Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
Retribution Against the Financial Elite

Seeing Red: Chicago Teachers Elevate Anti-Privatization Fight to National Level

Posted 1 year ago on Sept. 10, 2012, 9:47 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: labor, strike, teachers, education, solidarity, union, chicago

"United We Bargain, Divided We Beg"

via the Occupied Chicago Tribune:

When a teachers’ strike started to look like a realistic possibility earlier this spring, CPS Chief Communications Officer Becky Carroll warned the readers of Catalyst, “Any talk of a strike is the wrong message to send our schools, students and taxpayers.” For her, and the rest of the privatization evangelists at CPS, the “right” message is simple—shut up and do what you’re told.

Of course, Carroll, who makes $165,000 per year, isn’t paid that kind of money to tell the truth. Luckily for us, neither Chicago teachers nor the larger education community are giving much credence to CPS talking points.

The corporate education “reformers” have been experimenting on Chicago’s most underserved students and schools for more than two decades, trying any quick-fix makeovers so long as such schemes keep the public out of the discussion on how best to educate our city’s children. The so-called innovations taking place in charter and turnaround schools are making chaos of students’ formative years and relegating the art of teaching to rote instruction.

Faced with such a dire situation, the Chicago Teachers Union’s decision to strike is perhaps the best lesson they could have planned—when the powers that be are shutting you out of your life, you must take a stand. And it’s a lesson that teachers themselves learned from the communities they serve.

Before CTU President Karen Lewis and members of the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) became the new union leadership in 2010, the CTU, like its national union, the American Federation of Teachers, was a willing pawn in the privatization game. CORE broke from the CTU leadership and won respect from the majority of union members by actively supporting parent- and student-led protests at schools across the city. After gaining office, they continued to organize against privatization with the already active education community, and to educate its own members about the importance of doing so.

Chicago students are already at the forefront of the fight. Dyett High School students, along with students from 16 other states, have petitioned the Department of Education to investigate racial disparities in the allocation of school resources. They’ve already met with officials at the Department of Education, and on September 20, they’ll be taking “Freedom Rides” to Washington, D.C., to bring more attention to their cause.

Meanwhile, hundreds of students at Social Justice High School in Little Village have disrupted their school day with sit-ins to protest the dismantling of their school. So CPS shouldn’t worry about the strike giving “wrong” ideas to students—the students are already leading the charge, and are just in their cause.

If anything, they should worry about these students further influencing the CTU. Unlike its portrayal as a selfish bully in the 1% Chicago Tribune, the CORE-led CTU has been a partner to community groups fighting for quality public education. Now, hostile contract negotiations have opened a window for the union to elevate the anti-privatization fight to a national level.

As former CPS CEO Arne Duncan continues to spread the hollow gospel of corporate reform as the nation’s secretary of education, and as his predecessor Paul Vallas preaches the same throughout South America, it’s about time that Chicago, the birthplace of this failed faith, denounces it publicly.

Parents for the CTU

44 Comments

44 Comments


Read the Rules
[-] 7 points by shooz (26718) 1 year ago

Go Chi town teachers union!!!!!

Don't let them profitize education.

[Removed]

[-] 5 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Power to education - teach the children of today the important message of unity and protest. Give us educated people - down with raising sheeple.

[-] 2 points by DrJekyll (-143) 1 year ago

Hear Hear!

[-] 1 points by tangential (33) 1 year ago

Sheeple are people who mistake unity for mainstreaming.

[Removed]

[-] 4 points by lovEvolutionary (4) from Lancaster, England 1 year ago

I had just started getting through the book http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deschooling_Society again when I remembered that I had not checked this site for a while, so it was a nice surprise to see the teachers striking.

[-] 4 points by trashyharry (788) from Waterville, NY 1 year ago

Does anybody wonder why Rahm Emmanuel suddenly develped an overpowering urge to run for Mayor in Chicago?He was deployed by the 1% to bust the CTU! Duh! The 1% wants to turn the Chicago schools into a Milk Cow while depriving poor children of any education at all by turning all Chicago schools into privately owned charters.Charters conveniently are not obliged to accept all applicants and can do whatever to KEEP UNIONS OUT.Imagine the huge amounts of money the 1% owners of schools could extract from parents once they gain control of schools.The 1% could certainly negotiate contracts that REQUIRE PAYMENT FOR SCHOOLS THAT HAVE BEEN CLOSED-Welcome to the future-unless parents and Unionized Teachers fight and win.

[-] 1 points by bettydonnelly (115) 1 year ago

I actually heard some Christian radio commentator use the phrase "Government Schools" when referring to Public Schools. Churches should lose their nonprofit status when they endorse politicians or advocate for politicians.

