September 11, 2012

Chicago teacher strike poses test for unions

The district proposed a 16 percent raise over four years and the two sides have essentially agreed on a longer school day. But job security and a new teacher evaluation system remained in dispute.

Teacher unions also are growing nervous about how they are portrayed in an upcoming Hollywood movie called "Won't Back Down," set to open in theaters on Sept. 28. The film tells the story of a mother's quest to take control of her daughter's failing elementary school.
 Weingarten has blasted the movie as "using the most blatant stereotypes and caricatures I have ever seen" and unfairly blaming unions for the nation's school woes. Union leaders were even more outraged that the movie was screened at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., and that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — the convention chairman — attended the screening.

Chicago pupils, teachers brace for Day 2 of strike

CHICAGO (AP) — With an average annual salary of $76,000, Chicago teachers are among the highest-paid in the nation, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Rose Davis wasn't about to let her two young grandchildren walk alone through one of the city's most violent neighborhoods, even though they were going to a school kept open for students who needed a safe haven while teachers walked the picket line.

About 11,000 students showed up at the 144 schools kept open by the district to offer breakfast, lunch and activities; another 7,000 attended activities at other sites, including churches, park district buildings and libraries.
 That meant the vast majority of Chicago Public Schools students either stayed home or their parents made other arrangements. That included April Logan, who walked her 5-year-old daughter, Ashanti, to Mays Elementary but turned back once she realized she didn't know which adults would be watching her child. She said that the kindergartner just started school last week.
 "I can't imagine this is good for the president and something he can afford to have go on for more than a week," said Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


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