CTU responds to yesterday’s massive cuts.

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-From the Chicago Teachers Union

“The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has worked for more than a year seeking a serious contract offer from Chicago Public Schools. After just three weeks of negotiations, the district made an offer that relied on a reduction of more than 2,000 educators from the system, made no provision against subsequent ballooning class sizes and included nothing but the vaguest indicators of where new revenue would be found. More importantly, the terms of that offer would not have impacted the current school year or existing school budgets in any way, so we find CPS’ reduction in school budgets by $120 million unnecessary and completely retaliatory, and not at all evident of some urgent crisis in our schools.

“Now that the district has finally begun negotiating in earnest, the CTU will continue to work toward a contract that will address the daily challenges faced by both students and educators, and also address the long-term fiscal crisis that threatens to gut public education in the city of Chicago. The CTU also has requested a school-by-school breakdown of today’s budget adjustments to examine which communities are most impacted by the cuts, and whether attacks from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked Chicago Board of Education will continue to be centered on low-income, African-American and Latino communities.”

The Sun-Times has the school-by-school dollar reductions, but not the cuts to school positions.

Random thoughts. Clinton’s defeat and Randi’s explanation.


Last night AFT Randi Weingarten had some explaining to do.

Both national teacher unions decided to make early no-strings endorsements of Hillary Clinton. For the second week in a row it looks like they bet on the wrong horse.

Last night in New Hampshire Sanders beat Hillary by more than 20%.

Weingarten ran to Twitter.

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I posted this tweet on Facebook.

It was met with mocking and angry responses from many of my AFT friends.

Weingarten might just as well blame Clinton’s loss on Bernie’s lock on the socialist, secular Jewish voting bloc in New Hampshire.

Many of us questioned Randi’s claim that Bernie was hugely outspent in New Hampshire given that Clinton has raised millions from her friends in the donor class.

Randi commented back.

Fred-you’ll see the spending in NH…Bernie won big tonite-I still think is is the person who can get things done… One would have thought the Bernie supporters would be gracious in victory tonite:)

We may well see. But we don’t see it now. The claim of Clinton being hugely outspent is a claim without evidence.

Both unions endorsed Hillary based on two related arguments.

Her election was inevitable and we should be in at the beginning so that we can be at the table to influence her political positions.

Both justifications have been shown to be wrong.

Her nomination is not inevitable. It is very much in doubt.

And whatever turn towards progressive politics she might be making is in response to the power of the Sanders base – young and female – that is showing up in Iowa, New Hampshire and in the polls. Sanders is ahead, even or close in many national polls.

Explaining collective bargaining.

Random thoughts. Compromise.


I don’t know Elizabeth Scalia.

From the short description at the bottom of her Trib op-ed piece I know she is a 22-year veteran teacher at Chicago’s Oscar Meyer. She teaches 6-8 Language Arts.

That is not an easy job. I was a K-5 teacher and the few times I taught middle school I wasn’t very good at it. I’m almost sure that enjoying being around 13-year olds all day needs a specific and unique DNA. I don’t have it.

Ms Scalia is also a National Board Certified Teacher. That is no easy process to go through.

So I have no intention of smacking Ms Scalia as a teacher.

But the op-ed? It is nonsense.

I have no doubt that Ms Scalia knows her stuff when it comes to leading her classes in explorations of great books.

But her Trib post demonstrates she knows nothing about unions and bargaining. That may be why the anti-union Trib printed her opinion. She writes that her union, the Chicago Teachers Union, “must compromise.”

There is this misconception about collective bargaining and collective bargaining agreements. Many people – Ms Scalia being one – view the process and the agreement as a union thing. As in “a union contract.”

I once had a principal who kept referring to our CBA as “the union contract,” as if it was something imposed on her by us.

Writing that the union bargaining team must compromise is wasting paper. Compromise is the process both sides are already engaged in. It is called “bargaining.”

Look at the bottom of any collective bargaining agreement and you will see two columns of signatures. One side has the signatures of the  members of the union bargaining team. The other column has the signatures of the board.

The union “must compromise” stuff is just silly. Bargaining is nothing if it is not the act of compromise.

The old agreement expired over a year ago, and while from all reports the CPS board has not really started bargaining until recently, there has already been plenty of compromise.

Ms Scalia should be joining the rest of her members in calling for a fair contract.

Random thoughts. Billionaire Bill.


Have you heard of The Third Way?

No. It is not an internet porn site.

It is a Democratic Party group that William Daley, Chicago billionaire banker and brother of the former Mayor Richie Daley, set up to push the one percenter agenda within the Party.

Hillary is their candidate.


They have a web site here. You have to love a group that features the post, Why We Need 95% of Students to Take Tests, and has their home page offering resources on supporting the Trans Pacific Partnership.

In the old days they were the Democratic Leadership Council. They backed Bill Clinton’s candidacy. And Bill Daley served as Obama’s White House Chief of Staff for a while until Obama fired him.

Obama didn’t say he was fired.

But he was.

So this weekend Billionaire Bill writes a column on why the huge crowds Bernie Sanders is drawing and Sanders’ climb in the polls means nothing.

Sanders can’t win, says Billionaire Bill.


Because his anti-one percenter message won’t work at the polls even if he is supported by the majority.

Does he know something we don’t?

It worked for Bush.