Monday, September 10, 2012.
Mark this date down as the day the Chicago Teachers Union started a strike against the Chicago Public Schools that led to the end of public sector unions. While Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker landed a mighty blow in February of 2011 with his passage of the now famous Act 10, the CTU may have landed the fatal blow by a self inflicted wound.
For those of you that know me, I make no bones about how I feel about teachers unions. Don't mistake it at as an attack on all teachers, but the unions that represent them. Unless you have been involved in contract negotiations with these unions, you might not share these views. I've been involved in contract negotiations with the Racine Education Association twice in the mid 2000s, and with the five other public sector unions associated with the Racine Unified School District. These unions are militant and self-indulging and have no problem holding our kids hostage.
What I would like to see happen is that 1 percent of the 16 percent pay raises they have been offered should be taken away for every day they are out of class. On the 17th day, those that haven't crossed the picket line should be immediately fired. If Rahm Emmanuel has the backbone that Ronald Reagan had in his response to the Air Traffic Controllers, this strike would be over tomorrow. The timing is perfect for such a bold and honorable move. There are so many teachers that are unemployed or underemployed in their field that would love to be paid $71,000 per year; who wouldn't mind being evaluated based on their performance and who don't care if they have to work a little longer day to get that 12 month paycheck for 9 months work.
Remember, these teachers already enjoy the highest median income in the country, even after only 20 percent of their 8th graders are advanced or proficient or that only 55 percent of their seniors graduate. Make no mistake; these teachers should be evaluated on the performance of the kids they teach. I mean, what gives these teachers the right to grade their students without the student's input.
When Walker passed Act 10, it sent a clear message that unions would not hold students, parent and taxpayers hostage. He then followed it up with teacher evaluations that are being piloted in selective schools this year. And he gave parents the choice they deserve for their children.
If this strike isn't a prime example of why parents are taking advantage of the voucher program, then I don't know what else is. Over 52,000 children are in school in Chicago today. 18,000 families are waiting. The charter schools are not affected by the CTU strike. Those kids are getting an education while over 400,000 are not.
If Wisconsin is any indication, the majority of voters don't support the teachers union and are sick and tired of their antics. They voted twice in support of Walker's reforms. Many unions in Wisconsin such as the North Cape School District disbanded their union. Good teachers are getting tired of being disrespected for their association with the union.
Yes, I agree with Franklin D. Roosevelt and the 1959 AFL-CIO President, George Meany, who both stated, "It is impossible to collectively bargain with the government."
Public sector unions insist on laws that serve their interests -- at the expense of the common good. The founders of the labor movement viewed unions as a vehicle to get workers more of the profits they help create. Government workers, however, don’t generate profits. They merely negotiate for more tax money. When government unions strike, they strike against taxpayers. F.D.R. considered this “unthinkable and intolerable."
I whole-heartedly agree. Hopefully, Mr. Emmanuel will not cave in. He has no reason to, as again we see yet another of a long history of examples that this is not "for the children", but for themselves. Shame, shame, shame!!!