EDUCATION

Chicago Teachers Strike Suspended, Students Head Back To School Wednesday

09/18/2012 03:40 pm ET | Updated Nov 18, 2012

The Chicago Teachers Union voted Tuesday to suspend the city's first teachers strike in 25 years, ending a now week-and-a-half-long protest that has kept the city's 350,000 students out of school for seven days.

The decision comes after more than two hours of closed-door talks among union members, and two days after a move to continue the strike to allow more time for educators to review contract details. The extensive time without class in session also prompted Mayor Rahm Emanuel to seek an injunction Monday that would have forced teachers back to schools. The judge, however, delayed the ruling until Wednesday in anticipation of Tuesday's vote, deeming the legal argument a moot point if the union were to freeze the strike.

"We feel very positive about moving forward," CTU President Karen Lewis said in a press conference following Tuesday's meeting. "People were actually elated to take the suspension of the strike vote.... We couldn't solve all the problems in the world with one contract, so people voted to end the strike."

Lewis and other educators expressed optimism before Tuesday's meeting that the union would vote to end the strike, even though they're not completely satisfied with the proposals laid out on issues like teacher evaluations, teacher recalls and wraparound programs. Still, Lewis has indicated that the bargaining phase is pretty much over as trust in Emanuel and the school board became a central issue in continuing strikes.

"I hope [Emanuel] carries out this contract in good faith," Lewis said Tuesday.

The union released a statement Monday calling Emanuel a bully, noting that his legal move was yet another "vindictive" indicator of diminished trust between teachers and city officials.

As the strike continued through the beginning of the week, some students were displaced to day camps while other parents were forced to take full days off work. Extra days will be added to the end of the school year for students to make up missed days.

Even with the strike suspended, the contract is not a done deal. CTU's 26,000 members will have the coming weeks to look over the document to decide whether to accept the city's proposals. Based on publicly released summaries of the contract, however, it's unclear where concessions are made in some provisions.

As has been the case since the beginning of the strike, when Lewis and Emanuel provided very different reasons as to why the teachers were striking, the city and the union can't seem to align their stories.

A union press release sent out over the weekend suggested that the two sides were nearing a deal that would allow for a three-year contract and would only permit principals to select from a pool of teachers representative of both new and laid off educators.

Chicago Public Schools declined to comment to several news outlets at the time, neither confirming nor denying the veracity of the union's claim. CPS countered on Sunday with its own description of the contract language, which differs on several key issues.

The union's version of the proposal would represent substantial concessions by Emanuel, who has emphasized the importance of a principal's right to select teachers. It would also limit students' standardized test scores to 30 percent of a teacher's evaluation -- the minimum allowed by state law.

Union officials noted Tuesday, however, that a few points in the contract received standing ovations from educators -- including language that principals cannot bully teachers and teachers have the right to design their own lesson plans.

"This settlement is an honest compromise, it means returning our schools to its primary purpose -- education for our children," Emanuel said during a press conference Tuesday. "This contract is a break with past practices and brings a fundamental change that benefits our children."

In a statement Tuesday, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said Chicago's teachers have highlighted issues in national education, igniting a discussion on how to improve public schools amid budget cuts, school closures and emphasis on standardized testing.

"These issues are at the heart and soul of public education in America, and Chicago has demonstrated that we have a shared responsibility and a national obligation to address them," Weingarten said. "What’s happened in Chicago has changed the conversation and shown that, by communities uniting and acting collectively, we can transform our schools and guarantee every child the high-quality public education he or she deserves. Now let’s hope this turns the page to a new chapter in education reform, where we can work together to achieve what our kids need—in Chicago and throughout the country."

Chicago Teachers Strike

09/18/2012 7:38 PM EDT

Brizard Speaks Briefly

@ bylaurenfitz :

Jean-Claude Brizard is "overjoyed kids are heading back to school tomorrow morning."

This will likely be the final update to this live blog Tuesday.

