Monday, June 14, 2010

What drives school reform is a single focus on profit. Profit. Not teaching, not learning, profit. - Karen Lewis

A new day in the Chicago Teachers Union

Lee Sustar looks at the far-reaching impact of the reform victory in the CTU.

June 14, 2010

KAREN LEWIS didn't waste any time laying out her vision for the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)--and challenging the political and business interests driving corporate school reform.

"This election shows the unity of 30,000 educators standing strong to put business in its place--out of our schools.

Corporate America sees K-12 public education as a $380 billion trust that--up until the last 15 years--they haven't had a sizeable piece of. So this so-called school reform is not an education plan. It's a business plan, and mayoral control of our schools and our Board Of Education is the linchpin of their operation.

Fifteen years ago, this city purposely began starving our lowest-income neighborhood schools of greatly needed resources and personnel. Class sizes rose, schools were closed. Then standardized tests, which in this town alone is a $60 million business, measured that slow death by starvation. These tests labeled our students, families and educators failures, because standardized tests reveal more about a student's zip code than it does about academic growth.

And that, in turn--that perceived school failure--fed parent demand for charters, turnarounds and contract schools. People thought, "it must be true, I read it in the papers. It must be the teachers' fault." Because they read about it, every single week. And our union, which has been controlled by the same faction for the last 40 years--37 out of 40--didn't point out this simple reality.

What drives school reform is a single focus on profit. Profit. Not teaching, not learning, profit."

Lewis' statement left the Chicago press corps literally speechless. Only one reporter managed a couple of questions. The local media simply isn't used to an assertive teachers' union leader--certainly not one who declares that she's standing up to the politicians and business interests that have made Chicago a laboratory for "school reform" for the last 15 years.

Read Lee's full piece at:

After burn: Gary does it again

A GBN News exclusive:

"NY City Mayor Michael Bloomberg today reiterated his assertion that BP executives should not be blamed for the ongoing Gulf oil spill. But this time he went even further, telling reporters at a City Hall news conference that accountability should be laid squarely on the shoulders of those who are truly responsible– the teachers unions."

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