Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis and Vice President Jesse Sharkey.
Opinion: the #1 fact about the Chicago Public Schools teachers’ strike is this - 90% of the teachers in the union voted weeks ago to authorize the strike. That’s 90 percent of teachers who are bread earners, dedicated educators, idealistic new teachers – or whatever else they may be. During the strike, these teachers are “required” by the union organizers running the CTU to show up in the loop in red T-shirts with signs that they may or may not “understand”. It’s obvious that many actually do not understand what this strike really is about; but at some point, these are grown-ups who have to take responsibility for their actions. They are professionals. They are not sheep.
So let’s begin by suggesting that the Chicago public school strike is not about salary raises; the Chicago School Board already has offered a 16 percent increase over four years. Here’s what some national media were saying over the last few days:
Union leaders are taking a major stand on teacher evaluations, one of the key issues in the Chicago dispute. If they lose there, it could have ripple effects around the country.” Washington Post
Teachers also clearly saw the strike as a protest not just of the union negotiations in Chicago but on data-driven education reform nationwide, which many perceived as being pushed by corporate interests and relying too heavily on standardized tests to measure student progress.” New York Times
So maybe it’s not about salaries, but is it about accountability? Are thousands of teachers out there skipping school days just to fight back against more accountability for principals in hiring and firing teachers? Hmmm. Here’s an interview with one protester on Monday who is connected with the Occupy movement, and who does a lot of talking about the “capitalist 1%.”
This is sounding a little less like “teachers issues” and more, dare I say, like some other kind of agenda?
Seems as though this strike is not really about salaries, and not even about accountability. Maybe the drama doesn’t really have much at all to do with the teachers in the red T-shirts with the signs. So just what are the marchers supporting? (Hint: the students helping with today’s march (above) attend an institution called the Social Justice High School.)
Let’s take a quick look at the characters in this play. Karen Lewis is the president of the CTU, and her spokesman frequently is Jesse Sharkey, the vice president. Sharkey helped Lewis get her job, and he is a major player in the International Socialist Organization.
The ISO, as well as another Sharkey group called Jobs with Justice, are all about – social justice. Social justice is the objective of utopian organizations seeking to rid the capitalist world of gross inequality with regard to money, property and power. They advocate empowering the government to provide perfect economic egalitarianism by collecting wealth and property, and then redistributing it fairly. This is not just an opinion; anyone can search for these names and organizations, and then read much more about their goals. For example, from the ISO website:
The ISO stands in the tradition of revolutionary socialists Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky in the belief that workers themselves–the vast majority of the population–are the only force that can lead the fight to win a socialist society. Socialism can’t be brought about from above, but has to be won by workers themselves.”
So do Chicago teachers who are abandoning their students to march in support of the CTU need to understand what the union leaders are planning, what they stand for? You betcha. This is a fight to the death for the “progressive movement.” The question for the teachers: will they be fellow travelers along this road?
And there are some other major characters in this drama who have an investment in the outcome. One is Barack Obama. If you are interested in the kind of transformation he has in mind for America, check out Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary, 2016, in theaters all over the country; read D-Souza’s response to critiques in the Blaze. Or watch another documentary, Agenda, produced by State Rep. Curtis Bowers of Idaho and available at Amazon.com. Or look up Fred Siegel’s (9/10/12) Wall Street Journal review of the book “I Am the Change” by Charles Kesler. The information is out there; no excuse for not making up your own mind.