Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 4

so join the picket line like mr pickett in his prime,
put on ya red shirt like the bulls in 95.
hit the streets with a sign that says im fightin for mine

-- Rebel Diaz
The Tribune reports that an agreement is near and that Vitale has moved some on the teacher evaluation issue.
“We feel like we’re in a pretty good place, we’ve made a lot of progress today,” said Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. “We spent a lot of time on evaluation. We still have a lot of work to do but it seems like we’re definitely coming much closer together than we were certainly this morning.” Lewis said CPS parents should plan for no school Thursday but said, “Let’s hope for Friday.”
Public opinion is still running strongly on the side of the teachers and there's mounting pressure on Rahm from within the Obama campaign to end it in order to avoid the brewing "civil war" within the Democratic Party. But the key to victory isn't about public opinion surveys or Democratic Party scuffles. It remains the ability of the union to hang tough, stay unified and keep that sea of red shirted-teachers out on the streets. So far that's exactly what they've done and victory could be near.

Another massive rally is planned for Saturday at noon in Union Park at Lake & Ashland. Hopefully, this will turn into a victory rally.

Rahm's disgusting ad campaign

A desperate Rahm was running disgusting anti-union ads last night on T.V. paid for with DFER money. DFER, a pro-voucher, pro-charter group, bankrolled by New York hedge-funder Whitney Tilson, was also the group that ran those racist "hey girl" ads on black radio station a few weeks ago. The ads claimed to show two African-American moms talking about how bad the union was not caving in to Rahm's demands.

On Monday night in the Chicago Tonight green room, Jay Rehak from the union, asked DFER spokeswomen Angela Randolph about the ads. She admitted that DFER was behind them and that even she didn't like them. Rudolf, a former program officer at the Joyce Foundation, now on the DFER payroll, was sent in to debate me about SB7. Once on the show with me and host Phil Ponce, she immediately tried to distance herself and DFER from the anti-union legislation, claiming that DFER wasn't yet officially on the scene in Illinois when the bill was passed. But she then went on to offer her scripted defense of SB7.

I told her she was being much too modest. DFER, which tosses lots of money around to influence local political campaigns and has Arne Duncan's ear, has been leading the fight for corporate "reform", school vouchers and privatization within the Democratic Party. Along with Stand For Children and Michelle Rhee's group Children First (DFER should change it's name to We Love Kids) they are among the most aggressive union busters this side of Gov. Walker.

At Wells High School on Wednesday morning, about 50 students and parents rallying in support of teachers complained about the standardized tests and their role in rating teachers. Protesters carried signs reading “Don’t test me Bro!” and “Testing does not equal learning,” and chanted “1,2,3,4, more than just a test score.” They argued that their teachers should not be evaluated by student test scores. 
From CNN:

Gage Park High School teacher and union activist Xian Barrett gives CNN this report from the picket lines.
I spent the day with my Gage Park High School community. Our entire CTU staff came out to the picket line, wearing red. At 7:45 a.m., when students were supposed to report to school and be assigned to one of the Chicago Board of Education’s student strike holding sites, they began to join the picket line instead. Dozens of students marched and reached out to the community. I didn’t see any students enter the building or leave for the holding sites. Other students messaged or texted from home, saying that they were following the news. Some wrote their own pieces reflecting on the strike in their own voice that I’ll post on my blog as the week progresses.


  1. This retired Indiana public school teacher (and CPS's Sullivan High School alum, class of '66) supports your goal. You're fighting for your working conditions...but even more, you're fighting for the students' working conditions: Libraries in every school, books for all children, social support for students who need it...and on and on.

    You're also fighting for fair evaluations for yourselves and your students. Standardized tests don't tell the whole story for students...and are not a valid measure of teacher performance.

    Keep up the good work. Your supporters are EVERYWHERE!

  2. Thanks for the ad information Mike. I googled the TV ads tag line with as many words as I could remember and found that Education Reform Now is part of Dem. for Ed. Reform. Too bad the fince TV news teams could not have mentioned that. You were great on WTTW, by the way. The DFER rep. came off as totally scripted slime in my humble opinion. You were very genuine and true. I certainly get the feeling that Phil Ponce is not on the side of the CTU however.

  3. Thanks Barb. I don't blame Ponce. I wished there was a better format. It was impossible to even get across my 3 talking points in such a short debate.


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