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Fri Mar 2, 2012, 12:31 AM

Chicago School Board: Fire Them All & Let God Sort It Out Later

I am reposting this so the discussion can continue. I post my opinion pieces and articles precisely to inspire discussion. As I teach full time, work as a union organizer and have a four-year old child, I am not able to read and reply to all comments on a regular basis. However, I do appreciate hearing what y'all have to say, would appreciate it even more if you could say it in a civil and intelligent way without resorting to personal attacks.


Earlier this week, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) proposed a 30% pay increase for their new contract. The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) board responded yesterday by unanimously voting to close or overhaul 17 under-performing schools, resulting in over 400 teacher layoffs and the displacement of more than 7,000 mostly low income black and Hispanic students.

CTU president Lewis called the move a betrayal of democracy, according to the Chicago Tribune, ostensibly because most of the board was appointed by mayor Emanuel or his predecessor Daley and not elected by the public. While this may be true, Emanuel and Daley were elected democratically, and Chicagoans knew what they were getting when they chose them.

If anything, the move underscores the fallacy that democracy somehow means “the people” have the power and make the decisions, rather than the right to vote for one’s own rulers who then make decisions in their own interests.

CTU’s real power lies in their ability to withhold their labor, something Lewis encouraged her members to do by taking a personal day off to attend the board meeting. Now that the board has ruled against their interests, it’s time to consider taking more personal days or initiating an outright strike. Clearly having hundreds of parents and teachers speak out against the closings was a waste of time.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/02/chicago-school-board-fire-them-all-let.html

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Reply Chicago School Board: Fire Them All & Let God Sort It Out Later (Original post)
Modern School Mar 2012 OP
Modern School Mar 2012 #1
Modern School Mar 2012 #2
Modern School Mar 2012 #3
proud2BlibKansan Mar 2012 #4
FBaggins Mar 2012 #5
Modern School Mar 2012 #7
FBaggins Mar 2012 #8
Modern School Mar 2012 #6

Response to Modern School (Original post)

Fri Mar 2, 2012, 12:38 AM

1. Democracy or Republic?

We live in a republic with representative democracy. Aside from the initiative system in some states, that is the closest we come to democracy.

In our society, people fetishize democracy. We all want power and the notion of the "people" having the power is a wonderful and desirable thing. What our democracy leaves us is something far different. We get to vote for our own rulers. They are generally members of the ruling elite (e.g., Rahm, Obama, Romney, Clinton, Gingrich, Santorum,etc.), with interests and policies that benefit them at the expense of the rest of us.

CPS had hearings in which parents and teachers expressed their disapproval for closing the schools. Did they ever have an actual vote? Only in their vote for mayor, not for most of the board members, nor for their final decision. The fact that they decided to close the schools betrays their class interests and their disdain for the "people."

Should the board have been chosen by the people? That would seem more fair, but would it have led to any different outcome? San Francisco's school board, which is overwhelmingly progressive and mostly popularly elected just voted to do away with seniority.

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Response to Modern School (Original post)

Fri Mar 2, 2012, 12:45 AM

2. Reporting, You're Too Kind!

Why would you think it an insult to deny that this was reporting. It clearly is an opinion piece based on factual information, such as the closing of schools, the desire for a 30% raise, the laying off of teachers, etc.

What I don't get is what is so upsetting about this piece that inspires snarling insults.

Is it my suggestion that striking might be a more effective weapon than voting? Unfortunately, history shows that this is often the case, particularly in countries that have vibrant labor movements.

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Response to Modern School (Original post)

Fri Mar 2, 2012, 01:06 AM

3. letting god sort out the facts

Why would anyone think that "letting god sort out. . ." was a representation of facts. God isn't a fact. The statement was meant to be satirical, a play on "shoot 'em all and let god sort it out later."

