Last Updated:July 30 @ 05:43 pm

Chicago teachers choose strike over 16% pay increase

By Don Babwin and Tammy Webber

CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago teachers went on strike Monday for the first time in 25 years after their union and district officials failed to reach a contract agreement despite intense weekend negotiations that the union said were productive but still failed to adequately address issues such as job security and teacher evaluations.

The two sides were not far apart on compensation, but were on other issues, including health benefits — teachers want to keep what they have now — and a new teacher evaluation system based partly on students' standardized test scores, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said.

"This is a difficult decision and one we hoped we could have avoided," she said. "We must do things differently in this city if we are to provide our students with the education they so rightfully deserve."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel condemned the union's decision, and said the negotiations could be resolved if the two sides kept talking, "given how close we are."

"This is not a strike I wanted," Emanuel said. "It was a strike of choice ... it's unnecessary, it's avoidable and it's wrong. "

More than 26,000 teachers and support staff were expected to hit the picket lines early Monday, while the school district and parents carried out plans for keeping nearly 400,000 students safe and occupied while classes remain empty in the coming days in the nation's third largest school district.

Both Emanuel and union officials have much at stake. The walkout comes at a time when unions and collective bargaining by public employees have come under criticism in many parts of the country, and all sides are closely monitoring who might emerge with the upper hand in the Chicago dispute.

The timing also may be inopportune for Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff whose city administration is wrestling with a spike in murders and shootings in some city neighborhoods and who just agreed to take a larger role in fundraising for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

As the strike deadline approached, parents spent Sunday worrying about how much their children's education might suffer and where their kids will go while they're at work.

School officials said they will open more than 140 schools between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. so children can eat lunch and breakfast in a district where many students receive free meals. The district asked community organizations to provide additional programs for students, and a number of churches, libraries and other groups plan to offer day camps and other activities. But it's not clear how many families will send their children to the added programs.

"They're going to lose learning time," said Beatriz Fierro, whose daughter is in the fifth grade on the city's Southwest Side. "And if the whole afternoon they're going to be free, it's bad. Of course you're worried."

Eric Ferrer, a cook, said his children can stay home Monday with his wife, who works in a store. But if the strike goes more than one day, they would have a problem — one that he sees no way to solve.

"My wife is off tomorrow, (so) we can keep them at home," said Ferrer, as he sat in a McDonald's restaurant on the city's Southwest Side with his wife and their 8-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. "She works the next day (and) so do I."

School board President David Vitale first announced Sunday night that talks had broken off, despite the school board offering what he called a fair and responsible contract that would cover four years and meet most of the union's demands. He said the talks with the union had been "extraordinarily difficult."

Emanuel said the district had offered the teachers a 16 percent pay raise over four years, doubling an earlier offer.

Lewis said she would not prioritize the issues, saying that they all were important to teachers.

That included concern over a new evaluation that she said would be based too heavily on students' standardized test scores, which she said would be unfair to teachers because it could not adequately account for outside factors that affect student performance, including poverty, violence and homelessness.

She said the evaluations could result in 6,000 teachers losing their jobs within two years.

City officials said they did not believe that was true, but said the union would not tell them how they came to that conclusion.

Emanuel said the evaluation would not count in the first year, as teachers and administrators worked out any kinks. Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said the evaluation was mandated by state law but "was not developed to be a hammer," but to help teachers get better.

Emanuel said the union should have postponed the strike because an agreement is close. He also said his negotiating team would be available all night if the union was willing to talk, but Lewis said negotiations would resume Monday.

The strike is the latest flashpoint in a very public and often contentious battle between the mayor and the union.

When he took office last year, Emanuel inherited a school district facing a $700 million budget shortfall. Not long after, his administration rescinded 4 percent raises for teachers. He then asked the union to reopen its contract and accept 2 percent pay raises in exchange for lengthening the school day for students by 90 minutes. The union refused.

Emanuel, who promised a longer school day during his campaign, then attempted to go around the union by asking teachers at individual schools to waive the contract and add 90 minutes to the day. He halted the effort after being challenged by the union before the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.

