Diane Ravitch and The CHICAGO STORY

Yesterday I responded to a campaign AD from President Obama's staff. Today I'm going to forward this post to the same staff member in case he doesn't believe that teachers are being disregarded by Obama's education policy leaders like his friend Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Critics will say this is another example of union thuggery, but those familiar with the treatment of teachers in Chicago and throughout the country, will understand that it is about pulling the rug out from under our children by deprofessionalizing the profession of teaching in the name of reform. In Louisiana, for instance, new legislation allows charter schools to employ 100% NON-certified instructors.

Since the stated goal of the LDOE is to increase the number of charters in the state and taxpayer dollars are being used disproportionately to fund them, it is a foregone conclusion that students will find themselves increasingly taught by unqualified at-will employees.
(See http://www.jppss.k12.la.us/district/news/Blog.aspx?id=2147508029&blogid=2147485652 Supt. White pledges to give Jefferson Parish Public School System $200,000 a year for three years for every new charter they open.)

The results of reform legislation have allowed Jefferson Parish School System Supt. John Meza the ability to fire 15 principals and hundreds of teachers this past week. The excuse was budget deficits by at the same time the JPSS School Board has awarded two new charters and advertised for more applications. (see also: http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2012/05/jefferson_parish_school_offici_12.html

Supporters of "reform" have done a job on the public in convincing them that "effectiveness" trumps "qualifications and experience." And after that sale was made, legislative bodies made sure that "effectiveness" measures were codified that are sure to delegitimize professional credentials.


New post on Diane Ravitch's blog

The Chicago Story: Karen Lewis 1, Jonah Edelman 0

A few days ago, the Chicago Teachers Union voted overwhelmingly to strike.

This wasn't supposed to happen. Just a year ago, Jonah Edelman of Stand for Children boasted at the Aspen Ideas Festival how he had outsmarted the teachers' union. He described how he had shaped legislation not only to cut back teachers' job protections but to prevent the Chicago union from ever striking. He told the nation's elite, 'if it could happen in Illinois, it could happen anywhere." Stand for Children was once a grassroots group but has now become one of the active leaders in the corporate reform campaign to advance privatization and bring teachers to heel.

Speaking to a gathering of the nation's elite at Aspen, Edelman offered a template to beat back public employees in other states. Armed with millions of dollars supplied by wealthy financiers, he hired the top lobbyists in Illinois and won favor with the top politicians. He shaped legislation to use test scores for evaluating teachers, to strip due process rights from teachers, and to assure that teachers lost whatever job protections they had. In his clever and quiet campaign behind the scenes, he even managed to split the state teachers' unions.

His biggest victory consisted of isolating the Chicago Teachers Union and imposing arequirement that it could not strike without the approval of 75% of its members. Edelman gleefully told the assorted corporate reformers, charter sponsors, and equity investors in his audience how he had skillfully outfoxed the teachers, leaving them powerless. He was certain that the CTU would never be able to get a vote of 75% of its members. It would never be possible.

Guess what? Jonah Edelman was wrong. Nearly 90% of the members of CTU voted to authorize a strike to protest Mayor Rahm Emanuel's policies of more work for no more pay, privatization of public education, and increased class sizes. To be exact, 89,73% of the CTU voted to authorize a strike, 1.82% voted "no," and 91.55% of members cast a vote.

Sorry, Jonah. You don't know what mass action means. You have no idea what happens when working people organize and mobilize and stand together against the powerful financiers and politicians that you now represent.

Karen Lewis showed that the teachers of Chicago stand together against mayoral authoritarianism. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has demanded that they teach longer hours without additional pay; he has allowed class sizes to rise; he has dealt contemptuously with teachers; he has made clear his preference for privatization.

There's more of this story yet to unfold, and we will keep watch. But for now,the important lesson is that the teachers of Chicago showed Jonah Edelman that the money gathered from hedge fund managers and other equity financiers can't buy them.

Now the only remaining mystery is how the son of a legendary civil rights leader, Marian Wright Edelman, became an acorn that fell so very far from the tree.


dianerav | June 13, 2012 at 6:01 am | Categories: Chicago, Education Reform | URL: http://wp.me/p2odLa-kq

1 comment:

  1. IF the Chicago teachers DO strike in the fall, how long can they last before running out of money to pay everyday bills? I'm sure the opposition will be interested to test this...


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