The Chicago Tribune posted a story this afternoon detailing progress in the ending the city’s teachers strike. The story indicates that the city made made substantial progress Tuesday towards a new contract by giving in to union demands that they scrap any serious plan for evaluating teacher performance. The story notes:
Under the proposal, teacher raises would be structured differently, as requested by the union; evaluations of tenured teachers during the first year could not result in dismissal; later evaluations could be appealed; and health insurance rates would hold steady if the union agreed to take part in a wellness program. (Emphasis added.)
The new proposal also removes the district’s ability to rescind raises because of an economic crisis. The board stripped teachers of a 4 percent raise last year, sparking union distrust of the mayor.
The issues of recall and how to evaluate teachers have been cited as crucial in recent days, while there has been little if any debate over a proposed salary boost that would average 16 percent over four years.
This would appear to be a substantial win for the unions. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had earlier pushed to have teacher evaluation tied to student performance. Unions had warned that as many as 6,000 teachers could get pink-slipped under such a system. Under the new proposal, even the worst teachers could likely hang on for years.
The Chicago teachers would also get a 16 percent raise over the next four years. They already have a median annual salary of just over $71,000. The raise comes despite the fact that the city is in serious financial difficulty, facing a budget deficit of $369 million. The raises will cost the city another $320 million over the next four years.
Under the apparent changes