EDUCATE! ORGANIZE!! MOBILIZE!!!
These are the three pillars on which Ed Notes is founded – providing information on current ed issues, organizing activities around fighting for public education in NYC and beyond and exposing the motives behind the education deformers. We are part of a tiny band of resisters. Nothing will change unless YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE STRUGGLE!
the unintended consequences of the attack on public education is the
politicization of educators. Generally speaking, teachers like to close
their classroom doors and do their own thing. There doesn’t seem to be
any point in getting involved in “politics” and so they mostly don’t.
But the times are changing.
Suddenly, like it or not, “politics” is interested in teachers.
Suddenly, wealthy and powerful people have become obsessed with them,
and with what goes on behind those classroom doors. As the billionaire
investors and their political allies attempt to refashion education in
their own image, they increasingly force teachers to sit up and take
Does this mean we now have a national movement of teachers united in a
collective struggle to defend and improve public education? Not quite.
Where teachers already have large organizations — their unions — they
rely on them to defend their interests. The problem is that those unions
have, by and large, conceded much of the ideological terrain to the
That’s where Chicago comes in. While other unions have jumped at the
chance to trade tenure, merit pay, charter schools, and other “free
market” reforms for pay increases, the Chicago Teachers Union has drawn a
line in the sand. The CTU is the first union to threaten a strike
against so-called “ed reform”.
Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, says he wants a longer school
day, for example. The CTU has responded, effectively: “No, we want a
BETTER school day!” The CTU has boldly pointed out the apartheid-like
conditions in the Chicago Public Schools, and demands that funding be
restored to the arts, sciences, physical education, counseling, and
smaller class sizes. Their research document, The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve is a must read.
Importantly, their stance has galvanized parent support. Erica Clark, a Chicago parent, wrote:
“We formed Parents 4 Teachers because we were fed up with the
abuse that teachers were taking from politicians. We saw that there
wasn’t recognition of what we saw as parents—that the interests of the
teachers in the schools go hand in hand with the interests of our
kids… The things that teachers are fighting for in their
contract—smaller classes, more nurses and counselors, a better day not
just a longer day, art and music for all schools—are the things that
parents want. These are the things that teachers want.”
Daring to stand up to Rahm Emanuel — Obama’s former chief of staff —
during an election year, is no small feat. But CTU is blazing a new
trail for educators in this country.