Two issues being cited as primary stumbling blocks to a Chicago teachers contract are a recall policy for teachers and a teacher evaluation system. Both affect job security for teachers and are part of larger efforts to overhaul schools in the city and nationally.
TEACHER RECALL POLICY
The Chicago Teachers Union is pushing hard for a procedure to recall teachers who have been laid off because of school closings, consolidations and turnarounds. The issue is of critical importance, the union has said, because of rumors that the district plans to close as many as 100 schools in coming years.
Earlier this year, CPS and the union struck a deal over the longer school day that temporarily allowed for such a recall. In exchange for the union agreeing to an extra 30 minutes in high schools and 75 minutes in elementary schools, CPS agreed to rehire nearly 500 teachers in noncore subjects from a pool of teachers who had been laid off.
The district, however, has resisted making such a recall policy the permanent method for filling vacancies in Chicago schools.
"Teachers in this city agreed to a longer day … and what our union got in return for that was a promise there would be a recall procedure for those teachers who are going to be hired," said Jesse Sharkey, vice president of CTU. "Now we see that offer is being taken away from the table, and there is no sign of respect there. That's important for our members."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has framed the issue as one of accountability, saying he doesn't want to place the district's hiring control in the hands of the union through such a recall process.
"I don't believe I should pick 'em. I don't believe CPS should pick 'em. I don't believe the CTU leadership should pick 'em," Emanuel said Monday of hiring teachers. "If we're going to hold our local principals in the school accountable for getting the results we need, they need to pick the best qualified."
In the district's latest proposal, CPS teachers whose schools are closed would be eligible for vacancies at the school that takes in the transferred students. If there are no vacancies, the teachers would have three options: a three-month lump-sum severance, five months in a "reassigned teacher pool" or a spot in a "quality teacher force pool," which would entitle those teachers to an interview and an explanation if they are not hired.
The CPS offer also provides options for teachers displaced for other reasons, including turnarounds or phaseouts.