Striking Out

Teachers strike leaves parents scrambling: ‘As long as they’re on strike, I can’t work either.’

Less than a week after the bulk of Chicago Public Schools students and parents started their back-to-school routines, from early morning wake-up to late-night homework supervision, it all came to a screeching halt when teachers hit the picket lines Monday.

Regardless of their feelings about the strike, parents and guardians frantically sought last-minute child care, pleaded with their bosses for leniency and hoped that their kids would return to school sooner rather than later.

In some cases, students and parents arrived at schools, unaware classes were canceled Monday. At other schools, parents were highly mobilized, developing babysitting co-ops and publicizing alternatives to the CPS-sponsored Children First strike contingency plan.

Citywide for thousands of families, stress was high and consequences were real in a situation with an abrupt, late-night beginning and an unknown ending.

“I might be losing my job over this,” said Martina Watts, 38, as she dropped her kids off at Hefferan Elementary in Garfield Park. “As long as they’re on strike, I can’t work. I’m not getting paid, either.”

Chicago school teachers are already some of the highest paid in the country, but then again Chicago is an expensive place to live. Some critics have charged that based on test results the teachers aren’t doing a very good job, but you could argue that the low scores aren’t the teachers’ fault.

But the real issue isn’t how much the teachers deserve to make, it is how much Chicago can afford to pay them.

The optics here are bad for the teachers. As I’ve said before it’s hard to get the proles to support your cause when you are better off than the proles. Even worse, it’s the proles who are being inconvenienced the most.

This strike isn’t coming out of Rahm Emanuel’s pocket. The taxpayers of Chicago will bear the cost of the strike and the eventual new contract as well. During a time of economic crisis it’s not a really bright idea to piss off the taxpayers when the choice is basically between paying more taxes or breaking the union.

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48 Responses to Striking Out

  1. DM says:

    I don’t know what kind of increases the teachers had before, but 16% increase over 4 years seems generous.
    As to the health benefits, isn’t Obamacare enough?
    Teachers want job security. Nobody should have job security, imho.

    The district said it offered teachers a 16 percent pay raise over four years and a host of benefit proposals.

    “This is not a small commitment we’re handing out at a time when our fiscal situation is really challenged,” Vitale said.

    Lewis said the two sides are close on teacher compensation but the union has serious concerns about the cost of health benefits, the makeup of the teacher evaluation system and job security.

    With a strike, CPS will put its contingency plan in effect, opening 144 schools to students from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. But parents are being urged to find alternatives and use the schools only as a last resort. The city’s 118 charter schools are not affected by a strike.

    A strike culminates months of heated rhetoric between Lewis and Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his hand-picked school board.

    Several sources said that sending Emanuel into negotiations to broker a last-minute deal wasn’t an option because there was too much bad blood between him and Lewis.

    Chicago Tribune link

    • cj says:

      It seems like a lot to me, especially when so many millions have no job at all & states are cutting vital services. AZ, for instance, has frozen medicaid for everyone but families with children. The program essentially doesn’t exist for anyone else; god knows what these poor people are doing for medical care.

    • I agree. It’s not about pay. 16% is generous and TCU would take it if it didn’t come with rigorous performance standards which would subject them to the market of employment/unemployment. They want permanent jobs, period, no matter how good or bad they are.

  2. HELENK says:

    check out the relationships here
    backtrack, ayres, lewis, head of teachers union, communist party

    • Exactly. It’s theater. From my post this morning:

      To me this strike appears to have all the markings of choreography among the Rahm Emanuel-Obama-Arne Duncan Chicago nexus. That it is happening in Chicago is no surprise when one considers this nexus. What I expect to happen next is for Arne Duncan to be deployed to Chicago to work with Rahm Emanuel to break the strike. This will have two affects: it will make present Obama look like a problem solver and give him the benefit of standing up to unions in a public way. Unions won’t know they’ve been thrown under the bus or they won’t care. They’ve convinced themselves they have nowhere else to go and little will be made of these events by anyone but the bitter teachers in Chicago. Many will in fact cheer for it.

