2012 CTU Strike: Negotiations amongst absentee leadership
If you’ve read my recent blog post, “Chicago teachers and Karen Lewis go on strike…,” you know my disdain as a result of this strike lies squarely on the shoulders of Chicago’s leaders. Karen Lewis, Jean-Claude Brizard, Rahm Emanuel and Pat Quinn are all examples of failed leaders; propagandists of politics as usual. Examples of the ideologies they publicly oppose to ensure election.
At a rally on Tuesday, Lewis told her supporters: “I’ve got to go back to the silly part of my day. Y’all have some fun now. Show each other some love.” I don’t know whom she thinks she is representing, but I don’t think this is silly. And I certainly don’t think anyone is having any fun. Teachers, parents and children aren’t having fun. Parents scrambling to find alternative schedules Sunday weren’t having fun. Teachers not getting paid or doing what they love to do aren’t having fun (at least not the good ones). CPS children continuing to be neglected by their elders are not having fun. I also love how Lewis said that wealthy people shouldn’t be making decisions for CPS students. I guess she must be forgetting her own salary.
Jean-Claude Brizard has done less for these negotiations than I have. A CEO who has done more to improve his tan-line in recent months than to broker a compromise. Hope the vacation was worth it. Take a permanent vacation while you are at it.
Mayor Emanuel considers it more prudent to attend a convention than to prevent a labor strike. For whatever reason he thought attending the DNC was at the top of his priority list. Heck, maybe he was under the impression he was receiving the nomination.
And we have Governor Pat Quinn. An elected official who should have been at the forefront of mediating these negotiations. Someone who should have quickly realized that personal animosity is the real reason for a continued strike. We need officials who truly care for the people of Chicago. Officials not afraid to publicly disagree with union members and Chicago Democrats on some issues. The real moral indignation is the “unholy alliance” between labor unions and politicians. The sad reality is that the Democratic Party is beholden to labor union bosses who endow large campaign donations.
This morning, news outlets report of “major progress” made in last night’s negotiation meetings. I’ve always firmly believed in the brevity of this strike; solely due to the political pressure to settle. Even though a deal might be brokered in the near future the fact the strike has occurred is indicative of absentee leadership. Furthermore, reports have come out that members of the union are pushing for a three-year contract. Why you might ask? The answer is so that in three years the union has the option to strike again. A future strike that could dampen and threaten Emanuel’s reelection prospects (another reason why I don’t think the CTU is properly representing its constituents). These political and personal agendas are hurting our children’s futures.
In a 2011 federal study, Chicago students rank last in math and reading scores in comparison to other large metropolitan areas such as Boston, New York City, Los Angeles and Austin. Educators need to be held accountable and admit there is a faction of teachers who aren’t up to par. More importantly these teachers shouldn’t be protected by the union. Legislators, governors and mayors need to own up to their failures. Parents need to admit to some blame. The dire situation of the CPS education is a culmination of many things. Everyone is at fault. Take ownership of your failures and stop the “finger-pointing.” Instead, work on behalf of the children and garner real solutions. Leave your pride and ego at home.
Now I may be naïve to expect real change; but I sure as hell I’m not naïve in demanding it. Our kids deserve better. Our parents deserve better. Our teachers deserve better. Our city deserves better.
Like I always say:
“Get it together”
DO YOUR JOB!
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate