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News Desk: Chicago Teachers Strike

From NPR:

No Deal: Chicago Teachers To Strike After Contract Talks Fail

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has said, “No [Chicago Teachers Union] members will be inside of our schools Monday,” after contract negotiations failed to reach a deal that would prevent a labor strike, the Chicago Tribune reports. …

As Becky Vevea reported for Weekend Edition Sunday, 25,000 teachers are planning to walk off the job over issues that include benefits and job security.

The strike is the first in 25 years by the Chicago Teachers Union.

Both sides in the dispute have much at stake, reports The Associated Press:

‘The walkout comes at a time when unions and collective bargaining by public employees have come under criticism in many parts of the country, and all sides are closely monitoring who might emerge with the upper hand in the Chicago dispute.’

From Occupied Chicago Tribune, via OWS:

When a teachers’ strike started to look like a realistic possibility earlier this spring, CPS Chief Communications Officer Becky Carroll warned the readers of Catalyst, ‘Any talk of a strike is the wrong message to send our schools, students and taxpayers.’ For her, and the rest of the privatization evangelists at CPS, the ‘right’ message is simple–shut up and do what you’re told. …

The corporate education ‘reformers’ have been experimenting on Chicago’s most underserved students and schools for more than two decades, trying any quick-fix makeovers so long as such schemes keep the public out of the discussion on how best to educate our city’s children. The so-called innovations taking place in charter and turnaround schools are making chaos of students’ formative years and relegating the art of teaching to rote instruction.

Faced with such a dire situation, the Chicago Teachers Union’s decision to strike is perhaps the best lesson they could have planned–when the powers that be are shutting you out of your life, you must take a stand. And it’s a lesson that teachers themselves learned from the communities they serve.

At least some of the students have apparently learned this lesson.

Meanwhile, hundreds of students at Social Justice High School in Little Village have disrupted their school day with sit-ins to protest the dismantling of their school. So CPS shouldn’t worry about the strike giving ‘wrong’ ideas to students — the students are already leading the charge, and are just in their cause.

(Photo via OWS)

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4 Responses to News Desk: Chicago Teachers Strike

  1. casualobserver September 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    “when the powers that be are shutting you out of your life, you must take a stand.”

    After hearing the liberals (who still identify with Democrat partisanship) perpetually wax poetic about the virtues of spending other people’s money as the cure for all evils, it is interesting to note that when it comes time to actually spending their own money, that cure is no longer on the table.

    The voters registered in the City of Chicago voted 77% to 19% for the Democratic candidate for US Senate in 2010. All 50 alder”persons” are Democrats. Apparently, Democrats subscribe to the “do as I say, not as I do” ideology first and foremost.

  2. lynnette September 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    I have long thought the fact that teacher unions, whose membership predominantly is female, has been a sleeping giant of a political issue. There has been a tremendous amount of animous aimed at “evil” teacher unions and the attempt to separate them from the “good” teachers who belong to them (figure that one out). You don’t see this amount of animous directed at other public employee unions such as the firefighters or police who are predominantly male, although they are getting picked on as well. Gloria Steinam has commented on this:

    • Joyce Arnold September 10, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

      I’ve never understood the animosity from some of the Right toward public school teachers in general, even without unions involved. I’d guess you’re correct, that a significant part of this is that the membership is “predominantly … female.”

  3. lynnette September 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Watch the Ed Show tonight – he’ll probably have a segment on this. He is the only one I have seen on MSNBC that supports teachers (his mother was an English teacher I think). During the Democratic Convention, he and Chris Mathews got into an argument on the air about teacher unions – Mathews being against them and Ed defending them and Al Sharpton trying to be the middle man (although Sharpton himself went around the country with Newt Gingrich promoting “reform”). Then the station went to break. It will be interesting to see if MSNBC hamstrings Ed on offering his own view on this issue. Ed alluded to the fact that there is a push to get experienced veteran teachers out of the work force because they cost more than new teachers. There is a real schism within the Democratic party on this issue of teacher unions with the likes of Obama, Arne Duncan, Cory Booker, etc. being on the “reform” side against the traditional Democratic constituency of teachers and their unions. I noticed during the Democratic Convention, Arne Duncan didn’t dare tread on this issue, I suspect, because of the upcoming national election. Although I will support President Obama because I am not a single issue voter, I have often thought of not supporting him because this issue is so near and dear to my heart. He has made what Bush did with NCLB even worse, in my opinion, and will ultimately backfire. Very little thought has been put into the consequences of Race to the Top. I’ll never forget that he said it was a good thing that all the Providence, Rhode Island teachers got fired several years ago.

    Now that the Race to the Top legislation has kicked in fully, I am hearing sad stories from my teacher friends, who are increasingly becoming very discouraged and even more stressed out than before, all in the name of testing (which their jobs now depend on). My sister, who is a teaching assistant in an inner city kindergarten class has told me there no longer is recess, play time, or nap time for these children. She has to take attendance 4-5 times throughout the day for different subjects in the kindergarten class as the state wants to know exactly how many instruction hours each child is receiving in each subject area. This includes when a child enters school late or leaves early for an appt., etc. She had to test all the kids in her kindergarten class during the first week of school with scores being due today. Can you imagine young kids being turned on to education like this?? Another story I heard was that a former teaching acquaintance who happened to be a very good, hard working administrative intern, was passed over for an administrative position and sent back to the classroom where a desk was thrown at her as well as two students charging at her with scissors (this was a special education class with students with behavioral issues). There are a lot more situations like this going on in classrooms around the country than the public realizes and teachers are not getting the help and support they desperately need. Many are hanging in there by their fingernails and I worry about the destabilization of the profession. It will have profound consequences that will not help children at all, and will discourage young people from making teaching into the lifelong career it has always been, in my opinion. We’ll have what I call “Wal Mart” education.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong