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Pile of signs saying
As of Sunday night, Chicago teachers are on strike. They have good reason.

After months of negotiations, we've reached the point where Chicago Public Schools management has agreed that, okay, they'll provide textbooks on the first day of school rather than expecting teachers to educate and students to learn effectively without textbooks for up to six weeks. Teachers who are nursing mothers won't have to choose between continuing to nurse and continuing to work.

According to the Chicago Teachers Union, "Recognizing the Board’s fiscal woes, we are not far apart on compensation." But health care benefits remain unresolved in negotiations. Because teachers somehow think it's reasonable that they have health care they can afford. Likewise, they don't think it's fair or right to base their job evaluations heavily on their students' scores on standardized tests that were not designed to measure teacher performance. Also, "Despite a new curriculum and new, stringent evaluation system, CPS proposes no increase (or even decreases) in teacher training."

A school system that decides to bring in a new curriculum and evaluate teachers in a new way yet does not increase teacher training is a school system that is looking for excuses to penalize teachers, not educate students more effectively.

Blogger Teacher X explains "Why I'm striking":

When you make me cram 30-50 kids in my classroom with no air conditioning so that temperatures hit 96 degrees, that hurts our kids.

When you lock down our schools with metal detectors and arrest brothers for play fighting in the halls, that hurts our kids.

When you take 18-25 days out of the school year for high stakes testing that is not even scientifically applicable for many of our students, that hurts our kids.

When you spend millions on your pet programs, but there’s no money for school level repairs, so the roof leaks on my students at their desks when it rains, that hurts our kids.

Air-conditioning so that students and teachers alike don't suffer in 98-degree classrooms is another thing that Chicago Public Schools management apparently thinks it's unreasonable for teachers to want; anyway, a "reasonable timetable for the installation of air-conditioning in student classrooms" is another sticking point in negotiations, according to the teachers union.

Here's the thing: It's reasonable for teachers to want to get raises that keep up with the cost of living. It's reasonable for teachers to expect that if they're working more hours, they'll get paid more. It's reasonable for them to be pissed as hell that a raise they were supposed to get last year was taken from them by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It's reasonable for them to expect decent health benefits. These are all things that Emanuel and his teacher-hating corporate education deform allies will use to try to depict teachers as greedy. It shouldn't be seen as an outrage for professionals to fight to be treated as professionals. It should be understood that teachers will teach better if they aren't working second jobs or worried about making ends meet if they get sick. But even if you're not on board with that basic human understanding, it should be absolutely clear that it is the Chicago Teachers Union, not Chicago Public Schools management, that is fighting for the best possible education and learning environment for students.

Tell Chicago teachers you're standing with them as they fight for better schools and educational justice.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 06:32 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Daily Kos, Your Government at Work, and Occupy Wall Street.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Are you a teacher? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, glorificus

    What do you teach. I teach English as a Second Language, here in the Republic of China (i.e. the free China).

  •  Stupid, stupid move by the teachers union. (8+ / 0-)

    This will turn parents against teachers by the day.

    At a time when teachers unions need desperately to convince the public that they have students' interests at heart, they send students home... when they really, really need to be in school.

    Worse, for the union -- charter school teachers are at work and charter students are at school.

    Tone deaf to public perceptions, the CTU is at risk of burying itself.

  •  WGN isn't helping either (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kirbybruno, ElaineinIN, bcdelta, rabel

    I watched their report regarding the matter and they slanted it very anti CTU and threw in a dig regarding the new charter schools that have been set up within the various districts.

    CTU is loosing the PR war, this is going to hurt them in the long run even as noble of a goal it is.

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:00:55 AM PDT

    •  So... working people should keep on backing (15+ / 0-)

      down until the corporate media is on our side?

      When exactly do you think that will happen?

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

      by JayRaye on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:27:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No no, that wasn't the intent of the comment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, ElaineinIN

        Typically WGN has pretty fair coverage of things, but for some reason they've dropped the ball here.

        --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

        by idbecrazyif on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:34:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's not the point. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bcdelta, rabel, dufffbeer

        Given the economic times, all unions need to be more savvy about how they play these things and how to play the long game.

        I get chills every time I watch a Richard Trumka speech.   There is a case to be made... a very strong one.  But CTU is tone deaf and has not sold their cause in any way.  Blame the media if you wish - certainly there's something to be said for that - but not all the blame is there.  

