By Kyle Olson
CHICAGO – As Chicago Public Schools and other urban districts grapple with broken budgets and poor academic results, elected leaders Unbeholden to union interests are finally trying to address the problems.
But they keep running into the brick wall of the government education establishment, typically headed by the teachers unions.
In Chicago, the school district has a frightening $700 million deficit and a miserable 56 percent graduation rate. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a longer school day in a district with the nation’s shortest day and year.
In response, the union is demanding a 30 percent pay raise over two years. Just last week, it rejected a proposed 20 percent raise, suggested by a fact finder whose job was to offer some sort of compromise.
Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis and community organizer Jitu Brown subsequently held a public Internet conference call (or webinar) with Mike Klonsky, a retired professor, close Bill Ayers associate and former chairman of the Communist Party (Marxist/Leninist).
Yes, the leaders of America’s teachers unions hang around with communists.
In detailing what she considers the problems with government schools, Lewis came to a shocking conclusion, going so far as to blame students for the “ridicule” teachers receive.
“I have seen the profession of teaching go from one in which it was considered very prestigious to one that is constantly ridiculed and basically discarded and we feel, by and large, that it’s due to the fact that we serve predominantly working- and quite frankly, lower-class students, and students of color.”
Lewis is a typical example of the establishment, unable to take any responsibility for failure. Has it occurred to her that taxpayers are mocking the “lower class” education that the students have been receiving, and not the students themselves? Education reformers want to help struggling inner-city youth escape K-12 failure factories like Chicago Public Schools.
The kids are the victims, not the enemies.
It’s time Lewis and the rest of the education establishment start taking responsibility for the state of government schools. They are the teachers. They are the administrators. They run the show. The system will succeed or fail based on their efforts.
Based on the results we’ve seen so far, it would be hard to argue in favor of any raise at all for Chicago teachers, let alone a preposterous 20 or 30 percent increase.