|THE UNION BUSTERS. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public School Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard|
Well, fellow teachers, it looks like Chicago has become ground-zero in the fight for fair and equitable contracts for teachers. Chicago teachers have finally drawn a line in the sand, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is now spewing quotations about how hard teachers work and how much he respects teachers.
Don't believe him!
When 90% of Chicago teachers authorized a strike last week, it was like punching Mayor Bully Boy right in the nose.
And remember, downstate and suburban teachers, if Emanuel, his hatchet man Jean-Claude Brizard, and the rich billionaires that bankroll Advance Illinois win, then you in Bloomington and Naperville will be the next ones to be tested, and already signed contracts that you think are perfectly safe will fall like dominoes, just as the teacher contract in Chicago did last year.
Bully Emanuel threw away the 4% raise for the last year of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) contract, extended the work day for teachers, and continued to take taxpayer money and put it into privately run charter schools.
I'm amazed he's gotten away with his actions this long!
Then when CTU Present Karen Lewis told Mayor Bully Boy that teachers wanted a 30% raise and were going to take a strike vote, Advance Illinois, funded by some of the same rich corporate hacks who fund the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, unleashed a radio and robo-call blitz trying to convince Chicago teachers that the strike vote should be moved until after school was out.
Or course if the vote had been moved to July, all the Chicago teachers would have been spread hither and yon, and the 75% mark would not have been met.
So even though Karen Lewis comes off as a weak CTU president, she did the right thing by holding the vote before school dismissed for the summer.
And can you believe the gall of these millionaires and billionaires who continue to stick their noses not only into CPS matters but are also trying to take away my cost of living allowance or health insurance as a retired teacher? As Ringo would say in William Faulkner's novel The Unvanquished, "The bastuds!"
My questions for Advance Illinois and for the Civic Committee is "Have you no shame?" and "Does your greed know no bounds?"
The answers to the above two questions are, "No," and "No!"
Since about half of the students in my freshman English classes at Dominican University last year were graduates of public high schools in Chicago, I have a unique perspective on what's going on in high schools in the city.
And it ain't pretty, boys and girls.
Emanuel has moved all the money to charter schools and to magnet schools in Chicago, and he has let the every-day public high schools languish. Did you see the mayor parading around the stage at the charter school graduation last week, bragging that every one of the African-American graduates was going to college?
Parade around the stage at Kelvyn Park, Crane, or Dyett, big boy! You won't because these schools have a 75% drop-out rate. There are just a handful of graduates in those schools, and they are barely literate.
I had a students tell me last year that I wouldn't believe how bad it was in their high schools. The CPS grads had big problems adjusting to an atmosphere of free discussion and reaction at Dominican. One boy told me, "Mr. Wyman, you wouldn't believe how bad it is." And he was at a magnet school in the city!
Until Emanuel and his lap dogs, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, promote improvement of ALL Chicago schools instead of just a few, the present situation will prevail.
There is only one way to stop a bully--punch him in the nose. A strike this fall will be a good first step, or should I say punch!