Chicago Teachers Take Stand Against Corporate Education Reform

- Common Dreams staff
 

For the first time in a quarter century, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)—which represents educators, school clinicians, and support staff in the nation's third-largest school district—is on strike today after weekend negotiations with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) ended on Sunday without agreement on contract disputes that have been ongoing since June.

 

Karen Lewis, president of the CTU, speaking at a press conference late Sunday night, said: "We are committed to staying at the table until a contract is place. However, in the morning no CTU member will be inside our schools. We will walk the picket lines. We will talk to parents. We will talk to clergy. We will talk to the community. We will talk to anyone who will listen—we demand a fair contract today, we demand a fair contract now. And, until there is one in place that our members accept, we will be on the [picket] line."

 

More than 29,000 employees are participating in the strike which impacts over 350,000 students citywide.

Embattled Democratic Mayor Rahm Emmanuel called the teachers' action "a strike of choice," but opponents of the mayor's corporate education reform agenda respond by saying that the policies proposed are simply destroying public education in the city and, because of Chicago's connection to President Obama, the impact of the resistance to such measures has national implications.

 

As Pauline Lipman, professor of education and policy studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago and member of Teachers for Social Justice, told Democracy Now! on Monday, "Chicago was the birthplace of this neoliberal corporate reform agenda of high-stakes testing. Paying teachers based on test scores—dis-investing in neighborhood schools and then closing them and turning them over to charter schools... [That was] really a model which was picked up by cities around the country and then made a national agenda when Arne Duncan, who had been the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, became Obama’s secretary of education."

 

Now, says Lipman, the Chicago Teachers Union, backed by union leaders like Lewis, have made Chicago the "epicenter of the pushback" against such measures.

 

Lewis confirmed that the CTU and CPS were not "far apart" on compensation demands, but that more fundamental differences remained that the teachers say are critical to their fight for "education justice" in Chicago schools. Included in that list are demands for smaller class sizes, classroom upgrades including installation of air-conditioning systems for sweltering days in outdated buildings, evaluation systems that acknowledge the complex influences on student achievement, and a guarantee that teacher health benefits will not be further degraded by city budget cuts.

 

Diane Ravitch, historian of education and Research Professor of Education at New York University, was supportive of the striking teachers, but sad about both the state of education in the US and the poor quality of the public discussion that currently surrounds the issue. "We must commit ourselves," in both word and deed Ravitch said, "to a system of free, just, and forward minded public education – not testing, privatization schemes, or crazy accountability schemes that take the focus off of what really matters."

 

"If anyone thinks this strike is just another union “ploy” for higher pay or less “working time” they are sorely mistaken," she added. "And while workers should be entitled to protect their rights, the CPS strike is about the heart and soul of public schooling, the deprofessionalization of teachers, and the ways that the education 'crisis' nation wide has been co-opted as a means of pushing privatization as the be-all-and-end-all solution to the 'achievement gap'. Schools are not businesses, children are not widgets, and teachers are not robots or machines. Let’s start there."

 

Though the national media coverage generated by the strike is focusing on the imposition of students and parents in Chicago, or the political implications of how the CTU fight with Mayor Emmanuel (former White House chief of staff to President Obama) will impact the upcoming election, defenders of the teachers union say the fight is a necessary and important fight for teachers and labor unions both in Chicago and nationwide.

 

As In These Times' David Moberg reports recently:

The union and most teachers see current city policy as an attack on public education (especially with the promotion of charter schools despite their spotty record). For Chris Christianson, a 25-year veteran teacher, the central issue is "privatizing public education," and despite the limitations on how the union can address that process through negotiations, he says, "The only leverage we have is a strike."

Gloria Steinem, longtime activist and co-founder of the Women's Media Center, came out in favor of the CTU on Sunday, saying: "I proudly wear a red t-shirt in support of the Chicago Teachers Union strike. They have been forced to strike – for the first time in 25 years – by the false economy of firing and penalizing the experienced teachers most needed by the students and by new teachers; by lengthening the school day as warehousing without educational services, healthy school buildings, and paid teachers; by what they have the knowledge to call the “apartheid-like system” of differential discipline policies; and by what seems to be a national tactic of demonizing teachers in order to turn public schools into corporate profit centers."

