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Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012

* Who were the biggest winners and losers in the Chicago teachers strike? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - truthteller - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 6:00 am:

    The people of Chicago.
    Our arrogant mayor was exposed as a bully who cared not a whit about the children of our city.
    The changes he demanded in the labor relations act backfired, just as his critics predicted.
    His attempt to impose merit pay, deny teachers credit for their experience , and use unproven evaluation methods failed.
    Karen Lewis proved herself right. The only way to deal with a bully is to stand up to him.
    The CTU won one for our hometown.
    I hope they taught the Mayor a lesson, but I fear he is a slow learner, maybe impossible to teach

  2. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 6:23 am:

    The CTU ended up with less money than it could have gotten.

    CTU ended up with teachers being fired based on merit by no merit wages.

    CTU can spin this all day long, but they lost big.

    Getting rid of bad teachers? Finally the kids win.

  3. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 7:43 am:

    I think the biggest winners were the everyday voters of Chicago. The 66 percent who supported the Chicago Teachers Union.

    CPS Board President David Vitale came out of this one looking pretty swell too, as a hands-on problem solver who proved he has the knack for finding common ground solutions that put the common good first.

    The CTU is a bit harder to rate. Maybe just as well as Vitale, maybe just a bit behind. They didn’t get as much as they wanted, but they were never going to get everything, and I think they got everything they could. The big gain for the CTU was the mere sight of all of those diverse teachers on the picket lines and their voices in all of the news stories. It destroyed forever the carefully cultivated image of all CPS teachers as lazy, self-interested, strident and…dare I go there…black. It was much easier to demonize teachers when the only perception that the public had of them was Karen Lewis.

    Those public officials — Fritchey and Waguespack come to mind — who had the sense to support the teachers from the get-go.

    Big losers?

    Brizzard, who looked like a Captain without a ship.

    Mayor Emanuel, who had the sense to elevate Vitale in the process, started out okay post strike (”strike of choice” was fairly innocuous), but whose decision to push to break the union while there was a deal on the table was inexplicable.

    Stand for Children (and their ultra-rich backers), the Civic Federation and the editorial boards were the big losers, I think. They started with a school district with the lowest public approval ratings in the state and managed to rally public support for the CTU, elevating teachers’ concerns about school reform and remediating Karen Lewis’ public image.

  4. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 7:48 am:

    === CTU can spin this all day long, but they lost big. ===

    From Bruce Rauner, one of the most ardent opponents of the CTU:

    Bruce Rauner, a wealthy venture capitalist who is helping lead a drive for more charter schools in the city, predicted the final details of a new contract would not “end well” for critics of the teachers union because “I think we’ve given in on a fair number of critical issues.”

  5. - Anonymous45 - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 7:49 am:

    Skeeter, what are you talking about?

    The Chicago Teachers Union just revived the labor movement in this country. Nice try though. I guess if you say/print distortions often enough they must be true, and you must be a Republican.

  6. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:04 am:

    == The Chicago Teachers Union just revived the labor movement in this country ==

    A tad early for that, isn’t it? Call me when there is a union ’success’ outside of the public sector.

  7. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:07 am:

    Losers: Taxpayers, not sure if it just Chicago taxpayers or taxpayers around the state but this contract just added more to a decent size deficit. Someone is going to have to fill that hole with either more taxes or less services.

    Winners: Way to early to tell IMHO, lets see how many CTU members are employed at public schools in 3 years.

  8. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:10 am:

    @Anonymous45 -

    Hey, I’ve disagreed with Skeeter on a number of points, and agreed with him just as much.

    I’d describe him as a parent first, just as I’d describe myself.

    My guess is that the vast majority of Chicagoans who support public education leave the strike with the same view they entered, only emboldened.

    While the minority of Chicagoans who blame the teachers’ union for the underperformance of our schools and the CTU for the strike are just about as united.

    The problem for the minority backing the Mayor is that they are the minority, and they’ve hardened positions that will put them in the minority for years to come.

    Read Bruce Rauner’s comments from the Bush Institute.

    He says the key to privatizing public education is to drive a wedge between teachers and union leadership. But what have they done instead? United teachers behind the union leadership by creating a clear choice: either you are with Mayor Emanuel, or you are with Karen Lewis. And the Mayor has painted all teachers with a broad brush that portrays them as lazy, self-interested and under-performing.

    Add to that that Rauner can’t possibly win over the districts best teachers on the issues. No one with a basic understanding of education believes that you can measure the performance of an art, music or PE teacher based on student tests of math, science, reading and writing.

  9. - Lakeview - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:10 am:

    The kids and parents, who are stuck in the middle, who want bad teachers fired and who want air conditioning in the classrooms. It’s always the kids who get screwed.

  10. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:14 am:

    @OneMan -

    I agree. Way too early.

    I do think the implications are great for the other public unions in Chicago and for the debate over pensions and other union issues in Springfield.

    There are also big implications for the Mayor and future Mayors of the City of Chicago. Much of the power of The Mayor’s Office depends on the perception of invincibility. That’s been shattered. Whether the CTU and its supporters will be able to create some momentum as we move in to debates over TIF reform, school closures, and other issues remains to be seen.

  11. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:17 am:

    @OneMan -

    Not convinced it means more taxes or less services. I think TIF reform is more likely.

    And despite Madigan’s pronouncement, I do think that there’s an outside chance that Emanuel and CTU will come together to push for changes either in school funding or the school funding formula.

