Monday, September 10, 2012

I'll Take Blaming The Victim For $1000 Alex! -OR- Rmoney Finds Ass With Both Lips

Not one to miss an apparent opportunity for some low hanging fruit, the corporate candidate Willard Rmoney took aim at the Chicago Teachers who are walking picket lines to fight for their students. Wait, what? They're striking because they're greedy aren't they? Well, no, not exactly, although you'd never think otherwise by the coverage.

The Rethuglican candidate had this to say:
“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. 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. President Obama has chosen his side in this fight, sending his Vice President last year to assure the nation’s largest teachers union that ‘you should have no doubt about my affection for you and the President’s commitment to you.’ I choose to side with the parents and students depending on public schools to give them the skills to succeed, and my plan for education reform will do exactly that.”

The teachers turned down the CPS offer of 16% raises! Not because it wasn't enough, but because they want their actual grievances addressed. Mister Rmoney can't fathom such a thing, and he sure hasn't spent much/any time in a Chicago school to gauge which side has been negotiating in good faith. Which side?

I'm actually hoping that the teachers stick to their guns this time. 100 degree overcrowded classrooms without textbooks, teaching to the pointless tests, no time for planning or articulation between teachers, leaking roofs, faulty wiring, peeling paint, inadequate lighting, lack of routine maintenance, windows that don't open, doors that don't close... That is what many of Chicago's teachers and students live with every day.

If I have a grudge against the teachers and their unions, not just in Chicago, but everywhere, it's that they've let people like Rmoney get away with boiling their grievances down to what's in their paycheck. I've heard the laundry list before. I LOVE the laundry list. I think what they say they're fighting for is the right fight. Addressing the daily obstacles to learning should not be the teachers' responsibility, but when the people calling the shots suck at running schools, the teachers have to speak for their students.

The "good faith negotiating" typically engaged by "management" is to determine the least amount of money it will take for the teachers to put the list away for another contract cycle. For them, that's much cheaper than actually fixing and supplying the schools and classrooms. There is usually a number that will make it all go away again and that is management's focus of typical teacher contract negotiations. That might not be so easy in Chicago this time around.

The era of using "future dollars" as the enticement is over. They can't get away with promising bigger pensions anymore, so now it's either cash on the barrel or actually doing the job they were elected/hired to do. If it takes having it written into the teachers' contract, sobeit. CPS is one screwed up school system, but that's not because of its teachers.


zachary klein said...

you're 100% correct. every teacher i ever met was more concerned about their students learning conditions than their paycheck. truly an unappreciated, grueling gig.

amber ladeira said...

These scandals at schools across America have repeated for decades:
The out-of-date textbooks, far more than 30 pupils per classroom, teachers paying for supplies WITH THEIR OWN money. Add to that the removal of recess, gymnastics and art, which studies show adversely
impact student performance.

The Rahm-enacted longer school day does nothing to restore these needed programs. One teacher has blogged that there is one hour
of reading and writing, NOT an hour of each.

Karen Lewis of the CTU, however,despite her feistiness, isn't a particularly compelling, articulate rep for the
teachers or students--where's what we need, great skill at all levels/layers of this complex

I wish everyone the best of luck, because we face the maelstrom.