Nearly all of the parties involved in the stalemate
between Chicago teachers and Mayor Rahm Emanuel that shut down the city's
schools for eight days last month seem to have gotten something out of the
Teachers may have gained the most. The contract settlement that ended the
strike - but which still has to be ratified by the teachers union's full
membership - would raise teacher pay an average of 17.6 percent over four
years. It would also limit the amount test scores count towards teacher
evaluations to 30 percent. The district had wanted that percentage to be 45
percent. The teachers also managed to hold on to their health insurance
increases, seniority pay increases and raises for additional education, which
the district had sought to limit or eliminate.
The teachers didn't get everything they wanted. The union had actually sought a
30 percent pay increase. And both the school day and school year will be
extended, which will effectively add two years of instruction time for every
student over the course of their school career. But overall, the teachers came
"Across the board, on every issue, the teachers got a more favorable
outcome than the school system," said Robert Bruno, a professor of labor
relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and director of the
school's Labor Education Program in Chicago.
Emanuel, meanwhile, gained a teacher evaluation system and other concessions
that he said will make the city's teachers more accountable.
"This is in the best interest of our students, who need the very best
teachers," he said. "It is in the best interest of our teachers, who
always strive to achieve the best results they can for their students and want
to develop as professionals, as every professional does."
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said the strike also drew national
attention to important issues facing teachers, students and school
"I think this has been an opportunity for people across the nation to have
their voices heard, and I think we're moving in the right direction," she
There was even an upside for some of the city's 350,000 public school students.
"It was kind of boring being at home, so I'm kind of glad I'm going back
to school so I don't have to have any more baby sitters," said Grace
Bauer, a student at South Loop Elementary School. (CNN.COM, CBSNEWS.COM)
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