Tuesday, August 21, 2012

There's a man going round taking names

There's a man going 'round taking names
There's a man going 'round taking names
He's been taking my father's name
an' he left my heart in vain
there's a man going 'round taking names
-- Leadbelly

By asking CPS principals to spy on their own teachers and report "lawful" union activity back to the central office, Rahm and Brizard have taken their anti-teacher, anti-union crusade to a whole new level. By doing it openly, in the form of a "confidential" memo, which they must have known would be leaked by union-friendly principals, the pair have sabotaged any possibility of trust between school leaders and their staffs as the school year opens. They have also made it clear that instead of bargaining with the CTU in good faith to try and reach a fair settlement and avoid a strike, the pair have instead decided to wage a campaign of intimidation. It's nothing less than an open declaration of war on the CTU.

CTU leaders plan to brief the union’s House of Delegates this Wednesday on what they are calling intransigent negotiations on the part of CPS— and possibly ask for issuance of a 10-day notice of intent to strike.

Last night, I asked AFT Pres. Randi Weingarten if she would take action in response to the spy memo. She called the CPS action "stupid, terrible" and promised to "reach out to the CTU" and "follow up."

Now I'm waiting to hear what the Principals Association is going to do. Brizard's memo more or less redefines the role of school principal from instructional leader anti-union spy. Brizard has already put in place  “performance contracts” for principals, setting specific goals in areas such as “effective school organization." I guess we now know what that means to the folks downtown.

A report in today's Sun-Times indicates that Rahm/Brizard are preparing to use CPS' 15,000 non-teaching employees as scabs in the event of a strike. In it, CPS liar-in-chief Becky Carrol tells reporters Spielman and Rossi Carroll that  CPS merely sent principals a “straightforward” email directing them “not to interfere with union activities.’’ As we all know now, here's what the memo actually said.

Bernie Eschoo, a 29 year CPS veteran, who was among dozens of teachers who picketed Monday outside six CPS schools, told the Sun-Times reporters, “when you get to the cliff, at some point, you have to make a stand, and he [the mayor] has forced us into that.’’

Joe Scotese, an English teacher at Whitney Young High School who picketed Monday at a school on the South Side, told the Tribune, that in addition to pay and working conditions, he's concerned about larger issues like taking a stand against the private companies that run charter schools.
'We all know the economy is tough, we all know we're in a recession, but part of the fight here is making sure this is an attractive profession for people to get into now and in the future."
When I asked one south-side principal about the memo, he responded, "are they out of their fu**king minds?"

1 comment:

  1. Wow!
    Last year, when I met with my union rep, we had a chance to talk in depth.

    She told me that things would get worse and the agendas that were coming down the pipeline were considered abusive tactics. She said that the tactics ranged from extreme circumstances to simply strange.

    For example, she explained how sick days would no longer be accumulated in exchange for maternity leave. Thus, teachers would be capped at a certain pay amount for unused sick days already saved, regardless of how many days they saved.

    In addition, principals would report teachers who used sick days in general. Furthermore, the extent of testing would become obscene and unrealistic.

    The teaching demands would be considered unrealistic on purpose.

    This is not an attractive profession by any means, any more. Since their are no jobs, and teachers are constantly loosing their jobs, college students should boycott the profession in effort to make a stand. If their were a shortage of teachers, as oppose to a saturated market of teachers, I bet the schools would make the profession very attractive.

    After working within CPS for the past 14 years, It seems as if the working environment and working conditions have become so toxic and unhealthy.

    It seems as if the amount of abuse, demands, and situations have been put in motion on purpose to create confusion and chaos. I couldn't live with that amount of confusion and chaos in my life and I refused to be abused. I stood up for myself and intentionally walked away from my position on purpose!
    It feels good!

    But for some reason, I continue to read about what is going on with CPS with the genuine hope that out of all the chaos comes some sense of order.

    Maybe CPS would have to completely crumble in effort to be rebuilt in a way that would set all of the steak holders up to be successful.

    Your blogg is amazing and I love the detail! Thank you so much for sharing!


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