[-] 1 points by trashyharry (788) from Waterville, NY 1 year ago

Absolutely correct.The lack of action to revoke tax exemption from politically involved religious groups is frustrating.Since Bush 2,Part One,we even are required to help pay for "faith based initiatives" with our tax dollars so we not only don't collect taxes from them,we are forced to subsidize them.I hate the whole idea of funding programs to combat hunger,addiction,homelessness,violence,prison recidivism and teen pregnancy by persuading people to Accept Jesus As Their Personal Savior-it's inneffective and unconstitutional.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4024) 1 year ago

Good Post

[-] 3 points by JohnWa (507) 1 year ago

Keep Wall Street, bankers and other vermin out of Education.

Teacher know about Education.

Politicians and their puppet masters know about greed.

[-] 3 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

agreed

the teachers are the ones spending time teaching

[-] 1 points by tangential (33) 1 year ago

And the parents are the ones footing the bill...

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

public schools are payed for by taxes

so if the parents make a descent wage , they will some taxes

the brunt of the taxes should come from those well off

[-] 1 points by tangential (33) 1 year ago

It doesn't have anything to do with wages, at least not in our area. It has to do with property taxes. You know the ones that were raised so high during the last boom, but never lowered accordingly to the crash? Elderly are being forced out of their homes because of the high taxes and levy's on top of it.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

not at the rate of bank interest and foreclosures

[Removed]

[-] 1 points by tangential (33) 1 year ago

How about the parents who pay the taxes for education? Why do I NEVER hear them promoting the voice of the parents?

[-] 2 points by JohnWa (507) 1 year ago

There should be a partnership between parents and schools/ teachers.

Taxes are paid to fund schools. They are our taxes, our kids, our schools and our Teachers.

But like everything else bankers want to use schools to make more money [ privatize ] as well as control what is taught to suit their ideology.

Every divisive ploy is used to have the public confused about schooling.

Beware the crap you read in the media against our Schools and Teachers.

Some criticism is fair and welcomed but much is ideologically driven, a load of crap and yet taken as gospel by many.

We are being divided.

[-] 1 points by tangential (33) 1 year ago

I haven't read very much negative against the schools and teachers in the media. The majority of what I've read is about how underpaid, overworked and under appreciated they are. I can empathize with some of it, but not all.

[-] 2 points by tangential (33) 1 year ago

If you read what they really wanted, it has nothing to do with "anti-privatization" of charter schools that are sponsored by philanthropists. It has to do with them feeling entitled to the funding that follow those students who are in the alternative choice of education. My son is in such an alternative school and he is getting A+ in all his testing areas, an improvement from failing in previous years in regular public school. What did the teachers REALLY want? They wanted job security that isn't offered to the rest of Americans, and pay raises. They would lobby to take away education rights and funding for kids like my son, in order to boost funding for their own salaries. I will never support Unions that promote those agendas-it like any other form of lobbying big biz, is an ABUSE OF POWER. Give me a good Union that is balanced, rational, and not extreme, and THAT I will support.

[-] 1 points by immortality72 (1) 1 year ago

heaven forbid we start testing students!

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Support teachers. Support unions.

[Removed]

[Removed]

[-] 1 points by tangential (33) 1 year ago

"The so-called innovations taking place in charter and turnaround schools are making chaos of students’ formative years and relegating the art of teaching to rote instruction."

This statement in itself is contradictory. First she says they are making "chaos" then turns around and likens it to "rote instruction". Which is it? As a product of both private and public education, I can vouch for the fact that the majority of the "rote instruction" I received was in public schools, and the "art of teaching" was in private ones.

[-] 1 points by yobstreet (-575) 1 year ago

This city has 110 bil in debt, or approximately 65,000 per individual, 35,000 per household.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Support teachers.

[-] 1 points by qwert (2) from Fairview, NJ 1 year ago
[-] 0 points by tangential (33) 1 year ago

In most jobs, improvement for the employer's benefit is the goal, while bonuses, promotions and pay-raises are the benefit - not the other way around.

[-] 0 points by tangential (33) 1 year ago

Parents have been crying out for an overhaul of the SYSTEM of public school teaching, and it has fallen on deaf ears. The more teachers Unions ignore us, the less parents will support them. We are tired of pumping money into a broken sieve.

Fix the system - there are many charter and alternative schools that ARE successful - we don't actually NEED to experiment with busing, curriculum, etc. further!

[-] 0 points by Nevada1 (4024) 1 year ago

Corporations destroy everything they touch, and must not take charge of education.

