CTU school-by-school poll shows 90% of members believe Board’s contract proposals will harm students and schools



 CHICAGO – According to a school-by-school poll of members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), over 90 percent of teachers, paraprofessionals, instructional coaches and school clinicians say they believe the Board of Education’s current contract proposals will harm students and lower the education quality of their schools.

The Board’s current five-year contract proposals include a one-time 2 percent raise; dramatic increases in the costs for family health care; and, slashing the collective bargaining agreement to the bone by removing dozens of provisions that protect students such as class size limits.

CTU proposes smaller class sizes, increased instruction in art, music, world languages, and other areas, as well as fair compensation and protections against school closings.  Many of CTU’s contract proposals were outlined in The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve, a report issued by the Union earlier this year. (http://www.ctunet.com/quest-center/research/the-schools-chicagos-students-deserve)


The May 10th internal polling was conducted by Union delegates and concluded today.  All of the Union’s 25,000 voting members were eligible to participate  in the  four-question survey  which required them to mark  ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in a secret balloting process.  Questions included: “Do you believe the Board of Education’s proposals are disrespectful to teachers, clinicians and paraprofessionals; do you believe that the Board’s proposals would harm students and lower the educational quality of your school; do you believe the Board’s proposals should be rejected by the Union; and, do you think CEO (Jean-Claude) Brizard should resign?”

“This exercise was not only a way for us to gauge what our members think about the Board’s current contract proposals but to show the public that CPS is trying to mislead taxpayers and destroy quality public schools,” explained CTU President Karen GJ Lewis, NBCT. “We are being very transparent as we all prepare for the worst. None of us want a strike—it isn’t good for anyone, not our members and certainly not our students. However, if the Board insists on destroying the love and joy of teaching and learning our members will be left with no other option; they will take a stand against this escalating disrespect and school sabotage.”


Chicago Teachers Union delegates and officials tabulate school-by-school polling data at CTU headquarters in downtown Chicago late Thursday evening. More than 25,000 school educators were asked to consider CPS’ current contract proposals which members believe will harm students and schools.

(Photo courtesy of the Chicago Teachers Union)


Public school educators across the nation face a coordinated attack on their profession and the students and families they serve.  In cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Detroit, school districts are imposing longer school days, shifts to merit pay, teacher evaluations based on standardized test scores and an aggressive push for charter schools.  While Chicago is not alone in the attack on public education, many people believe the local fight has been one of the most malicious.

“Last year when the law was reformed to put several restrictions on teachers unions in Illinois we had no idea the school administration would then initiate an aggressive, brazen and profound assault on our classrooms,” Lewis said. “First they took our contractual four percent raises, and although teachers could have gone on strike then, we did not. Next, they took illegal waiver votes in 13 schools to implement a haphazard ‘longer school day program’ this year, rather than make this a planning year so that lengthening the school day could be done correctly.

“This was followed by introducing a flawed teacher evaluation policy, the closure and turnarounds of several of our schools infuriating thousands of CPS parents. Now there is an attack on our pensions,” she explained. “Hardworking teachers, paraprofessionals, instructional coaches and clinicians have been badgered, bullied and belittled by this administration and there appears to be no end in sight. When people feel their backs are against a wall they have no choice but to organize and stand up for themselves. Many of our members have children who attend CPS schools. They have families to support.”

Thousands of CTU members are expected to present a unified front on May 23rd when they rally at the historic Auditorium Theater, 50 E. Congress Parkway. In addition to hearing speeches from Union leaders, people will listen to testimonies from parents, community leaders, students and other labor leaders. The 4:30 p.m. event will be followed by a march to the Board of Education headquarters.

The Chicago Teachers Union is the collective bargaining agent for more than 30,000 Chicago Public School employees. For more information, please visit the Union’s website at www.ctunet.com.