The fall school term in Chicago’s public schools began with a teachers’ strike.2 9,000 teachers have withdrawn their services.Only 6 of 49 articles have been agreed to. on this the third day of the strike.
To understand this regrettable state of affairs one must look to the shocking appointment iof non-teacher Arne Duncan as Obama’s education czar and former head in Chicago.Duncan represents the toxic wave of standardized testing as virtually the sole benchmark of student achievement.
And now we have the foul-mouthed Chicago mayor and dual Israely citizen, Rahm Emmanbuel taking time off from organizing an Obama superpac to put it to the teachers.
Matt Farmer a parent poined out that Emmanuel’s own kids are in the elite Chicago Laboratory School. It’s akin to Mike Moore pointing out in his Fahrenheit 9/11 film that only one of 450 Congress people had a child in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.
In the Lab school we have the makings of a rouded education–art, music, good libraries.The Chicago public system is being starved iof these as the testing mania leaches time from curricula (15 whole days in Chicago!)and teachers are “teaching to the test.” This is education? If this system were in Ontario people would never stand for it.It’s bad enough that there is not enough opposition to the awful testing mania but at least in our system there is decent funding for all schools.
On Amy Goodman’s brilliant radio show Democracy Now (10 AM at 89.5 in the Toronto regon) Pauline Lipman professor of Education Policy studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago put the whole megillah in context.
Chicago, she pointed out, “was the birthplace of the neoliberal, corporate, top-down education reform agenda—privatizing public education, closing and sabotaging public neighborhood schools, high-stakes testing, paying teachers based on test scores—that whole agenda. And Chicago is now the epicenter of the fight back against it.
What happens here in Chicago will really have an implication for whether we are able to turn back this national agenda. And the eyes of the country are really on Chicago today.”