Of the many lousy things the City of Chicago has done in the years I've lived here, perhaps none has left a moral stain quite like that of the "reform" of public housing. The housing authority, once known widely for its high-rise housing projects, systematically tore them down and sold the property to developers.
Yesterday in Wisconsin, public-employee unions and their supporters failed to recall the aggressively anti-labor governor Scott Walker. Today in Chicago, public school teachers are voting on strike authorization as part of their ongoing struggle with mayor Rahm Emanuel and the school board.
To be clear, the teachers aren't striking. They're voting to authorize a hypothetical future strike, as a negotiating tactic. No one wants to see classroom learning grind to a halt and working parents stuck with unexpected child-care duties.
And, while I'm not one to defend the teachers unions' every single move, I'm tired of seeing public education set up to fail and then blamed for its own failure, with special blame always reserved for teachers.
Documentarian Steve James has a journalist's nose for a great story. His beat is the
challenges faced by low-income city kids, in this case young Chicagoans whose lives are blighted by the cycle of violence.
The New York Times has never been exactly hesitant to publish articles that look cluelessly down on the cultural life of U.S. cities with fewer than 8 million residents. So I'm not sure I'd blame nepotism alone for the A. G. Sulzberger clunker the paperpublished this week.
Last Tuesday night, I went down to Chicago's Grant Park to witness
Barack Obama's election and victory speech. At the event, I was struck
by the fact that the crowd was at its loudest and most excited not when
Obama and his family took the stage but earlier, when CNN projected him
as the winner.