As Susie wrote yesterday, Chicago teachers are on strike. The right wing is already jumping on this as another excuse to claim that teachers are greedy people who just want to be lazy while milking the system.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. What is happening in Chicago has been brewing for a very, very long time, and it's not about what teachers are paid, though the prevailing wisdom about that is wrong, too.
Chicago teachers are striking to prevent a corporate takeover of public education. The line is drawn right here. This is not about pay but it is about job security. It is about children, and the right of every child in this nation to receive an education without corporate influence.
Kenzo Shibata names the corporate and astroturf organizations trying to break the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) in order to open the door wide open.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been quoted in the past as using a certain four-letter word to express his disdain for the United Auto Workers. He may have learned from that experience and now saves that language for union leaders behind closed doors.
It would not be acceptable for Mayor Emanuel to say, "I'm turning over public schools to the wealthiest 1% of Chicagoans and cutting middle-class jobs by busting the Chicago Teachers Union." That's why he has Juan Rangel, well-clouted CEO of the United Neighborhood Organization -- a profitable charter school chain -- at his side.
At a recent speech to the City Club of Chicago, Rangel went on a tirade about the CTU and defended Chicago's billionaire elites in the face of criticism by Chicago's hardworking taxpayers:
[CEO Rangel] praised the work of wealthy charter school supporters -- and mayoral allies -- like Bruce Rauner and the Pritzker family. "Do we have the resolve to embrace Chicago's wealthy community... and support them as a focal source of energy that fuels the school reform movement with their money? Or will we shy away from them and allow the silly talk that currently passes for debate about the so-called one-percenters privatizing our schools?"