  12. - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:21 am:

    It’s a little early to declare victory regardless of which side you are on. Until the full contract is available for public evaluation the jury will still be out.

    However the clear losers are the kids and parents who had to scramble while the supposed adults fought it out. The will also have to stay in school through the end of June making up those ‘lost’ days.

  13. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:24 am:

    Anon45, thanks for that witty and fact intensive retort! You sure showed me!
    Let me guess - you are a CPS product?
    If firing based on student performance but no wage increase based on merit is a win, then I can’t imagine what a loss would look like.

  14. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:27 am:


    You can’t do much about the current TIFs, so you can stop the reductions that occur but you can’t get that money back short/medium term…

    As for changing the funding model, unless they are going to raise income taxes more for Chicago is going to mean less for the rest of us and I don’t see that happening. Quinn already jerked us over with the busing cuts and my district (not ‘wealthy’ ) gets significantly less per student than Chicago.

    So unless you increase revenue, obviously for Chicago to get more others will get less and I don’t see that happening.

  15. - bourbonrich - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:28 am:

    CTU the big winner, teachers will be both winners and losers when it becomes clear how the raises will be funded, students/families the big loser as the final result has to be larger classes and fewer neighborhood schools unless lots of additional funding is secured and then the taxpayers of Chicago and Illinois are the big losers.

  16. - 1776 - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:30 am:

    The kids and their families lost. At the end of the day, the schools will not markedly get better and the test scores will remain stagnant. We’ll continue to see a graduation rate of roughly 60 percent and a very small percentage will go onto college. Schools will continue to have some great teachers, average teachers and poor teachers but the union concessions will not allow for any significant changes. Employers, especially manufacturers and high tech companies that are facing a tremendous skills gap, will not see qualified candidates and will have to spend tremendous resources to provide remedial education while facing tremendous overseas competition. The prison population will rise and we’ll lose many kids of this generation.

  17. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:30 am:

    Yellow, actually I leave this far more optimistic. Finally we have a way to get rid of teachers who do not perform. That would have been worth a 20 percent increase.

  18. - Anonymous45 - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:31 am:

    If the labor movement has any brains at all, they will sit on their hands and in their chairs and close the checkbook this November. The Presidential election is being given to BO at this point in time, and in local and State elections, the loss of election help by union members will certainly make the incumbents nervous.

    It is time to push for a fair and honest discussion of pension and other labor issues after the success of the CTU in Chicago at the State and local levels.

    Does there need to be changes to public pension systems based on the new economic realities? Of course. Respectful negoatiation between parties where there is a fair level of trust is a good start. I know plenty of parents in the system who were avid supporters of the CTU. Let’s all take a deep breath elevate the discourse.

  19. - NotRMiller - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:34 am:

    The losers: the taxpayers! Plain and simple..under funded pensions, deficits, bad schools, bad teachers, bad parents…

  20. - Steve Bartin - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:35 am:

    Winners- Karen Lewis proved that she the best at what she does for a living. Losers- The property tax payers who will face an increase further driving down the demand for Chicago real estate. Karen Lewis ended Rahm Emanuel’s ability to become a long term Chicago Mayor. Karen Lewis also ended Rahm Emanuel Presidential prospects.

  21. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 8:54 am:

    For those claiming that CTU won — in all seriousness, what did they win? It looks like they got a delay in having standardized tests impact employment, and a reduction in the percentage that those tests will impact evaluations.

    The raises that I saw were under the 16% that I thought was on the table.

    Where is the great victory? What am I missing?

  22. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:04 am:

    Short-term, the CTU was clearly a winner. They garnered a 90% strike vote, actually walked out and enjoyed significant public support.

    Emanuel was the loser, reduced to complaining that the strike was illegal and running to court.

    Long-term, it remains to be seen. Springfield might be the next field of competition.

  23. - dave - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:21 am:

    **The raises that I saw were under the 16% that I thought was on the table.**

    Don’t believe everything Rahm says. 16% raises were never on the table.

    Lets just put it this way - if CTU had not received 90+% on their strike vote, and not gone on strike, they would have gotten their butts kicked. Instead, they came out MUCH better, and were able to win many things.

    To pretend otherwise is foolish.

  24. - Deep South - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:27 am:

    There are no winners. Everyone loses in these teacher strikes….no way to spin it anyway else.

    One can factually say that one side got this, or one side got that, or gave something up….but in the end there are no “winners.” That’s what is so pathetic about strikes.

  25. - Shore - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:32 am:

    Winner- Rahm’s national reputation. Rahm, like Obama before him seems to be excellent at getting the national media to view him positively. What to local media looks like bluster and incompetence to the national media looks like courage and vision.

    Loser-Rahm’s local reputation. He did not look like a happy man on tv and there’s a part of the city I think he’s lost now and probably won’t get back. Karen Lewis has shown he’s not bullet proof, the media obviously has found fault with him and I think going forward he’s lost the expert technocrat/master strategist reputation.

    Loser-Democratic unity. It’s pretty clear education has become a major dividing line within the party splitting the wings of the party and it has the potential to give republicans an opening on the issue with moderate democrats. There were a lot of democrats put in a really painful position between rahm and the union here and this is something to watch going forward.

    Loser-Bruce Rauner. I thought he was awful in his tv appearance. He looks to be an andy mckenna type suit without any charisma or personality and his rahm ties won’t play well with the base.

