As the Chicago Teachers Union strike heads into its fourth day, many are wonderingwhat contractual disputes have shut down a public school system that strives to educate nearly 350,000 students. Although the union has won support for representing one of the most dedicated and committed labor forces in the world, several of the Chicago Teachers Union’s contract demands have stirred controversy in the national debate brewing around public education and public-sector unions. Here are the top 10:
10. New evaluation system
By all accounts, the Chicago Public School System’s current evaluation system is more outdated than the GOP platform. The Chicago Teachers Union has called for a modernized system that takes into account more relevant factors to gauge teacher performance, like yearbook signings, average fights broken up, and creepy crushes developed by students.
9. Thurmond-esque job security
In retrospect, naming this demand after 48-year United States Senator and notorious d-bag wasn’t a great PR move. Neither was touting Senator Thurmond as a symbol of the benefits of tenure, or quoting Thurmond by declaring, “All the laws in Chicago and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force merit pay into our schools.” Other proposed alterations to the tenure system include Survivor-like immunity challenges and something ominously referred to as the “philosopher’s stone.”
8. End of daily gym classes
To be fair, Union President Karen Lewis is one of the larger proponents of this contractual demand.
7. Mandatory anti-bullying initiative for Mayor Rahm Emanuel
The social learning initiative seeks to take a multi-pronged interdisciplinary approach to help Mayor Emanuel create a more positive learning and work environment. Through work with peers and one-on-one sessions with social workers, the program will help Rahm realize how his aggressive behavior and forceful coercion of others has become habitual and reliant on an imbalance of power. Topics will include “F**k You: Verbal harassment in the workplace,” “Mean Girls: Or how to work with NOW,” and “The Chief of Police and You: An exploration of social and physical power in modern Chicago.”
6. Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher” to play throughout passing periods
This component of the CTU’s contract demands has received widespread support, with the notable exception of 6-8 grade teachers, who object that it’s just a little “too real” sometimes.
5. Can’t we just show them the movie version of The Great Gatsby instead?
“I mean, seriously,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey, “We’ve got enough on our hands as it is, struggling to educate students while trying to keep the fact that our best solution to end school violence is to make all students wear clear backpacks for Christsakes.” Added Sharkey, “It’s not like there’s anything in the book that the Redford/Farrow 1974 classic misses. And just wait until Baz Luhrmann works his magic on it!”
4. End to the city’s slashing of funding for arts, music, theater, sports, clubs, mathematics, textbooks, pens, and even those tiny fucking desks that are built into the goddamn chair and creak like holy hell every time they’re moved a goddamn inch
The Chicago Teachers Union has made the bold claim that the city’s lack of investment in extracurricular activities, school supplies, or really anything at all within the CPS has hampered teachers’ ability to effectively educate students.
3. For that one stinky kid to just take a shower
“Oh for the love of God,” exclaimed President Lewis, “Does he, like, even know how to shower? Do his parents not smell him in the morning and refuse to drive him to school until he learns how to use soap? Dear lord, just last week I had to work with the stinky kid on a project and I nearly blacked out, the smell was so bad. It smells like a combination of the Chicago River, baloney that’s been sitting out for three weeks, Mike Ditka’s farts, and Satan. Teachers have a hard enough time as it is. Having to breathe through your nose for an entire class period just makes this job that much more difficult.”
2. A first round pick, two third round picks, a point guard, cash considerations, and a player to be named later
Although the teachers union admits that it is in the midst of a rebuilding phase, the teachers are hoping to woo a marquee low-post player like Dwight Howard or Chris Bosh to make a deep run in the race to the top.
1. Some well-deserved and long-overdue recognition for an under-appreciated and excruciatingly difficult job
Oh wait, that’s the NFL Referee Union’s main contractual demand. My bad.