The district and union agreed in July on how to implement the longer school day, striking a deal to hire back 477 teachers who had been laid off rather than pay regular teachers more to work longer hours. That raised hopes the contract dispute would be settled soon, but bargaining continued on the other issues.

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37 Comments

  1. nickster99Comment by nickster99
    September 10, 2012 @ 9:22 am

    They should be giving back 16% for the lousy job that the majority of them do. I feel bad for the ones that really put forth the effort and very good teachers.

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    • MortComment by Mort
      September 10, 2012 @ 6:38 pm

      I agree that the teachers in a bankrupt city and any city should not be getting raises. Especially when the schools are below average in their education standards. Hold the teachers responsible AND the parents should be accountable, also. I grew up in a family with siblings that were so competitive and wanting to do better than one another, it wasn’t a problem. Families that don’t make sure their children are doing their homework, bringing home good grades, etc. should also be held responsible. If they had to go to teacher conferences, etc. or go before a judge when their children are truent, etc. then maybe they would wake up to the fact that these kids have to be more than government subsidies.

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  2. kodmdComment by kodmd
    September 10, 2012 @ 9:23 am

    I guess I don’t understand arithmetic…. how does a city that has a $700 million budget shortfall hire back an additional 477 teachers and offer them all a 16% raise over 4 years???? Guess that’s another charge to come out of federal government. Typical Obama Democrat ! And, as far as teachers having a problem with evaluations – tough! Your job is to teach and there needs to be consequences if you don’t. If you’re teaching for the right reasons (to help children, not get paid big union bucks and have your summer off), then those outside influences can be overcome.

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  3. sexysadieComment by sexysadie
    September 10, 2012 @ 9:49 am

    I am a native Chicagoan. I am also a teacher with over 25 years in the classroom and 7 as a principal. I can tell you without a doubt that the Chicago public schools are the worst in the nation. The Chicago School Board is the most corrupt organization in the nation. The reason why the teacher union has decided to strike is because the “teachers” (I use the term very loosely) don’t want to be accountable for the results at the end of the school year. WHAT??? What other employee would be able to stay on a job after 2-3 months of failing and/or dismal work results let alone a year or years??? When U.S. school children rank lowest amongst other countries in test scores particularly in math and science, there is something intrinsically wrong with the system. When school children can’t read, can’t write or spell, and can’t do simple mathematical computations without a calculator, something is terribly wrong. But they learn about homosexuality, how to put on a condom, and how to save the planet in place of basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic. I will say it again: the only solution to this problem is to completely demolish and abolish all public schools, all teacher unions and federations, the NEA and all its contigencies, and all school boards and other such entities. Taxpayers are paying on an average of over $8,000.00 (and in some areas much, much more) per student to have these kinds of dismal results. Any company having these kinds of results would have fired the employees and reorganized long before spending another dime on failure. This is ridiculous to the nth degree! Public schools, school boards, and the NEA are all politically motivated. They DO NOT have our children’s interests at heart. Our children are dying in cesspools of social engineering and propaganda. Chicago should be the first to go.

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    • msconservative444Comment by msconservative444
      September 10, 2012 @ 11:23 am

      Sadie, you’ve said it all. The logic of your statement is stunning, but there is no room for logic when it comes to the teacher’s union. The most ineffective of them all.
      God bless you for telling the truth of the matter.

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    • JDZComment by JDZ
      September 10, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

      I live in California which is basically run by the CTA (California Teachers Association) who see themselves as the 4th leg of the state legislature. They have stymied any renegotiations of their union agreements and have stopped every attempt at all levels of government to put in place teacher evaluation schemes that have any teeth. Retread Governor Jerry Brown, who gave the public service unions collective bargaining rights in 1973, has not made any progress with the myriad of different public service unions in California in getting them to renegotiate their unsustainable salaries and benefits.

      The public educational system in California is also a mess and grossly underperforming and the unions are a major part of the problems with the system and the inability of school administrators to make needed changes. This is a national problem.

      Mitt Romney mentioned in one of his speeches that he wants to do something about our failing public educational system and admitted that the unions are a problem in doing anything substantially different looking ahead. I agree with you that the only way to make the radical changes necessary may require a shutdown of the current public school system and a bottoms up rebuild without union involvement. It could be done by subcontracting all elementary and secondary schooling to private teaching institutions.

