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First ever charter school teacher strike a possibility

Wednesday, Oct 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* More evidence that the governor’s first term in office is not ending the way he initially hoped

On Tuesday, teachers at 15 Chicago charter schools voted 98 percent to authorize a strike as they continue to bargain a contract with Acero Schools, the largest unionized charter network in the city. On Friday, four locations of the Chicago International Charter Schools (CICS) will take a strike authorization vote. And teachers at nine other Chicago charter networks are also in contract negotiations, and could similarly opt to take strikes votes in the coming months.

If no agreement is reached, Chicago could be home to the nation’s first-ever charter strike. Teachers have been inching closer to this possibility for the past two years, during which time eleventh-hour deals have narrowly averted strikes against at least three other charter operators.

That’s a stunning reversal from 2012, when Chicago charter operators bragged that, unlike unionized public schools, charters were unaffected by teacher strikes.

Since then, “Chicago has become the epicenter of charter union organizing in the country,” as Illinois Network of Charter Schools President Andrew Broy lamented in the Chicago Tribune last year.

What’s more, charter teachers are currently bargaining their first contracts as members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), which also represents the city’s 27,000 public school teachers. In March, the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers that represents more than 30 charters in the city, merged with the CTU in a bid to strengthen the hands of both unions.


  1. - Stark - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 10:49 am:

    Weird, it’s almost like charter schools aren’t about promoting the best education possible for students and that they are more about allowing wealthy people to control the educational curriculum of kids while increasing their local influence and reducing their tax burden by suffocating support to public education. Huh.

  2. - Almost the weekend - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 10:54 am:

    CTU’s leadership is so far to the left I’ve always wondered where their rank and file stood. Hopefully with this merger, less fireballs are thrown and more action is done behind the scenes.
    Not to mention with an open mayoral election coming, they can get their foot back in the door after being exiled for eight years.

  3. - Juice - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 10:59 am:

    Almost the weekend, who do you think elected the leadership? These are not jobs that are just handed out, they are elected to those positions by the rank and file.

    When CPS had trouble getting the contract ratified a couple of years ago, it was because the rank and file didn’t think union leadership had pushed the administration enough, not the other way around.

  4. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:00 am:

    –unlike unionized public schools, charters were unaffected by teachers strikes–

    For those teachers who actually have to live on that money (not a salary that merely supplements the real money earner in the family), charter or not, they can’t pay their bills. It’s time teachers were paid like professionals with similar educational requirements so they aren’t treated like servants happy to take whats given. Good for them. This is the 21st century now………

  5. - West Sider - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:02 am:

    CICS was formerly headed by Beth Pervis- still an honorary member of the BTIA.

  6. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:10 am:

    @West Sider: You mean, the Beth Purvis who was paid a quarter million dollars a year from the DHS budget for the title, “Secretary of Education?”

    That Beth Purvis?

  7. - Huh? - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:11 am:

    “It’s time teachers were paid like professionals with similar educational requirements so they aren’t treated like servants”

    Second the motion. Minimum starting salary is good start.

    I would like to amend the motion to add that teachers are to be respected and valued for the work they do.

  8. - Not It - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:18 am:

    Im shocked that the leadership of the CTU would be pushing their charter members to strike. How much of this is just manufactured in order to embarrass charter schools, and how much of this is legit?

  9. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:19 am:

    This never would have happened if had gotten that hurricane like some wanted.

  10. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:22 am:

    =That Beth Purvis?=

    Yes, THAT Beth Purvis who was a member of the BTIA and was paid $250 k (partially to offset the “not good enough” benefits) to be our secretary of education. A position that has been vacant for some time.



  11. - Roman - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:23 am:

    == Chicago charter operators bragged that, unlike unionized public schools, charters were unaffected by teacher strikes. ==

    Not the only thing they bragged about that hasn’t exactly worked out. They also said they could operate with less funding and their test scores would be higher.

  12. - Actual Red - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:26 am:

    @Not It
    Based on what the article says about pay disparities, I’m guessing this didn’t take all that much manufacturing.

  13. - Question - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:40 am:

    what is BTIA?

  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:42 am:

    Raunerism has infected so many things, it’s thibgs like a strike that might be the cure to understand Rauner’s way(s) were never about “better” but about “breaking”

  15. - efudd - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:46 am:

    Educated people, providing the most vital of public services, demanding a living wage.
    The nerve.
    Seriously, this is so delicious it must be fattening.

  16. - City Zen - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:46 am:

    ==CTU’s leadership is so far to the left I’ve always wondered where their rank and file stood.==

    They might be shifting back. There’s a emerging sub-group in CTU called Members First pitting themselves against the current CORE regime. Seems that there are many members fed up with the SJW focus Karen Lewis pushed and want the union to return their focus more on compensation and work environment.

  17. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 12:05 pm:

    Years ago teachers were among the elite minority of college graduates in the community. They were similar to Doctors, Lawyers, and Ministers. Now they are part of a highly educated community and have lost their elite status. This stings.

    Yes they do important work. So does the engineer who designs safe roads, the mechanic who keeps the car safe to drive, the farmer who provides food, and many others.

  18. - wondering - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 1:56 pm:

    Conservatives backed “school choice” for one reason. Union busting. The irony is that charter school contract negotiations can’t be restricted by legiskation as public school contracts

  19. - City Zen - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 2:48 pm:

    ==The irony is that charter school contract negotiations can’t be restricted by legiskation as public school contracts==

    The bigger irony is that CTU now has to disclose their financials to the US Dept of Labor like the majority of unions across the country. I’ll take that trade all day, any day.

  20. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 3:37 pm:

    There are good reasons other than union busting to support school choice. There are school systems that are failing to educate students. Parents who can vote with their feet and the system declines further.

    School choice enables some of those mobile families to stay in place.

  21. - Travel Guy - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 9:47 pm:

    ==There are good reasons other than union busting to support school choice. There are school systems that are failing to educate students. Parents who can vote with their feet and the system declines further.==

    …spoken like someone who has only heard the buzz and hasn’t done any research on the subject. These schools get to choose who attends and who is kicked out based on whatever (often arbitrary) criteria they set. Still, they do not perform as well as local public schools in over half of cases.

    By design, this actually causes the system to decline further and bolsters the right’s desire to dismantle public schools so that they can fully access one of the last large, untapped pots of public money…and destroy unions.

  22. - Ed Equity - Wednesday, Oct 31, 18 @ 11:35 pm:

    Charter schools were originally created to innovate, to allow more personal choice, to develop new educational models, to change publicly funded education so that it could reach kids who had been previously written off and actualize the talent of those who can do better.

    More than a decade into this - the charter movement, and the advocacy system built to advance it, ultimately are now designed to protect it have become the thing it was once meant to change.

    The strike confirms charters are now “status quo 2.0″.

    Better than “status quo 1.0″, but still not innovating and creating the models it had once promised. Where will innovation in education come from now?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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