        •  Yeah right (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Siri, Al Fondy, progressivevoice

          laying down and giving up has been soooo savvy for the past 20 years!! It's worked out real great, hasn't it?

          Give me a fucking break.

          WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

          by JayRaye on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:29:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tell me where I told anyone to lay down? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bcdelta, dufffbeer

            Please.  

            I want them to fight.. but fight smarter.   They are fighting stupidly right now and they will lose because of it, because they don't have the Chicago public on their side.

            Keeping those blinders on has worked out real great, hasn't it?

            •  and now you call them stupid? (4+ / 0-)

              You think you're soooo much smarter than 1000's of Chicago Teachers?

              WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

              by JayRaye on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:15:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think I'm a parent (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rabel

                (a parent and a Democrat who strongly supports unions, by th way) who talks to other parents and other taxpayers in the city of Chicago, making observations from the outside that someone might want to consider.

                Or not.  That's fine.

                •  But you're afraid, Elaine. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JayRaye, George Hier, bornadem

                  You have allowed the media and the corporate reformers to make you fearful, to make you feel like what you've got is the best you're going to get for your daughter so be quiet or they'll come and take that away.

                  But if everyone is quiet, they're going to take away even more.

                  Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

                  by anastasia p on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:16:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  *sigh* (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    DaveW

                    I never said be quiet.  

                    What I am saying is, from my peculiar view, is that the union has lost some signficant public support because the other side has successfully framed this as greedy teachers against kids.  The union has not, for whatever reason, been able to make any head way with its very real, very important, and very reasonable message that this is about the quality of education in the city of Chicago.  The union will suffer for that at the bargaining table because the mayor's office doesn't think that the public will continue to support them, especially with an extended strike.

                    In my view, the union has been remiss in paying attention to this part of the issue, to its strategic detriment. I will admit, however, to being afraid that necessary changes to public education in Chicago will not occurr because it is now too late to undo the damage that the Union's lack of effective PR has caused.  

                    That doesn't mean that they should be quiet, that they should give in, that they shouldn't strike, or that their demands are unreasonable.  But they do need to pay better attention to this particular facet of the war, and that IMHO, they would be stronger and more sucessful for it.

          •  Geeze, relax (4+ / 0-)

            JayRaye, ElaineinIN and others like myself are ON THE SAME SIDE AS YOU.  ElaineinIN is just pointing out what she's seeing on the ground and you're jumping all over her.  RELAX.  Start discussing this intelligently and respectfully.  You're attacking the wrong person.

            [Terrorists] are a dime a dozen, they are all over the world and for every one we lock up there will be three to take his place. --Digby

            by rabel on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 11:14:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, start attacking on Rahm some more. (0+ / 0-)

              He wanted to be mayor so badly, one would think he'd be better at it.

              "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

              by glorificus on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:04:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Of course they did (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, bornadem

      And if the teachers ran back apologizing with their tails between their legs, as some people here seem to think they should, they will lose the war twice as fast and twice as badly, and new battles will be fought against them by empowered and strengthened foes.

      That's what some here don't get by wailing that teachers are "losing" by striking. They will lose infinitely worse by not.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:14:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's not what anybody said. (0+ / 0-)

        I guess you think you're helping by trying to shut down any kind of strategic discussion, but you're just being a pain in the ass, frankly. Do you even live here and know what's going on?

        Remember what happened when we turned the country over to that dumbass rich kid? So now we're thinking about doing it again? Really?

        by DaveW on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 02:26:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  May I remind you... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bornadem

      that WGN is owned by the Tribune. Consider the source.

      Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

      by michael in chicago on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 02:27:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How much would they have to pay you (5+ / 0-)

    To teach in some of the gang infested neighborhoods?  There is no amount they could pay me.  This isn't long hours on your laptop at home.

  •  An alternative to an open-ended strike (8+ / 0-)

    As a onetime AFT delegate and lifelong public school teacher, I am never hopeful about these kind of open-ended, mass strikes:

    1- It deprives students of education and weakens the essential link between teachers and students, families and community. Mangement will always play on this to demonize teachers, and media will happily join in.

    2- It hurts teachers financially as they struggle to stay loyal to the union while bills pile up. Given the kind of salaries teachers get, it can take months or even years to recover, as I learned after enthustically voting for just such a strike. As a teacher who held a second job for years, this is a real issue.

    3-It magnifies the role of union leadership and weakens the grass-roots, school level leadership on which real unionism depends.