      Meanwhile, we’ll all be treated to stories about how terrible the schools in Chicago are performing and the abysmal record they have, which will make Rahm & Obama even more sympathetic. This is already happening. Rahm Emanuel will get what he wants, which are more charter schools and improved standing in Chicago and beyond, and president Obama will get what he wants, which is a proxy to use to dump a lot of voter dissatisfaction about him into. He will also look competent. To help build this narrative the media will tell us for the next few days about how this hurts president Obama. Those not in the loop, for example MSNBC today, will try to frame this as hurting Romney. It does not appear at this time that Romney fully understands the theater being set up over this.

      • It’s obvious theatre. For a little perspective. Let’s look at our neighbors up north. The WI state system has been seeing payroll increases of 2% or less for the last 10 years approx. 16% over 4 years averages to 4% per year. Yes, it is expensive to live in Chicago which is why their teachers are paid more to begin with.

        Romney had better start recognizing this for the set-up it is — all to make Obama look good. The fact that the TCU is not calling for Obama to do something *yet* is the tip off. Moreover, if they wanted real results they would have done this DURING the national convention. They think we are such fools.

        • BTW, I’m not talking about our teachers here. I’m talking about the state system in general which is what the Recall Walker effort was about. The teachers made it seem otherwise, that it was just about them. We know how that worked out. There was little to no sympathy for them.

  3. HELENK says:

    chicago public school grads that go to community college

    94% need remedial math

    81% need remedial english

    71% need remedial reading

    the city would be better off closing the public schools and starting over with real teachers

  4. myiq2xu says:


    Scott Van Duzer, the owner of a Florida pizza shop who made a name for himself when he spontaneously bear-hugged President Barack Obama on Sunday, said Floridians are now boycotting his restaurant.

    “People are saying a lot of bad things and boycotting my restaurant,” Van Duzer said. “There’s no middle line anymore, and that’s exactly what’s wrong with our country right now.”

    Van Duzer, who owns the Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Restaurant in Fort Pierce, Florida, said Democrats and Republicans are welcome in his pizza store. Van Duzer was so happy Obama visited his establishment that he embraced the president, and the photo of Van Duzer and Obama went viral.

    Since then, Van Duzer’s store has even received negative reviews on Yelp, the restaurant review site, with a flood of one-star ratings and comments ranging from sarcastic to angry.

    Reviewers have made tongue-in-cheek comments such as, “the problem is that if you order one, you have to share the pizza with everyone else in the restaurant.” Others wrote things like, “I will never go to this place again. After seeing this so called Republican hug Obama, I’ve lost my appetite.” And a host of commenters wrote comments wondering if Van Duzer “built” his establishment, which is a reference to Obama’s infamous “you didn’t build that” comments he made on the stump in Virginia.

    Obama seems to have a reverse-Midas touch on those he hugs in Florida. After Obama embraced then-Republican Florida Governor Charlie Crist in 2009, Crist lost his Republican senate primary to Marco Rubio. Crist has since left the Republican party.

    On the flip side, when Chris McMurray, the owner of the “Crumb and Get It” bakery in Virginia turned down a visit from Vice President Joe Biden last month, he had to temporarily shut his store because he ran out of cookie dough after orders poured in from around the country. McMurray said he and his wife had to work 24-hour shifts to fill all of the orders they received after rejecting Biden.

    Last year the SF Giants went by the White House and shook hands with Obama. Afterwards they started a losing streak and fell out of playoff contention.

    • votermom says:

      Those are the real poll numbers right there.

    • Lulu says:

      In 2008 Austin, Texas was covered in signs and placards for Obama. I was there in the summer for student orientation and again for move in of students. I refused to enter the businesses that had those signs up. I said “They hate old white ladies. Look at what they are advocating and how they treated Hillary. Not a dime to them.” Then I located professional businesses that do not put their personal preferences ahead of their customers. This summer of 2012 there is no Obama signage in Austin. So my visceral reaction was four years early and is now much more common.

    • wmcb says:

      Boycott if you want, that’s fine, but I think cluttering up his online restaurant reviews with political jibes is rude.

      • Lulu says:

        It is very petty and nasty. But so was what was done to Chic-Fil-A. Businesses need to understand that they have every right to trumpet their political beliefs, and their customers have every right to react to them. If they do not want a negative reaction shut the heck up. This guy seems very naive.

        • wmcb says:

          Oh, I don’t even mind public scolding and pushback. Have at it. I guess I just feel like actual product reviews (which is what yelp is for) ought to be about the food and service. Use another venue to bitch about his politics. But that’s just me. Not like it’s the crime of the century or anything, just inappropriate IMO.

