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Chicago teachers and supporters rally on Monday, September 10, the first day of their strike.
It's day three of the Chicago teachers strike, and now the teachers union and school system management are agreed that a contract agreement is not imminent. With the strike looking likely to continue, the SEIU local that represents custodians in some of the city's schools has filed a strike notice so that janitors can honor teachers' picket lines.

Management's strategy, as displayed in every public statement school system representatives make, is to simply try to make the teachers look recalcitrant and selfish—the unelected school board president described negotiations as "silly season," saying it's "time to get serious," both insults to teachers giving up their paychecks precisely because this is so serious. The union's description of negotiations was a little different:

Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey said the day's discussions had centered on teacher evaluation and that "some substantial movement" had been made, but not enough.

"I don't want to get in the weeds, but I'd say we moved more than they did today," he said. [...]

"They basically dug in their heels and said if we didn't give them a comprehensive proposal, we didn't have anything to talk about," Sharkey said.

Both sides are being strategic in their statements, of course. But the union has made clear, repeatedly in public and private through months of negotiations, what teachers are asking for. Management's constant statements—free of specifics about their own proposals, at least in recent days—that the teachers are not being serious, are choosing this strike, aren't making real proposals, are intended to convey that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his appointed school board will not be moving, that it is up to the teachers to give in, and that the teachers are therefore solely to blame for the strike. If this is the attitude they bring into negotiations, no wonder the two sides aren't closer to a deal.

Because teachers remain popular with the public, a favorite strategy of campaigns against their unions is to say "teachers are great, it's the unions that are a problem." (You'll hear that from Mitt Romney regularly.) But this strike is reminding us that teachers unions are made up of teachers. It is teachers in the streets, fighting for better schools. They are community members and parents and neighbors—maybe that's why a plurality of Chicago voters support them in this strike.

As one Chicago teacher wrote on Facebook, illustrating how intensely personal this fight is:

I'm a parent before I am a teacher; as such I am outraged at the conditions children endure while trying to learn (not to mention the baggage they bring with them from home). How does my son, with dreams of being an engineer, learn technology in a tech lab WITHOUT computers? What does a child do when they keep getting nose bleeds and/or headaches from the heat in their classroom? I am guessing Rahm and Jean-Claude's children don't have these problems.

Parents, I encourage you to look pass this brief inconvenience at the bigger picture. I fight for my children (the ones I birthed and the ones I teach); fights are never convenient or pretty. I ask that you use your voice to empower those that fight for your children everyday in the face of insurmountable odds instead of those that repeatedly put the bottom dollar and their best interest ahead of children.

This strike is the people in the classrooms every day trying to teach kids versus the education agenda of the 1 percent. Let Chicago teachers know you stand with them in their fight for educational justice and better schools.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:13 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Your Government at Work, Occupy Wall Street, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If it wasn't clear is should be clear (19+ / 0-)


    Rahm Emanuel is what is wrong with the Democratic party...not what is right.  And guess what...he used to be the Chief of Staff.  Is there any question as to why the WH has been more effective without him and Daley in charge.

    (Yes, I know who hired him, but he course corrected).

    Not only is his strategy atrocious....the idea that he would go all in ridiculous.

    Kudos to the unions for putting their interests first, and fighting instead of just accepting the Dem party line.  But if you are going to fight and shoot for the better win.

    I hope this comes back to bite Rahm in the butt...I also hope Chicagoans are asking themselves whether they made a good decision to elect this guy as there mayor.

    “Mitt Romney is the only person in America who looked at the way this Congress is behaving and said, ‘I want the brains behind THAT operation.’ ” Former Democratic Congressman - Tom Perriello "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - MHP

    by justmy2 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:27:10 AM PDT

  •  A C-SPAN caller put it well this morning... (16+ / 0-)

    ..during a Washington Journal filled with the misinformed came this shining clarity...

    Imagine getting daycare for $10 per day. If a teacher just warehoused 30 kids per day that's $300 per day...which is way more than they get paid to work a full day, bring work home, and spend their own money in frequently inadequate facilities.

    To this I add...

    Then tell the that their position will be secured by the continued performance of children whose parents don't care, who have learning disabilities, langauge challenges, insufficient nutrition. It would be like telling a police officer that his job depended on the behavior of the people arrested or a fire fighter was dependent upon the injuries from car crashes or the health of the people they rescue.

    The media is treating this whole issue like a he-said she-said horse race election. They aren't educating the listeners as to the actual crux and contours of the matter. A total abdication of a core element of American democracy.