  26. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:33 am:

    Biggest winner: The collective bargaining process.

    Biggest loser: Rahm Emanuel

  27. - redrum - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:36 am:

    Winners- kids, teachers, President Obama, theentire Democratic Party. Karen Lewis proved why she is the best at what she does for a living.

  28. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:37 am:

    Winner: The CTU. Their relatively high salaries saw another bump in a time where the people paying their salaries are getting hit hard. Student progress will not be used to evaluate them to a large degree.

    Loser: Property tax payers. Principals who will have a more difficult time hiring the most qualified teacher (now will be forced to give extra consideration to people just because they are in a union). The students of course.

  29. - Drew - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:38 am:

    The makers of 4X red t-shirts.

  30. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:40 am:

    @Skeeter -

    As I understand it, these were the initial demands from the Mayor:

    - Longer school day for no increase in pay
    - Elimination of pay hikes for years of service, educational attainment
    - Merit pay

    The teachers got what most voters would agree is a pretty significant guarantee of pay increases over the next four years.

    Step increases for longevity and advanced degrees have been retained.

    Merit pay is off the table.

    All for the next four years.

    The changes in teacher evaluations are a mixed bag. Just having them in the contract could be seen as a victory. On the other hand, it was a victory that was written into state law under SB 7, so its not something that CPS “got” through the contract negotiations.

    I don’t think the evaluation system can be judged until it plays out, as the Tribune editorial board admits. The contract gives principals new power, but it is discretionary power. Whether they use it and how they use it will be key.

    Those who believe that past rules handcuffed principals from getting rid of bad teachers are likely to see this as a big victory. If they are right, it is.

    I and many others have a different diagnosis: the shortcomings of CPS are largely due to failed management and inadequate resources…atleast resources that are necessary to implement the type of comprehensive, “Cradle to Career” education reforms that have proved successful in other big cities.

    And to the degree that the underperformance of public schools can be attributed to “bad teachers,” its largely the result of CPS’ inability to attract and retain good teachers. Chicago is competing in a market for education professionals that includes many suburban districts that offer much better compensation and work conditions, and a lower cost-of-living.

    Even if you believe that the old rules completely handcuffed principals from firing bad teachers, a 2009 study found that CPS has a teacher turnover rate of 25 percent per year, half of all teachers turnover within five years, and 75 percent of high school teachers turn over within five years.

    Given this extremely high turnover rate, principals already have the power to remake their schools just by making smart hiring decisions. If you believe bad teachers are the problem, you have to agree that either principals are incapable of making smart hiring decisions or the pool of available applicants is so shallow that they just have no good choices.

  31. - geronimo - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:40 am:

    Emanuel is the big loser. He is a tyrant and a bully who has alienated alot of people. What kind of reaction does one expect when you trash another? He is an angry, vindictive bully who doesn’t know the meaning of collaborative work, exactly what kids are being taught about and learning to do in their classrooms. I guess he needs a CPS education.

  32. - dave - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:42 am:

    Big winner: union democracy

    CORE won a struggle for control of CTU… and then went on to lead a contract and then strike campaign that was HUGELY successful. At the end, we saw union democracy work. The delegates told CTU leadership that they weren’t ready to end the strike, so the strike didn’t end, even though CTU leadership wanted it to end. The rank and file members of CTU mattered, and had a huge role in making decisions as well as pulling this successful effort off.

  33. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:43 am:

    @Drew -

    Nice Fat Joke.

    Remind me again what Brizard wore during the strike?

    Oh, right. Nobody knows because nobody saw him.

  34. - Bill - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:57 am:

    1776 nailed it.

  35. - Anonymous45 - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 9:58 am:

    YDD: I am sure Drew is slim and trim and not a 4XXXX

  36. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:01 am:

    Yellow Dog nailed it.

  37. - whetstone - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:03 am:

    I think dave is exactly right: CTU might not have won big concessions in the contract, but keep in mind that, until Lewis took over–and it’s not just that she’s a good organizer, it’s also that she represents stronger internal unity in CTU–the union was playing go along to get along.

    I don’t think Emanuel’s been “tarnished” by this. The strike wasn’t very long, given that the issues were a lot more complex than compensation.

    Yes, he did go to the courts… but the walkout was concluded before he actually got to the courts. Whether the injunction threat actually helped end the strike is hard to say right now, but it looks like it.

    I think a lot of this was each side feeling the other out for future negotiations. CTU won in that sense, but I don’t think Emanuel “lost.”

  38. - Randolph - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:03 am:

    Bill nailed it.

  39. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:09 am:

    YDD: All points well made.

    Winner: the CTU, given that they started in a big hole, and ended up almost whole, while avoiding becoming the scapegoat. Lewis could have dealt with the press better, but I don’t know all the pressures on her.

    Partial Losers: Edelman and the out-of-state school reformers. They had a learning experience about Chicago, and they will be better for it.

    for Rahm? Bump in the road. In three months it will be “What strike?”

  40. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:11 am:

    Yellow Dog, you note that merit increases are off the table.

    But firing based on performance testing is on the table.

    That has to be a big loss. They can get fired for being bad, but they don’t get an increase for being good.

    With regard to turnover — I don’t have firsthand experience, but I suspect that the teachers who don’t care might be most likely to stick around. They are not doing much, and they can’t be fired. I don’t think existing turnover is a sign that the administration had real authority to bring in quality.

