Chicago Teachers’ Strike: It’s about teacher accountability, not the students

Chicago Teachers’ Strike: It’s about teacher accountability, not the students

Driving to work Monday morning, I found myself a little pissed off at the teachers picketing on the streets, rather than teaching in the classroom.

I actually felt guilty about this teachers’ strike causing me to see red. I felt like Sean Hannity locked in a small room listening to a "Best of Barack Obama" CD on repeat.

But I just don’t get the teachers’ position. It is no longer about money, it is about accountability. Monday afternoon, while driving to a meeting, I heard a union representative on Roe & Roeper’s show on 890 WLS-AM argue that teachers shouldn’t be subject to a principal. What if the principal had a vendetta against a particular teacher and wanted to fire him?

Welcome to the real world.

Isn’t that how work, works? You have a boss and if she hates you, your job is on the line. I think the general rule is do your job and don’t give your boss a reason to hate you. The Chicago Teachers’ Union is on strike because they don’t want to be accountable to a boss.

That’s why your kids aren’t in school, Chicago.

Here’s what the Chicago Tribune’s Editorial page said about the situation:

Let's be clear: This strike is not only — or even mostly — about money. It is about who controls schools and classrooms, and about the future of vital school reforms:

•Principals must have the ultimate authority to hire the best applicants for school openings. The union cannot be allowed to dictate that only its members may be considered for teaching jobs.

•Teacher evaluations need to be strongly tied to student academic growth, not so diluted that virtually all CPS teachers will pass muster, as they do now, whether they are effective or not.

CPS officials tell us City Hall and the district won't cave on those two key issues. They cannot. A strike may last two days or two weeks or two months. But what happens in these contract talks is about Chicago's future.

The focus is no longer money– or at least it better not be. The 16% in salary increase over the next four years is so much that the Chicago Public Schools has to find $320 million to pay for it. I don’t know how CPS can offer any more money it doesn’t have.

Here’s what I’d like to talk about: Let’s talk abut the dropout rate. Why do 40% of CPS students not graduate high school? Shouldn’t we focus on that?

Let’s talk about teacher evaluation and accountability. CTU: How can principals fire ineffective teachers? If this is about the students, then we have to implement a metric for finding ineffective teachers and a manner in which those teachers may be fired.

As a Chicago taxpayer, I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated by the same conversation I have with dozens of Chicago parents I have had over the last three years: "When are you moving to the suburbs?" Many Chicago parents flee to the suburbs to better educate their children. The three families I can count who have either not moved or don’t plan on moving have either decided to limit the number of children they will raise in Chicago so they can afford private school or have signed up for the frustrating free-for-all that is the CPS application process. My family had a small taste of it earlier this year when we applied for preschool. PRESCHOOL!

Why can’t Chicago kids put on a backpack and walk to a neighborhood school and be assured of a quality education? Let’s talk about that.

If the teachers want to address that question during a strike– I’d fully be in support. But instead the strike is about teacher evaluations and accountability.

That’s why Chicago kids are missing school. That’s not about the students. That’s about the teachers.

Filed under: Chicago Politics

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