Teachers strike in Chicago for larger vision of public education
This is from The Guardian, Sept.13, 2012. Amy Goodman observes that the attack on the teachers union comes from "the very core of President Obama's inner circle." And at the heart of the issue is the question Who gets to run the schools?
The AUSL not only relies on business executives with no education experience to run schools, but also brings in recent college graduates to teach. These recruits cost very little to pay, but arrive with little or no teaching experience. Pauline Lipman is a professor of education and policy studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She explained:
Lipman credits Arne Duncan with driving this corporatization of Chicago's public schools. Duncan, President Obama's secretary of education, was the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, where he led the institution of charter schools, 90% of which are non-union. According to Lippman:
Chicago is also the epicenter of the community pushback against the Duncan/Obama/Emanuel attack on public schools and the teachers' union. Lewis comes out of the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators, Core, which took over leadership of the union with a commitment to transparent school administration. Opposition to Emanuel's dictates has provoked the union into this historic strike. Phil Cantor, a strike captain for Teachers for Social Justice, explained:
Thanks to the grassroots organizing that preceded the strike (in the same Chicago streets where Obama was once a community organizer), the striking teachers enjoy extensive parent and student support. One parent, Rhoda Rae Gutierrez, has two children in elementary school in Chicago. She is a member of the group Parents 4 Teachers and is marching with the teachers. She told me:
This struggle reflects the essence of Occupy Wall Street – community members across class, race and other traditional divides uniting in disciplined opposition to corporate power. Author and journalist Chris Hedges, who has observed the Occupy movement closely, put the strike into context:
For people who are wondering where Occupy is today, just look at the streets of Chicago.
Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column
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