From The Chicago Tribune: Chicago's public school teachers have decisively approved a contract agreement. Members of the Chicago Teachers Union supported the pact with 79.1 percent in favor, the highest approval rating for a contract in the union's history, union officials say. Of the 20,765 valid ballots, 16,428 were for the new agreement and 4,337 were against it. The contract agreement came after a seven-day strike last month.

Earlier....

SEPTEMBER 2012...from The Chicago Tribune: Hundreds of thousands of Chicago Public Schools students returned to classrooms this morning after striking teachers agree to end a walkout. The tentative agreement includes Mayor Rahm Emanuel's No. 1 reform objective: lengthening what had been one of the nation's shortest school days and year.

MORE:

  • From The Chicago Teachers Union: Highlights of the tentative contract agreement. (PDF file)
  • News release: Portions of a statement issued by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, after the Chicago Teachers Union vote to return to school:

"This agreement guarantees that Chicago teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians will return to the classroom knowing that their schools and community are strengthened because their voices and experience have been respected. And parents can send their kids to school knowing that their teachers fought for the resources children need to succeed, including having textbooks on time and investments in art, music, physical education and other subjects that expand and enrich children’s minds.

"This tentative agreement...was forged amid a backdrop that saw a broad cross section of parents and other Chicagoans join teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians in calling for a fair, substantive contract that gives educators and students the tools they need to succeed. That’s what this strike was always about. Sadly, real progress was made only after the strike—which had the support of parents and the community—became a reality....

"By standing up for what teachers need to teach and students need to learn, Chicago’s teachers and parents sparked a national conversation about how we make every public school a school where parents want to send their kids and teachers want to teach. The issues raised by Chicago’s educators and parents resonate across this nation because they are being felt by teachers, students and parents everywhere. These issues include endless budget cuts that have eliminated art, music, gym and other critical subjects from our public schools; a growing obsession with high-stakes testing, denying kids the rich learning experiences they need; closing down rather than fixing neighborhood schools, which destabilizes neighborhoods; and concentrated poverty that forces schools to take on more in the face of dwindling resources. With all of this, teachers continue to be denied the tools and conditions they need to do their jobs and then are blamed for every problem facing our schools...

"What’s happened in Chicago has changed the conversation and shown that, by communities uniting and acting collectively, we can transform our schools and guarantee every child the high-quality public education he or she deserves. Now let’s hope this turns the page to a new chapter in education reform, where we can work together to achieve what our kids need—in Chicago and throughout the country."
View the full statement.


  • VIDEO from the Chicago Mayor's Office: Mayor Rahm Emanuel's comments after striking public school teachers agree to end their walkout (Remarks begin at about the 1 1/2 minute mark):