 

The New York Times reported early on Monday from Lane Tech College Prep, on the city’s North Side, where most of the high school’s 250 teachers had assembled early Monday morning in preparation for a full day of picketing.

They wore red union T-shirts and carried signs saying “Honk If You Love a Teacher.” Many passing motorists responded with incessant horn blowing.

“We’re ready to stay out as long as it takes to get a fair contract and protect our schools,” said Steve Parsons, who teaches Advanced Placement psychology.

Even parents who were inconvenienced by the strike said the support and trust the teachers. According to Bloomberg:

Kat Rudolf, an unemployed mother of two, called the strike “an inconvenience” in finding another job, which she called “a full-time effort.”

Still, she said, the teachers merit respect.

“I definitely stand with them and I hope they get what they want and deserve,” Rudolf said.

* * *

Chicago Public Teachers Stage Historic Strike in Clash with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Education Reforms:

* * *

Striking Teachers, Parents Join Forces to Oppose "Corporate" Education Model in Chicago:

* * *

Chicago Teachers Strike Could Portend Referendum on Obama Admin’s Approach to Education Reform:

# # #

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

Original Post

Why not have a National Recommended Reading List regardless of the public schools or the corporations?

 

The Tyranny of Words (1938) by Stuart Chase
http://www.anxietyculture.com/tyranny.htm
http://archive.org/details/tyrannyofwords00chas
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9H1StY1nU8

The Accounting Game: Basic Accounting Fresh From the Lemonade Stand
http://www.exceltip.com/book-1570713960.html
http://www.fool.com/personal-f...unting-gamequot.aspx

The Screwing of the Average Man by David Hapgood
http://www.amazon.com/screwing...apgood/dp/B0006W84KK

Teach Yourself Electricity and Electronics, by Stan Gibilisco
http://www.electronics-tutoria...-and-electronics.htm

The Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill
http://books.sharedaa.com/2010...s-horowitz-hill.html

EveryCircuit  by Igor Vytyaz
https://play.google.com/store/...erycircuit&hl=en

 

Xum

I am so in two minds about this .... ...... I'm not sure what I think!!

 

On the one hand .... the teachers are absolutely right about ridiculousness of "standardized testing."  It never should have happened ... and should have been done away with looonnnngggggg time ago!!

 

I don't think teachers should be faulted for the failure of NCLB,  They were mandated to follow President Idiot's education plan.  And the fact that it had no chance of success ... and actually put public education two steps backward .... is not a failure you can place on anybody involved in education (teachers, administrators, unions) for it's lack of results.

 

By the same token .... it's not like Chicago (or any other school district in the country) wasn't already failing our children before NCLB!!  So, what was the teachers' excuses, then??  The policies by the unions were still causing educational failures.  So whose to say that what they are suggesting is what's actually best for our children now?? 

 

To that end .... DECADES of previous failure (by all of the above) tend to lead me towards the belief that something new is order!!!  And good/bad, right/wrong ... that "new" right now is in the form of "charter schools" ... which, depending on who you talk to, has produced both good and bad bottom-line results!!  While some reports say that charters aren't producing higher learning, educational and graduation rates .... some schools that are graduating 100% of students with 95%-100% going on to be accepted to colleges IS a helluva lot better than current public school statistics can point to .... over the past 10-20 years!!

 

I, personally, have never really liked anything about Rahm Emmanuel or any of his ideas .... and never thought he was "all that" .... even though in the circles he runs in, he seems to be highly respected for whatever it is he does!!  But to me it seemed he was mostly "hype" rather than "substance."  And with the murder rate going up and the education rate going down since he's been mayor ... I don't see much reason for me to change my mind about that!!

 

But ... all in all ... I don't know WHAT I think is the solution for Chicago's teachers, school system and students!!  It seems like what they are asking for is the right thing, though .... stop the tests and let teachers teach ... stop closing schools (especially in our neighborhoods) ... and put some kind of reigns on the for-corporate-profit-charter-school invasion ... (if, indeed there is one ... and it's not just teachers unions "sour grapes" complaining!)

