Educator and EdWeek blogger Anthony Cody writes about Rahm’s billionaire buddy Bruce Rauner’s attempt to split teachers from their unions.
Cody quotes Rauner,
The critical issue is to separate the union from the teachers. They’re not the same thing. … The union basically is a bunch of politicians elected to do certain things–get more pay, get more benefits, less work hours, more job security. That’s what they’re paid to do. They’re not about the students. They’re not about results. They’re not about the taxpayers.
I won’t even bring up my years as local union president – unpaid, no release time and the hours of time I and hundreds of other local union leaders around the country give to their colleagues, students and profession.
CTU President Karen Lewis makes the point,
…we purposely tried to change the culture of union so that the union is about education, is about empowering teachers and paraprofessionals and clinicians. And as a result, the union officers took pay cuts, significant pay cuts, so that we can have an organizing department, so that we can have a research department, so that we didn’t do the union the way the old union was done, because those days are over, because then people like Bruce Rauner can separate the union from the teachers. And this is where they’re wrong. They’re absolutely wrong, and they acted that way the entire time, because they didn’t understand what we were really doing, which was organizing our members, not about the whole–yes, we have to negotiate for whatever, but that’s not our main focus.
Exactly. It gives Rauner no credibility to say that not all union leaders are created equal.
Lewis and the fresh leadership that were generated out of the CTU CORE caucus and which won rank-and-file member confidence is rare at state and national levels.
While both the CTU leadership and the state and national leaders claim they want to be leaders in improving schools and that they are not just concerned with wages and benefits, their visions of what counts as better are entirely different.
Frequently the state and national leaders sound no different than those running the Department of Education in Washington.
CTU leaders stand in opposition.