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Optimism on strike and the opposition of older white guys *** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Friday, Sep 14, 2012

* The Tribune played up the optimism

The Chicago teachers strike enters its fifth day as “number crunching” apparently delayed a deal that both sides had hoped would be reached on Thursday.

Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union began the day saying they were close to a deal that could return teachers and students to the classroom on Monday, but officials left marathon negotiations early today saying they were still ironing out details.

CPS Board President David Vitale, who emerged from talks around 12:45 a.m., said the two sides had “another good day” of work and there had been progress. The two were moving past work on evaluations and focusing on other key issue, the recall of laid-off teachers, he said.

“We’ve got some number crunching to do overnight and we’re going to be back here tomorrow and see if we can’t finish this up,” Vitale said.

* The Sun-Times was slightly less so

However, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis was less optimistic.

“I hope he knows something that I don’t know,’’ Lewis told reporters.

While Vitale thought classes could resume for kids on Monday, Lewis said, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I certainly hope so.’’

* And here’s a very important section of the Sun-Time article

Also incredibly sticky is the issue of a new teacher evaluation system, which eventually puts more weight on student growth than the 30 percent required by a new state law.

“The system they are using to evaluate people is based on an extremely complicated, esoteric formula to measure student growth — so complicated I think everybody on the CPS team will admit they don’t understand it,” CTU attorney Robert Bloch said. “Experts developed it but not educators.”

Of special concern is that 70 percent of CPS teachers do not teach a tested subject, yet up to 20 percent of their evaluation would be based on schoolwide test results, Bloch said.

Another at least 10 percent would be based on student growth on district-written “performance’’ tasks being used for the first time this school year.

In addition, the complicated algorithms used to determine student growth — called “value-added” — are being debated nationwide.

“The problem is, how do you hold teachers accountable for improvement when so many things that are used to evaluate them are outside their control or very complicated?’’ Bloch said.

“The science behind the student growth aspects of testing is untested and uncertain, and you’re going to risk a teacher’s career based on some guy in a back room writing algorithms or students who are not tested in the subject you’re teaching?

* Meanwhile, the Sun-Times headline on my latest column is “FOES OF STRIKE? OLDER WHITE GUYS”

A good friend e-mailed me after I published a poll in my “Capitol Fax” newsletter Thursday which revealed that 55.5 percent of Chicagoans approved of the Chicago teachers strike.

My friend, a widely known pundit, wanted to tell me that he didn’t believe the poll, which was conducted by We Ask America.

After some back and forth about what the pollster could’ve or should’ve asked, I finally told him that as an older, white person with no kids in the public school system, he’s not supposed to support the strike.

The poll, taken after three full days of no school, found that a 52 percent majority of whites disapprove of the strike. Whites were the only ethnic group that expressed a majority disapproval of the strike.

African Americans approved 63-32 and Latino support was even higher at 65-32.

A majority of parents with kids in private schools opposed the strike, 52 percent to 43 percent, while parents with public school kids approved of the strike 66-31.

And senior citizens narrowly disapproved of the strike 47 percent to 46.8 percent, while all other age groups backed it. The older the person was, the less he or she supported the strike.

Indeed, a whopping 65 percent of older white males with no kids in public schools opposed the strike.

If you’ve been watching the teachers strike unfold on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, you’ve seen that a whole lot of striking teachers are bitter about their treatment by the media.

“People Who Can’t Teach, Write About Teachers,” is my favorite Tweet.

Like my pundit friend, most of the media types fall into the category of older white folks without kids in Chicago’s public schools.

Whites who didn’t flee the city after the schools were desegrated fled the schools. Less than 9 percent of Chicago public school kids are white. And few of those kids are not in charter or other specialized schools. The “real” schools, as Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis called them a few days ago, have long since been abandoned by white folks.

With overwhelming poverty in black and Latino neighborhoods, parents simply can’t afford to send their kids to private schools. A whopping 87 percent of all public school students come from low-income families, says the school system.

According to the latest U.S. Census numbers for 2011, almost 843,000 Illinoisans lived in “extreme poverty,” which is defined as half the federal poverty line — about $18,000 for a family of three.

Whoa.

Can you imagine a family of three living on less than $9,000 a year? $173 a week?

The schools are all they have, and the teachers are some of the few decent role models their kids will ever see. Of course they’re siding with the strikers.

Rahm Emanuel used his close ties to President Barack Obama to win the 2011 mayor’s race with an overwhelming number of black votes. But his win was bankrolled by billionaires who are out to break, or at least hobble, the Chicago Teachers Union.

