Contract issues in the Chicago teachers strike

AP News
Posted: Sep 17, 2012 3:15 AM

Chicago teachers will resume walking picket lines on Monday after their union's delegates delayed a decision on whether to suspend their week-old strike. A proposed contract includes revised job security measures and revamped teacher evaluations. A breakdown of the issues on the table:

TEACHER EVALUATIONS: The union is particularly concerned about a new teacher evaluation system that eventually could be based up to 35 percent or more on students' standardized test scores. Teachers say that does not take into account external factors that affect performance, including poverty, violence and homelessness. They argue it could result in 6,000 teachers losing their jobs within two years.

JOB SECURITY: Worried that hundreds of schools could be closed in the next few years, the union has pushed for a policy to recall laid-off teachers when jobs open up anywhere in the district. The district says that could take away principals' legal right to hire the teachers they want. Instead, it has said that if a school closes, teachers would have the first right to jobs that match their qualifications at the schools that absorb the children from the closed school. The district also says it will guarantee interviews to tenured, highly rated teachers who are laid off. It says it will "aim to" fill 50 percent of vacancies with displaced teachers.

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SALARY and BENEFITS: The school district has offered a 7 percent raise over three years with the option of a 3 percent raise in the fourth year. The proposed contract also preserves raises based on years of service. The average Chicago teacher salary is $76,000, according to the school district. Some teachers are upset that the contract does not restore a 4 percent raise promised in the last contract but canceled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Teachers also could no longer be paid for sick or personal days they don't take.