Chicago Teachers Union Votes to End Strike, Return to School

Classes will resume on Wednesday for Chicago’s 350,000+ students as the Chicago Teachers Union voted Tuesday afternoon to suspend their week-old strike.

Just under 800 members of the CTU’s House of Delegates voted almost unanimously to suspend the strike based on a tentative proposed contract. The union membership will vote on the contract’s approval in coming weeks.

NBC Chicago has posted 23 pages of details of the tentative deal on its website.

Details of the proposed contract address many contentious issues between Chicago Public Schools and its teachers, including:

  • 50% of teacher vacancies will be filled from the pool of highly-rated laid off teachers;
  • Merit pay has been tabled; though the union claims victory on this issue, it will be discussed in the future;
  • WBEZ Chicago summarizes the deal reached on teacher evaluations:
    “Student growth will be phased in over three years and will count for no more than 30 percent, the minimum required by state law.  Controversial “value-added” test scores will count for anywhere between 0 and 25 percent, depending on what grade and subject a teacher teaches.

    In the optional fourth year, student growth would count for 35 percent.”

  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s promise of a longer school day will be realized. Elementary students will have a 7-hour day and high school students will have a 7.5-hour day.
  • On compensation, teachers will receive a 3% cost of living raise in the first year, followed by a 2% raise in each of the second and third years. Depending on the union membership’s approval, a fourth year would see an additional 3% raise.

Union membership appears to be relieved to have made progress — especially before the strike lasted through the first pay period — and Chicago’s families who struggled to find alternate daytime arrangements for their children can now return to a normal schedule.

Matthew Tabor

Matthew Tabor

Matthew is a prolific, independent voice in the national education debate. He is a tireless advocate for high academic standards from pre-K through graduate school, fiscal sense and personal responsibility. He values parents’ and families’ rights and believes in accountability for teachers, administrators, politicians and all taxpayer-funded education entities. With a unique background that includes work in higher education, executive recruiting, professional sport and government, Matthew has consulted on new media and communication strategies for a broad range of clients. He writes the blog “Education for the Aughts” at www.matthewktabor.com , has contributed to National Journal’s ‘Expert’ blog for Education , and interacts with the education community on Twitter and Google+.