When the Chicago Teachers Union declined to vote on a new contract that would have ended the ongoing strike Sunday, it lost its best chance at a quick and fair deal, writes James Warren in the Daily Beast. Union President Karen Lewis seriously "miscalculated" by giving few details about the contract to teachers and leaving very little time for the vote. In all the confusion, the union opted for the delay—but had teachers been able to actually look at a copy of the contract, they probably would have approved it, Warren writes. In fact, many teachers have now had a better look at the terms, and they like them.
The deal offers a decent pay hike over a few years and a recall provision for some laid-off staff, and some of Rahm Emanuel's harsher measures involving teacher assessment and pay were scaled back. "Lewis could have decreed victory and moved on," Warren writes. Instead, she risks losing the support of "stressed parents juggling unexpected child-care duties" as their kids remain out of school. The Chicago Sun-Times agrees, declaring in an editorial that the contract "is the very best" deal teachers will be able to get, and includes quite a few compromises from Emanuel.