Ben Joravsky in the Chicago Reader:
Back in the fun-filled early days of the teachers’ strike—before Mayor Emanuel brought in his lawyers and everyone decided to go back to school—it was still possible to get a laugh or two out of the comments of some of our local politicians. Like First Ward alderman Joe Moreno, who on September 10 went on Fox News to discuss public education—god help us all.
After attempting to out-Fox the anchor, who was bellowing about blowing up the whole system (presumably after removing children from the buildings), Moreno remembered his talking points and launched into the mayor’s spiel. As in: It’s not the teachers we hate—we love teachers. It’s that dastardly teachers’ union.
“I support the teachers, but the union has made severe mistakes,” Moreno said. “They are a conservative union stuck way back in the 60s and 70s.”
You know—way back in that era when aldermen did exactly what the mayor told them.
Well, in the aftermath of Sunday’s union meeting and Tuesday’s decision to end the strike, I think it’s time to give everyone—starting with Alderman Moreno—a little lesson about the politics of the Chicago Teachers Union.
For starters, the union isn’t some alien creature that’s brainwashed the poor unsuspecting teachers of Chicago and forced them to go on strike. No way. For better or worse, the teachers are the union—hence its name. And it was the teachers of Chicago—the same teachers Moreno and the mayor say they love—who overwhelmingly voted to go on strike.
In other words, if you don’t like the teachers’ union, you don’t like the teachers.
Personally, I can think of a few I’ll never be wild about, like a certain seventh-grade math teacher who gave me a C.