If the pundits, the Sun-Times and Trib editorial boards and the Mayor were hoping the parents and voters of Chicago had deserted their teachers, this mornings Chicago Trib poll should put that bogus hope to rest.
We citizens of Chicago side with the teachers in the current fight by a margin of three to one.
Three times as many Chicagoans side with the teachers union as with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on how to improve public schools at a time when the two sides remain locked in contentious contract negotiations, a Chicago Tribune poll has found.
The survey also found that Emanuel’s approval rating on education has fallen to a record low as the mayor and Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool are slashing budgets and cutting jobs in the face of the latest massive budget shortfall. Voters’ displeasure with the mayor’s handling of education tracks with the similarly low marks they gave Emanuel on his overall job performance and handling of crime.
As CPS has faced surging pension costs and a plummeting credit rating — the district borrowed $725 million Wednesday at an extraordinarily high interest rate to stay afloat this year — Emanuel has sought budget relief from the state. Those efforts, however, have been caught up in the Springfield stalemate. And now Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling for a state takeover of CPS and suggesting the district file for bankruptcy.
Amid all that, Emanuel offered a new contract that would have provided teachers with modest raises while requiring them to pay more toward their health care and pensions. A union bargaining team unanimously rejected it.
The poll found that 60 percent of Chicagoans said they side with the Chicago Teachers Union over improving schools while 20 percent backed Emanuel. Another 12 percent sided with neither, while 7 percent had no opinion.
Yep. Chicago is a union town.
See you today at 4:30. 135 South La Salle. Wear red.