Thu Sep 13, 2012, 06:57 AM
marmar (68,700 posts)
Amy Goodman: Mayor Rahm-Ney’s Attack on the Chicago Teachers Union
Mayor Rahm-Ney’s Attack on the Chicago Teachers Union
Posted on Sep 12, 2012
By Amy Goodman
Unions are under attack in the United States—not only from people like Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, but now, with the teachers strike in Chicago, from the very core of President Barack Obama’s inner circle, his former chief of staff and current mayor of that city, Rahm Emanuel. Twenty-five thousand teachers and support staff are on strike there, shutting down the public school system in the nation’s third-largest school district. This fight now raging in Chicago, Obama’s hometown, has its roots in this historic stronghold of organized labor, and in the movement started one year ago this week, Occupy Wall Street. The conflict presents a difficult moment for Obama, who will need union support to prevail in his race with Mitt Romney, but who is inextricably linked, politically, to his brash, expletive-spewing former aide, Mayor Rahm-ney Emanuel.
At the heart of the conflict is how schools will be run in Chicago: locally, from the grass roots, with teacher and parent control, or top-down, by a school board appointed by Emanuel. Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, worked as a board-certified chemistry teacher at King College Prep High School in Chicago. She understands how the system works. Months before the strike, I asked her about the situation in Chicago. The newly elected Emanuel had an appointed board comprised mostly of corporate executives, the Academy for Urban School Leadership. Lewis told me, “One of the biggest problems is that when you have a CEO in charge of a school system, as opposed to a superintendent, a real educator, what ends up happening is that they literally have no clue as to how to run the schools.” The AUSL not only relies on business executives with no education experience to run schools, but also brings in recent college graduates to teach. These recruits cost very little to pay, but arrive with little or no teaching experience.
Pauline Lipman is a professor of education and policy studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She explained, “Chicago was the birthplace of this neoliberal corporate reform agenda of high-stakes testing, paying teachers based on test scores, disinvesting in neighborhood schools and then closing them and turning them over to charter schools.”
Lipman credits Arne Duncan with driving this corporatization of Chicago’s public schools. Duncan, President Obama’s secretary of education, was the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, where he led the institution of charter schools, 90 percent of which are nonunion. “Arne Duncan pushed through this agenda of closing neighborhood schools, turning them over to private operators or expanding charter schools and having charter schools come in ... and increasingly putting more pressure on teachers to respond to high-stakes tests. That agenda has been really devastating in Chicago.” ...............(more)
The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/mayor_rahm-neys_attack_on_the_chicago_teachers_union_20120912/
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