General discussion

This won't help anyone's cause

Rahm Emanuel condemns Chicago teacher's strike

I know whenever a new school levy is on the ballot, the cry of "it's all about the kids" is what we hear from the teaching staff. Well, now we have tens of thousands of kids with no place to go because the teachers want more pay, better health benefits, and improved job security. It's not about the kids anymore. Good luck the next time you ask the taxpayers for more money.
Discussion is locked
Reply to: This won't help anyone's cause
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: This won't help anyone's cause
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
- Collapse -
Biting the hand that feeds them?

Sounds like the Unions are wanting payback ahead of time this go-round.........and it isn't working out for them with their new mayor. Rahm wanted so badly to be mayor of Chicago.....wonder if he's having second thoughts now with all the nightmares he's having to deal with simultaneously. Chicago doesn't sound like the same town the BO 'club'/'machine' it used to be for them.

- Collapse -
I've been through teachers' strikes in NYC

There were two of them back in the 60s, when I was in grade school. I don't believe there's been one since. It's a tough call -- on one hand, yes, the kids are being deprived (in our case, they extended the school year after the strike ended, by shortening the winter and spring breaks). On the other, a strike is the most effective way for a union to force management to negotiate, and usually just the threat of one will do the job.

According to your link, wages are only part of the reason for the strike. The union also apparently feels it is not fair to base teacher performance evaluations so heavily on standardized test scores. I see their point on that one. Many different things determine whether a student is succeeding, not just a single state-mandated test. And if a student isn't succeeding, it may or may not be the teacher's fault.

Nobody goes into that profession for the money. Considering what they do and the enormous responsibility they have for the future of our country, they are all GROSSLY underpaid.

- Collapse -
My sister is a math teacher

I know what some go through. It's not just the management, but the schools and often the lack of discipline for disruptive students in some areas that makes the life of a teacher more difficult than needed. I couldn't be a teacher or I'd end up slapping more than a few of them I fear, then their parents if they complained about something they should have done long ago. She complains they often seem to be teaching to the test, but she also feels it's a necessity because some of the teachers need the scrutiny it provides. She's sort of in the middle on things like that, spreading blame for the problem across the spectrum, not just concentrated on any one part. There's no easy fix. She also thinks the wages are too low. She's taught in Arkansas and Texas. She might feel different in Chicago district, I don't know, suspect she doesn't either.

- Collapse -
Teacher performance

evaluations so heavily based on standardized test scores.........Once a teacher has 'tenure' it's nearly impossible to get them out........even if there is proof they are bad teachers, so when layoffs occur it's always last in, first out. That, to me, is the most unfair treatment to our students. Teachers NEED to be evaluated and ONLY kept on when they can PROVE their performance is succeeding. Unions should stop allowing crappy teachers to stay in place and shove good teachers out the door just because of years on the job. There are many 'older' teachers who are just burnt out and should be replaced with newer, fresher, and more qualified teachers who are keeping up with the educational technologies available today.

- Collapse -
Wow, I actually agree with a lot of that!

See, it happens. Wink

Where the parties tend to butt heads is in determining what constitutes a bad teacher. Watch "Waiting for Superman" if you haven't seen it. There are some really good examples of teachers who are bad no matter what method you use to rate them.

- Collapse -
You're right it's a tough one but I don't think, in my area,

teachers are grossly underpaid anymore.

This link shows Illinois to be near the top of the "comfort index" and I don't think an average salary of 64k+ is all that bad. I do suspect Chicago isn't the best and safest place to teach but I don't think that can be fixed with money. As for teacher evaluations, I don't know what would be fair. I suspect fairness of such in other public and private sectors is also difficult and it's likely very few people are 100% happy with how they are scored. It's just that there aren't people who can walk out en-mass and get away with it other than those who are in strong unions. I can't live with the idea of striking as being acceptable in other than issues of personal safety. The kids and families they serve are their customers and the ones who are paid by the community at large to support them. They need to respect that and not let the small stuff in contract issues cause them to walk out on the kids they would claim to be dedicated to.

- Collapse -
I couldn't tell whether the "comfort index"......

......takes the local cost of living into account. For example, the starting salary in New York looks pretty impressive compared with some other states, but if you know what it costs to live here, you would realize it's not so great, and downright impossible to live on unless you are in a two-income household, and even there the other person would have to be the higher earner.

It's just that there aren't people who can walk out en-mass and get away with it other than those who are in strong unions.

And that's one of the main reasons for having a union in the first place -- to empower the employees and give them a support system.

- Collapse -
Chicago teacher salary amount...
- Collapse -
4% is twice what my last increase was

I'd be thrilled with a 4% raise at my next review.

The only "demand" that I sympathize with is the one regarding the relationship between evaluations and test scores. A test is only part of the picture when it comes to determining whether a student is succeeding, and I agree with the union position that a failing student does not automatically mean a bad teacher.

Otherwise, and given the state of the economy, I think most of what the teachers have been offered seems pretty reasonable.

- Collapse -
I ain't gut no cents...

