With our office in downtown Chicago, members of the Century staff are becoming used to the drifts of red-shirted teachers moving about the streets, some with placards, some with their families, most looking energized and purposeful—though that may well change if this strike continues. On the fourth day of the strike, the power play between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis is wearing thin on many Chicagoans as they weave their way around rallies to delayed and rerouted buses and trains.
Lewis says that 43 issues are keeping the strike unresolved; the school board claims that only two issues remain. One is the protocol for rehiring teachers who have been laid off. The knottier one is teacher evaluation.
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.
Calculus and chemistry are among the pressures awaiting Mesuka Akter, a senior at Long Island City High School in New York City. But unlike in past school years, this year Akter, a Muslim, will not have to choose between missing school and missing the two holiest days on the Islamic calendar.
The United Methodist Church became the largest U.S. church body to join a boycott against Taco Bell, urging the fast-food giant to improve working conditions for migrant tomato-pickers in Immokalee, Florida. Delegates to the church’s General Conference legislative meeting voted to approve the measure, without debate, May 1.
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