Peter Cunningham came home to Chicago after working for six years in Arne Duncan’s Department of Education. He started something called Education Post.
It’s time for a different conversation about public education and what our children need — an honest and civil conversation of many voices, united by a common belief in the power of education to transform lives.
Honest and civil wouldn’t be the words that come to mind reading Cunningham’s op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday.
He says CTU members didn’t really vote to strike the other day, even though 97% of them voted to support the negotiating team in rejecting the board of education’s current bargaining position.
He called the vote a “phony.”
Cunningham says teachers were “whipped into a frenzy of anger and mistrust” by President Karen Lewis and CTU leaders.
I need help following Cunningham’s argument. Lewis whipped the teachers into a frenzy in order for them not to vote for a strike?
Then he brings out the tired old blather that teachers should share the pain. As if teachers haven’t given enough while the millionaires of this city have robbed the city blind – with the Mayor’s blessing.
Cunningham wants teachers to accept Forrest Claypool and the Mayor’s 7% pay cut,
Teachers are also among the very city taxpayers being hit by the Mayor’s property tax hike.
The pension liability is not the result of the 7% pension cost pick-up by the board. It is the result of the failure of the city to pay, over many years, what it owes into the various city pension funds.
Boards of education picking up pension costs in lieu of salary is not uncommon in the state. It is the result of collective bargaining in which both sides find mutual benefit to the arrangement.
Cunningham warns the CTU how bad the optics will be if there is a strike. He says it will look bad for the union to have teachers walking the picket line while charter schools are crammed with kids.
Only charter schools aren’t crammed with kids.
Raise Your Hand has found over 13,000 empty seats in Chicago charter schools this year.
That is a thousand more empty seats than last year.
It ain’t optics most of us are worried about.
The Mayor and Forrest Claypool have threatened to fire 5,000 teachers by December.
Cunningham, in a frenzy, wants teachers to give even more.