Chicago Teachers Union On Strike For First Time in 25 Years
By Susie Madrak, Crooks & Liars
September 10, 2012 06:00 AM
All of a sudden, teachers are the enemy of the state. All of a sudden, our public schools are worthless and need to be overhauled by CEOs and people who have never taught a day in their lives (except the shock troops of Teach for America, which is to teaching what McDonald’s is to food). But many, many so-called liberals have been sucked into this argument, enabling what is little more than an elite union-busting, money-making operation.
There are a lot of straw men set up in this argument, and desperate parents will grab at any of them if they think it will help their kids. But study after study finds the same thing: For-profit charter schools do not perform better, and in many instances, they perform worse. Yes, well, adding a profit motive to something will do that.
So when the media tries to paint this teacher strike as greedy unions vs. "reform," don’t buy what they’re selling. Read this or this or this instead.
Oh, and Rahm? Good luck counting on the teachers unions to get out the vote this year.
How Michelle Rhee Is Taking Over the Democratic Party
By Molly Ball, The Atlantic
Sep 8 2012, 12:31 PM ET
Yet there are signs that Rhee’s persona non grata status in her party is beginning to wane -- starting with the fact that the chairman of the Democratic convention, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, spoke at the movie screening Rhee hosted at the convention earlier this week. Another Democratic star, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, spoke at the cocktails-and-canapes reception afterward. Across the country, Democratic officials from governors like Colorado’s John Hickenlooper to former President Clinton -- buoyed by the well-funded encouragement of the hedge-fund bigwigs behind much of the charter-school movement -- are shifting the party’s consensus away from the union-dictated terms to which it has long been loyal. Instead, they’re moving the party toward a full-fledged embrace of the twin pillars of the reform movement: performance-based incentives for teachers, and increased options, including charter schools, for parents.
The inroads made by the education reformers go all the way to the top -- to President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the “Race to the Top” initiative that required states to make reforms to get federal education funds -- and they amount to a major shift for the Democratic Party on one of its signature issues. “These are some of the most high-profile Democrats out there,” Rhee says, also mentioning Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel, Philadelphia’s Michael Nutter, and her husband, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. “They are taking on the unions. They are fighting for what they believe in. It definitely signals a new day.”