 

But ... in the end, I hope whatever happens is in the best interest of the CHILDREN.  That's all I care about.  It's the adults .... that need to grow up!

  I agree with you my sista.  It is confusing as hell especially when one is no better than the other..depending where you are and who you talk to.  As for Emmanual?  Well it seems he just wanted to be in charge of something.  He didn't want to be someone's assistant even if it was the President of the United States.    But!  For me the children are the ones who will continue to lose this fight.  It's sad.  Cuz we gotta have some type of uniform education....otherwise the kids are gonna be f'd up in the long run-especially with the flood of student immigrates knowing MORE about America than Americans.

 

Case in point.  We were discussing who was the first woman to run for president of the United States.  I had all kinds of answers.  First someone said Geraldine Ferror[sp] but she ran for Vice President.  Of course some said Hillary.  After that there was silence.  I screamed Shirley Chisolm[sp].  The white kids were looking at me like I was lying.   That was because Shirley's black not white.  But the point is okay Victoria Woodlum[sp] ran in 1872, for the Equal Rights Party....but!  During that time, women couldn't vote until 1920.  My point? There has to be uniformity in the educational system otherwise the children are not gonna receive quality, accurate and credible education.  Cuz from where I stand, schools are just pushing kids out with or without knowing if they have learned anything.  To me the focus is not in the right direction.  It has gotten way tooooo big and complex.  And children are seen like a corporate chattle investment instead of human beings who have a birth right to FREE public education.  The adults in charge REALLY REALLY should be ASHAMED of themselves.  Cuz let's tell like it is....it's been 20 YEARS!!!! of shuffling this issue around while our kids are not learning a gdamn thing!  Fix that FIRST.  And save the politics for the politicans.  But! I think they can't now cuz they are in it waaaay tooooo deep.  Pitiful.  Po kids.  But!

"We must commit ourselves," in both word and deed Ravitch said, "to a system of free, just, and forward minded public education – not testing, privatization schemes, or crazy accountability schemes that take the focus off of what really matters."

 

"If anyone thinks this strike is just another union “ploy” for higher pay or less “working time” they are sorely mistaken," she added. "And while workers should be entitled to protect their rights, the CPS strike is about the heart and soul of public schooling, the deprofessionalization of teachers, and the ways that the education 'crisis' nation wide has been co-opted as a means of pushing privatization as the be-all-and-end-all solution to the 'achievement gap'. Schools are not businesses, children are not widgets, and teachers are not robots or machines. Let’s start there."

 

************************************************************

 

If this is why they are really striking, then I'm definitely on their side.

 

I would love to see ALL teachers all across America (and probably students and parents to) go on strike until they take politics and corporate America out of Public Education and leave educating America's children to those specializing in education, and not to politicians, partisan political groups and religions.

  If this is what they are talking about...I agree too my sista.  But I heard this before.  And if this was the consensus[sp], why have teachers drop the ball for twenty year or more?  I say this cuz a lotta children aren't LEARNING.  And these same children who didn't learn are the ones who are trying to promote this privatization of schools, charter and home schools, online learning and what's the other term?  Deprofessionalism of teachers?  Sounds like a play with words to me.  Cuz tests don't lie.[no matter what educational format used]..our kids are failing in a lot of subjects they should KNOW.  But!  I'm not gonna play this blame game.  I'm just gonna say the truth has been out there for years.....and it is unfair that children have been thrown under the bus once again as a result of grown folks not coming to reasonable agreements that everyone can/and should be able  live with.  This is crazy.  We don't live in the third world but we are acting like it.  Cuz they always say we are doing this for the children....but!  Their action PROVES they don't give a damn about kids.  And it is no secret that schools have NEVER been a business...and to treat it like it is...is why there is a break-down.  To say teachers are not robots...but! to treat them like they are....is hyprocrisy.  It is a paradox.   And children are the pons.  Providing public education to children SHOULDN'T be that hard.  And it is the [so-called professional] ADULTS who are making it that way.  Again.  Po kids. What is they gon' do?  But!    