They are the very same people who pushed hard for a reform law in Springfield last year that was mainly aimed at stopping a CTU strike. Obviously, the new law didn’t work.

As an older white male who sends his kids to private school, Mayor Emanuel belongs to pretty much the same subset as my pundit friend.

Yet, Emanuel owes his job to support from black voters.

Somehow, the mayor has to improve the schools while alienating neither his political base nor his fund-raising base.

If he can do all that, my hat’s off to the man.

* On to the live coverage. BlackBerry users click here. Everybody else can just watch..

- Posted by Rich Miller        


53 Comments
  1. - OneMan - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 8:45 am:

    Wow, some really good insights there Rich, have to admit that 9% was a real surprise, figured it would be at least in the mid 20s….


  2. - Anon - amiss - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 8:50 am:

    The numbers don’t lie, and I must admit, they are quite shocking.


  3. - Lakeview - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 8:55 am:

    One observation I’ve had as a sometime CPS parent: what your middle and upper-class college-educated people expect from a school is not what everyone expects. Not everyone expects their kids to go to college, and many people want a low-pressure school so that their kids are willing to go to school. Look what happens every time CPS tries to close an underperforming, underenrolled school: the families and the neighborhood go nuts! They have a different way of evaluating the schools than I do. (Of course, I like to think that my way is the best, because we need rigorous education to get people out of poverty and keep this country economically competitive.)

    CPS demographics are not Chicago voter demographics, and that makes this a real challenge for Emanuel.


  4. - amalia - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:04 am:

    “Older White Guy” Jeb Bush was on Morning Joe today. He expressed surprise at Willie Geist’s comment that there might be class sizes of 40 students in some Chicago Public Schools. That number would make parts of Jeb’s arguments against the teachers’ demands a bit dim.


  5. - Anon - amiss - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:08 am:

    “May be they are the ones who have to pay for this and aren’t seeing good results.”

    Or maybe they just don’t like paying for government services regardless of the “results” - especially services that they do not use. Older white guys are the ones to seem to lean the most to the conservative side of the spectrum and complain the most about paying taxes. Just sayin.


  6. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:14 am:

    I think there was a sense, too, that Emanuel was being a bully to the CTU leadership, many of whom are women.

    You don’t have to agree with every policy point to enjoy seeing a working stiff smack back at an alleged tough guy.


  7. - Wensicia - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:16 am:

    Great column. Like my district, the white student population is less than ten percent and the high poverty population is over 70 percent. At least we have a multi-racial elected school board.


  8. - Shore - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:17 am:

    I’ve been struck in this strike by how few politicians have been willing to stand with the teachers union. You would think danny davis or bobby rush or any of these state reps or state senators that take all that cash from unions and rail against millionaires and bilionaires like mitt romney would be out there sticking up for teachers or at least engaged and they’ve been totally awol.


  9. - OneMan - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:21 am:

    == Older white guys are the ones to seem to lean the most to the conservative side of the spectrum and complain the most about paying taxes. Just sayin. ==

    Younger people who don’t pay much in taxes but take advantage of a multitude of government programs and subsidies tend to want to see those programs grow and increase since they don’t have to pay for them…

    See anyone can play to a stereotype, it’s easy, it’s also a bit trite and stupid.

    Perhaps you could head over to Daily Kos or something to blame those who want to pay less taxes for being inconsiderate/greedy/not-caring/etc.


  10. - Lakeview - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:24 am:

    One other thought: older white males have been hit hard by this recession. People who know that if they lose their jobs, they may not be able to get another one, and who don’t know if they’ll be able to retire are probably not excited about tax increases to cover guaranteed job security and rich pensions. (And yes, I know, teachers don’t get social security, but the pensions they do get require a smaller employee contribution, kick in earlier, and are more generous than social security.)


  11. - Wensicia - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:28 am:

    ==but the pensions they do get require a smaller employee contribution==

    Wrong. The employee contribution is a couple of percentage points higher for most teachers.


  12. - walkinfool - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:31 am:

    We need fair and achievable performance standards, but management “reformers” always seem to over-design and over-complicate them. Great organizations usually simplify them to just the essentials, and trust supervisory training and judgment more. These are growing pain difficulties in changing the CPS.

    I think the CTU has been trying to be reasonable, while knowing things have to change. I think this strike, if settled this weekend, will have been a net positive for all.


