Teachers Union: ‘No Thanks’ To Offer Of Raises For Longer School Day

Updated 08/25/11 – 4:36 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Teachers Union has rejected an offer of 2 percent raises for elementary school teachers for beginning a longer school day beginning in January.

“Yes, we fully support a better, smarter school day for our children but teachers are now being asked to work 29 percent longer for only a 2 percent pay increase,” CTU President Karen Lewis said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “To that we say thanks, but no thanks. … Teachers on average already work 21 hours more than they are paid for; we grade papers, create lesson plans, confer with parents and counsel our students. There will be little time for us to do any of that.”

Lewis had earlier blasted Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard for first presenting the offer of a pay raise for a longer school day on TV, rather than bringing it to CTU first.

Brizard first pitched the proposal on WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight” program on Tuesday evening. He was offering to provide 2% pay raises to elementary school teachers in order to implement an additional 90 minutes of class time for kindergarten through 8th grade students starting in January.

On Wednesday, Lewis said that the union would consider Brizard’s offer, but said they weren’t happy with the proposal or how it was presented. On Thursday, they officially rejected the offer.

“Rather than negotiating through the press and setting up political committees, CPS needs to sit down with teachers and paraprofessionals who are in our schools every day and come up with a better plan,” Lewis said Thursday. “Other school districts have found ways to lengthen the school days by good planning, and we welcome doing that as an interim step while we negotiate.”

The union said they were not told how the additional time would be spent, or how programs on its priority lists – such as civics, world languages, art, music, physical education and recess – would be funded.

“I’m disappointed,” Brizard said Thursday. “Honestly, I thought it was a great compromise.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Brizard said he has found that most unions have a difficult time agreeing to separate elementary school teacher pay from high school teacher pay.

He hopes the CTU now returns with a counter offer.

“My hope is she (Lewis) counters and isnt just turning this down,” he said.

As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports, rejection or not, don’t expect Mayor Rahm Emanuel to let this topic go.

“The fundamental to security is not just more police – which we’re doing – the fundamental to security and learning is the additional hour-and-a-half in the classroom with an adult who’s excited about being there,” Emanuel said Thursday morning about his goal of a longer school day.

Longer school days were almost all he talked about at a breakfast at U.S. Cellular Field Thursday morning.

Some schools – like Coonley Elementary on the North Side – have already, independently adopted a longer school day, adding almost two hours of instruction per week.

“They could be learning English, history, the arts,” Emanuel said of the additional instruction time students would get with a longer school day.

But learning might not be the only benefit.

“If everybody thinks having high school kids out at 2:15 — when 75% of juvenile crime occurs between the hours of 3 and 6 — is not only good educational, but good public policy, I say it is wrong for the city, it’s wrong for our children and we can do better.”

Loyola University criminal justice professor Arthur Lurigio says that’s true, but a longer day won’t necessarily reduce juvenile crime.

“If the time after school will be spent teaching kids skills that will help them stay out of trouble, then it might have longer-term benefits,” Lurigio said.

Emanuel made it clear on Thursday he won’t back down from his push for a longer school day for Chicago Public Schools.

“Either we put the kids front-and-center in the educational system, or shame on all of us,” Emanuel said.

But, when asked in a phone interview Thursday afternoon whether a longer school day would happen this year, Lewis said, “absolutely not.”

Lewis said she hasn’t heard back from Brizard’s office yet, so it’s unclear when or if both sides will get back to the bargaining table to discuss a longer school day.

  • Wolf

    What a scam by the illegitimate Emanuel operation to add additional costs on taxpayers and get these poor performing teachers raises when it is time for substantial and complete restructuring…until the system is reformed from top to bottom there is no reason for any further investments …it is massively bloated and over staffed at this point…stop the fraud on the taxpayers and stop killing our childrens future…

    • bob

      The problem with the school system wolf is not the teachers it stems from the parents. Teachers can only give the basic problem solving approach it is up to the parents to help the child at home. If the child runs the house as many do than its time to start being a parent and take control of your house. A student In the CPS cannot get individualized teaching in a classroom with over 30 kids in the class. So if the parents do not help with their own kids education they WILL be lost. Also speaking of cost when did it become the CPS job to feed YOUR kids? It cost a school of 1000 students $6000. a week to feed Your kids breakfast alone. Its not poor performing teachers WOLF its non performing parents.

  • billyd

    As long as this union is calling the shots, the chicago school system will remain a cesspool of mediocrity.

  • Roberta Waker

    We need to expand the program of educating our children via the internet with teachers from India currently being used by some Chicago Schools. Those enrolled are getting a good education by qualified teachers that don’t want to strike every other year and complain, complain, complain. While we can sympathize about a longer school day with only a 2% raise, that 2% is more than Seniors and many other people got for the past two years. Be happy you are working – at least for now.

    • Deborah Rudnicki

      We “complain, complain, complain” for better conditions for your children. And when was the last time CPS teachers went out on strike?

  • Jmason

    At frist the Teacher was to get 4% Put there was no money. But now you want them to work 90 minutes a day more and you they well get 2% more money were did this money come. I Think to Chicago Publice School is just trying to put a fast one over on everyone.

    • Lisa

      Become a teacher. especially an inner city teacher and then leave your comments. REALLY? You want someone via Internet from India teaching your child?

  • cHIVI

    Fire them!!! Just like we don’t have a choice ON WHETHER WE SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT PAY THE raising the property tax they should not have a choice either. No raises if they are not willing to put in longer days. Get rid of them. I’m sure there are more teachers out there that would love the offer. UNIONS BREED LAZY, SPOILED, “NOT ME” PEOPLE!!!!!!! tHEY ARE NOT INTERESTED IN THE QUALITY OF THEIR JOB BUT THE QUANTITY OF THEIR PAYCHECK. Why are we tightening our belts but not Union workers. YOU”RE FIRED!!! Go EMANUEL!!!!!!

