Teachers are raging in Chicago; What will the government do?
Posted by soccerchick3 on September 30, 2012
In Chicago, a riveting movement is gaining speed that is prevalent throughout all of the United States- the effort to improve the quality of education for our children. Specifically in Chicago, mayor Rahm Emanuel decided to start with an evaluation plan, a plan that would separate the effective teachers from the ineffective and result in the laying off of hundreds. Through this plan, over 200 schools were to be shut down, which would lay off hundreds more. Ultimately, over 6,000 Chicago teachers were going to loose their jobs, which brings us to now- the Chicago teacher strike.
Teachers are angered, and rightfully so, about this evaluation system and the potential crisis they may experience in loosing their jobs. How are they to know if this is accurate or fair? This is what has spurred the strike that so far has lasted almost two weeks, and in consequence has left Chicago children out of school for that whole amount of time. Because these children are now stuck at home, they have “lost roughly 18 million collective hours of learning time; [their] moms and dads… [have] lost wages, and possibly risked jobs, so they could care for their kids; and some children went without the hot meals they reliably [got] at school” (to learn more, click here). And this is why Emanuel is so against the teacher strike- he is worried about the well being of the children. In fact, Emanuel is now pushing this case into court to force teachers into submission so that these children may finally go back to school and get the education they need. But how do we know that Emanuel has the answer that is best for the children? Michelle Reyes says:
Despite the mayor’s efforts, the contract wasn’t a home run for kids. It still allows teacher seniority to trump teacher effectiveness in some cases when layoffs unfortunately arise. And under the new evaluation system, less than a third of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on an objective look at how much academic progress his or her students are making. That’s not enough. Educator evaluations ought to consider several factors, but the degree to which our children succeed academically must be what we emphasize.
Emanuel has many reasons to make these teacher reforms for the good of his people. For one, “80 percent of children aren’t performing at grade-level proficiency standards” in Chicago. Also, only half of the Hispanic population in school actually graduates from high school, while three fourths of the white population graduate. Without proper schooling, most children are destined for poverty. These numbers paint a sorry story for the United State’s education, and now, as Emanuel has realized, is time to act.
Democrats all over the country are now beginning to stand up against low quality teachers and education. In Connecticut, the democratic governor is imposing a system similar to the evaluation plan where teachers will be watched for performance; in Los Angeles, the democratic government is attempting to make other educational reforms. Though democrats are usually known to side with teacher unions, in this situation they are doing quite the opposite. With just now taking up these educational reforms, the democrats are risking a significant popularity rate that they used to have in these teachers. But is it a risk they needed to take? And is this really what is best for our children?
There will always be some kind of conflict as to whether our education is “good enough” or not. People learn in many different ways, so many different ways that not all of them can be available in a classroom that houses on average about 25 students. There is no way that we can please the government, students, and teachers at the same time- someone is always going to be shortchanged. Sadly, we also cannot predict how long this strike will last. But we can only hope that it ends as soon so that the children of Chicago may get the education that they deserve, teachers or no teachers.