Chicago teachers on strike
The Chicago Teachers Union has decided to go on strike. That means no school tomorrow for some 400,000 students in the city. Karen Lewis, CTU president, just finished her press conference, saying, "Schools, real schools, will be closed tomorrow," no doubt referencing the district's "children first" plan to open up 144 schools for a half-day, offering breakfast, lunch, and supervision.
Of course it's easy to be sympathetic to the teachers union: They're up against huge obstacles for little pay, and the district changes their minds twice a month about how to tackle systemic issues. But having said that, Karen Lewis makes sympathy difficult to drum up, listing off a litany of "soft issues" that are clearly not going to be resolved in a single contract. And complaining of evaluation-via-testing while saying: "Evaluate us on our performance, not on the lives of our children, which we do not control," doesn't help. I was moved toward the end of her speech, as she spoke of the effect violence is having on the schools, and the paucity of social workers available to students. The union needs to hit those marks if it wants to win the public to its side. Rahm is up next.