THE SEVEN-DAY LONG teachers’ strike in Chicago finally ended last night with a compromise deal between the teachers’ union and Ralm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago and former Chief of Staff for President Obama. The teachers’ union have held 350,000 children under hostage over a contract deal with the city. The union boss, Karen Lewis, initially announced strike just hours before school was set to begin last Monday, September 10th. The flash, ambush decision distressed many working parents, whom were forced to find babysitters or call relatives last minute. This instance is not so different from Wisconsin teachers’ union, who forced class cancellation for a few days last year in protest of Governor Scott Walker’s policy against collective bargaining.With the new salary increase in the negotiated contract, put together by union bosses, the city is set to spend additional $74 million on the salary increase the first year alone. Seven days, seven mils. Not bad….
Consider this: if our nation’s teachers would forsake class days for personal aggrandizement, then we have a real education crisis, as teachers no longer put priority on their students. Teachers’ unions have truly poisoned the otherwise honorable profession of teaching. Don’t get me wrong. We have phenomenal teachers in all corners of our country, but teachers and teachers’ union are not always the same. Political interests dominate teachers’ union. The union’s primary role is to negotiate packages and contracts that most benefit its members. That objective is inherently misaligned with that of teachers.
The city called on reform to challenge public school teachers to become more accountable, so the teachers’ union answered that with a strike, walking out in troupes on children who are now about a week and a half behind. The most befuddling point about this whole situation though has to be that the same people who supposedly support teachers’ right (they frame it in terms of professional dignity and respect for teachers) are the same people who think they are doing the children a favor? The lost instruction time will put pressure on the students to catch up. Not only did students and parents have to suffer from teachers’ union’s political posturing due to unanticipated babysitters’ cost, lost wages as some parents opt to stay home, and sheer uncertainty to when the strike would actually end, the students in addition have to live through the aftermath of selfish adults who supposedly are looking out for their interests.
So let’s not pop the champagne quite so fast and deceive ourselves into victory mode, as members of the Chicago Teachers’ Union pat each other on the back, in effect proud of their mafia-like behavior of using children as political pawns. Mr. Emanuel apparents thinks that the end to the strike “means returning our schools to their primary purpose: the education of our children.” Hmm Mr. Mayor, I suppose you were right: we should never let a good crisis go to waste. After all, at the end of the day, I can not fathom to interpret this whole episode as nothing but a good fight for the children.