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The race for City Hall

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

Sarah Karp and Rebecca Harris

February 18, 2014

After a bitter strike in fall 2012, the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools reached agreement on a three-year contract, with an optional fourth year under the same terms “by mutual agreement.”

In a recent interview with Catalyst Chicago, CTU President Karen Lewis laughed when asked whether the union plans to terminate the contract in June 2015 rather than renewing it for another year. She indicated that she is pretty sure that teachers would not want to extend the contract.

January 17, 2014

All but one of nine charter school proposals is on the Chicago Board of Education agenda for consideration with CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett not indicating which ones she thinks should get the go-ahead.

March 21, 2013

In announcing the largest shakeup ever attempted in one year by a major urban school district, CPS officials laid out a complicated plan for a total of 71 actions--closings, co-locations and turnarounds--that will affect more than 30,000 students. (Full list below.)

November 26, 2012

If CPS gets extra time to plan this year's round of school closures, district leadership is pledging to stop closing schools for the following 5 years. That announcement made by CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett Monday provided one of the backdrops for the first Commission on School Utilization meeting. Another backdrop was a state legislative hearing set for Tuesday, when lawmakers will consider a bill to extend the deadline to announce school closings from Dec. 1 to March 31.

November 20, 2012

New CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has said that she wants to separate the discussion on closing under-utilized schools from the discussion about opening charter schools, but at a City Council committee hearing Tuesday it was clear that Byrd-Bennett is unlikely to get her wish.

September 18, 2012

Claiming some major wins and gearing up for a renewed battle against school closings, Chicago Teachers Union delegates voted on Tuesday to suspend the strike. Classes will resume Wednesday morning, a relief for parents who had supported teachers but were ready for the strike to end.

Leaving the meeting, delegates looked happy and said they felt victorious. “We are happy to be able to go back with dignity,” said Adam Heenan, the delegate from Curie High School. 

September 13, 2012

In the new contract proposal released late Wednesday night, CPS seems to have sweetened the deal for good displaced teachers.

It is unclear if the CTU is happy with this new proposal, but leaving negotiations, CTU President Karen Lewis indicated she is hopeful that on Friday students could be back at school.

In addition to teacher evaluation, a sticking point in this contract is the fate of teachers laid off because their school or position was closed.

September 10, 2012

Mayor Rahm Emanuel again Monday called the teachers’ strike one of “choice” and said that negotiators just need to figure out two issues. Though he said the issues were so resolvable that he thought the union should have postponed the walk out, he went on to insist that his position was correct and didn’t seem open to budging.

July 24, 2012

CPS and CTU announced a partial agreement in ongoing teacher contract negotiations on Tuesday, with the union accepting the lengthening of the school day and the district saying it will hire 477 teachers, giving preference to teachers displaced over the past two years.

With these extra teachers and some scheduling changes, such as eliminating a morning prep time and putting lunch for teachers back into the middle of the day, the workday for elementary school teachers won’t be lengthened and will be only slightly longer for high school teachers.

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