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Chicago teachers have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike in response to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's demand for a contract extending their work hours by, in theory, 10 percent, but in reality significantly more, while giving them a 2 percent raise. The threshold for a strike authorization was that 75 percent of all teachers, not just of those voting on the issue, had to support striking. This was a policy explicitly put in place by Emanuel, the state legislature, and corporate education policy group Stand for Children to make a strike impossible. But nearly 90 percent of Chicago teachers voted yes, shattering what was supposed to be an impossible goal.

Jean-Claude Brizard, CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, responded to the 90 percent vote by trying to question the democracy of the process, saying, "The Chicago Teachers Union leadership pushed their members to authorize a strike before giving them the opportunity to consider the independent fact finder’s compromise report due in July." That might hold water as a response to a close vote. In response to a 90 percent vote out of all teachers, not just those voting? Ha ha ha ha ha.

The Chicago Teachers Union is asking for a two-year contract with a 24 percent raise in the first year and a 5 percent raise in the second. Some of you will be saying, "But the mayor only wants them to work 10 percent more—isn't a 24 percent raise greedy?" In fact, teachers would face far greater increases in their work hours; Emanuel has extended the school day by 21 percent, from five hours and 45 minutes to seven hours in elementary schools, and extended the school year by 10 days. So his contract proposal increasing the time teachers are required to spend in school by 40 minutes is a fiction under which teachers would have students in the classroom for 75 additional minutes and have 35 fewer minutes to meet with students individually, prepare classes, or grade student work. The end result may only put teachers in the school building for 10 percent longer, but it leaves them with far more than 10 percent more work to do. For that, Emanuel is offering a 2 percent raise in the first year of a five-year contract, having already rescinded a 4 percent raise the teachers were due last year.

And teachers are not even allowed to bargain over their hours. Emanuel simply got to extend the length of the school day, declaring it a victory for kids without answering any of the difficult questions of what happens in the added time. Parent activist Wendy Katten asked NPR, "People want to know, seven hours of what? What are we getting in seven hours if they're adding this hour and 15 minutes? What's the content?"

Chicago teachers are running straight into a buzz saw of corporate "reform" money aimed at breaking unions, extracting corporate profit from public schools, and putting kids' actual interests way, way down the priority list. Teachers are fighting not just to be paid for their actual work hours but to keep a voice in what happens in the classroom. And if they don't fight this, the inevitable result will be an acceleration of the dismantling of public education, taking resources out of public schools in the name of "choice" that doesn't serve all children equally, putting decisions about education in the hands of billionaire philanthropists and for-profit testing companies.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:11 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Occupy Wall Street, German American Friendship Group, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And the news coverage, while not actively hostile, (9+ / 0-)

    has been tilted more towards Rahm and the "reform groups".

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:13:30 PM PDT

    •  I've read that Chicago public schools have the (7+ / 0-)

      shortest school day in the country.  That's hard to argue against.

      Koch Industries, Inc: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie

      by ChiTownDenny on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:47:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Except that there isn't a teacher in the world (10+ / 0-)

        who doesn't put in a lot of hours that are not paid for at home on nights and weekends. I know I did.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 02:09:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's not really relevant, though. (8+ / 0-)

          If all teachers do that, as you say, then it still leaves Chicago teachers working less that other teachers.

          Romney '12: Bully for America!

          by Rich in PA on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 02:43:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The point is even if they work a slightly shorter (9+ / 0-)

            than other teachers (I worked from 8:30 until 3 pm, with  30 minute lunch period--in Baltimore City), they are still working a lot of hours. I am sick and tired of the meme that teachers work such a short day and high salaries for those few hours. I can tell you that when I moved from teaching into the private sector (9 to 5, an hour lunch) and public libraries ( 9 to 6 with two coffee breaks and an hour  lunch) I never brought work home with me and my weekends (except when I had to work a Saturday, and I got either comp time or a day off during the week) were my own. I didn't have to buy bulletin board supplies because there was no money in the budget for art supplies.I never had to call parents (or business types int he private sector) from home.

            When I taught, I sometimes got there before the janitor! Never happened at the library or the private sector. I also used my time taking public transportation to and from school to review new material, which added and extra 3 hours to my day.  I wasn't unusual other than taking the bus to work.

            The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

            by irishwitch on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 03:05:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That still leaves the original claim, though. (7+ / 0-)

              If they work a shorter nominal school day than other teachers, then they are working less overall unless someone can show (or at least claim) they're doing more outside the school day than other teachers.

              Romney '12: Bully for America!

              by Rich in PA on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 03:10:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  WHo the hell cares? (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Chi, zenbassoon, gffish, cdreid, JanL

                Half an hour one way or the other? Other than you? And I'd like to see some actual proof that the claim of shorter days is true. I worked at one school where I worked 11 am till 4:30 with no breaks because we had a split day--two separate sessions . FYI, I worked (theoretically) longer hours on the clock  in the private sector--and made 6K more a year--with better bennies and actual  paid vacation.

                The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

                by irishwitch on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 05:19:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I have a hunch the taxpayers care n/t (5+ / 0-)

                  Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

                  by Keith930 on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 07:52:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What taxpayers should care about is whether the (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Bluebirder, GreyHawk, rhauenstein, Mike08

                    kids have quality teachers - which matters a hell of a lot more than how long they're in the classroom.

                    I don't believe the teachers are objecting to a lengthening of their day nearly as much as they're objecting to an increase in their time without a comparable increase in their pay.  If their time is increasing by 10%+. they're certainly entitled to a salary increase of at least that much as well.  

                    Getting into an argument about an issue that is not really relevant is just how the rightwing manages to divert us from the real issue.

                    "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                    by gustynpip on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:45:00 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I'm a teacher and have taught in Tx, LA and (4+ / 0-)

                  Nevada and I am amazed at a 7 hour school day much less a 5 hour 45 minute one.  Wow!

                   The shortest day in the classroom I ever had was in New Orleans, 2nd grade, and I taught from 7:50 am to 3:15pm.   I was required to do both breakfast duty that started at around 7:20am til the bells rang and also get everyone home (bus, cars whatever) until about 3:45pm before we were allowed to leave the halls.  In Texas it was 8:00 to 3:45...bell to bell not including duties before and after.  

                  I just cannot imagine a less than 6 hour day....24% raise.  Wow again!  

                  •  if you want more work... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    gffish, gustynpip, jofr

                    ... you should pay more money. That seems fair and equitable. Just because it is not happening in other parts of the country doesn't mean it shouldn't. Or... do you think it shouldn't? Seriously? Do you?

                    •  Yes! Fight those Republican bastards! (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gffish, rcnewton, harvarddem

                      We can't let Republicans like Rahm Emmanuel and the other Tea Baggers running Chicago force something like this down teacher's throats!

                      •  Emmanuel is a jerk (3+ / 0-)

                        and has been from day 1.  He has very conservative views and always had.  Not mention, he's a total bully.  Public employees are finally getting to the point where they've had it with the bad mouthing, whether it comes from the tea party of DK - and there's plenty of it here, let me tell you.  

                        Act like a Republican, and I call you a Republican.   Act like a tea partier, then expect to be call one.  So, yes, it came from a Republican tea partier.

