The SOS Washington March and the issue of collective bargaining.

It was back in late winter when I first heard about the SOS March and National Call to Action.

I was impressed by their list of Guiding Principles and their list of education activists who are endorsing it.

But I first read about the March and Call to Action at the same time I was driving Saturdays up to Madison, Wisconsin where tens of thousands of teachers and other public service workers were in a pitched battle to save their collective bargaining rights.

And there was nothing in the Guiding Principles of the Call about protecting teacher unions or collective bargaining rights.

I wrote and asked.

I received an answer about how the Guiding Principles had been formulated before Wisconsin.


The good news is that now a really strong statement of support for collective bargaining appears on their site. I couldn’t have written a better one.

It comes too late for me to take it to my Local. Our last Governing Board meeting was a week ago and we have just a few weeks left before the end of school for the summer.

Too bad.

But you don’t need Park Ridge local union endorsement to go to Washington at the end of July. Hopefully you will be joining lots of other teachers who are making the trip.

Ravitch is still at it.

I don’t get the love affair some progressives have with Diane Ravitch.

She’s a member in good standing of reactionary think tanks like Hoover and Fordham. And while she’s taken a few jabs at Bloomberg/Klein and the evils and testing mania, her heart is essentially a conservative heart and her head essentially is a conservative head.

In her recent point/counter point on Bridging Differences she continues her attack on Obama. While it’s easy to be critical of the USDE pro-merit pay agenda and the failure to distinguish among kinds and numbers of charter schools, to declare it a continuation of Spelling, Paige and Bush defies serious credibility, particularly given Ravitch’s history.

“The left just wants money” is how progressives get defined by her, giving away her bias.

“Tests are excellent,” is how she describes Obama’s educational philosophy, giving away any attempt at nuance and serious criticism.

Her critique of lifting the cap on charters is foolish given the situation in states like Illinois where there are even enough charters to meet the cap limit now.

That there are debates within the USDE over how to proceed is undeniable. But it seems clear that the Ravitch agenda isn’t to push progressive proposals within the debate. The Ravitch agenda? Ask the good ol’ boys at Hoover and Fordham.

Alderman O’Connor gets shut out. Split in the Machine.

I have been reporting on Alderman Patrick O’Connor’s attempt to win the Machine’s endorsement to replace former Congressman Rahm Emanuel in the Illinois 5th Congressional District.

I mistakenly reported that the Machine had already selected him as their candidate. Not so fast.

O’Connor, the longtime northside Alderman has a record that would suggest he is in the tradition of 5th CD congressmen like Emanuel, Blagojevich, Rostenkowski, and Lipinski.

O’Connor will always be remembered by progressives for the role he played in joining the Vrydolyak 29 to destroy the reform administration of the late Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor.

But something happened this weekend to upset O’Connor’s plans.

The two-tiered dias at which 19 Democratic ward and township committeemen sat Saturday at the Zam Zam Banquet Hall on the Northwest Side looked like a wedding head table. There was elegant white bunting and mirrored walls, and canopied tables with coffee and cookies and doughnuts sat off to the side.

But none of the five would-be grooms could quite muster the 50 percent-plus-1 of the weighted vote to be officially joined to the Democratic Party of Cook County as slated candidate to replace U. S. Cong. Rahm Emanuel.

So it’s every man or woman for himself or herself for the next 50 days, in this abbreviated primary election likely to determine who will represent Emanuel’s district in Congress. (Sun-Times)

The inability of the Machine to unite around a single candidate may help the independent campaign of labor lawyer Tom Geoghagen for the northside seat.

Tom Geohegan.

Tom Geohegan.
Tom Geohegan.

I don’t live in the 5th Congressional District of Illinois. I don’t work in it either. But I spend a good part of my life there. To get from my home in Logan Square to my school in Park Ridge, almost the entire commute is through the 5th Congressional District. 90 minutes a day.

The district starts on the Gold Coast of Chicago, wanders through the wealthy neighborhoods of Lincoln Park and North Center and Lakeview (including Wrigley Field). It then turns stone working class. It contains the city neighborhoods of Uptown, St. Ben’s, Old Irving Park, Cragin and Portage Park and the working class suburbs of Melrose Park, Franklin Park, Schiller Park and Elmwood Park.

Yesterday I wrote about who will be the slated candidate of the Machine: Patrick O’Connor. Known as the “family man” for the number of relatives he’s put on the city payroll, O’Connor was part of the racist bloc known as the Vrydolyak 29 that tried to destroy the reform administration of the city’s first black mayor, Harold Washington.

He’s also chairs the City Council’s education committee, but more on that another time.

There will be more than a dozen candidates on the ballot for the special election to replace Rahm Emanuel as Congressman of the 5th CD.

One candidate who has gotten attention is the progressive, agressively pro-labor, pro-union and majorly underfunded, underdog, Tom Geoghegan. The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg claims Geohegan is Chicago’s chance to redeem itself.

I don’t think Chicago needs redemption, thank you very much.

But if commuters through the 5th CD could vote, Geohegan would get mine.