    I am not arguing for just rolling over. What I do, and have, urged, is a carefully calculated series of direct actions, such as:

    1-Brief, rolling strikes, first in one school and then the next day in another - with plenty of advance word to parents and a plan for providing teacher-supervised daycare for the children.

    2- Civil disobedience after school hours and over a wide area of the city: blockade the school board one day and the mayor's office the next. If management chooses to jail teachers involved, they will be the ones keeping a teacher away from students.

    3- A well announced plan to wreck the high stakes testing program, through refusal to administer or grade tests, escalating to the destruction of test records. These tests have no value for student learning but matter greatly to management. The same strategy can work for attendance records.

    However, no AFT or NEA leadership will back such tactics because they require empowering local school leadership and this runs the greatest risk union leaders ever face, i.e. the rise of rivals to their own power and/or the disintegration of the central union's control over its own members.

    The only way such tactics can take place is if teachers take charge of their own school and act independently of both managaement and their own union. In this case, it might mean refusing to walk out and in other cases it might mean calling their own wildcat strike in defiance of the union leaders. I led a one hour illegal strike in the 1980s with 85 of a 150 member faculty and we did force both the union and the school board to act.

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:11:52 AM PDT

  •  Years in building (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, bornadem

    Daley punted on it but the structural problems built into CPS are insurmountable.

    Rahm's goal is to take down the CTU. Don't know if he wants to ruin them to the point of decertification or just roll into charter and non-union schools and freeze them out year by year.

    Lewis is mercurial and makes a bad impression on TV, so now is the time to bring it all to  head in a state that has long ago given up any pretense of fiscal sanity.

    What do teachers want? Text books on time, air conditioners, and involved parents. Well, screw you grubby greedy teachers you can't have any of that. Your City demands you bend over and take one for the Rahm team, and your union wants you picketing for more money. Screw what you teachers want.

    •  I'm with the teachers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soros, bornadem

      on books on time, air conditioning, and the performance-based results issue.  Not sure I have much sympathy with them on salary/benefits.  I just hope it gets settled very soon.

      •  Curious.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        murphthesurf, anastasia p

        Why is that?  It's unfair that someone makes more than others?  Nobody who receives a taxpayer-funded salary is allowed to have decent wages and benefits?  You've decided that they're getting "enough" pay and don't deserve any more?

        [Terrorists] are a dime a dozen, they are all over the world and for every one we lock up there will be three to take his place. --Digby

        by rabel on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 11:18:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I imagine Rahm's "taxpayer-funded salary" is (0+ / 0-)

          adequate.

          "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

          by glorificus on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:06:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I don't get this. They're going to increase their (7+ / 0-)

        work load incredibly, yet they're not supposed to want compensation for that?  The income of the middle class has been stagnant and/or gone down in the last decades.  Teachers are squarely in the middle class.  It's time someone from that income strata says - no more.  Once that begins, perhaps middle class incomes will begin rising again.

        Everyone seems to be saying "I want my income to increase, but damn, I sure don't want to see anyone else's increase.  The teachers can ask for improvements for others, but they should be self sacrificing and agree to an increase in their workload with no increase in their pay."  I guess they should be teaching out of the goodness of their hearts and not expect silly things like a fair salary for their time and healthcare.

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

        by gustynpip on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 11:20:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So much of this is because they're women (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gustynpip, JayRaye, bornadem, kl5

          mostly, and it's a vestige of that attitude that women should sacrifice themselves for others. If my grandmother were still here, she could give you an earful. 45 years teaching at the Von Humboldt School on Chicago's west side.

          Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

          by anastasia p on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:21:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I am 100% sure I am with them (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, bornadem, DaveW, Larsstephens

        on salary and benefits. Our hypocritical society claims education is SOOOO important to us that teachers have to submit to the most humiliating micromanagement by outsiders with no expertise than any professional has to endure. We demand they solve all of society's injustices. And then we complain they're paid too much. I can hardly wait to hear what people say when teachers are paid so poorly that the pool is basically people without the ability to do anything else – and there are NO "highly qualified' teachers. This country doesn't deserve then because we don't respect them.

        Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

        by anastasia p on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:19:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hey, there was a 95% strike vote here (7+ / 0-)

      So who the hell are you trying to put daylight between "what the union wants" and "what the teachers want"?

      sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

      by stivo on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:50:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perception (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soros, ElaineinIN, bornadem

    is the issue.