    (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

    by Enterik on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:50:12 AM PDT

    •  All correct - and more. (12+ / 0-)

      Diane Ravitch makes this point well in her book when she says that factors OUTSIDE the school/classroom, such as poverty, have more impact on student test scores than teachers.

      Ravitch's Death and Life of the Great American School System

      It's also important to note that since this is the case, and Rahm and the corporatist-coopted charter movement know this, then we can assume that they have a different, ulterior motive for demanding teacher evaluations be tied to test scores.  

      If the past decade of the charter school movement and Race to the Top (RTTT) is any guide, Rahm is seeking to destroy public education and replace it with a corporate, for-profit system.  This is anathema to American values, and is bad for democracy.  Once the neo-liberals/neo-cons destroy free public education, and capture our children, the 1%ers will have achieved a significant victory.  They must be stopped.

      Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

      by maxschell on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:05:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gladwell's Tipping Point also touches on... (8+ / 0-)

        ...external factors that accumulate over the schooling years. I was struck by income disparity. Low income children learn just as well during the school year but lose ground during the summertime. Thus they have to relearn at least half of what they learned the year before after a few grades the material being covered outstrips the students residual progress. Then, predictably, performance on standardized testing lags and teachers are blamed.

        Of course, factors such as poorly maintained facilities, outdated teaching materials, the absense of parent volunteers, poor nutrition.

        Basically all the things Chicago teachers want addressed.

        (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

        by Enterik on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:16:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the lack of air-conditioning contributes to this (0+ / 0-)


          Let me share an exchange that occurred in a City Collages of Chi-town this evening (deliberate insertion of typos to foil the google-machine)--as a professor in this network of schools--I "inherit" the problems of the CPS; I also have many years' experience with the CPS...:

          Professor Me, addressing a classroom full of students who were the products of CPS schools (south side, very important distinction)..."the issue of air-conditioning is not insignificant. And yet, it is one that could easily be solved--if someone outside the government--let's say Nicki Menaj/Lil Wayne or heck, even Oprah Winfrey--were to step up to the plate and say, 'hey, here are the funds....', in the spirit of Bill Cosby who made a $20 million contrib to Spelman college. Hey, Mitt Romney, you really want to mess up the Dems? How 'bout making a $20 million contrib to the City of Chicago, designated fund to cover air-conditioning in the CPS." Heh. Snark. Snort. Yaddiyaddiyada.

          So one of my (older) students says: "Air conditioning is not that big a deal. I'm a lot older than you, and when I went to school, we didn't have air-conditioning."

          Professor Me: First off, I doubt that you're that much older than I am, but when I went to school, we didn't have  summer school--personally, I spent my summers either at the park, the beach or in Head Start Programs. Secondly, when I was in school, we weren't yet experiencing the effects of global warming: one 100 degree day in the course of the summer is one thing--a sustained period of 100 degree days is another thing altogether. And when you have the City of Chicago WARNING people NOT to be out in that weather, advising people to seek shelter at cooling centers, while at the same time asking students AND teachers to pack themselves into un-air-conditioned rooms for extended periods...well, you're kind of sending mixed signals to the parents and students, aren't you? What's a lowly educator supposed to do: show up at the designated cooling center with 35 sixth graders in tow? Guess so, huh?

          But furthermore, when I went to school, we didn't have crack cocaine (and the attendant "economy" and social ills), we didn't have guns (see Reagan, war on drugs, Iran-contra, Rockefeller Drug Laws, etc), we didn't have children-having-children-having children; we DID have guidance counselors, and we DID have other social agencies to help deal with the 'fallout' of socio-politico-economic neglect that has contributed to the increased incidence of PTSD, ADD, ADHD, and "nihilism" (see Cornel West) we currently see in our classrooms.

          But. Big B but. Allthis*notwithstanding*....schools in some areas/wards of the city DO have air-conditioning, while others do not. IF, and as long as, students and teachers in all schools in said districts/wards are going to be subjected to the same STATE standards, then the same conditions must prevail. SO, either you remove the air-conditioning from ALL schools, or you install air-conditioning in ALL schools. Period. Only other option, adjust the standards to take this serious disadvantage into consideration.

          Needless to say, by the time I was done with my RANT, the student in question was willing to at least consider the notion that air-conditioning was not just one of those "luxury items" the CTU put on the agenda. Probably made the student think about a few other things, too.

