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Ryan Hearts Rahm’s Heartlessness Toward Chicago Teachers

Of course he does.

Ryan AND Emanuel AND Obama AND Romney call it -- the nation-wide assault on teachers’ job security -- “reform.”

Of course they do.

Isn’t corporate-political-exploitation-bipartisanship crony-cozy?

Joseph Kishore of wsws writes:

The unanimity of the political establishment behind the implementation of such education “reforms” was highlighted by the intervention Monday of the Republican Party presidential campaign in support of Emanuel, a Democrat and former White House chief of staff for President Obama. Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan explicitly declared his support for Emanuel’s hard-line stand against the teachers and insisted that “education reform is a bipartisan issue.”

We know how hard Rahm Emanuel worked to get all those Blue Dog Dems [at heart, Republicans, like Obama and himself] into power in 2010.

26,000 teachers are out picketing in Chicago this week. What the hell do they know what is best for education, for the kids, and for themselves the bottom feeding scum sucking corporatists and their pimped out politicians slickly ask?

We know how hard Obama and his buddy Arne Duncan are working on dismantling the traditional public school system, sometimes very troubled, no question, and replacing it with a pro-corporate [not pro-children] charter school system that will launch the further devastation of teachers’ unions, teachers’ careers and the quality of education across the nation.

The CTU [Chicago Teachers’ Union] in Chicago was willing to support an evaluation process implemented earlier this year in which 25% of teacher ratings on “student growth” are measured by standardized test scores [certainly a high and questionable percentage]. The Chicago Public Schools are demanding in five years this be increased to 40%.

40%???? Opportunities for principals beholding to corporate investors to shed schools of more experienced and better paid teachers for corporatist profit-making.

Bryan Dyne of wsws interviewed a number of picketing Chicago teachers.

One striking teacher asserted that 2010 was when charter schools began being pushed hard in Chicago [Hello Rahm!] based on those golden “standardized tests”:

“Now they are expanding faster than ever, even though the same tests show that the charter schools do generally worse than public schools. All they do is take money from public education and give it to the corporations running charters.”

That charter schools’ tests scores are no better and even worse at times than those of public schools has been contended since the get-go of the charter movement. But at least the new parasitic corporatist honchos are raking in those tax-paid dollars, eh? WTG, Barack and Rahm and don’t worry. Romney and Ryan have your backs on this one.

Diana, another striking Chicago teacher gave her opinion of standardized tests to Dyne.

“We know what’s good for students, and it’s not tests. They aren’t based on real intelligence. There is no emotional analysis of a child. Part of my job isn’t just teaching history, but enabling my students to have confidence in themselves.”

Jaclyn, teaching for three years now, had this to say:

“Most of my day is spent on classroom management because I have 33 Kindergarteners. If I have a group of five, there are 28 working independently, some of whom have never been in preschool. So they don’t know about rhythms and routines. What would I do if I had 20 kids? What a dream!

Once again, think up/down, 1% vs. 99%, not Republican or Democrat. Think corporatists vs. working Americans. Think Republicans and Dems vs. working America.

As Timothy, a social studies teacher in the Chicago teacher’s picket line pronounced:

“Working people don’t have a party anymore. The difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is Cocoa Puffs and Cocoa Crispies. It is the same cereal in a different box.”

Of course. All those teachers with seniority, higher salaries and tenure. How dare they in this day and age presume to have a decent wage, benefits and job security? This is America 2012. It is the corporate charter school “investors” and their lackeys who get to decide how best to decide if teachers are successful or if they should be kicked to the curb.

Timothy goes on with some really interesting disclosures:

“At Roosevelt High School they spent $24 million dollars. You know that they are planning a turnaround when they spend that type of money. Noble Street Charter Network is the one underwriting the renovating and then running the schools. They put connections for air conditioners in every room.

“Penny Pritzker is the chairman of the board for Capital Funds, Noble Street, AUSL, Teach for America, and the Renaissance Project. In the 1990s she owned Superior Bank and packaged bad mortgages. This led to the banking collapse in 2008.

“Education is a safe place to invest. Thanks to Clinton, the wealthy get a 39 percent tax credit for ‘investing’ in education. What’s safer than a taxpayer bailout?

“Something else that you need to know is that at Noble Street charters, students are fined. They have financial penalties for behaviors. They are pricing the students with the lowest test scores out of the schools.

“There is a case going on in the courts involving a student with multiple disabilities who had $400 in fines. She met all of the academic requirements, but she couldn’t graduate.

