Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Taking a break from picket duty to read the contract

Chicago teachers take break from the picket line to study the contract.
America's Radio News has been providing good coverage of the strike by calling on sources other than Rahm's overworked and under-truthed PR squad. Yesterday they interviewed Katie Osgood who gave them an accurate assessment of Day 6. Today, I will be on at 2:15 p.m. CDT. You can listen live here.

With an eye on the Chicago teachers strike, D.C. council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) is pushing a plan that would require every D.C. Public School to hire a full-time librarian, art teacher and music teacher.

Don't miss Joanne Barkan's excellent piece in Dissent Magazine, "Who Is Victimizing Chicago’s Kids?", which lays shines a light on the conditions leading up to the teachers strike and puts responsibility for the strike right where it belongs.
Yes, schoolchildren in Chicago are victims, but not of their teachers. They are victims of a nationwide education “reform” movement geared to undermine teachers’ unions and shift public resources into private hands; they are victims of wave after wave of ill-conceived and failing policy “innovations”; they are victims of George Bush’s No Child Left Behind law, which turned inner-city public schools into boot camps for standardized test prep; they are victims of Barack Obama’s Race to the Top program, which paid states to use student test scores—a highly unreliable tool—for teacher evaluations and to lift caps on the number of privately managed charter schools, thus draining resources from public schools. Chicago’s children are victims of “mayoral control,” which allows Rahm Emanuel to run the school system, bully parents and teachers, and appoint a Board of Education dominated by corporate executives and political donors. 
According to CSM, by turning to the courts to try to end the Chicago teachers strike, the mayor is taking a calculated risk that the public will be on his side and that the move won't actually slow the resolution of the city's battle with the union.
Emanuel has long had the option to ask the the court to intervene and end the strike, but he paused in the hope of settling the contract dispute at the negotiating table, say labor analysts. One likely reason for the pause was political: Media coverage of teachers being forced back to the classroom, or facing fines or jail time, would not help President Obama, Emanuel's former boss, for the November election.
Good point.
Thanks to Sr. NEA Press Officer Sara Robertson for following up with me. I had asked her for a copy of  the NEA's Statement on Chicago Strike. For some reason, I was having a difficult time finding it. Here it is online. 


  1. Mike

    I had the privilege of spending the morning on the picket lines with CTU teachers and the parents and students who support them.
    The sense of community I experienced is palpable. Teachers had learned what it means to struggle together for the common good. They have developed trust and increased the respect for each other and for the parents and community they serve. The parents and students were there with the strikers every day on the line. They showed their support tangibly by providing a hot home cooked meal each day.

    Today all present were deeply involved in the discussion of the merits of the tentative contract, the issues were about the quality of the teaching and learning environment. Had the contract gone far enough to assure an improved learning environment? Would experienced teachers be able to continue to teach the students parents wanted them there for? Under the new terms would new teachers have the chance to learn their craft without being unfairly evaluated by measures outside of their control?
    Many talked of their desire to make sure their local school was strong and viable. The power seized in the moment of the strike needed to continue. All wanted this energy not to be allowed to dissipate

    One thing is crystal clear…. a powerful force has emerged: this group of people care about each other, they care about their community and they deeply care about the quality of the public education each child receives in this community.

    Learn Glow Grow


  2. Thanks for all the great posts on this blog! Since the mainstream media is not doing their job, it has been a relief to be able to come here to be accurately informed. Thank you!


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