                  •  I agree a shorter day than most schools but (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    not this time, rcnewton

                    I think the point here is if you are going to work more hours you should be paid accordingly. I'm not sure how they arrived at 24% though. This is probably going to be a PR nightmare for ALL teachers' unions regardless.

                    •  It will only be a "PR nightmare" (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gustynpip, JanL, loveistheanswer

                      if we don't fight back and let the so-called "reformers" dominate the conversation. Look: they claim they want an "effective" teacher in every classroom. If they are not willing to pay, we need to call them out for lying. Teachers pay should be doubled. There's not enough money in the world to get me to do this job in the current climate — and apparently, young people agree. I don't know a single bright young person planning on teaching.

                      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

                      by anastasia p on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:44:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Nah-Teaching's gotten to be so bad there's nothing (4+ / 0-)

                      they could do to us that could make it worse than it is.  50% of the workforce leaves in less than 5 years.  This is the worst I've ever seen it and I've been teaching for 40 years.  Even in suburban communities, it's bad.  There's nothing you can throw at us that we're not getting already.   I'm glad someone is finally standing up for themselves.

                    •  I did the math and it's 24% more minutes (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      My estimate was 18,250 additional minutes on what was originally a 76,000 minute contract.

                      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                      by elfling on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 07:52:47 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  I hate to say it, but you taught in 2 states (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    with a very high percentage of bad schools.  That's what bad school systems do - throw everything but the kitchen sink onto the teacher workload and the results show it.

                •  It's not true. (0+ / 0-)

                  It's a baseless assertion that  it's "the shortest school day in the country."

                  Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

                  by anastasia p on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:42:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I care. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Balto, rcnewton

                  Speaking as a resident of Chicago, and a parent.

                  Our teachers have a strong union and good union wages.  24% would crush the school district, and the city, which is already in a budget crisis.  There are underpaid teachers in Illinois . . . not these teachers though.  24% for a 10% increase in the workday is ridiculous.

                  The remainder of this comment is not directed at the post (or the poster) I'm replying to:

                  If you disagree with me that doesn't make me a union hating corporate stooge, it makes us democrats that don't agree on one point of policy.  Rahm is not the perfect democrat, but he's not the devil.  Get a grip.

                  Something Witty, Pithy, and Great.

                  by firant on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:50:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  10% doesn't pencil out for me (6+ / 0-)

                    You're adding 10 additional workdays into what is likely a 180 day school year + 10 prep days... that's 5% additional time.

                    Then you're increasing the classroom day by 75 minutes each day. If the original contract day is 400 minutes, then that's  19% additional each day.

                    So I get (from my estimate) that the additional work time is 18,250 minutes a year beyond the original 76,000 minutes per year contracted.

                    That works out to a 24% increase in hours worked.

                    Voila. We seem to have the source of the union's target number.

                    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                    by elfling on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:47:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Teaching in the CPS has to be one of the hardest (0+ / 0-)

                    Jobs in the world.  Are you a teacher?  

                    At any salary, these people are underpaid.   It is a dreadful school system - known to be so nationwide - and it's not the teachers fault.   They're just the ones left to pick up the pieces.

              •  while you're at it... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                why don't you dump them in water and see if they float.

              •  The students day is 5 3/4 hours. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rcnewton, happymisanthropy

                The teacher's day is 6 and 1/4 hour with only a twenty minute lunch...

              •  In the private sector (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                When you work load increases, your pay increases.  When my school district extended the day, we received a pay increase to accommodate that.  

            •  My daughter's in middle school. She's in a special (12+ / 0-)

              magnet program so the teachers get extra time for planning and coordination and the class size is a bit smaller.
              What that means is for these teachers, they teach 125 children overall; There are homework and testing frequency requirements from the county so they are grading 125 homework papers, 125 tests, 125 essays and projects -- as a number person I estimate the number of papers of some sort that they have to read and grade is between 350-500/week. One of her teachers comments pretty extensively on any project or test and on some of the homework papers so the kids will know why they lost a point here or what was really good about what they wrote there.
              How do they do it???
              And these are the teachers with the lighter load.
              In my daughter's math class (an advanced class but not part of the special program) there are more than 35 kids in the class -- this teacher is teaching advanced math to at least 150 students, grading their tests, talking to parents like me who call and say "she's having trouble with X" (and being told by this teacher that my child should come in during the teacher's lunch or before school starts to get help from the teacher).
              How do they do it???
              None of this list of responsibilities takes into account the ongoing learning they have to do keep up with changes in education; the time they have to spend developing lesson plans; the meetings they need to go to to coordinate with the other teachers; the sponsorships they volunteer for.
              At one point I thought about changing careers to teaching, but after looking into it, I decided it was too hard a job.

              We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

              by Tamar on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 07:43:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  or the extra duties and activities (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tamar, JanL, ladybug53

                we are expected to attend.   i got constant "requests" from my last supervisor to attend picnics on Saturday ("anyone want to be in the dunk tank?"-no joke), to attend PTO meetings that go on for hours where I had nothing to offer "but the parents like to see you there", to supervise nighttime activities (special events, concerts, plays, etc.).  

        •  Many other salaried Professionals... (0+ / 0-)

          also put in a lot of hours that are not paid for at home on nights and weekends. I know I do.

          "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

          by Candide08 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 07:18:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  They also don’t get paid that much, so (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid, gustynpip, jofr, Mike08, JanL, ladybug53

        if you want more hours, you have to pay for those hours.

        If a plumber works 2 extra hours, you have to pay for those hours.  Therefore, you have to pay the teacher, too.  Of course, the plumber makes more than a Chicago teacher.

        •  65k a year is "not that much"? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Samulayo, WillR, rcnewton, harvarddem

          Its more than the city pays most of its lawyers.

          That's the median.  The union contract puts the floor at $50,507.00 per year, for a first year teacher with a bachelor's degree.  That rises to 88,680 per year.  

          This is, to remind you, in a school district with a multi multi million dollar budget hole and bad results (graduation rates, reading comp, basic metrics, not the bullshit tests).  

          I'm not saying no raise for the long day . . . but 24%?  Come on.  No thank you.  

          Something Witty, Pithy, and Great.

          by firant on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:05:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No it's not (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gustynpip, JanL, loveistheanswer

            65k in >CHICAGO< is more like 40k anywhere else. 40k is Excellent pay for.. a non-degreed worker. Where i'm from an educaton degree is a 5 year degree. It is literally harder to get than an engineering, mathematics or physics degree.

            Emanuel wants to increase workload by more than 24% while continuing to cut pay (see above for new hours worked)

            Add in that 90% of teachers voted to strike. And remember that a not insignificant number are anti-union, anti-strike, republican and or just cant afford a strike.

            The real problem is people like you want something for nothing. You dont want to pay property taxes but you want excellent schools.

            A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

            by cdreid on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:05:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm in your court, but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I have to take exception  to your comment "[a degree in education] is literally harder to get than an engineering, mathematics or physics degree." Longer does not mean harder.

              •  I think in this case it does (0+ / 0-)

                though maybe not everywhere. When i was in college physics wasnt really that much of a biggy. Computer science and engineering majors took nearly all the math that math majors took.. not that much of a biggy. Engineering was probably the single hardest degree but the engineering students were all getting wasted at frat parties while the woudlbe teachers were busting their butts.. and their degree was a 5 year degree. So im quasi-serious.

