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.

4 Replies to “Frenzy.”

  1. I guess he has been gone a long time,but since he presumes to be an expert on the situation in Chicago let me burst his bubble.
    If it was a phony vote Rahm has nothing to fear, so why bring it up?
    If he really thinks veiled threats of charter schools opening their doors to the mass
    of nu-washed public school students would end a strike he is truly nuts.
    It would be nice if the Board had paid the 7% pension pickup but alas for over a decade it did not.
    I wonder if in his seven years in Washington he ever met Barbara Byrd Bennett?

  2. Pete Cunningham is a horrible listener for the most part and is very hardheaded and opinionated. All of this is being driven by a very large ego. Ever have a conversation with him? He pushes very hard. You sort of stand there wondering if anything you say is being considered – fairly. It doesn’t surprise me that he wrote any of this. It’s what he THINKS. Ever have a conversation with Arne Duncan?? Same shit. Arne’s much worse..sort of a jag. I wouldn’t call Pete a jag..he’s basically a decent chap but can be confounding in his steamroller attitude..They’re cut from the same cloth in many ways. There is a definite ‘blowhard – know it all – don’t care what you think you know or how you FEEL’ component in both of these dudes.

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