In the past week, Chicagoans have been treated to Rahm's faux "all that matters is the kids" public service announcement on TV.
No one wants to see this.
The Not-For-Profit that funded this media barrage is creating this parallel universe, because their leadership fired the first volley in the CTU-CPS war by crowing that they had finagled legislation that would make a strike impossible. Note to elitists, dabbling in education: Don't underestimate the cohesion of unionized professionals with a common goal. Provide support and incentives for reform instead of trying to deflate teachers'power.
I presume that the ultimate goal was not to put teachers on the muscle; they are committed to improve education in Chicago. But they screwed up, and kids suffered. You would think that they would have learned that what is unsaid can be more powerful than crowing.
No. Now they are funding a smarmy Rahmcast, ostensibly for him to express that it is "Mission Accomplished" for the kids. We know he is really twisting the knife into the CTU's ribs. He/they just wanted to have the last word.
The Teachers' Union is aggravated by this noise, calling it saber rattling. They would be seen as irresponsible if they spent dues on TV time. But they could not let this go unanswered.
So they went Grass Roots.
They recorded a radio commercial in response, with a calm, modulated and oh-so-sincere Karen Lewis thanking the public for standing with the CTU. It has been in heavy rotation on News/Talk stations. Steve filled in for Richard Roeper today, and I could not escape it. I found myself talking back to her.
Spare us, both of you.
The money being spent could fund a playground, class sets of books, musical enrichment, staffing - so many things.
It's over. Let's just call it a draw. That is the goal of such negotiations: both sides suffer, both sides have success. Then they move on.
We hope kids will be well served by the longer day and a return to recess and the arts. We hope the teachers will realize that they are a powerful force for change, and direct this energy to the classrooms.
Mostly, we hope that the focus shifts from the "war" with its perceptions of success and failure. It's time to look forward to the challenges, not back at the skirmish.
We've had enough- of both sides. Stop hiding behind kids. Stop politicizing education. Hush. Move on.