                A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                by cdreid on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 12:54:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I admire anyone who has to work hard for a degree. (0+ / 0-)

                  I am responding only to your statement that  "the engineering students were all getting wasted at frat parties." You are painting with too broad a brush.

                  It's been 40 years since I got my engineering degree, but I had to spend the majority of my out of class time studying to get it. I found courses like differential equations, linear algebra, and thermodynamics to be seriously difficult. Engineering physics was pretty rough too. I'm not the brightest bulb on the porch, but, by working hard, was able to graduate with honors.

                  Maybe times have changed.

            •  "People like you" (0+ / 0-)

              I'm a Chicago resident.  

              I pay more than $6,000 per year in property taxes.  

              I don't know who "you" is in that sentence, but it sure as hell isn't me.  I just take exception to the idea that 65K per year in Chicago or anywhere else is "not that much" for any employee.

              Chicago isn't LA or New York, we don't have ridiculously high cost-of-living, and our excellent public transit system makes owning a car truly optional, even if you want to live on the opposite side of the city from your workplace.  Actually, between the Metra, the El system and the bus system, its usually cheaper and faster to take public transit.

              But hey, why let facts get in your way, right?  I mean, I disagree with you, I must be evil, right?

              Something Witty, Pithy, and Great.

              by firant on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 05:36:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Get real. If you have to be taken seriously, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bluebirder, JanL

            at least retain some minimal level of reality.  The city would not find many entry level attorneys who would take a job at $65,000 a year.  That's an absolute bullshit claim.

            So it's okay for Rahm to demand they increase their worktime by more than ten percent while offering only a two percent increase - a ridiculous proposition - but it's the unions who are unreasonable to counter with a position that is the reverse in reasonableness?

            Perhaps, just perhaps if Rahm had started with an offer of a five percent raise, the union would have started with an offer of a fifteen percent raise.  It's called negotiation.  If one side is being ridiculous, you have to also in order to have the center of the two sides be the acceptable position.  Yet somehow, a whole lot of supposedly progressive people are certainly ready to jump on the bandwagon of blaming those horrid unions.  Sad.  Really sad.

            "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

            by gustynpip on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:54:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's true (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Lawyers who work for the city don't make that much money. I know someone who received an offer to be an assistant state's attorney in 2004, and the pay was in the low $40,000s. He had to turn down the job, even though he really wanted it. Granted, that was 8 years ago, but I doubt that the salary has increased much since then, given the financial state that the city is in.

              Frankly, I don't think that you know much about the attorney job market in Chicago. For you to claim that not many entry-level attorneys would take a $65,000 job is wrong. There are tons of attorneys who can't find work. Many of them would jump at the opportunity to take a $65,000 job.

            •  and so you prove that you know zip about public .. (0+ / 0-)

              employment in Chicago.

              Something Witty, Pithy, and Great.

              by firant on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:48:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  So what's with the comparison to lawyers? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I hear the implication in your statement that lawyers should get paid more.  Sorry, not buying that one any more.  

            Schools with poor results most often have poor leadership, a transient population, and high levels of poverty.  Has Chicago done anything at all to address those basic issues?  my bet is a big fact NO

            •  the implication is that an entry level teacher (0+ / 0-)

              who has less education and works less hours than an entry level attorney, should not make more money.

              i know, it's shocking.

              In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -John Adams

              by rcnewton on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 06:59:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  an entry level teacher works just as hard (0+ / 0-)

                as any lawyer.  Where did that come from?

                And entry level lawyers get to go to the bathroom when in need to boot.  Now that's what I call an amenity.

                What are you calling "education"? Memorizing old court cases for three years.  I'd hardly call that an education.  Did you not read the NYT article about how lawyers leave law school and don't know the basics of practicing law?

      •  It's also a lie (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid, gustynpip, jofr, JanL

        Sure, it's hard to "argue against" people who accept any assertion as fact.I know plenty of schools in this area that have equivalent days.  I don't know any that have seven-hour days. In fact, that's borderline insane. When I went to the Chicago Public Schools, our days were five hours – and I know I was flagging and unable to concentrate in the last half hour or so. Yet somehow, virtually everyone I went to school with managed to go to college — including schools like Stanford, Harvard and the University of Chicago. All without seven-hour school days!

        Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

        by anastasia p on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:42:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What does that have to do with anything? It's (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jofr, happymisanthropy

        still an increase of work time without comparable increase in pay.  

        "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

        by gustynpip on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:40:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A comment from the link in the diary (6+ / 0-)
        First off, we work 10+ months a year. Secondly, the avg. Chicago teacher works 58 hours a week (University of Illinois study). Third, Chicago is not even close to the worst performing school district in the country. Fourth, Emanuel's negotiation style is to ask for the moon and then gets what he wants (1800 speed cameras, Fire half the alderman, etc.) Teachers are too smart for that BS so we asked for 30%. I'm sure we will meet somewhere in the middle. Fifth, it's not the money: they are stripping us of our sick days, increasing health care employee costs by 50%, instituting a completely flawed evaluation system to strip us of our tenure, increasing our pension contributions (which by the way are the highest in the country). BTW, you couldn't even do my job for a week. Sixth, most teachers have advanced college degrees. In an apples-to-apples comparison (salary and benefits), teachers make 11% LESS than the private sector. By apples-to-apples, I mean same educational levels.
        Pretty much says it for me.  As someone once observed:
        Teachers are vicious animals:  when attacked they defend themselves.
      •  Oh really, where did you *read* that? (0+ / 0-)


        Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

        by Big River Bandido on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:01:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Odd isn't it (6+ / 0-)

      That the only time Democrats get favourable coverage, is when they behave like Republicans.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 07:37:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's a lot more nuanced than this. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CoyoteMarti, Balto, WillR, rcnewton

      Rahms offer was ridiculous but so is CTU .    There are serious problems with Chicago public schools and I'd like to see a substantive discussion on solutions and not this b.s.

      No, no one is advocating wholesale takeover of the Chicago public schools by schools-r- us, despite  what you read here.  And CTU teachers have to stop saying that their job is impossible but if you give us a 30% raise we promise to not pass students who can't read or add to the next grade.  The problems are deep and there is precious little solutions discussion.  From anybody.

      I have lived in Chicago for 40 years.  I have a teaching degree and have done workshops and other work for both charter schools and public schools.  I hate these simplistic accusations.

      •  I've been through about 20 negotiations (0+ / 0-)

        This is how it happens.  Each side asks for the moon.  Everyone screams and yells.  Teachers are called lazy.   Teachers get mad  and begin to organize and educate the community about what their job really involves.  In the end, everyone meets in the middle.  

        It's just like in business.  No different, except that so called Democrats start acting like Republicans.


  •  i get why they're asking (7+ / 0-)

    but all the public is going to hear is "30% pay raise" and it's not going to fly.

    In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -John Adams

    by rcnewton on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:19:03 PM PDT

    •  The head of the union has a ready reply: (10+ / 0-)

      "You don't start negotiating with a floor. You start by asking for the highest".

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:21:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's not going to be the headline. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        belzaboo, nipit, not this time, filby

        i just hear the pre-written right wing talking points reinforcing their memes about the "greedy teachers unions" already starting to emanate...