09/18/2012 7:36 PM EDT

Rahm: Kids Lost 'Vitality' Amid Ongoing Strike

@ MaryAnnAhernNBC :

MRE says the school fight - its personal - loss of vitality from some he meets - "the classroom is where they learn" #CTUstrikeover

09/18/2012 7:34 PM EDT

90 Percent Voted To End Strike

@ CatalystChicago :

Delegate Jay Rau says abt 90% of teachers voted to end strike. #ctustrike

09/18/2012 7:31 PM EDT

Meaningful Teacher Evaluations

@ ChicagosMayor :

"For the first time, teachers will have a meaningful evaluation based on a system based and designed by their fellow teachers." - MRE

09/18/2012 7:29 PM EDT

No Questions Tonight

@ MaryAnnAhernNBC :

MRE no questions tonight, will tomorrow #CTUstrikeover #RahmChicago

09/18/2012 7:27 PM EDT

Check Out The Couplets

@ bylaurenfitz :

"Math AND music. Science AND sports." MRE loves these couplets.

09/18/2012 7:27 PM EDT

'An Honest Compromise'

@ chicagotribune :

Emanuel: 'This settlement is an honest compromise'

09/18/2012 7:11 PM EDT

Back To School, Back To Packing Lunches

@ thebkwyrm :

Packing lunch for kindergartener, SO grateful she's going back to school. Note: was in support of teachers. #ctustrike #ctustrikeisover

09/18/2012 7:09 PM EDT

Contract Not Necessarily Accepted

@ SocialistViews :

The CTU vote is not an acceptance or necessarily an endorsement of the contract. #CTUstrike

09/18/2012 7:00 PM EDT

A National Issue

@ WBEZeducation :

Lewis: this strike became a national issue because the reforms are being pushed nationally #CTUstrike

","short_text":"

A panel -- including teachers, panels and education experts -- visited HuffPost Live earlier Tuesday to discuss the Chicago teachers' strike:

","short_text":"

Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale told CBS Chicago Monday that it's “unconscionable” that CPS ...Read More"},{"id":"246","created":"09/17/2012 12:13 PM EDT","title":"Teacher, CTU Delegate: 'I Don't Think We Have Anything To Picket Over'","tweet_link":"246_teacher-ctu-delegate-i-dont-think-we-have-anything-to-picket-over","entry_text":"

Patrick Rodrigues, a science teacher at Goudy Elementary school in Chicago and CTU delegate, read over the latest terms of the contract and state of negotiations for teachers gathered at Goudy this morning around 8:30 a.m. He spoke with HuffPost's Lizzie Schiffman:

\"I think they're [the teachers at Goudy] energized, I mean, we all want to get back in the building,\" Rodrigues said. \"We want to see our kids. I think that's our main goal. I don't think we're necessarily in the picketing mood. I don't think we have anything to picket over, I think we got a lot of what we asked for.

\"I mean, the economy's not the greatest. So I think what we got is fair. Not to say that we can't get more. But right now I think it's fair enough where as long as the language is correct, we go back to work and we get in there and do what we do.\"

\"I feel Tuesday should be the end of this,\" he continued. \"I think that's the mentality I got yesterday, when I was at the meeting. A lot of people were just ready to go back to work, and I think a lot of people were happy with some of the concessions that were made. And I think Wednesday will be the day that we're all back where we're supposed to be.\"

","short_text":"

Patrick Rodrigues, a science teacher at Goudy Elementary school in Chicago and CTU delegate, read over the latest terms of the contract and state of negotiations for teachers gathered at Goudy this morning around 8:30 a.m. He spoke with HuffPost's Lizz...Read More"},{"id":"245","created":"09/17/2012 12:08 PM EDT","title":"An Unprecedented Step","tweet_link":"245_an-unprecedented-step","entry_text":"

\"MikeElk\"

@ MikeElk :

Rahm's legal injunction against #ctustrike is entirely unprecedented since its the result of a law passed in 2011 to stop #ctustrike

","short_text":"\r\n
\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ MikeElk :\r\nRahm's legal injunction against #ctustrike is entirely unprecedented since its the result of a law passed in 2011 to sto...Read More"},{"id":"244","created":"09/17/2012 12:08 PM EDT","title":"What The Union Saw","tweet_link":"244_what-the-union-saw","entry_text":"

