As we move into the fifth day of the strike involving Chicago’s public school teachers, an end may be in sight. Chicago Public Schools and the city’s teachers union say they have some “number crunching” to do, but so much progress has been made that teachers and students could be back in classrooms on Monday. The Chicago Tribune reports that the union has asked supporters to come out for a final protest tomorrow at noon.
There is a proposal for resolving the big issue — how teachers will be evaluated — that will put a tiered system in place, in addition to weighing student test scores. Those exam results will count for 30 to 35 percent of the evaluation process with student surveys and principal observations also put into consideration. Tenured teachers won’t be fired during the first year as the new system works itself out. All teachers will be given a chance to improve if they receive an unsatisfactory evaluation.
As we reported the other day, the strike has wide-reaching implications for the black community. The number of minority teachers in Chicago has dropped. Parents and students have been inconvenienced by the strike, with some parents having to change their work schedules or pay for other child care arrangements. There was concern that the relationship between President Obama and unions could be negatively impacted if the strike dragged on. And the questions of education reform came to the forefront.
This resolution will by no means resolve the public education issues that the country faces. But trying a new system could put us one step closer to improving a system that’s responsible for educating millions of kids, our next generation of leaders and thinkers.
*Update: A tentative deal has been reached.
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