CN August 2, 2012

How, we ask Catalyst Chicago’s Sarah Karp, will this compromise between the CPS and the CTU work? How will adding, on average, one teacher to each school reach the goal of a longer school day yet not require elementary teachers to work one extra minute per day?

It doesn’t, she calmly explains.

“The real reason why the compromise allowed for the longer day is because originally when they talked about the longer day they wanted teachers to come in early for planning. They wanted teachers to work their lunch, so have their lunch with the kids and be with the kids…well now they’re not doing any of that…basically what they did was they took away a lot of the planning time or professional development time that was built into the day and said fine. You teachers don’t have to be here. You schools are on the line for getting some college student or parent volunteer or some aide to sit in the lunchroom with the kids, and now the teachers, they just don’t have to work as many minutes. ”

Make you feel more confident in the big compromise?

“And that extra teacher doesn’t really have anything to do with anything because, for one thing it’s not necessarily an art teacher or a music teacher. It can be anybody,” she adds.

And what about in the high schools?

“Originally the high schools had one day a week where the kids leave 75 minutes early and the teachers would have to stay and do professional development. Now, the kids leave 75 minutes early and the teachers leave 75 minutes early. So …it doesn’t change anything for kids. ”

There are a couple of very sticky issues still on the table, according to Karp. One has to do with pay, but specifically the implementation of merit pay. “Emanuel offered two percent for one year and then merit pay. The Teachers’ Union is completely against merit pay. So maybe they would accept two percent for two or three years and maybe a merit pay system being piloted in,” she explains.

The other is displaced teachers, which could become a huge issue in the next few years.

“There’s a lot of speculation that a lot of schools will be closed over the next year. The next couple of years maybe fifty to a hundred schools – and that leaves a lot of displaced teachers. I think the members want some security for those displaced teachers. They want, really, preference for those displaced teachers for future jobs, and I know Chicago Public Schools are against that.” And, by the way, those displaced teachers tend to be more experienced, and therefore more expensive.

Also on our panel this week is Charlie Meyerson, until recently the Chicago Bureau Chief at the late FM News 101. He’s started blogging a daily digest of three things of interest, but because he’s Charlie, he often exceeds his own limit.

Charlie noted this week that the New York Times has become, technically, a reader-supported organization, since, in the second quarter it raised about 220 million from advertisers, but about 230 million from subscription revenue. But he notes, there are dangers.

“It insulates them from the vagaries of the ad market. As any media organization walls off more and more content, the circulation tends to stabilize and advertisers, always looking for bigger and bigger audiences may find more reasons to pull out,” he says. But it’s always good to see an audience willing to pay for content they think is entertaining, informative and unique.



About Ken

Ken's the host of Chicago Newsroom. A former news director, reporter and radio program host, he's also a past Vice President of the Chicago Headline Club.
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