          So, sheesh, got me started again.
          Now I will stop.
          End of rant. ;-)

          •  Very Educational... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...someone should walk through each of the 49 points and lay out the CTU and School Boards positions, and where there has been movement, the final resting place. The media horse race coverage of this issue drives me crazy. As a former (down state, south of Kankakee) Illinois resident, I yearn for the sort of detail you've touched upon in your response.

            (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

            by Enterik on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:42:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Poverty probably has the greatest impact. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cai, grumpelstillchen

        Economic conditions make for stability or instability in a household and probably have the greatest impact on the ability of a student to succeed.  But it would be class warfare to discuss that at all.

        "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

        by Chi on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:45:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Read A Hope In The Unseen. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It's about Cedric Jennings, an inner city kid got accepted at Brown University -- when his family's electricity would get shut off, or their belongings thrown on the street when they couldn't pay.  

          He showed up hours early for school to work on science projects, because the science being taught in his school was so remedial.  He worked his butt off, and he was smart -- and he was still unprepared when he got to college, because his school didn't have the equipment or classes to prepare him properly.

          These kids are fighting for their futures when they're fighting to keep their A.P. classes -- and they know it.

          © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

          by cai on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:05:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you just make me want to cry. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            as I said elsewhere, I am a prof at the Shitty Collages of Chi-Town (sorry, I really don't hate my school/s that much, just don't want the google monster to come back and bite me in the ass): In fact, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my school. I just hate this damn corporate model that's being brought in (also at this level) and running the whole thing into the ground....

            At Shitty Collages, we inherit the problems of the CPS...there is SO much raw intelligence in my students, so much will to succeed, desire to know....but they come to us lacking the basic skills they need...oh. God. Just don't get me started again.

            If people only understood how severe this crisis in education is. I know many educators throughout the country who also  understand that there is a huge crisis out there, but even they cannot begin to comprehend what is going on in these schools here. They can't.

            Chicagoans are tough. Really tough. The big shoulders thing is not the stuff of myth. It takes a LOT, a helluva lot, to get Chicagoans to say "Enough." Enough is enough.

            And yeah, that's what we're saying. The rest of the country would do well to take heed, get on board with this, AND run with it.

            •  Then you have no need to read the book. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              grumpelstillchen, Chi

              What struck me about it was how much harder a kid from the projects had to work to get to the same college as a white kid from the suburbs.  

              I mean, people think abstractly that they know that, but when it comes right down to what it means -- compared to Jennings, my high school education was handed to me on a platter.  It was both his home life and his school, and neither one were doing right by him -- even though his mom was trying and he had teachers who were doing their best and reaching out to him.

              And it was written before Bush and NCLB.

              © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

              by cai on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:06:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I need to write a book about my (0+ / 0-)

                experiences, too....see, despite my PhD, my myriad academic awards, my 5-page bi-lingual publications list and, and, and....I actually hail from the underclass. Did time as a juvenile, was ward of the state, you name, I dun it. Am indeed an ethnic minority, but was "light enough to pass" and, no doubt about it, was afforded certain advantages as a result. I tell my students that all the time: "I looked like a 'pretty little white girl', and that definitely worked to my advantage. But it doesn't change the fact that I know what it means to be sleeping on a steel cot in a jail cell at 14, 15, 16 for no other reason that I was the daughter of a poor, uneducated, minority single-female"....

                So, no I don't need to read the book, but it may be a good  candidate for use in my classrooms. ;-)

                NCLB: I call that No Child Left ALIVE.

                My book (er, um, I mean the book that is about me, not about someone/something else, however esoteric/academic that may be; I've already got a number of THOSE under my belt) if I ever get down to writing it (heh. You're supposed to LAUGH at this...)

                "This is for kinda-colored-girls who have COMMITTED suicide/cuz the wonda-bread wuz neva enuf!"

                (Originally, it was supposed to read: this is for 'pretty little white girls' ....but my friends demanded that I kick the pretty little white girl OUT. So I did.)

                Thanks for your comments. You cheered me up. Now I have to get to bet. I have an 8AM class. I'll look into the Jennings title.

              •  Here in MoCo, MD you see the difference... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                ...every day. In the best school distict in the country there is still a substantial difference in outcomes that seems to covary with ESOL (English as a Second Language), FARMS (Free And Reduced Meals Support), SPED (Special Education), mobility (measure of kids leaving and entering schools) student numbers at a particular school, which in turn correlates with where you live, in some places, literally which side of the tracks you live on.

