Photos That Remind the Rude Pundit That the Fight Never Ends:
because they want more money or better health benefits or any of the usual shit. The Chicago Teachers Union went on strike because the very nature of their jobs is being changed without them having as much say as they should (which ought to be almost all of it).
This strike is also over the very real undermining of the authority of educators. The former executive director of the Illinois Federation of teachers puts it amazingly well: "Only when unions and school boards are engaged in collective bargaining is there clear communication about problems in schools, as when union negotiators can express concern about cuts in physical education and the sedentary life styles that add to childhood obesity; like layoffs of reading specialists, whose services are known well only by classroom teachers whose students are affected; like layoffs of art and music teachers that are not noticed except by parents whose children will never know the benefits of exposure to such teachers, or by the regular academic teachers who try in vain to fill the gap: like vacancies in counselors’ positions that are not filled and students go without help in preparing for life after high school; like early childhood programs that are threatened by elimination; like class sizes that are increasing each year with little notice except by teachers and the most alert parents, and on and on."
But collective bargaining for public employees is under vicious attack in this nation. This year, rules were changed so that it would take a vote of 75% of the CTU's members to authorize a strike. Jonah Edelman of the bullshit Stand for Children organization bragged that this would make a strike impossible. Which would have been true, except that nearly 90% of the CTU's members voted to strike, which means that there's a lot of friggin' pissed off teachers.
So this is a strike, yes, about money and benefits. Mayor Rahm Emanuel broke a deal that had been negotiated with the teachers for a 4% raise to make up for the extra time that had been added to the school day. It's about job security, including who decides what teachers are let go and how much student standardized test scores matter and what teachers are called back first after layoffs.
But it's also about class size, with the Chicago Public Schools not wanting to place limit on the number of students in the classroom, thus leading to overcrowding and shitty education. It's about the diversion of money to charter schools, that unproven fantasy of school reform advocates. And it's about air conditioners in hot, hot classrooms.
Let's have a knockdown, drag-out fight over this shit. It's about time. That hack Michelle Rhee and her worthless acolytes have had more than their say. Let's hear from the people who really matter.