Michelle Rhee is calling the Chicago contract a "missed opportunity," and indeed it was a bungled job in many regards. However, it's worth remembering that StudentsFirst never liked SB7, the deal underlying this contract, which was agreed to before SF got to Illinois. And this Sun Times breakdown notes that outside reform groups weren't as influential as they might have expected given their role in SB7. Boo hoo for them.
Catalyst notes several union wins as well -- a three year contract, a minimum role for student achievement in teacher evaluations. This WSJ article also notes that Emanuel didn't get nearly as much as Denver or DC did in their recent negotiations. But NCTQ is taking a more balanced view, describing it as "generally moving the district in the right direction" thanks to the longer day and year and the evaluation pieces. Click below for their breakdown.
And as I did in a previous post on my Chicago blog (Stupid Strike), NCTQ also notes that school closings and budget issues may have more to do with whether Chicago improves than the contract provisions.
This is the issue that folks only now seem to be waking up to -- that Chicago is going to have to continue to downsize unless it makes its schools good enough for white, college educated parents in particular to stay in town and trust their kids to Chicago schools. Very roughly speaking, only about one of three white Chicago families sends its kids to CPS.
At the end, CTU head Karen Klein Lewis seemed to be clear about this as well: "We couldn’t solve all the problems of the world with one contract, and that it was time to suspend the strike."