Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Storm clouds on the horizon as schools open in Chicago

Another teachers strike now seems likely.
As the new school year begins in Chicago, there's dark storm clouds on the horizon. Public schools have been hit with a devastating 1-2 punch delivered by Gov. Rauner and Mayor Emanuel. The first punch has schools operating with no state budget for the second straight year. The second has teachers working without a contract for the past 13 months.

These, combined with the latest round of state and school board-imposed austerity measures and policies like lump-sum budgeting to schools, have led to the lay-offs of 1,000 more teachers and staff just three weeks before school opens. The impact of the lay-offs will be felt well beyond the classroom and will ripple throughout the city's economy.

Principals have been complicit in the process, getting rid of their most skilled and experienced (highest-paid) teachers and replacing them in the classroom with unqualified newbies or administrative assistants, with barely a word of protest.

Hopefully new militant leadership of the Principals Assoc. in the form of Troy LaRaviere will help rebuild that organization which is now just a shell. Be sure and read Troy's blog post on this topic,  "Dear Mayor Emanuel: I resign my position as principal of the #1 rated neighborhood school in Chicago." 

Ben Joravsky's latest piece in The Reader illustrates what happens to a school system that doesn't value veteran teachers like Rob DiPrima.
DiPrima was getting laid off because apparently we've reached the point where certified social studies teachers are a luxury some Chicago public schools can't afford.
But Emanuel changed that funding formula in an effort to save money in the classroom—leaving him free to spend it on things like the new Marriott Hotel and DePaul basketball arena he's building with TIF funds in the South Loop.
CPS is going the way of everything with the adjective public in front, as in public space, public health, public housing and public decision making.

With no contract agreement in sight and teachers being pushed to the wall, an October strike now seems likely. Everyone will be watching to see how the rank-and-file votes this week. The state's anti-union laws require that 75% of CTU members vote yes for a legal strike. A strong show of unity and community support may offer the only glimmer of hope.


  1. Last night on wttw, rahm was shameless in his lecturing to teachers. he must truly think teachers are stupid, that we can't do the math, that we don't understand that the contract offered 8 months ago was a path to lower salaries, higher class sizes, and loaded classrooms. it is time to strike back at this arrogance.

  2. I predict 94% in favor of a strike, and I will support them.


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