Sunday, February 8, 2015

House of Delegates Meeting

Delegate's Meeting Focuses on New Contract Proposals
By Jim Vail

The Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates meeting last Wednesday, Feb. 4, focused on going over the new contract proposals.

The current teacher's contract ends June 30 and a new one must be ratified. The CTU organized the first teachers strike in 25 years that kept merit pay off the table, eliminated unpaid suspensions, and ensured "just cause" to be fired.

Certainly the contract must be enforced, and the question will be how enforceable is a contract when the board of education is implementing many actions that run havoc over it.

For example, many schools are seeing a huge increase in paper work demands that include data reports on students test scores, plans to address problems, power point presentations, implementing 5 grades per subject weekly, lesson plans, unit plans, professional development readings and homework, curriculum maps, website assignments, newsletters, attendance plans, communication logs, special education individual plans, etc, etc.

Not to mention the fact that teachers must prepare to teach classes, and then actually teach the children, and deal with discipline, homework, instruction, and assessments.

Did I leave anything out?

Perhaps the biggest pain for teachers is the new state law REACH evaluation in which teachers who have been rated basic (the four ratings are distinguished, proficient, basic and unsatisfactory) two years in a row, will see their rating turn into an unsatisfactory if their summative rating does not increase. 

Then they will find themselves in danger of losing their teaching license.

The union is proposing to eliminate the Value Added Measure in which test scores must increase when they are rated. This has lowered many teacher's ratings. Educational experts have stated the VAM should not be used to measure teacher performance because of its many flaws.

The union is also proposing that teachers be able to appeal all ratings, not just an unsatisfactory rating as it currently states. 

There is also a need for clarification on paper work. A proposal would be to eliminate all paperwork outside what can be accomplished at the grade level meeting.

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