Tag: public unions

Chicago: Teachers Won’t Come Back

 

Preschool teacher Kirstin Roberts teaches students outside Brentano Elementary Math & Science Academy since it isn’t “safe” inside.

As a former employee of CPS (Chicago Public Schools, for the uninitiated), I have been watching as the saga of the “reopening of schools” has been unfolding here. I still receive all the CPS emails, as well as those from the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). The competing narratives about going back to work have been fascinating and I thought I’d do a little write-up here. Feel free to chime in if you’ve been following and have thoughts about how this is going down…

CPS planned on a hybrid re-opening scheme this fall but the CTU protested that it wasn’t safe so CPS went remote. Throughout that time, CPS provided updates about the HEPA filters they installed in the schools, cleaning procedures, the polling from the community who wanted to return to in-person teaching, etc. All this led to January’s phased re-opening (note: the CTU did not endorse this plan)- on January 4, 5,800 teachers were meant to return to prep for the January 11 start date for pre-kindergarten age children and only 49.7% came back. Some taught remotely, some taught even outside the building in 27°F weather (see the photo above). And the CTU said that teachers who did not want to return had the Union’s full support. CPS and the city said they would face “progressive discipline”- i.e., risk being fired.

Teacher Unions: A Mixed Bag

 

I’ve wanted to write a post on my experience with school unions for a while now and have finally taken a stab at it. This is a huge topic so I’m trying to touch on a few different things that have been on my mind for a while. My experience was a real mixed bag and probably specific to Chicago. I don’t work for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) anymore but somehow I still get all the email from them and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). I’ll try to divvy this into subsections but we’ll see how it goes. One day I will write a short post…

I got my first teaching union when I got a job at one of the largest public schools on the north side of Chicago. There were about 100 faculty members, including special education aides serving a student population of about 1,400-1,500 students. I paid no attention to the union at all until one day the school’s union representative, one of the counselors, burst into my room with a clipboard and said, “I found you! You haven’t signed up for the CTU yet.” I asked her if everyone was a member and she said, “Yes, well, except one person.” I found out later that the lone non-member was “a Republican,” a math teacher who was “admin’s pet” and made all the charts and tables for the principal’s presentations. I got the message and I never said anything political to anyone which made life easier.

Daniel DiSalvo joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss the impact of last year’s Supreme Court decision in Janus v. ASFCME, in which the Court ruled that public-sector unions’ mandatory “agency fees” were unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

Unions provide an important source of financial support for politicians—primarily Democrats—around the country. In a new report for the Manhattan Institute, DiSalvo finds that blue states are taking steps to shield their public unions from the full consequences of the Janus ruling.

​City Journal senior editor Steven Malanga and contributing editor Judy Miller discuss some of the issues with the Port Authority Police Department, including a secret review of the department’s security readiness and the contentious relationship between Port Authority leaders and the police union.

Read Judy Miller’s full piece from the Autumn 2016 Issue of City Journal, The New York Police Force That Doesn’t Work.