Monday, September 10, 2012

Chicago Teachers, Unions, and Socialism (Link Round-Up 9/10/12)

[photo credit: Sean Abernathy, via Chicagoist]

Ezra Klein's breakdown of the CTU strike
The school district’s 350,000 students are currently in limbo. They are allowed to go to 144 schools that will remain open for mornings, between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., to give kids a place to go for food and activities, but those won’t offer instruction. Nonunion charter schools, which serve 52,000 students, are still in operation.
Whet Moser of Chicago Magazine's breakdown
But that greater battle manifests itself in seemingly small contract specifications, like whether CPS should do middle-of-year teacher evaluations, how often classroom observations are done, and so forth. The scales may fall on either CPS or CTU, but they're weighted by many details, by lines in the fine print. And the actual timeframe for coming to agreement is surprisingly short:
The August 22 contract bargaining update (PDF) is as good a document as I've seen as far as getting into the details of where CPS and CTU have clashed, though some aspects may have been solved in the meantime. It's a battle, but trench warfare is consists of many, many small battles, inch by inch and bullet-point by bullet-point.
Occupied Chicago Tribune: Four Reasons the CTU is on strike
As CTU President Karen Lewis proclaimed to a massive crowd of thousands of teachers and their supporters at a Labor Day rally in Daley Plaza, “This fight is for the very soul of public education, not only in Chicago but everywhere.”

The American Federation of Teachers—the nation’s 1.5 million-member education labor union, which has been complicit in corporate education “reform” in the past—has come out with a statement of support for Chicago teachers. President Randi Weingarten says: “Chicago’s teachers want what is best for their students and for Chicago’s public schools… The AFT and its members stand with the CTU.”
CTU-produced video on Tea Party support of anti-CTU campaign

Response to video from Tale of Two Missions filmmaker, Andrew Marcus
The Chicagoist is running a story about the radical Chicago Teachers Union, and the photo they’re using for the post shows CTU president Karen Lewis marching with an anarchist (pictured in skull mask below).
Romney backs Rahm on CTU strike
“I am disappointed by the decision of the Chicago Teachers Union to turn its back on not only a city negotiating in good faith but also the hundreds of thousands of children relying on the city’s public schools to provide them a safe place to receive a strong education,” Romney said in the statement, issued by his campaign as he was flying from Boston to a campaign event in Ohio. “Teachers unions have too often made plain that their interests conflict with those of our children, and today we are seeing one of the clearest examples yet.”
Obama "not taking sides" in CTU strike
But Obama's top spokesman says the president has not taken sides. He says Obama is urging the teachers and the city to settle quickly.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel -- Obama's former chief of staff -- has said the strike was unnecessary, since negotiators were making progress. Emanuel today told teachers, "Don't take it out on the kids of Chicago if you have a problem with me."

And Emanuel called Romney's comments "lip service." He added that he didn't give "two hoots" for national commentary on the teachers' strike and efforts to end it.

He also criticized Romney for backing proposals to cut taxes that the Chicago mayor says would end up hurting students nationwide.

...And here's what I've written about the subject:

Romney donors prefer Rahm over the Chicago GOP
Chicago Tribune’s Melissa Harris noted in the introduction to her interview with Griffin that Stand for Children Illinois is “an education-reform group that helped win Chicago a longer school day and limited the chances of a Chicago teachers strike.” In his article about what led up to the strike authorization vote, GB’s Ramsin Canon explained that “Stand for Children co-founder Jonah Edelman famously bragged at a conference that they used access to important and influential political figures like Rahm Emanuel and Michael Madigan, and insiders like Jo Anderson to tighten restrictions on the Chicago Teachers Union.” You’re not going to hear it from the lips of any Chicago GOP activist, but Rahm’s actions in the teachers strike crisis have been fueled by at least one of same donors fueling the presidential campaign of the man they’re currently recruiting phone-bankers and making viral videos for.
Socialism 2012: Where the CTU and Occupy converged (from July 5, 2012)
So what does socialism mean to Chicago in 2012? It means the resurgence of a radical Left built on newly-networked Occupy Chicago activists, members of ISO's several Chicago branches, long-time supporters and members of unions (particularly the Chicago Teachers Union), jaded Obama supporters, and community activists, dedicated to building alliances with underprivileged communities and people seeking social change from the South Side to the suburbs. It means the rise of a radical American Left increasingly indifferent to the electoral prospects of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party as a whole. And it means that Obama's former chief-of-staff and current Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, will face a new, inspired wave of community organizers and activists ready to take on a citywide agenda of union-free charter schools and giving away city funds and TIF money to corporations and developers. 

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