23 May 2013 Project 21’s Green on Chicago School Closures: Won’t Someone Think of the Children?
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel just moved to close 49 government-run schools. This will lead to thousands of city kids – mostly poor and minority students – being forced to relocate to new classrooms as early as this fall.
The Chicago Board of Education – an entity that is tightly-controlled by the Emanuel Administration – voted unanimously for the closures.
It was inevitable. It was a foregone conclusion not just because of the make-up of the Board, but because Chicago’s economic problems are forcing the city to make tough downsizing decisions.
All of this comes, on the heels of Chicago’s teachers receiving a 17.6 percent raise in pay as the result of a contentious strike last fall. And, to virtually no one’s surprise, the Chicago Teachers Union is a big critic of the coming contraction.
Derryck Green, a member of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network, is also critical of the Chicago school closings. But Derryck is mad for a completely different reason than Big Labor. Derryck sees the unions as a catalyst that caused the closures and not a victim of the crisis. He doesn’t think organized labor should be surprised and aghast about what their activities have likely wrought.
Chicago’s Board of Education decided to close 49 public schools due to “declining enrollment” as well as for failing to meet a certain level of academic success. The closures were also enacted to close the city’s $1 billion dollar deficit.
This school closure is the largest by one district in the nation. Chicago has the nation’s third-largest school district.
Keep in mind that Chicago is also the same city that, several months ago, gave a considerable raise to the city’s teachers after a strike by and tense contract negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union. The city’s teachers – who made on average $76,000 per year going into the strike – received a 17.6 percent pay increase spread over the next four years. This doesn’t include other salary increases and benefits such as cost-of-living wage increases.
As a result of the negotiations, the teachers were additionally able to overcome merit-pay accountability, a lack of increased teacher evaluation and safeguarded a recall policy for those teachers who were laid off – prior to now, at least – due to school closures.
The renegotiated contract between the CTU and the city is expected to cost Chicago an additional $74 million per year, contributing mightily to the city’s billion-dollar deficit.
It must be nice getting paid with no accountability related to job performance.
So Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, negotiated with the CTU for an increase in teacher pay and benefits knowing the city was deeply in debt. This would be laughable if it didn’t affect so many disadvantaged children. So would the fact that the CTU marched in protest of the school closures – as if their renegotiated and inflated contract had no impact on the decision.
By the way, the only reason this despicable union likely marched in protest of the upcoming school closings isn’t because of the many poor children affected. The CTU is likely marching because the teachers they represent lost their jobs – nothing more, nothing less.
Teachers unions are called that for a very explicit reason – they represent teachers, not students.
It’s disgusting that these leeches would use the very children affected by the school closures as political shields to deflect their complicity in this fiasco.
If that weren’t enough, Mayor Emanuel has plans to contribute over $30 million of taxpayer money to help finance a new stadium for DePaul University.
I always thought liberals cared about the poor, blacks and education in general. In this case, there was a perfect storm in which liberals had to choose between themselves and their interests, the poor, the children and an opportunity to collect more tax revenue.
Unfortunately, these same poor and disenfranchised folks – black and otherwise – who will be hurt the most by all of this will probably continue to support the same charlatans again and again.
Again, it would laughable if this pathetic situation weren’t hurting the children.