    I do admire the CTU for spinning this as a win though. In any job where performance is subjective, those who can take a loss and make it look like a win are impressive. That’s what marketing is all about.

  41. - Money Walks - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:13 am:

    There are ONLY losers when kids and their education are used as bargaining chips grown up games of greed and politics. Nice example we are setting.

  42. - What planet is he from? - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:20 am:

    Nickelback surely scored some points in the mess, didn’t they?

  43. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:30 am:

    Winner–Karen Lewis and the CTU. They never lost the backing of the (majority of the) parents and other Chicago residents. She may be abrasive but she held it together and knew what points to concede as well.

    Loser–Emanuel and Brizard. They can spin it all they want, they went into this to break the union and that didn’t work. Will Emanuel try this again with the police or the firefighters? Time will tell.

  44. - geronimo - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:32 am:

    ==Only losers when kids and their educations are used as bargaining chips===

    Maybe kids learned that having principles matters. We need a few more people in this world who actually have some of those. This wasn’t about the big bucks. And won’t those kids have to someday advocate for themselves in their work place? What recourse do teachers have? Also, someone referred to job evaluations of teachers being subjective. Thank you. Exactly the point they’ve been trying to make.

  45. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:34 am:

    Biggest immediate winner: Karen Lewis. She won her CTU presidency election against Marilyn Stewart in a runoff election, meaning the first election was close enough to cause a runoff. She does seem to have a united CTU behind her.

    Biggest immediate loser: Brizard. I would think being CEO of schools would involve some responsibility during a labor action.

  46. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:34 am:


    In the end, firing bad teachers is a VICTORY for CTU as much as the district.

    Unions don’t benefit any more from inneffective teachers than the trial lawyers benefit from “ambulance chasers,” Democrats benefit from Rep Smith, the US Chamber benefitted from Enron or multi-millionaires benefit from Mitt Romney.

    Union leaders often have one hand behind their back because the NLRA requires them to represent their membership to the brink, just as attorneys are required to represent their clients.

    But if the new rules actually result in replacing bad teachers with good teachers while protecting the great teachers we have, CTU wins.

    Remember: fired teachers dont vote in union elections.

  47. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:40 am:


    Teachers can be fired. Even tenured teachers. All it takes is a principal willing to make it happen. He has to have 2 observations and 1 written warning and I’m not sure there’s much else involved. It’s a process. Tenure means you can’t be fired without process (this is to keep idiots from deciding to fire all the socialists or Christians, for instance).

    The problem is … most principals either don’t have the time or the interest in doing this. If they fire a popular but ineffective teacher, they face pushback from parents (who ultimately via the LSC can fire them). If they fire a mediocre teacher who teaches a hard subject or a tough class of students, they now have to hire a better teacher (otherwise why bother) for that gig. Finding good teachers is hard. You don’t tend to get them fresh out of teacher schools (most research shows that a teacher with 2-3 years of experience are much better than inexperienced ones). And hiring experienced teachers can be hard because it’s hard to know if you’re getting a good one or a mediocre one without actually seeing them teach.

  48. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:40 am:

    We think the kids are big winners because they avoided about 10 days of having their minds thumped by the union trolls
    NoTaxBill, DandyDan and Mr. Dreamey because Counsin Brucey exposed himself in public and brought a quick end to his guber hopes.

  49. - anon - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:42 am:

    Winners: CTU and Karen Lewis; me - as a parent my CPS highschoooler began taking an avid interest in the news; his understanding of power and decision-making grew, not to mention watching teachers he respects stand up and fight back.
    Losers: Brizzard; the fake parent organizations and the corporations who cfeated them

  50. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:46 am:

    Come on, Cermak.

    Who do you think you are arguing with?

    How often do bad teachers get fired? How long does the process take?

    Are you really telling me that you think the old system was the best we could do?

  51. - mokenavince - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 10:53 am:

    Bizzard seemed hopelessly lost. In the long run schools will close and life will go on.Teacher
    pensions will be a problem.Rham will spin it so
    he comes out smelling like a rose.

  52. - Money Walks - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 11:08 am:

    ==Maybe kids learned that having principles matters.==

    The kids of Chicago learned the relevancy of principles by the teachers going to strike over tenure, insurance and evaluations?

    What kind of principles are we discussing? Definitely not the principles of supply and demand, or economics. I would venture to guess that they learned that with enough money, power, megaphones and voter sway you can bend the system to curry favor to your cause, regardless of the consequences or implications.

  53. - geronimo - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 11:10 am:

    Skeeter—–in answer to how often teachers are fired, more often than you’d think. Fired might not be the word………released from their contract and not front page news, so you wouldn’t know. Teachers who aren’t living up to the district’s standards tend to be released from districts with very high standards and in districts with a very large applicant pool. Chicago? Don’t think they’re exactly swarming to it. My kids have both seen teachers ride off into the night quietly. If you’re looking for a scarlet letter to be painted on them, you’ll be disappointed. So you might have missed a few.

  54. - Been There, Done That - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 11:11 am:

    Mike Madigan wins again.

    The contract is unaffordable, which means both the Mayor and CTU have to look to Springfield to bail them out. The Speaker will be waiting.

  55. - Carlos S. - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 11:31 am:

    I think senior teachers (which means folks in their 50s who can lock in their pensions before the inevitable cutbacks in accrued benefits occur) in schools that don’t shut down over the next few years are the only winners. Everybody else loses: the mayor looks like he was kicked in the gonads; the CTU because more people realize it is nothing more than a lobby for the tragic status quo, younger teachers who will be laid off in droves over the next few years, and the school children who will continue have the resources that should be going to educate them diverted the subset of teachers who make unusually high wages for unusually little work.

