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Jonah’s strike.

September 11, 2012

Jonah Edelman of Stand for Children.

I warned them.

But they didn’t listen.

Early on I said that Senate Bill 7 would lead to no good end.

Ken Swanson, then President of the IEA, and Audrey Soglin, who still to this day goes around claiming Senate Bill 7 is teacher led reform, pronounced it as a national model.

I said, “no, no, no.”

Senate Bill 7 was the work of Jonah Edelman, his corporate reform group Stand for Children, and all those who wanted to bust teacher unions.

But it was designed and targeted for states like Illinois.

These union busters knew that folks like Scott Walker in Wisconsin and their Tea Party Republican allies in the state legislatures could take care of business with a frontal assault on collective bargaining.

But Jonah and those in groups like Democrats for Education Reform needed a special union busting pill for states like Illinois and Massachusetts with Democrats in power.

Senate Bill 7 was the pill for Illinois.

And the IEA and the IFT swallowed that pill with a glass of corporate reform kool-aid.

Why are collective bargaining rights a good idea?

Because collective bargaining works.

Oh sure, sometimes you have a board of education that has their own separate agenda and it leads to a strike. That happened to us in Park Ridge back in 2003.

If both sides are willing to engage in the give-and-take that is collective bargaining, then it works.

If you take away collective bargaining rights, you inevitably create problems. There is no way to work out your differences.

So, when Senate Bill 7 created a new threshold for strike authorization and limited the right to strike to salary and benefits, it didn’t take being a genius to have predicted a strike in Chicago.

Both sides even say that they are close to an agreement on money issues. But the problem is that if the CTU leadership says okay to the salary and benefits that the board has offered then negotiations are over because the board can refuse to discuss evaluations, job assignments or class size. That’s the law.

So Jonah Edelman, the smart-ass boastful corporate school reformer, who thinks collective bargaining is the problem, created the very conditions that provoked a strike.

For a quarter of a century there hasn’t been a strike in Chicago.

Now we have Senate Bill 7 and we have a strike.

Jonah’s strike.

And really some credit has to go to Ken and Audrey too.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2012 12:23 pm

    I’m not familiar with the collective bargaining rules in Illinois so please forgive me when I ask: How is it possible that an outside group/s can dictate the total percentage of members who must vote to authorize a strike?

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      September 11, 2012 12:32 pm

      Short answer: By coming into the state and dropping $300,000 int0 9 legislative races. Which the candidates won. Then Democratic Speaker of the House Mike Madigan immediately established a House Committee on Education Reform. The Committee created an advisory panel that included Edelman’s group. And the unions. Senate Bill 7 was the result.

  2. Lill permalink
    September 11, 2012 12:35 pm

    Hi Fred,

    In the wake of all the recent teacher bashing, I wanted to tell you about a remarkable and heroic teacher who works at Normal Community High School in Normal, IL. On Friday Sept. 7, 2012, Derrick Schonauer, Illinois State University Class of 2012, was teaching his first period Health class on his twelfth day of his first year of teaching. A student suddenly pulled out a gun and began to brandish it at the class. The fourteen year old gunman began to rant that one would listen to him. He fired one shot into the classroom ceiling and ordered the students and Schonauer to line up against the wall. The student momentarily put the gun down and that’s when Derrick Schonauer tackled the student assailant and kept him down until assistance arrived. On his twelfth day of teaching, at his first ever teaching job. Twenty-two years old, maybe. I know that the professors and instructors in schools of education don’t teach prospective teachers how to handle a gunman in your classroom. This event clearly illustrates the lengths to which teachers will go to protect their students. I don’t know Derrick Schonauer, but I am honored to share the job title of teacher with him.

  3. Keith Bozarth permalink
    September 11, 2012 12:35 pm

    Ken Swanson. The same guy who bear-hugged Pat Quinn at the 2009 RA and breathlessly exclaimed, “Now here’s a real Governor!”

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      September 11, 2012 12:45 pm

      The very same.

  4. September 11, 2012 12:41 pm

    Masterful, Fred. Thank you for bringing this to light. What often strikes me as odd is people’s insistence that a band of dedicated individuals can’t strike against much more powerful and monied forces like these. Thanks, Chicago, for proving them wrong.

    • Anonymous permalink
      September 16, 2012 10:12 pm

      I just want to thank Audrey Soglin for helping to keep unions relevant in a time when education reform is inevitable. I’m sorry… Times are changing. We need someone rational, intelligent, and willing to see this issue from all sides. Audrey Soglin is an amazing, well respected resource. I’d consider apologizing. Just a thought.

      Sincerely, a public school teacher.

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