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!


Sally A. Friedman said...


Kudos to you! You said the best things you could, considering the situation.

I think people will still perceive those Chicago teachers as greedy, but obviously, you couldn't say that the teachers are asking for compensation as a tradeoff for having an invalid evaulation system shoved down their throats.

By the way, you've probably seen this already but just in case you haven't (Bill Maher's opinions on American education these days):

zulma said...

You are the consummate professional that knows how to keep your composure when dealing with such an obnoxious, narrow-minded, ignorant, self-serving, pompous idiot. I want to say kudos to you for defending the true issues behind the Chicago Teachers strike. I was getting very annoyed at Larry Kudlow for not allowing you to finish your comments and it dawned on me that Larry, who was probably paid good money, needed to trump all your truthful comments. Nonetheless, I feel that you managed to hit the target on the issues. While the others spoke loudly, they managed to miss the side of a barn. Their points had no substance, no truth, and were fraught with misleading information.
Thank you Leonie for being there for all the parents and teachers across the nation!
You are my hero!

Sarah said...

Great work! Great job keeping your cool and bringing up the main points -- even if the others interrupted and ignored them. Impressive! Thanks for speaking to the real issues. I just wish more people could hear them.

Kari said...

Good work, Leonie. Your composure and grasp of the facts were admirable. I loved how you began with, "Anyone who knows anything about the strike..." Clearly Larry Kudlow is not "anyone."

Anonymous said...

If this guy Kudlow were any more stupid and afraid of hearing the truth while trying to be the next rush limburger, I'd eat my hat. I'm in Chicago and he has less than no clue as to what's happening here and what the issues are. Finance? Even a calculator can't help this fool.It's like he's demanding we believe the moon is made of green cheese just because he seems outraged that anyone could think otherwise. And he gets paid to do this garbage???? America is truly screwed if this is what we have come to.

justsoyouknow said...

Granted that teachers just want a higher compensation, still the glaring fact will not be changed that it is the students who are heavily affected. There should should be an alternative education such as online secondary education degrees when events like this happens.