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    • Col.GrampawComment by Col.Grampaw
      September 10, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

      This is one of those situations where they should all be allowed to be counted on the rolls of the long-term unemployed. As my late mother, a teacher and University Department Head, used to say “They’re nothing but Spoiled Brats”. The problem was though, she was referring to the students at the time, not the teachers.

      Hey, I’m 70 years old and I’ve been enjoying retirement for the last 5 years. But make me an offer of $75K, plus 4% raise for each of the next 4 years, plus all the other benefits for a 9-month job and see how quickly I could arrange to relocate. Particularly if there is no union to have to worship. Both my military and civilian careers called for annual evaluations from the start, so while my degree was not in Secondary Education, I have no doubt that I could be as effective in the classroom as the ones who are on strike.

      If the CSB has any backbone, they’d fire them all and send out invitations country-wide to a job fair. The school system would be back up and running within 30 days or less.

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  4. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    September 10, 2012 @ 10:36 am

    So, is the contract still in effect, or has it expired without agreement from both sides?
    If it has expired, simply terminate teachers and staff who are employed under the provisions of that (expired) agreement, and open those positions for any who wish to apply to work without union representation.

    That can include current teachers who may be happy to get free of the union.

    A final observation …
    I am saddened to learn that the authorities plan to open some schools between 8:30 and 12:00 so that kids CAN EAT.

    I thought they were SCHOOLS … not dining facilities with between-meal activities.

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      September 10, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

      It’s even worse than that. They are dining facilities/day care centers. Notice that many parents are panicking about what they will do with the little darlings all day while they go to work. No mention of what they normally do during summer vacation. Sadly, in Chicago, you have to worry about your children being murdered while all the thugs are running loose throughout the day. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to stay there.

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    • sexysadieComment by sexysadie
      September 10, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

      Public schools today are nothing less than organized conspirators of social engineering for the left. This is nothing new. Public schools have been doing this since the early 20th century. The dumbocrats say that public schools have no room for religion, yet public schools inculcate innocent children with marxist-socialist ideology. We are reaping the results now. Using the guise of “caring” for poor children and families, public schools have literally become government nannies, replacing the parents’ rights and obligations of the upbringing of their children. Public schools provide everything EXCEPT a proper education! And parents are so lulled into a false sense of security–and because of both parents having to work–that they have become emasculated when it comes to their responsibility for the upbringing of their children. Schools are now taking on parental responsibilities right down to “health” clinics where children can get condoms, birth control pills, abortion counseling, and other such evils WITHOUT parental permission or knowledge. Schools are not meant to provide meals to children. That is the parents’ responsibility. If parents are too poor to provide food for their children, there are numerous charities, churches, and other places of worship that are DESIGNED for that purpose.

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    • jimnjoyComment by jimnjoy
      September 10, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

      The schools here have gotten federal grants so the children eat both breakfast and lunch at school. If the child has already eaten breakfast or brings a lunch from home, the school makes them eat, or at least pretend to eat, anyway. That way the schools keep their numbers up and they qualify for another grant. So, now even parents that can afford to feed their children at home, usually don’t. They also get free day-care after school and the children aren’t allowed to leave until after 6:00 so the after-school program can show the hours needed to qualify for funding next time. It is turning these young parents into welfare-moms and dads…dependent on the “state”, one meal at a time. The socialist/communist countries claim the children as possessions of the state. To whom do our children belong?

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  5. msconservative444Comment by msconservative444
    September 10, 2012 @ 11:25 am

    Remember when the air traffic controllers went on strike. Reagan let them all go and hired a whole new work force. The same should happen here.

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    • cynicalpeteComment by cynicalpete
      September 10, 2012 @ 11:55 am

      Exactly. Fire them all and hire a new bunch that want to teach.

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      September 10, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

      Good idea, but Rahm Emanual will never do that. He is a typical big union supporting liberal. The people who voted him in as mayor will get exactly what they deserve.

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  6. librabobComment by librabob
    September 10, 2012 @ 11:58 am

    Teacher Unions are a cancer on our public school systems. It’s not about the kids, it’s about employee benefits.

