Opinion | Chicago’s teachers have valid complaints not to be exploited
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 23:09
Andrew Geisler, in his piece “Chicago public school system...” makes a number of errors in analyzing the strike.
He assumes that the strike is about a raise. Sure, teachers who are paid more feel valued. On the other hand, teachers feel less valued when they are faced with cuts to their curricula (what they actually teach) because of 10 extra days of standardized testing and when they are faced with 100 CPS-wide school closures in favor of half-privately funded charter schools.
Now, before anyone says, “But charter schools are meant to reform the school system. It will be better for the students,” keep these next few items in mind. Charter schools can throw students out for not performing well enough on standardized tests. Those students get funneled back into neighborhood schools that have had their own funding depleted by the charter school.
Charter schools don’t have to admit students with disabilities. They don’t have to have smaller class sizes. They don’t have to do anything because they function like a business, interested in only the bottom line (high standardized test scores).
To me, that doesn’t sound like this system values the teachers OR the students. Geisler’s second crucial error is suggesting that a millionaire running for president has an obligation to exploit a crisis that was largely started by corrupt city government funneling money away from the school system and into the hands of corporations owning major real estate in Chicago’s Loop.
The policies of handing out tax breaks left and right to companies that would somehow “give back” to the community is the Republican platform.
It’s the Democratic platform, too. And Geisler’s statistics outlining the failure in the schools themselves only prove that this method does not work, particularly when it comes to education.
So, by all means, continue privatizing and defunding education, or handing out tax dollars to corporations who see them as the perks of simply existing, and then we’ll see how well the “poor (the people who have no choice but to go to public school?) can gain the tools to rise up.”
What century do you live in that lets you continue believing in this American dream?