\"WBEZeducation\"

@ WBEZeducation :

See the 23-page contract summary delegates saw b4 voting RT @ctulocal1: House of Delegates Votes to Continue Strike http://t.co/dWCPb15O

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ WBEZeducation :\r\nSee the 23-page contract summary delegates saw b4 voting RT @c...Read More"},{"id":"243","created":"09/17/2012 12:07 PM EDT","title":"City Hall Protest At Noon","tweet_link":"243_city-hall-protest-at-noon","entry_text":"

\"britschulte\"

@ britschulte :

Protest against injunction! Stand with teachers! Be at City Hall at noon today! #CTUstrike #FairContractNow

","short_text":"\r\n
\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ britschulte :\r\nProtest against injunction! Stand with teachers! Be at City Hall at noon today! #CTUstrike #FairContractNow\r...Read More"},{"id":"242","created":"09/17/2012 12:02 PM EDT","title":"Alderman Moreno: 'Enough Is Enough'","tweet_link":"242_alderman-moreno-enough-is-enough","entry_text":"

Ald. Proco \"Joe\" Moreno (1st) on Sunday wrote a piece criticizing the teachers' union for continuing their strike:

I fully support the right to strike, but I have not supported this specific strike. Successful protests and strikes seek to empower the many, not the few. This strike has selfishly empowered a union leadership, not empowered teachers, parents, and children. I believe the strike is unnecessary and more about personalities than the actual important and legitimate issues.

Today's announcement that the strike will continue is incredibly disappointing and frankly, ridiculous... Our kids need to go back to school. There is absolutely no valid reason why school can't resume before the union votes on this new contract.

Read the full post here.

","short_text":"

Ald. Proco \"Joe\" Moreno (1st) on Sunday wrote a piece criticizing the teachers' union for continuing their strike:

I fully support the right to strike, but I have not supported this specific strike. Successful protests and strikes see...Read More"},{"id":"241","created":"09/17/2012 11:56 AM EDT","title":"Hearing Delayed Until Wednesday","tweet_link":"241_hearing-delayed-until-wednesday","entry_text":"

\"Suntimes\"

@ Suntimes :

BREAKING: Judge wants to delay hearing on teachers strike until Wednesday. http://t.co/kI5Cp2r3

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ Suntimes :\r\nBREAKING: Judge wants to delay hearing on teachers strike until Wednesday. http://t.co...Read More"},{"id":"240","created":"09/17/2012 11:55 AM EDT","title":"Injunction To Stop A Strike?","tweet_link":"240_injunction-to-stop-a-strike","entry_text":"

Catalyst Chicago's Rebecca Harris previously rounded up background on the legal issues surrounding the city's complaint:

A section of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, added to state law during the 1990s, indicates that if a teacher strike “is or has become a clear and present danger to the health or safety of the public” the employer can ask for a legal injunction to stop the strike.

But the law states that “an unfair labor practice or other evidence of lack of clean hands by the educational employer is a defense to such action.”

Read more here.

","short_text":"

Catalyst Chicago's Rebecca Harris previously rounded up background on the legal issues surrounding the city's co...Read More"},{"id":"239","created":"09/17/2012 11:52 AM EDT","title":"Strike Hurting The Obama Campaign?","tweet_link":"239_strike-hurting-the-obama-campaign","entry_text":"

According to the Hechinger Report:

Political analysts and strategists at the national level have suggested that the longer the strike lasts, the worse it could be politically for Obama. \"There's no doubt that this hurts President Obama,\" Michael Petrilli, executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and former official in President George W. Bush's administration, told The New York Times.

\"He needs teachers to be energized and to go out and knock on doors and man phone banks for him. Right now they're watching his former chief of staff go toe to toe with the teachers' union in Chicago. This is not a position that the president wants to find himself in.\"

Read the whole story here.

