Teachers in Chicago are incredibly busy, so it comes as a relief to Chicago parents that the propagandists, er…educators have agreed to come back to work on Wednesday despite their full schedule.
They will work in some time to teach between union meetings and activist events, although there’s no guarantee how long they will be in class. The agreement to be voted on by the union’s 25,000 members includes “metrics” that will trigger shutdowns if positive tests spike — as they’re bound to do.
Jesse Sharkey, the president of the teachers union, told the Chicago Sun-Times that Mayor Lori Lightfoot “is being relentless, but she’s being relentlessly stupid, relentlessly stubborn.”
Speaking of being “relentlessly stupid,” Sharkey solemnly declared that saying remote learning is bad for students is just a “talking point.”
During the press conference where the Chicago Teachers Union unveiled their new proposal to the Chicago Public Schools to get back to in-person learning, Sharkey said that Chicago Mayor Lori Lighfoot’s opposition to remote learning is “just a talking point,” adding that remote education is a “tool.”
“I hear the mayor say that she doesn’t want to do remote. But honestly, that’s just a talking point, it’s an idea, ‘remote is bad.’ Remote education is a tool. Teachers view remote education, yeah, it’s not as good as in-person,” Sharkey said.
It’s a wonder anything gets done in that city.
The Chicago Teachers Union voted last week to revert to online instruction and told teachers not to show up in person at schools as negotiations continued. District officials argued that schools are safe, a return to remote-only learning isn’t a good option, and blocked teachers from accessing online teaching systems. Meanwhile, families scrambled to adjust just two days after students returned to classrooms after winter break.
Lightfoot reiterated the danger of remote learning Monday night, saying the city’s previous stint of virtual instruction aided the loss of 100,000 CPS students, accounting for nearly a third of city schools’ population.
The Chicago teachers had no legal right to walk off the job. It shows the utter impunity of the union leaders who are now dictating COVID policy to city hall. Lightfoot is right to call out the union for its hysterically panicked reaction to the latest wave of positive COVID tests. But the tools she has at her disposal to battle the union over anything are inadequate and the union knows it. The teachers have Lightfoot and the city over a barrel and appear to enjoy using their influence.
Chicago’s beloved columnist Mike Royko wrote the book Clout detailing the peculiar and frightening ways that Mayor Richard J. Daley exercised total control over the city of Chicago from the 1950s to the 70s. The days of the old Daley political machine being able to exercise that kind of clout are long gone. But power abhors a vacuum, and the Chicago Teacher’s Union has a genuine appetite for it. The union has appropriated political power despite being unelected.
And no one appears able to stop it.