    Obviously huge class sizes and lack of textbooks are an issue, but that message is drowned out by the pay increases.

    Oil based inflation has made the cost of living more expensive for everyone - gas, food, etc.

    State/city budgets are strained due to less property, income and sales tax, which is in turn caused by high unemployment.

    The vast majority of workers are in the private sector and have no employer pensions,  lot less vacation and pay a lot more for health insurance if they even have it.

    Furthermore, salaried private sector workers are also being forced to work more hours without pay increases.

    So higher salaries are tough sell when the bulk of the workforce isn't getting them.

    I don't think the CTU strike is going to be perceived well by most.

    "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

    by bcdelta on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:08:01 AM PDT

    •  Salaried private sector workers (7+ / 0-)

      And I am talking about those with equivalent education often make many times more in income and do not suffer the same working conditions.  I could point you to relatives in Evanston, Naperville, etc who could be teaching right now if they wanted to give up their lifestyle.  

      •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tandrews

        People with graduate degrees in the private sector do make a lot more money if they have a job and I know plenty of PhDs in Silicon Valley that can't find a job in their field.

        So they end up working at Starbucks, Staples, etc. or just not working at all.

        This being said I was making the observation that given how badly many are hurting they will focus on the pay increase the most.

        Right or wrong the perception will most likely be negative given the tight economy so one has to pick their battles.

        As for teachers earning more it's a question of societal values.

        As for union employees with pensions/medical we got to the problem we see today in two ways.

        Firstly, unions have gotten more and more benefits every decade and the issue is politicians often do not set aside the money for such benefits in the year that they are earned.

        This is particularly true of pensions/medical for retired workers.  So when tax revenue gets really tight it's hard to pay for everything.

        Next the economy is so bad because of 30 years of bubble to bust economics heavily driven by bankers, greedy CEOs, etc.  Then endless war is another big drain.

        And I haven't seen Congress do much to address Wall Street's malfeasance.

        Congress along with Bush/Obama DOJs did nothing to prosecute Wall Street for the tech or mortgage Ponzi schemes.

        And if one doesn't go after bubble architects, which ruin economies and screw the average worker, then one can never get off the bubble to bust economy.

        Next - how does one pay for increased CTU salaries, smaller classes, etc.???

        Take money from other spend in the Chicago budget or increase taxes?

        If you reallocate money from elsewhere in the budget - people will fight.

        As for taxes - fine to soak those doing well, but there are simply not that many rich, which means you need to soak the middle class = very hard sell.

        "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

        by bcdelta on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 10:43:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can't speak to Chicago specifically (4+ / 0-)

          but people tend to vastly over estimate public employee salaries, benefits and pensions.  Why do you think there are so many former teachers?  People go into public service knowing they will not get rich but with the atmosphere out there today you'd be crazy to consider teaching.

          •  Our value (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            glorificus, DaveW

            system is screwed up.  The people that do the most damage to the economy also earn the most.

            In the case of Wall Street, while one needs capital markets,  a lot of what they do adds no value to society, yet has caused a depression.

            Until lobbying is brought under control it will be impossible to pay people fairly.

            "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

            by bcdelta on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:04:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, increase taxes (4+ / 0-)

          Most of what you're referring to doesn't have anything to do with the Teacher's Union.  The benefits the unions negotiate with management are negotiated and agreed to.  Just because it becomes hard to pay for now, or if politicians didn't fund the pensions they agreed to pay isn't really the fault of the union.  

          The union has made it clear that they understand the current fiscal climate and has negotiated in good faith.  But rather than keeping everyone's salaries down because of "the economy" we should instead be fighting for increased pay for all and government programs to get the economy going.  Increase the pay of a large group of people like a union represents and the entire economy benefits (in this case, the whole Chicago area economy will benefit).

          As for taxes, structure them so that those with the most pay more - there, problem solved.

          [Terrorists] are a dime a dozen, they are all over the world and for every one we lock up there will be three to take his place. --Digby

          by rabel on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 11:25:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

            Not funding benefits in the year they were earned is solely the fault of politicians.

            But when this is done unchecked the end result is more and more of a given year's education budget has to pay for pensions and retired med benefits leaving less to pay current teachers.

            If you wish to increase salaries then you have to find the additional monies.

            Something not easy to do when tax revenues are in the cellar.

            It's also not the fault of private sector employees that CEOs outsource jobs to China or that Wall Street is raping the planet.

