The Chicago School Board groveled before the teacher's union last night, caving in on several key demands including a 16% increase in pay over 4 years (about 3.5 times the rate of inflation), rehiring several hundred teachers, and making allowances for nursing mothers.
But it isn't enough:
"We have successfully won concessions for nursing mothers and put more than 500 of our members back to work. We have restored some of the art, music, world language, technology and physical education classes to many of our students. The board also agreed that we will now have textbooks on the first day of school, rather than have our students and teachers wait for up to six weeks before receiving instructional materials."
But issues such as health benefits and evaluation procedures remain.
Lewis said she was concerned about the possibility of a large termination of teachers under a new evaluation system.
"We are also concerned that too much of the evaluations will be based on students' standardized test scores. This is no way to measure teacher effectiveness at all," she said.
No doubt the union would do away with evaluations altogether. And at a time when the city budget is already seriously in the red, the teacher's attitude seems to be "gimme mine" and let the rest hang.
Meanwhile, since many if not most families won't have anyone at home to watch the kids, cops are radically increasing their numbers on the streets and churches are opening their doors to give kids a place to go:
The flood of out-of-class students from almost 700 schools is prompting police to beef up operations. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the department will be "emptying out our offices" to send officers in administrative jobs out on the street.
"The kids in Chicago belong in the classroom," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters Sunday night, after the talks failed. "Our kids do not deserve this."
"We know that a strike will put a strain on many families, and no one will be hurt more by a strike than our students," Chicago Public Schools said on its website.
In addition to figuring out where to send their children, some dismayed parents are also concerned about what students might get into.
"If the kids are not in school, they're out getting into some kind of trouble ... when they should be in school, learning," Shatara Scaggs said.
Dozens of civic and faith-based facilities are opening their doors to provide safe outlets to students during the strike.
Holding the city hostage to protect incompetent teachers won't win the union many friends. But they don't care as long as the School Board bends to their will.