  13. - train111 - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:34 am:

    Interesting coulumn. I have a son in a Chicago Suburban public school (my son is half minority/half white) where the student population is majority minority, there is a high povery rate–the schools received a grant to provide free breakfast and lunch to everybody–and yet has an all white school board.
    As the white-guy in the family, this thing really gives me a whole lot of food for thought.
    The older white man thing is tracking with national politics. Senator Lindsey Graham was right on the money with his analysis of the GOP vs demographics. “We aren’t generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.” It also reflects the comments by the older white people in my town, some of whom have a deep animosity for the way things around them have changed.

    train111


  14. - Lakeview - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:36 am:

    Wensicia, I thought that CPS teachers paid 2% into their pension, while FICA was 6.2%. What am I missing?


  15. - geronimo - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:37 am:

    Social security was never meant to be what a pension is. Social security was supposed to be a supplement. Public employees trade off was taking a smaller income along the way in return for financial stable security in retirement. Do not equaate a pension with social security.


  16. - western illinois - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:39 am:

    I recently tranitioned to being and old white guys.
    Stop listening to old white guys -except me of course


  17. - Anon - amiss - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:41 am:

    OneMan,

    You don’t like my “stereotypes”. I understand that not ALL older white males think alike. I get that. But look at the statistics. Older white males ARE the demographic that trends the most Republican. Its not a surprise that they would be the group with the greatest opposition to public section labor strikes and tax increases. As I said before, the numbers don’t lie.


  18. - Lakeview - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:45 am:

    Okay, so then CPS teachers pay 2% while FICA is 6.2% and then any 401(k) contributions are on top of that. Maybe that’s why older white men who are concerned about their retirement are less than enthusiastic about paying increased taxes for employee pensions.

    I know that the government pension issue is complicated, but you have to remember that people in the private sector who have to pay for the government pensions are not getting the same deal. Or at least they don’t think they are.


  19. - Nearly Normal - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:47 am:

    From the Chicago Teacher’s Pension Fund website–

    Active members contribute 9% of
    their salary to the pension fund every pay period during employment.


  20. - Colossus - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 9:48 am:

    –Perhaps you could head over to Daily Kos or something to blame those who want to pay less taxes for being inconsiderate/greedy/not-caring/etc.–

    How would you describe it? Keep in mind that your response should address the education problems at the root of this conversation, because if not, I think it would be pretty accurate to describe the viewpoint as inconsiderate/greedy/not-caring/etc. We all pay for things we don’t like (in my case, Predator drones) or don’t use (I don’t use Amtrak), yet other people do use them. And they don’t like things they pay for that we use (the interstate highway system).


  21. - Will Caskey - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:08 am:

    Stark, and wise, words.


  22. - Bongofury - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:11 am:

    “Or maybe they just don’t like paying for government services regardless of the “results” - especially services that they do not use. Older white guys are the ones to seem to lean the most to the conservative side of the spectrum and complain the most about paying taxes. Just sayin.”

    Anybody who is not a bit liberal when they are young does not have a heart.
    Anybody who is not a little conservative when they are older does not have a brain.


  23. - Way Way Down Here - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:11 am:

    Nine percent. . .WOW I haven’t lived in Chicago for more than twenty-five years, but when I did I spent a great deal of time in the public schools. Student populations were heavily minority then, but less than nine percent! Wow

    ===Senator Lindsey Graham was right on the money with his analysis of the GOP vs demographics. “We aren’t generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”=== LOL This should be the quote of the day.


  24. - Sunshine - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:11 am:

    What in the world motivates a person to want to teach in the Chicago public School system anyway? Is it the sterling working conditions, the high pay, the daily respect and promise of a bright future?

    I say they should get combat pay as well as be compensated for having to try and work with and teach kids with extremely difficult home lives.

    Strikes are a last resort and times are tough for all of us, but as an old white guy….I stand by the teachers. That’s not to say I support unions, because I don’t. Perhaps the union can chip in and cut their dues in half?


  25. - OneMan - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:11 am:

    Colossus at the end of the day I want someone to be responsible and accountable for results.

    A review system that has real implications for teachers who are not getting the job done and doesn’t not tell me that 98% of teachers are getting the job done.

    I want to stop hearing how teachers, unlike virtually every other job in the world can not be evaluated in part on results. I don’t buy it, come on you went to school, you could tell which teachers sucked and which were good and which were ok.

