Teachers Union Courts Aldermen In Debate Over Longer School Day

CHICAGO (CBS) – School was in session Monday -– for aldermen.

The Chicago Teachers Union was busy trying to convince City Council members that it is not trying to obstruct plans for a longer school day.

It was clearly an effort at damage control, CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports. The teachers union worries that Mayor Emanuel has effectively painted them as the villains in the battle over the longer school day.

So, they met with aldermen in an effort clear the air. The briefing sessions, at a downtown hotel, allowed aldermen to hear directly from the union.

The mayor’s right-hand man in the council said the union has some work to do.

“I do think the teachers’ initial public relations was lacking because it clearly made them look as if it was more about money than about kids, it was more about teachers’ workload than about the school day. So, I think today was an attempt by them to re-focus,” 40th Ward Ald. Pat O’Connor said.

“They need to represent their position better, but I also think negotiation through the media is not helpful,” 17th Ward Latasha Thomas said.

Emanuel picked an issue no one could oppose — more time in school for kids —  and demanded the union go along. The council already passed a resolution supporting a 90-minute longer school day.

“Everybody wants a longer school day. That’s like me saying I’m against cancer. Of course I’m against cancer,” 6th Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer said.

The union insists its position hasn’t changed. Officials say the curriculum for a longer school day — and compensation for it — should be decided in negotiations for next school year’s contract.

“All we said from day one is we would like to see a cogent plan, and they have yet to put forth one,” CTU president Karen Lewis said.

Of course, aldermen don’t have any direct control over school matters. But the teachers union is looking for friends anywhere they can find them.

One other interesting point: CPS CEO J.C. Brizard invited the union to join him in selecting 25 more schools that could implement a longer school day in January.

Surprisingly, Lewis didn’t reject this offer out of hand.

“We’ll have a conversation about it,” she said.

More from Derrick Blakley
  • RetiredinAz1

    The nCTU is becoming a more wimpy in the eyes of the public……the CTU no longer has a strong backbone.

  • Barry Brown

    The teachers union needs to get into todays world and stop blowing wind we are in a time of great financial TROUBLE every. The commitments that were made in a past contract were based on the economy at the time and boy have things changed. It looks like the financial projections at the turned to waaaay off. So now lets Dance .

  • efrain gonzalez

    Financial trouble? cps got millions of dollars in stimulus money to avoid this problem, last year they had a surplus and where is the money???what did they do? they paid their top executives and private consultants, there is over $250 million in TIFF money which is suppouse to go to schools, the mayor prefers to give tax breaks to walmart, banks and cronies, like the uno president, i just wish people read more than the bias newspapers and networks just at this one, which campaigned for emanuel and are their biggest cheerleaders, stop repeting out of touch child-like slogans, get inform..

  • Bob

    I am sure all of these politicians would want extra money to work longer. CPS has become a babysitting service for these kids many of whom are disrespectfull brats. They are at the schools at 7am because the parents drop them off so they can go to work. Now they want a longer day so we can watch them till the parents come home from work. Thats the only reason for the longer day. In the mean time we feed the breakfast and lunch and sometimes supper because these same lazy parents who most of them get link cards cant take care of their own kids. I work for the BOE and see the waste brought upon by the politicians . Get Educators to run the schools not the goofy mayor we have. Cut your pay Mayor and your corrupt city council too.

  • Joel

    Everyone one will need to sacrifice while going through this semi-depression…not only the teachers. The principals, administrators, all services, will need to make cuts which should be proportionately distributed. We go in together.

  • http://www.cdobs.com/archive/syndicated/teachers-union-officials-discuss-better-school-day-in-meetings-with-aldermen/ Chicago Daily Observer » Blog Archive » Teachers union officials discuss ‘better school day’ in meetings with aldermen

    […] Teachers Union Courts Aldermen In Debate Over Longer School Day [CBS Chicago] […]

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