Make every candidate who wants union money recite the words to Solidarity Forever.
Greg Hinz who writes a blog for the business publication Crain’s has his shorts in a ball over what he claims is the new Chicago Teachers Union candidate evaluation form.
Cheeky, boldly assertive and even arrogant, the form, will substitute for the usual candidate questionnaire asking for positions on issues. It demands that wannabe public officials recite the CTU’s policies and goals—supposedly to insure that contenders know what the union wants.
For example, in a section asking about legislation and issues, the union suggests as a sample answer that a candidate write in part: “The CTU mission is to ensure that educators and students in the Chicago Public Schools have fully resourced school communities. The CTU has demonstrated their commitment to the entire community by supporting issues like a living wage…I have a firm commitment to working people. In my practice, I have represented union members in arbitration proceedings. I have upheld the rights of workers because it is essential for our society to succeed. Labor has played a very important function of advancing the rights and earning power of women and people of color.”
Yes, the union really suggests—in writing—that a candidate thus reply.
Union officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Overall, CTU asks that those seeking its endorsement answer three general questions, with as many as five sub-questions each, about them and their campaign. On each—much like a a standardized test—the candidates will be ranked: unsatisfactory, basic, proficient or distinguished.
For example, in question 2e, dealing with cuts to public services, an “unsatisfactory” candidate would be one who has supported cuts in services such as health clinics, Medicaid, police protection and schools. A “proficient” candidate would have “consistently opposed cuts” via “pubic pronouncements and legislative initiatives.” To be rated “distinguished,” that contender would have to have “proposed reinstatement of prior cuts.”
Another example: campaign communications. The “unsatisfactory” candidate has “no strategy for communications,” but does have an “uncomfortable” public speaking style. But a “distinguished” one would speak “in multiple formats” in ways that are “easy to comprehend.” And the candidate should be such a good speaker that his or her future constituents will be “excited about the candidate.”
In other words, no dees, dose and dems, alder-people.
To those who think this all sounds a bit bureaucratic and onerous, the union pretty much says: tough.
In the form, it notes that, over its opposition, the state in 2010 adopted new teachers evaluation standards that have “four domains with 19 separate components,” with teachers being rated unsatisfactory to distinguished.
“We believe those who develop, pass and enforce laws should be held to the same standards as our members,” the evaluation form says. “To that end, the Chicago Teachers Union will assess candidates for elective office using this rubric based on the one used to evaluate teachers.”
This almost caused me to do a spit-take with my coffee this morning.
Whoever came up with this at the CTU: God bless ’em.
If you missed it, this completely mirrors what politicians in this and other states have foisted upon teachers.
Apparently Hinz misses this point. It’s arrogant for the union to demand of legislative leaders what they demand of teachers.
It’s not “bureaucratic and onerous,” Greg. It is pointedly sharp and necessary.
Hinz sarcastically suggests that the union make the candidates recite the words to Solidarity Forever.
Hell. My main criticism is that the CTU didn’t think of that first.