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    • BillzillaComment by Billzilla
      September 10, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

      That’s about right!

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    • jimnjoyComment by jimnjoy
      September 10, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

      I think the unions have gotten out-of-hand, but we still need them. I have seen wonderful teachers almost railroaded out of a job because some bureaucratic nincompoop wanted to get rid of them for some personal vendetta and no good reason. In a perfect world there would be no need for unions…unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world.

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  7. JDZComment by JDZ
    September 10, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

    There are millions of college graduates out of work who would love to have a job as a teacher and get paid the average in Chicago which is $75,000 per year (which is for nine months) and be grateful to have the job. The country would ultimately be much better off if they subcontracted public education to private school institutions and funded them to hire new non-union teachers to staff up to the levels needed. The overall cost would be much lower and the quality of the education much higher and because it is privately controlled, would have much more flexibility in terms of contemporary teaching techniques.

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      September 10, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

      I wondered if they could hire substitute teachers. Knowing Chicago politics though, you probably have to be in a union to be a substitute teacher.

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    • sexysadieComment by sexysadie
      September 10, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

      Great ideas! Unfortunately, there are way too many complacent parents who rely on public schools to raise their children–and the public schools are all too happy to acquiesce. It is a frightening future we face unless drastic changes can be made–and soon.

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  8. jimnjoyComment by jimnjoy
    September 10, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

    There is no way that you can accurately tell how competent a teacher is by how the student’s in the class are testing. Students enter the classroom at all stages of readiness and a teacher should not be penalized because she is starting with a classroom full of zero’s and having to compete with a classroom full of 10′s. Don’t get a nervous breakdown because I said a classroom of zero’s. I only meant that they are all presenting at different levels of potential and competence, with different levels of support from home. We have excellent teacher’s here and they haven’t had a raise in years. They have just been asked to take a pay cut for the first time ever. They are being asked to contribute more and more to their healthcare coverage each year. The teacher’s in Chicago should reconsider their priorities. I guess “Chicago politics” has escaped city-hall.

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    • camzComment by camz
      September 11, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

      I pay for ALL of my healthcare insurance. NOBODY matches my 401k. If my performance is poor, I’m finished. WHY are teachers better than me? WHY do they deserve more for less. 79% of 8th graders in Chicago cant read. I know 5 year olds that read. You are making excuses. People like you are the problem.

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  9. middlegroundComment by middleground
    September 10, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

    Response to Sexysadie’s comment.
    I watched my wife take a class of first-grade students who were labeled slow learners because they scored less than 95 on the standard IQ test to the point where they averaged 120. It is called creating motivation and her class of 35 was a mixed bag of students from both upper middle income professional and low income blue collar. She used those techniques she’d learned in child psychology from Katherine Read (author of Kindergarten) to motivate each student, supplemented by those graduate courses in education required for teacher certification. She was able to get the lowest student to a third grade level of reading and the highest to the 12th grade. The class was enriched by science, both observational and experimental, with students working with circles, squares, triangles and pendulums to figure out puzzles (in reality formulas), as well as minor amounts of botany, zoology and geology (my sole input). Science is the organized study of the world and its many facets of knowledge, thus young kids love it. Nothing is more exciting to a 6 year old than making waves and determining that only the wave moves and not the water.

    Mt wife’s worry was that these students might have trouble in a more structured second grade because she knew it would take at least three years of similarly reinforced teaching to set these students on a path to educational success. However, this type of teaching requires massive amounts of individual energy and when she had children she felt her children needed her full attention.

    Both of us are now retired, but I drive past a grade school in this teacher unionized state every day. There is never seems to be any school on Friday, so I calculate that the school year consists of approximately 144 teaching days out of 365. Basically, that is a half time job with the national average pay for such work reported to be between $50,000.00 and $75,000.00 and some have retired early on full medical benefits and geometrically increasing pensions in this bankrupt state. But with just a few more taxes we can let these teachers continue to squander the intellectual development of this nation’s youth.