 

You know, Ms. Koco  ... one of the most startling - and thought-provoking - things I heard during the Democratic Convention was the statistic of how LOW on the list the United States is EDUCATIONALLY compared to the other industrialized countries in the world!!    (I can't remember if it was 13th or 26th???  )

 

But, whatever it was was P-I-T-I-F-U-L ... for a nation that CLAIMS to be the superpower of the world!!    Our children/citizens are so uneducated that we have to recruit MORE intelligent people to come here to fill high-skilled jobs ... because, as you say ... it's been 20 years of failure on the part of our  education system to TEACH our kids what they really need to be learning!!

 

Now ... all these politicians and teachers' unions and teachers and parents and everybody else can talk and debate and point fingers at each other ... but the FACTS and STATISTICS don't lie!!  Our people have been getting dumber and dumber as the years have gone by!!  Even SADDER than that is the fact that a lot of the people we're bring over here to do the high-skilled jobs that our people can't .... were actually trained HERE at OUR colleges and universities!!! 

 

But the difference is .... they LEARNED enough before they went to college here to make their higher-learning educational experience count for something!!  But ... our K-12 system here (so-called) "graduates" students who don't know their ass from a hole in the ground (as my Big Ainee used to say!! )

 

And before this not-yet-existent educational policy of President Obama .... and before the failure of Bush's No Child Left Behind .... there were STILL teachers' unions and local/state politicians running the show!!  This downward spiral stated on their watch!!   Sooooo ... for me to suddenly believe that they NOW know what to do ... and what they're doing ... and we should suddenly place our children's educational development in their hands ... is just a bit of a stretch!!

 

I don't know that "privatization" is the RIGHT or the BEST or the WRONG thing for our children at this point.  But ... I have to ask ... can't it really be any worse than what is happening to our kids TODAY???    Aren't they already getting the rawest end of the shortest stick right now??? 

 

That's why, in a way, I'm ready to go with the idea of charter schools ... just because it's something DIFFERENT!!  And the fact that it MIGHT work.  Because, lord knows, nothing else in the past 20 years has.  And our children both NEED and DESERVE something so much better than the BS they're being subjected to today. 

Sista ER wrote: 

 

Now ... all these politicians and teachers' unions and teachers and parents and everybody else can talk and debate and point fingers at each other ... but the FACTS and STATISTICS don't lie!!  Our people have been getting dumber and dumber as the years have gone by!!  Even SADDER than that is the fact that a lot of the people we're bring over here to do the high-skilled jobs that our people can't .... were actually trained HERE at OUR colleges and universities!!! 

 

Yep!

 

But the difference is .... they LEARNED enough before they went to college here to make their higher-learning educational experience count for something!!  But ... our K-12 system here (so-called) "graduates" students who don't know their ass from a hole in the ground (as my Big Ainee used to say!! )

 

Preach it my sista!  Exactly.  Back in the day.....and I KNOW you rememba this....when you graduated from high school you had enough education to start a business[ from learning in wood shop, mechanic shop, welding etc], go to work for someone cuz you knew the three Rs., cook/sew and managed your household if you chose to stay at home[women],....hell having a high school diploma back then was like having a college degree!  You were prepared for the world.   Cuz at that time many of our great grandparents, grand parents  and other family members hardly passed the 8th grade if that....and even then they still HAD skills to be self-sufficent.  Can't do that NOW.  Plus back then we have MORE against us in terms of providing us with a quality standardize education than we do now.  What the fock happened?  Teachers used to be seen teaching children in one room shacks in rural areas of America, in churches  or in someone's living room cuz they wanted to us learn so bad...and with used torn outdated books at that! 

