George Will Says Chicago Teachers Union 'Not All Wrong'
George Will, a well-known conservative voice has acknowledged teacher unions' members are "not all wrong." These three words are astonishing to those of us who have followed the developments for the past two years.
In an opinion column for the Washington Post Will discusses the major players in the embattled Chicago schools, and implies unions are not the only bad guys in the tug-of-war to see who ends up on top. Even though he says the unions have done little to change the dismal public schools, he recognizes rank and file teachers still have a voice.
From Washington Post:
Emanuel got state law changed to require unions to get 75 percent of the entire membership rather than a simple majority to authorize a strike. Some people thought this would make strikes impossible. The CTU got 90 percent to authorize. Lewis's members are annoyed, and are not all wrong.
It wasn't just Mayor Rahm Emanuel who got the state to change the strike percentage from 50 to 75, but it was the heavy handed tactics of an organization called Stand for Children with Jonah Edelman at the helm.
A year ago, Edelman, the son of civil rights activist and Marxist sympathizer Marian Wright Edelman, was videotaped bragging how he snookered the Chicago Teachers Union into changing its contract. If one watches the video, she finds it's a primer on "how to get over."
Hundreds of thousands of dollars from foundations poured into Edelman's project to foist Emanuel's education plans onto Chicago. But a year later, the teacher's union spoke and surely blindsided the smug Edelman and his allies in the Chicago Public Schools.
Another blow to Stand for Children came two weeks ago when Edelman along with Michelle Rhee of StudentsFirst were both told they could no longer be part of the online petition website change.org. The site's owner claims to be nonpartisan, but most of his petitioners are progressive. Since the two nonprofits are anti-union, the change.org community wanted them off the site.
A day after it was notified about the discontinuance of its contract from change.org, StudentsFirst joined other reformers like Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) in offering an olive branch to the NEA and the AFT asking them to join in the cause to improve schools. The signers of the letter suggested collaboration on:
Creating a commissioner's network empowered to make meaningful changes to turn around failing schools.
Building a teacher evaluation system to be implemented statewide next year, and which includes evidence of student learning growth as a significant factor.
Increasing funding for public charter schools to help bring school funding equity for all students in public schools
Increasing funding? Rhee is on record as saying DC has the highest per student expenditure in the nation, but the lowest test scores, so the amount of money doesn't correlate to quality. Now she signs a letter to the unions which states the opposite. What's going on?
Read more Ann Kane at Potter Williams Report