Georgia Voices: Chicago teachers’ strike - Trouble with unions
by The Savannah Morning News
September 21, 2012 12:00 AM | 3405 views | 2 2 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Proponents of organized labor like to argue that unions improve the life of the working man.

But what happens when unions put their own interests ahead of the public’s? What happens to the working man then — or, in the case of Chicago teachers strike, the working man’s kids?

Answer: Organized labor doesn’t care.

Fortunately, the much-watched teachers strike in President Obama’s adopted hometown came to an end Tuesday, when representatives for the teachers voted to go back to the classrooms.

That’s great news for the Windy City. When teachers weren’t working, 350,000 kids in Chicago were losing.

Yet the union’s decision to walk for a week instead of teach should give all Americans pause, even here in Georgia, a right-to-work state.

This strike was a classic example of greed trumping need.

No wonder why Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama’s former right-hand-man, was outraged and did all he could to end it.

Last weekend, for example, Chicago’s public school leaders offered teachers a generous 16 percent raise over four years in a new contract. That’s right, 16 percent. Guaranteed.

Who gets a pay boost like that in today’s economy? Yet the union balked.

The union also had problems about who controlled schools and classrooms. It didn’t want longer school days. It wanted principals to have less authority. It wanted less attention paid to teacher evaluations, as they related to student academic growth. This protected the jobs of substandard performers.

Dedicated, professional teachers do vital work. They don’t get paid enough. Unfortunately, the trouble with teachers unions is that they have a fatal blind spot — they see all teachers in the same light. Everyone is a superstar, even those who are ineffective.

That’s why the “winners” in this just-ended labor dispute may not be the teachers, the students or taxpayers.

It’s Chicago’s charter schools, where organized labor can’t reach.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
NEA Member
September 22, 2012
If your job required you to teach kids that could care less how they do on a test yet your job depended on said kids' test scores how would you feel and what would you do?
September 21, 2012
A raise does you no good when you lose the job that the raise was linked to! The district would LOVE to offer that rate 'cause they be giving 16% raises to NEW teachers making $25K a year NOT veterans making $70K. Those vet's all lose their jobs with the new evlauation system. My point being; the district intended to link pay and job retention to student test scores. While teachers are expected to teach all kids if you've ever been in the TRUE ghettoes of the Windy City you know that these teachers face an insurmountable task to get these gangster,fellon,thug, druggie animals to pass a state test. 1 test, on 1 day, given to a child that doesn't value education??..NO WAY that should make up 70% of my performance evaluation, job security and pay rate!
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