                The difference is that these schools are funded from the same $1.5 billion yearly budget, they get renovations, facilites upgrades, class size reductions. They don't do the best in system, but almost all schools are near 90% proficient at grade level academic skills year after year. Certainly far better than the rural schools I attended.

                The point I'm trying to make is that if education resources were reliable much of the effects of poverty and low property values can be overcome and produce a college bound population.

                Of course it would nice if there were sufficient jobs for college graduates, but I digress onto another subject...

                (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

                by Enterik on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:01:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Are you sure about that? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      According to the reports I've seen, the average Chicago teacher makes $76,000 a year.

      If you look at annual official working days -- which distorts the picture for teachers who drag work home on the weekends -- teachers work about 150-160 days per year if they don't work the summer session.  At 160 days per year, that would be $475 per day.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:21:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What about the median? (0+ / 0-)

        (i.e., half earn more and half earn less.)

        Do they include principals, vice principals, etc., as "teachers"?

        © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

        by cai on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:27:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't believe so (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          In our school district the Principals and VPs make money on a different scale as do the support staff. mr.u is a school janitor and if the teachers walk, they walk. Solidarity

          "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

          by high uintas on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:36:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I haven't seen any reports on median, but that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cai, Susan from 29

          is a very good question.

          I got one rather chirpy comment right here on DK that suggests, anecdotally at least, that the average is reasonably representative number.  The poster had suggested that senior teachers in Chicago don't make  as much money as senior teachers. Given that the average Chicago teacher's salary is the highest in the nation (or, at least, it's reported to be), that would require a pretty flat distribution if it's true.

          That $76k number gets used as if it does not include any administrators, but I haven't seen the source data so any grains of salt you wish to apply are completely fair.

          I should point out that you could cut that number by 35% and still have a daily pay greater than the $300 the original poster claimed that teachers don't make in a day.

          Teachers in Chicago are not impoverished and, in a city like Chicago, where most people earn less than the average teacher's salary, pleading poverty is probably a bad idea.  Much more reasonable to make the case that teachers are hard-working professionals who should be compensated fairly for the value they create.  After all -- how many times do we hear that kids are the future?

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:42:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The teachers themselves have been telling (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Susan from 29, grumpelstillchen

            anyone who will listen that "it's not just about the money."  

            Apparently, Emmanuel's rules (vaguely Walkerish) state that they can only strike on matters of pay -- not working conditions (which equals learning conditions), classroom sizes, or anything else.

            The teachers are holding out on a pay agreement because it's the one position they're allowed to strike for.  But the strike is about far more than that.

            © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

            by cai on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:46:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh yes it is. And what all these reports don't (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cai, nominalize, dinotrac

              take into account is how much money teachers actually end up spending from that pay for supplies--including, but not limited to, air-conditioners for their classrooms.

              I can give you first hand accounts of actually having to supply such basic needs as TOILET PAPER (no, I am not making that up) for students.

              The problem with the TP is that, as the surrounding communities (in south and west side schools) have become increasingly impoverished, parents instruct children to steal the TP from the school (what the hell else are they supposed to do?), to the extent that the school's TP supply is significantly impacted. A lot of south side schools keep TP under lock and key. Kids needing to "use it" must get it from staff.

              A lot of teachers I know just but the g.d. toilet paper themselves and have it on hand to give to kids.

              And that's just the tip of the ice berg. Photocopies, pens, pencils, books--all manner of supplies--almost every teacher I know in the CPS spends some portion of his/her salary on these things.

              Not acceptable. Not. Absolutely not. So fuck anyone who tries to tell you CPS teachers are "greedy" or just looking out for their own interests. Au contraire to the nnnnnth degree.

              •  And do kids have to say if they're going (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                #1 or #2?  Yeesh.

                © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

                by cai on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:28:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  My point exactly: it is soooooo fucking (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cai, Milhawkee

                  humiliating. Seriously. And to put kids through that who already have self-confidence issues.

                  I remember the first time I was made aware of the "tissue issue": A kid came up to me and asked, in a nonchalant way, if I had any kleenex, telling me there was no TP in the toilet. Luckily, yes, I did have some Kleenex. But then I went to some higher-up to report that the bathrooms were out of TP. THey looked at me like I was NUTS.

                  It wasn't long before I figured out that the entire student/teacher population had long since adapted to this (relatively minor?) deficiency by simply carrying the supplies with them at all times.

                  But seriously. I wonder if people know that this is how desperate the situation is?

