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Teachers Strike Notebook 7

"The tentative contract calls for a 3 percent raise in its first year and 2 percent for two years after that, along with increases for experienced teachers," AP reports.

"While many teachers are upset it did not restore a 4 percent pay raise Emanuel rescinded earlier this year, the contract, if adopted, would continue to make Chicago teachers among the highest-paid in the country."

The media keeps reporting that as if it's a bad thing. Shouldn't our teachers be among the highest-paid in the country? Shouldn't we be proud of that? Isn't that what being a world-class city is all about?

Today's Lesson: Democracy
Ald. Patrick O'Connor tells the Sun-Times:

"When Jackie Vaughn said, 'This is a good deal,' the teachers trusted her judgment," he said, referring to the late CTU president. "It shouldn't be any different with Karen Lewis. It's a good deal. She said it was a good deal. What more do they need to hear?"

And that's why he's Rahm Emanuel's floor leader, a task he also performed for Richard M. Daley, whose handling of the schools the current mayor blames for the current crisis. O'Connor does what he's told and expects others to do what he tells them to do. He just can't understand anything different.

Media Mind
Eighteen parents is enough to get you a photo in the Tribune if the message is right.

Always About Him
From the New York Times:

Gary N. Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University, described Mr. Emanuel's decision to take the matter to court now as "a declaration of war,' adding, "I don't think the mayor understands that the goal of negotiating is to get an agreement, not to win."


Mr. Emanuel has his enthusiastic backers in his push for more days and hours in school and for teacher evaluations that consider student test scores, but unions beyond those that represent teachers are irked at Mr. Emanuel's aggressive handling of the situation. The anger is personal, not aimed generically at some school board or City Hall but squarely at him. When he took his daughter to a Bruce Springsteen concert at Wrigley Field this month, a man approached them and started to speak to the girl. "Your father is," he began, finishing the sentence with an expletive.

In an interview, Mr. Emanuel was unapologetic for his tactics, unwilling to name anything particular he wished he had done differently, and defiant toward his critics.

Failing Leaders
"When you talk to teachers, what you find is a deep anger over cuts in education funding and the feeling that the children are not being served well by the system," CPS parent Melissa Lindberg writes for Catalyst.

They argue that every school needs a social worker and a school nurse, and text books on the first day of classes, not six weeks in. They argue that the emphasis on testing forces them to teach to the test and to teach students how to fill in little circles on a form - not to teach them critical thinking, or creativity, or love of learning. They argue that kids need art, because it unleashes creativity. They argue that kids need music and physical education, because these are lifelines for students who are otherwise drowning in the stress of their daily lives. They argue that no one should be expected to work 24% more per day and then take a pay cut. They argue that cutting health benefits means more sick days for teachers, more disruptions in the classroom. They note the major disrespect they feel from the mayor and his hand-picked Board of Education. They've been made to feel that they are at fault for everything that is wrong in the schools.

Meanwhile, Illinois is 50th in the nation in education funding. Let that sink in. And TIFs have been a major force in siphoning off money from education and into the hands of private developers, with little accountability for how those TIF dollars have been spent.

So perhaps the current situation isn't all the teachers' fault. Perhaps it is a major policy failure on the part of every single politician who has ever voted for a budget in the state, city, and county. Perhaps the appointed Board of Education is at fault for applying business models to education, with no basis in any research in education that has ever been done.

Perhaps the failure comes from the leaders, not the teachers.

Two Tiers
From Curtis Black in Newstips:

I ran into an old friend, Josh, who's spent years in classrooms, most recently teaching social studies, first in a selective enrollment high school, then in an inner-city neighborhood high school.

The contrast was striking, he said. The first school had plenty of everything - including basic things like books, enough textbooks for every student. At the second school, kids had to share textbooks or teachers had to prepare their own materials.

The first school's building was well-maintained and fully air-conditioned; the second school was run down, and only the principal's office was air-conditioned. (That's how it is in many schools listed as air-conditioned by CPS.)


Since social studies isn't a tested subject, he was told to work on their reading, an area in which he has no background.

That's just one example of why teachers have such animus against standardizing test scores and tying results to heavily to their evaluations.


Law School


See also:
* Teachers Strike Notebook 1: Textbooks and A/C.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 2: Obama vs. Sveum.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 3: Nickelback and Numerology.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 4: Astroturf and Optics.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 5: Rahm Hates Research.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 6: Media Frames and Chicken Joe.


Comments welcome.


Posted on September 18, 2012

MUSIC - Britney's IUD.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - Climate Deniers' 4 Top Scare Tactics.
SPORTS - The McEnroes In Antarctica.

BOOKS - Foxconned.


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