Opinions Fly on Possible Teachers Strike

Nerves are brittle as students and parents wait to see if there really is a work stoppage.

As the possibility of a teacher’s strike Lake Forest High School is less than a day away and the pictures of what such a labor stoppage would look like emerge from Chicago, opinions are flying on the matter from concerned parents, students and residents.

On a near weather perfect Monday afternoon, the people caught directly in the middle of a possible labor stoppage, the students, were obviously worried about their academic future.

“We’re upset that we won’t get to play Wednesday against New Trier and Oak Park Thursday,” Amanda McMahon, a member of the field hockey team, said. “We have been working hard in these games and it can determine how we place in the State Tournament.”Athletes are going to be on edge, and so are the parents.

Patch learned late today the Illinois High School Association (IHSA, the statewide prep sports governing body, said its board does not have the authority to change its bylaws and allow sports competition during a strike.

The IHSA ruling pertained to Chicago Public Schools, which went on strike Monday, but .

Students walking to school Monday along the bicycle path had mixes feelings. “We’re here for an education,” said one student. “They should be for education. They shouldn’t strike.”

Another student took a different view. “I hope they do,” she said. “They deserve more money.”

Teachers Have Some Support

Meanwhile, one such parent backing the teachers is Fiona Jackson, whose child is a freshman. “It’s ridiculous,” she said. “The teachers work hard and want to be there. The school year has started so we don’t want to interrupt the flow. The School Board is throwing out too many little details; let’s just look for the big picture.”

But that was not a universal sentiment among parents. Far from it. “It’s just tragic for the students,” said Kevin Conroy, the parent of a sophomore who described his job status as ‘in transition.’ “The teachers should be grateful they have jobs.”

A woman dropping her child off at school Monday morning does not discriminate. She just wants school to continue. “They should make a deal,” she said. “They (the union and the Board) are both to blame.”

Reprisals Feared

Then there was the perspective of one parent who was afraid to give her name fearing teacher retribution against her son, who is a senior. This particular parent said she had been working since she was 15 and would love to have the situation she perceives the Lake Forest teachers to have.

“I think it is ridiculous that they are asking for more money,” the woman said. “They work in a safe environment; there are no metal detectors or gang issues. They have no reason for fear and they only work nine months out of the year.”

That same parent said she would be more sympathetic for teachers if Lake Forest High School was the top high school in the country. “Maybe they would deserve a bigger raise,” she said. “But that is not the case.”

Finally, there is the perspective of people who don’t have a direct stake in the situation anymore, but at the same time, do not want to see the community hurt.

“It’s always so sad because nobody wins and the kids always suffer because of the extracurricular activities they can’t participate in,” noted Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander, a longtime Lake Forest resident who had four children go through LFHS.

He said the financial issues facing the District are a result of the housing crisis that has caused so much damage throughout the country. “I know because of the real estate meltdown of 2007, this is a ripple effect. The money from old times just isn’t there.”

Patch Editor Steve Sadin contributed to this story.

