From Truth Out: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13567-there-is-no-american-left
By Salvatore Babones
Thursday, 27 December 2012
In September 2012 Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel attempted to break the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) with a bid to privatize Chicago’s public schools. The mayor’s proposal was based on a plan to subject teachers (and schools) to performance measurement based on students’ standardized test scores.
Teachers whose students scored poorly would be fired. Schools whose students scored poorly would be closed. The students would then be farmed out to so-called “charter schools” – for the most part, for-profit institutions run by corporations like Edison Schools, Rocketship, Victory Schools, and Educational Services of America.
The CTU went out on strike with the goal of maintaining public education in Chicago, America’s third largest city. Schools in Philadelphia, America’s fifth largest city, have already been largely privatized, and the state of Texas is currently in the process of privatizing its local public school systems.
Under threat of a court injunction that might force them to return to work without a contract, the CTU ended its strike after just six business days. The negotiated settlement terms included a longer working day (for the same pay), teacher evaluations based 30% on student test scores, and complete mayoral discretion over teacher hiring and firing.
As Reuters reported on September 18, “those were major goals for Emanuel and positive outcomes for any Emanuel financial backers associated with the national education reform movement.” The outcome, however, was widely viewed in the United States as a victory for the teachers, since (amazingly, to most Americans) they retained their pre-strike jobs, salaries, and health insurance benefits.
Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, is a Democrat.
The Obama administration: Center-right Democrats
Rahm Emanuel is not just any Democrat. He was Barack Obama’s first chief of staff, responsible for hiring many of the Obama administration’s key personnel. One of Obama’s appointees, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, is a former “Chief Executive Officer” of the Chicago public school system. In Chicago he had promoted the expansion of for-profit charter schools.
Continue reading at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13567-there-is-no-american-left