The fact that some of my readers voted for rahm and still support him is irrelevant to the fact that a lot of teachers are going to be fired and the low income kids in those schools will still be poor, still have low test scores, high drop out rates, and will continue to suffer from malnourishment, lead poisoning, pollution, gangs, and a plethora of other problems that lead to low academic achievement. The laid off teachers, many of whom are no doubt good at their jobs, will join the ranks of the unemployed or choose to take a non-union job with fewer job protections and possibly lower pay at one of the private charter schools.

CPS may indeed be a mess and these schools that are set for closing may in fact be terrible places to learn. I have worked at low performing schools for most of my career, replete with low test scores, high drop out rates, teen pregnancy, gangs, drugs, violence, suicides, illiteracy, the works. My first job was at a school in which the entire staff had been fired. It was an incredibly tough place to work. But I loved my students and my colleagues, worked my ass off, and did my best to make a difference in the lives of my students.

To call such schools "hell holes" or to suggest that they be "cleaned out with a fire hose," is about as insulting to the students and teachers as saying they're all shit.

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Response to Modern School (Original post)

Fri Mar 2, 2012, 01:11 AM

4. The school closing process was tainted

when Rahm paid people to come to the "public" meetings and speak in support of closing schools.

Why was that necessary? What was Rahm afraid of?

It was an assault on democracy.

If I was a taxpayer in Chicago, I'd be a lot angrier about that than about how the school board was put in place.

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Response to Modern School (Original post)

Fri Mar 2, 2012, 02:56 PM

5. Why repost and then appear to reply cryptically to yourself?

If the prior thread isn't locked, the proper thing to do would be to reply directly to the other posters (so they at least know that it happened). Your first paragraph appears to be a defense against the perception that you want merely to preach and not to engage in a dialogue re: your opinions. You don't help that defense by posting a new thread and then putting your replies into posts to yourself.

In reply to the thread itself... I think you make a common error in assuming that "the people" necessarily agree with you, so any decision by elected officials that you disagree with must be an example of a republic operating in a way that a pure democracy would not.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #5)

Fri Mar 2, 2012, 09:16 PM

7. The People are The People

I do not assume that anyone agrees with me, although I hope that some can see the logic in my points.

I apologize for putting replies into posts, but I wasn't sure how else to respond to the attacks, since the original post was locked. (Btw, I reposted on the suggestion of the DU facilitator b/c I wanted respond to several personal attacks in the original, but now locked post).

I'm not sure what a "pure" democracy is. There are many different forms one could take. We certainly don't have a direct democracy. My point was that a representative one, like we have, operates much differently than many Americans think. One of the demands of the OWS movement is for more or better or fairer democracy. But even we got the "money" out of politics, reversed Citizens United, and went back to whichever golden age people wish to return to, we would still have a political system designed by the wealthy, to benefit the wealthy. Unemployment, poverty, crime and social inequities would persist. Bosses would continue to wield the overwhelming amount of power in the workplace.

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Response to Modern School (Reply #7)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 02:44 PM

8. My apologies

I didn't realize that the prior post had been locked. There's usually a message added to the OP that the thread has been locked and a final post on the thread announcing the lock... but there is a little lock icon on the thread.

but I wasn't sure how else to respond to the attacks

You shouldn't be so quick to read disagreement with "attacks". But I suppose that's another conversation.

I'm not sure what a "pure" democracy is. There are many different forms one could take. We certainly don't have a direct democracy.

"Direct democracy" and "pure democracy" are synonyms.

The People are The People

Certainly... but you grab a group of people who you agree with and call them "the people". There's little evidence that they represent the opinion of the overall population. It's almost always that case that those who stand in opposition to a local decision are the ones who show up to protest at the next open meeting. Their opinion could be in the extreme minority, but still be the loudest voice in the room (just look at Ron Paul's following ).

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Response to Modern School (Original post)

Fri Mar 2, 2012, 09:07 PM

6. Prior Post Was Locked

Sorry to seem cryptic.

The prior post was locked b/c someone was engaging in personal attacks. I didn't lock it, but I did want to respond to the attacks.

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