[-] -1 points by danrobo (-4) 1 year ago

fire them all

[Removed]

[-] 3 points by Shule (1535) 1 year ago

The poor graduation rate In all likelihood has more to do with the parents of the kids rather than the teachers. Considering what the teachers have to put up with, what they are asking for sounds reasonable.

[-] 1 points by tangential (33) 1 year ago

I'd say it is both. Parents who raise their children to feel entitled, spoiled brats, and teachers who lack real ability to teach or connect with students. Best teachers I ever had were ones who you knew cared about their students. If teachers are unhappy with their jobs, they need to change careers, not take it out on students. We have a surplus of teachers out there, we can afford to be pickier about the standards. That being said - some of these kids need to have tougher consequences for the way they act in general.

[-] 1 points by Shule (1535) 1 year ago

Some of the best teachers cannot afford to be teachers because they do not get paid enough to be teachers. Often its hard to justify taking on a teaching position however noble it may be when a much higher paying job is beaconing. I think most of the teachers who are out on strike care enough about their students for them to put their careers on the line by striking for the purposes of trying to change the system, or trying to not have the system changed for the worse. I'm sure they'll make up lost time with the students after this matter gets resolved.

[-] 0 points by tangential (33) 1 year ago

Based on past experience, about 50%of the teachers I know are NOT more caring about their students than they are about their pensions and job security. There is a line of teachers waiting to get into jobs because they know the benefits and pension fund is well worth the wait in many states (not all...). Many of those who have education degrees are taking jobs in Day cares for half the pay with the hope of getting into a public school in the future. The reality is, that if they want significant pay raises, they need to look at the superintendents, and other staff who are making 90-150K for their jobs. The public cannot afford the weight of those salaries. The Unions need to boycott the Superintendents and their own State leaders who are removing funding from schools and using it elsewhere. Every year we have a new district tax levy for local public school funding, and after that goes through, the STATE then decides how much it will CUT in funding for that district. It's nothing but a game of politics. I say, it's not how much we pump into the schools, it's the system that is broken.

[-] 2 points by Shule (1535) 1 year ago

Interesting. However, that is not experience in the State I live in (as you mention, not all states.) Here the public schools are pretty seriously underfunded. The majority of teachers leave the profession after about six or seven years because they can't make ends meet.

[-] 1 points by tangential (33) 1 year ago

Yes, my state is pretty well off even during this recession. I have been to some intercity places on the east coast (DC, Virginia) and realize these teacher's couldn't be paid enough if they had to deal with what they do! My 2 aunts also work in CA and they have mixed experiences as well. They would never consider changing careers though because they are just that committed to the kids there. (20+years in education!)

[Removed]

[-] 3 points by Shule (1535) 1 year ago

Your probably correct, it may not all be about money.

I believe the teachers are already being evaluated by some certain criteria. If the issue is about linking teacher performance with student performance that can be a dicey thing. Often times rating students by standardized tests produce some very negative effects in practice. The students stop learning, but rather get pumped up to take tests. Maybe its a ploy as the article suggests to justify school privatization. The teachers probably know something we don't know. Are there any teachers out there that can clarify matters?

[-] 1 points by tangential (33) 1 year ago

As a parent of a disabled student, and sister, niece and friend of several teachers, I can say that the BEST teachers often get put with the WORST students because they are the only ones who can handle them. We would effectively be eliminating our greatest teachers by enforcing this system.

[-] 1 points by nobnot (529) from Kapaa, HI 1 year ago

you should change your handle to Scab One!

[-] -2 points by Lucky1 (-125) from Wray, CO 1 year ago

Scab? What does that have to do with what I posted?

[-] 1 points by nobnot (529) from Kapaa, HI 1 year ago

Double class size.Cut funding than expect some inner city teacher to compeate with North Lake shore suburban.At the same time advocate for a Private corporation to come in and cherry pick students.Union Busting Scab Ass >Ho

[Removed]

[+] -5 points by brudlo (-454) 1 year ago

obama will come in to save the day. the head of the teachers union is a communist. obama will negotiate a deal that the union will take ( about 8%) , and obama will be seen a great negotiator,. its all been pre programmed with the head of the union and the adminstration and emanuel.

[-] 0 points by Lucky1 (-125) from Wray, CO 1 year ago

You might be right.

[-] 0 points by JohnWa (507) 1 year ago

Is McCarthy alive .... still.

[-] -2 points by nobnot (529) from Kapaa, HI 1 year ago

To bad union boss is a commie and not an anarchist.Thank God, not some dork republican!