* This latest Chicago Teachers Union effort at spin predictably didn’t work…
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis says Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a comment to her that included an obscenity during a heated discussion over lengthening the day at Chicago public schools […]
Activist the Reverend Paul Jakes has written a letter demanding the mayor apologize.
“I know that African-American women have been victims continuously down through the years of disrespect and we as an African-American community will not stand for it,” said Rev. Jakes.
But Alderman Emma Mitts said there’s nothing racial about it and and who knows what Lewis may have said to Emanuel.
“I know there’s two sides to every story, and somtimes three sides to every story. So what really went on,” said Mitts.
* Zorn looks at how the teachers union is doing itself no favors…
A simple for instance: Is the union for or against a longer school day?
Yes and no.
The union is in favor of it if the extra time is well-used — “we want a better school day,” is how CTU President Karen Lewis puts it — and if teachers get commensurately more money for putting in more hours. But they’re against it because Chicago’s instructional time is very similar to instructional time in similar cities and because objective research doesn’t back up the claims for longer school days. […]
The union often stresses the need to empower classroom teachers in making important educational decisions. But when City Hall began the recent effort to lengthen the classroom day by a majority vote of the teachers in individual schools, union leaders objected, called it union busting and filed suit on procedural grounds.
The teachers now look like confused obstructionists — part of the problem, not part of the solution — largely due to self-inflicted public relations injuries.
* A while ago, Zorn attempted to get to the bottom of the disagreement between Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Teachers Union over how many instruction minutes per year kids are receiving…
The teachers union claims 55,260 minutes a year, the administration claims 52,360.
In a flurry of email and phone messages I tried to get the sides to reconcile these numbers — the difference amounts to 17 minutes a day — and concluded it has to do with whether you count “passing time” (time allocated for physically transitioning from one activity to another) as instructional time, which other school districts may also do.
In other words, the CTU is counting time spent in the hallways as instruction time.
* But after being played like a violin by the mayor, this bit of spin is the first time that the CTU has seemed to get ahead of the story…
Using the elite private school where Mayor Rahm Emanuel now sends his kids as a starting point, Chicago Teachers Union officials have crafted a proposed schedule that adds 75 minutes to the typical public elementary school student’s day.
The union’s latest salvo in the battle over a longer school day uses as a comparison point the schedule of one third-grade classroom at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, union officials said Tuesday.
Just like at what U of C kids often call “the Lab School,’’ the CTU proposal offers a well-rounded curriculum featuring far more art, music, physical education and other extras than most CPS kids now get and even includes the study of a second language.
Ultimately, the proposed CTU schedule would provide an even longer school day than the Lab School , where a third-grader’s tuition is $21,876. And it does so without requiring Chicago Public School teachers to add any minutes to their work day.
The union will need lots more PR like this to try to neutralize Emanuel. This, alone, won’t do it, of course. Emanuel is a driven, ruthless man who has the polls and the public behind him.
* But, President Lewis can’t seem to get that silly argument behind her…
Also on Tuesday, new information emerged about the four-letter fracas between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the teachers union president in his City Hall office. The mayor is said to have used the F-word when pushing his plan during a heated exchange.
“This is obviously a demonstration and illustration of who he is. That’s what that is,” said Lewis.
“My view is this is a distraction from the major issue which is getting the kids an education and time in class learning,” said Emanuel.
But sources say she too screamed and swore during the meeting, something she doesn’t deny.
“I did not, um, I did not take it. Let’s put it that way,” said Lewis when asked if she cursed back.
It’s time she moved on to more important things. Just because a reporter asks a question doesn’t mean she has to answer it.
* 2 more schools opt for longer days - 7 faculties have now bucked union on divisive issue
* City Enacting New Preschool Health Goals
* Emanuel to aldermen: Suggestion box is out on budget - Mayor needs to eliminate shortfall put at $636 million
* Goldman Sachs to provide $25 million in loans and grants to Chicago-area small businesses
* New city crime database goes online