DFER Illinois’ Rebecca Nieves-Huffman. Photo: Substance.
What is the deal with telling Karen Lewis that she should step down from being head of the Chicago Teachers Union?
Not CTU members who last year voted her another term by a huge margin.
But the Wall Street hedge fund managers of Democrats for Education Reform.
I remember a few years back when the Tribune’s Eric Zorn said she should resign.
Now it is DFER-IL State Director Rebeca Nieves-Huffman.
Damn. Let us pick our own leaders.
DFER is a national group funded by the hedge fund manager wing of the Democratic Party. They are the ones who pushed Obama to appoint Arne Duncan over Linda Darling-Hammond. They are the big money behind charters, vouchers and all other sub-categories of corporate reform.
Nieves-Huffman says that since it is all but official that Karen Lewis is running against their pal Rahm Emanuel for mayor, it is a conflict of interest to run and be president of the teachers union.
“With a $40,000 contribution to her mayoral campaign, President Lewis has made it clear she is running for mayor, but she has also said that she will force negotiations over a new teachers contract this year,” DFER-IL State Director Rebeca Nieves-Huffman said in a statement. “Doing both would present nothing short of a conflict of interest. Chicagoans won’t know whether President Lewis is representing her members, her political interests, or if she’d use the negotiations merely as an extension of her campaign. If Karen Lewis truly cares about representing the interests of all Chicagoans, she should step down from her role as head of the CTU as she pursues a campaign for mayor.”
Of course, this is just Nieves-Huffman fronting a dance for the Mayor.
But let’s take the suggestion seriously for a moment.
It seems to me that it is DFER, Nieves-Huffman and the Mayor who have a conflict of interest.
Their interests conflict with democracy.
They don’t want us to decide who our leaders are.
They don’t think union elections should count.
And they don’t think we should choose our own school board.
Chicago is the only place in Illinois that doesn’t elect its school board.
In Chicago the mayor runs it.
And he has made a mess of it.
The solution to the problem of the CTU bargaining with the Mayor is the Mayor getting out of the school-running business.
It is always very weird to me that we can elect members of the Metropolitan Water District, the people who clean our water, but not members of our board of education.
But this is Chicago.
DFER and their hedge fund manager funders want to tell teachers who their president should be.
And the Mayor gets to tell us who are school board members must be.