Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The real issues in the Chicago teachers strike and why they should matter to us here in NYC: Leonie Haimson on CNBC
See the video from last night below, in which I stood up for the teachers in Chicago, three against one, on the Kudlow Report on CNBC. I tried to explain why most voters and parents in Chicago support the teachers, and how the strike is about many issues, one of them being class size. In the NY Times yesterday, a Kindergarten teacher revealed that she has a class size of 43 students. Another Chicago teacher, Philip Cantor has spoken out on MSNBC about how he has a class of 41 with 12 students with special needs. (Here's more on class size in the Chicago public schools.)
When mayoral control was established 17 years ago in Chicago, the power of the union to negotiate on class size was also eliminated, which means there are NO effective limits on class size in the city's public schools. This is a situation that I'm sure Michael Bloomberg would like to emulate, as he said last year he would double the class size in NYC public schools if he could. Michelle Rhee and her group Students First pushed to eliminate class size caps in Tennessee schools, and have argued that no teacher union should be allowed to negotiate on issues other than pay and benefits, which would also allow them to accuse teachers as only looking out for their own self interest.
Another important issue the Chicago teachers are fighting against is a “value-added” test-based evaluation system, similar to the one that Governor Cuomo, the NY State Education Department, and the mayor are trying to force on us here. This sort of evaluation system, based on "value-added" test scores, which the National Academy of Sciences has not once but twice concluded are highly unreliable, has already led to great teachers being pushed out of NYC schools; see here and here for two prime examples. Check out this summary of some of the other issues involved in the strike and see the video below. And please leave a comment!