  56. - geronimo - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 11:45 am:


    I think those are called working conditions–salary, benefits. Do you not work?

  57. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 11:51 am:

    @Skeeter -

    As I pointed out, research shows that CPS has a teacher turn-over rate of 25 percent per year and 50 percent over five years.

    Principals have had ample opportunity to hire atleast 50 percent of the teachers they want, assuming they are applying for the jobs.

    Either principals are no better at picking good teachers than bad ones, good teachers aren’t applying for CPS jobs, or the problem with our schools isn’t the quality of teachers.

    It has to be one of the three.

    But the facts simple don’t allow you to argue that schools are failing because principals have been “stuck” with the same bad teachers year-after-year.

    That canard is clearly contradicted by the data, even more so in high schools, where the teacher turnover rate is 75% every five years.

  58. - Bill - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 11:57 am:

    On paper it looks like the teachers won but at the end of the day they still have to go back to those lousy, thankless, high stress, low paying jobs in some of the worst neighborhoods in the country with inadequate facilities and supplies and hostile, incompetent bosses. So it is hard to call them winners.

  59. - Emily Booth - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:01 pm:

    Winners: the 99% which includes Chicago public school teachers and the children they teach.
    Losers: the 1% which includes Rahm Emmanuel and his backers.

  60. - geronimo - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:05 pm:

    YDD==Turnover rate is 75% in high schools, etc.==

    In any other area of Illinois that would be alarming to the community, provided they care. That number tells you volumes. So, given the problems keeping teachers in the schools, some feel the solution is to make the job tougher?

  61. - Makandadawg - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:09 pm:

    This seems to be a turning point for collective bargaining rights in general. C.T.U. fought past the new laws making it harder for them to strike. They kept together and showed Illinois and Wisconsin what collective bargaining in the public sector really looks like.

  62. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:09 pm:

    What is the graduation rate?
    It is amazing that people can look at the current situation and conclude that we need to keep bad teachers in the classroom.
    Want to keep good teachers? Pay the ones that produce and get rid of the ones that do not.
    Treat teachers like the rest of us are treated.

  63. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:12 pm:

    Yellow Dog,
    Why do you conclude that the problem is either the teachers or the administration?
    Perhaps it might be both?
    Maybe the same people who want bad teachers fired also want to clear out bad administrators?

  64. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:22 pm:

    –Pay the ones that produce and get rid of the ones that do not.–

    If teachers were the only factor, there wouldn’t be a problem. It starts at home.

  65. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:24 pm:

    Identify one single person who claims that teachers are 100% the cause. One person.
    When you claim “there are other causes” who exactly is it that you think opposes that concept?

  66. - BMAN - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:30 pm:

    Nobody got all their demands, so from that perspective there were no winners or losers. However I feel the people of Chicago are better served by teachers who not at odds with the administration. All are better off when governments deal with realities like the unified front of citizens and CTU (sometimes called the 99%) even if big business pushes its way around.
    CTU struck a huge blow for public sector employees; kudos for CTU.

  67. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:32 pm:

    @Geronimo & Skeeter -

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think a 75% turnover rate is anything to celebrate. I’m simply pointing out that it blows a Mack-truck size hole in the argument that union work rules are to blame.

    Here’s my take. I grew up in a small town where I was taught by many teachers — union members — who’d been in the district so long that many of my high school teachers had taught my mom and her younger brothers and sisters. Many more had gone to high school with my family members. One, a science teacher who was a mentor and inspiration to me, had been with the high school so long he’d taught my father.

    Did that fundamentally alter my learning experience? Absolutely. Did it impact the district as well? I’d say so. My high school graduating class of around 300 produced eight National Merit Scholar finalists.

    To your point Skeeter, it might be both. But if there’s a plan to clear out all of the poor principals, we haven’t seen it or heard it. In the mean time, these underperforming principals — some who’ve been heading failing schools for not five years, but 10, 15 or 20 years, are the folks we’re trusting to make smart hiring decisions? Even though they’ve proven in the past that they can’t?

    Seems like ill-placed faith to me.

  68. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:33 pm:

    Skeeter, I’m suggesting there can be good teachers who can’t “produce” like we would all like because of other factors.

    My kids have had bad teachers here in good old Oak Park, and I had some bad teachers growing up, but we all could slug through it because learning wasn’t limited to school.

  69. - cassandra - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:34 pm:

    Actually, I think the parents won because they were forced to take time out of their very busy lives to look at their school system in all its complexity. A lot of them probably learned things about the system, good and bad, that they didn’t really know before because, let’s face it, raising kids and making a living take up 110 percent of your time.

    One thing they may have learned is that this is so not over. Upcoming are, apparently, a probable reduction in the number of Chicago public schools, a continuing discussion of the charter school movement, a pension debate, and a search for funding given the deficit. Not to mention the changes in the evaluation system–will they work.

    The strike has dramatized these issues, forced citizens to pay attention, and made us realize that like it or not, paying attention to what government is doing or planning to do is critically important in these times.

  70. - Judgment Day - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:40 pm:

    CTU - Big Winner short term. Medium term/long term, they lose. Not because of anything they did or didn’t do, but because there just are insufficient resources to keep the status quo. But they sure put together a great game plan for all the other public sector unions to follow.

