Classes resumed on Wednesday for Chicago public school students after the Chicago Teachers Union voted to suspend the 7-day-old strike. The move allows the contract to go to the membership for ratification which will be the final hurdle to ending a deeply divisive and contentious round of collective bargaining in the nation's third largest school district.
The tentative settlement is based on a deal brokered last weekend with the district which includes:
"This agreement guarantees that Chicago teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians will return to the classroom knowing that their schools and community are strengthened because their voices and experience have been respected," AFT president Randi Weingarten says. "And parents can send their kids to school knowing that their teachers fought for the resources children need to succeed, including having textbooks on time and investments in art, music, physical education and other subjects that expand and enrich children's minds.
"This tentative agreement follows intense negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and the district. And it was forged amid a backdrop that saw a broad cross section of parents and other Chicagoans join teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians in calling for a fair, substantive contract that gives educators and students the tools they need to succeed. That's what this strike was always about. Sadly, real progress was made only after the strike—which had the support of parents and the community—became a reality.
"CTU president Karen Lewis and her leadership team, with whom the AFT worked closely throughout this process, have represented their members well and made clear that their concerns go beyond wages and benefits to include all the issues affecting their students' education. They demonstrated that collective bargaining is an essential tool to strengthen public schools.
"It was heartening to see the level of support for CTU members from parents and community members who share the simple yet powerful belief that education is more than tests and test prep, and that the people who educate our children should be respected and involved in decisions affecting what goes on in our schools.
"By standing up for what teachers need to teach and students need to learn, Chicago's teachers and parents sparked a national conversation about how we make every public school a school where parents want to send their kids and teachers want to teach. The issues raised by Chicago's educators and parents resonate across this nation because they are being felt by teachers, students and parents everywhere. These issues include endless budget cuts that have eliminated art, music, gym and other critical subjects from our public schools; a growing obsession with high-stakes testing, denying kids the rich learning experiences they need; closing down rather than fixing neighborhood schools, which destabilizes neighborhoods; and concentrated poverty that forces schools to take on more in the face of dwindling resources. With all of this, teachers continue to be denied the tools and conditions they need to do their jobs and then are blamed for every problem facing our schools.
"These issues are at the heart and soul of public education in America, and Chicago has demonstrated that we have a shared responsibility and a national obligation to address them. What's happened in Chicago has changed the conversation and shown that, by communities uniting and acting collectively, we can transform our schools and guarantee every child the high-quality public education he or she deserves. Now let's hope this turns the page to a new chapter in education reform, where we can work together to achieve what our kids need—in Chicago and throughout the country."
[AFT press release]
September 18, 2012
Educational Leadership - The ways teachers can lead are as varied as teachers themselves.....
Teachers assume a wide range of roles to support their school and student success. Since teachers exhibit leadership in multiple (sometimes overlapping) ways, they often serve as leaders among their peers.
Some leadership roles are formal with designated responsibilities. Other more informal roles emerge as teachers interact with their peers. The variety of roles ensures that teachers can find ways to lead that fit their talents and interests. Whether these roles are assigned formally or shared informally, teacher leaders shape the culture of their schools, by building the entire school's capacity to improve student learning, and influence practice among their peers.
So what are some of the leadership roles available to teachers? The following 10 roles are a sampling of the many ways teachers can contribute to their schools' success. Click here to learn more about each of these options.
1. Resource Provider
2. Instructional Specialist
3. Curriculum Specialist
4. Classroom Supporter
5. Learning Facilitator
7. School Leader
8. Data Coach
9. Catalyst for Change
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