Whatever the outcome of the teachers' strike in the Windy City, it has big implications for the future of labor nationwide.
Sep 11, 2012
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanual and school officials say only so much money can be squeezed out for teachers’ salaries. More important, they want major changes to fix schools that they say are failing the city’s kids. On the other side of the table, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has its doubts about the finances and frets about protecting its rank and file. It especially doesn’t like the way charter schools are opening and public schools are closing, wiping out its members’ jobs.
That’s the much-reduced nub of the dispute between the Chicago Teacher Union and city officials, which has drawn 26,000 teachers into the streets and thrown the nation’s third largest school system into a tizzy. Outside Chicago, you can find the same mega issues pumping up like storm clouds in school districts across the U.S. This is why what happens here could be an omen for school districts, stirred on by a heap of forces ranging from deeply deflated budgets to educational reformers’ complaints to dissatisfied parents to charter-school activists and ultimately to anti-union advocates.