Saturday coffee.

Rahm’s threatening to get involved. What’s he been up until now? An innocent bystander?

As of this morning the Chicago Teachers Union has not yet given their legally required ten-day strike notification. Schools will open September 4th.

I would still give better than even money that Chicago teachers will walk out. The earliest it can happen now is September 7th.

Yesterday, the Mayor was threatening to get personally involved. Like he’s not personally involved now? I believe that’s why they call it mayoral control of the schools. What has he been claiming to have been over the past year?

An innocent bystander?

When I was President of the Park Ridge Education Association we walked out on strike in November of 2003.

We had been bargaining since February. We bargained through the summer and were heading for Thanksgiving when 97% of our members voted enough was enough. For a long cold November week we walked the picket lines.

When we finally settled we got less than we wanted but more than we would have gotten if we had not walked out.

Prior to the strike we tried  a week working the contract hours. Every morning we would all gather in the parking lot. Some folks would bring muffins and donuts. We passed around mugs of hot coffee. At 8:20 we would all walk in together, the start of our contractual work day. It was the hardest thing for some teachers to do who were use to getting to work an hour or more early to prepare lessons and grade papers, meet with parents, students or each other.

I had never seen some of our people look so unhappy. Even a muffin didn’t help.

On the other hand, lots of our members didn’t like the idea of going back to work in August without a contract.

So we made yellow buttons that looked like road construction signs.

“Caution. Teachers working without a contract,” they said.

This pissed some parents off. They didn’t want their children to know about strikes.

Too bad.

On the other hand, a lot of parents didn’t even realize there was a contract dispute going on until the buttons came out.

It certainly got their attention.

Some experts advised us that teachers walking out on strike would cause irreparable harm.  They warned us that it would take twenty years to rebuild good relations with the community.

And there were certainly some hard feelings. Even after things got resolved.

Parents don’t like teacher strikes. Of course, neither do teachers.

But a few years later the community passed a referendum.

And for a while after the contract was settled there were pretty good relations between the school board and the teachers.

That may have reached its limits.

My old colleagues are bargaining a new contract now. School has started and the teachers are without a contract again.

The district is running a 140% fund balance.

I’m not sure what their problem is.*

It doesn’t seem that they are short on cash.

*Disclaimer: I have no inside information on the bargaining going on in District 64. I’m just a retired teacher who blogs.

6 Replies to “Saturday coffee.”

  1. You are more than just a “retired teacher who blogs.” You are an advocate for teachers, children and laborers, an inspiration, an educator, a voice of reason, a rabble rouser ( I like this best about you!), a BS detector, devoted family member, a gifted speaker, and a talented artist. And optimistically, a future member of the Chicago School Board!

  2. It’s the case of the eternal hypocrisy. We contend that as a nation are peaceful, that’s why we are at war, droning and killing people. Anyone dead is assumed a terrorist until proven otherwise. We say we value our kids and education, that’s why we pay educators squat. It does get tiresome hearing this tripe year in year out. WE HAVE TO STOP THIS!

  3. The fun has begun in CCSD 64. Wednesday was supposed to be a self-directed staff development day but most teachers at 1 school went to a training session to have us change from Entourage to google mail by 8/31. We were also given the option of training before or after school. This is also known as planning time. We could schedule to switch over during a planning period, too. A thirty minute session turned into an hour in which we were asked to use our private cell phones to conduct school business. We spent over half our meeting time on Tuesday engaged in stupid icebreakers. I want my hour back!

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