Chicago Teachers Union strike: What’s the deal?

A quick update from my adventures in the big city. I was walking to lunch today, and I passed by the Chicago Teachers Union, walking around protesting. I started to wonder if this was a “valid” strike or not? From everything I heard, there was a good deal on the table, and they waked away choosing to strike anyway. It got me thinking that maybe this was nothing more than a political move. Once I heard Mayor Rahm Emanuel was against it, I figured that this had to be the case. Isn’t this the same group, that probably has told hundreds of children, “You can’t kick and scream just to get your way!” But aren’t they doing exactly that? (Read John Fund’s take at: National Review – The Corner)So what is the deal with this strike, because it surely isn’t about a “good deal” because they walked away from one already. Add to that, the fact that union favorite Democrat mayors don’t usually quickly denounce such strikes the way Emanuel did … UNLESS there is something bigger at play here. **UPDATE** Apparently Rush Limbaugh had a similar message on his show today.** So maybe this is all about Obama… but how? It is hard to figure out how he will inject himself here but something tells me he will be heralded as the HERO.

What frustrates me particularly about this strike is that these are some of the poorest performing (see: CPS – Progress Reports) schools in the country and it isn’t because of low salaries. As you see from the Fund article, these are some well compensated teachers. So this is more about making a political statement than making any type of educational statement. This is about money and compensation, and not about creating better schools or educating children. This is a selfish move, made by this teachers union at a very specific and purposeful time. A new school year, the kids just went back, and the midst of a presidential election cycle where the current POTUS is from – CHICAGO. It is a shame they can legally get away with this and it shows the state of a large portion of our public education system in America.

An ironic note is that if you look at the picture closely, there is a poster promoting teachers on the CPS building. It says, “Educate” – “Inspire” – “Transform.” Not sure how they are accomplishing this as they march, but the irony wasn’t lost on me.

To add to the madness even the Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, says this is a strike “of choice” and not one “of necessity.” (see: Chicago Tribune) So when you have a former Obama Administration turned Mayor, criticizing the teachers union in Chicago… you know the Teachers Union is either very wrong… or this is a bigger charade than we even realize.

If you wan’t some good analysis, follow Emily Zanotti’s twitter feed for stats, data, and analysis.