Monday, May 31, 2010

A historic election

It sounds like hyperbole but it isn't. The run-off election for the Chicago Teachers Union leadership, scheduled for June 11 is A Big Deal. Not just for Chicago teachers, but nationally. If the CORE caucus can unite the other caucuses that challenged the current leadership in the first-round voting last month, and gain the leadership of the CTU, it will signal several things:

1. Locally, it should provide a much-needed counter-force to the policies of CPS CEO Ron Huberman -- it'a amazing how much destruction he has wrought in CPS in one year. The current union leadership has been fiddling.

2. It will be a significant challenge to Mayor Daley's control of Chicago education, and the failed policies he has pushed on CPS for the past 15 years.

3. It will represent an important victory for grass roots control of education and for the institution of public education, at a time when the idea of "public" in "public education" is under attack.

4. It signals resistance, and significant resistance at that, to the current attacks on public education. As the the largest union in the historic labor capital of the U.S., and because the CTU represents teachers in the third largest school system in the country, a CORE victory can be a rallying point for teachers across the country.

5. It will represent a blatant rejection of the privatization of public education and the general attack on teachers. The fact that the point man on this push, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan test-drove many of his policies here in Chicago, just adds to the significance.

6. An invigorated CTU can provide a national voice in favor of child- and community-centered education. There is an alternative to defunding public schools, skimming by charters, turning children into testing machines, turning teachers into room monitors, management by bogus numbers, etc.

7. It will be a victory for democratic unionism, which may help invigorate the labor movement as a whole.

That's what comes to mind. Like I said, A Big Deal.


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