                  In many schools, kids going for scheduled "potty breaks" (that's not unusual at the elementary school level), line up and are handed their little wad as they go in....just fucking humiliating. Unacceptable. Un.Acceptable.

          •  The $76,000 figure is a teacher who has worked (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            grumpelstillchen, dinotrac

            14 years as a certified teacher.

            I am one.

            •  I take it there are a lot of well-experienced (0+ / 0-)

              certified teachers in Chicago, then, if that is the average pay.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:28:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  reported teacher salary averages are often (0+ / 0-)

              a misrepresentation of the facts.  The school system uses their statistics in a way that makes them look good, and it doesn't usually reflect the reality of the situation.

              In my school system, the reported average salary is higher than the salary at the top step.  Don't ask mee how that happens

              I urge readers to question the statistics the City of Chicago is putting out there.

              Besides, it's not about the money anywhere at this point.  It's the evaluation system, the disgusting working conditions in the schools, the lack of resources to teach well.

              •  Not about the money? (0+ / 0-)

                I've heard union reps make reference to promised raises that didn't happen.  Sounds like it's about the money in part, even if there are other issues.  Maybe "not about the money" is the best PR approach, but I wonder how many people will think you are insulting their intelligence or figure that you are just engaging in cynical PR and tune you out.

                There's a lot more money than goes into teachers' pockets, and   "Lack of resources" is another way to say not enough money spent -- for supplies, for building maintenance, for security, etc.  -- in a city that is laying off workers, closing police stations, reducing library hours and services, etc.

                What might help -- and maybe the union has done this but not been able to get the word out through media branches -- is to hear how teachers propose to make the better schools they talk about possible to implement.  I would imagine that requires some combination of closing schools and laying off staff -- maintenance, administration, and teachers -- to leave the city with fewer but better schools taught by the city's best teachers.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:21:12 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  In reference to "I am one" I meant a teacher but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              not in Chicago.  I did not make near that salary when I taught in public school.

          •  Directly to you this time... (0+ / 0-)

            ...the example was meant to convey the value parents get from teachers on a daily basis. The point was not to claim poverty on the teachers behalf, but to emphasize just how much they do for kids every day.

            I'm glad to hear the teachers in Chicago are better compensated than the C-SPAN caller from another state. But to quibble about the precise number for each kid is a red herring. So okay, bump it up to $15 per day, ever try to get daycare for that much? This isn't CEO or NBA compensation here.

            And these people are teaching our kids as best they can, day after day. My son's teachers spends more time with him every day than I do. They spend their own money. So, personally, I won't begrudge them a COLA or two.

            But the strike, as I have come to understand, is mostly about school conditions and a bad grading system for teacher performance.

            (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

            by Enterik on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:39:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The average for administration is $120K (0+ / 0-)

          They have reports that list every employee and their salary. You can glance through some of them to see what every position makes.

      •  If your facts are good, you don't have to lie (0+ / 0-)

        Almost all school districts in America have mandatory minimum school days of 180+. School also starts a week early for teachers, and there is often curriculum writing or professional development in the summer. Saying teachers work 150 is the type of lie a Rpublican makes. Make it so big no one will check.

        •  So -- please correct me. (0+ / 0-)

          Hmmm, I probably made an error in subtracting out holidays and institute days.  Sounds like you're saying those don't come out of the 180.  Also, an allowance for sick and personal days is probably debatable as well.

          So -- let's recalc with 180 days, and get: $422 per day.

          Still well above $300.

          As an aside, I would expect an educated person to know the difference between a lie and a mistake.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:11:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Okay then $15/day for daycare... (0+ / 0-)

        ...actually, hard working educator...before taxes. If you read carefully, I was conveying the sentiments of a caller. He was from another state, the numbers weren't meant to be precise.

        The numbers, now $15, do give a parent the sense of value and hard work they get from teachers who frequently spend more time with their children than they do. If you are a parent whose child goes to public school, you have no reason to oppose teachers or begrudge their income.

        And in reality, unless those parents are paying property tax, they aren't paying the $2700/year for their kid. So every apartment dweller should really think twice about criticizing a teacher, even if it turns out that their advocacy on you child's behalf, happens to be inconvenient.

        No-one should begrudge a teacher the income they receive, even if they are getting $76K per year. They do an enormously complex and daunting task every day. But to hear the media and public talk these days you would think teachers are some sort of parasite.