 

I just don't understand where this system have gone sooooooooo wrong.  We were in segregated classroom too and still when we graduated from high school is was like receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.  There was sooooo much oppostion for our education back then...especially with white teachers always telling us black kids to seek vocational jobs cuz we can NEVER be doctors, lawyers, judges, scientists-that kinds of bull we had to deal with and yet today with everything at our finger tips in terms of getting an equal and quality education, we are here squabbling over non-essentials.  As you say my sista P.I.T.I.F.U.L. 

 

Black politicans should be ASHAMED of themselves.   And the unions and boards should go hide somewhere cuz there was a TIME when society didn't THINK  black kids were even teachable.  How soon we forget.  And if kids continue to fail at this alarming rate as a result of this revolving back lash of academic puffy words with no real action to rectify this issue, it is GONNA be THEIR [politicans, school board and union] fault that corporations will continue to HIRE non citizens for high power positions in America's work force....no matter if these folks speak our language legibly or whose culture is not in step with the modern world we live in.  They will at least be able to read, write [criticial thinking] and do math[probability] which are standard in American culture....unfortunately these very same "standard" components are what American kids are struggling to LEARN today!  Again.  Pitiful.  But!

Originally Posted by EbonyRose:

I am so in two minds about this .... ...... I'm not sure what I think!!

 

On the one hand .... the teachers are absolutely right about ridiculousness of "standardized testing."  It never should have happened ... and should have been done away with looonnnngggggg time ago!!

Standardised testing makes sense but WHAT IS IT?

 

Just because it is standardised does not mean it is not stupid.

 

They imply that just because it is standardised it is valid.  They could be standardised to make all kids stupid in the same way.

 

Without out a standard how do you compare kids across the country or over time.  Are they doing better or worse than 10 or 20 or 50 years ago?  But if they are testing for irrelevant information so kids must memorise garbage to pass then it is a standard system of sabotage.

 

Xum

Well....what the standardize form they are debating over....folks who are AMERICANS are sucking up OUR jobs in droves.  So apparently this standardization is working for them!  Cuz our kids cannot even compete on own so-called standardized terms  level.  And it is that.....that makes this all the more stupid and backwards.  I say...let's get back to the basics of education and build on the foundation there.  Cuz if you can't read or write or even count.....you are NOT going to be in the game.  And that's the bottom line.  No?    Cuz if look around there are MORE foriegn merchants who can barely speak English...but!  They can count those dollars and communicate enough to open a store in our neighborhoods!  And yet...a lotta black folks can't even qualify for a simple loan cuz many do not KNOW how to write a business plan.  So...here it is right there.  But! 

Originally Posted by Kocolicious:
 

I just don't understand where this system have gone sooooooooo wrong. 

 

I do.  It happened through the breakdowns of both the community and the family as a 'unit'. 

 

I would say both integration - which fractured our sense of "community" and the "village" form of raising/rearing our young ... and the disintegration of the traditional family structure are to blame, probably in equal parts.  Or you could pick one over the other.  The results would still be the same.

 

For you and I ... we went to school ... everyday through high school - AND GRADUATED from it - pretty much for one reason and one reason only .... because  there was NO ALTERNATIVE to that!!    It was expected.  It was demanded.  And it was achieved.  And not just by you/me.  But by EVERYBODY (our age) we knew!! 

 

Primarily because our/their PARENTS weren't having it any other way!!   Not going to school ... not graduating ... was NOT any option!!  And neither was getting pregnant halfway through school and dropping out!!  Within the (strong) family units we had ... one parent or the other was on your butt to bring home decent/passing grades .. at the very least!!  Because A's & B's were the really the expectation.  And not achieving those grades was a PROBLEM!!!  And one that you really didn't want to have ... 'cause it wasn't worth what you were put through (as discipline) not to do it!!

 

What you didn't learn at school ... you DID learn at home!!    If my parents couldn't teach it ... my older siblings were tasked to make sure I did before I went back to school the next day!!  I remember having to change 3rd grade classrooms ... because I was coming home too often not knowing/understanding what was being taught and, therefore, not being able to adequately do my homework!!  After a parent-teacher conference (called by my Mom to try to ascertain what was going on!) ... my mother declared her too stupid to be a teacher ... and I was placed in a class where the lessons were actually being taught! 