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The Rattler September 12, 2012 at 05:18 AM
@Lynette Paulson I intended to call out the polish remark but revised my statement. I agree with you 100%. I'm not the race card guy.
Wowwww September 12, 2012 at 05:22 AM
U said I was a left wing high school student......
BJ Tyler September 12, 2012 at 05:52 AM
Didn't know Juan Williams was posting on the Patch!
BJ Tyler September 12, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Is this a product of the LF education system? I want my tax money back.
LF Res. September 12, 2012 at 06:11 AM
The problem is everyone wants their child to get the best education but they don't want to pay for it. Someone said "fire all the teacher" that's a great resolution. Then you can hire teachers from Zion or Waukegan and see where that takes the kids. Parents who don't support teachers should be ashamed of themselves. This is truly disgusting.
renae September 12, 2012 at 07:25 AM
Hey Moron, I'm a working Mom...& unlike you & your ilk, I don't see myself as a victim or a "pre-existing condition". I have several friends who are teachers & are disgusted by the tactics of this sob story strike. It's all about protecting the lazy slobs vs. the teachers who entered this profession because they actually love to teach & don't complain, whine about anything. It's almost as there are two classes of teachers in the public education system, the givers & the takers. Sound familiar??
Life is Good September 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM
LF Res.: You are truly disgusting! To make such an ignorant comment "Then you can hire teachers from Zion or Waukegan and see where that takes the kids." is so shallow. You are a snob at best. What makes you so superior? Do you know any teachers from Zion or Waukegan? I assure you their challenges are far greater than the ones at LFHS. And no , I don't live in Waukegan or Zion but in Lake Bluff. And thankfully I have chosen to send my child to a private school.
RationalTht September 12, 2012 at 11:46 AM
@Think harder - I hate to break it to you, but some Deerfield schools score BETTER that LF on tests. They pay less and get more.
RationalTht September 12, 2012 at 11:50 AM
We support the teachers, we just can no longer afford to support their extortive demands.
LFHS STUDENT September 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM
@Stevie Janowski- who are you honestly i like my teachers and I would rather have them in my community then any one of you "Concerned Citizens", who havent even met these teachers.
Concerned Citizen September 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM
The argument that we should concede to whatever demands teachers have because "our students deserve the best" is flawed. The facts supporting this position are non-existent. First, while some of the teachers are exceptional and may very well be the best, many of them are not. Contrary to this opinion, there are teachers in other districts (including those listed) that are just as good if not better. Second, if the teachers and the students truly believe that LFHS teachers are the best, then why do they support tenure? If our students deserve the best, then they should get the best teachers and not be constrained by a time-in-grade, tenure system, which rewards years of service, not competence. Third, if the standard is we should pay for the best, then presumably, we would all look at the ranked list of teacher's salaries and all be in general agreement that the ranked list also reflects the quality of the teachers at LFHS. It's because it doesn't that there's an issue. While part of this is the fault of the unionized tenure system, it's also ours: once this is over, parents and teachers need to take on the quality issue publicly and visibly--recognizing and rewarding our best teachers and insisting that those that are not the best are neither rewarded nor retained. Finally, parents have paid for the "best education" (proof: per student expenditures at LFHS are among the highest in IL) and supported the last referendum. Now that we've paid for the best, we expect it.
RationalTht September 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM
@Wowwww - well, your 'feeling' is probably wrong. My wife stays home, but we make other sacrifices to live here. Teacher's salaries look pretty good with all their benefits - how many people DON'T pay for healthcare? Also, getting a raise just for showing up... People like you should get over yourselves.
RationalTht September 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM
@Steve - you might figure it out by his stupid comments.
RationalTht September 12, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Jeff - sorry, you are not believable - teachers WORK 12 months / year @ 10hrs / day? Do they NEVER take all the breaks during the year? As for the summer, they may work another job, but that is additional pay ON TOP OF THE TEACHERS CADILLAC SALARY. As for the rest of your comments, it just shows a thug-like mentality.
P. Jocelyn September 12, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Does anyone realize that no one on the LFHS Board of Education has a child at the high school?
P. Jocelyn September 12, 2012 at 12:07 PM
It is ridiculous that the Board has no problem with the ex-superintendant's disgusting compensation package, yet won't even negotiate with teachers. Folks - these two parties are going to have to meet some place in the middle. Compromise is going to have to happen.
P. Jocelyn September 12, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Reading all these comments full of bitter emotion explains the state of the world.
P. Jocelyn September 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM
It's so funny...the school web site says that the teacher union continues to demand pay increases of more than double the consumer price index...Does anyone know what the current consumer price index is, or what it has been over the last year? Well, it is currently at 0. Yes, zero. Check the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov/news) It was zero in June and July of 2012, and actually -0.3 for May. Spin, spin, spin...
