FROM THE BOSS'S MOUTH INTO YOUR EAR: Chicago's Big Lie gets even bigger... Brizard begins to bring 'The Truth' about negotiations directly to THE PEOPLE on the CPS propaganda website

The new Chicago Public Schools website on "collective bargaining" was barely one week old when Chicago Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Jean-Claude Brizard sent a memo to the entire CPS universe warning principals, teachers, and everyone else that he had been forced to update THE TRUTH about contract negotiations because the Chicago Teachers Union was spreading what Brizard calls "lies." With this wonderful addition to the CPS version of "transparency" during the regime of Mayor Transparency," Substance begins a new feature called FROM THE BOSS'S MOUTH... which will appear from time to time.

Jean-Claude Brizard at Disney II elementary school in Chicago one year after leaving Rochester New York with a "no confidence" vote from everyone in town except the wealthiest people. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.On May 10, 2012, Brizard posted on the CPS website a lengthy (more than two pages) point-by-point explanation about the Board of Education's side in the current contract negotiations for the public to read and get THE TRUTH. Brizard also sent an email memo to all senior staff and principals urging them to go immediately to THE TRUTH according to Brizard. The memo, which went out at the end of the day on May 20, 2012, says:

From: Jean Claude Brizard

Sent: Thu 5/10/2012 6:08 PM

Subject: Updates to Share with You

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to bring to your attention that we’ve updated our collective bargaining website. There has been several misleading and inaccurate claims recently made about contract proposals put forth by CPS as part of negotiations with the CTU. That’s why we’ve updated our collective bargaining website with factual information that helps set the record straight. You can visit our website at, or click on this link to take you directly to the webpage that sets the record straight on CPS proposals and CTU claims. Thank you for all that you do on behalf of our students.


Jean-Claude Brizard


Chicago Public Schools

Below, without comment (yet), is what Brizard posted, following the issuance of the above memo to all schools.

[Date. May 10, 2012. From: Jean-Clude Brizard. To: Everyone in the universe]

Setting the Facts Straight: CTU’s Misleading Claims About CPS Contract Proposals

CTU Claim: [CPS has offered} A one-time 2% raise with lanes and steps frozen; nothing in years 2, 3, 4 and 5 unless we agree to test-based merit pay and the elimination of lanes and steps.

Facts: One of CPS’s bargaining goals is to implement a new compensation system that is designed to reward and retain high quality teachers, teachers who assume roles in hard-to-staff subjects or high- need schools and teachers who assume mentor or leadership roles within their schools. For example, teachers that work in hard to fill positions would receive additional compensation for taking those roles.

To this end, CPS has proposed moving to a differentiated pay system, not a merit pay system. CPS has further proposed and that a CPS-CTU committee to be formed by January 1, 2013 to negotiate a mutually agreeable new compensation plan to become effective July 1, 2014. Until a new plan is in place, CPS has offered a cost of living increase consistent with its fiscal constraints of 2% effective July 1, 2012 with freezes on both step and lane increases.

CTU Claim: Dramatic increases in costs for family health insurance and the end of our ability to bank sick days.

Facts: CPS has proposed moving away from an antiquated, costly and unfair sick day policy that forces members to “bank” sick days to plan for future pregnancies or serious illness. Under the proposed policy, rather than being compelled to work through illness while “banking” sick days, all members will have access to short term disability benefits for serious illness. Additionally, that policy will provide paid maternity leave at CPS for the first time ever.

Brizard (far right) keeping an eye on "Chief Education Officer" Noemi Donoso during Donoso's final Chicago Board of Education meeting (March 28, 2012). A month later, Donoso was forced out by Brizard and City Hall. In the rear above (behind the door) is Mayoral Education Assistant Beth Swanson, taking notes during the meeting. To the left above is Swanson's other employer, billionaire heiress (she prefers to be known as an "entrepreneur" — which is pretty easy when you begin entrepreneuring with a billion dollars in your pockets and purses) Penny Pritzker. (Swanson was executive director of the Pritzker Traubert family foundation when she was brought to City Hall to keep an eye on things at CPS, too. Swanson had been attending the Board meetings in the public section until she became covert on behalf of Rahm Emanuel following the massive protests against Emanuel's turnarounds and other attacks on the city's real public schools. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Employees pay only a small portion of the total cost of healthcare — in most cases, roughly 10%. While Families are charged 15% more towards their coverage than singles, the actual cost of family health care is almost 300% more than that of singles. This means that employees with single coverage are subsidizing those with multiple dependents. To ensure more equity, we are proposing a slight adjustment that will balance out those costs. Under our proposal, over half of our employees would see no change in health care costs and health care costs for employees would remain in the range of 10%- 15%.

CTU Claim: Slash our contract to the bone: Removing dozens of contract provisions altogether, weakening our grievance procedure, health and safety protections and much more.

