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Their Fight Is Our Fight, Crucial for Entire Union Movement
The Chicago Teachers Union is taking a crucial stand against the so-called “ed reformers” who want to destroy public education and teachers unions. The strike by 25,000 Chicago teachers has galvanized education unionists who have been under assault across the country – we know they are fighting for all of us. UFT president Michael Mulgrew rightly told the AFT convention: “You come after one of us, you deal with all of us.” Let’s make it real.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (right)
The stakes are high. The CTU is up against the Big Three triumvirate of privatizers and union-busters: President Barack Obama, who supported the mass firings of teachers in Central Falls, Rhode Island, and whose Race to the Top seeks to charterize public education; Education Secretary Arne Duncan, former schools chief in Chicago; and Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff whose first act as Mayor of Chicago was to declare war on the teachers union. It was in Chicago that they concocted their program; it is in Chicago where the line has now been drawn in the sand.
Emanuel angered teachers last year when he appointed Jean-Claude Brizard as Chicago Public Schools chief. Brizard is a graduate of the Eli Broad Foundation’s Superintendents Academy – the notorious anti-teacher outfit that pushes merit pay, corporate management and charter-schools – key points in the Obama education plan. Brizard used to work for Bloomberg as a superintendent in the NYC DOE and then went on to become head of the Rochester NY public schools. He was available for the Chicago job after the teachers union in Rochester took a 94.6 percent vote of no confidence in him.
Chicago teachers are striking over the crucial issues in public education today: Class size; new teacher evals which will victimize teachers for student performance based on insane standardized tests; racist school closings, with charters being opened in their place, then the firing of teachers whose classrooms are closed down; pay based on “merit,” and an end to seniority rights; so-called “data- driven education” (read doctored stats), and an agenda that seeks the privatization of education through charter schools and computer programs to “teach” classes online.
Wear red on Wednesday? Send checks to the CTU? We need to do a whole lot more. We need to put the full power of our education unions into the fight. We have more than 80,000 teachers in NYC teaching one million kids. We need everyone brought out to a massive demonstration of the UFT as well as the CUNY union, the Professional Staff Congress, and bringing in other public employee unions such as the TWU.
Mobilize the numbers and the power of labor in real solidarity with Chicago teachers!
From New York to Chicago to L.A.: defeat the privatizers and union-busters!