July 18, 2012

"By pushing through the higher requirement for strike authorization — and adding some combative rhetoric," Rahm Emanuel "energized the Chicago Teachers Union and strengthened them."

"We’ve all wondered how you would pay for a longer school day. But a surprise to me was the fact finder coming out for huge raises."
Although Emanuel fashions himself as a master strategist who out-foxes opponents, [publisher Linda] Lenz noted that working with schools is “new to the mayor” and he’s “made some miscalculations, perhaps out of not knowing the lay of the land” at Chicago Public Schools.

“Everybody had complained we had too short a day. Pushing for a longer day certainly made sense. But, there seems to have been a failure to calculate what it would take to get that done — both in terms of resources and grass-roots support from the community and from teachers,” Lenz said.
Rahm doesn't know that lay of the land in Chicago? Chicago is tough. The Teachers Union showing its muscle? How's that going to work out? Sorry, I'm over here in Wisconsin.

21 comments:

AaronS said...

I assume the "lay of the land" is that teacher's unions call the shots and not the mayor.

vet66 said...

A shorter day was apparently implemented in the past. Now, a longer day will be authorized with what? Overtime for additional hour or two? More days off to compensate for longer days? I think the BIC (Ballerina In Charge) has been had by his hubris.

samanthasmom said...

Adding an hour to the school day adds 16% to the face time teachers have with kids. You're a teacher, Ann. You know that any additional face time that you put into a class also adds prep time whether it's preparing lessons for class or grading additional work. So if you add an hour to the school day for kids, it's not unreasonable to assume that you're adding two hours to a teacher's day. Most people would balk at their work load being increased by that much without a commensurate raise in pay. Ask a WalMart worker to work an additional hour or two every shift without any pay for it and watch the proverbial hit the fan.

Patrick said...

The teachers' unions are extremely savvy and powerful all over the nation. In order to get them to capitulate to meaningful change, you cannot have an amateur like Rahm. You need someone sharp, crafty. Someone who can play the long game. Like Scott Walker.

Ron said...

How will that work out? You're not going bankrupt...they....

Ann Althouse said...

@samanthasmom If I had entered the field of educating children and I was paid with taxpayer money and I believed the statement that people believed the school day was too short, I might think that I had been receiving more pay that I truly deserved, that I had been doing too little work for my salary and the correction was due. Of course, everyone always wants a raise, but when you are in service to the public, you can't squeeze for everything you can get and you shouldn't want to.

I don't know whether it's true that for every hour of "face time," a public school teacher does an hour of prep. That seems unlikely. Now, for ever hour of law school class time, you have at least 2 hours of prep. Often much more. I can't make the comparison between long hours teaching children and intense law-school exercises with adult students.

I don't know. I teach adult students who pay very high tuition, which creates a sense of obligation, but it's different in many ways.

Ann Althouse said...

"I teach adult students who pay very high tuition, which creates a sense of obligation, but it's different in many ways."

What I mean is that I'm in direct contact with the individuals who are paying for what I'm working to give.

Public school teachers work with kids who do not pay their salary. The taxpaying public does. How do they maintain their relationship to the taxpayers? There's an estrangement there, and they are relying on union representatives to do the interaction. I question whether they are doing it well. I feel sorry for the kids of Chicago. I think it's tough to be a Democratic Party mayor in Chicago and to deal with this complicated interaction. It's not like the children are getting a great education. Nobody's happy. Nobody's doing well. Who will take responsibility? Who can?

Ann Althouse said...

Who do you feel most empathy for? Put these in order:

Chicago schoolchildren

Parents of Chicago schoolchildren

Chicago taxpayers

Chicago public school teachers

People who would take jobs as Chicago public school teachers if positions opened up

Rahm Emanuel

Union representatives

Erika said...

Chicago schoolchildren

Parents of Chicago schoolchildren

Chicago taxpayers

Chicago public school teachers

People who would take jobs as Chicago public school teachers if positions opened up

Rahm Emanuel

Union representatives



But--and this is an important but--only if the teachers have the kind of attitude you outline in your 8:01 comment, Professor, and also have the difficult position of trying to teach apathetic, thuggish kids in dangerous conditions with parents who in general have little ability to or interest in helping their children be successful. I suspect that while many CPS teachers are in that position, few of them have the attitude toward their salary and taxpayers that you mention.

I have four children in public school, I've been a PTA board member at more than one school and for a number of years, and I have lots of personal friends who are teachers, and I've never ever not once heard any of them express any kind of attitude about their salary or who provides it other than whining that they don't get paid enough.

Hagar said...

In Chicago, City hall is supposed to be in charge, know what there is to know, and not be caught unprepared.

samanthasmom said...

Ann, I have taught both schoolchildren and adults in advanced degree programs. The prep time for working with the younger students was always greater than preparing for teaching grad students. Many more papers to grade, more creativity needed in lesson design, and feedback needed in a much more timely manner. I also never had to meet with the parents of my grad students. The other college professors I worked with shared your inflated idea that what they did required more of them, too, though. I never felt that I was "overpaid" as a teacher so I have never felt that I owed the tax payers for a shortage of effort on my part. But may I assume that you would be fine if the university added another class to your schedule without any additional compensation?

Shanna said...

I don't know whether it's true that for every hour of "face time," a public school teacher does an hour of prep. That seems unlikely.

I think that math can't possibly work out on that, if you have people teaching 6 hours a day are they really doing 6 hours of prep time? No way. Maybe they did more prep the first year, but after that lesson's are on autopilot.

edutcher said...

Sounds like Tippytoes is going to have to wear a codpiece if he wants to confront the head of the teachers' union in the shower.

cubanbob said...

But--and this is an important but--only if the teachers have the kind of attitude you outline in your 8:01 comment, Professor, and also have the difficult position of trying to teach apathetic, thuggish kids in dangerous conditions with parents who in general have little ability to or interest in helping their children be successful. I suspect that while many CPS teachers are in that position, few of them have the attitude toward their salary and taxpayers that you mention.

Herein lies the problem: there is no penalty for failure. Condition welfare benefits on how well the kids do and there will be an attitude adjustment. If the kids were inculcated with the knowledge that failing or dropping out were to disqualify them from entitlements starting from age 15 they to would have an attitude adjustment. In the current system, those who are accustomed to living in the welfare universe have no downside for failing, life remains the same if they fail.

ken in sc said...

It takes two to eight hours to create one hour of effective engaging instruction. The first year of teaching in the public schools is extremely exhausting; however, assuming you teach the same subject every period and every year it gets easier. If they change textbooks or you get assigned to teach different courses, it starts all over again.

Retired middle and high school teacher.

ken in sc said...

It takes two to eight hours to create one hour of effective engaging instruction. The first year of teaching in the public schools is extremely exhausting; however, assuming you teach the same subject every period and every year it gets easier. If they change textbooks or you get assigned to teach different courses, it starts all over again.

Retired middle and high school teacher.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Adding class time does not mean adding additional subjects - it means spending more time on the current subjects. So there is likely little additional preparation.

RonF said...

I'm an Illinois taxpayer, and Chicago's deficits will end up on my tax return sooner or later.

Oh, so they're increasing your work load but not wanting to raise your pay that much? Welcome to my world. We've had layoffs. We've had frozen pay. We've had PAY CUTS. So tough $h!t, Chicago teachers. Time you felt the pain the rest of us have. My employer couldn't afford to pay me more and stay in business. I can't afford to pay you more and pay my bills.

Two years ago (the latest I have figures for) there were 7,500 job openings for teachers in Illinois. At the same time, Illinois colleges graduated 15,000 B.A.'s in education. Lock the teachers out and hire some new graduates. Put a few cops in every school to keep order and let the teachers teach. Heck, in some of the schools put a cop in every classroom.

Long term? Close the public schools. Give every child's parent a voucher, payable to any accredited school, for the amount that the City of Chicago current spends on educating students. Announce this a year or so in advance so that not-for-profit and for-profit organizations can start spinning up schools, hiring teachers (non-union, of course), etc. Then sell the public school buildings to those companies. Let the local School districts handle accreditation and monitoring of schools, but get them completely out of the business of running them.

RonF said...

Teachers want raises? Fine. Some of them deserve them. So - I'll give you a 10% raise for next year across the board. But you relinquish automatic yearly raises, automatic raises for earning advanced bull$#!t degrees that for the most part don't actually make you a better teacher, and tenure. None of which anyone else gets.

Grandma Bee said...

I would have more sympathy for the teachers in the tough schools were it not for the fact that the Teachers' Union rules helped create some of the mess.

When my mom taught in Chicago decades ago, the teachers' union rule allowed for a senior teacher to "bump" a less senior teacher at any time during the school year. So let's say that Miss Hotzenplotz has a classroom of fourth graders, and a third of them are black. Miss Hotzenplotz doesn't like black kids. She has ten years' seniority and tenure. So she looks on the seniority list and sees that Miss Floribunda has a classroom of second graders in an all-white school. Miss Floribunda has seven years' seniority. Miss Hotzenplotz could "bump" Miss F. and take over her second grade class, any time in the year. Suddenly Miss F has to transfer to fourth grade, on no notice. You can imagine what this does to the learning environment in both classes.

My mom taught in the school that served the first residents of Cabrini Green. When a black family moved into the school, the city and the school board stopped supplying the schools and stopped making repairs. My mom went down to the supply room to ask for construction paper, scissors, and paste for 40 first graders. They told her, "You can have all the paper you want, but we haven't seen scissors and paste in this school for two years."

At the same time, real estate agents were paying off city officials, including board of education people, to let things go to hell in a neighborhood when a black family moved in. Then the realtor would get on the phone and say, "Look how bad the neighborhood and the schools are since black people moved in. You better sell your house while you still can get some money for it." This practice, called "panic peddling" or "block busting", combined with the exodus of jobs to the suburbs because land prices in the city were too high for companies to expand.

I have no recollection of the Chicago Teachers' Union protesting any of this corruption at the time. The Chicago teachers' union, in all the time I lived in the Chicago area, protected bored, burned out teachers who clung to their jobs even though they didn't give a damn for the kids. If the CTU really cared about anything other than tenure, seniority, and paychecks, that information never showed up in the newspaper when I was growing up.

Cubanbob pointed out, above, that the welfare system allows people to fail without consequences. He is correct. There's more to it, however. As one of the teachers at Glendale Elem said, when my older kids were there, "The kids who come in from Chicago, Detroit, and Milwaukee see the school system as The Enemy." These schools don't challenge kids, don't provide curriculum that leads to jobs. One recent article from the LA times talked about school systems steering inner city girls into sewing. Nice hobby, but doesn't pay the bills.

So if the Chicago teachers want more money, they have to demonstrate that they're willing to get rid of bad apples on the staff and provide curriculum that might actually lead to work.

Rusty said...

"Chicago has the highest paid public school teachers in the nation."
This from the "Daily Hearald"
Chicago school children are near dead last for performance.

Throwing more money at the problem isn't going to fix it.

In Emanuels public speaches everyone is mentioned,teachers, administrators,parents and children. At no time are the taxpayers mentioned. The teachers are going to get their raise.