Victories All Around in Chicago Teachers Strike

Victories All Around in Chicago Teachers Strike

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 dispute. 
 
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 out ahead. 
 
"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 districts. 
 
"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 said 
 
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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