Information is coming out in drips and drabs as to what the Board of Education wants in the new Chicago Teacher's Union contract. Here is some of the information that was shared with union members.
The Board of Education wants:
- A five year contract in which the teachers receive only a guaranteed raise of 2%. To clarify, that is not a 2% raise for each of the five years that is a total raise of 2%. It would be broken down as follows...
Year 1 = 2% raise
Year 2 = No raise
Years 3-5 = teachers would only receive a raise if they would agree to merit pay and then any raise would be tied to student test results.
(Merit pay could be a blog all by itself, but for starters, you could have the best teachers in a classroom and that does not guarantee the best results. Students and parents play a HUGE part in student performance. And what about teachers who teach "untested" subjects like gym, art, music, etc. Do they get to pick whose test scores they get to attach themselves too? What about those high achieving classrooms that are already scoring above the 95 percentile...if their scores only go up 1 or 2 percentile, should a teacher really be penalized because she started with those high achievers? Finally, we hear about cheating already on test scores for other reasons, once pay is tied to test scores, will cheating escalate too?)
- A longer school day, but less professional development for the teachers (those days would be cancelled with this new calendar except for 5 of them at the end of August). With a new evaluation system starting next year and the implementation of the federal Core Curriculum Standards, it would be nice to be properly prepared, or is that a goal also? If teachers are not properly prepared are they being set up for failure which could mean lower ratings and an easier way of being fired?
- An end to accumulated sick days. The understanding is that teachers will be allowed to keep the days they have accumulated thus far, but beginning with the next school year they will have to "use them or lose them".
- Increased health care costs.
- The Board states they will still put in their part of the Pension Pick-Up (are they still on pension holiday?)
- No job security. Tenured teachers who are laid off from closing schools get no rehire rights.
Maybe it won't be that hard to get 75% of union members to vote to strike after all!