Teacher evaluations at center of Chicago strike


Teacher evaluations at center of Chicago strike

SOPHIA TAREEN | September 13, 2012 08:04 AM EST |

CHICAGO — Educators in Los Angeles just signed a new deal with the city’s school district. So, too, did teachers in Boston. Both require performance evaluations based in part on how well students succeed, a system that’s making its debut in Cleveland.

So what’s the problem in Chicago, where 25,000 teachers in the nation’s third-largest district have responded to an impatient mayor’s demand that teacher evaluations be tied to student performance by walking off the job for the first time in 25 years?

To start, while Chicago’s teachers have drawn the hardest line in recent memory against using student test scores to rate teacher performance, contract agreements in other cities – including those reached this week in Boston and Los Angeles – have hardly come quickly or with ease. They were often signed grudgingly, at the direction of a court or following negotiations that took years. And mayors and school officials have also won over reluctant teachers by promising to first launch pilot projects aimed at proving a concept many believe is inherently unfair.

“It has been a very tough issue across the country,” said Rob Weil, a director at the American Federation of Teachers, one of the nation’s two largest teachers’ unions. “Teachers in many places believe that they see administrations and state legislatures creating language and policies that’s nothing more than a mousetrap.” Continue reading “Teacher evaluations at center of Chicago strike”

Contract issues in the Chicago teachers strike


Contract issues in the Chicago teachers strike

The Associated Press | September 13, 2012 07:57 AM EST |

As Chicago teachers walk the picket lines, their union and the city’s school district resumed negotiating a new contract that includes bigger salaries, more benefits, revised job security measures and revamped teacher evaluations. Thursday is the fourth day of the strike. Here is a breakdown of the issues on the table:

TEACHER EVALUATIONS: The union is particularly concerned about a new teacher evaluation system, arguing it would be unfair because it relies too heavily on students’ standardized test scores and does not take into account external factors that affect performance, including poverty, violence and homelessness. They argue it could result in 6,000 teachers losing their jobs within two years. The district says the union already agreed to the new evaluation system, but it has offered to make adjustments. Continue reading “Contract issues in the Chicago teachers strike”

On Wisconsin: Romney moves to put state in play


On Wisconsin: Romney moves to put state in play

BRIAN BAKST | September 12, 2012 03:55 PM EST |

NORTH HUDSON, Wis. — Out of necessity and emboldened by recent GOP strides in Wisconsin, Republican challenger Mitt Romney has drawn President Barack Obama into a fight for a state the incumbent Democrat won handily four years ago and his party hasn’t lost since 1984.

Just two months before Election Day, Wisconsin has emerged as the latest presidential battleground. Television advertising is flooding it. And both campaigns are jockeying for its 10 electoral votes as each looks to rack up wins in enough states to accumulate the 270 votes needed for victory. Romney has fewer ways to do that so he’s turned to Wisconsin – where Republicans like Gov. Scott Walker have had success since 2008 and where Romney running mate Paul Ryan lives – presumably in hopes that a win here will offset a loss elsewhere.

Republicans and Democrats say internal polling shows Obama ahead, though public surveys show a closer race. Continue reading “On Wisconsin: Romney moves to put state in play”

Not in Romney speech: Afghanistan, Social Security

Not in Romney speech: Afghanistan, Social Security

LAURIE KELLMAN | August 31, 2012 08:49 AM EST |

WASHINGTON — Social Security. Medicare. Iraq. Afghanistan. Illegal immigration.

They’re all costly to taxpayers and the next president presumably will have to address them to one degree or another. Yet GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney made no mention of those issues Thursday in his wide-ranging acceptance speech that closed the Republican National Convention.

The address was Romney’s most sweeping attempt yet to outline the case for his candidacy. It was no time to get into the nitty-gritty of federal budgeting and solutions to the nation’s ills. But Romney did find ways to talk about an array of other issues, some of them sensitive for him personally and politically.

Romney did, for example, pledge to “protect the sanctity of life,” a reference to abortion, even though there are clear differences on the issue between him and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. He referred to his family as Mormons, a rarity for a candidate who typically refers to his religion as “my faith.” And Romney even showed emotion, which he seldom does in public, when he spoke of longing to wake up again with a pile of children in the bedroom he shares with wife Ann. Continue reading “Not in Romney speech: Afghanistan, Social Security”

Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech Ignites Media War Over Facts

Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech Ignites Media War Over Facts

Posted: 08/30/2012 4:12 pm Updated: 08/30/2012 5:18 pm

Paul Ryan Media

TAMPA, Fla. — Before Rep. Paul Ryan left the stage Wednesday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, journalists took to Twitter for some real-time fact-checking.

Soon after, several media outlets, including The Huffington Post, called attention to misleading statements from Ryan’s speech. The New Republic‘s Jonathan Cohn asked if it was the most dishonest convention speech” ever. New York‘s Dan Amira described it shortly before midnight as “appallingly disingenuous and shamelessly hypocritical,” with his colleague Jonathan Chait — who claims to have “the equivalent of a master’s degree in Ryan lie-ology” — later calling out the Republican candidate for “brazen dishonesty.”

At around 12:15 a.m., the Associated Press hit the wire with a piece detailing “factual shortcuts” on issues like Medicare, economic stimulus, and the closing of a GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wis. Continue reading “Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech Ignites Media War Over Facts”

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