    Rahm Emanuel. Loser short term, verdict is out for medium/long term. The CTU showed all the other public sector unions the way forward with a basic operations (keep membership together and don’t be afraid to strike). Now it’s all about the City of Chicago workforce and the finances there are going to become an issue. Created more problems for Rahm and Team to address. Now we’ll see how good they are at running things.

    Toni Periwinkle. Short term, no impact. Medium/long term, big impact. Again, CTU showed all the other public sector unions the way forward with a basic operations (keep membership together and don’t be afraid to strike). Cook County has ongoing budget issues, and Toni has to deal with unions that just got energized. What are you going to do?

    Pat Quinn. The Big Loser in all of this. As noted, CTU just showed the State public sector unions the way forward to deal with Pat Quinn and his retirement cutbacks. When a union is faced with unavoidable cutbacks and givebacks, one of the first tools to be considered has to be a strike authorization. Not even sure that he’s smart enough to see exactly what type of box he just got put in by the CTU strike.

    Chicago education reform groups. Short Term: Got their collective heads handed to them in a burlap sack, which they had to in effect pay for. Medium/Long term: Way too early to tell. Depends how it all plays out. If things at CPS go into meltdown status, the reform groups will come out on top, as events will have proven them out. We shall see.

    Chicago taxpayers. Screwed over big time. Expect property tax increases each year, but they are limited under tax cap. Expect a mass number of school closings, as CPS has next to nothing in cash reserves, and no practical way to get more cash (short of getting more state provided cash; get a large allocation of City of Chicago TIF increment money, or successfully pass a tax rate increase referendum). Not likely on any of the 3 items.

    There’s going to be other winners and losers to this (Madigan, Cullerton, the Republicans, all the other school districts statewide, etc.).

  71. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:41 pm:


    Who says teachera are 100% of the problem?

    Rahm, Rauner and the Tribune ed board…for starters.

  72. - Money Walks - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 12:57 pm:

    Principles- Yes, I do work, 40+ hours a week, TWELVE months a year, for less benefits and less pay and a sliver of what teachers get in terms of vacation, sick and holiday pay…I’m thankful for my job because a LOT of people have it worse off. Principles.

  73. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 1:00 pm:

    Really? Rahm says teachers are 100% of the problem? It seems like the media picks up most of what he says. Should be easy to find him quoted.

    I’ve read the Tribune’s editorials. I don’t recall them blaming the teachers 100%. Perhaps you can point me to the editorial you are referencing.

  74. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 1:04 pm:

    “Skeeter, I’m suggesting there can be good teachers who can’t “produce” like we would all like because of other factors.”

    Sure, and that’s why right now nobody is expected fourth graders to read at a fourth grade level.

    What we do expect is improvement over a year.

    Good teachers will have students show improvement. Bad teachers will not. Everything is relative.

  75. - geronimo - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 1:22 pm:

    YDD you are right. And I guess the way to attract the best and brightest in their estimation, is to trash them every day you can. Who wouldn’t want to work for them?

  76. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 1:23 pm:

    ====Good teachers will have students show improvement. Bad teachers will not. Everything is relative.

    For over 15 years we have known that student scores aren’t reliable or valid measures of teacher quality. There is random error that is significant from year to year with the same teacher. You have a small sample size every year–especially at the elementary level.

    So this statement

    —Good teachers will have students show improvement. Bad teachers will not. Everything is relative.

    is false. Good and bad teachers will be somewhat randomly assessed on 30% of their evaluation. How does this help anything?

    If you want to have a rational process of evaluating teacher quality, why choose something that makes you feel better, but has no consistent relationship to actual teacher quality?

  77. - geronimo - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 1:24 pm:

    ====Money Talks====

    You are missing the boat in life. You need to quit that horrible job you work at and become a teacher. I’m sure you can make a difference.

  78. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 1:29 pm:

    @Judgment Day -

    I could be wrong, but I believe that state workers are barred from striking.

    @Skeeter -

    I stand corrected. The Mayor announced that they will have merit bonuses on top of the salaries that principals are guaranteed. The details:

    - Principals still won’t be fired if they fail to meet standards;
    - They will have four years to meet them, from what I understand;
    - Bonuses will be between $5K and $10K;
    - The standards have yet to be written, but it sounds like student achievement will be a relatively small component.

    That said, no where did I see Emanuel actually admit we have bad principals.

    As for the Tribune, read today’s editorial:

    - A longer school day, despite union opposition;
    - Mediocre teachers must be shown the door;
    - (Non-union) charter schools will solve all of our problems.

    If they’ve done anything but rant against unions and blindly support anything the unions dare oppose, I haven’t read it, and I’m an avid Tribune reader.

  79. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 1:30 pm:


    Are you claiming that private schools must not have good teachers? After all, according to you the test scores are not indicative of the talent of teachers? So those great scores at private schools must be because they start with smart kids, and not because they recruit teachers who care? Right?

    Why not just hire anybody off the street, since according to you life is so miserable that nothing any teacher does will be enough to obtain results?

    Based on Archpundit and YDD and Geronimo, we should cut teacher salaries by 50% since those teachers make no difference at all. Hire babysitters, since according to you there is nothing to be done. Save the money.

    Sorry, but I’m not buying it. Unlike you, I have confidence that talented teachers can make a difference. Unlike you, I have confidence that even kids from tough areas can do well if they have teachers who care.

