FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

On the Line in Chicago

On Monday, September 10, 2012, the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike. The next day Linda and I drove up to Chicago, parked our car on the North Side, rode the “red line” mass transit downtown and arrived after the speeches were over and just as the big march began.

We joined in as the procession moved in front of the Chicago School Board Headquarters, rounded the Loop, and ended at Buckingham Fountain.  It was a bright, clear day, and exuberant chants filled the air, none louder than “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Rahm Emanuel has got to go.”

Most everyone was wearing red, and many were wearing the red Chicago Teacher Union t-shirts.  A teacher walking next to me explained, “This is all about the Mayor.  And of course, he was President Obama’s right hand man.  It’s not good for the Democrats to have Teachers demonstrating against them so near to the Presidential Election.  I think the ‘bat phone’ is going to be ringing; I think Obama is going to be calling Rahm and telling him to resolve this pretty soon.”

The next morning, Linda and I walked to Senn High School and marched the picket line. The striking teachers were thrilled at our participation and very happy to talk with us.  A counselor explained that, “We want to be taken seriously.  It is obvious that they are trying to destroy Public Education and we are fighting back with our last resort, a strike.”

A Social Studies teacher explained how classroom size had increased due to the closing of many schools, and explained how this was a national issue.  “Every American will be affected by how this is resolved.  At issue is whether our society will allow education to be corporatized.”

Every teacher we talked to mentioned how the curriculum was being set by adherence to standardized tests.  An English teacher exclaimed, “The students have to take so many tests!  So much time for is being used for certification, what about time for instruction?” She also explained that the love of reading literature cannot be taught through standardized testing.

Linda saw a poster that referenced something called TIFs and asked a Teacher what that meant.  He explained that Tax Increment Financing in theory was meant to be used for community improvement but that in practice was funneling money from poor neighborhoods to rich areas.  “They say they have no money for public education, but at the same time they have used money from TIFs to build the Hyatt downtown.”

When Linda and I said that we enjoyed having these conversations, a teacher told us:   “It is because we are Teachers. We know how to articulate things!”

On Wednesday, we car-pooled with two teachers to the afternoon rally at Marshall High School.  In the van, the young women explained that they used to teach at Charter Schools on a one year contract. “Every Teacher goes into the profession with a desire to help their students, but without any job security it becomes very difficult.  Plus, when the teachers are interchangeable, the students don’t have any continuity in their education.”

On Thursday, the Chicago Teachers Union rally began at the Hyatt near the Chicago River. Soon a sea of red was parading down Michigan Avenue.  Students, and families, had come out to be in solidarity with their Teachers.

I stood on the steps of the Art Museum and looked back.  As far as I could see, there were people marching in support of the Chicago Teacher’s Union goals, chanting “Education under attack, what do we do?  Stand up!  Fight Back!”

David Stewart lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

More articles by:
August 20, 2018
Carl Boggs
The Road to Disaster?
James Munson
“Not With a Bomb, But a Whimper” … Then More Bombs.
Jonathan Cook
Corbyn’s Labour Party is Being Made to Fail –By Design
Robert Fisk
A US Trade War With Turkey Over a Pastor? Don’t Believe It
Howard Lisnoff
The Mass Media’s Outrage at Trump: Why the Surprise?
Faisal Khan
A British Muslim’s Perspective on the Burkha Debate
Andrew Kahn
Inhumanity Above the Clouds
Dan Glazebrook
Trump’s New Financial War on the Global South
George Wuerthner
Why the Gallatin Range Deserves Protection
Ted Rall
Is Trump a Brand-New Weird Existential Threat? No.
Sheldon Richman
For the Love of Reason
Susie Day
Why Pundits Scare Me
Dean Baker
Does France’s Economy Need to Be Renewed?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Mighty Voice for Peace Has Gone Silent: Uri Avnery, 1923-2018
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail