little in this country. For a job that is so important, we do little to attract the best people to it.
    -I don't see how this is in any way similar to the Texas Republican party putting an anti-critical thinking statement in their platform. This is two entities entering a labor dispute. It happens almost every day. The Texas thing doesn't, and it was pretty sensational.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    The purpose of any labor union is to promote the best interests of the laborers.
    And the purpose of public unions is to do so at the expense of every other tax-payer and voting citizen....since, you know, they work for a democratically elected government and are paid with tax revenues.

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