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Thread: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    I have a solution, lol. Tax the **** out of incomes in the 60-75k range. Make the teachers themselves foot the bill for their raise for a bit.
    Quote Originally Posted by calamity View Post
    Reports indicate that everyone knew he was hauling a bunch of guns up there. But, since you brought it up, there's something which should be illegal: guns that breakdown.

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Here's my take on why the Chicago Teacher's Union is on strike, based largely on my own feelings, but also on conversations I have had with other teachers:

    Pay and benefits are not really a big issue. I saw a number of signs today saying things like "If you think it's about the money, you need to do your homework" or "It's not about the money." It seems at this point especially the board and the CTU are close to agreeing on pay and benefits going forward. This is honestly at the bottom of my agenda.

    I honestly think that the strike has everything to do with the complete lack of respect given teachers by the board, the media, and others. As a teacher, it seriously feels as if the board and the powers that be believe that most if not all teachers do not know how to teach their own students, that we are all lazy, that we don't try, that we are bad teachers that can't be fired, and that we are not doing our job. Every few years there is a new program/curriculum/acronym/pedagogy that someone at some fancy college far away from our actual classrooms dreamed up. These programs are bought by the board for tons of money (and I wouldn't be surprised if the money often goes to those who are best connected, not those who have the best programs) They are applied to many different schools with no attention paid to each schools individual needs. The programs often focus on what they want the students to achieve, but do not take into consideration where the students are currently at in terms of ability, and hence have no viable game plan as to how to get the students to achieve. These programs last a few years, are unsuccessful and are replaced by some other doomed program. They don't trust us to know how to teach our own kids! Stop micromanaging us!!!

    These programs/curriculums, the longer school day, merit based testing, the closure of low performing schools, all of these ideas that are implemented in hopes of improving student outcomes came from the top. Who is missing from this conversation? The teachers! We are HONESTLY the experts when it comes how to best educate our students. We know intimately what are students can and can't do, and are constantly working on ways to move them forward. We are with them everyday, for 9-10 months a year. Our job, our passion, is to figure out ways to reach them and get them to grow as students and as people. But NO ONE has been asking us what WE think about what should be done! And again, it seems to me that this comes down to a lack of respect. They are wasting their most precious resource, US! Beyond that, they are treating us like children and not respecting the time, effort, and professionalism we put into the job! Their assumption is that we are lazy, that we are not to be trusted, and that we need to be constantly monitored otherwise we wont do our job.

    I completely understand why people would be for a merit pay system. I personally would not be against one, but I would need to see it first. I would personally worry that it would end up rewarding teachers who teach at the better schools -selective enrollment schools, magnet schools, etc.- and punish those who teach in the most challenging schools, which is the exact opposite of what you want. I would worry about whether I will be responsible for students who miss 10%-25%-50% of class. I would be worried that it would be to my disadvantage to teach students how to do proofs in Geometry because they are not on the ACT, even though I feel that teaching students that type of rigorous logical thinking is extremely beneficial. I would worry that perhaps the way the test is set up 99% of the teachers are evaluated as poor and then the board has justification not to pay us more money. I would worry that it would encourage gaming of the system. I would worry that there are 100 other issues I haven't thought of. Furthermore, I think that the focus on standardized testing ends up stifling teachers. Teachers are going to end up teaching to the test, and is that what you would want for your child? 7 hours of ACT prep? The teachers of Chicago are already under a lot of pressure because many of us work in very challenging environments. Ease up on us, have faith that we know how to teach, and let us use our own intuition.

    Finally, there is a constant threat for all teachers that their school might be closed. They closed my school despite a huge turnout of teachers, students and community members against the school closing as well as a finding from an independent arbiter that suggested they keep my school open. They continue to use low test scores as a justification to close down neighborhood schools and then open charter schools in their place. Many charter schools end up doing everything in their power to avoid the old students that went to that school and kick/"counsel" them out if they end up applying. What is happening is a privatization of public education that is spearheaded by a bunch of arrogant, misguided millionaires that would never send their children to a Chicago Public Schools, that have never consulted the teachers about what they feel would be the best way to improve student achievement, that hold educators in low regard, that are guided, it seems to me, only by their own ideology. And I hesitate to accuse, but I get the sense that some people see the public educational system and all of those tax dollars as something to be harvested for their own personal gain. I worry that what we are going to end up with is a teacher force with no union, where teachers are shut out of the decisions that impact their classrooms, where talented people are discouraged from becoming teachers in Chicago, especially in tougher neighborhoods, due to low pay and deplorable teaching conditions. In the end, we'll end up with a much worse public school system in Chicago, albeit a cheaper one. And the middle class will shrink ever smaller. Is that really what you want?

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Phil Cantor, one of the strike organizers/leaders/member of Teachers for Social Justice, says that it's not about the money; it's just the legal reason that allows them to strike.

