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Thread: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

  1. #521
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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    For the record, the Union and the Board have come close to agreement on salary already, so I don't know why people are still debating that.
    That's because all these people think that that's all there is.
    “The people do no want virtue; but they are the dupes of pretended patriots” : Elbridge Gerry of Mass; Constitutional Convention 1787

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Camlon View Post
    I also believe pay should be based on performance and demand, but we got to be reasonable. That is not going to happen in Chicago.

    While Chicago has no problems filling any positions even among the worst schools, they have 100s of applicants in the richer areas. They should start by reducing wages in the richer areas.
    This is a very common problem. Coincidentally, that's where schools are getting hit the hardest by standardized testing and poor physical conditions, in addition to the perdition already brought in by the students in these schools. It is difficult to keep teachers in places such as these.
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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Donahue View Post
    Conditions might be different but I don't think they're any worse in less affluent neighborhoods.

    In my experience, friends who are teachers almost unanimously agree teaching in more affluent neighborhoods is more difficult because the parents are so involved. Drawbacks to the less affluent neighborhoods tend to involve less desirable places to eat lunch, etc.
    No offense, but you have no idea what you are talking about. I've taught in both such places, and let me tell you, teachers that put up with inner-city classrooms year after year have some of the thickest skin on the planet.
    "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons." --Hillary Rodham Clinton
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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by jet57 View Post
    That's because all these people think that that's all there is.
    Yeah, the main problem of this thread is that there are a lot uninformed people merely projecting their opinions on unions and teachers onto the strike and not doing any actual research.

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinKohler View Post
    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.

    Or we can just triple the income tax due for everyone in the teaching profession. That will help us reduce the debt.

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Good lord. I take off to eat. I go do a few things, and when I get back, there's 19 emails I gotta answer.

    I'm going to go watch TV. I can't look at this thing anymore.
    “The people do no want virtue; but they are the dupes of pretended patriots” : Elbridge Gerry of Mass; Constitutional Convention 1787

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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?
    You, sir, just won this thread. BRAVO.
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    "Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections." --Mitt Romney

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    #1 -- Then the union should say that in writing, shouldn't they? Your union won't even put the sticking points along with their proposed resolution down on paper. How is that good faith negotiating? "We'll just sit here and keep moving the target." Why aren't they putting on paper that ya'll agree to the increases as proposed? If it's not about the money, the union would do that.

    #2 -- You don't go on strike because of a lack of respect. How would anyone know if all of those "micromanaging" points coming down from above will work or not? The union has blocked their implementation at every turn...spending millions to lobby the state legislature to do so.

    #3 -- See, that's what drives the rest of us crazy: "I personally wouldn't be against one (merit-based pay), but . . ." Well, wake up and smell the coffee. The rest of the world operates in a merit pay world. What is stifling about standardized tests? There should be a standard curriculum. How a teacher wants to teach that curriculum should be up to them. But WHAT to teach shouldn't be up to individual teachers. Why should it be?

    #4 -- With all your worries, it would seem that you have no confidence in yourself beyond the job securities your union can provide. That's really sad. Especially for a teacher.

    #5 -- Teachers should be fighting for the same privilege charter schools have. Why are teachers' unions not clamoring for an environment that's conducive to learning?? Once a child is 16 years old, when they're sleeping in class, disrupting the classroom, bullying the nerds, making the hallways unsafe, intimidating teachers, slashing tires - they should be gone. Give the ones who want to learn a safe place to learn. Why isn't the teachers' union fighting for that?

    And you know what I read here? It's all about the teachers. Even in your very thoughtful post, there is little within it to indicate that your concern is for the children.

    The light is shining brightly on public unions today . . . especially teachers' unions. I think you need to really examine what your union is fighting for. Is it for your dues? Or is it for what will actually help schools improve? And then, after you've done that? Realize that the taxpayers are on overload.
    #1 My guess would be that it is proper procedure not to air negotiations publicly. But really, I wish they would too.

    #2 I think you do strike for a lack of respect when the result is everyone is telling you what to do and know one is asking you what you need even though you are the expert and you are on the front line. And I personally was given a largely unusable curriculum to follow to teach math, have had to give countless standardized tests, are currently teaching to the new CORE curriculum, etc.

