Negativity still was a problem in the schools on Friday before the CTU announced the victory in the fight against the illegal CPS waives

There was no greater evidence of the disconnect between the reality of what the Chicago Teachers Union had accomplished and the mood of fear in Chicago's schools than the response on Friday morning, November 4, 2011, that the CTU was going to hold a noon press conference to make an announcement about the "Longer School Day." Dozens of schools, Substance learned, and hundreds of teachers had concluded, before the press conference, that somehow Chicago's teachers had "lost" again.

When the news arrived that the CTU had won a considerable victory over Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the policies of Jean-Claude Brizard at the Board of Education, there was still disbelief, including some strange convolutions on First Class, the CPS discussion board.

But CTU President Karen Lewis said it most clearly in her email to the CTU membership later in the day.

"Sisters and Brothers:

"Yesterday, the CTU leadership finally got the Board of Education to move past the dispute over when to implement the Longer School Day. The Board agreed to abide by the law and the collective bargaining agreement.

"There will be no more waiver votes. Now we can move on to the discussion our union wants to have about how to make sure every student in Chicago has an excellent, broad curriculum with appropriate class sizes.

"The agreement does not circumvent the pending Unfair Labor Practices hearing before the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELRB) on the merits of the complaint, which is scheduled for December 14 in Chicago. It also does not force the 13 schools who have already waived school day length provisions of the contract to revert back to their old schedules.That would only happen if the IELRB issues a ruling following the hearing or if the Union and Board reach a further settlement.

"Make no mistake – our position and that of other labor organizations is clear – this activity was illegal. This is a victory that will not be subject to appeal or the uncertainty of politics.

"This has been a distraction with which we had to contend, but it is time to move forward. We have a much bigger set of issues ahead of us, which include an attempt to short change our students by closing schools rather than supporting them as well as our negotiations for the upcoming contract.

"In Solidarity, Karent GJ Lewis, NBCT, President, Chicago Teachers Union


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