        In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -John Adams

        by rcnewton on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:22:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let them. A 2% raise for 20% more work is (13+ / 0-)


          "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

          by zenbassoon on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:26:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  when the average working man (7+ / 0-)

            hasn't seen a raise in years and has no health insurance, "unconscionable" is quite relative.

            In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -John Adams

            by rcnewton on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:27:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe they should form unions too, rather than... (18+ / 0-)

              ...begrudging others who have the temerity to demand what is fair?  

              •  until that happens though... (5+ / 0-)

                they should make fair demands. ones that aren't going to raise the taxpayer's eyebrow - now is the time to be flying under the radar if you're going to be making requests like that.

                In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -John Adams

                by rcnewton on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:49:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's where a good PR team is invaluable. (5+ / 0-)

                  Set the message.  Frame the argument.  Manipulate people's feelings.  

                  These are things the repubs do really well.  We have to stop being afraid to do the same thing.  If we don't, we'll never win.  

                  •  Yes! Explain to Chicago parents, many of whom (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Urban Owl, not this time, WillR, rcnewton

                    make less than the average Chicago teacher, that they need to pay more taxes to give Chicago teachers a 30% raise!

                    It doesn't matter whether or not this is a justified demand.

                    The optics are so bad that there's no way it will fly.

                    Rahm's a street fighter.  He doesn't pick fights unless he knows how he is going to win them.  I think it is far more likely he will break the union over this than give in.

                    •  if (4+ / 0-)

                      fellow members of the middle class allow unions to be broken over this, then fellow members of the middle class will eventually wind up getting even more of what they deserve than they have these last 20 years.

                    •  If the optics are so bad (7+ / 0-)

                      we need to roll over and play dead, then we might as well close the damned schools. I honestly cannot believe the groundless right-wing driven hostility toward teachers here. Tell the damned public that if they don't want to pay teachers — highly educated professionals with much more education than the parents who are being paid less — then they should EXPECT the inferior schools they have earned. And tell them at the same time that they should demand their doctors not be paid anymore than they are as well. That is a crappy little right-wing argument.

                      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

                      by anastasia p on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:49:15 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  So go make your argument (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        $10 says it's a loser.

                      •  Ok (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        I'm a Texas teacher.  I haven't gotten a raise in three years and probably won't get one next year.  Lately they let us know what we will be making after school starts or right before.  I will let you decide why that is.   When we used to get raises, they would be 2 or 3% and that was consistent with the other districts around the DFW area.

                        We can't strike in Texas, so that isn't an option, although many school districts are suing the state for not adequately funding the schools when there is a rainy day fund that Rick Perry doesn't want to use for schools.  This isn't surprising in view of the fact that the first stimulus funds that were supposed to go to education were used to plug other holes in the budget so that the Rs could say they balanced the budget and pat themselves on the back.  

                        I think teachers should be paid more than we are, and should get a raise each year, especially if time and/or responsibilities are increased, but come on.  Asking for a 24% raise is ridiculous and will make people think all of the "greedy" teacher talking points are true.  A 5% raise would be a reasonable request in this economy.   I rarely think that teachers are in the wrong on these kinds of issues, but in this case I have to say that it is going overboard and doesn't do teachers' unions any favors.  

                        •  So their workload is increasing by somewhere (5+ / 0-)

                          between ten percent and twenty four percent and they should be "reasonable" and accept a five percent raise???  Seriously?  And your a teacher?  You do realize that it would result in a reduction of actual pay, don't you?  You complain about not having gotten raises, but you think Chicago teachers should happily accept a huge reduction in pay???  I just don't get the thinking process of the naysayers here.  It's like they think the teachers are just jumping in and demanding a twenty four percent increase with no increase in their workload.  NO.  The teachers are going to be working a hell of a lot more.  Why in the world would in be fair that they not be receiving a comparable raise?  They still wouldn't be getting an actual raise - they'd be staying the same.

                          Really, if other teachers can't think that one through, what hope is there for Dems?????

                          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                          by gustynpip on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 02:10:36 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  10 days longer + longer school day (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JanL, happymisanthropy

                      will significantly lower their child care bills (for elementary age parents anyway).

                      Longer school day can have other direct benefits as well. For example, if a longer school day means the homework is all done at school instead of at home, it's a big win for parents.

                      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                      by elfling on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:37:25 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Do you really not get that the working class rises (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Mike08, JanL, happymisanthropy, jofr

                      and falls together????

                      Begrudge one group an increase and the rest will never get the opportunity to rise, either.  

                      If Rahm is willing to break the union over this, it will show his true colors even more than his past behaviors.  And remember, while you may agree with Rahm that he's all powerful, there's nothing like arrogance to help someone fall hard.  

                      90 percent of all teachers voted against this.  A twenty four percent raise is a starting point for negotiations.  If Rahm is going to stick his heels in at giving them a two percent raise with a ten or twenty percent increase in workload, I'd like to know how he thinks he's going to manage to replace ninety percent of the teachers in order to break the union.  Methinks he just might have let his head get so big, he might end up being the one who's broken if he's not willing to be more reasonable.

                      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                      by gustynpip on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 02:04:01 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  what teachers make has little to do with what (5+ / 0-)

                      other people make.  The question is this:  do you want good teachers or don't you.  If the answer is yes, then pay them.  if you don't care all that much, then fine, don't pay them.  But expect the best teaching candidates to go to school systems where either the pay is better or the teacher support is better.

                      You must realize that there are way better places to teach than the Chicago public schools.  It has a decades long, national reputation for being a terrible place to work.  If you want to improve the quality of teaching/teachers in Chicago, fire a bunch of admins who aren't properly supervising teachers, pay top dollar for teachers, and stop talking about how much everyone else is making when you set teacher's salaries.

                •  I suspect (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  that this is more about your personal feelings re teachers than it is about Right Wing talking points.

                •  so... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gustynpip, happymisanthropy, jofr

                  now is the time to be timid, be a sheep, and continue to be a downtrodden member of the downtrodden middle class? We'll have to agree to disagree on that.

                •  I've been flying under the radar screen for 40 yrs (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  And I'm tired of it.   Thanks, but I'd rather retain my dignity at this point.

            •  are you working (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jofr, happymisanthropy

              For Rahm?  


              by snoopydawg on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 02:00:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm on the teachers' side in this, but I have to (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                antirove, gffish, rcnewton, sfgb

                agree with rcnewton on one point: the way the 24% raise looks to the public is not good.
                I'm not disputing the fairness of it -- my bet is that there have been years with no raises, staff shortages, and other problems that justify the 24%. But it looks like a high number and that's not good for teachers winning hearts and minds.
                I think there needs to be more explanation -- so people understand the reason for this large increase -- not just the increased work hours (though that's significant) but also how many years they've gone without raises or with raises so small as to be non-existent; what kind of class size they're dealing with and what sort of problems they encounter on a daily basis; what are the curriculum requirements (in our school system teachers are required to assign a certain amount of homework per week and to test kids a certain number of times per grading period which means a huge amount of grading work for teachers -- I bet there's some of this in Chicago also). Laura mentions some of the latter, but I think it should be spelled out -- that on average teachers spend x number of hours at home grading papers (I bet it's quite a few hours).
                I think if people were told the extent to which teachers work well beyond the school day and what daily problems they deal with are like, it would make it clear why they deserve a lot more pay.

