Teachers Bucking Their Union
Out in Chicago, Democrat Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel campaigned on a promise of longer school days. Now that he’s actually following through with this, the teacher’s union is balking. But the part of this that is most surprising is the teachers are knowingly and voluntarily contradicting their own union.
Last month, the union rejected the district’s offer to give elementary school teachers a 2 percent raise in exchange for adding 90-minutes to the school day.
Maybe not so surprisingly, the union is accusing the school district of bribery and coercion to get the extra school time in place. I think the part I don’t understand is why is it now bribery to pay teachers more money for extra work, but when the union wants to discuss that kind of setup, it’s called “compensation”. If the union’s not involved or opposed, it’s “bribery”. Just making sure I have all the facts straight. And as to that whole coercion part
STEM principal Maria McManus said her staff had been discussing a longer day since August 1, when staff received their schedules. “The teachers asked for it,” she said.
So then we can wonder how the union is taking this with regard to its members. I’m sure the union understands that it actually works for the teachers and not the other way around right? Because if the teachers want to do something in the name of improving education, who is the union to stand in their way?
A STEM staff member who participated in Friday’s meeting said a CTU representative came to the school to speak to the staff about the waiver vote. The staff member said the representative seemed to be using “scare tactics”, at one point telling teachers he would put on his “mean hat.”
“He made it seem like it was more about the rights and compensation and less about the importance of the extra time,” she said. “He didn’t really hear our voice.”
So I guess the teachers being educated professionals in the field know less about what would be good for the students than the unions?
So how much extra time are we talking about here? In RI, the minimum requirement is 5.5 hours of instruction time and 180 days. That math says we must have 59,400 minutes or 990 hours in a school year. In Chicago, the current requirement is 52,360 minutes a year or 873 hours. That works out to about 4.85 hours of instruction a day in Chicago. They’re looking to add an extra 1.5 hours a day. That is quite the investment for teachers and what they’re being offered in return is a 2% raise.
So let this serve as a blog post where teachers are congratulated for doing what is right, doing what is best for education and the students they serve, even if they are directly contradicting the wishes of their own union.