Friday, December 17, 2010

Teachers union hosts 3rd mayoral forum

M. Klonsky photo
It looked to me like about 600-700 (mostly teachers) packing the Operating Engineers union hall last night. I didn't hear much new from any of the five candidates who showed up--Miguel del Valle, Carol Moseley Braun, James Meeks, Gery Chico and William "Dock" Walls.

As expected, Rahm Emanuel didn't deem the crowd worthy of his presence (I wonder what's really in those 20 boxes he has hidden in that crawl space in his former house?). Congressman Danny Davis was also a no-show. He phoned in a brief statement from D.C. where he rushed to heed Obama's call to vote yes on the $858 billion tax-break-for-the-rich bill. How sad.

Lots of ed clich├ęs tossed about. We learned that all kids can learn, we should leave no child behind, and that it takes a village, etc... Del Valle had some good stuff to say on teacher evaluation. All 5 were critical of test scores as the sole criteria used to evaluate teachers. But no one is going to sit in front of hundreds of teachers and tout the current test-score mania or "merit pay".

Meeks never even mentioned the V-word, even while coming from a press conference where he vowed to push school vouchers if elected. No one dared mention the D-word, as in Daley, either. The savvy Chico ducked an important question about appointing an educator vs. a business type to run the schools. At first he seemed to agree with the others, saying that he would appoint an educator. But then he slipped in the words, "to work alongside of a CEO," and deftly moved on--not failing to drop the names of a few African-American educators (Cozette Buckney, Blondean Davis and Barbara Eason-Watkins) he has known, to grab some cheap applause. Chicago hasn't had a chief education officer since last June.

Some good stuff said on TIFs. But overall, kind of a blah "we all agree" event.

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