Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chicago Hope - Union Win on Longer Day

 Principals also reject Rahmbo/Blizzard schemes: Klonsky blog

Chicago principals say no to Rahm's "merit pay" scheme

Brizard failed to sway the rank and file to a longer school day this year

Oct. 2

If you’re keeping score at home, which I happen to be, the tally looks to be stuck:
Chicago Public Schools   –13
Chicago Teachers Union – 470
That’s 13 city public elementary schools where the teachers have voted to extend their classroom days by 90 minutes this year as part of the administration’s controversial Longer School Day Pioneer Program, and 470 schools where they haven’t.

It was Sept. 2 when, to shouts of indignation from their union leaders,  teachers at the first three schools broke ranks and voted to waive certain provisions in their contracts and accept an administration offer that included a bonus for them and discretionary money for their schools.
Ten more schools signed on in the following two weeks,  six of the schools actually began their longer days last Monday, but the number has remained at 13.

The union says teachers at 116 schools have so far voted down the proposed waiver. The administration challenges that number and notes that the option will remain on the table until at least the end of November.

But certainly every teacher in the system is keenly aware of the Longer School Day Pioneer Program, and it’s not unfair to judge their inaction to date as a form of refusal.

Whether you think a 2.7 percent acceptance rate is good news --- most teachers have put the brakes on a hastily implemented plan that asks them to set aside a key portion of their collective bargaining agreement    --- or bad news --- most students will not this year get the extra classroom time some of them badly need --- it certainly reflects the failure of new Chicago schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard to make his case to the rank and file.
And it's almost certainly why, Friday, Brizard sent a letter to union leader Karen Lewis saying "the time is right to turn the Pioneer Project into a collaboration between the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union leadership,"  and that together they should choose  25 more schools to start a longer day in January, and  use all 38 schools as a "model for preparing all schools for the longer day in the 2012-2013 academic year" when the day will expand at all schools under a new state law.

It was as much a concession  as it was a counter-offer. The union should be gracious in victory, set this battle aside and begin working on next year.

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