    #3 I just want to see the system of merit pay developed before I blindly say yes to merit pay. And here's one of my problems with using standardized tests. At my first school my students averaged 14 on the ACT. If you guess, you should get around a 12. When students are so far behind, how can you use that data to truly measure growth? What if I moved a student from a 4th grade level of understanding to an 8th level of understanding in one year? That would be pretty good I think. But is that going to show up on the ACT? See what I'm saying?

    #4 I'm not sure what you're saying here. I have plenty of confidence in my own abilities. I worry that the method of evaluation will not be accurate.

    #5 Part of you is with me, to be honest. And the union does get involved if a teacher feels that the administration is not following the Student Code of Conduct in terms of disciplining children. But I think the SCC is plenty strict if properly implemented and balanced. It seems to me like the charter schools do not try and reform students, but rather to punish and thusly encourage them to transfer out.

    Most of my post is about the children. If people asked teachers what would help them do a better job, or at least stopped micromanaging them and measuring them and just trusted them to do their job, their students would do a lot better. That was my first point. The merit pay piece was more about teachers, granted. But the last point about charter schools addressed my concern that if we continue to go down that path we are going to end up with a system that is a lot worse for our students.

    I think you need to realize that the teachers ARE the union. We are one and the same. =]

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    Re: Chicago Teachers Strike 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by nathanj63 View Post
    #1 My guess would be that it is proper procedure not to air negotiations publicly. But really, I wish they would too.
    I didn't copy the whole post just to save space. I really appreciate your taking the time to share your views. It's helpful to hear it from a teacher in the system, Nathan. I probably have some misconceptions since I get my info second-hand from family/friends who are teachers -- and obviously!! When they're you're family and friends, you don't go into it quite the way we're doing it here. Ha!

    You know what strikes me as odd? The fact that you aren't kept abreast of exactly what it is your union is fighting for and against. I mean, they tell you in broad strokes...but why don't you KNOW what the evaluation system is that they're proposing? (I know it's because you aren't told...not that you yourself are uninformed.) It's also my understanding that union teachers were involved in designing the evaluation system. And that it's only being used on non-tenured teachers this year...that a committee will then be put together, including teachers, to tweak it for the future. This seems so reasonable!

    At any rate, it's tough on families and tough on kids. I hope it gets settled soon -- at a cost that taxpayers can afford.

    I'm going to sign off for the night. It's been very interesting discussing this with you. Thank you.
    The devil whispered in my ear, "You cannot withstand the storm." I whispered back, "I am ​the storm."

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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.
    First of all, I fail to see how graduation rates refute the basic premise of my post. Maybe they refute what you decided my basic premise was on your own.

    My own research showed New York at 60% (from WSJ). Same with Philly at 60%. I can post links if you want. As far as Houston goes, I googled "how does houston calculate graduation rates" and the first page listed was this:

    "A few years ago, the Houston School District was lauded as having very high graduation rates. But the so-called
    “Houston Miracle” became famously mired in controversy after a state audit discovered that at some schools, more
    than half the students classified as “discharged” should have been classified as dropouts.
    How graduation rates were calculated for the class of 2004
    Texas’s practices in defining the graduation rate are partly to blame for what expert Dan Losen of the Civil Rights
    Project at Harvard University has called the “miracle of misrepresentation.” The state continues to boast an
    84.6% graduation rate for the class of 2004, while independent estimates put the rate between 65 and 70%.
    • Texas records 20 different graduation types, all counted as receiving regular diplomas.
    • From the ninth-grade cohort, Texas subtracts students in 29 “leaver” categories, including separate categories
    for students who are enrolled in GED programs, incarcerated, and participating in court-ordered alternative
    programs; students who transfer or intend to transfer (without confirmation); unknown and unlisted leavers;
    and students who leave under administrative withdrawal. None of these students are considered dropouts;
    they are just not counted. For the purpose of calculating high school graduation rates, these students have
    simply ceased to exist.
    Step 1. Identify the cohort for the class of 2004: 348,039 entering ninth-grade students.
    Step 2. Adjust the cohort: 348,039 students minus 60,527 leavers plus 16,601 students with data errors
    equals the adjusted cohort for the class of 2004: 270,911 students (the denominator).
    Step 3. Identify the graduates for the class of 2004: 270,911 minus 10,507 dropouts plus 19,826 students
    staying in school plus 11,445 GED recipients equals total graduates for the class of 2004: 229,133
    students (the numerator).
    Step 4. Divide graduates by the adjusted cohort: 84.6% graduation rate."

    So Houston calculates graduation rates differently and to their own advantage it seems.

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