                We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

                by Tamar on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 07:55:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I just calculated out the extra hours (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Tamar, Mike08, JanL, happymisanthropy, jofr

                  in another comment. I estimated 18,250 additional minutes of instructional time and then divided by an estimated 76,000 minutes of current contracted time and got 24%. Like magic.

                  So I think the number is in fact not pulled out of the air.

                  Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                  by elfling on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:52:41 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  we've been doing all that 'splaining for years (6+ / 0-)

                  It gets you nowhere.  It is very frustrating, but much of it really comes down to people seeing teaching as women's work, and it just galls even so called liberals that the teaching profession pays a living wage.

                  •  Maybe that's part of it but I think it's the anti- (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    elfling, rcnewton, sfgb, ladybug53

                    government worker mentality that's really operating. We pay taxes, these people work for us, and some of them have better jobs (benefits or pay) than we do!
                    But they never apply that same thinking to health insurance company executives -- who do they think is paying the salaries of the overpaid top people in the for-profit insurance industry? It's all of us little premium payers and our employers and we don't have the protections or recourse that we would if they were part of the government.
                    My dad worked for the federal government all his life -- he was an accountant and an auditor on outside contractors and he saved the government huge amounts of money. He was scrupulously honest and he went after cheating contractors relentlessly. He brought statistical sampling as a technique for audits to the the Air Force (and they thanked him by refusing to give him any work until he got sick of it and found a job in another agency. I just realized, dumb me, that the reason they hated him was not because he brought change but because he endangered their cozy relationships with defense contractors.) He worked a full day every day and took work home. But no one ever thinks of someone like him when they say "government bureaucrat."

                    We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

                    by Tamar on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:27:25 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  We should encourage ALL workers (6+ / 0-)

              to stand up for better salaries and benefits. Standing together we can improve working conditions for us and our children. The 1% loves to see us divided.

            •  Man? What an interesting slip of the tongue (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Teaching remains a predominantly female profession, so why don't we just admit that's why you're offended when teachers get a raise.  I can always tell when a man doesn't make as much as a teaching salary - it infuriates him.

            •  First of all, teachers ARE "the average working (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jofr, sfgb


              Second, the reason the "average working" person hasn't seen a raise in years is because Republicans, so-called Democrats and business complain when labor asks for raises.  Now you're joining in that chorus:  the Chicago teacher's union takes a stand on their own pay, and you're criticizing the move.  

              If you stand in the way when some working people demand raises, you can't complain when your "average working man" doesn't get one.  Because your own arguments have contributed to the process of tamping down wages.  

              Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

              by Big River Bandido on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:07:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  But if the pay and benefits (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            packages are fairly close to other big cities already, while the school day length is much less then your argument is much weaker. This is what's going to be the issue. Right now they are still squabbling over the the exact comparisons, but it will not be as neat and simple as you may expect. And Dailey promised a 4% (I believe that's right) raise to keep peace in anticipation of getting the Olympics and specifically contingent on enough revenues. Neither of those things happened, and the teachers feel there was a broken promise, even though it was always contingent. It's messy, not as clear-cut as many think.

            The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.- Marcel Proust

            by CoyoteMarti on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 09:38:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Untrue. (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, Mostel26, gffish, elfling, gustynpip, JanL

          Last night overnight WGN radio's cure for insomnia, Bill Leff, asked for comment on the issue and he got more callers on the positive end, explaining how badly the teachers have been being screwed for years. And WGN is no liberal bastion.

        •  And that's how progressives always manage (6+ / 0-)

          to lose.  So damn scared.  Do the rethugs ever worry about how ridiculous they are will make them sound?  No.  But Dems always think they have to walk on eggshells and not ever risk offending anyone because we'll get bad press.  So we give away the store before the rethugs even ask for it and then can't figure out why we always lose.

          Let's worry less about the headlines; let's worry about what's right instead and then work at Making the headlines what they should be.

          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

          by gustynpip on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:58:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The RW talking points will be the same if they cut (0+ / 0-)

          pay.  You can't worry about them.  As I've seen noted here about other issues, they are wingnuts.

          The sad fact of the matter is that so called liberals don't support public education in substantive ways.

      •  I don't think that's the point. (7+ / 0-)

        They need to be talking about school closings, school overcrowding, class size, privatization, gentrification, and curriculum, not just money!  It's mind-boggling, but not entirely unsurprising, to hear that CTU is going to manage to fuck this up.

      •  and he's absolutely right (0+ / 0-)

        It's the way negotiations work.  I find it hard to believe that a community as sophisticated as this doesn't get that.

        •  There are many ways... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:


          One is to set outrageous demands and expect to make major "compromises". This approach is often unwise. First, the optics are bad -- which is especially a problem in a public sector job. Second, you end up planning to "give in" without most of your demands being met. This really is not a good position to be in because you are now negotiating how deep and fast a slide down you will take, not seriously defending a reasonable demand. Third, the next time you come to the negotiating table, the other side knows that you do make major concessions because you have in the past.

          Another approach is to set a "take it or leave it" approach and refuse to negotiate (except, of course, to meet "good faith" requirements by offering to trade things but without changing the "net net"). This approach is usually unwise as it makes you appear inflexible. It also gives the other side no room to "save face" -- and this is an unwise position to put the other side in.

          Generally a better way is to make a reasonable demand slightly above what you expect to end with and make it clear that there's not a lot of room for negotiation -- and be willing to fight hard (including, if needed, in a Union job to strike for months to prove that point or, in a non Union job, to quit). This approach has good optics because the demands are reasonable and it also makes your position stronger in future negotiations. It also leaves a little "face saving" room for your opponent while also allowing you to show yourself to be "reasonable" and "willing to make compromises".

          It sounds like the CTU chose the first approach. Perhaps the Union leaders know what they are doing but from a distance, it doesn't look like a great approach.

    •  How can it not fly? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Says Who, twigg, jofr, sfgb

      If "the public" doesn't like it, the public can teach the classes themselves.

      We need to get US wages up. Somebody has got to launch an attack. I hope the teachers win, it will drive up wages all across the economy.

      •  Just fire the strikers and hire new teachers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        •  Right. Finding quality replacements for ninety (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JanL, jofr

          percent of the teachers in Chicago.  Simple job.

          But that mindset certainly goes along with Romney and his ilk.  If anyone expects fairness, fire them and find someone else desperate enough to be treated like crap.  Good to know where you are on the question.

          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

          by gustynpip on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 02:15:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The school board will just fire the teachers (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ManhattanMan, rcnewton, sfgb

            and turn schools over to charter school corporations.  Of course CPS isn't capable of making that happen quickly and it could be bedlam.  The closings and 'turnarounds' of schools that have been happening for years now illustrate that.  Note to those outside Chicago--here charter schools still have to accept all students in most cases but the schools are 'freed' of many of the 'onerous' administrative/work rules as I understand it.  Rather than look at all the root causes for poor public school performance elaborated by others--and to me, large class size is one of the major ones--the administration scapegoats teachers and teachers' pay.    

          •  i am sure rahm has the charters scrambling (0+ / 0-)

            and if you think they can't find replacement teachers while they break the union over the summer, you are living in a bubble. too many college educated folks are unemployed, and will jump on a job with benefits, summers off, etc.

            those teachers will be replaced so fast their heads will spin.

