The CPS Strike of 2012

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  1. nina64 profile image70
    nina64posted 11 years ago

    I'm hoping that the CTU and CPS can come up with some sort of agreement or compromise as this strike continues to keep our children out of school. All I can say is that the teachers of today are only asking for what is fair. They are teaching a whole new generation of kids who are much different than when I was growing up; and they are facing many issues in trying to keep their jobs. One side seems to say that they are making progress while another side states that they are still even farther apart in trying to resolve these issues. Any thoughts on how the two parties can resolve their differences? Will a mediator have to step and help resolve this conflict?

    1. Billy Hicks profile image74
      Billy Hicksposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      The average salary for a Chicago Public School Teacher: $76,000.
      The National average for a Public School Teacher: $50,600.

      Dropout Rate Chicago High Schools: 44.2% (2011 IL DoE)
      National Average: 24.5% (US. DoE)

      Let the numbers speak for themselves.

      1. Greg Horlacher profile image61
        Greg Horlacherposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        The figure is more like $57,000.  Keep in mind that these are all college graduates, many with advanced degrees. … -of-56720/

        Teachers make about 67% of other American college grads.  I have never known anybody to teach because of the money, although we all appreciate having a salary that allows us to live comfortably while paying off our college debt.

        Teachers can't do a thing about the dropout rate.  You won't find many kids who dropout because of teachers.  If anything causes kids to drop out, it's the forced and constant standardized testing that CTU is fighting against with the strike. 

        I worked in a Baltimore City school, and we did all we could to keep kids from dropping out.  We teachers were actually upset because our administration was finding ways to graduate kids who had not attended school the entire year - I personally dislike cheating to get up the graduation numbers. 

        Even with the cheating, my school was near the bottom of graduation rates.  The articles that published my school's graduation rate never bothered to mention that my school had a disproportionate number of English Language Learners, as well as a disproportionate number of students who had been pushed out of other city schools.  We took everybody, and we took a hit on our test scores and graduation rates because of it.  Believing teachers have anything to do with graduation rates is ridiculous.

        My goal today is to post a Hub that addresses some of the misinformation and teacher-bashing happening because of the CTU strike.  Very little of that misinformation or bashing is coming from actual teachers, because the garbage that Chicago schools have been dealing with has been happening to most of us across the country.

        1. wilderness profile image96
          wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Interesting link, especially in that every one of the commenters disagreed with the writer.

          I can't speak for the Chicago area, but $70,000 is nearly double the average college education income where I live.  Add in great bennies offered teachers (any govt. worker) and the extra three months each year that they can work another job and it seems more than adequate to me.

        2. Billy Hicks profile image74
          Billy Hicksposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          While I do sympathize with the conditions that teachers face across the country, and firmly believe that vast, comprehensive education reform should be at the very top of the current legislative agenda, there is a problem with your data.

          The numbers you're quoting from the Bureau of Labor Statistics use inaccurate sampling data. It's the numbers for all Education, Training, and Library Occupations. By widening the sampling base, the numbers are essentially being "watered down".

          No one is suggesting that teachers "have it good", not by any means. Aside from salary, there are two main sticking points in Chicago: the use of student performance on tests as a method of evaluating teachers, and giving principals more direct control over hiring for their schools.

          Student Performance: This to me, and most "outsiders", is where the teacher's argument loses all credibility. If you aren't going to judge teachers based on student performance, then by what standard are they to be judged? In my industry, my clients hire me to accomplish certain objectives, and I am judged by ability to meet those objectives; should teachers not be evaluated likewise?

          Principals Hiring: On this point, I side with the teachers. I can see where allowing Principals to do the hiring could be problematic. That being said, since they're (the Principals) held accountable for the performance of their school, they should certainly have a more active role in staffing.

          1. wilderness profile image96
            wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            If not the Principal, who should do the hiring?  Elected school board politicians that won't be working with the teachers?  City politicians?

            I've never worked a job where the person hiring me would not be my boss and knew what my job was; why should teachers be any different?

            1. Billy Hicks profile image74
              Billy Hicksposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              Principals should be involved, yes, however giving them complete control over hiring, without oversight, would create the potential for some problems.

              As to your second point, most companies have HR departments that are responsible for hiring independently.

              1. wilderness profile image96
                wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                Outside of general oversight, why wouldn't a principal have the authority to do his/her job without some bureaucrat nit picking and micro managing every decision he makes?  Let him do his job, keep a general overview of what he's doing and fire him if he makes too many errors or the work isn't getting done.

                IMO that's one of the problems with govt. workers getting anything done properly and efficiently - we refuse to give them the authority their job requires.  The public always "knows" better than the worker and demands the politicians manage closer - politicians that haven't a clue how to do the job but, following the dictates of equally clueless public, tries to micro manage.

