Hardly new news, but in case you missed it, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is on strike. First time in 25 years. What you may not know is the following:
1. Charter schools are up and running and operating per normal in Chicago. I am particularly proud of the Distinctive Schools teachers and staff doing all possible to prevent disruption to our 4 campuses. (Check them out at http://www.distinctiveschools.org .)
2. The CTU has masterfully restricted access to the regular CTU teacher members on decision-making to be able to affect or avert a strike. The CTU leadership is surprisingly centrally-controlled by a few. We are hearing from Chicago teachers that many do not understand why they are even striking.
3. The CTU seems to be managing the Press and the media exposure, so things like the CPS billion-dollar budget problems, the real need for expanded school hours for kids, etc., are all conspicuously missing from the dialogue.
4. In these economic times, with our Nation’s current standing in the global economy, how could a union, any union, be so quick to strike, after leading with a 19% immediate demand for wage increases on average annual salaries of $71,000. I would like for us to be able to pay our charter school teachers that much. Due to lack of equal funding provided for charter schools in Illinois, we cannot (yet).
It is time for our Nation to get serious about providing all families meaningful school choice. As much as I remain fond of many teacher union leaders, and have successfully partnered with teacher union leaders to improve the work for kids, I am completely soured over these CTU actions. Time for Randi Weingarten, and any other the CTU boss Karen Lewis might listen to, to coach this woman. She has led CTU members and a whole city astray.
Hope this strike ends soon. Sounds like it may not.