            In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -John Adams

            by rcnewton on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 06:50:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  No replacements (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ManhattanMan, Mike08, JanL

          It's always the meme when teachers stand up for themselves.  There are no where near the number of qualified replacements.
          Not close.   You're asking for total chaos.  

    •  If the public hears "30% pay raise" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jofr, JanL

      when they are asking for 24%, either the media is lying, or the public needs to go back to grade school. And EVERYBODY needs to stop talking about the requirement to have excellent, effective teachers in every classroom because they don't mean it.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

      by anastasia p on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:47:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Right wing spin (5+ / 0-)

    Teacher's pissed that they have to work "7 hours a day" ( Because  'real' workers hammer out 12hours days, 8 days a week) and they want a 24 PERCENT RAISE. GREEDY GREEDY PUBLIC SECTOR LAZY SCUM!!! ELEVENTY!!!

    Unfortunately, it appears to be a remarkably effective line of attack and another reason why unions, especially teacher unions,  are fighting an uphill, some say losing, battle in this country

    Power-Worshipping Fascist

    by campionrules on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:22:50 PM PDT

    •  agreed. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Midwest Meg, TRPChicago

      this is not the year to be making demands like that public. negotiations should be taking place behind closed doors if they're going to start with numbers like that.

      bad optics. very bad optics.

      In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -John Adams

      by rcnewton on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:26:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Republican's win by pitting the (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rcnewton, Mostel26, snoopydawg, jofr

        Private Sector(And the vast majority of undecided or independent voters) against the Public Sector.

        The private sector isn't doing 'just fine'. The recovery sucks, the jobs that are returning are returning at a lower pay rate and people everywhere(including the public sector ironically) are struggling.

        If Republican's are allowed to mold this campaign season into an attack on the over paid, lazy union workers - it's going to resonate with voters.

        While this action by the CTU may be necessary, even required, it will continue to look bad without proper fightback from the Democratic Party.

        Doesn't help that the President's former chief of staff is leading the goddamn charge.

        Power-Worshipping Fascist

        by campionrules on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:35:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wrong (5+ / 0-)

        It is always the right time to fight!  They were getting screwed and do you really suggest they just take it because others haven't gotten a raise?  
        They work many hours off the clock. It isn't a high paying job. They teach because the like teaching.


        by snoopydawg on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 02:18:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, this IS the year, and this IS the moment... (15+ / 0-)

        ...for people like you and me, people reading the truth about how many hours the Chicago teachers are working now even before Rahm's school-day extension, to stand up for teachers and get their backs:
        - by pointing to the huge amounts of documentation showing how underpaid teachers really are already
        - by telling jealous private-sector workers that what teachers deserve is what they deserve too, and...
        - by telling private-sector workers exactly where all the money is that could be paying them and the people who teach their kids a fair wage—in the pockets of the CEOs and the wealthy—and that it's time we took back the money we deserve.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 04:18:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  mythology (0+ / 0-)

          " by pointing to the huge amounts of documentation showing how underpaid teachers really are already"

          Are you SERIOUS?

          Are you also a Birther?

          •  Do you seriously think they're not? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cdreid, gustynpip, sfgb

            Surely you must have followed the link I posted. Teachers work 60-hour weeks, on average, throughout the school year.

            And they're doing one of the most important jobs anyone could do, all while taking massive amounts of abuse from people like you who seem to think they're overpaid, and under more and more pressure to raise test scores from moronic politicians who have absolutely no clue about what a teacher does.

            I'd wager that in a Venn diagram between "people who think teachers are underpaid" and "birthers," there's no overlap at all. I know which side of that diagram is the reality-based community. Do you?

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:14:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  they voted to strike (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mike08, JanL

        They've put themselves on the line.  They've said their jobs are so bad, or so difficult that it simply doesn't matter if they keep their jobs in the present environment.

        Think about it.

      •  Rethug. Very bad Rethug. (0+ / 0-)
    •  Then it's time for individual progressives... (12+ / 0-) get on the ball in countering that right-wing spin.

      Time for us to start linking to studies like this one on our social networks, showing how the average Chicago teacher already works 60 hours a week.

      It's also time for us to start asking how many hours a day Mitt Romney worked last year for his millions of dollars in income, and why the zero amount of work he did for his money is somehow so much more valuable than 60 hours a week from the people who are teaching our kids.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 04:15:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And it's untrue (0+ / 0-)

      And I expect DK folks to get that.  To get that teachers ARE the middle class.  That we do NOT work 7 hour days.  It's effective when people like you stand up to the RW and people like rcream.


  •  This is why the CTU is working with parents (16+ / 0-)

    to get an elected school board in place in the city, not Rahm's crony capitalist buddies. Go teachers! As if classroom time is the only work teachers do...what idiots.

  •  Hooray! (7+ / 0-)

    The strike is about the only leverage that remains for teachers and workers of all kinds. Time to deploy this mechanism...

  •  I am very very pro Labor and pro teacher (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Midwest Meg, Keith930, belzaboo, rcnewton

    but I agree with the poster who said "bad optics" and I don't think this will be received well.

    Sometimes you have to pick your battles and that includes the timing of the battles as well as the substance of the battles.  I think the CTU is creating their own Charge of the Light Brigade.

    This will be Rahm's equivalent of Reagan firing the air traffic controllers. He's probably giddy with excitement over that prospect - Watch! I'm a Democrat and I can fire and dismantle unions along with the best of them! Not to mention that we already know that he's a giant advocate of privatization and charter schools. Talk about playing right into his hands!

    How dumb can the CTU be?

    Here we have a Fox News article by Juan Williams (Yes! you should read it so you can see how Rahm is actually being lionized by the right for his anti-teacher union stance) that is illustrative in oh so many ways:

    On the HOnor Roll---Chris
    Christie and Rahm Emmanuel Fight For Better Teachers and Schools

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 02:34:10 PM PDT

    •  Ah yes. Standing up to a bully is being labeled (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jofr, JanL

      as dumb by someone who claims to be pro labor.  No wonder progressives never get anywhere.  So many are so willing to roll over and give up if the optics might be bad.  No idea of standing up and fighting and making the optics good.  Nope.  Just a determination that others should accept breadcrumbs - or rather get fewer breadcrumbs in exchange for more work - rather than standing with our brothers and sisters and fighting together for a change.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 02:22:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We'll see how this turns out. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I hope the teachers win and that the people of Chicago stand behind them and that Rahm's anti- teacher, anti-public school agendas are left in smoking ruins.

        There is a lot at play here. I have read a fair amount of what is going on in Chicago, because I think it's the template and the laboratory for the whole privatization, charter school movement by people who see this as a great source of public funds to be milked for private profit. And Arne Duncan is a huge part of it as is Rahm Emmanuel. I think it's easy to predict that if there is a strike that big pro-charter bucks will come in and start a gigantic campaign to turn public opinion against the "greedy" bad teachers and this strike will give them that opening.

        I saw Rahm n morning Joe yesterday and he was beating the shortest school day in the country drum and the what about the kids tambourine.

        Now let's go back to the strategery part of all this.

        From my reading I know that Rahm has a plan to close 100 public schools and replace them with 60 charters within the next five years. 100 schools is approximately 25% of Chicago Public schools. The head of the Chicago Teacher's Union said in an interview in February that Rahm told her he thinks 25% of the city's students are a waste of time and money, which he denies ever saying.