Teachers all over the USA have to bite the bullet too often. Sure, there maybe great school districts that don't feel the pain, but I'm sure anyone here knows that's not the common case. Yeah, it depends on the school district and all those taxes/levies and such and teachers get caught in the middle. There are few areas where the taxpayer can deny or lessen their burden by not passing this or that for schools. The point being that sooner or later any school employee, teachers included have to fight back or at least do what they feels needs to be done. I'm sure striking during the beginning of the school yr.s is hard not to reason why. Regardless, teachers have families too and they're not going to wait longer within reason for better pay if denied too long. They're using the tools they have to make their lives better or make it an issue to see their side. But yeah, its becomes a money issue for sure. Why don't we line them up and deal with them the hard way, NOPE can't do that. Get them more money, NOPE can't do that until the last minute or its so hammered out it's piece meal this or that. Dang, wouldn't it great if we all had decent paying jobs, work everywhere and the parents could afford the extra costs or levies passed and the kids get all the benefits. NOPE, can't live in a dream world, pass another "can't leave a child behind" law so it gets so complicated that money goes for other things and costs get so out of hand, you can't pay the employees reasonable wages. Remember, teachers are college degree people and usually teach in lowest pay scale for that degree all too often. Those that leave within 10yrs. do so because they can't afford to remain a teacher.

OH yeah, I can't afford to pass another school levy here locally. But, one did and we're stuck having to pay for a new school building that supposedly will be paid off in 37yrs.. I'll be dead by then and I'm sure some other levy will need attention. ------Willy Shocked

- Collapse -
Lack of sympathy article
But that's just for starters. The teachers' main beef is about accountability. They don't want it, at least not the measurable kind. The school district does, and so the two are locked in a battle that's being repeated across the country. Even if the strike is settled by the time you read this, the outcome will help shape the quality of education across the USA.

With all of the cries across the country to fix our broken public school system, I'm hoping the incident in this large city will at least open up some dialog about how those on the public payrolls are evaluated for suitability to the position they've been hired for. I'd say, from a money standpoint, Chicago is very generous and the raise they've offered is beyond the call of duty but no employer should be expected to guarantee job security without being allowed to fashion their own evaluation system. I hope Chicago doesn't cave but finds a fair solution. Those teachers who can't deal with it can go find work elsewhere, as far as I'm concerned.
- Collapse -
what's the racial breakdown on teachers there?

I was watching the CNBC report this morning on it and as they panned the crowd at some large fountain area I strained to find a single white face. Is this strike for Chicago city schools only or surrounding areas involved in this? I wonder what, if any, differences there is in pay scale for teachers in the city compared to those out of the city in the county, or nearby communities?

I think politically it's a smart move on their part doing this now. Obama's residence is Chicago when he's not president and Rahm Emanuel was one of his people. It's a good way to apply pressure to try and get Obama to do something in the background between him and Rahm to try and get this off the front pages. CNBC was strongly linking it all with Rahm and Obama today.

- Collapse -
Here we go again

Is EVERYTHING racial to you?

- Collapse -
Nope. Didn't even think about it till....

....seeing that news report on TV and the demonstrators. It's no new subject wondering if minority teachers are receiving the same pay as other teachers. You have a problem with that???

- Collapse -
That's one good thing about unions, James

Membership ensures that you can't be discriminated against in those ways. Teacher pay is teacher pay, regardless of the race/ethnicity of the teacher.

Did the news report you were watching say anything about race being a factor, or did you just put that together yourself after seeing a lot of black faces on your TV screen?

- Collapse -
I just saw a lot of black faces

therefore I wondered. Happy

- Collapse -
(NT) I figured as much
- Collapse -
I learned it from the Liberals

They'd show up some place and see too many white faces, not any black faces, then suddenly felt the need to have some sort of protest over black faces not being included. It wears off on a person after awhile. ....

- Collapse -
Sure, whatever

You may want to stop digging at this point.

- Collapse -

You feel it's deep enough for you to lie down in now? Someone even brought a rainbow colored box for you to lie in.

- Collapse -
I don't think the racial makeup differs from

that of the students or the general community. I'll post this

but I hate having to watch commercials and political ad that tend to go with these videos. Of course the press isn't going to waste time with those being quiet and peaceful but will highlight the noisy ones so it's not easy to get a sense for what it's like there. Chicago is quite racially and nationally diverse as it was a magnet city during times of emigration from various other countries. There are small pockets of people...other than Spanish speaking...that still know little or no English.

- Collapse -
Magnet city

and Rahm isn't helping the situation by inviting all those illegals to come to his now 'sanctuary' city.

- Collapse -
This may not help either
Rahm may seek court order to end strike

I'm not sure it's a good idea to force the teachers back into the classrooms. They may not be in the best frame of mind to teach...or at least to teach properly. I'd be concerned about the students being able to get good quality time if their instructors had their bodies in the classroom but their heads still on the picket line.
- Collapse -
but can we really say

it would hurt the quality of their Chicago?

- Collapse -
Quality of life means nothing

to liberal Dems.....they will use the court system every time if they need to stall for time. Look at how often the DOJ uses it to go after States, but won't go after people like Geithner, or the heads of Fast/Furious or the rest of 'their own'.

CNET Forums