    Striking Teachers, Parents Join Forces to Oppose "Corporate" Education Model in Chicago

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by OpportunityCost View Post
    Know all those people in their 20s with degrees that cant find work? Pick one school and replace all the teachers with new hires. Bet they come back to the table in a hurry.
    Friggin great point. Mayor Emanuel should hold a press conference and say "For all of you out of work, come to Chicago, I will give you the current benefits that teachers here enjoy. All you have to do is agree to the conditions I put forth to the old teachers and the job is yours." That would be great. If we thought the Gov Walker recall fail was big, that would be huge.
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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    If you watch the clip I posted above, you may see a bit of an agenda. For example, charter schools are just a technique for "gentrification." Yes. And those teachers are all out there striking so that the students have "wrap-around services" for their students.

    So at least one of the organizers of this strike is noble and progressive. But I still think the rank-and-file out there aren't striking for "social justice." I think they want more money and don't want to be evaluated.

    I'd have much more sympathy if it weren't education majors who created this culture of measurement and assessment, which has now infested the collegiate level.

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by nathanj63 View Post
    Here's my take on why the Chicago Teacher's Union is on strike, based largely on my own feelings, but also on conversations I have had with other teachers:

    Pay and benefits are not really a big issue. I saw a number of signs today saying things like "If you think it's about the money, you need to do your homework" or "It's not about the money." It seems at this point especially the board and the CTU are close to agreeing on pay and benefits going forward. This is honestly at the bottom of my agenda.

    I honestly think that the strike has everything to do with the complete lack of respect given teachers by the board, the media, and others. As a teacher, it seriously feels as if the board and the powers that be believe that most if not all teachers do not know how to teach their own students, that we are all lazy, that we don't try, that we are bad teachers that can't be fired, and that we are not doing our job. Every few years there is a new program/curriculum/acronym/pedagogy that someone at some fancy college far away from our actual classrooms dreamed up. These programs are bought by the board for tons of money (and I wouldn't be surprised if the money often goes to those who are best connected, not those who have the best programs) They are applied to many different schools with no attention paid to each schools individual needs. The programs often focus on what they want the students to achieve, but do not take into consideration where the students are currently at in terms of ability, and hence have no viable game plan as to how to get the students to achieve. These programs last a few years, are unsuccessful and are replaced by some other doomed program. They don't trust us to know how to teach our own kids! Stop micromanaging us!!!

    These programs/curriculums, the longer school day, merit based testing, the closure of low performing schools, all of these ideas that are implemented in hopes of improving student outcomes came from the top. Who is missing from this conversation? The teachers! We are HONESTLY the experts when it comes how to best educate our students. We know intimately what are students can and can't do, and are constantly working on ways to move them forward. We are with them everyday, for 9-10 months a year. Our job, our passion, is to figure out ways to reach them and get them to grow as students and as people. But NO ONE has been asking us what WE think about what should be done! And again, it seems to me that this comes down to a lack of respect. They are wasting their most precious resource, US! Beyond that, they are treating us like children and not respecting the time, effort, and professionalism we put into the job! Their assumption is that we are lazy, that we are not to be trusted, and that we need to be constantly monitored otherwise we wont do our job.

    I completely understand why people would be for a merit pay system. I personally would not be against one, but I would need to see it first. I would personally worry that it would end up rewarding teachers who teach at the better schools -selective enrollment schools, magnet schools, etc.- and punish those who teach in the most challenging schools, which is the exact opposite of what you want. I would worry about whether I will be responsible for students who miss 10%-25%-50% of class. I would be worried that it would be to my disadvantage to teach students how to do proofs in Geometry because they are not on the ACT, even though I feel that teaching students that type of rigorous logical thinking is extremely beneficial. I would worry that perhaps the way the test is set up 99% of the teachers are evaluated as poor and then the board has justification not to pay us more money. I would worry that it would encourage gaming of the system. I would worry that there are 100 other issues I haven't thought of. Furthermore, I think that the focus on standardized testing ends up stifling teachers. Teachers are going to end up teaching to the test, and is that what you would want for your child? 7 hours of ACT prep? The teachers of Chicago are already under a lot of pressure because many of us work in very challenging environments. Ease up on us, have faith that we know how to teach, and let us use our own intuition.

