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AMY GOODMAN: You know, it’s interesting, the—right now, the questioning of the corporate media—you know, why have the teachers waited 'til this point? You know, why didn't they negotiate before? But I saw Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, in Charlotte, North Carolina, that week—
CHRIS HEDGES: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: —for the Democratic Party.
CHRIS HEDGES: Well, you know, the tactic is clear. And, you know, the secretary of education, Duncan, is behind it. And that is essentially the stripping away of—you know, of qualified teachers. We’re watching it in New York. You know, the mayor of New York is very much a part of this effort. The assault on the New York City teachers’ union is as egregious as the assault against the Chicago Teachers Union.
And it really boils down to the fact that we spend $600-some billion a year, the federal government, on education, and the corporations want it. That’s what’s happening. And that comes through charter schools. It comes through standardized testing. And it comes through breaking teachers’ unions and essentially hiring temp workers, people who have very little skills. This is what Teach for America is about. They teach by rote, and they earn nothing. There’s no career. I mean, there’s quite a difference between teaching people what to think and teaching people how to think. And corporate forces want to teach people what to think. It’s a kind of classism. People get slotted. It’s vocational. And so, I see what’s happening in Chicago as, you know, one of the kind of seminal uprisings of our age. And if they don’t succeed, we’re all in deep trouble.
Lewis said the two sides are not far apart on the issue of pay, including compensation for a longer day that CPS imposed this year. Sources differ as to the amounts on the table: Mayor Emanuel said the board offered a 16 percent raise over four years; board president David Vitale described the proposal as 3 percent in the first year, then 2 percent each of three following years; and the CTU characterized neither its latest proposal nor the CPS response.
But at its heart, the strike is over the union's deep opposition to what it calls a "corporate reform agenda" that pursues a competitive or punitive relationship with teachers, rather than a collaborative one. Examples include blaming teachers and unions for educational shortcomings, promoting private but publicly financed charter schools, focusing on high-stakes tests and tying pay to merit.
CTU has instead pushed for smaller classes, enriched curriculum, better supplies and facilities, fairer and fuller funding (including the return of some public revenue long diverted into " TIFs" to subsidize developers), more counselors and support staff, respect for teacher professionalism, and a bigger say for teachers in their schools.
That clash puts the union at odds with CPS, the mayor and President Obama--whose education secretary, Arne Duncan, boosted the corporate-reform agenda as former Mayor Richard M. Daley's school superintendent. It also represents a more forceful rejection of such reforms than espoused by the national union, which nonetheless supports the CTU strike.
Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is a public financing method that is used for subsidizing redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects in many countries, including the United States. Similar or related value capture strategies are used around the world.
Instead of experienced professionals having a voice, the board consists of rich people such as billionaire hotel heiress Penny Pritzker , whose businesses benefit from TIF funds that divert money from schools. Meanwhile, she sent her children to the private University of Chicago Lab School (as Emanuel now does), which she praises for its generous, well-appointed facilities. Lab is a few blocks from Ray (a fine public school that my kids attended), but worlds apart in amenities.
Originally posted by Kali74
reply to post by EnochWasRight
As I stated, things within Unions definitely need to change. Union leaders aren't above corruption any more than politicians or CEO's. Many rank and file union workers agree with you.
However, your post, much like media and politicians ignores the larger issues outlined in my two posts. People are determined to make the teachers or any union workers look greedy. The alternatives are far worse. The Union system can be fixed. Losing it is a huge mistake.