    Our youth are capable of a lot more than we are asking of them, but who wants to exert the effort when there is no reward for accomplishment? We should steal an approach from our successful athletic coaches. It is called tests and rewards with outstanding teachers in the first through fourth grades and specialized teachers in the fifth and above. The present system penalizes boys in that they are motivated by competition and it favors those who create an image of accomplishment which may be intellectually false. When I had small enough university classes I could test by written exam, it was fun to see how students approached and solved problems. This disappears when classes get larger than 50 to 75 and tests become multiple choice.

    We like to talk about the individual, but the system and the union have become all important.

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    • sexysadieComment by sexysadie
      September 10, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

      Middleground: You are absolutely correct. And, kudos to your wife for her hard work–and it is hard work teaching. One of the most destructive events in education was when the “experts” decided that special ed should be eliminated. And their reason? They didn’t want kids in special ed to feel bad about themselves. So, now kids who need that one-on-one specialized attention are thrown in with the rest of the kids. And what does that accomplish? The teacher can’t teach and the kids can’t learn. It is a no-win situation all around. No one gets a proper education. Learning does not happen. Chaos is the norm.

      I love teaching. I was asked once (before going into teaching) what I would do for no pay. The answer: TEACHING. A degree a teacher does not make. One is either a teacher or is not a teacher. A degree merely enhances what God has already provided. Unfortunately, that is not the common or acceptable belief in most educational circles. Children will only give what is demanded of them, and usually much less. I understand that public schools (and some parochial schools) are doing away with cursive handwriting. Swell…now we’ll have adults that cannot read, spell, or write legibly. I guess that is just another feather in the educrats’ hats!

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  10. freedomfighterComment by freedomfighter
    September 10, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

    I worked in a AFLCIO union shop several years ago. Our Union had us go on strike for a $1.00 per hour pay raise in a company which was then flirting with BK, since their industry had been beaten down as a result of a super drought that couple of years. It too, was a time when jobs were difficult, although not impossible to find.
    We stood on the picket lines for 6 months, while the Union turned down the final offer of $0.33 per hour. The management went out and interviewed people, plus those who had already turned apps in,
    And in a couple of weeks, 2 busses full of people entered the security gates, were hired, and voted out the Union. They were even happy accepting a average of $1.50 less per hour than we currently received, plus retain the full benefits package.
    We could not, in truth, fault the Company, it was that move, or go belly up.
    They did pass much of that savings on in the form of lower prices for the products. Does that sound like a greedy Company?.
    We would have worked, content with what we were already being paid, but the Union did not care, and was not going to back down, WHY?.

    Now, they want the Teachers to go out for a fairly large wage increase, and to make it even more difficult than it already is, to get rid of those who are not performing to the standards of the Schools and their job descriptions. It is now almost impossible to get rid of a employee, in a Union shop, regardless of how badly, or inefficiently they do their job.
    When a person cannot, or will not do what is expected of them, or to a level that is needed from the position they hold, they should, plain and simple, be let go.
    ARE YOU LISTENING, NOMABA?.
    I am sorry, but with the economy sagging, record numbers of people out of work, it takes a lot of Gaul to call for a wage increase. Do all the teachers agree with what the Union is doing?.
    If a Company has 100 employees, and a dollar per hour is requested, and received by the employees, this is an extra $100.00 per hour, X 40=$4,000 at the weeks end. A Extra $16,000 per month debt. No matter what the business is, it results In cost of living increases, as their only option to recoup some or all of that extra outlay is in price increases for their product.
    When the price of their product goes up, those who have to pay more for that product, Stores Etc, must charge more for it to other outlets, and the consumers, which causes taxes to increase on the amount of the sale being higher. Now, you have a Consumer, wage earner, who is unhappy about the higher cost of living, food, gas, vehicles, Etc, when in effect, it was their pay raise, and others, which caused the products to cost them more. It is a trickle effect, which in our present state as a Nation, is just plain bad for all of us. It is all about greed, but as they say, what goes around comes around.
    It is, indeed, all relative.

    TAKE OUT THE TRASH IN NOVEMBER.
    RID US OF A ENEMY OF AMERICA AND IT’S PEOPLE.

