Evaluating the progress of negotiations between the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Teachers Union is hard. The talks are closed to the public so all we get are post-negotiation declarations from each side. Board of Education President David Vitale usually says that the two sides are close to a deal and CTU President Karen Lewis usually counters that the two sides are far apart.
That said, the signs from yesterday are not promsing. The district and union focused on devising a teacher evaluation system, but could not come to an agreement. Vitale and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel insist only two issues remain unresolved but Lewis and CTU officials say that only six of almost 50 matters have been figured out.
Vitale and Lewis are now even feuding over their post-negotiations pronouncements. After Lewis encouraged union members "to have fun" at a rally yesterday afternoon, Vitale huffed that, "This is not the behavior of a group of people who are serious about the interests of our children." Meanwhile, CTU Vice-President Jesse Sharkey told the Sun-Times this morning that there was "no way" a contract could be hashed out today and that, "This could be a long strike."