I had the opportunity to be on WGN TV's Politics Tonight show this evening and the host asked me, "at what point will your opinion of the strike change?" Look, a lot of us came out swinging for the teachers. I taught my kids to make the solidarity fist at the picket line and a bakery down the street made "CTU Strike cupcakes". We are in this. We parents and community members are behind our teachers and want them treated fairly. Besides, I love a good protest. If this were France, they couldn't take away our paper towels in the restrooms without a demonstration. Power to the people! Che Guevara!!! We need more of that in this country.
But. One day of pretending it's still summer vacation has turned into three. This strike may turn into a week. Or three weeks. And in the famous words of 1994 MTV producers, people are going to stop being polite and start getting real. You made your point, teachers. We need you. You should be paid a fair wage and not have to teach a stadium full of kids with nothing but a Sharpie and Post-It. But this is getting old. The budget issues have been settled and Illinois law prevents you from negotiating class size. Now it's down to the teacher evaluation system. Isn't there a way to, just, I don't know . . . get over it? Make it work? Not let this be such a sticking point that kids are literally running in the street getting stupid?
Never mind me and my three-year-old in CPS preschool. We can color just fine at home and, full disclosure, we're getting the buck out of dodge and moving to the suburbs in a few weeks anyway. This isn't about me. For a town to work we need to think about what's good for everyone. What about the athletes in their senior year who will be robbed of game time in which to be seen by recruiters? What about juniors whose test prep time is getting shaved and younger kids remaining idle and becoming unsupervised as working parents exhaust the charity of their bosses?
Life must return to normal. Find a compromise, guys. No, it's not cool that the extenuating circumstances of certain students are not taken into account with standardized testing and your merits are judged on those numbers. You know what else isn't fair? Typhoons. Cancer. Traffic jams. Burnt french fries. Being short. Sometimes there is going to be stuff you don't like about your job. Some things are going to be unfair. And Rahm? (If I may call you that, which I may not) what if you put the most at-risk younger kids in a special study group with older kids who can read the tests to them. The older kids can earn the credit as a "child development" class. And if a kid misses more than X days of school, their scores don't count against the teacher. Mrs. H can't pull every kid out of bed in the morning. See? Creative solutions. They are out there. We don't have to be out of school.
The consequences in the community are beginning to eclipse the sticking points of the strike. End it.
I will now go back to my cupcake eating.