Mayor Lightfoot, drop the hammer on the Chicago Teachers Union

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson, right, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot attend a news conference at CPS headquarters on Jan. 26, 2021, in Chicago. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson, right, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot attend a news conference at CPS headquarters on Jan. 26, 2021, in Chicago. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)

CTU isn’t just keeping kids out of school; it’s spreading misinformation about the dangers of classroom learning

Monday will tell the tale of whether Chicago public school teachers care as much about their students as the leaders of the CTU claim.

That’s when the Chicago Public Schools has ordered 15,000 teachers to return to their classrooms to conduct in-person learning for 65,000 elementary and middle schools.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, in obvious frustration and anger in a late Friday evening press conference, announced the directive while pleading with the CTU to bargain.

Lightfoot steered away from discussing what would happen if the teachers didn’t show up on Monday. She obviously was trying to persuade rather than threaten.

But if the teachers stayed out, it would constitute an illegal strike. The union, in a laughable attempt to avoid the word “strike,” called the stay-home order “advice” or something like it. Not even the foggiest mind could deny that the action constitutes a strike.

So, what should Lightfoot do if teachers didn’t show up on Monday. Not being a lawyer, what I say next is speculation. But my advice? Those who refuse to return to their jobs should be fired.

They should be denied those munificent 3 percent wage hikes as well as other step raises won 15 months from a strike. They’re getting it now even though they refuse to report for work. How long will children, parents and the city have to endure the CTU’s exploitation of children for their own selfish ends?

The union’s threat to strike isn’t its only reprehensible action. Equally despicable is its propaganda campaign to falsely claim that in-person teaching is too dangerous. Multiple studies say it’s not just safe, but far superior to remote learning.

Where, you can ask the CTU, is the contrary scientific evidence? CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates weakly argues that assertions that schools are safe,”flies in the face of the experiences that many of us educators have.” I don’t know what experience she references; I suppose you could generously say that the “evidence” is anecdotal, at best.

Thanks to this “disinformation” campaign, too many parents kept their children home when they had a chance to return.  Only one in five of 3,000 eligible students returned to school for in-person classes the week of Jan. 11. But after a CTU resolution to stay out, in-person classes were called off; about 84 percent of those told to return to the classroom stayed away.

Worse, the students who stayed home were disproportionately black and from poor households, exactly those who are suffering the most from the lousy remote learning.

Teachers rightly receive well-deserved respect for what they contribute to the common good by preparing our children to be the best they can be. The Chicago Teachers Union are trashing that reputation; its members who stay out of school deserve to be punked for their ignorance of the science or their self-serving.

The time for persuasion is over. Clearly, the children will be better off with different teachers. Having no teachers, I dare say, is better than the absent ones they’ve got now.


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  • Leisure Suit Lori will talk tough for a while and then roll over like a neutered puppy dog - like she always does with these extortionists

  • Name calling is not a responsible comment. How did you get past the Administrator?

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