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    • middlegroundComment by middleground
      September 10, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

      This is why unions moved into the public sector where they could put their hand into the taxpayer’s reportedly infinite pocket. What they’ve proven is that nothing in infinite as cities go bankrupt and the PIGGS states look for help from a re-elected Obama who will steal from the responsible states to buy votes from the irresponsible states. Now all of us can appreciate just as exploited as those Confederate States felt in the 1860s.

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  11. jimnjoyComment by jimnjoy
    September 11, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

    This comment is for camz…
    So, you don’t think any job deserves benefits just because yours doesn’t? Many jobs offer benefits and those jobs that do attract the best prospects. We want the best people working in our schools. The school districts I am familiar with have never matched 401K contributions. I think any public entity that does is wrong. Just as there are competent and not competent employees in all areas, there are competent and not competent teachers. It is not hard to identify a poor teacher. Because of the unions it is very hard to get rid-of them, but it can be done. We’ve done it. You have to document, document, document. My point was that a very good teacher can do a magnificent job and not see progress with every child, every day. I’m glad you know 5 year-olds that can read. I know 3 year-olds that can read. Do you know why? They can read because their parent’s work with them, they are teachable, and they are relatively intelligent. This is not always the case in a public school where the teachers are expected to get great results from every child, no matter what their circumstance. I don’t think the people who are proposing this type-of evaluation of the teachers have come up with a reliable way to gauge a teacher’s competence under those circumstances.

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    • camzComment by camz
      September 11, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

      “teachers are expected to get great results from every child, no matter what their circumstance”

      That is a totally ridiculous statement. In Chicago most 8th graders can’t read. Obviouly, no one in Chicago is expecting anything from their teachers. Hence, the problem. Excuses do not lead to solutions…. Ever.

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  12. jimnjoyComment by jimnjoy
    September 11, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

    This comment is for camz:

    I don’t know what is ridiculous about the statement. How in the world does a child get to the 8th grade and all of a sudden everyone is aware that he/she isn’t a reader? If a child is not reading by the end-of the second grade then something is wrong. The child’s best advocate is their parent or guardian. What was the parent thinking during the 3rd-7th grades? The parent or guardian who is not up at the school inquiring about their child’s lack-of reading and asking for additional help is irresponsible. Most of the time it is the administration at the school who is withholding additional help for the child. Additional help costs additional money. I had an administrator tell me that they would only give extra help to those children whose parent’s were screaming. I am not going to blame the teachers who in most cases are doing the best they can with what they have to work with.

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    • camzComment by camz
      September 11, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

      Ah, I see. It’s all the parents fault. Has nothing to do with untouchable tenure or no accountability.
      Sounds like 80% of Chicago’s parents are irresponsible derelicts. Quite a contention. I guess they would be better off as orphans, like Andrew Jackson, Herbert Hoover or even Alexander Hamilton.

      If you are indeed a school administrator, your contentions make perfect sense. God help us.

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  13. freedomfighterComment by freedomfighter
    September 11, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

    I do agree with you about the Parent/Guardian responsibility to protect their Children, and their need to take a active role, when their Child is not learning to their potential.
    However, this begs the answer to the question, How did the student get passed on from second through 8th grade, by the teachers sending them forward, knowing they can not even read, and are sub par with their class.
    Teachers have a responsibility, in fact, this is their profession and job, to make sure that a student not be passed from their grade to the next, without having the full benefits of learning, from their class. To me, this is completely irresponsible, reckless, and totally a deficit to the Child.
    Children go to school to learn the basics to get them through life and society, and this experience is gained through the teachers, and the natural learning they receive in street smarts as they move on.
    In my day, many many years ago, if a child could not pass the final exams given to them by each teacher of each grade they are to leave, they were held back to redo the grade, or make it up in summer school to grade satisfaction. Many parents complained to the schools that their children were held back a grade, or had to make it up, but they were simply informed that their child did not have the necessities to leave that class. This made the Parents aware that their child, for whatever reason, was not working to the potential of and with their peers.
    They even then, had special classes that those with learning disabilities could go to if they were not equipped with the mind to keep up normally. This in the long run was much better for the parents, and the child. If the child had a learning disability, they could take advantage of the special classes, which moved at a slower pace, and much more individual attention. If they were just too lazy, or stubborn to do the work, this also was brought to the surface, and dealt with.
    Parents/Guardians do need to help the child at home if possible, however, in most households now, both parents have to work to get by, and it is then difficult for them to do the Teachers job at home.
    The simple fact is, that a student should not be sent forward when he/she is unable to do even the work of the class they are leaving. This is easily found out by the teachers as they give each class a final exam, covering all the basics of that class. The scores on this exam will say all that needs to be said about the Childs ability to be, or not be sent forward.
    The real key, is the teachers responsibility to be aware of each students ability to, or not, move forward. These final exams at the end of each class year are esential to knowing.