 

As a consequence, the next year, I was given an "aptitude" test and ended up skipping the 4th grade because my "3 R's" were actually at the 5th grade level!!!

 

But ... as a part of a 'typical' Black, middle-class family, neighborhood and community ... there were certain issues where "slack" wasn't an available option.  Those being education, good manners, and the basic ability to KNOW how to be self-sufficient/work/go to college/earn one's own living., etc.

 

However ... with the institution of "integration" (which brought about the 'every man/woman for themselves" mentality) ... and the breakdown of the family unit (which brought about the 'Me and my baby don't need a daddy/man in the house to form a family' mentality) ... it has been the welfare of the children that has manifested itself most.

 

And in no way more has that been seen than in the decline of education. Too many kids that don't learn in school ALSO don't learn at home!!  Too many of them are not encouraged/motivated/given no choice but to excel and succeed in school.  They have no where to go to elevate any thirst they may have for knowledge .. because too many of their parent(s) (or aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) didn't finish high school, either!! 

 

Schools in our neighborhoods were allowed to decline because not enough of today's parents cared enough about their child's education to demand otherwise.  Out overall social decline took education with it.  As a consequence, we've gone from bad to worse.

 

But hopefully .. that will change ... one day sooner .. rather than later.

Don't forget the fact that parents can now be arrested and imprisoned for disciplining their child, (and the child(ren) know this).  

 

I do believe that integration was the number one occurrence that did the most damage to African America, not because I am against integration or anything, it's just a fact of circumstance.

 

If African Americans were still segregated, Black people would have seen things like the following as stuff White people did and not as anything particularly pertaining to Black people:

 

The Women's Rights Movement

The Hippie/Peace-Love Era

Women's Liberation

The Right To Choose

Civil Rights:

(that cover a rights to do many of the things that have been a detriment to African America)

The desire to be like White

Drug Use

Senseless Gang Violence

Ridiculous Numbers of Young People Breaking The Law

Ridiculous Numbers of Young People Dropping out of School

Etc.,

 

 

All of which influenced African Americans, the African American community, African American out-of-wedlock birth rates and birth rates, period, the number of African Americans with criminal records and that are in prisons, the number of African Americans using or selling drugs or that belong to gangs, even the amount of African American youth that drop out of school.

 

 

 

@Sista ER.  You definitely HIT the nail with the hammer.  You are exactly right.  And as a result of the motivation and demand of our parents and community a lotta of us skip grades.  I skipped three times...which led to eventually graduating from high school at the age of 16.   Which NOW I believe my parents should have kept my butt back with the rest of kids my age.  Cuz I was NOT mentally ready to associate with college students at such an early stage of my development-just not.(I did a lotta things too soon[academically].  Like putting the cart before the horse.)  But!  You are totally correct my sista.  Cuz my parents EXPECTED excellence from all their children.  And not graduating from high school was NOT an option.  Now after that, if you didn't want to go to college...you  didn't have to.  But you were EXPECTED to try and see if you like it.  In fact all of us did just to please our parents.  But it became a different animal with generations of children soonafter. 

 

Parents nowadays are just not that into their kids.  And I definitely AGREE with your assessment on that as well.    Oh...and I rememba a time when one of my peers got pregnant, she suddenly disappeared to live with a relative light years away.....then BOOM!  She's back trying to catch up in school work while babysitting her mysterious little cousin who came to live with the family.  We never connected the dots.  And...on top of that we kids never knew her disapperance was a result of a baby-even though we saw her with this "baby" [cousin] daily.  That's how our parents kept us out of grown folks business.  And she would NEVER tell where she actually had been either[to save "face"]....so that kept us ALL in the dark until we got much older-and many of felt so stupid cuz it always in view.  This is called integrity, pride and honor.  Those are the principles and values our parent taught us which said "  never tell your business [mistake] to the outside world." 