    Unlike you, I’m not ready to throw in the towel.

  80. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 1:50 pm:

    ===Are you claiming that private schools must not have good teachers? After all, according to you the test scores are not indicative of the talent of teachers?

    No, I am not claiming private schools don’t have good teachers. I’m saying test scores are not a good measure of teacher quality. In fact, the lab school principal at U Chicago made exactly this point. That’s where Rahm sends his kids.

    —So those great scores at private schools must be because they start with smart kids, and not because they recruit teachers who care? Right?

    What private school are you talking about specifically? You do realize they are not a part of the ISBE system and are not required to take the state achievement tests.

    —-Why not just hire anybody off the street, since according to you life is so miserable that nothing any teacher does will be enough to obtain results?

    You confuse standardized tests of student achievement with being a measure of something more than student achievement. Teacher quality is a portion of how students learn, but a fairly small portion. Home life, parents, diet, sleep, all are far more significant factors are the most important factors.

    We concentrate on teacher quality because trying to change parent behavior is more difficult and alleviating poverty which is the single best predictor of student success on standardized tests is a non-starter.

    —Based on Archpundit and YDD and Geronimo, we should cut teacher salaries by 50% since those teachers make no difference at all. Hire babysitters, since according to you there is nothing to be done. Save the money.

    Wrong. We would assess them using actual techniques that measure teacher quality. By thinking that standardized testing measures teacher quality, despite all the evidence to the contrary, you are choosing an unreliable and invalid measure of teacher quality. So you are actually advocating just randomly retaining teachers based on information that doesn’t accurately assess their skills.

    I would like to eliminate the unreliable measure of student standardized test scores and instead focus on the Danielson Framework which directly assess teacher technique and is well accepted by nearly all as an effective evaluation tool. The question is why you don’t think that a better way to evaluate teachers given what we know about student standardized testing scores not being reliable or valid.

    —Sorry, but I’m not buying it. Unlike you, I have confidence that talented teachers can make a difference.

    I never said talented teachers can’t make a differences. Sorry, I don’t think a measure that doesn’t accurately assess teachers is a rational way to assess them.

    —Unlike you, I have confidence that even kids from tough areas can do well if they have teachers who care.

    I think as a probability more can than do now. However, the data do not support that students in poverty will succeed on a large scale while still in poverty as we see it in the United States. No one has identified a replicable model of school or learning that cuts the tie between poverty and low achievement.

    Of course, the argument is a distraction to whether standardized test scores accurately measure teacher performance.

    —Unlike you, I’m not ready to throw in the towel.

    Actually you are. You want to use an irrational system of evaluating teaching that has been demonstrated to not work. The result of such a process is that you will not be able to tell the difference between teachers with skills and teachers without them. Congratulations on supporting a system that randomly penalizing teachers regardless of their actual skills–you have now created a more worthless system than before.

  81. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 1:56 pm:

    Really Arch?

    My private school kids are not being tested? My kids will be thrilled to hear that. “You know guys, that paper in front of you? That’s fake. Arch told me.”

  82. - Proud - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 1:57 pm:

    Money Walks, you really nailed it on the head! this never enters into the dialogue. When will we realize that in any other “industry” these would be considered part time or seasonal jobs!

  83. - geronimo - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 1:58 pm:

    The world is not as simple as Skeeter would like it to be. Of course, talented teachers make a difference. So do supportive homes, engaged parents, partnering with schools, and students who care and try to do their best. I know it’s a complex thought, but if talented teachers pouring intelligence into empty skulls was all there was to it, we’d all be geniuses, wouldn’t we? Even talented teachers cannot work their magic on resistant students and that just has to be acknowledged instead of dumping on teachers, the vast majority of whom are very dedicated to their students’ achievement. But one thing’s sure as hell—-the constant trashing of teachers is NOT going to attract excellence in our Education programs. I personally know of 3 recent Education grads who elected to not pursue a teaching job upon graduation. It is very definitely Education’s loss, knowing these 3 young people. They read the papers, they hear the hatred and they’re opting for a more sane path.

  84. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 1:59 pm:

    ===When will we realize that in any other “industry” these would be considered part time or seasonal jobs! ===

    Oh, for crying out loud. What next? Teachers as migrant workers?

    C’mon, man.

  85. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 2:03 pm:

    –When will we realize that in any other “industry” these would be considered part time or seasonal jobs!–

    That has to be a gag.

  86. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 2:03 pm:

    —Really Arch?

    —-My private school kids are not being tested? My kids will be thrilled to hear that. “You know guys, that paper in front of you? That’s fake. Arch told me.”

    —-What private school are you talking about specifically? You do realize they are not a part of the ISBE system and are not required to take the state achievement tests.

    Your children are taking the ISAT in a private school?

  87. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 2:08 pm:

    The other question is–does your private school actually measure teacher performance by test scores?

    I’d be interested in hearing what standardized test the students take and how that is incorporated into teacher evaluations at the private school as well.

  88. - Proud - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 2:08 pm:

    Rich, that is not at all what I am suggesting. What I am suggesting is that when we look at teacher salaries, we should look at the amount of work that is required of them in comparison to the rest of the work world/marketpalce/etc. Teachers are far from being under paid victims which has been the union strategy to gain public support. So if in my Industry, which is largely unionized, any position that has approximately 3 mths of the year where a person does not work, they are paid accordingly. according to ABC News the average salary is $71,236. A lot of people with a bachelors degree would welcome that type of victimization.

