The mayor has thrown a rock and hid his hand! When the new post-strike schedule was posted on the CPS website, CPS was bombarded with calls from angry parents about the change in the spring break schedule and the mayor had the audacity to blame it on teachers!
Don’t be fooled by the age-old divide and conquer strategy being used by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He is trying to pit parents against teachers just as he did teachers against teachers when he offered schools money to extend their day before the extended school was approved.
It’s not teachers, but the mayor and his minion Board of Education members that are forcing a hardship on the children of CPS. This week the administrative teams in more than 200 schools on the Track E schedule will have to come up with contingency plans of their own when a large number of teachers will be out due to plans made prior to the Board of Education’s decision to make up strike days in October for Track E schools.
In a vengeful act against teachers, the Board of Education forced teachers to take personal and sick days for previously planned non-refundable vacation and scheduled appointments. Track E Schools are out for three weeks in December. Why not take one of those weeks? The Board took two days in December from the Regular Track schools, two holidays and added days at the end of the year. The strike dates have already been put back into the calendar. So, why change the spring break date at all? It seems like a power play and a total disregard for the teachers, parents and students of CPS.
When you look at all that has happened since the mayor took office, it’s hard to believe that he actually believes in the CPS motto of Children First. He was determined to extend the school day without input from parents and he forged ahead with his agenda despite opposition from sixteen parent groups who joined forces in the spring and lobbied against the longer school day. Wendy Katten of Raise your Hand Coalition, a CPS parent group said in an article in Catalysis magazine that they have tried unsuccessfully to meet with the mayor about issues in CPS schools. And yet, Bruce Rauner, an out of town venture capitalist has the mayor’s ear. In an interview on Chicago Tonight following the end of the teachers’ strike, he arrogantly stated that the parents who sided with teachers during the strike were misinformed. “Parents don’t really understand what’s really going on in their schools. As long as their child feels safe and the teacher is a pleasant person, they think things are alright.”
So, the mayor who sends his children to the University of Chicago Lab School and an out of town billionaire know better than the teachers who teach the children of Chicago and the parents who send their children to school every day? Let’s not be fooled by a publicity campaign designed to hide the dismantling of public education for the people who need it the most. Rauner was right when he said that there is a war in education in Chicago, but I don’t think he’s fighting on the side served by the CPS population.