 

Sista Sunnubian hit it on the nose too especially with the hippie/peace love era, drug use and long down the line senseless gang violence[which I have my own theory about that!] came after the civil rights movement.   Plus there was unity during that time.  A kid could walk down the street in his neighborhood with a friend...if he hung around during dinner time he fed and sent home.  But hanging around in the street during dinner time was a mandated azz whipping so to see a child outside then was a KNOWN no no.  Times have truly changed....but!  For detriments of the unsuspecting generation of kids who are now suffering as a result of the decay and decline of what it means to be educated in America.  It seems the more "so-called" edjamacted folks are involved in the school system process....the more it is collasping across this country.  What happened to the regular folks who understood the basic foundation of learning?  Where are they?  Surely with all this academic knowledge the powers that be should be able to come with something other than continual patterns of  ridiculous "strikes."  Cuz it is the KIDS who are not in school learning.  Don't they see that children should NOT have an interruption in learning?  Ever!!!  Guess not.  All they seem to care about is the POINT...while  they are doing all this "pointing"...young folks are not able to pass simple testing to determine their academic future due to hours of lost school time.  Pitiful.  But at least I know why!!!  Thanks yall.   

 

   

And rightly so...
 
Originally Posted by sunnubian:

Chicago Teachers Take Stand Against Corporate Education Reform

- Common Dreams staff
 

For the first time in a quarter century, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)—which represents educators, school clinicians, and support staff in the nation's third-largest school district—is on strike today after weekend negotiations with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) ended on Sunday without agreement on contract disputes that have been ongoing since June.

 

Karen Lewis, president of the CTU, speaking at a press conference late Sunday night, said: "We are committed to staying at the table until a contract is place. However, in the morning no CTU member will be inside our schools. We will walk the picket lines. We will talk to parents. We will talk to clergy. We will talk to the community. We will talk to anyone who will listen—we demand a fair contract today, we demand a fair contract now. And, until there is one in place that our members accept, we will be on the [picket] line."

 

More than 29,000 employees are participating in the strike which impacts over 350,000 students citywide.

Embattled Democratic Mayor Rahm Emmanuel called the teachers' action "a strike of choice," but opponents of the mayor's corporate education reform agenda respond by saying that the policies proposed are simply destroying public education in the city and, because of Chicago's connection to President Obama, the impact of the resistance to such measures has national implications.

 

As Pauline Lipman, professor of education and policy studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago and member of Teachers for Social Justice, told Democracy Now! on Monday, "Chicago was the birthplace of this neoliberal corporate reform agenda of high-stakes testing. Paying teachers based on test scores—dis-investing in neighborhood schools and then closing them and turning them over to charter schools... [That was] really a model which was picked up by cities around the country and then made a national agenda when Arne Duncan, who had been the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, became Obama’s secretary of education."

 

Now, says Lipman, the Chicago Teachers Union, backed by union leaders like Lewis, have made Chicago the "epicenter of the pushback" against such measures.

 

Lewis confirmed that the CTU and CPS were not "far apart" on compensation demands, but that more fundamental differences remained that the teachers say are critical to their fight for "education justice" in Chicago schools. Included in that list are demands for smaller class sizes, classroom upgrades including installation of air-conditioning systems for sweltering days in outdated buildings, evaluation systems that acknowledge the complex influences on student achievement, and a guarantee that teacher health benefits will not be further degraded by city budget cuts.

 

Diane Ravitch, historian of education and Research Professor of Education at New York University, was supportive of the striking teachers, but sad about both the state of education in the US and the poor quality of the public discussion that currently surrounds the issue. "We must commit ourselves," in both word and deed Ravitch said, "to a system of free, just, and forward minded public education – not testing, privatization schemes, or crazy accountability schemes that take the focus off of what really matters."

 

"If anyone thinks this strike is just another union “ploy” for higher pay or less “working time” they are sorely mistaken," she added. "And while workers should be entitled to protect their rights, the CPS strike is about the heart and soul of public schooling, the deprofessionalization of teachers, and the ways that the education 'crisis' nation wide has been co-opted as a means of pushing privatization as the be-all-and-end-all solution to the 'achievement gap'. Schools are not businesses, children are not widgets, and teachers are not robots or machines. Let’s start there."

