Tag Archives: school

Does Spending Equate to Better School Results?

Despite a struggling economy, education spending in Illinois continues to go up. A former state education official notes that there’s no evidence that more spending equates to better results in the classroom. 


Are Teacher’s Strikes About to Go State wide?

First came the Chicago teachers’ strike, then came four, lower-profile school strikes in suburban school districts. Is this a pattern about to go statewide? As districts get more desperate to save money, teachers feel a need to push back, say union leaders.

Teachers Union

Springfield journalist Scott Reeder says the state’s second largest teachers union needs to learn a lesson from the people it represents: “Teachers unions have long prided themselves as champions of free speech and academic freedom.  But it appears they don’t always practice what they preach.”

Illinois Schools Need More Civic Classes

If you don’t learn how government is supposed to work, you’re less likely to notice when it fails. A national study says Illinois falls short in required civics classes for its students. Is it just a coincidence that the state has such a poor record in government corruption and fiscal management?

Retirement Benefits for Teachers

Cuts to cost-of-living adjustments must happen now to insure retirement benefits are there when current teachers retire, says the head of the state’s largest pension plan, Illinois Teachers Retirement System. Without a change, TRS chief Richard Ingram warns, “’It’s likely that benefits are impaired today, that we’re looking at the possibility in the future of not being able to pay them.” One-fourth of TRS benefit payments are for COLAs, Ingram tells Crain’s Chicago Business. 



Chicago Teachers Union vs. Emanuel

The Chicago teachers’ strike made Chicago the focus of national attention as a powerful Democratic mayor squared off against an equally powerful teachers’ union. Today the Chicago Teachers Union is set to vote on the contract at the center of the strike. Whether Mayor Rahm Emanuel or the CTU “won” is open to debate. Who didn’t win? Students, who lost seven school days. 

Labor Issues

 “The district will be hard-pressed to make the budget adjustments necessary to close an estimated $1 billion budget gap for fiscal 2014. In particular, the duration of the recent CTU strike demonstrates that labor issues may continue to be a ratings factor.” Moody’s Investor Service, which last week downgraded Chicago Public Schools’ credit rating for the second time since July.

Emanuel and the new Teachers Contract

Mayor Emanuel could go a long way toward paying for the new teachers contract — without closing schools, raising class size or laying off teachers — by reversing financial maneuvers he ordered last year to prop up the city budget, according to the Sun-Times. Emanuel stripped teachers of a previously negotiated, 4 percent pay raise and used the $80 million in savings to pay the Chicago Police Department retroactively, going back to 2009. The question now is whether Emanuel is willing to reverse that maneuver to help defray the $295 million, four-year cost of the new teachers contract and ease pressure on a school system that has drained every penny of its reserves and faces a $1 billion shortfall next year.

Chicago Teachers Strike

There are endless reasons why Chicago teachers say they went on strike. Pay, charter school growth, unfair evaluations, teacher recall, the over-use of standardized tests, the “privatization” of public education, poor teaching and learning conditions, anger toward Mayor Rahm Emanuel and on and on. But for many a Chicago teacher, no reason was more pressing than the prospect of mass school closings in this city.

The Sun-Times has reported rumors (http://bit.ly/SeCyNn) of as many as 100 school closings, while the Chicago Tribune cites sources saying 80 to 120 schools will be targeted on the South and West Sides, which have seen significant population declines. City and schools officials adamantly deny these estimates, but refuse to offer a firm number. CPS’ spokeswoman says the scope and timing is still being hammered out. It should go without saying that the more open and inclusive CPS is as it heads down this difficult road, the better.

Mayor Emanuel Has His Deal

Mayor Emanuel finally has his schools deal. But implementing it and dealing with other city unions will be extraordinarily challenging for a mayor whose walking-on-water phase clearly has come to an end, according to Crain’s Greg Hinz.

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