Chicago Public School teachers went back to work on Wednesday after the first strike in 25 years that was contentious, angry, and, in my opinion, pointless. And 350,000 students went without school for 7 full days while the Chicago Teachers Union made a point.
In July 2012, the Chicago Tribune published an article about teacher evaluations. The US DOE was pressuring Illinois to put the new evaluations in place for the 2014-15 school year, starting the roll-out of the evaluation system this fall. The state has an evaluation program in place and CPS wanted the standards to be higher for CPS teachers. The CTU wanted the standards to be closer to the US DOE minimum.
|(Scott Olson, Getty Images)|
But Ms. Lewis' reply was vituperative. She accused Rauner of being angry and writing with venom; I thought it was some anger, but mostly sadness and a sense of resignation. She trashes Rauner and wonders if he'd ever visited a CPS school reporting the inadequacy of facilities and the lack of materials. Meanwhile, teachers all over the world are doing remarkable teaching with less. And then she accuses him of some conspiracy, which was even more ludicrous than the rant itself.
At the end of the day, Karen Lewis may think the union "won," but most of the world seems to see this differently. A CPS parent writes that many recognized the strike was never really about money. She writes
We parents who want an educational system that can rescue those most at risk, realizing that no contractual agreement will solve those glaring inequalities. Real reform involves shifts in the economy that will take a groundswell of public support, collaboration, research and planning to accomplish. Most parents realize it is not what is happening in Chicago. If CTU continues to position this strike as a referendum on decades' worth of failed public policy while keeping our children out of school, you risk eventually losing my trust and support.And that is an important risk; almost as big as risking the education of 350,000 students for not winning much, if anything. As reported in a Washington Post blog,
All told, teachers won big on school days, got basically nothing on class size or air conditioning, got an ambiguous result relative to the district’s offers on pay and recall policy, and got a big win on evaluations, but not as big as the win they’d have gotten earlier this week. So the teachers definitely got more than they’d have gotten absent a strike, but some of the issues they were loudest on, such as class size, didn’t change at all.
The end result is that the Chicago public schools will base more of evaluations on tests, base more of their layoffs and recalls on evaluations rather than seniority, and have longer school days than before Emanuel took office.