Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Claypool won't negotiate with CTU. With Rahm on the ropes, he has no juice.

CPS broke on purpose. Claypool has no juice.

As Chicago teachers take their strike vote this week, CEO Forrest Claypool and Rahm's hand-picked school board, are refusing to negotiate a contract with the CTU. In a way, it's hard to blame 'em. Broke-on-purpose CPS has little with which to negotiate and Claypool has no political juice.

The board's bargaining position has been badly weakened by a mayor who has autocratic control over the schools, but whose own credibility rating is currently lower than snail shit. Not to mention, Claypool's predecessor is facing prison time and a new federal Civil Rights investigation underway over violations by Rahm's police department.

Today, the union filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, saying they’re ready to enlist the negotiating help of a fact-finding panel that’s part of a lengthy process laid out by state law. The union had asked Chicago Public Schools in late November to seek the fact-finder to hammer out a new contract to replace the one that expired on June 30.

Pres. Lewis
In a Chicago Magazine interview with Carol Felsenthal, quotable CTU Pres. Karen Lewis, feeling "stronger than ever", shoots straight from the hip.
Is the CTU still looking for a one-year contract as opposed to CPS’s preference for a multi-year contract?It’s irrelevant now. We’re almost halfway done with the school year. And how do you sign a deal with a broke company, broke on purpose.
 What do you mean, “broke on purpose”?CPS has chosen to spend money in ways that are not the best. Take the longer school day and school year. Rahm couldn’t afford it but did it because he was determined. Or the $200 million spent on an Aramark [cleaning] contract when they didn’t even calculate square footage, and the buildings are nastier than before. CPS has not sought revenue options that are readily available. [She mentions reconfiguring TIFs, suing banks over toxic swaps, imposing a commuter tax, and closing corporate loopholes as revenue options.]
CPS CEO Forrest Claypool first announced that 500 teacher layoffs and cuts to programs would be made by Thanksgiving. Now the date has been pushed back to early February. What changed?He realized you can’t do schools with 500 layoffs. Who’s going to put the grades in? It’s just posturing. This is part of Claypool’s knowing nothing about education.
Do you talk much to Claypool?I don’t. I’ve just had a couple of conversations with him, fewer than with Barbara Byrd-Bennett, or even [previous CPS CEOs Jean-Claude] Brizard or [Ron] Huberman. Huberman was a technocrat but I had more contact with him.
I think Claypool was an unfortunate choice. He doesn’t really understand things that need to be done. It’s all about my boys and cronyism getting a residence waiver for his top guy. These guys say they have to work with their people. It’s completely opposite of what we do. We don’t control which kids are in the classroom. We have to figure out how to work with them.
Let's see if the teachers' strike vote gets things moving.


  1. Great post, Mike. As Karen had cleverly forewarned,"Run, Forrest,run," he should have listened. Another sad tale, just as ex-Gov. Quinn--both started out as progressives (I had even worked on petition-signing for Claypool when he ran against Stroger)--& both succumbed to the "absolute power corrupts absolutely" rule, it would appear. Never mind--whatever happens, they won't starve, that's for sure. How long will it be before Rahm casts F.C. aside, for being a "distraction?" (That verbiage is becoming almost as famous as "never let a good crisis go to waste.")
    Actually, though--& somewhat off-thread--Rahm, himself, has become the "distraction."

  2. The vast amounts of money going to private charter school operators is at the core of not only the lack of funds for schools but the lack of pension payments as well. This started with Daley and is only getting worse as absolute powers at city hall work to privatize education in Chicago and get the CTU off their political backs. I only wish that folks in Chicago realize what is happening before it is too late. Teachers should not be the only ones trying to support children in this city.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.