Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pardon My Honesty ... Teachers Unions, Parents and Taxpayers

Teachers unions and integrity don't go together very often.

Teachers unions and a concern for the taxpayers getting their monies' worth never go together.

That's not news.

But now comes the truly laughable part of the story --- there's even more "pubic service" involved --- now they're leading by protesting school closures. Chicago teachers, parents march to protest closings says this:

"About 100 people, including local teachers, parents and students, marched Saturday morning on the South Side in protest of the proposed closing of 54 schools.

The protest, organized by the Chicago Teachers Union, kicked off at 10 a.m. at Jesse Owens Elementary School, 12450 S. State St., and is part of a three-day march expected to last until Monday evening.

The Chicago Board of Education is expected to consider the proposal to close 53 elementary schools and one high school program at its meeting on Wednesday.

Chanting and carrying signs that said "Hands off our schools," community members marched through the neighborhood, stopping at different schools along the way.

Michael Brunson, recording secretary of CTU, and about four more parents and organizers spoke before the march about the unfairness of the Chicago Public Schools' decision.

Karen Lewis, who was re-elected as CTU president Friday, was also expected to speak at some point along the way, according to Kathy Murray, an organizer with CTU.

"The officials spent a lot of money on renovations in some of these schools," Murray said. "And now they're closing them?""

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL. They're suing, too. In the service of the public interest no doubt. Certainly not for the benefit of the teachers union itself and its dues collection efforts.

And we're supposed to believe that the Chicago teachers union wants to keep schools open that are slated for closure because they are concerned about racism. That's right. We're supposed to believe that this lawsuit isn't about keeping teachers employed and the dues of teachers unions as high as possible. They're just fighting racism.

Lawsuits say school closings unfair, discrminate against blacks provides these details about the "altruistic" motives of the teachers union in suing the city of Chicago:

"The Chicago Teachers Union's decision to go to court to try to stop the city from closing 53 elementary schools, while not unexpected, makes clear that the Board of Education's vote on the proposal next week will not put an end to the controversy.

The two lawsuits, filed on behalf of parents and their special needs children, say the proposed school closings are unfair, will harm students with disabilities and are discriminatory because almost all the students affected are African-American.

One lawsuit asks for a delay of at least a year before any schools are closed; the other asks for a permanent injunction on closings. Hearings on the suits are not expected until after the board votes Wednesday.

A CTU-backed lawsuit last year sought to block closings on behalf of local school council members, alleging that closings disproportionately affected African-Americans. That case was tossed out by a Cook County judge but is still under appeal. . . .

The lawsuits question the economic impact of school closings, which the district says are necessary to address underused buildings and save money.

"If the board and (schools chief) Barbara Byrd-Bennett and the mayor of the city of Chicago want to save costs, they ought to find another way of doing so than singling out African-American children over and over," Geoghegan (lawyer for the teachers union) said. . . .

"For the 72 schools that defendants have closed to date, African-American children make up more than 90 percent of the displaced children; and in currently proposed closings, they make up more than 80 percent of the displaced children," the suit says. "Yet African-American children constitute only 42 percent of the children in public schools."

CPS has stated that population declines in largely African-American neighborhoods has led to underenrollment in schools in those communities, leading to them being slated for closing this year. . . .

CPS, which has been expecting a lawsuit for months, did not respond to the legal arguments in the case. Instead, a statement was released from Byrd-Bennett, who said: "These lawsuits demonstrate that union leadership is committed to a status quo that is failing too many of our kids. Thousands of children in underutilized schools are being cheated out of the resources they need to succeed.""

Summing Up

The teachers union is a very big part of the problem with American education, and certainly doesn't intend to play any constructive role in helping to solve it. But that's nothing new.

Maybe in Chicago the union could propose that the teachers take a 25% to 50% pay cut and thereby enable the city to keep the schools scheduled for closure open.

Or maybe instead the teachers union could agree to have the currently unaffordable and unfunded pension promises reduced by 50% and the required contributions by teachers raised dramatically.

Or maybe the union's leadership could propose to raise the normal retirement age for teachers to 67 or higher.

I wonder how all that would fly.

No, actually I don't wonder at all. Just like I don't wonder at all about the real motivation of the Chicago teachers union in suing the city.

Do you?

Thanks. Bob.

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