Chicago strike

Forty five years go, fresh from Chicago, I began teaching kindergarten in Central Harlem. Instead we went on strike. A year later we did it again–and on issues that remain (to this day) open to fierce arguments among friends. They were tough strikes–and yet I remember them with both sorrow and joy. The students in my own children’s schools joined their teachers in off-site sort-of schools after the picketing was over. Relationships between teachers and students blossomed. But there was also great divisiveness between pro and anti-strike families. Much of that took years to recover from. And it wasn’t helped by some outrageous lies published by the media–which they apologized for personally but not in the NY Times itself. (More another time)

All this to say, the CTU needs ALL of our support–in every way possible. Call friends who live there to be physically supportive, with funds, with letters to the editors. Read the CTU’s own press. This is a city that has been the reform “toy” of one after another big time superintendent and Mayor. The victims–students, families and teachers–have been trying their best to keep it afloat. This action is an act of desperation, and it’s a time for all trade unionists and their allies and civil rights activists to join forces. Did you know, for example, that it wasn’t so long ago that 49% of Chicago’s teachers were Black or Latino. The number is now 19%. It’s not just charters, or privatization, it’s also about getting rid of decently paid teachers who might someday get pensions. It’s part of the downsizing of America.

8 Responses

  1. Has anyone figure out that if we have a country full of low wage earners that they won’t be able to afford to buy products and services. Has the 1% figured out that when they shipped the jobs overseas to save money that the country is more and more full of low wage people who can’t buy the product that you saved money overseas producing. We are not only the 99% but we are the consumers.

  2. The Nation has reached a teachable moment.

    Will the teachers in the street be able to teach the higher order lessons of the day above the shouting of the pulpit bullies?

    Time will tell …

  3. I wonder how many black and Latino teachers have lost their jobs to “turnarounds.”

  4. Deborah M., do you really want to win this war against public education? Communities and schools must be brought together to win this battle.My school discipline plan works! Schools and communities can work together to make their schools safe, productive, and highly successful. Bringing discipline back to schools is the first and most important step in winning the war for public education. Get in touch with me if you want to win this war.

    PS. Teachers fight every day of the year for their students.Any politician, commentator, or media broadcaster that says the teachers turned their backs on students are dead wrong. Not one of these pious critics of teachers spent a few years teaching in low performing schools. If they had taught in these schools, they would understand teachers only go on strike, if they felt the strike was in the best interest of the students in the long run. These teachers have fought a lifetime against all obstacles, sacrificed all, and endured constant abuse and humiliation, because they always had the back of their students. After a lifetime of such efforts, Chicago Teachers did not suddenly change. They went on strike for their students and their students future.

  5. […] Originally Published by Deb Meier, September 10, 2012 […]

  6. returning to local concerns, the Springs school is already at bare bones levels in terms of staffing and programs, providing far less to students than any other local district. The fact that the current board is even considering cutting or reducing staffing is hard to fathom. This is the same board which recently granted the new superintendent a 20k dollar annual raise? They are completely out of touch with whats going on in the school and obviously have some kind of vendetta with the teachers. …more As a local resident and parent I deeply regret that I voted for them, as do many other parents in the community.At first i wasn’t so sure if the faculty was posturing for a new contract, when they spoke out against the board and the new super, but now I have to say that I am siding with the teachers here. the mood and morale of the school is awful. If an entire faculty disapproves, then either their all crazy or they must be right. I now think its the latter.

    • Beth here:See my article RE: Rock Hill. They imtlemenped “voluntary mandetory” desegregation. One of the reasons that it worked was because of a shift in the way in which the board was elected. There were several other reasons for which it was believed that it was successful. It, too, was based on socioeconomic status.

  7. […] Originally Published by Deb Meier, September 10, 2012 […]

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