                And yes, large corporations have HR departments in large facilities.  I've only worked for smaller companies and for small locations of large companies.  The hiring person was my boss to be.

                1. Greg Horlacher profile image61
                  Greg Horlacherposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                  Insert "teacher" in place of "principal" and you have a great idea of what's happening in education across the country.  We aren't treated as professionals, and everybody who has never done the job thinks they know how to do it (and that it's so easy!).  I can't really comment on what the actual issue is with principal hiring, because I have yet to find anything with the specifics on that issue.  it's not for lack of trying - I've read approximately 20 articles on the CTU strike in the last two days.  Here are the basics on what Chicago teachers (and all U.S. teachers, IMO) really want: … ts-deserve

                  1. Billy Hicks profile image74
                    Billy Hicksposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                    Here's a link to the "Principal Hiring":

           … n-teachers

                    Here's an excerpt: "Strike leaders, though, want to force principals such as Dr. Joenile Albert-Reese at Pritzker Elementary to hire virtually all laid-off union teachers before any promising newcomers could even be considered."

                    Again, I side largely with the teachers on that one. Principals need to have input, but there needs to be oversight.

            2. livewithrichard profile image73
              livewithrichardposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              The school district (Superintendents and administrators, not elected politicians)  should be responsible for hiring and firing, not the Principal... at least not here in Chicago.  You can't look at the schools here and justly compare them to other municipalities... other large cities yes but not the suburbs of those cities. 

              There is no doubt that the Principals should be the moving force behind Teacher evaluations, and if they are bad teachers then it should be dutifully noted but the Teacher's Union needs to take a more active role in getting poorly performing teachers back up to speed.

              For those that do not know... the financial issues have come to a compromise.  The only 2 issues remaining are about Principals having authority to fire and how to handle laid off teachers.

              Many Principals feel that they should be able to get fresh teachers instead of calling back laid off teachers.  I personally don't think that is right.  New teachers start at the bottom of the pay scale and Principals and their Assistants can mold these teachers to conform to their style whether it is a good style or not.  Laid off teachers, usually the last hired should be recalled prior to any new teachers being hired... it's one of the main reasons they have a Teacher's Union to protect job security.

              Besides all that, the conflicted issue of Principals firing poorly performing teachers is ridiculous considering that out of the 21,000+ Chicago teachers on 26 of them have been fired for this reason in the past 3 years.  It does not sound like a big enough issue to keep 400,000+ students out of school.

          2. Greg Horlacher profile image61
            Greg Horlacherposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            I'm friends with several Chicago teachers on Twitter, and not one is making anywhere near that supposed average.  It's a suspect number, for sure.

            Standardized tests are not an accurate measure of student achievement.  What is student achievement?  That is the conversation we should be having, instead of assuming these test scores actually mean anything.  Can your worth be measured by a bubble test?  Should your mentors be measured on how well you do a bubble test?  There are many ways to look at student achievement, but bubble tests are merely the easiest way to compile meaningless data.  Some sites to check out to research the problems with standardized tests, merit pay, and VAM:,,,

            Long story short, merit pay has never worked with education - and it rarely works in business in general.  Read Daniel Pink's "Drive" for more on that.

            I have to look up what exactly the CTU is against as far as principal powers (I haven't read anything about that yet), but as someone who has been railroaded by two different principals - I can guess.

            1. Billy Hicks profile image74
              Billy Hicksposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              As for the salary numbers, I'm not going to belabor the point; both sides are going to present favorable data. Teacher compensation is not really a critical issue for me since I'm not a teacher, I don't have any skin in that game. Should all teachers be better compensated; absolutely. 

              However, I am a parent, so I do have a vested interest in the quality of the teachers that will be teaching my children. Let's say, for the sake of this discussion, that you're correct about standardized tests and "merit pay"; what's the alternative? How should a teachers performance be evaluated if not by student performance?

              1. Greg Horlacher profile image61
                Greg Horlacherposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                I'm glad you asked! … -teachers/ … wanted=all

                I have my own ideas based on my experience so far, and that would probably be a great idea for a future hub.  Let me know what you think about the articles, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.

                1. Billy Hicks profile image74
                  Billy Hicksposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                  It's a good start. The only problem would be making sure that the changes that would be necessary for Nation Wide implementation don't alter the program so much that it loses it's effectiveness.

                  1. Greg Horlacher profile image61
                    Greg Horlacherposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                    Only recently have we been astounded at Finland's educational success.  Their scores are near the top worldwide, but the funny thing is that Finland doesn't really give a crap about doing well on that test.  Finland has virtually no standardized testing, and the fact that they do so well on such global testing is simply a byproduct of 20+ years of treating the teaching profession with respect.  We want a magic bullet to fix everything here in America, but Finland shows us that there are no shortcuts.