    • Anthony says:

      He should have thought about what happened to Oprah before he “spontaneously” (HA!) picked up The Dog Eater

  5. votermom says:

    Speaking of bad optics, what kind of knucklehead schedules a strike to fall on 9/11?

    • Lulu says:

      When I read about the strikers I have a horrible feeling that I know why the school system is in such horrible shape and it isn’t because of the terrible social problems of the students. Imagine thousands of Obamas in thousands of classrooms, preaching, slacking, and blaming everyone else with no plan B. What is wrong with Chicago?

      • votermom says:

        Imagine thousands of Obamas in thousands of classrooms

        Ok, that image made me lol.

        • Lulu says:

          Thousand of narcissists in class rooms blah, blah, blahing all day long except for smoke breaks. Obama teachers telling the kids how lucky they are to have such a wonderful person as him, sacrificing themselves for them, and how they could have made big bucks but they wanted to make a difference in the life of a bunch of losers like you kids. Blah-blah-blah. Do you kids want to see my slides from my vacation in Spain from last summer? Blah-blah, blah-blah.

  6. yttik says:

    I think with ten murders a day and such corrupt politics, the entire city of Chicago should stage a walk out.

  7. wmcb says:

    One of the eviiiiil Koch brothers has an excellent piece up on crony capitalism, aka rent -seeking, in the WSJ:

    Far too many businesses have been all too eager to lobby for maintaining and increasing subsidies and mandates paid by taxpayers and consumers. This growing partnership between business and government is a destructive force, undermining not just our economy and our political system, but the very foundations of our culture….

    To end cronyism we must end government’s ability to dole out favors and rig the market. Far too many well-connected businesses are feeding at the federal trough. By addressing corporate welfare as well as other forms of welfare, we would add a whole new level of understanding to the notion of entitlement reform.

    • wmcb says:

      I’ve toyed with the idea of posting almost the entire article without attribution to my facebook, waiting for my lefty friends to cheer and applaud and froth, then revealing who wrote it.

      • votermom says:

        Be sure to post Palin’s’ anti-cronyism speech too for double the exploding heads.

        • wmcb says:

          Ok, did it. Posted this part:

          The effects on government are equally distorting—and corrupting. Instead of protecting our liberty and property, government officials are determining where to send resources based on the political influence of their cronies. In the process, government gains even more power and the ranks of bureaucrats continue to swell.

          Subsidies and mandates are just two of the privileges that government can bestow on politically connected friends. Others include grants, loans, tax credits, favorable regulations, bailouts, loan guarantees, targeted tax breaks and no-bid contracts. Government can also grant monopoly status, barriers to entry and protection from foreign competition.

          Whatever form these privileges take, Americans are rightly suspicious of the cronyism that substitutes political influence for free markets. According to Rasmussen, two-thirds of the electorate are convinced that crony connections explain most government contracts—and that federal money will be wasted “if the government provides funding for a project that private investors refuse to back.” Some 71% think “private sector companies and investors are better than government officials at determining the long-term benefits and potential of new technologies.” Only 11% believe “government officials have a better eye for future value.”

          To end cronyism we must end government’s ability to dole out favors and rig the market. Far too many well-connected businesses are feeding at the federal trough. By addressing corporate welfare as well as other forms of welfare, we would add a whole new level of understanding to the notion of entitlement reform.

      • Be sure to let us know the responses!

  8. Mary says:

    OT: New WAPO/ABC poll of likely voters shows no real convention bump for Obama.

    Obama 49, Romney 48. Shows “virtually unchanged from a poll taken just before the conventions. Internals show Obama in trouble, especially with independents (R leads by 15)

    Panic averted. The CNN poll was skewed, as we all knew.

  9. myiq2xu says:

    This is supposed to be funny but it’s not:

    I’m a Mom

    • votermom says:

      Let’s attack mommyhood to bring down Ann Romney! /genius

      • But let’s exclude the self-proclaimed Mom-In-Chief — Yet another unprecedented job created by the Obamas. Who apparently as extolling a one-sided version of womanhood is not leaving out the childless females as worthless citizens. What a bunch of rubbish! What I don’t see is Ann Romney saying that she yearns to be the “Mom-In-Chief.”

  10. myiq2xu says:

  11. votermom says:

  12. HELENK says:

    chicago teachers plan to observe 9-11 by a massive march downtown while on strike

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