*** UPDATE *** Sun-Times…
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
Chicago Public School students appeared less likely to be heading back to school Tuesday after a Cook County judge declined Monday morning to take up immediately a lawsuit by Chicago Public Schools asking the judge to end the teachers strike.
In a brief hearing, Cook County Judge Peter Flynn told a city attorney he preferred to schedule a hearing on the matter for Wednesday, a city law department spokesman said. The spokesman could not immediately provide a reason for the delay.
Wednesday is, for now, the earliest possible time students could return if the teachers union House of Delegates votes to approve the tentative deal at its meeting Tuesday.
Chicago Public Schools balked at that timeframe, wanting to sent students back on Tuesday. It filed a lawsuit in Cook County court Monday morning, asking a judge to end the teachers strike because it is illegal and presents a “clear and present danger to public health and safety.”
With Chicago Teachers Union delegates voting to stay on strike at least through Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel Sunday accused the union of using children as “pawns’’ and vowed to seek a court order to halt the walkout.
The announcement from Emanuel came about an hour after CTU President Karen Lewis said “a clear majority’’ of delegates refused to suspend the strike until they had seen the exact contract language of the entire deal — something not expected until Tuesday.
Delegates just didn’t trust Chicago Public Schools not to try to slip one over on them if they called off the first CTU strike in 25 years without more study and discussion of the offer, Lewis said.
“Please write ‘trust’ in big giant letters because that’s what the problem is,’’ Lewis said. […]
“The big elephant in the room,’’ Lewis said, “is the closing of 200 schools”—a number CPS officials have denied.
“They [delegates] are extraordinarily concerned about it. It undergirds just about everything they talked about.’’
One delegate agreed the group wanted “something in writing to go on….We need more than just the bullet point break down.’’
* Mayor Emanuel’s full statement…
I will not stand by while the children of Chicago are played as pawns in an internal dispute within a union. This was a strike of choice and is now a delay of choice that is wrong for our children. Every day our kids are kept out of school is one more day we fail in our mission: to ensure that every child in every community has an education that matches their potential.
I have instructed the City’s Corporation Counsel to work with the General Counsel of Chicago Public Schools to file an injunction in circuit court to immediately end this strike and get our children back in the classroom. This continued action by union leadership is illegal on two grounds – it is over issues that are deemed by state law to be non-strikable, and it endangers the health and safety of our children.
I have also asked the President of the Board of Education, David Vitale, and the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Jean-Claude Brizard, to explore every action possible to get our kids back into a classroom or educational facility.
While the union works through its remaining issues, there is no reason why the children of Chicago should not be back in the classroom as they had been for weeks while negotiators worked through these same issues.
CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin responded: “They said the Montgomery bus boycott was illegal, too.”
CTU leaders have said they believe teacher evaluation and recall are linked to pay and are thus fair game for a strike. The union also sought to insulate itself against a court injunction by filing an unfair labor practice complaint, just days before the strike.
The basis of that complaint was the union’s charge that CPS started illegally implementing provisions that had not been negotiated in the contract, such as failing to pay teachers step increases and implementing a new teacher evaluation system.
Filing an injunction is a risky move for Emanuel. If he loses in court, he would further anger teachers and make them more suspicious of the deal. If he wins, forcing teachers to end their strike could anger members of other unions.
* Mark Brown is furious…
Be clear in your own mind. Your leverage is gone. The deal doesn’t get any better after this and your standing with the community only goes downhill.
In fact, it started going downhill precipitously the moment union President Karen Lewis stepped before the television cameras Sunday to say school won’t reopen until Wednesday at the earliest. I don’t need to wait for a public opinion poll to know this.
By delaying, you don’t underscore your distrust for Mayor Rahm Emanuel or the leadership at Chicago Public Schools. You only expose a lack of trust in your own negotiating team and the leader of your team, Lewis.
You’re not showing you have a democratic union. You’re showing you have a union that is as tone deaf as all those national commentators have been saying for the past week. You’re showing yourself to be a union out of control.
If you don’t take this deal, you might as well dump Lewis and her team and start over because their credibility will be gone at the bargaining table.
* The Sun-Times editorial board is less so, but wants an end to this…
Teachers, take a day if you must. Then grab this deal while you still have it.
* Rich Miller: School reform group played for sucker
* A plea for patience as Emanuel vows to sue to end strike
* CTU Blog: House of Delegates Votes to Continue Strike
* CTU Monday press conference info
* What’s in the teachers’ tentative deal
* Chicago teacher strike: Issues at the center of contract negotiations
* Summary Term Sheet: Tentative Agreement between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Board of Education July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2015
* Tribune Editorial: CTU needs to know this deal won’t get sweeter
* Ongoing Chicago teachers strike frustrates parents
* VIDEO: Laura Washington analysis
* George H.W. Bush’s former education secretary rips Chicago teachers
* List of schools, churches, libraries open for students during strike
* Now, let’s go to the live feed. BlackBerry users click here. Everybody else can just watch..