    The city of Chicago gets significantly more per student from the state per student than my suburban district does, pays their teachers more than we do and spends more per student that we do. I understand the need for that.

    The transportation cuts made by Governor Quinn have impacted my geographically large district that has had to build an average of one new school a year for the last 12 years significantly more than it has impacted Chicago.

    Trust me, if anyone understands the value of a good education it is I. I want those kids in Chicago to get that education but I want to have someone held responsible for giving it to them and there to be implications when they don’t get it.

    A 16% raise over 4 years and you are not happy about that? Have you seen a 16% raise the last 4 years? I haven’t and if they want it I expect to see some return on my investment.

    When it comes down to it, I want some damn accountability… I also do not want the job of a teacher in any district to be viewed as something you have a right to just because you have done it for a few years.

    So if that makes me greedy, uncaring, whatever, fine. But I don’t think it makes me unreasonable.


  26. - ArchPundit - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:18 am:

    ===I say they should get combat pay as well as be compensated for having to try and work with and teach kids with extremely difficult home lives.

    I understand the sentiment, but I think this is part of the problem. People think the schools are these chaotic crazy places where teachers are just babysitters or guards.

    For the most part, schools are the one not chaotic place in the children’s lives. I think many of the people who are surprised by the level of segregation in the CPS would be surprised by how orderly and calm most classrooms are. The problem isn’t what is going on in the classroom most of the time–it’s what’s going on outside of it.


  27. - the Patriot - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:20 am:

    The errosion of the entire City of Chicago was summed up by this sentence,

    ===The schools are all they have, and the teachers are some of the few decent role models their kids will ever see.==

    The fact that poor minority children have no role models is because their parents made poor decisions, not because old white men don’t want them to be well educated. If parents of Chicago children want better role models, they need to start making better decisions. It is not the government’s responbility to fix the fact you brought a child into a bad situation.

    I think your data is skewed and fails to take into account a major issue. Taxes. The fact is, the old white males are paying much more in property taxes. When they give teachers a raise, they are going to pay higher taxes. Many of those in the socio economic group supporting the strick are not property owners or qualify for exemptions. It is easy to say give the teachers more money, if someone else has to pay it.


  28. - langhorne - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:20 am:

    i am an older white guy whose family left the south side for the burbs in ‘56. i also have a couple generations of teachers in the family, some who teach kids in poverty. so i support the teachers seeking the best deal they can, including some sort of evaluation system that makes sense.

    the 9% white enrollment figure is a shock.


  29. - ArchPundit - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:23 am:

    Just to reiterate what Rich said in the column–9% may be shocking to many, but the vast, vast majority of that 9% aren’t in neighborhood schools–they are in magnets and other special programs. The typical neighborhood school is 98-99% minority student. Or just 100%.


  30. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:27 am:

    === It is not the government’s responbility to fix the fact you brought a child into a bad situation. ===

    For argument’s sake, let’s stipulate that statement, despite the pro-choice connotations.

    If it’s the case, then why do the older white guys insist on evaluating teachers on these kids’ performance?


  31. - Way Way Down Here - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:28 am:

    Older White Guys. The house band for CapFax?


  32. - lake county democrat - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:35 am:

    Leroy and Wordslinger make good points. It’s a bit unfair to say “old white guys” oppose the strike without poll data on Chicago property owners (or white parents who rent) to see if it’s really a race thing. Wordslinger’s point raises the broader way that the teaching profession is treated because it’s woman-dominated - a lot of people view teachers as young single women bidding time until they find a husband and/or married women with a “part time” job for second income.


  33. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:41 am:

    ===It’s a bit unfair to say “old white guys” oppose the strike without poll data on Chicago property owners (or white parents who rent) to see if it’s really a race thing.===

    Um, huh? Your resistance is a bit puzzling.


  34. - cermak_rd - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:44 am:

    Not every school in CPS is awful or bad. The Selective Enrollment schools are the jewel in the crown. No teacher should get combat pay for teaching our future CEOS, engineers, and scientists! The magnet schools do quite well, and the International Baccalaureate schools also. The neighborhood school in Lincoln Park has had a startling turn around. The Edison Regional Gifted school is an excellent school. It is the general neighborhood schools that have all the problems. They are the ones that tend to have no ac, tend to have all the problem students, a 10% or higher disabled population, high rates of truancy and transience.


  35. - cermak_rd - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:48 am:

    If it were up to me, I’d do the old take a test in the fall, now take one in the early summer compare and there’s your growth rate.