            In both cases I point the finger at politicians for allowing powerful lobbies to get away with behavior that has left our economy in tatters.

            So if teachers have to work more and because oil based inflation has driven up the cost of living - I can understand why they want  raise.

            But you still need to find the money to pay for it.

            As for having an economy that allows for people to earn a fair wage - won't happen until Congress stops only representing lobbyists.

            "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

            by bcdelta on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 11:58:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Problem is, the taxes for schools (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sunny skies

            are among the most regressive kind there are. Property taxes in Chicago have doubled in the past few years. The sales tax is 10%. Both of these hit the people least able to sustain further increases. So taxpayers in the middle are not just being greedy when they resist more taxes for schools or anything else.

            Even though IL and Chicago are liberal hotbeds, the pols are scared to death of raising income taxes and of the State taking responsibility for school funding, as it should. The problem, like so many problems, ultimately goes back to the tax-hate propaganda we've suffered for so many decades that we've ended up paralyzed.

            Remember what happened when we turned the country over to that dumbass rich kid? So now we're thinking about doing it again? Really?

            by DaveW on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 02:38:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sure (0+ / 0-)

              I'm suggesting we separate any necessary tax increase from the desire to pay decent wages to teachers. Did the IL legislature accept IL state lottery funds earmarked for education and then immediately decrease the state education budget by the amount of income from the state lottery?  Can we fund education through sales taxes of some kind?  A luxury tax for education?  There's many ways to fund government, we don't have to look at this through the single vision of property taxes.  

              Do we want to give teachers decent pay and benefits so we attract the very best?  If yes, then we go find out how to pay for it.  We always seem to have plenty of money for wars, why is that answer to funding education always that we can't afford it???

              [Terrorists] are a dime a dozen, they are all over the world and for every one we lock up there will be three to take his place. --Digby

              by rabel on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 03:28:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  The pay increase is all about (3+ / 0-)

      the substantial increase in expected hours of work.

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

      by elfling on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 11:33:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which (0+ / 0-)

        is understandable, but you have to figure out how to pay for it.

        Are there enough people in Chicago earning enough money where you can increase their taxes to cover the raise without killing retail spending in the city?

        I have no idea, but this is the question that needs to be answered.

        If so and CTU got their raise then I would imagine all other city employees would want a raise as well.

        This article states that Rahm has been cutting Chicago's budget deficit a lot for 2013, but is still $369 million on the year.

        http://www.nbcchicago.com/...

        So Rahm seems to be advocating more cuts rather than increasing salaries or expenditures.

        "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

        by bcdelta on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:17:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They don't have to pay for it if they (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bornadem, Larsstephens

          don't increase the hours by 20% or whatever it turned out to be.

          I can't go down to a restaurant and demand that they give me a large beverage instead of a small just because I can't afford to pay for it.

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

          by elfling on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:12:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why are they increasing hours anyway? (0+ / 0-)

            "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

            by bcdelta on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:20:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Because they want to (7+ / 0-)

              They decided on their own that it would be good for kids to have more time in school.

              They also decided that they didn't want to spend any money to accomplish this.

              Now. A reasonable person might want that. And then the way you'd go about it would be to sit down with the teachers and say, "We really want to improve the school outcomes. We are thinking that a longer day would help. What do you think, and given how little money we have to work with, where should we spend the money we have and how might we accomplish this?"

              If your boss came to you and said, "We decided we want you all to work a 20% more hours for no extra pay, starting in two months," I think you can expect a uniformly bad reaction.

              On the other hand, a truly strapped business might find creative ways to sell something like that, by offering stock options or other future rewards if a short-term initiative works out, by increasing flexibility or other benefits, etc. A school system could do that too - if they had come to the table in good faith instead of wanting to bash some heads.

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

              by elfling on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:44:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  How about a fact based comment (0+ / 0-)

                Chicago has among the shortest school day in the country and the shortest school year in the country.  That is why the children should be in class longer......

                •  How about an honest discussion between (0+ / 0-)

                  two parties from a position of mutual respect? That doesn't have to be hard.

                  In California we're at 175 days and they're threatening us with 160 to make the budget work. My district goes 180 because the teachers think it's important and valuable. Not because some asshole said, "do it or else."

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

                  by elfling on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 08:18:34 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  This is a site for Dems and there are people who (22+ / 0-)

    don't fully support these teachers as they strike? Because it "looks bad" and the media is framing it poorly?

