Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has accused the teachers union of "cheating children out of an education," according to the Chicago Tribune. His comments came in response to union efforts to block the city from unilaterally violating teachers’ contractual rights by seeking contract waivers from individual teachers to lengthen their school days.
Needless to say, the politicians are not guilty of robbing children by gutting education funding or refusing to raise taxes on the wealthy to increase revenues. Nor are the feds for imposing useless high stakes exams and the concomitant test preparation that rob kids of class time for meaningful learning, arts and music classes and science. The wealthy certainly aren’t guilty of robbing the 99 Percenters’ children by placing their precious babies in elite private schools and promoting, funding and lobbying for more charter schools, which saps funds from traditional public schools. And the courts are not guilty of robbing children by demanding the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) honor its contractual obligations to teachers.
Yet the union is somehow guilty of robbing children by defending their rights under their existing contract with CPS, a contract that CPS signed and agreed to and now wants to renege on?
It should be pointed out that the teachers union is not even opposing longer school days. They have made public statements clearly supporting the “reform,” despite the fact that it would go against the wellbeing and interests of their members and contribute to the growing trend of increased work and declining pay for American workers. Sadly, the $800 stipends offered to teachers who consent to the extra 60-90 minutes per day is not even close to their hourly pay, while there is little evidence to support the notion that longer school days will make much difference in student achievement.