        Knowing these facts, would you say that a strike will help Rahm or advance Rahm's scenario? Remember HIS goal is to close schools. Should the teachers be closing them for him to pave the way?

        If the teachers DO decide to strike, while pay is important , it's pretty far down on the list of things they should be presenting to the public as their reason for striking. To me the better choice is focusing on the fact that Rahm wants to eliminate tenure and higher pay for advanced degrees and tie pay to test performance - those things actually strike at the teacher's very existence and longevity and yet all we hear about is a 30% pay increase.

        I hate to see the teachers possibly put themselves in a position that will advance the agenda against them. It doesn't have anything at all to do with "rolling over" it has to do with playing the hand you're dealt and knowing what cards are left in the deck.

        The major thing on the teacher's side is Rahm's own unlikeability factor plus the fact that CPS has been on the front burner for a long time and the people of Chicago are pretty well informed. They know a lot better than the rest of us that the Chicago Miracle which is Duncan's claim to fame is pretty much a complete sham.

        If they do strike they have to go all out, take no prisoners and make it about Rahm and his anti-public school agenda and NOT about their pay increase.

        If they do strike, I wouldn't expect to see President Obama putting his sneakers on and walking on this particular picket line.

        “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

        by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 06:09:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  so you're not REALLY pro union (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      or proteacher.

      If he fires the teachers, he will bring total chaos onto the Chicago school system.  Who would teach there?  Those who can't get hired ANY WHERE else.   Think about it.

      I love how so called liberals need to call out there credentials when they badmouth teacher's unions.  

  •  Everyone is right to ask for a big raise. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Chicago teachers may be somewhat less right than the norm, given the very bad results of CPS over the years.

    Romney '12: Bully for America!

    by Rich in PA on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 02:48:36 PM PDT

  •  why is he a Democrat? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gustynpip, jofr
  •  Sorry Chicagoans... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Taylor, JanL, jofr

    You have to pay the price. Rahm had to go somewhere.

  •  The Teachers know what they need to do better (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish, Mike08

    than anyone.

    That's haw strikes are.

    My brother is a member of the NEA.

    "We don't need someone who can think. We need someone with enough digits to hold a pen." ~ Grover Norquist

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 07:41:49 PM PDT

  •  Well, at least we got Rahm out of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Obama administration. Chicago teachers may still have to deal with this idiot, but things could be a lot worse for all teachers, public employees etc. if he still Rahm had the president’s ear.
    Obama can reeeeealy pick 'em.

  •  No crazy talk, though (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish, gustynpip, jofr

    So where can Chicago raise taxes or cut spending to pay for what the teachers want?

    Now don't go saying that taxpayers shouldn't pay millions for stadiums for the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and Whitesox.

    No Corporate Welfare?  That's crazy talk.

  •  Things must be very bad if 90% voted to strike (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Midwest Meg, CoyoteMarti, rcnewton

    ...but 5 hours and 45 minutes is a pathetic school day.

    Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune. Walt Whitman

    by Sacramento Dem on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 07:43:45 PM PDT

    •  It is not a 5 hour 45 min day for teachers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike08, JanL

      Do you not read well?  It is closer to a 50-60 hour work week.

      5 hours 45 min is how long the kids are in school.  Jeesh.

      •  The children of Chicago deserve better. (0+ / 0-)

        Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune. Walt Whitman

        by Sacramento Dem on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 05:38:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I should have been more clear. It seems plain... (0+ / 0-)

        ...that Rahm is using the short school day (for students) as a wedge to reduce support for the teachers from parents. I feel the teachers would be more successful if they included a plan to increase the instructional time in their message. In CA our nurses had positive results when they linked better staffing with improved quality of care. Chicago teachers are asked to spend too much time on non-educational activities, perhaps hiring some assistants can free teachers up to do more of what they do best (teach).

        Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune. Walt Whitman

        by Sacramento Dem on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 11:35:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A country-wide strike (0+ / 0-)

    is what this country needs.

    Having said that, my kids' elementary school here in Texas is already 7 hours.

    No Jesus, Know Peace

    by plok on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 07:53:35 PM PDT

  •  solidarity! (7+ / 0-)

    Good for them! I have their backs. So should the rest of the middle class. This is what we all deserve - fair wages for our work. Stop decrying teachers for asking for it, start asking for it for yourselves.

  •  Well Rahm Will Go Totally Psycho & Enjoy Doing it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It should be quite a show

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 07:54:01 PM PDT

  •  This is not a big raise. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gustynpip, jofr, Mike08, JanL

    The extension of the school day upsets everyone's life: the traffic, the car pools, the day care, the out of class responsibilities, the sports programs, the students' jobs, their chores and responsibilities and volunteer programs, and more. Who cares? The teachers.

    SO, what are the schools adding to the school day?
    Arts, music, physical education? Programs that were eliminated to save money? NO.

    Everyone can name a few good teachers who guided them in life. No one can name a politician with the same value.

    These manipulations of the school year were not thought out, and thank goodness the teachers are unified. They are on the kids' side. The NEW mayor, the NEW board of education, the NEW chief executive officer are all learning on the job.

    It is the teachers who will provide the stability. Pay them.

    That man behind the curtain is me — on election day! (See you there.)

    by Says Who on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 07:55:45 PM PDT

    •  Also, this was NOT a vote to strike. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike08, JanL

      It is a vote by membership to authorize a strike.

      There could be no strike until after August 17th. Teachers do not want to strike, and expect to settle without a strike.

      That man behind the curtain is me — on election day! (See you there.)

      by Says Who on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 08:10:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And at the end of the day (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish, CoyoteMarti

    It's the kids that will suffer the most, especially African-American students. Only about half of African-American students in Chicago graduate from high school, and other academic stats are dismally low. The college-going rate is equally as dismal thus the chance for these kids to have any shot at attaining a living wage job lies somewhere between "a snowballs chance in hell" and "only by the grace of God".  

    I understand the issue, and I sympathize with the plight of teachers, but we don't have the luxury of time when students' lives are going down the drain.

    "I do not believe it to be a matter of is simply a matter of time" ~ Morpheus, Matrix Revolutions

    by angeleyes on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 08:18:22 PM PDT

  •  Do any of you making random comments here teach? (12+ / 0-)

    Unlike nearly everyone posting random comments, I actually work for Chicago Public Schools. I teach high school and my school day starts at 8:20 and ends at 3:20. That is hardly the full extent of my actual working day. The board wants to take my time without paying me. My time belongs to me, not to them. I freely give my time, my sweat, and my soul to children each day. I do this willingly and without hesitation. But I do not give my time to the adults at the Board of Education (of whom not a single one of which has any experience in the classroom) for free. It is not theirs to take.

    You may hear about the shorter day at elementary schools in Chicago. Of course it is shorter. That shorter day contains no prep time for teachers. Teachers do their prep after the school day. Most of the elementary schools have no recess, no art, and no physical education. How many of you could deal with 35–40 students for 6 hours straight with no break (even for  the bathroom) and no assistance?

    We teachers in Chicago Public Schools signed a contract with the Board. We were supposed to receive a pay raise this past year. The Board unilaterally reneged. Now they propose a 2% pay raise one year with some vague mumbo jumbo about merit pay after that (with nothing concrete in writing)? Should we really trust them? I have on my pay stub a dollar figure that represents the amount the Board says it has being paying into my pension plan. The Board has not been paying it and has stolen the money for other purposes. Teachers for Chicago Public Schools not receive Social Security. The pension is the sole source of retirement income. Should we trust those that have stolen our money?