    But what about students who transfer in or out midyear? What about students who have been absent more than a month out of the year? Is it fair to rate a teacher for a student that wasn’t there? What about the music and PE teachers?

    So to deal with the students who transfer out and in, they develop interpolation, estimates if you will of what the student’s starting score would have been, and the calculations get more complex from there. I have a BS in Mathematics, and I find the algorithms dense and hard to understand!


  36. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:50 am:

    cermak_rd, you’ve hit on a very real problem. Selective enrollment schools, charter schools, magnet schools, etc. soak up the cream of the crop. The neighborhood schools are left with large numbers of kids whose parents just don’t care.

    So, we blame the teachers for this?


  37. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:53 am:

    When I read Rich’s article this morning, I thought of my former employer, who was a CPS principal for years. He told me that teachers would show up for PTA meetings or parent-teacher meetings, and there would be few or no parents showing up at these meetings.

    Teachers play vital roles in students’ lives, but I don’t think school policy should punish teachers for poor learning environments inside kids’ homes. If teachers are also expected to “parent” CPS students, they should earn an extra salary or more pay. I think it’s a wonder at all that someone would want to teach in bad neighborhoods and in poorly-functioning schools. No matter where we stand on this strike, I think that we should credit teachers for doing very difficult jobs in CPS.


  38. - geronimo - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 10:55 am:

    Some of those old white guys (and others) feel they shouldn’t have to pay increasing taxes for schools(that in their opinion don’t perform well). There are lots of people who support schools in general while they have kids in them, but when their kids are gone, they are angry that they still have to pay. As said earlier, we all pay taxes for things we don’t use or care about.

    This is the real story of the Chicago strike…..the future look of public education. It’s changing rapidly with more government involvement and corporations suddenly taking an interest for profit. An American institution’s structure is under attack and teachers are trying to defend it. That’s the real issue across the country.

    So is privatization inevitable so the old white guys and others will have gotten theirs in the day or will they be let off the hook in the future? And what’s to become of the lower income kids if public schools don’t serve them? Can we expect public schools to become better if better students leave them—as is happening now? The big no-no to say is that a school is only as good as the students and community it serves. The best schools have educated parents who are involved not only in the school but in their children’s LIVES! That’s crystal clear in any school anywhere.


  39. - Rod - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 11:28 am:

    I am an older white guy (59 years old) who lives in Chicago, whose now adult children attended CPS schools. I have a sign in front of my home, accross from Representive Greg Harris’ home supporting the union’s demands for more social workers, nurses, and services for disabled children. It asks for a fair contract for teachers. There are many such signs up on the lawns of middle class white Chicagoans today.

    While I might not support the CTU on every issue in the contract discussions I believe Mayor Emanuel forced this strike on the union by ordering the CPS Board which he appoints to revoke teachers raises and making comments like this - Teachers got two types of pay raises. People in public life got labor peace. Can anybody explain to me what the children got? I know what everybody else got, - they got the shaft.

    Now I know state employees were very mad at the Governor for revoking their raise, but he never publicly stated these employees gave the citizens of Illinois the shaft. Mayor Emanuel lit this fire, its his fault totally.


  40. - John Galt - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 11:37 am:

    ===
    According to the latest U.S. Census numbers for 2011, almost 843,000 Illinoisans lived in “extreme poverty,” which is defined as half the federal poverty line — about $18,000 for a family of three.

    Whoa.

    Can you imagine a family of three living on less than $9,000 a year? $173 a week?

    ====

    Not to quibble, but that isn’t how the statistics are calculated. The income doesn’t include any government subsidies for food stamps, housing, Medicaid, or any other voucher program (transportation, government issued phones, etc.). That’s not to say somebody isn’t poor, of course, but these folks are simply not living on just $9,000 per year. That’s the income they are making above-and-beyond whatever government subsidies or programs they happen to be on.


  41. - amalia - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 11:43 am:

    reading Second City Cop about the strike is kind of interesting. in addition to the standard comments that the teachers union (national) supported a cop killer (Philly case years long), they are socialists,etc. there is support for Karen Lewis, because she’s standing up to Rahm. Second City Cop is old white guy central.


  42. - Liberty First - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 12:03 pm:

    “White guys” is a distraction. This is about the Obama/Duncan “Value Added” proposition being bought into by state legislatures including our own. New York had this forced on them and it is a mess. Duncan’s policy to close schools created a gang nightmare and now they just fire entire teaching staffs and bring in new teachers. This is not just white guys….


