Posts tagged "karen lewis"
September 19, 2011
New Yorkers following Chicago’s snowballing union-district
Chicago’s new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and his schools chief, former New York City deputy Jean-Claude Brizard, are pushing schools to add 90 minutes to their 5-hour-long days, among the shortest in the nation. But they have offered teachers only 2 percent more pay, raising the ire of the teachers union, whose president, Karen Lewis, has said Emanuel is creating “a nightmare” by asking union members to override their union contract.
Even though the union has filed a lawsuit over the plan, Emanuel and Brizard decided to shop the proposal school by school, and teachers at at least nine schools have voted to extend their working hours—and the instructional day. The city and the teachers union send out warring press releases each time another school takes a vote.
Staff at New York City schools routinely take similar votes, but with less fanfare. There has been no system-wide push for a longer school day in years, and educators do not foresee a Chicago-style showdown repeating in New York.
That’s in part because the average New York City school day is already much longer than Chicago’s, and slightly longer than other major cities’, with many students in school for 6.5 hours or more. In addition, the district already struck a flexible deal with the union five years ago to extend the school day by 37.5 minutes four days a week for at least 290,000 city students, mostly those who struggle academically. How that time is spent is, to a large degree, up to each school.
Researchers say it is almost impossible to make a good estimate of the length of the New York City school day—something that one Chicago columnist found last week when he tried to tally the numbers—because instructional time requirements vary by grade-level and subject, and principals and teachers can decide together how they want to structure parts of the school day. (more…)
July 7, 2010
If anyone wondered what the union backlash to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s leadership would be like, watch this state of the union address by Chicago’s newly elected teachers union president.
Former high school chemistry teacher Karen Lewis pulled no punches in an address she gave on July 1, in which she laid out her plans for an adversarial relationship with Chicago school CEO Ron Huberman. After slamming the city’s school board for planned budget cuts and layoffs, Lewis addressed Huberman directly. “You’ve met your match,” she said.
Part of the American Federation of Teachers, Chicago’s union unseated former president Marilyn Stewart last month and voted in Lewis, who promised to take a harder line against Huberman.
Led by Weingarten, the national branch of the union has taken a softer approach to its relationship with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. And in New York, we’ve yet to hear rhetoric like Lewis’s from union president Michael Mulgrew.