District 112 Teachers Explain Intent to Strike

The union that represents Highland Park's elementary and middle school teachers says the school board is 'pinching on pennies.' A strike could begin in mid-October.

The following is a letter to the editor from the North Shore Education Association (NSEA) explaining the decision to file a Notice of Intent To Strike.

The NSEA delivered the 10-Day Notice of Intent to Strike on Friday to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) and the North Shore School District 112 School Board and Regional Superintendent.

The NSEA was extremely disappointed when the Board's final offer showed absolutely no discernible movement by the school board from their previous offer to the NSEA. While the NSEA made a huge change in its position in the final offer, hoping to show its sincere desire to reach an amicable settlement, the teachers were extremely dismayed to see no change on the part of the board. It seems that while the board does not mind paying huge administrative salaries (including pension benefits, bonuses, disability insurance, cash instead of family insurance, all costing tens of thousands of dollars), when it comes to the teachers, the board is insisting on pinching pennies.

If the NSEA accepted the board's ridiculously meager offer, the District 112 teachers would not ratify the contract. They feel they deserve better. They feel that they deserve compensation and benefits at least on par with those of surrounding districts. They feel that it's not fair for a teacher earning a Master's degree in education to not get repaid for that tuition for 28 years (in many other districts, the district pays for part of the tuition AND allows teachers to move lanes, thus recouping the cost in 3 to 5 years).

In short, the NSEA is determined to keep our school district where it belongs -- attracting and keeping the best teachers and giving our students a world-class education.

To see the Board's response to the intent to strike, click here. To read Ed Brill's editorial on the District 112 contract negotiations, click here.

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Alexa Martinez October 10, 2012 at 09:31 PM
And the administrators should not get raises or bonus for two reasons, same rule should apply to them as to teachers, the economy is not good, save the money, and because under their watch they have decided to look over the shoulder and let the problem we have @ Oak Terrace escalate, now we have Northwood second year failing too. It is their duty to make crucial decisions that will mitigate the problem. Snobs, get in charge and make the appropriate decisions, shut down the bilingual program and start evaluating teachers. What are you waiting for, so someone takes over the school or for a civil lawsuit?
llwvrt October 11, 2012 at 06:49 AM
Alexa, nothing is going to happen because realistic test scores show that students are improving. ISAT scores are not a solid example of academic growth and that is what AYP is based on. Illinois will get an exemption, like so many other states, when they revamp their plan to the government. If you really detest the way bilingual education is taught, do your research and show how immersion is both cost cutting and effective. Present it to the board. They listen to discussions that save them money. Every family at Oak Terrace had the option to leave; they chose to stay. Imagine that- they chose to stay at Oak Terrace. I wonder why?
Mark Stein October 11, 2012 at 08:01 AM
The billingual program is the Board's program. It is not the NSEA's program. The Association has no power to alter the program. If you believe that immersion is the best way to go, you need to convince the Board and administration. You may be surprised to learn that there are teachers who will agree with you.
Highlands HP'er October 16, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Rich parents wait huh? Do you even live in the community? Oak Terrace has 71% of its students from low income families. A large portion of these students come from immigrant families that don't speak English at home. If you look at the test scores broken down by race (for lack of a better way of trying to separate immigrant families from multi generational American families) you will find a HUGE difference in test scores. What does this show? It shows more or less that children from poorer families that don't speak English at home tend to struggle more than children of wealthier families that speak English at home. I think you will find this situation is not unique to Oak Terrace. You really ought to be ashamed of what you wrote to Pamela as people like her chose to work with a more challenging group of children and really have a tougher time with their students than the schools that "test so well".
Alexa Martinez October 16, 2012 at 04:04 PM
The parents at Oak Terrace are not choosing to stay, they just do not have another option. Have you ever called the school and tried to enroll a Hispanic student? The first thing they do is to send you to Mr. Giraldo and he makes sure you are all scared that if you do not enroll your child in the bilingual program, the school will loose all financial aid and you too. which is not true, but the school is not informing parents about their options. Hispanic parents do not want their kids to be stuck in a bilingual program, they want their kids to learn ENGLISH. and when I say that the bilingual program does not work is because it does not, it does not even teach proper Spanish. The bilingual teachers do not have a good handle of the Spanish nor the English language, they mask it and since the Principal doe not speak Spanish, she does not know that Giraldo is covering for their mistakes. Yes I get all your arguments, but this is a VERY RICH SCHOOL DISTRICT and I have seen better results at more t modest schools. It is just a matter of making the effort and getting rid of the bilingual program.


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