    Unless you have actually taught in a classroom in a high-poverty neighborhood, don’t just go spouting off generalizations about what we teachers in Chicago Public Schools do. As I tell my students, don’t go shouting to the world your ignorance. Have you dealt with a student being murdered nearly every year at the school at which you teach? Do you deal with students who have been abused, homeless, drifting in and out of jail, raped, or pregnant? Have you been robbed by a student? Have you been evaluated by a supervisor who has only observed you for 10 minutes during the year?

    As teachers, the kids in front of us form our reality. School boards of millionaires and consultants for for-profit concerns can spout off all the ideology and buzz words that they can muster. But we teachers have the children actually in front of us. The reality cannot be ignored. Where I work, the politics range from ultra-conservative Republican to libertarian to radical leftist. But we all voted yes to authorize the strike. Those of you who have never set foot in a classroom since childhood — I would suggest you experience some reality before you go off sputtering about what we teachers actually do.

    •  So fix it. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie, rcnewton

      Just do it.  Don't ask permission.  It's an IWW strategy called "job conditioning".

      And don't stop with just the schedule.  You KNOW the curriculum is absurd.  You KNOW the emphasis on standardized testing is destructive.  But only YOU have the power to stop obeying, and start doing what's right.

      Only by emphasizing issues that matter to your potential supporters- students, parents, and other community members- will you gain the support you need.

      Don't mention money... and don't settle for just money.

      •  That has got to be the most ass stupid response it (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bluebirder, Mike08, JanL, jofr

        would be possible to write to that comment.  My god.  These teachers have an impossible job right now and your simplistic response is - so fix it.  How the hell do you think the teachers, who have no authority to make the decisions that could at least help , are supposed to fix it?  Teachers don't get to create recesses or breaks - they're told what will happen.  They hate standardized testing - but their opinions are ignored and the decision makers keep imposing them.  How the hell do teachers simply "stop obeying" and "start doing what's right'????  What a stupid, stupid comment.

        "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

        by gustynpip on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 02:30:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is what happens when a person doesn't read (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe wobblie, JanL

          past the subject line.

          I'll indulge you.

          Suppose teachers don't want to abide by standardized testing.  My suggestion is to stop making the curriculum conform to standardized testing, and to cease giving the test.

          gustynpip asks how to do this.  I wonder if gustynpip has trouble with other willful actions.  For example, if gustynpip is sitting in a chair, and he realizes the building is on fire, does he/she need to wait for someone to tell them to stand up and exit the building?  For myself, when I decide to move, I usually send an electrochemical impulse to my muscles in a sequence which causes my arms and legs to coordinate to lift and move my body in the direction of my choosing.  I was not aware that other people did not have this capability.

          For example, if a teacher does not think handing out a standardized test is a good idea, they apparently are forced to do so, perhaps by an invisible imp clinging to their neck or a subdermal control device implanted in their spinal cord.  Is the surgery something teachers are told about before taking the job, or is it done against their will during those 'staff days' that were always such a mystery to me when I was in school?

          Regardless, it's a terrible shame that teachers do not have any individual will and have to rely on outside authority to dictate their every action.

    •  I am confused by the worktime numbers (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gustynpip, ubertar, JanL

      school day times are being thrown around here without a lot of precision, and it changes the story somewhat.

      In California, in my daughter's elementary grade, the typical school day runs longer than many, 8 - 3:30. You could call that 7 1/2 hours. (One day of the week is shorter.)

      Oh, but it's not that for instructional minutes, because there are two recesses cut out of that. So the instructional minutes are probably closer to 6 1/2 hours.

      The teacher time is different; their contract requires them to be at school some amount of time before school starts and to stay past the end of the day. They have a lunch break, and for some grades, a prep period in the middle where the class is say with a PE teacher.  The teacher paid time is longer than the kid instructional time, though, always.

      Prep time is never really enough to prep and grade. Much of it is spent working with students one on one, attending professional development or staff meetings, etc.

      Lately, an approach to "save money" was to cut back on paid prep time and inservice days for teachers. The end result seemed to me to be a less cohesive team (much harder to find times to meet and collaborate) and lower morale. It's probably better for the teachers' end satisfaction to have the time in the contract at a lower hourly rate than it is to pretend that time won't be spent.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:31:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  KP says it well. To understand the pay issues ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, jofr

      ... in a way that preferably is not loaded with comparisons to what other jobs or professions make, I'd be interested to know the salary and benefits (days off, pensions, health care, etc.):

      -  for a a first year teacher in the Chicago school system,
      -  for a fifth year teacher, and
      -  for a teacher with, say, 20 years.

      Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

      by TRPChicago on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 05:15:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Our salaries (0+ / 0-)

        Our salary schedule is available here (click on the link titled salary schedules on the left — I tried to provide a direct link, but the web site is screwy). Most of us work 38.6 week positions. It may say 6.25 hour day, but the school day is actually longer. I teach high school, and my official school day is 7 hours. The 6.25 hours do not include lunch. Of course, most of us actually work a lot more hours than the official school day. My education places me in Lane VI.

        The pension pickup is extremely important for us. Chicago Public School teachers do not receive Social Security.

        Teachers in Chicago Public Schools are required to live with Chicago city limits (this is true for all city workers in Chicago). Housing costs are higher within the city.

        High school and elementary school teachers are on the same pay scale. This differs from most other school districts. Elementary school is really quite tough here in Chicago. (I have heard many appalling stories). Many elementary schools have high turnover and many positions are difficult to staff. Compared to other school districts nearby, Chicago Public Schools pays younger teachers more, but pays more experience teachers less.

  •  It's mid-June. I have to wonder if that will (0+ / 0-)

    diminish the effect of a strike.

    Mitt Romney = Draco Malfoy

    by ubertar on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 04:33:06 AM PDT

    •  We didn’t vote to strike. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bluebirder, ubertar, Mike08, elfling, JanL

      Just a point of fact. We Chicago Public School teachers didn’t vote to strike. We voted to authorize a strike. Mayor Emanuel and the Board of Education had gotten laws passed in the state legislature that tilted the rules against the Chicago Teacher’s Union. We played by their rules and managed to get 90% of the membership (not just 90% of those who voted) to authorize the strike — far above the 75% required in state law. They thought the state law would make it impossible for us to authorize a strike. They were wrong.

      To date, the Emanuel and the Board have not been negotiating. They have acted like they could just do whatever they want without anybody being able to say “no.” They were wrong.

      The strike authorization vote gives us some leverage into the contract negotiation. Any actual strike would not occur until mid-August. I would hope that the powers-that-be would start negotiating more seriously. Many teachers (including I) who authorized a strike are hoping that we can avoid an actual strike. We are trying to support our families, pay our bills, and work with dignity. This is not politics. What is at stake is our livelihoods.

  •  I've been seeing yard signs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in my relatively affluent neighborhoood on the north side--near Rahm's house--and others on the northwest side, saying "No to the Longer School Day" or "Parents against the Longer Day".  

  •  This whole situation pains me so (0+ / 0-)

    much. I pray for a swift and just resolution that protects our city, our children, and our teachers.

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