After a very long, public battle, the Chicago Teachers Union announced Friday that they have come to an agreement with the mayor's office and Chicago Public Schools on the length of Chicago's school day.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office says she met recently with the CTU and city officials, responding to a complaint the union filed with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board voicing their concerns about extending the school day without increasing pay for teachers, Fox Chicago reports. The union filed its second complaint this week, alleging an exam that screens applicants was being used to filter out potential hires who would object to extending the school day.
The CTU had previously filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the city for financially incentivizing teachers and schools to neglect their negotiated contracts and adopt the longer school day, which had led 13 schools to abandon the union and agree to a longer day. Madigan, who represented the union, was prepared to file an injunction, but NBC Chicago reports that an agreement was reached between both parties and the CTU will drop its lawsuit.
The mayor's office and CPS have reportedly agreed to stop courting schools for early implementation of the longer day and instead focus on using those 13 schools to see what works and what doesn't, NBC Chicago reports.
"I think it's a huge victory for us and a huge victory for the students," Lewis said Friday, according to NBC Chicago.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel had been working with CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard to advocate for a 90 minute extension to the school day without raising teacher pay, but CTU President Karen Lewis accused the mayor and CPS of leaving teachers out of the conversation. Both parties hope the deal can lead to a better classroom experience for Chicago kids.
"A dispute over the decision of these schools to spend 90 more minutes in the classroom would have accomplished nothing for our children," Emanuel said in a statement. "We must focus our efforts on the classroom – not the courtroom. As we make plans for all schools to begin a longer school day next year, collaboration between leaders of CPS and CTU will become even more important to the success of our students in the classroom and in the workforce for the future. Above all, our students must come first."