    Finally, there is a constant threat for all teachers that their school might be closed. They closed my school despite a huge turnout of teachers, students and community members against the school closing as well as a finding from an independent arbiter that suggested they keep my school open. They continue to use low test scores as a justification to close down neighborhood schools and then open charter schools in their place. Many charter schools end up doing everything in their power to avoid the old students that went to that school and kick/"counsel" them out if they end up applying. What is happening is a privatization of public education that is spearheaded by a bunch of arrogant, misguided millionaires that would never send their children to a Chicago Public Schools, that have never consulted the teachers about what they feel would be the best way to improve student achievement, that hold educators in low regard, that are guided, it seems to me, only by their own ideology. And I hesitate to accuse, but I get the sense that some people see the public educational system and all of those tax dollars as something to be harvested for their own personal gain. I worry that what we are going to end up with is a teacher force with no union, where teachers are shut out of the decisions that impact their classrooms, where talented people are discouraged from becoming teachers in Chicago, especially in tougher neighborhoods, due to low pay and deplorable teaching conditions. In the end, we'll end up with a much worse public school system in Chicago, albeit a cheaper one. And the middle class will shrink ever smaller. Is that really what you want?
    Without even reading your whole post, I think I can refute the basic premise of it with some simple, straighforward stats. In 2008, which is the last year I can find nationwide high school grad rates, the average grad rate was just over 75%.The Condition of Education - Elementary and Secondary Education - Student Effort, Persistence and Progress - Public High School Graduation Rates - Indicator 32 (2012) In 2011, Chicago public schools only graduated 60% of their students. Chicago Public Schools : CPS to Hit Highest Graduation Rate on Record This School Year The bad part is, they are touting that like its some outstanding achievement. In addition, this is on the tail end of a 5 year effort to improve grad rates. So, in 2008, their rate would have been lower than 60%. More in the 55% range. A full 20 points below the national average. Even NY City averages 5% higher and the city has over 6 million more people in it. Houston, the next lowest population city under Chicago, graduates over 70% of their students. So excuse me if I have no sympathy for the teachers in Chicago. They are some of the highest paid in the country ($75,000 a year Chicago Public School Teachers Highlight Perennial Debate of Teacher Pay - ABC News, more than NY teachers New York Public-School-Teacher Salaries) yet some of the most underperforming.
    “Mr. Speaker, I once again find myself compelled to vote against the annual budget resolution for a very simple reason: it makes government bigger.” ― Ron Paul
    Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty. – Thomas Jefferson

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by MarineTpartier View Post
    Without even reading your whole post, I think I can refute the basic premise of it with some simple, straighforward stats. In 2008, which is the last year I can find nationwide high school grad rates, the average grad rate was just over 75%.The Condition of Education - Elementary and Secondary Education - Student Effort, Persistence and Progress - Public High School Graduation Rates - Indicator 32 (2012) In 2011, Chicago public schools only graduated 60% of their students. Chicago Public Schools : CPS to Hit Highest Graduation Rate on Record This School Year The bad part is, they are touting that like its some outstanding achievement. In addition, this is on the tail end of a 5 year effort to improve grad rates. So, in 2008, their rate would have been lower than 60%. More in the 55% range. A full 20 points below the national average. Even NY City averages 5% higher and the city has over 6 million more people in it. Houston, the next lowest population city under Chicago, graduates over 70% of their students. So excuse me if I have no sympathy for the teachers in Chicago. They are some of the highest paid in the country ($75,000 a year Chicago Public School Teachers Highlight Perennial Debate of Teacher Pay - ABC News, more than NY teachers New York Public-School-Teacher Salaries) yet some of the most underperforming.
    You just boiled down the performance of teachers down to graduation rate. That is one of the most epic fails of an argument that I have ever seen in my life. That would be like blaming the huge spike in violence in Chicago on low performing police officers or blaming the collapse of the auto industry on car salesmen. For ****'s sake people, a single factor like graduation rates does not measure the quality of teacher performance. It's that kind of simplistic evaluation that teachers are fighting against in Chicago.

    I'm sorry MTP. I know you're a intelligent guy, but I cannot take these sorts of analyses.

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    Phil Cantor, one of the strike organizers/leaders/member of Teachers for Social Justice, says that it's not about the money; it's just the legal reason that allows them to strike.

    Striking Teachers, Parents Join Forces to Oppose "Corporate" Education Model in Chicago
    Yeah, this is a point I mentioned earlier. Bargaining rights are limited. In fact, Mayor Emmanuel may try to legally stop the strike because the teachers are trying to bargain for things like smaller class sizes and air conditioning in all school which they don't have the legal right to bargain for. However, what they can negotiate is salary, so that's going to be the focus since focusing on that guarantees the right the strike and also gives them leverage for bargaining for other things.

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    You just boiled down the performance of teachers down to graduation rate. That is one of the most epic fails of an argument that I have ever seen in my life. That would be like blaming the huge spike in violence in Chicago on low performing police officers or blaming the collapse of the auto industry on car salesmen. For ****'s sake people, a single factor like graduation rates does not measure the quality of teacher performance. It's that kind of simplistic evaluation that teachers are fighting against in Chicago.

    I'm sorry MTP. I know you're a intelligent guy, but I cannot take these sorts of analyses.
    Graduation rates are important. If Johnny can't read, write, or do math, at least theoretically (and discounting social promotion), he won't graduate. Who's supposed to be teaching little Johnny the "Three R's"?

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    The teachers in Chicago are so bad that the high school kids are killing each other.

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