","short_text":"

According to the Hechinger Report:

Political analysts and strategists at the national level have suggested that the longer the strike lasts, the worse it could be politically for Obama. \"There's no doubt that this hurts President Obam...Read More"},{"id":"238","created":"09/17/2012 11:46 AM EDT","title":"See The Documents The City Has Filed With The Court","tweet_link":"238_see-the-documents-the-city-has-filed-with-the-court","entry_text":"

\"CatalystChicago\"

@ CatalystChicago :

CPS files for injunction against strike http://t.co/8eLhRWWy doc labeled Injunction 2 is substantive court filing 9-17-12 is press release

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ CatalystChicago :\r\nCPS files for injunction against strike http://t.co/8eLhRWWy ...Read More"},{"id":"237","created":"09/17/2012 11:41 AM EDT","title":"Complaint Filed, Injunction Sought","tweet_link":"237_complaint-filed-injunction-sought","entry_text":"

\"cbschicago\"

@ cbschicago :

Lawyers for the Chicago Public Schools have filed a complaint, asking a judge to end to the teachers' strike #CTUStrike http://t.co/NfFT4OOh

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ cbschicago :\r\nLawyers for the Chicago Public Schools have filed a complaint, asking a judge to end to the teachers' strike #C...Read More"},{"id":"236","created":"09/14/2012 6:22 PM EDT","title":"How Wealthy Donors Changed Illinois Ed Policy Landscape","tweet_link":"236_how-wealthy-donors-changed-illinois-ed-policy-landscape","entry_text":"

HuffPost's Paul Blumenthal and Joy Resmovits report:

WASHINGTON -- As the Chicago teachers strike edges toward its close, both sides of the education reform debate are trumpeting arguments for or against the strike and the policies put forward by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Beneath the rhetoric lies a stream of fundraising aimed at influencing lawmakers and the public on education policy that has, in recent years, shifted away from the teachers union and toward education reformers backed by some of the wealthiest members of Chicago's elite.

Stand for Children is a non-profit education reform group advocating for the inclusion of standardized test scores in teacher evaluations, charter schools and decreased teacher union power. Over the past three years, the group's political action committee has raised more than $4 million and doled out more than $1 million to politicians, political parties and other political committees in Chicago and around Illinois. That's more than double the $460,000 the Chicago Teachers Union PAC has given to political campaigns and other committees over the same period of time. While contributions from the Illinois Federation of Teachers bring the two sides into closer competition, much of IFT's contributions went to a Supreme Court race in 2010.

Read the whole story here.

","short_text":"

HuffPost's Paul Blumenthal and Joy Resmovits report:

WASHINGTON -- As the Chicago teachers strike edges toward ...Read More"},{"id":"235","created":"09/14/2012 6:17 PM EDT","title":"Fists In The Air","tweet_link":"235_fists-in-the-air","entry_text":"

\"Salon\"

@ Salon :

Chicago teachers strike update: “Delegates could be seen through the windows cheering & pumping their fists in the air” http://t.co/aY1rUmdz

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ Salon :\r\nChicago teachers strike update: “Delegates could be seen through the windows cheering & pumping their fists in the air"},{"id":"234","created":"09/14/2012 4:42 PM EDT","title":"Waiting To See It In Writing","tweet_link":"234_waiting-to-see-it-in-writing","entry_text":"

\"mifarmer\"

@ mifarmer :

Source: Certainly no plan to suspend strike until after review of proposed written contract. #CTUstrike

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ mifarmer :\r\nSource: Certainly no plan to suspend strike until after review of proposed written contract. #CTUstrike\r\nRead More"},{"id":"233","created":"09/14/2012 4:12 PM EDT","title":"No Vote On Deal Yet","tweet_link":"233_no-vote-on-deal-yet","entry_text":"

\"WBEZeducation\"

@ WBEZeducation :

CTU delegates are NOT voting on a tentative deal. They are meeting and MAY vote to call off strike. But meeting planned Sun also. #ctustrike

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ WBEZeducation :\r\nCTU delegates are NOT voting on a tentative deal. They are meeting and MAY vote to call off strike. Bu...Read More"},{"id":"232","created":"09/14/2012 4:06 PM EDT","title":"CTU: Not So Fast","tweet_link":"232_ctu-not-so-fast","entry_text":"

\"CTULocal1\"

@ CTULocal1 :

If you didn't hear it from @CTULocal1, it isn't true.

