Chicago Strike: Day Four
12:44 PM, Sep 13, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Like others who are convinced that reform of public education is possible, Bloomberg believes:
The crux of the fight is over teacher accountability and the union's position is that, if it accepts the terms it is being offered, 30 percent of its members will lose their jobs. That, plainly, is unacceptable. It would break the union.
The reformers' position is that, without drastic new emphasis on accountability, the schools will continue to fail. Giving on this one, then, means total defeat for the reform movement. But not, necessarily, for those in the political class for whom education reform is just one item of concern. With some skillful spinning – a talent that is in every successful pol's DNA – a loss on accountability can be made to look like a compromise in the public interest.
Mayor Rahm Emmanuel doesn't need this. President Obama needs it even less. They both need for it to go away so they may get on with the fulfillment of their respective destinies. So one senses that the strike will not last much longer and may be over by the end of the week. The revised teacher accountability piece of the new contract will be a nuisance the union can live with and written in language made to sound like serious reform. And this is the direction negotiations seem to have taken:
If the teachers are happy with it and the pols can spin it, then the only thing left is for the kids and their parents to live with it. And, of course, they have no choice.
Because "choice" is a word we do not use, in polite company, when talking about education.
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