        (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

        by Enterik on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:21:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Dig deeper in the numbers (0+ / 0-)

      Student/teacher ratio
      20.0 pupils per teacher in elementary schools
      24.6 pupils per teacher in high school

      Salaries (annual average)
      Teachers: $74,839
      Administrators: $120,659

      Operating Budget (2010)
      5.11 Billion dollars

      Operating expense per pupil:
      $13,078 (FY2010)

      When you have average teachers salaries at almost $75K a year, and spend just over $13,000 per student annually, I'm not really interested in hearing excuses about how hard you have it.

      Class sizes don't exactly look excessive either.

      •  Question your statistics (0+ / 0-)

        I assume you know the $13,000 doesn't go to direct student services and I assume you know that the City of Chicago, like every other city and town, presents their statistics so that teachers look greedy and selfish.

        •  The purpose of CPS is to educate students (0+ / 0-)

          So a $ per student is an appropriate number. If $13K annually isnt getting you the necessary level of direct student services, then you need to look at how that $13K per student is being spent.

          Is it going to skilled teachers and modern facilities/equipment/etc, or is a lot of it being absorbed by overpaid administration that is very tangential to the actual education students recieve?

          If you're making $75K as a great teacher, more power to you, but don't complain about how bad you have it. If you're making $150K as a paper shuffler in the central office, then you're probably a parasite we could do better without.

          We get the same sob story everytime we look at any public institution's spending. Its always teachers, firemen, soldiers, and policemen that will take the full brunt, never the parasitic administrations riding the real gravy train.

  •  Excuse my meta for a moment. (9+ / 0-)

    Thank you Laura for continuing to write on this.  I think it's pretty sad however that she is the only person writing about this subject here at dKos.  5 years ago there is no way there would be 0, zip, nada stories about this strike on the Recommended list.

    I believe this is further evidence that dKos is no longer a progressive blog.

    Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

    by maxschell on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:54:58 AM PDT

    •  Please check out the labor tag (11+ / 0-)

      and you will find that some of us are writing about the teachers strike. tho, it is too true that few make rec list.

      Today I am writing about The Warehouse Workers Strike.

      Check it out.

      (But please try to ignore the jerk who thinks undocumented workers are the source of all of our troubles! That is a very sad comment to find on a supposedly progressive blog site. I received an email from their support team thanking me for blogging about them, Wonder if they'll reconsider their gratitude when they see that hateful comment.)

      On Strike!

      50 mile march begins tomorrow:

      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 Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 01:16:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thx! I will check it out. n/t (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, kyril, Chi, slatsg

        Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

        by maxschell on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 04:51:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Don't Be An Idiot (0+ / 0-)

        But please try to ignore the jerk who thinks undocumented workers are the source of all of our troubles

        This is not what I wrote, and if telling the truth is 'hateful' well then, I'm hateful, but at least I can go to bed at night knowing that I don't have to juggle what words mean.

        From your diary

        Their objective is "to urge Walmart to eliminate illegal and inhumane working conditions in its contracted warehouses in Southern California."

        So we are all supposed to be in an uproar about the illegal acts of the employer, but we are supposed to ignore the fact that many of the employees are breaking the law.

        And this, according to you, comprises 'solidarity', i.e. if I just pretend to be stupid enough, at some point the workers of the world will unite.

        I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

        by superscalar on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:24:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This is not a progressive blog (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Dead Man, JustinBinFL

      This is a Democratic blog. The two terms are not necessarily interchangeable. There are many DLCers here, neo-libs who would sell their souls to get a Democrat elected. Their only core value is to do whatever is necessary to win elections.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:08:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wrote about this ten days ago (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Go look at the commenters. They are ALL teacher bashers.

    •  It never was a progressive blog. (0+ / 0-)

      Its purpose has always been to elect Democrats (full-stop). The "better" part of "more and better" is a laughable bit of lip-service at best.

      Democrats (captial-D, party-leader, politician type democrats and a substantial percentage of the rank-and-file) haven't been progressive in a long, long while.

  •  Newt Gingrich Volunteers. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:02:37 PM PDT

  •  Emanuel is a Dino and Jean-Claude left (4+ / 0-)

    the Rochester, NY school system in shambles and he got out just as it was being uncovered.  Together they are a disaster.

  •  Repub's simple but effective evil plan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bornadem, peptabysmal

    Cut scool funding to the bone, to the point where students have no books, no paper or pencils.

    Then blame the teachers because the kids aren't doing good schoolwork. With mud bricks and stome hammers.