      2. tussin profile image59
        tussinposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Consider the cost of living in Chicago.  Much higher than the rest of the Midwest. Comparing one region's average salaries to the national average is useless without numbers on the average cost of housing, food, gas, transport, taxes, etc.

        1. psycheskinner profile image83
          psycheskinnerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          I compare it to my earnings and those of my peers in the same place with similar or better qualifications--and it seem about right. If this is about pay, I don't see a big case unless they can show a pegged comparison demonstrating inequity.  If it is about conditions, I do understand that. It's a tough job and safety issues, resourcing and performance pay are a big mess.

          1. tussin profile image59
            tussinposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            I have no opinion either way and you are making the right comparisons.  I was only responding to some commenter who was comparing the Chicago teachers' wages to the national average and using that as a basis for the argument that they are already paid enough.  And not knowing enough about Chicago schools I can't say whether or not student test scores should be a factor in teacher evaluations. Is it the teachers' fault if students dropout? What if a lot of students have a cultural background that places a low value on education? Those who live around Chicago would know the situation better.

            1. psycheskinner profile image83
              psycheskinnerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              That is exactly the issue.  if the area is bad enough even using score improvement over the year is not really fair.  Scared, hungry kids don't learn well no matter how well you delivery the curriculum.  IMHO only the quality of delivery can be a factor in performance pay.  The rest is just not under a classroom teacher's control.

            2. nina64 profile image70
              nina64posted 11 years agoin reply to this

              Hello tussin, I am definitely a product of the Chicago school system. But I attended Chicago Public Schools during the 70's and 80's, so things were much different during those times. I would have to say that I agree with you in that there is somewhat of a cultural background that does place a low value on education. It's sad to admit that some students just don't care about their educational future. If it were left up to them, they would be out on the streets selling drugs and doing all type s of illegal stuff. But at the same time, you have students that do care and are working hard to create a better future for themselves. I say that it is up to the individual student to be teachable so that our teachers can better serve them. It is true that the teachers deserve a living  wage so that they can provide for their families, but they also deserve better working environments in which they can teach their students. There has to be a balance in which the CTU and CPS can both agree as far the contract talks are concerned.

  2. molometer profile image80
    molometerposted 11 years ago

    Well I can tell you that in October here in the UK. The teaching unions are planning strike action because the British government will not plat fair. UK teachers have had a pay freeze for the last 3 years while the cost of living has shot through the roof. The kids are not the problem. It's the politicians that need some lessons in arithmetic. 10,000 teachers left the profession last year alone.

  3. nina64 profile image70
    nina64posted 11 years ago

    Hello molometer, Wow!!! That is a lot of teachers leaving in one year alone. Here in Illinois, we have the state lottery in which a portion is to be used for education. Where is that money going? Right now, it's a big mess. And if it does not get taken care of soon; our children will continue to miss out on their education. What is more important than that? Our children's futures are at stake.

    1. molometer profile image80
      molometerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I agree, it is a real mess.

  4. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 11 years ago

    I have to say 71-76,000 median salary sounds not unreasonable to me.

    1. molometer profile image80
      molometerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Most teachers have trained, studied and sacrificed earnings for at least a minimum 3 years to qualify to be a teacher here in the UK.
      The salaries here do not reflect teachers marketable skill levels. That is why there is an exodus from the profession.

      1. psycheskinner profile image83
        psycheskinnerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I would like to see an analysis proving that by comparison with equivalent professions and people with equivalent qualifications.  I earn about that (at the low end of that range) and consider it a fair wage, and I have a PhD.

        I respect the hell out of teachers and unions.  But not this specific union.  If they are a good union they need to work on their PR.  The media interviews have been extremely unimpressive.  Lots of emotive bickering, no information.

        1. Greg Horlacher profile image61
          Greg Horlacherposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          There's no information because CTU doesn't have much truck with the media in general.  Here you go:  Timeline-in-articles leading up to strike  What the CTU really wants:  Someone who gets it putting it in perspective: An actual Chicago teacher whose experience closely mirrors the experience I had in Baltimore:

  5. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 11 years ago

    Protesting conditions makes complete sense to me.  That is entirely different from wages.  i agree that performance pay for teachers based on testing is a complete nonsense.

    The main coverage I have seen in the Union leader giving press conferences, she focused on dissing the opposition, not informing the public and also copped a significant attitude. God know she may have a good reason but prime time TV is when you hit your talking points, not when you bitch about your opposition. She also didn't know basic facts like when talks would resume.  I think the need a press agent or PR person, stat.


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