"The school made her work at the minimum wage to pay off her debt. I call that indentured servitude.”

Say what?

So many troubling revelations in the above remarks from Timothy. Most of us citizens, especially those of us without kids, are out of the loop on what is happening to America’s education system.

According to Joseph Kishore:

Many teachers on the picket lines have pointed to the devastating impact of budget cuts and poverty on the ability of students to learn. Schools have been allowed to fall apart, with many lacking air conditioning and other requirements of a decent learning environment.

Conditions of poverty and mass unemployment dominate large parts of cities such as Chicago. Over a third of Chicago’s children live in poverty and more than 80 percent qualify for free or subsidized lunches because their families are low-income.

It is the political representatives of the corporate and financial elite and the capitalist profit system who are responsible for these conditions, not the teachers. Over the past three decades, the public education system has been increasingly subordinated to the demands of big business.

CPS [Chicago Public Schools] is deliberately starving the most troubled schools—generally in the poorest areas—of funds for infrastructure improvement.

I mean we are talking about the welfare of America’s children. 1/3 of Chicago children live in poverty. Time to make a profit on their welfare! How low would the corporatists go? There seems to be no bar too low for them to crawl under.

Sociopaths know no boundaries. Greed addicts know no boundaries.

Remember when the Democrats used to have the backs of union workers? No more. Even union heads don’t have the backs of these teachers and those across the country seriously. Paralleling the betrayal of union leaders in general.

Kishore has this to say about the Obama administration:

The Obama administration’s pose of official “neutrality” in the strike is a fraud. Emanuel is Obama’s right-hand man. Since taking office, Obama has gone further than the Republicans in promoting charter schools and the privatization of public education. He has outdone his predecessor George W. Bush in scapegoating teachers and encouraging school closures and mass layoffs.

Public school systems nationwide, starved of funding as a result of the economic crisis, have eliminated more than 300,000 teaching positions since 2008. Obama has responded by tying meager federal funds to the elimination of restraints on charter schools and the implementation of test-based evaluation systems.

Kishore goes on to indict the betraying stance of the trade unions:

In this process, the trade unions—including the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and its parent organization, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT)—have been active participants. Whatever their occasional criticisms of Emanuel and other “reformers,” the unions have collaborated every step of the way. At every point they sacrifice the interests of teachers to maintain their political alliance with the Democratic Party.

The CTU put off the strike deadline until after last week’s Democratic National Convention to help the Democrats and Obama posture as friends of working people, even as Emanuel and CPS, with the support of Obama, were preparing strikebreaking operations and a witch-hunt against the teachers.

Since taking office in Chicago, Emanuel has launched one attack on teachers after another, beginning with the rescinding of a promised wage increase. The response of the CTU has been to retreat and seek accommodations. This has only encouraged deeper attacks.

Behind the backs of teachers, the CTU leadership of President Karen Lewis and Vice President Jesse Sharkey helped ensure the passage last year of Senate Bill 7, which restricts the right to strike and expands the use of standardized tests.

The same process is underway in the current strike. While Lewis told the crowd of teachers Tuesday it would be “lunacy” to think the contract would be settled that day, the union is scrambling to reach an agreement with the administration.

snip

For its part, the AFT [American Federation of Teachers] and its president, Randi Weingarten, have stated that they support the expansion of charters and merit schemes for teachers. The union has asked only that it retain a “seat at the table” in imposing these policies.

I saw a smiling but bland AFT Randi Weingarten last night on the NewsHour. She had all the passion for the Chicago teachers as a dead fish. She had the look of someone who has already made her sell out deal with the corporatists. [Think Obama mode--slickly talking the generalized talk, not walking the walk]

By the way, Green Party's Jill Stein is picketing with the Chicago teachers. Of course, corporate media won’t acknowledge that because there is a blackout on all things Green Party Stein. The betrayers and cowards. But what else is new?

FWIW, a CNN poll reveals there are 2% of registered American voters who are intending to vote for Green Party's Jill Stein for President in November. Maybe that seems a small percentage, but that means there are 2.4 million Americans of conscience who are willing to exit the "lesser evil" and "evil" bubbles. I expect that number will grow in the next fifty-something days until the election.

What did teacher Timothy say above?

"Working people don’t have a party anymore. The difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is Cocoa Puffs and Cocoa Crispies. It is the same cereal in a different box.”

Actually, working people do have a party. It is the Green Party!

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