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ CTULocal1 :\r\nIf you didn't hear it from @CTULocal1, it isn't true.\r\nRead More"},{"id":"231","created":"09/14/2012 3:59 PM EDT","title":"What's The Difference?","tweet_link":"231_whats-the-difference","entry_text":"

\"ChiPubSchools\"

@ ChiPubSchools :

@Joy_Resmovits We have framework in place, but agreement must be approved by CTU HOD to be tentative; then goes to members for ratification.

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ ChiPubSchools :\r\n@Joy_Resmovits We have framework in place, but agreemen...Read More"},{"id":"230","created":"09/14/2012 3:51 PM EDT","title":"Negotiations Complete For Friday","tweet_link":"230_negotiations-complete-for-friday","entry_text":"

\"bylaurenfitz\"

@ bylaurenfitz :

CTU atty: Negotiations done for day. Union drafting the contract document. 2 sides will meet again at his offices 9 a.m. Saturday.

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ bylaurenfitz :\r\nCTU atty: Negotiations done for day. Union drafting the contract document. 2 sides will meet again at his...Read More"},{"id":"229","created":"09/14/2012 3:44 PM EDT","title":"'An Agreement In Principle'","tweet_link":"229_an-agreement-in-principle","entry_text":"

\"ChiPubSchools\"

@ ChiPubSchools :

Correction on terminology used: #CPS & #CTU have come to an agreement in principle rather than a tentative agreement.

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ ChiPubSchools :\r\nCorrection on terminology used: #CPS & #CTU have come to an agreement in principle rather than a t...Read More"},{"id":"228","created":"09/14/2012 3:42 PM EDT","title":"What They Said.","tweet_link":"228_what-they-said","entry_text":"

\"Jezebel\"

@ Jezebel :

3 Stupid Ways to Talk About the Chicago Teachers Union Strike http://t.co/6fgoXB0q

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ Jezebel :\r\n3 Stupid Ways to Talk About the Chicago Teachers Union Strike http://t.co/6fgoXB0q\r\n<...Read More"},{"id":"227","created":"09/14/2012 3:26 PM EDT","title":"'Parental Notice?'","tweet_link":"227_parental-notice","entry_text":"

\"CatalystChicago\"

@ CatalystChicago :

Source: agreement includes \"parental choice.\" What does this mean and why would it be included in the contract? #ctustrike

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ CatalystChicago :\r\nSource: agreement includes \"parental choice.\" What does this mean and why would it be included i...Read More"},{"id":"226","created":"09/14/2012 3:20 PM EDT","title":"Details Still Need To Be Filled In","tweet_link":"226_details-still-need-to-be-filled-in","entry_text":"

\"WBEZ\"

@ WBEZ :

.@wbezlutton \"what we have is the outline of an agreement\" #AfternoonShift @WBEZeducation

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ WBEZ :\r\n.@wbezlutton \"what we have is the outline of an agreement\" #AfternoonShift @WBEZeduca...Read More"},{"id":"225","created":"09/14/2012 3:17 PM EDT","title":"Still No Deal 'Til Sunday","tweet_link":"225_still-no-deal-til-sunday","entry_text":"

\"WBEZNews\"

@ WBEZNews :

Union: Deal to end strike will wait until Sunday http://t.co/XSO90Av3

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ WBEZNews :\r\nUnion: Deal to end strike will wait until Sunday http://t.co/XSO90Av3\r\n<...Read More"},{"id":"224","created":"09/14/2012 3:05 PM EDT","title":"AP Reports..","tweet_link":"224_ap-reports","entry_text":"

\"AP\"

@ AP :

Negotiators have reached \"framework\" to end Chicago teachers strike, maybe as early as Monday: http://t.co/OLWFVzPg -SC

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ AP :\r\nNegotiators have reached \"framework\" to end Chicago teachers strike, maybe as early as Monday: http://t....Read More"}]

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