The strikes in Chicago are making a bigger impact than I initially gave them credit for. One way I can tell is that a tech news aggregator I follow (remember, I said tech news) has, not one, not two, but 4 articles talking about Education.
The Pro CPS Strike side
I find it fascinating how Jesse Jackson kinda pops out of the woodwork once in a while. What is most interesting is how the “people” are cast to be on the same side as the Unions, both against the BOE and the City. What they argue is indeed good and worthy – to lift up those schools and districts that are getting the butt-end of the deal in terms of finances. If you take this story as it is, it sounds like the pro-Union crowd is so looking out for kids that they are willing to sacrifice… well, teaching, I guess. I would like to find out what happened after the 19-day strike 25 years ago – was it a good thing overall for the kiddos? Did it help?
The Anti CPS Strike side
Michelle Rhee, the now famous poster child for StudentsFirst, paints a picture of greedy unions and greedy teachers. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel is made out to look like some kind of tree-wielding ogre, reading to smash the impudent unions with the force of Law. No matter who is actually “right”, the Union’s President is quoted as saying “There’s no trust for our members of the board” – a very telling statement if indeed true for most folks. Based on these articles, it seems that the parents (the three or four that were interviewed out of 500,000+ effected parents) are on the same side as the unions.
Is the problem just money?
These kinds of issues can really make one take a step back and contemplate the bigger picture. Another article that was recommended via my tech news aggregator was a piece about Moondoggle:
The amount of money our nation pours into a few things like so-called “Defense” and NASA is mind-blowing. I am not disputing that good things have come out of that investment, but Holy Inequities, Batman! It is hard to argue whether or not if all that money would have been dumped into something, like, say, Education, what would have happened. Would we be writing articles about how Education has gotten us nowhere and we should have spent more on racing to the moon? What are our Education dollars doing anyway? Enter the next article:
This article had me saying to myself “Yeah, duh!” many times. No matter how you slice it, whenever you compare one nation to another you can always find things that are better and things that are worse. And then you add in the subjective and the comparison just goes out the window. Our US Educational System is totally rocking!! At some things. It absolutely sucks at other things. These surveys and reports paint with such a big brush, totally glossing over other significant details.
As our local Unit 4 Board continues to meet with and negotiate with the CFT, I am thoroughly glad that teachers are still working even without a contract. In some ways, I wish the public could play a larger role at these negotiations, because it seems a bit odd that taxpayers and stakeholders don’t have a say about how their money is spent. Don’t throw the straw man at me, I realize tax payers cannot possibly have a say in every single little copper that flows from their wallet – it would be just way too overwhelming. Oh for the days of simplicity…. 😉
So here is my take-away. Or take-aways, rather:
- Beauty is all around us; we have some awesome teachers, awesome children, even the occasional awesome administrator. 🙂 “Awesome” does not necessarily mean smartest, brightest or best.
- We have problems. We must acknowledge both the positive and the negative; don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.
- Do a little bit of good today, do a little bit of good tomorrow.
- Don’t give up!