September 19, 2011

MIGHT HAVE BEEN NICE IF HE'D RUN CHICAGO BEFORE HE TRIED RUNNING THE WHITE HOUSE:

Chicago's Mayor Challenges Teachers Union (MONICA DAVEY, 9/17/11, NY Times)

"It's a nightmare," said Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, who added that Mr. Emanuel lived up to his reputation for foul language in a recent meeting in his stately office at City Hall. "You expect this stuff out of Republicans." [...]

Some union leaders here had other worries about Mr. Emanuel's true goals to begin with; even before he took office, he supported a bill in the Legislature that would make it easier to get rid of poor teachers and harder for teachers to strike. It would also give him more leeway in extending the school day.

Why, union leaders asked, was Mr. Emanuel so insistent on pushing this through immediately when school officials have the power to impose a longer day next year when the current contract runs out? (Why wait, Mr. Emanuel's aides counter.)

And how, union leaders demanded, was Mr. Emanuel and his education team able to afford to offer these bonuses to "Pioneer" schools when the school board has rescinded some pay raises expected by teachers, citing a $712 million budget gap? (The cost of the pay raises would have been $80 million, Mr. Emanuel's aides say, while the price of teacher bonuses, even if every elementary school in the city were to agree to lengthen the school day immediately, would total only $30 million.)

On the city's North Side, outside the Disney II Magnet Elementary School, which announced on Tuesday that it was the seventh school to choose a longer school day, parents said they were pleased with what this would mean for their children, even if they were not thrilled with the growing war between City Hall and the teachers' union.

In recent days, Mr. Emanuel has shown his trademark impatience with all the public discussion over whether or not he cursed during his last meeting with Ms. Lewis (the meeting ended with a hug, he has noted), whether his move is an attack on unions and what to make of the daily announcements by schools, one by one, that they have agreed to a longer day even as the union seethes.

"This is all an attempt to distract from the core subject," Mr. Emanuel said of issues that he deemed questions of process, not substance. "This is not about tactics. This is about kids going from last place on education time."

He added: "This is what I said I was going to do, and I'm doing it. I'm actually executing exactly what I said I was going to do on the campaign, which is what people voted for. I didn't do a bait-and-switch."


Posted by at September 19, 2011 3:28 PM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« EPISODE ONE IS POSTED AT THE BOX: | Main | NO ONE HAS IT HARDER THAN THEIR FATHER DID: »