  • tom Sharp

    First, the teachers can’t trust Rahm, who has already violated the existing contract multiple times, to pay them anything; 2nd, extra time means nothing unless the kids want to be there that long (believe me few do); third the Catholic schools and several other religious schools have days as short or shorter than CPS and include religious instruction in that short time frame, yet they almost all out-perform CPS kids! Fourth, it’s the kids’ willingness to learn and the value their parents place on education that are the key variables in education success, not the teachers and not class time!

    • retiredinAz1


  • Concerned mother

    Where I grow up on Florida, all kids got full day kindergarten, the parents were not asked for a “donation” to make it. The teacher taught for, wait for it, 8 hours! THen graded papers and did that when the kid were gone! Amazing concept!! Here the kid go to school for what, maybe 6 hours!! Of course we are falling behind. The more I listen, the more I think Chapel Hill sounds better. I am a mother who has and will be involved in her children’s education, but the teachers here need to step up. That coming from a family of educators.

    • retiredinAz1

      “…That coming from a family of educators…” ?????? Really?

      “Where I grow up on Florida….” WHERE I GROW UP ON FLORIDA…?????
      And you say you are from a family of educators? HA!!!!!!

  • Brian

    Unions. You live by their law, you die by their law.

  • BOBR

    First off, take the power of the schools away from the greedy useless unions–let the teachers decide of they want to pay union dues–the state should not be forced to write any checks to unions–that is my money–not the government or the unions..give the teachers the money for unions dues, let them decide if they want to pay union dues or just keep the money–the state, the teachers directly and the parents should decide about the hours or the classrooms..The one that has nothing to say about this is the unions.. Public unions should be destroyed or scaled back to a very low level of decision making..Unions have forced our manufacturing over seas–now our kids are not getting the proper education because of the union agenda….This is so oblivious it makes you sick …Unions promote laziness and provides no incentive for teachers to take there talent to the limits. Stop with the lies about the unions looking out for the kids-they are looking out for themselves–grossly over paid and over rated parasites..I am talking about the union management and leadership—not the teachers….

    • Deborah Rudnicki

      It’s easy to just make blanketed statements without any proof to back them up.


    CPS=World’s largest free daycare with 3 free meals. You only see the parents and reverends when the CPS is going to cut something. You can’t find these same people when homework is to be done or parenting is needed. How about this. Your child gets an A, you get 100% of your benefits for your link card. Your child gets a B, the parent gets 80%. C=60% D=40% F=0%. I bet the parents might try a little harder getting their kids to study. America is on a downward spiral because we cater to the dumb and lazy. America has too many dumb and lazy people sucking the government dry with entitlements than we have hard working people putting into the system.

  • Allie

    As a dedicated teacher in Chicago Public Schoools it is truly disturbing to me how politicians and people who are not in the school system can judge what teachers go through every single day. I have been working in the inner city for 5 years and believe me my day is not 8:30 to 2:45…my day starts at 6:45 and goes until late into the evening. Do I twiddle my thumbs during this whole time?!?! NO! I am planning, tutoring, counseling, protecting, and teaching my kids. How many of you have had to identify child abuse? How many of you have had to have police come to school when a disturbed student has attempted to attack you? How many of you have walked a scared child home because she has to go past rival gangs every day? How many of you have had to deal with your students who come to school HIGH? Oh yes…and I TEACH! I have no problem with a longer school day, I have a problem with people not appreciating what teachers do every day. I have a problem with parents who do not give their children love and support at home. I have a problem with Mr. Emmanuel acting as if we are greedy money hungry teachers. I put myself through school, received my masters, and am constantly continuing my education. Is my work not worth anything? What about my son, how am I supposed to support him? Am I not supposed to give to him as well? My students have always been my first priority and they will continue to be. BUT MY FAMILY COUNTS TOO!

    OH by the way, 100% of my students passed the ISAT and graduated this past year!

    • retiredinAz1


      Good for you! I, too, taught for 34 years in the inner city and know exactly what you are talking about. It is easy for others to speak out when they know nothing of what really goes on in the inner city classrooms!

  • Virginia Morin

    If it weren’t for unions we’d all still be working 16 hour days for a pittance. People must organize to have any power at all. Teachers have the most important job in the world. They are entrusted with our precious children and thus the country’s future. Why are they being scapegoated and blamed for the mismanagement and underfunding of the educational system, the recession, taxes, you name it? They are doing the hardest job with no real support from the Board, instead the Board prevents them from doing their jobs. They pay for countless supplies and fees out of their own pockets and give their precious time working way more hours than they’re paid for. Many of them should be receiving generous combat pay for the difficulties and dangers they face every day. Frankly, I wonder why they stay in the teaching field but I know it’s because the really love and care about the kids.

  • citydwella704

    I don’t agree with the two extra hours of school. These teachers have family of their they have to tend to! Crime will not go decrease due to an extra two hours. That is a scare tactic by Mr. Emmanuel and he needs to be ashamed for that! These teachers are not daycare providers! They are educators! These kids will lose focus, no recess or gym??? It’s all about money and our kids are the pawns….

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/08/31/teachers-to-rally-against-canceled-raises-longer-school-day/ Teachers To Rally Against Canceled Raises, Longer School Day « CBS Chicago

    […] Last week, the Teachers Union rejected an offer by Brizard of a 2 percent raise in exchange for acce… […]

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