 

Though the national media coverage generated by the strike is focusing on the imposition of students and parents in Chicago, or the political implications of how the CTU fight with Mayor Emmanuel (former White House chief of staff to President Obama) will impact the upcoming election, defenders of the teachers union say the fight is a necessary and important fight for teachers and labor unions both in Chicago and nationwide.

 

As In These Times' David Moberg reports recently:

The union and most teachers see current city policy as an attack on public education (especially with the promotion of charter schools despite their spotty record). For Chris Christianson, a 25-year veteran teacher, the central issue is "privatizing public education," and despite the limitations on how the union can address that process through negotiations, he says, "The only leverage we have is a strike."

Gloria Steinem, longtime activist and co-founder of the Women's Media Center, came out in favor of the CTU on Sunday, saying: "I proudly wear a red t-shirt in support of the Chicago Teachers Union strike. They have been forced to strike – for the first time in 25 years – by the false economy of firing and penalizing the experienced teachers most needed by the students and by new teachers; by lengthening the school day as warehousing without educational services, healthy school buildings, and paid teachers; by what they have the knowledge to call the “apartheid-like system” of differential discipline policies; and by what seems to be a national tactic of demonizing teachers in order to turn public schools into corporate profit centers."

 

The New York Times reported early on Monday from Lane Tech College Prep, on the city’s North Side, where most of the high school’s 250 teachers had assembled early Monday morning in preparation for a full day of picketing.

They wore red union T-shirts and carried signs saying “Honk If You Love a Teacher.” Many passing motorists responded with incessant horn blowing.

“We’re ready to stay out as long as it takes to get a fair contract and protect our schools,” said Steve Parsons, who teaches Advanced Placement psychology.

Even parents who were inconvenienced by the strike said the support and trust the teachers. According to Bloomberg:

Kat Rudolf, an unemployed mother of two, called the strike “an inconvenience” in finding another job, which she called “a full-time effort.”

Still, she said, the teachers merit respect.

“I definitely stand with them and I hope they get what they want and deserve,” Rudolf said.

* * *

Chicago Public Teachers Stage Historic Strike in Clash with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Education Reforms:

* * *

Striking Teachers, Parents Join Forces to Oppose "Corporate" Education Model in Chicago:

* * *

Chicago Teachers Strike Could Portend Referendum on Obama Admin’s Approach to Education Reform:

# # #

 

Originally Posted by Kocolicious:
  Oh...and I rememba a time when one of my peers got pregnant, she suddenly disappeared to live with a relative light years away.....then BOOM!  She's back trying to catch up in school work while babysitting her mysterious little cousin who came to live with the family.  We never connected the dots.  And...on top of that we kids never knew her disapperance was a result of a baby-even though we saw her with this "baby" [cousin] daily.  That's how our parents kept us out of grown folks business.  And she would NEVER tell where she actually had been either[to save "face"]....so that kept us ALL in the dark until we got much older-and many of felt so stupid cuz it always in view.  This is called integrity, pride and honor.  Those are the principles and values our parent taught us which said "  never tell your business [mistake] to the outside world."

 

   

 

ROFL .... .

 

Now I KNOW this isn't funny ... but mannnnnn ... do I have to at this!!

 

This story is sooooo exactly as I remember it!!  There were two girls that I remember this happening to .... and, yep, due to youthful innocence/naivety/ignorance/protection ... I, too, swallowed the excuse for their "disappearance" - and the emergence of the new  "cousin/little sister" ...  hook, line and sinker!! 

 

We didn't know any better!!  And, no, they weren't allowed tell!!!!  And by the time we 'figured it out' .... well ... it was way too late to matter!!

 

Also .... I agree with Sunnubian's reasoning as well!!  In hindsight ... I wish MLK had advocated for "desegregation" (simply making things equal and fair on all fronts)  and NOT "integration" (the fight for total inclusion into their ways and view in the world).

 

'Cause all we really needed was the same OPPORTUNITIES for advancement and progress ... NOT to be the SAME AS them. 

 

That ruined us in ways we have not yet been able to recover from.

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