Chicago Leads Pushback Against Obama, Duncan

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Chicago's new teachers union leadership has been getting lots of news coverage -- including in NYC and Philadelphia education blogs and In These Times (here) and perhaps its biggest mention a Newsweek blog entry here (Teachers Union Anger Mounts for an Administration It Helped to Elect).  Most of the out of town attention has focused on the upset of Marilyn Stewart and trying to make the connection between the energetic opposition of Karen Lewis and the pushback against Arne Duncan and Barack Obama's education agenda from the left.  I'm not sure the two events are as connected as folks would like to make them, but they do fit together nicely.  


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  • Unions are tired of teacher bashing and that is just what politicians are doing. They are feeding on the general public's teacher bashing and making education policies that are flawed. If they brought in educators who have worked in a classroom, they wouldn't have this fight on their hands.

    Not to speak of getting rid of public education and creating all charter schools that get public money but don't have to follow the state guidelines.

  • Alexander is correct that there is little connection between the election of a reform team to head the Union and pushback against national politics.

    Teachers and support staff made the decision to replace the incumbent administration because they were unhappy with the direction things were going, and they thought the Stewart team was a bit too friendly with Management.

    Teachers are unhappy with No Child Left Behind, but they blame Bush for it. (The act passed both houses by huge majorities; with Ted Kennedy's support, it sailed through the Senate 91-8.) Despite the fact that Obama said he was going to do exactly what he has done regarding education when he was campaigning for office, most teachers still support him. If anyone gets the blame, it is Arne Duncan, but there is still a sizeable minority of the Chicago teaching force that support him, too.

  • I am not sure if this fits here, but I thought it was quite interesting regarding education reform:

  • Because teachers are mandated to continue their education. They must show evidence of this when renewing their teaching certificate. Continuing education includes workshops and PD that should be made available by the school district or other educational authorities.
    If the school district wants their teachers to be trained on the latest 'theory' or policy the district has adopted, then they need to offer PD. The quality and subject matter of the PD should indeed be evaluated. What is offered or required makes or breaks education in that district.

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