The Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates are being presented with the "outlines of an agreement" today, according to the Chicago Tribune, and could vote as soon as Sunday on whether or not it's time to end the strike.
"We have the outlines of an agreement on the major issues, but it's not for this (negotiating) committee to decide if we have a deal," CTU attorney Robert Bloch told the newspaper. "It's for the membership of the union to decide that, and it's for the House of Delegates to determine whether we'll suspend the strike."
While students and teachers could be back in school as soon as Monday, depending on how the House of Delegates votes, the union released a video today illustrating the state of Chicago public school conditions and the uneven allocation of resources and programs in a new video that acts as a response to negative TV ads about the strike by school reform groups.
“When we say this isn’t about the money we don’t mean that our proposals won’t cost anything,” said CTU President Karen Lewis in press release. “We mean that we are not publicly engaged solely for our own self interests. If we do not use this moment to fight for our students we may lose it. No contract can possibly solve all of the structural inequality in our District. However, there are some things we hope to put in place that will alleviate some of the problems, as well as ensure there are qualified educators in every classroom. Our members, however, have the last say.”
The 16-minute video features present and former students, parents and teachers from the Chicago Public Schools discussing the varying conditions seen in the system depending upon the area in which the school is located, with one educator noting a "sharp inequity in terms of the way resources are allocated around the city. Schools with a high concentration of poor black and brown kids are not enjoying the same types of things that you'll find in other parts of the city."
Here's a look at the video called The Truth in Black & White:
According to Lewis, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and school reform groups got what they wanted from legislation and initiatives like SB7 and the Longer School Day Pioneer Program, adding that now it is time for teachers to get some of the basic needs of their students met.
“Mayor Emanuel got everything he wanted to reform education in Chicago, including his longer school day that didn’t include an education plan; a 75 percent strike approval threshold that we blew out of the water; and, a new, deeply flawed evaluation system that rates teachers based on standardized test scores and will have a disparate impact on nearly 10,000 teachers,” said Lewis. “Our contract campaign is about evening the playing field so our students, regardless of income and zip code, get a high-quality education in well-resourced and well-staffed neighborhood schools."
Details of the agreement being presented to the House of Delegates has not been released and both sides are expected back at the bargaining table on Saturday to further hash out the specifics of the deal.
Image: Designs for Change