  89. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 2:09 pm:

    Geronimo, you must be a product of CPS. You can’t read.

    Or maybe you simply will not read.

    Which is it, Geronimo? Did you not read my posts, or do you just choose to ignore what I said?

    Point out where I say the ONLY problem is teachers?.

    Seriously, if you are going to ignore what I write, then why bother responding? Who are you arguing against?

    That being said, I’m really tired of the fact that anytime people bring up merit we get accused of teacher bashing. I love good teachers. They should be paid more.

    But the lazy ones? The one at Ogden that I sat across from a few weeks ago who talked to my daughter? That teacher did not give a “darn” and should not be in any classroom. Because of the risk that my kids might be assigned to his class, I wrote that big privates school check once again.

    I’m really tired of the unions doing little other than protecting lousy teachers like him, at the expense of the good teachers. And I’m really tired of paying both property taxes and tuition because we have a school system that consistently rewards the lousy teachers.

  90. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 2:17 pm:

    ===A lot of people with a bachelors degree would welcome that type of victimization.

    To get to $71,000 for a Bachelors would take about 15 years experience. Even with a Masters, which something like 60 percent have, a teacher in CPS needs about 10-15 years experience depending on hours beyond the Masters.

    While I think the Masters for teaching needs some serious revamping, most of the teachers making around $70,000 have lots of experience/and or more than a BA/BS.

    I believe they work for 38.5 weeks if that is the current number putting them at 12 weeks short of of low vacation jobs to 9 - 10 weeks for other jobs with more vacation time. Most studies have found typical teachers make up that extra 400 hours through working overtime and such plus meeting professional education requirements in the summers and such.

    It’s not bad pay for sure, but most indications are it’s reasonable for the skills and effort.

  91. - Proud - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 2:24 pm:


    Assuming your facts are accurate, then I agree and consider myself educated on the matter.

    As many others on this blog the answer is not to bash teachers or administration, rather how do we develop a system that supports good teachers and good outcomes for all kids. I guess I get frustrated when the rhetoric seems to all be about the adults.

  92. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 2:38 pm:

    ====Assuming your facts are accurate, then I agree and consider myself educated on the matter.

    I understand completely–teacher pay scales are pretty confusing and trying to grasp everything is tough when you don’t have time to do it all of the time.

    I think one of the things the increased accountability in terms of teacher evaluation should do–is weed out those not doing the work to make that fair compensation. Most people would feel a lot more comfortable knowing the deadwood is not getting away with not putting in the extra time and such. The union does itself a long term disservice in not embracing this more.

  93. - capncrunch - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 2:40 pm:

    The real winners were the kids who were attending charter schools - they were attending classes last week. In the future, the winners will be those kids lucky enough to get into a new charter school.

  94. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 2:42 pm:

    To be honest, I think it is too much to expect all students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed. Some are just too screwed up by their parents and by their environment to ever succeed at anything. Some are brain damaged by the lead and other environmental toxins in their neighborhoods. Some are stunted by the poor vocabularies and reasoning skills shown by their caregivers. Some are emotionally fragile as a result of the violence they witness daily in their homes and neighborhoods.

    Some of this bunch are so damaged they won’t even succeed at a life of crime.

    I wish it were different but it isn’t.

  95. - geronimo - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 3:02 pm:


    Now take a deeeeeeeep breath and calm down. I never said teachers were the only problem in poor performing schools. Don’t you read anything I write? Too excited? I said that even the talented teachers you speak so highly of can’t sometimes reach kids who have issues that prevent them from trying to learn. GOt it? Calm down buddy. I see I’m not the only one under seige by you.

  96. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 4:04 pm:

    @capncrunch -

    I know that the CTU is concerned with school closure plans, and has it in their heads that CPS plans to close 100 public schools and open 100 charter schools.

    I wouldn’t put too much stock in that.

    The reasons are pretty simple: economics.

    Noble Schools get 20 percent of their funding from charitable giving. That’s what allows them to give principals $40,000 bonuses.

    But there’s only so much big time philanthropy to go around, only so many with an interest in education.

    That’s why charters have been pushing to increase the level of government reimbursement. Of course, as soon as charter schools start costing as much as public schools for CPS, it eliminates much of the incentive that CPS has for outsourcing.

    We forget that for Duncan and to a lesser extent Vallas, charter schools were more about maintaining the budget for the central bureaucracy. With charters, school districts get to extract as much as 25% of the school funding for kids to cover “admin” and pass along as little as 75% to charter operators, assuming that philanthropists like Rauner and Pritzker would make up the difference.

    Sooner or later, Rauner and Pritzker are going to realize that every dime they give to charter schools is really just subsidizing the CPS bureaucracy.

  97. - Proud - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 4:13 pm:


    Harlem Childrens Promise Zone seems to be overcoming many of the Socio economic issues and was touted by Obama in his campaign. We hesitate to invest in poor children (and our future as a country BTW) but have no problem bailing out the fat cats on Wall Street when there hair brained revenue schemes come to roost!

    Societies are judged on how the care for there very old AND there very young. I fear these have become competing interests as of late.

  98. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 5:02 pm:

    Overall, I think Arch had a good day here. Nice job.

  99. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 19, 12 @ 5:05 pm:

    ===Nice job. ===


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* Fitch moves Illinois from negative to positive outlook
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