    We're in a culture of extreme exploitation of everyone by the elite class.

    We should all be striking in solidarity! Not whining that "we have long hours and inadequate pay, too, so get back to work!"

    Stand proud with them and encourage to hold the front lines for us all.

  •  We are about to lose the luxury of ducking issue (13+ / 0-)

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/...

    Romney is raising it now.  They are trying force a consensus that union busting is the only way to go.  

    This is it.  Bottom of the Ninth, bases loaded.  Are we for real or frauds?  Was all our talk about Scott Walker's agenda real or bullshit?   We cannot sit on the fence.  it's Which Side Are You On time now.  Was all that talk at the convention empty rhetoric?  I sure hope not.

    I'm with the teachers.

    Oh, and by the way, why is this diary buried here?  Front page it!

    sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

    by stivo on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 10:31:48 AM PDT

  •  Define "Adequate Pay" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bcdelta

    Everything related to working conditions for teachers and learning conditions for students are more than strike-worthy imho.   But there are those who can't resist running off on the "fair pay" tangent.  Don't get me wrong... I think teachers should be paid well.  But you're going to have a tough time convincing the average family making less than $50K a year that a starting salary of about $50K to a veteran "masters plus 45" teacher at over $90K is just "scraping by".  The noise generated by this part of the argument is unfortunately much louder than the noise generated by the poor working and learning environment.

    •  Heck Schumer thinks $250k is scraping by (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      progressivevoice

      Funny how taxing folks with 6 figure incomes is supposed to cause great middle class suffering unless you are a teacher making a third of that in which case you are a bloated plutocrat.

    •  Ok then, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anastasia p, schnecke21

      Alright, then promote a program where we fire all these teachers and bring in new teachers at half their salary.  I mean, they're all paid too much anyway, right?  We don't need any stinking quality TEACHERS for crying out loud.  They're just teachers after all, it's not like it's an important or difficult job.  Any idiot can teach a bunch of kids....

      [Terrorists] are a dime a dozen, they are all over the world and for every one we lock up there will be three to take his place. --Digby

      by rabel on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 11:37:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We all know the right answer (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bornadem, schnecke21

        you get what you pay for.  We can pay half - and your children get to watch movies all day or has someone who's never taught before and has no one left to mentor him/her.  

        You don't scrimp on your doctor or dentist or other professionals to who you are trusting your body.  Why should we scrimp on our children.

        I'm know there are people out there to make that argument and they just aren't making it.. or at least, aren't making it successfully.  It's frustrating because we know the right answer!

      •  Missed my point... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rabel, bornadem

        The conversation should not be about teacher pay.  It should be about an unacceptable learning environment for the students and an increasingly unacceptable working environment for teachers.

        My issue is with those who wish to continue to interject the "poor underpaid teacher" meme into a conversation that has nothing to do with teachers being underpaid.

        Should teachers be paid well?   Yes.
        Should teachers have to accept concessions on existing contracts? No.
        Is is a difficult and extremely important job?  Yes.

        Are Chicago teachers poorly compensated?  In my opinion, No.  

  •  I hope (20+ / 0-)

    that all you Democrats who imagine yourselves to be so much smarter than the Chicago Teachers' Union have read and understood the following (from David Moberg, In These Times):

    But a recent state education law that attempted to make it harder for Chicago teachers to strike also limited mandatory topics of bargaining to economic issues, leaving many of the key working conditions and educational issues as non-mandatory, though "permissable," bargaining subjects.

    The union, under this law, can strike only on money issues, putting teachers in a political bind: If they strike, they appear only to be interested in personal gain, not educational improvement.

    In other words - a strike over purely non-economic issues would not be legal.  Think about that before you post about how stupid they are.

    sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

    by stivo on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 10:53:16 AM PDT

    •  Thank you very much for this information. I (5+ / 0-)

      strongly supported the union without this information, but it will be worth it's weight in gold when discussing it.

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

      by gustynpip on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 11:26:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Holy Crap! (8+ / 0-)

      This needs to be added to the diary.

      All these people in here complaining about how the teachers are making "bad optics" because it appears they're striking about wages need to see this.

      [Terrorists] are a dime a dozen, they are all over the world and for every one we lock up there will be three to take his place. --Digby

      by rabel on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 11:38:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yea, 95% strike vote (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bornadem, Larsstephens

      by Chicago Teachers sure says something to me.

      And what it says is UNITY.

      I wouldn't count them out just yet.

      It also tells me that a lot of organizing was done before the strike to get such a high %.

      I'll tell you what, as Shop Steward, we organized a strike vote before our Union Negotiations and got 99% strike approval. We got 11% raises for our lowest paid members that year when average wages were about 1%.

      Meetings were held and the shop stewards took some chances to get those signature. The Local disproved of our action.

      Our SEIU local was seriously passive. But I explained to my fellow workers that when I was a 49er (IUOE Local 49) we always went into negotiations with a unanimous strike vote.

      A vote of 95% to actually go out on strike is an amazingly high vote. 95% of 25,000 is 23,750 teachers.

      Now that's what I call

      SOLIDARITY!

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

      by JayRaye on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:15:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Chicago Teachers Union Solidarity Fund (5+ / 0-)

    Donate as much as you can.  https://afl.salsalabs.com/...

  •  After 25 years (8+ / 0-)

    After 25 years without a strike, the legislature passed a special law that CTU needed 75% of MEMBERS, not of voters, but of all those eleigible to vote, to authorize a strike.

    They got 90%.

    This is a serious effort to crush a union, and crushing unions in Chicago is not the way to go.

    •  I thot it was 95% but I won't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bornadem

      quibble over 5%.

      Either way, it's an incredibly high % to vote to go out on strike.

      Sounds like UNITY to me.

      In the end strikes are won with

      SOLIDARITY
      &
      UNITY.

      Our safety action many years ago was opposed, both by our Local Union and by the Corporation (a huge international corporation.) All we had was each other and our unity. But we won that fight! My "indefinite suspension" eventually turned into a month of paid vacation, and when, the dust settled, the federal mediator said that she had never seen such good safety language in a any other union contract.

      When we fight, we might win, or we might lose. But if we never fight, we will, for sure, never win.

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

      by JayRaye on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:36:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Proud union teacher here. (8+ / 0-)

    I live in Chicago although I teach in NW Indiana. I am OFTEN reminded how lucky I am to be in a good school district.

    SOLIDARITY WITH MY UNION BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHICAGO!

    Obama stole my Sig Line for his campaign. Forward. daveinchi's World at Large

    by daveinchi on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 11:27:43 AM PDT

  •  Hey, Rahm! F*ing fix this thing Now! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, bornadem

    F*ckwad!  
    Isn't that how one talks to Rahm Emanuel?

  •  Screw Rahm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, bornadem

    What the hell is wrong with that idiot anyway? Most important election of our lifetime and he's having a pissing contest with the people he's supposed to be working for.

    And why the hell are there still Democrats who think he's not a pile of stuff that comes from a horses backside?

  •  deafening silence (0+ / 0-)
    Thank you so much, Elaine...we are so grateful for your family's service and sacrifice...and we will always have your back.

    Over the past few years as First Lady, I have had the extraordinary privilege of traveling all across this country.

    And everywhere I've gone, in the people I've met, and the stories I've heard, I have seen the very best of the American spirit.

    I have seen it in the incredible kindness and warmth that people have shown me and my family, especially our girls.

    I've seen it in teachers in a near-bankrupt school district who vowed to keep teaching without pay.

    DNC Speech
  •  Walked the line with my kids this morning... (9+ / 0-)

    I've been a CPS teacher for 8 years.  It was the greatest career change I could have made. I feel I'm fairly paid, I work at a local neighborhood K - 8 elementary school with an enrollment of 1400 students.  We have 5 of every grade level and an average class size of about 31 or 32.  

    I've taught 8th grade for the last six years and am part of my school's Leadership Team.  We are lucky to be at a school with a GREAT administration. He invites us to sit in on teacher interviews, asks us our opinion on possible hires, allows us significant input into curriculum and schedule development.  Our school tests very well even though it's a neighborhood school that is required to take ANY student that walks through the door.  If we were completely merit based our teachers would undoubtedly get the biggest raises and hugest perks.

    But this isn't about us.  There's something else here, something that hides just under the surface that people hate talking about.

    Let's start with the something that people just simply can't appreciate properly.  Air conditioning.  In the last few years, I've taught 37 8th graders in a room that was 105 degrees for several days on end.  Think about that.  What is getting accomplished in that sort of oppressive heat?  They come back from gym covered in sweat and then sit in a room that's over 100 degrees.  To keep any sort of breeze, I need to open the windows, to open the windows I need to open the shades, and this allows my west facing room to be totally soaked in direct sunlight.  I need to keep them awake, alert, and interested.  If every employee in CPS worked in these conditions then I'd have no problem with it.  But they don't.  The mayor doesn't, the board doesn't, the administrators don't.  Just the teachers and the students.

