As a kid growing up in Chicago in the late 1970s to mid 1980s, a teachers strike was nothing out of the ordinary. The unions were either on strike or threatening to go on strike for what seemed like every other year.
And while you and your friends loved getting a few days off from school until you realize you have to make up the days at the end of the year. But being shortsighted is what kids do and the Chicago teachers unions are acting like children.
Contrary to some reports this strike is not about classroom sizes or air conditioning. This strike is about school reform and accountability. The core issue of this strike is that the unions don’t want to use test scores and teacher performance to evaluate how well teachers are doing in the classroom.
Another issue is whether laid off teachers should get first crack at new positions. Several Chicago schools are slated to close due to under performance and the unions want those teachers to be able to go somewhere else. They should go somewhere else, into another profession because obviously teaching isn’t working for them.
The entire nationwide school reform movement should very closely be watching what’s happening in Chicago. Whether the issue is is accountability, mayoral control or just the future of collective bargaining, what happens in the Windy City will definitely not stay in the Windy City.
I am all for teachers, but this entire situation demonstrates why I have a problem with teachers unions.