Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not letting a good crisis go to waste, Philly Supt. goes after seniority rights

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste." -- Rahm Emanuel
If you doubt that the current school budget crisis is in large part, a manufactured one, just take a look a Philly where Supt. William Hite is using his crisis to suspend teacher seniority rights. He knows that lots of teachers are going to be called back to work if schools are to open in the fall. So he's asking the School Reform Commission to suspend parts of the state education code at an emergency meeting today.

The move would allow him to override the bargaining agreement with  the union and replace higher-paid, experienced teachers with cheaper 5-week TFA wonders and other newbies. The state's largest district has laid off about 3,800 employees, from assistant principals to nurses and guidance counselors, in an effort to stem rising costs and close a projected $304 million deficit.

The same strategy is being used by Chicago's Mayor Emanuel, who's hallmark quote above says it all. Rahm has become infamous for taking away a lot and giving back some, in exchange for workplace concessions and undermining the contract and the State Constitution (on pensions). Despite the claimed $1-billion budget shortfall, which is the excuse for the districts's planned massive school closures, Rahm is continuing to open dozens of new, expensive, privately-managed charters, at the same time, in the same neighborhood. Who would do that if the budget crisis was real?

In all this, Rahm and the Democrats are carrying out a right-wing political agenda hatched in ALEC's offices. His fidelity to his conservative corporate patrons is coming clear and is close to being an embarrassment and a political liability. In an ironic twist, conservative Republican candidate Bill Brady attacks his main primary opponent, billionaire douchebag Bruce Rauner, for being too close to Rahm.
According to the New York Times, Rahm once represented GTCR Golder Rauner, a Chicago private equity firm that was buying the business for an affiliate. Rauner, the firm’s chairman, had first met Rahm when he was still exploring job prospects in Chicago.  Instead of private equity, Rauner advised Emanuel to pursue investment banking, where his political experience might be more valuable in landing deals in regulated industries. 
Fred Klonsky art
Rauner also helped bankroll Rahm's mayoral campaign. In return, Rham appointed Rauner to the board of World Business Chicago, the city's economic development arm. According to the Tribune,  Rauner, an anti-union charter school advocate, was also placed on the board of the Chicago Public Education Fund. He reportedly met more than a dozen times with Chicago Public Schools officials during the initial nine-month period that new CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard's team was organizing policy.

The question is, why is the Rahm/Rauner romance an embarrassment to the GOP and not to Rahm supporters?

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