    Let's talk about Emmanuel.  He rescinded our 4% raise last year claiming a financial emergency which allowed him to take an escape clause in our contract.  Immediately after doing that he began offering $100,000 to every school, and $1,500 to every teacher who agreed to work his "longer school day."  But I thought there was a financial emergency....see the problem.  He lied and he treated teachers like trash.  In fact one of Rahm's first speeches as mayor was to say LITERALLY, that teachers gave students "the shaft."  Those were the words he used.  My life's work resulted in our mayor saying I had given my student's the shaft...

    But let's look a little deeper than that.  The entire CPS Board is APPOINTED by the mayor.  Not elected.  Appointed.  He chose them all.  And of all the members on the board, only Vitale---ONLY ONE MEMBER---has a student in CPS.  Brizzard, the CEO of CPS, was also appointed by Rahm.  Rahm has hand-picked all of CPS's leadership.  None were elected and they have been nothing more than a rubber stamp for everything that Rahm has wanted.

    Finally, let's look at Senate Bill 7.  This was designed so that CPS would not be allowed to strike.  As previous posts have noted, this required a 75% approval of membership...not total votes...of total members. So if you don't vote, that counts as a NO.  While this is bad enough, the scary thing about SB7 was that it ONLY applied to Chicago.  Every other Illinois school district simply had to have 50%+1...why would Chicago be made to have a different set of standards than EVERY OTHER SCHOOL DISTRICT IN THE STATE.  It doesn't make any sense.  Actually, it does, Jonah Edelman from the pretend school reform group Stand for Children actually said, "In effect, they wouldn't have the ability to strike, even though the right was maintained.  The unions cannot strike in Chicago. They will never be able to muster the 75 percent."

    I need to take this and turn it into a diary.  There's so much more I need to get off my chest.  Residency requirements, teacher evaluations based on surveys taken by students, 11 board mandated standardized tests I have to give my students this year...

  •  In any other job (7+ / 0-)

    It's perfectly reasonable for employees to want to be compensated, and work in as safe and comfortable and environment as the work allows.  You don't see anybody disparaging accountants for not working for free, in 96 degree offices with leaky roofs, with their desks crammed in like sardines in a can.  But teachers - they're supposed to suffer whatever indignity parents or administrators can dream up because WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDRENS!!!!

    "And the President of the United States - would be seated right here. I would be here. And he would be here. I would turn - and there he’d be. I could pet ‘im." - Lewis Black

    by libdevil on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:01:09 PM PDT

  •  When workers strike (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    When workers strike, they are taking an action against the people who pay them.    The union should not be surprised that people paying the bills don't automatically support them.    Private sector unions certainly do not expect the owners and managemant to be out cheering them on.

    When private sector workers are increasingly non-union, it is natural for those workers to resent the power that the government workers have.

    In this video about equal pay for monkeys, the researcher jokes that the protesting monkey is from OWS.   The protesting monkey could also be seen as the non-union, underpaid monkey, watching public servants get better benefits and better retirement.

    The greater the disparity between public and private sector pay and job security, the more dangerous it is for the unions demand more.  

    This is true regardless of whether they deserve more.  Every worker believes he deserves more, and most of them are correct.

    Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

    by bobtmn on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 12:45:30 PM PDT

  •  See, if Walter White had better pay and benefits (0+ / 0-)

    ...he never woulda needed that car wash job.

    Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

    by Boundegar on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:28:11 PM PDT

  •  I agree with all, but ?, where is the money going (0+ / 0-)

    to come from? Its a ? the whole country is wrestling with and if they want to win the fight, they have to target the people that are blowing up the budget that is giving the city officials the excuse they need to do this. They need to dig deeper to expose the plans to piratize the public school system.

  •  what are "deform allies" eom (0+ / 0-)
    •  "deform" (0+ / 0-)

      Is a word coined by those skeptical of the claims of high-profile "educational reformers" - especially those whose solutions tend toward high-stakes testing and union bashing.

      sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

      by stivo on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 03:28:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Working conditions are LEARNING conditions. (0+ / 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 Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:09:22 PM PDT

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