Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ravitch on Chicago

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.
Karen Lewis and the CTU are the new leaders of the labor movement. Time for us to follow in their footsteps, rather than more pointless and counter-productive engagement with “reformers” and their absurd notions. 
--- Arthur Goldstein, NYC teacher comment on Ravitch Blog 
Today at the Delegate Assembly (look for some of my notes in the morning posting) Mulgrew talked about Chicago and bragged about what good friends he was with Karen Lewis in Chicago. I also heard from people in Chicago that Karen and Mulgrew seem to get along. We'll see how that all plays out in Detroit this July at the AFT convention. In Seattle two years ago the Chicago CORE crew didn't always mesh with the UFT/Unity gang -- I heard more than a few "they're a-holes" as Chicago watched in disbelief how Unity people used the same manipulative tactics --- that I saw at today's DA.

But anyway, Mulgrew talked about the game the deformers have tried to play in limiting the union's ability to strike by requiring a 75% vote. So they got 90%. Mulgrew was careful to point out that there is no Taylor law making strikes illegal. Interesting that Mulgrew compared Rahm Emanuel and Bloomberg and said he'd rather have Bloomberg while also pointing to the fact Emanuel is a Democrat. Maybe Karen Lewis having chats with Mike is having an impact.

But I'll let Diane Ravitch pick up the story on her new blog, which has become so prolific. Too bad she doesn't go into how the UFT/Unity Caucus/AFT leaders match up with the Chicago people in terms of accountabilty to the members, deomocratic procedures. how far the union has gone to throw monkey wrenches into the works of the ed deformers.

Ravitch on Chicago
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.

More of the Ravitch piece here.

UPDATE: Mike Klonsky nails Rahm
Rahm's anti-union spin machine is spinning in reverse. Even though his pals now own the Sun-Times and even with a big-bucks propaganda campaign bankrolled by corporate "reformers", nothing seems to be spinning the mayor's way.

S-T political reporter
Fran Spielman, can't quite hide her disdain for Rahm's assault on the CTU.
Emanuel pushed for a change in state law that raised the strike authorization threshold to 75 percent, a benchmark so high, at least one education advocate [SFC's Jonah Edelman--mk] with ties to the mayor predicted that it could never be met. Instead, the Chicago Teachers Union roared passed that benchmark, fueled by their anger against a mayor who stripped them of a previously-negotiated, four percent pay raise and tried to muscle through a longer school day.
"Stripped" and "muscled" is a long way from the usual Civic Committee-style rhetoric of "union thugs" and "greedy teachers." Spielman then asks the mayor, "whether the showdown with teachers threatens to turn Chicago into 'another Wisconsin?'” It's a question no Democrat dare ask and one that answers itself.

S-T columnist Carol Marin, writing a day earlier couldn't make the case any better or clearer.
If I had been a Chicago public school teacher last week, I would have done as 90 percent of them did — and voted “yes” for a strike authorization...Teachers in this town have been demonized, demoralized, and disrespected. No profession is beyond criticism and no public school system is without significant problems. But taking a sledgehammer approach to CPS teachers and their union has backfired on the Emanuel administration and his schools CEO, Jean-Claude Brizard.
And all the radio ads and robo calls funded by out of town, union-busting billionaires doesn’t alter that fact.


The opinions expressed on EdNotesOnline are solely those of Norm Scott and are not to be taken as official positions (though Unity Caucus/New Action slugs will try to paint them that way) of any of the groups or organizations Norm works with: ICE, GEM, MORE, Change the Stakes, NYCORE, FIRST Lego League NYC, Rockaway Theatre Co., Active Aging, The Wave, Aliens on Earth, etc.

1 comment:

  1. Rahmbo is a p.o.s. And I hope his demise signals a turn of the tide against these corporate fueled profiteering parasites who seek to marginalize kids, neuter their teachers and grab as much cash as they can before someone turns on the lights and they all scatter like cockroaches. It's in the corporate interests I guess to make kids dumber and eviscerate those who'd seek to enlighten them. We all know why plantation owners didn't allow slaves to learn to read and write. I there any real difference between that and this?


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