Saturday, January 10, 2015

Defensive or Offensive?

Getting Blown Around By the CPS Wind
By Jim Vail

The Chicago Teachers Union just issued a response to mayor Rahm Emanuel's misleading speech in which he is taking credit for increased test scores, graduate rates, and an overall more quality education.

They pointed out the realities of the horrible impact the school closings had, particularly on the African American community and asked why would the teachers go out on its first strike in 25 years if what the mayor is saying is true.

Good points, and well taken. But here's the question - is the best offense, defense? Or is the best offense, offense?

In other words, the mayor and his mighty team of public relations specialists, are on the offensive. They bombard the public with press release after press release on the wonders of Emanuel and the rebirth of the Windy City in the age of globalization.

While the poor teachers union is forced to constantly try to defend itself amid his barrage of attacks. 

The city government, and its corporate sponsors, keep kicking the teachers union and public education, while we are left trying to defend ourselves.

First, this is totally expected. The CTU cannot be blamed for trying to play catch up in a rigged game where the corporate media support Rahm and corporations, to hell with unions and public services.

I used to have to wince when I would read the Chicago Sun-Times Fran Spielman's reports on Mayor Richard Daley's press conferences. Her so-called articles sounded like city pr releases, with a silly quote thrown in. It was not reporting, or anything near what I learned in journalism school - to serve as the watchdog of the government and others in power.

Not to mention, Emanuel's people bought the Sun-Times. So they own the forum, and he uses it quite well. He didn't get paid $18 million for being a 'relationship banker' with no banking experience without knowing how to play the game well.

So what I think is, the union must think out of the box. 

Sure, they need to play the game. And we keep losing. The democrats we endorse hurt us. Perhaps not completely, but come on. The education reform train is rolling down at a furious pace to destroy us endangered unionized public school teachers.

But, how about going on the offense for a change?

Sure, the strike was big. It was good. I am a radical thinker, and idealist who wanted a lot more than the CTU settled for. But I still salute this talented crew of union workers. They organized a massive walk out that captured the attention of everyone across the country.

But we need to do a lot more. We need to be leading massive marches down the streets all the time. We need to create, what my friend termed, uncivil obedience. Like the police officers in New York! Lead boycotts of the banks and other corporate titans destroying us all. Tell everyone all the time how difficult it is to teach in the inner city. How public school teachers in the rough hoods are heroes, not scapegoats. Bombard the public with who we really are!

The louder and angrier we sound our own horn, and not rely on constantly playing the defensive card in their game, the more we will fight to preserve what we are in danger of losing.

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