Fact: This is untrue. CPS has proposed a long overdue “rewrite” of the current contract and for good reason. A majority of the current contract’s provisions are obsolete, repetitive, misleading and in some cases illegal.

CPS believes that teachers deserve a labor agreement that clearly spells out current rights and obligations. Employees should not have to weed through provisions that are 30 years old and no longer relevant in today’s classrooms, such as the number of mimeograph machines per school and how the district labels film canisters.

CPS proposed an initial “framework” for the new agreement with numerous placeholders for such important subjects as health care benefits, salaries and compensation, employee discipline and the grievance procedure. The new contract envisioned by CPS will be shorter, clearer, and far more user- friendly for everyone, while still providing employees with substantive protections they currently enjoy.

CPS has proposed to retain all safety provisions in the current contract, including specifically a provision that says: “Bargaining unit employees shall work under safe and healthful conditions.” All other health and safety provisions have also been retained, such as the procedures for high school security screening and searches and the provision of safety clothing and equipment.

As part of its effort to modernize the labor agreement, CPS has repeatedly invited the CTU to identify important contract provisions that may not yet be included in the framework. CTU has not identified any such provisions.

CTU Claim: A longer school day and year which will require elementary teachers to lose regular planning time and be forced to work mandatory hours on evenings and weekends.

Facts: Both of these statements are untrue. CPS is not proposing any requirements that would “force” teachers to work mandatory hours during weeks and evenings.

CPS has proposed to dramatically increase time for planning and professional development for all teachers. In all, teachers will receive nearly two hours of additional time for planning and professional development every week. This includes 21 additional minutes – not less – for planning and professional development each day for elementary teachers.

CTU Claim: No plans for sufficient resources or staffing to make the day better.

Facts: This is untrue. This year CPS has expanded funding and flexibility for principals by nearly $130 million in part to help schools plan for the Full School Day next fall. These discretionary dollars can be used to augment additional staffing needs they may have.

CTU Claims: Evaluation procedures heavily based on standardized test scores.

Facts: This is untrue. While some districts apply as much 50% of standardized testing in their evaluations, we are starting with 15%, gradually increasing to 25% over the next five years.

Last year, CPS and the CTU formed a joint committee of teachers and administrators with substantial educational experience in the classroom and as service personnel. They engaged in 90 hours of negotiation over a period of 114 days in an attempt to reach agreement on a system that teachers and administrators could live with.

The plan, REACH Students is based in large part on the input of 2,300 CPS teachers who shared what they would like to see in a new evaluation system. The plan is state of the art and designed to help teachers succeed through robust observation, feedback and targeted professional development.

REACH Students will be implemented next year in compliance with the Illinois Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA), signed into law in Jan 2010, supported by CPS and CTU, mandates that CPS install a comprehensive evaluation system that includes a minimum of 25% for student growth in SY ‘12-‘13.

CTU Claim: Remove all references to class size, paving the way to further over-crowding our classrooms.

Facts: This is untrue. CPS has proposed to continue to incorporate the Board’s class size policy into the agreement. The Board has also proposed to describe accurately the structures of the Class Size Monitoring Panel and Class Size Supervisory Committee, which are not correctly represented in the current agreement.

For the second year in a row, CPS is protecting class size rather than increasing it to help address two years of $600-700 million deficits.

CTU Claim: Remove all references to recall and reassignment, allowing the Board to layoff veteran and beginning teachers with impunity.

Facts: This is untrue. CPS has not proposed to eliminate seniority rights. On the contrary, CPS has proposed to retain them, but also to comply with state law by considering other factors as well. CTU’S proposal violates current state law as it is proposing to rely solely on seniority.

Further, under the current agreement, teachers do not have recall rights. But CPS has proposed to give teachers a limited recall right under certain circumstances.


May 11, 2012 at 8:21 AM

By: John Kugler

Aloha, Mr. Hand.

The more time goes by the more this guy is a complete fool puppet. Reminds me of my students who never came to class and smoked weed all day always blaming the other guy for their inadequacies.

(Brad) Hey! you guys had shirts when you came in here.

(spicoli) something must of happend to them man!

(Brad) see that sign over there.

(Both) No Shoes, No Shirt, Nooo Dice!

(Brad) Right! Learn it, Know it, Live it!

--Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

May 11, 2012 at 9:10 PM

By: Kimberly Bowsky

I don't know WHAT they're talking about, but... say,"To-ma-to," and I say, "To-mah-to."

I could say "force," and you could say, "Come if you want, but if you don't, it'll be noticed."

You say, "Differentiated pay scale," and I'll say, "We tried that decades ago and it's based on a perceived value of work, meaning a person who merits such a pay for 'producing' something, so it pits workers against each other for the same job of educating children we have in common."

He said, "As part of its effort to modernize the labor agreement, CPS has repeatedly invited the CTU to identify important contract provisions that may not yet be included in the framework. CTU has not identified any such provisions." Say, WHATTT? THAT stretches credulity--let's call the whole thing...

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