  43. - ArchPundit - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 12:55 pm:

    ===I want to stop hearing how teachers, unlike virtually every other job in the world can not be evaluated in part on results. I don’t buy it, come on you went to school, you could tell which teachers sucked and which were good and which were ok.

    But would a test of student knowledge tell you the difference between the good and the bad teachers? Observation could probably tell fairly well, but say a test of a student’s knowledge of chemistry shows very high performance by students in one class and relatively low performance in another.

    Was it the teacher? Or was it that band was offered only once during the day at the same time as the teacher’s class who had students who didn’t perform as well on the test. Was it the teacher or the student sample?

    I can do some statistical analysis that can control for some variables, but say band is correlated (not causative) with motivation. Was it the teachers who made the difference or the underlying samples of students?


  44. - lake county democrat - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 1:19 pm:

    Rich, my point is if, say, all races and ages of childless voters, or homeowners, were against the strike at the same level as “old white guys” that the dynamic isn’t race but something else (e.g. taxes, resentment of higher income people at the 4% raise, etc.). I think we need to be VERY careful throwing race out as an issue, even when we have reason to suspect it.


  45. - lake county democrat - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 1:20 pm:

    PS - yes, this is a bit of the pot talking to the kettle…


  46. - eddieE - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 1:27 pm:

    Very thought provoking article. My questions are for people who want accountability through possible standardized tests is: Do you want kindergarten children to take standardized tests? How do non-core teachers such as art or music teachers get merit pay?


  47. - eddieE - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 1:35 pm:

    Just to clarify - the 16% increase, as I understand it, is for teachers with less than 15 years in the system. For teachers with 15 or more, their pay would increase about 9.3% over the four years from 3%, 2%, 2%, and 2% raises. It should also be noted that although they are being given a 3% raise the first year, their day and year have been increased by 6 - 7%. Working longer days and more days than the 3% which they are seeing an increase.

    One other issue, my understanding the average of $71,000 being stated for an average salary is actual the total of salary and benefits.


  48. - Skeeter - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 2:08 pm:

    The private school numbers make a lot of sense.

    We rejected public schools and pay heavy tuition to send our kids to private schools. Of course we oppose the teachers. We’ve already concluded that we would rather write a big check than send our kids to those teachers.

    Given that experience, it is interesting that the opposition among private school parents is so low.


  49. - Skeeter - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 2:15 pm:

    You also fail to realize that many of us old males are just generally cranky. Our knees hurt. Our backs hurt. We don’t like strikers (or protesters of any sort) because we don’t like loud noises.


  50. - bigdaddygeo - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 3:02 pm:

    Skeeter is correct!!! We don’t like anything!


  51. - Crime Fighter - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 4:13 pm:

    ===I want to stop hearing how teachers, unlike virtually every other job in the world can not be evaluated in part on results. ====
    Uhm. Like virtually every health care worker? and on the other end of the spectrum, many CEO’s.


  52. - TwoFeetThick - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 4:14 pm:

    With all those kids out of school, think of all the old white guys who’s lawns are getting trampled. It’s no wonder they oppose the strike. The horror.


  53. - dupage dan - Friday, Sep 14, 12 @ 4:16 pm:

    =The neighborhood schools are left with large numbers of kids whose parents just don’t care.

    So, we blame the teachers for this?=

    Wow, what a statement. Should we all be trying so hard if the parents don’t care? Should we be paying these teachers, many of whom are quite likely very dedicated, so much money to essentially house these students until they get tired of the classroom and ditch school for the street?

    How did we end up with such a seemingly intractable under-class of folk who appear to be so disconnected with what it means to be a parent in this context? Stunning.

    While that is a rhetorical question the desire to eliminate some of the root causes of such a sub-culture which might result in some type of path back to the community of taxpayers is powerful. Super-teachers can break thru the fog of the “gangsta” lifestyle in some cases. Too much to expect good teachers to have those qualities in a real world.

    While this is not a black/white issue it seems to me that some of our more noteworthy self-proclaimed media gad-flies like Jesse Jackson and Father Pfleiger should be pounding the streets to seize the moment and try to turn back the tide of violence, nihilism and self-destruction that is part and parcel to this situation.

    I don’t think we angry old white guys could be a central part of that process. Maybe some of them see what is happening and, in their frustration, express themselves by being against a strike they see as not addressing the true issues. Maybe they want to evaluate the teachers because they are already being required to pay for them they want to know they are getting their moneys worth.


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