    They disgust me.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:12:55 PM PDT

  •  Democracy Now has been doing good coverage of (7+ / 0-)

    the strike.

    I particularly liked one statement, which went something like:  "Mayor Emmanuel's children go to the University of Chicago's Lab School.  Why is he pushing for reforms that are the opposite of those tried at the Lab School, which has more art, more music..."

    I liked this phrasing because it's a lot harder to dismiss than a simple, "Why don't his kids go to public school?"  (Which can be answered or deflected in a hundred ways.)  

    This phrasing makes it obvious that what is sauce for the goose is NOT sauce for the gander in Emmanuel's vision of education reform.  If he truly believed that the reforms he's pushing would provide the best education for the children of Chicago, he would send his children to schools that followed similar strictures.

    The fact that he doesn't says to me, quite loudly, that this is about creating and maintaining an upper class and an underclass, lords and serfs.

    Chris Hedges was on yesterday, and said that the federal government spends billions on education, and corporations want it.

    Makes about as much sense as anything.

    © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:13:02 PM PDT

    •  I know, I know, it's not OK (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to report rumor and hearsay here on DK, but word on the street in Chi-town is that, in a private convo with Karen Lewis, Rahmney basically admitted that he thinks CPS students will never amount to anything, and that he is therefore unwilling to invest any resources in them.

      Considering his way of dealing with other issues on the south and west sides (i.e. simply tearing down properties to combat the gang violence issue), seems obvious: Rahmney thinks black folks is a "lost cause" and he just wants the "problems"  they present to "go away." WHether to the suburbs, or to the prisons, or to hell and back? We don't know. He just wants them to not be his problem. l(

      Sorry, mofo. but they is. Now wattcha gon do bout that? Fuck with Karen Lewis? I don't think so.........;-)

  •  OLB visited Chicago last night. We connected with (10+ / 0-)

    a bunch of teachers and activists from Occupy Roger's Park. Wonderful to hear the cops give little democra-siren bleeps.


  •  Three words (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, grumpelstillchen

    We support you!

  •  I think that (8+ / 0-)

    We are not doing a good enough job of communicating to the public why charter schools, more testing, and more "reform" are a raw deal not only for the teachers, but also for parents and students.

    Teachers are not standing in the way of "needed reforms;" they are standing up for public education.  How we win the war is to convince the people that what's in the teachers' interest is in their interest, too.

    28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:20:10 PM PDT

    •  Agreed. I was talking with a very liberal person (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      today, who (as a businessperson) didn't see what was wrong with merit pay.

      I pointed out how charter schools can push out kids with learning disabilities, or kids with behavior problems, or ESL learners.  (Indeed, if they don't have qualified staff, they can't take ESL students.)  I pointed out how the public school teachers have to deal with kids as they show up, with whatever skills or baggage or problems they have... whatever disabilities they have.

      I reminded him how constricting it is for teachers to have to "teach to the test", and opined that my best teachers certainly didn't do that.  

      Plus, as one young lady said on Democracy Now Monday, these reforms result in things like schools losing their A.P. classes -- and the kids protesting to get them reinstated.  These are kids of color in poor neighborhoods, largely -- did my privileged white ass care that much about A.P. classes when I was in school?  Did my classmates?  I doubt it.

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:34:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  win-win: idle kids can now take janitors' jobs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    sorry, bad joke.

  •  Teacher's working conditions are students' (11+ / 0-)

    learning conditions. Some of us feel in Wisconsin that they are bravely having the strike that we timidly let pass.


  •  Except for Laura, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grumpelstillchen, JustinBinFL

    FP posters don't want to touch this very important issue.

    I guess attacking unions and defunding education is okay if Democrats do it--right, Kos?


    •  In fairness, there is a lot going on. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drmah, grumpelstillchen, Larsstephens

      Not just the embassy attack and Romney's dickery, but voter suppression and the like.

      And I don't have any problem with the job Laura's doing.

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:53:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Laura's (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cai, grumpelstillchen

        doing a great job!

      •  No, but what's going on here in Chicago (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Smedley Hirkum, Joe Hill PDX

        is bigger than Chicago. It's really fundamentally about what our civic priorities are.

        I keep coming back to this "it takes a village."

        Yeah, well, the Chicago example demonstrates what happens when the "village" has been completely decimated. Destroyed.

        When that happens, it takes a NATION.

