The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett released the district’s five-year education plan Monday, which included assurances of art for every grade level and an annual district academic report card.
Diane Ravitch, who was assistant secretary of education under George
H.W. Bush and then became a national spokeswoman against the
so-called education reform movement, says that Chicago has taken the
lead on education reform – and the revolt against such policies.
a professor at New York University, Ravitch told reporters at the
Chicago Teachers Union headquarters Monday that the strike gave
“vicarious exhilaration” to teachers across the nation that were “beaten
down” by evaluations based on standardized tests and charter schools.
Chicago is distinctive on education issues because of a “more militant”
teachers' union, noting that in much of the south, west and now to an
extent in northern states such as Wisconsin, “Teacher collective
bargaining rights are eliminated.”
With the Chicago Teachers Union strike spilling into its second week,
Gov. Pat Quinn skipped across state lines today for a meeting of
the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association in Minneapolis. The meeting involved
Japanese business leaders “strengthening economic ties to Illinois,”
according to a press release.
Despite signing into law major
education bills integral to the labor standoff, Quinn has been on the
sidelines for the first Chicago teachers strike in 25 years. Asked last
week what the governor thought of the dispute, Quinn spokeswoman Brooke
Anderson e-mailed that, “We want the parties to negotiate in good faith
and reach a resolution quickly that puts the students first.”
The Chicago Teachers Union strike could have a national impact in at
least two key ways. It could reshape an increasingly confrontational
relationship between elected officials and public employees. And the
walkout could alter education policy, either disrupting the movement
toward charter schools and test-based teacher evaluations – or ending
concerted opposition to these programs.
A thread of optimism
ran through Thursday, the fourth day of the Chicago teachers’ strike,
as both the union and the school board hinted that a deal could be
reached by Friday, with a possibility of children heading back to school
as early as Monday.
That optimism also extended to yet another downtown
rally that brought an estimated 3,000 picketing teachers and supporters
outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel at 151 E. Wacker late Thursday
Later, the group, lead by a marching band from Morgan
Park High School, rallied at a park near Congress Parkway and Michigan
There, speakers railed against Chicago School Board member Penny Pritzker, who they say received $5.2 million in TIF – tax increment financing
– dollars for a Hyde Park Hotel. The Pritzker family owns the Hyatt
Hotel chain. Recently, a group of Chicago teachers called for Penny
Pritzker to step down from the school board.