Me September 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM
@P. Jocelyn - So, if the BLS CPI number for last year was zero, then any increase based upon inflation is unwarranted. The teachers actually are looking for significant pay increases over and above the cost of living just for achieving that lofty goal of maintaining a pulse. Well done.
P. Jocelyn September 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM
What inflation? And thank you.
P. Jocelyn September 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM
And by the way, the cost of living index is not the consumer price index. The high school web site is stating that the teachers are seeking pay increases of more than double the CONSUMER PRICE INDEX, which is ZERO!!! You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time...
Gary September 12, 2012 at 02:13 PM
The teachers claim to have had a salary freeze last year. http://www.familytaxpayers.org/salary.php Rnk Name 2011 Incr Salary 2010 Incr Salary 2009 Salary 1 Filippo___ 3.14% 168740 8.94% 163605 150178 2 Richards_ 6.00% 153016 6.00% 144355 136184 3 Benson__ 6.00% 151701 4.92% 143115 136405 4 Clark____ 6.00% 151530 6.00% 142953 134861 5 Gress___ 6.00% 149852 6.00% 141370 133367 6 Papp____ 6.00% 146724 6.00% 138419 130584 7 Brandes_ 4.94% 142452 5.85% 135751 128247 8 Gibson__ 6.00% 142201 6.00% 134152 126559 9 Straus___ 6.00% 140166 5.96% 132232 124792 10 Spagnoli 5.37% 137607 2.14% 130589 127856 11 Kuhl____ 3.41% 136593 1.82% 132084 129720 12 Gantt___ 4.10% 135403 2.92% 130072 126381 13 Kopriva_ 3.84% 134449 2.07% 129472 126846 14 Cooney_ 7.41% 134325 3.19% 125064 121203 15 Jerch___ 6.00% 134242 6.00% 126643 119474 16 Clegg___ 6.47% 133945 7.01% 125803 117566 17 Mueller__ 6.00% 132581 3.88% 125077 120406 18 Antrim_ -10.28% 132483 1.30% 147660 145768 19 Naughton 7.23% 132076 -4.59% 123166 129098 20 Littel____ 8.65% 131418 12.04% 120959 107956 21 Johnson_ 6.00% 131344 1.48% 123909 122098 22 Heroux__ 6.00% 130695 5.09% 123297 117324 23 Coad___ 3.71% 130594 2.45% 125922 122908 24 Haskett_ -0.48% 130099 6.85% 130732 122346 25 Nawor__ 5.76% 129965 6.15% 122888 115770
Gary September 12, 2012 at 02:45 PM
The teachers and their union aren't satisfied with those salaries and those pay increases, and have taken their $40 million dollar ball and gone home. They have shown everyone what their priorities are, and now we need to show our children what our priorities are. It's time to focus on rebuilding the school and getting our kids back in the classroom and on the playing field as fast as possible so that they can have the high school experience they deserve. There are a lot of online educational tools, so I thought I'd bring some of them to your attention: www.k12.com - clearing house for online schools www.k12.com/cvcs - Chicago virtual charter school www.kahnacademy.com - Quirky, but can be very effective www.youtube.com - There are a large number of courses of every variety, and quality on youtube. I have done lots of professional training uses courses available on youtube. There are many others that can be added to this list. A quick core curriculum can be created from these resources, the kids can be brought into school and set up on computers, and school can be considered "in session" so extra-curricular activity can move on while the teaching staff is rebuilt.
Me September 12, 2012 at 03:31 PM
@Gary - please stop confusing the issue with facts. We all know that the perception of reality in Teacherland cannot be defined by any known mathematical concepts.
Gary September 12, 2012 at 06:14 PM
The school is recruiting helpers: www.lfhs.org "Important Information - Strike is Announced and begins effective Wednesday, September 12, 2012 LFHS Seeks Help for Support Roles If you would like to serve in a support role at Lake Forest High School during the teachers’ strike, please contact Gail Moesta at 847-582-7388 for more information or to set up a time to complete the application process." The teachers walked the walk, and now that they have walked, it's our turn.
parent trap September 12, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Oh that's just great. That's the back-up plan? What happened to all the out of work teachers that would love to teach at LFHS?
parent trap September 12, 2012 at 09:18 PM
What does that mean "helpers"? This is all so wrong.
Kathie September 12, 2012 at 09:50 PM
@parent trap. Don't mock this. LF/LB is a community of parents, grandparents, neighbors and others who generously VOLUNTEER countless hours of time to support our kids and schools whenever they need help. We've been there before, and we'll be there now. Along with the churches and other organizations that have reached out to our kids as well.
RationalTht September 12, 2012 at 10:10 PM
No, they don't have to meet somewhere in the middle if the teachers demands are outrageous. Maybe if the BOE came in asking that all teachers take a 10% cut in pay and pay for 1/2 of their insurance; then they could meet in the middle.
Love2read September 14, 2012 at 06:13 AM
@Think harder - Your quote, "Many of these posters forget some taxpayer paid their way for their education..." might have been accurate if the cost of education hadn't outpaced inflation, salaries and medical services. Between1985 and 2011, the CPI-U (overall inflation) has increased approximately 114%, while the cost of college tuition has increased almost 500% (498.49% to be exact). The educational debt burden on today's parents far exceed those of their own parents. My wife and I had this exact conversation when speaking about sending our two children to college. She mentioned that her parents paid both her and her sister's college education in full. I then countered that the equivalent to today's college costs would have been for her parents to send 6 children to college paying all of it in full. I do agree with you about leaving out hate-filled, uncivil or ugly speech. Just the facts should be enough to show how ungrateful these teachers are for the wonderful incomes, vacation and pensions they will receive.


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