        Our "villages" (on the south and west sides) have de facto been decimated (even as Rahm's policies for combatting gang violence include simply razing properties that seem to "attract" bad behaviors, rather than putting policies and pieces in place to improve them). So now it's time for the NATION to step in and support the one organization that has had the guts to stand up and say: ENOUGH IS E_FUCKING_NUFF. Period.

  •  Excellent article on the unspoken salary rule (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai, grumpelstillchen, Smedley Hirkum

    Making a Job Worse Is a Brilliant Strategy for Attracting the Best Talent

    The discussion about the Chicago strike is filled with people parsing the numbers about how much teachers make and whether it is too little or too much or just right. But having that conversation is conceding exactly the point we shouldn’t concede. It assumes that, for public employees and no one else, there is a certain amount that is just too much for the job. If you run a sex toy factory and make $250K a year, you’re a lion of capitalism. If you drive a city bus and you claw your way up to $38K a year, well, you’re a lucky ducky who has got to be put in his or her place.

    So here’s Ezra Klein, doing his typically noncommittal thing, giving us his estimates of what Chicago public school teachers make. There’s a very direct and simple question, inspired by Corey Robin: how much do you make, Ezra? I’m willing to bet that Ezra Klein makes more than the median Chicago public teacher. I’m willing to bet that he in fact makes significantly more. I’m willing to bet that Klein makes something like what a lot of educated, upwardly-mobile young professionals living in Chicago make—the ones who, we are all supposed to assume, should be making several times what their peers who go to teach in inner city schools make.

    And just for the record what teachers make is a difference.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

    by michael in chicago on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:43:45 PM PDT

  •  I read a tweet a couple of days ago that asked if (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, cai

    teachers would be treated so shamefully if it wasn't traditionally a field occupied by women.

    I have a relative who was an officer of the United Teachers of Los Angeles who told me that in meetings with LAUSD and even with other unions, she was frequently the only woman in the room.

    "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

    by Susan Grigsby on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:55:41 PM PDT

  •  ARRRRRR you kidding? That's my birthday. I never (0+ / 0-)

    planned on being this old.

  •  Local TV ALREADY has an ad up--your basic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    teacher bashing.  With "newspaper quotes" saying CPS has made a "fair offer" and that the teachers are mean and selfish.

    And it ends with "All the union has to do is agree".

    Translated as "Cave".

    "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 Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:18:21 PM PDT

  •  here i go getting in trouble again... (0+ / 0-)

    i realize this will be unpopular on a post about union solidarity, so i'll try to stick to the data. nick kristof's piece today lays it out much better than i.

    in the last few years, there's been a ton of academic research on the effect of teachers on performance. normalizing for other factors (including, of course, poverty), what the gold standard / best thought out study said was this:

    Get a bottom 1 percent teacher, and the effect is the same as if a child misses 40 percent of the school year. Get a teacher from the top 20 percent, and it’s as if a child has gone to school for an extra month or two.

    The study found that strong teachers in the fourth through eighth grades raised the game of their students in ways that would last for decades. Just having a strong teacher for one elementary year left pupils a bit less likely to become mothers as teenagers, a bit more likely to go to college and earning more money at age 28.

    Removing the bottom 5 percent of teachers would have a huge impact. Students in a single classroom with an average teacher, rather than one from the bottom 5 percent, collectively will earn an additional $1.4 million over their careers, the study found.

    i get that evaluations are difficult. i get that there is a probability that some "good" teachers may fall into that bottom 5 percent camp from time to time. but teaching is a skill-based, talent-based profession with a distribution of abilities. no teacher has the right to stay at their job forever, irrespective of performance. they, like every other talent-based job, ought to earn it, day after day, and if a multi-year (ideally, 3 year) performance review finds that a teacher is not adding value (and yes, standardized tests have to be part of the equation, since they're the closest measurement we have to educational outcomes today), then they have to be removed from the classroom, immediately.

    the fight in chicago isn't over salaries. at the heart of the matter, underneath the rest of the rhetoric, this argument is over whether and how a CTU teacher is evaluated. already, CPS is starting to cave. from the sun-times:

    The district’s latest proposal softens an evaluation system that the union said could have put nearly 30 percent of CPS teachers on the path to dismissal if they didn’t improve their performance within a year.

    The proposal made public Wednesday would allow those teachers to stay at their jobs indefinitely, as long as their scores didn’t dramatically decline after the first poor score.

    if the above concession is true, we as liberals, we as progressives who care deeply about the lives and well-being of the poor, of those who need nothing more than a chance in order to demonstrate their true potential, should be ashamed.

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