Members of Chicago Teachers Union hold placards outside the Benito Juarez High School on the fifth day of their strike in Chicago (Photo : Reuters)
The Chicago Teachers Union and Public School system have reached a tentative agreement, which may get students back in their seats by Monday morning. Union President Karen Lewis said "we think [the new terms are] a framework that will get us to an agreement," one that she was "very comfortable" with.
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The Chicago Tribune reports that the new terms include "teacher evaluations in which student performance makes up 25 percent of a teacher's performance rating in the system's first year and a higher percentage in future years." Salaries will also be raised 3 percent for the first year, and 2 percent bumps in subsequent years. Additionally, "raises for years taught, known as step pay increases, would be limited to mid-career educators from their fifth through 10th years with the district." The Tribune also cites a source "close to negotiations," stating that "highly rated teachers who are laid off because of school closings will have a chance to be rehired at the school receiving the students from the school that was closed."
While the basics are in place, details of the agreement still need to be ironed out, culminating in a vote on Sunday which will decide the fate of the new contract. The Tribune also notes that while the strike may end on Sunday, the new agreement still needs to be ratified, which could take up to two weeks.
Yet, a conclusion to this conflict is not assured, as Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey points out to the Sun-Times. "We're hoping that we can do it but frankly like I said, the devil is in the details of this contract and we want it in writing. We're going in today [to] hammer [out] the details."