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    • camzComment by camz
      September 11, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

      Exactly, if an 8th grader can’t read, he/she shouldn’t be an 8th grader…….period.

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    • jimnjoyComment by jimnjoy
      September 11, 2012 @ 11:34 pm

      I agree with most of what you said. The reality is that most teachers who try to have a child retained face the wrath of parents who scream and the administration gives in and the child is moved on. Many children need special education and if their parents don’t scream the schools (while breaking the law) ignore them. The bottom line is that the child’s best advocate should be their parent. It’s not like the old days when children arrived at school ready to learn. Ask a teacher you respect to tell you what their day is like. Ask them to tell you how much of the day is spent disciplining. Ask them to tell you how much of the day is spent “teaching the test”, instead of the curriculum they feel needs to be taught. The Federal Government who gave us the ultra-efficient post office and the super-competent TSA want to tell us how to fix education? Give me a break.

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    • freedomfighterComment by freedomfighter
      September 12, 2012 @ 4:21 am

      jimnjoy,
      The teacher has the child roughly 8 hours a day to do their job. If a child is held back, and the parents scream about it, then in this case it is the parent which is the students problem, not the teachers.
      If a teacher cannot show the parent proof, such as their bad score on the final exam of the grade, and make the parents understand that they cannot do their job as a teacher, if their hands are tied by making them send a student forward which is not ready, then I would say that teacher needs to be better trained in the art of PR. If a teacher for what ever reason is not giving final exams to basically cover the high points of the grade, then that teacher is not doing their job. This is a must in any grade, to make sure a student is really ready to forward to a higher learning class the next year.
      Many parents do not understand why little Johnny is being held back, is because little Johnny is not ready to move forward. There is always the option of summer school, and retaking the final exam as a possible alternate to holding the student back. I am sure these types of parents would be most happy to have little Johnny go to summer school, and get him out of their hair for the summer, if for no other reason.

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  14. jimnjoyComment by jimnjoy
    September 11, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

    I never said that it’s all the parent’s fault. Part-of the reason the parent’s aren’t able to do their part is because they both have to work and they have no time. Or, worse than that,single-parent households and not enough time. However, the parents around here who fall into that category seem to have plenty of time to play adult softball on school nights. Andrew Jackson, Herbert Hoover and Alexander Hamilton were all pretty sharp. Kids that are pretty sharp can usually get what they need from the classroom, no matter how poorly it’s presented. There are so many distractions that occupy the kid’s minds that have nothing to do with school. The priorities of the home are usually translated to the schoolroom. Ask any teacher who has taught at both high and low achieving schools. The high achievers usually have parents who are high achievers who demand quality work from both their children and the educators. Not so with the low achievers.

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  15. jimnjoyComment by jimnjoy
    September 11, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

    Just a thought…Rahm Emanuel won with 55% of the vote in Chicago. So, I think at least 55% of Chicago voters are idiots. Whether or not at least 80% of the parents in Chicago are irresponsible derelicts, is debatable.

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  16. aretiredgiComment by aretiredgi
    September 12, 2012 @ 1:53 am

    How many of the parents that are complaining about the Chicago Public School System have ever been in a CPS classroom?

    Ask your child how many of their teachers have a VCR/DVD player in their class room. Many, not all, teachers in ******* take attendance, start the VCR/DVD and sit in the back of the room while the students watch the tube.

    The strike is not about money. It’s about the teachers that Karen Lewis (Union president) wants to protect, because they don’t teach.

    Do you receive evaluations at your place of employment? MS Lewis doesn’t want her tenured, dues paying minions, being terminated because they don’t/can’t teach. It will reduce her already insane salary.

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