This will be quick.
As some of you know, the teachers in Chicago’s public school system are out on strike.
This was thought to be impossible. The Illinois State Legislature had passed a law ,at the urging of Chicago’s current Mayor, requiring a 3/4 majority vote before a union could call a strike.
Problem is, the teachers are so upset 90% of them voted to go out on strike.
So, here we are.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am 100% in favor of unions. I spent a few years as a union steward. I don’t believe that management would willingly treat employees fairly without some sort of union pressure. That is how they came to be.
Over the years, since Pres. Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, it has been tough for unions. And workers have suffered as a result.
Businesses started moving their operations out of the country, paying workers there pennies compared to what they had to pay workers here.
Wages drop. People have to work more than one job or both spouses have to work in order to get by. Or both spouses have to work two jobs. It can be a damn hard life.
The narrative I have seen suggests that union members should make less to bring them in line with others.
You will notice when this sort of logic is applied to the top one percent, they scream “class warfare”.
Make them pay their fair share in taxes and the rich have fits.
So, applying their own logic to the rest of us, we should be working to get wages up to the union standard. A rising tide lifts all boats.
The problem with dealing with the teachers union is you can’t outsource them. You have to find a way to break them or scare them into concessions. These are CHICAGO teachers, my friends. They don’t scare. I also read today the janitors union is going to join the strike.
My advice to the Mayor of Chicago is do what you can to make the teachers happy. They work in a town where kids are shot and killed on a weekly basis. That kind of threat of violence has to find its way into the schools. A child’s attention is tough enough to get without them having to worry about the walk home.
In addition the cost of living in a big city is never mentioned when wages are talked about. Rent or home ownership is way more expensive in a big city such as Chicago of New York as compared to a small town in, say, Iowa, for example.
Education is always the first budget cut. ALWAYS. If you want a better world, you have got to give kids the best education possible. And you have to pay for it. I have voted in favor of referendums that wanted to raise property taxes for the schools. Even with my own kids in college, I will still willingly support any move to fund the schools at a level that will be fair for all.
Stop teaching to the test.
Keep the arts education along with readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmatic.
Stop trying to unload the most senior teachers with “evaluations”.
And parents need to be involved. Volunteer. Keep an eye on the homework. Send e-mails to the teachers. Even if everything is going well. Let them know how much you appreciate their efforts.
Our kids and teachers deserve our best.