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In Powerful Warning to City Officials, Chicago Teachers Vote for Mass Strike


In Powerful Warning to City Officials, Chicago Teachers Vote for Mass Strike

Nadia Prupis, staff writer

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) on Monday voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if contract disputes are not resolved, paving the way for members' second mass walkout since 2012 as city officials threaten further cuts and layoffs.

"Chicago Teachers Union members do not want to strike, but we do demand that you listen to us," said CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey. "Do not cut our schools, do not lay off educators or balance the budget on our backs."


"respect educators and give us the tools we need to do our jobs"

Teachers already have the tools they need to do their jobs. What they don't have is the courage to use it. Americans need to rethink their concept of education. By going on strike, teachers are supporting the institutionalized bureaucracy that the education system has become. They are playing right into the hands of the politicians who want to remain in control of people's educations. If this problem is ever going to be solved, education will have to happen outside the institutionalized bureaucracy. That means that parents and teachers are going to have to make alternate plans to educate kids. If you want to use the state's buildings and the state's buses and the state's textbooks, and if you subject yourself to the state's curricula, then you are upholding the state-run education system, which is exactly what you are trying to defeat. Don't think you can reform such a system. It will never be reformed. It needs to be replaced. Asking for more money won't fix that system, even if some generous politician does decide to give schools more money. Teachers and parents need to be in full control of the education system, but so far they have not even tried to take back control of education.

Look at it this way. Education is free. Teaching someone something is as simple as sitting down with them and teaching it to them. A walk in the park can be more educational than sitting in a classroom all day. But if we continue to think of education as something that has to happen in state-owned buildings and only state sanctioned curricula can be taught there, and only certain text books and materials can be used, and only people with state sanctioned degrees can do that job, then we are giving up before we even try. We lose to the system in that case. And who could argue that it is a failed system? Why maintain the failed system by demanding that it accommodate what the system will never be able to accommodate?

Kids need an education, but nobody needs an education system. The system is an unnecessary waste of time. The system only moves money around and makes sure kids are contained in a building all day. Nobody is getting any education out of that.


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Teachers across the United States are looking to our colleagues in Chicago who are in the forefront in the fightback against the corporate takeover of public education. They are saying and doing things that many others are not in position to do at this time. The struggle against excessive testing, unfair teacher evaluations, and the demonization of those who teach our children will be hard and long, but the imperative need to make the system more humane, democratic, and socially meaningful is a goal worthy of the effort.


The real travesty is the fact that generations of kids won't get a good education because we are stuck in a capitalist economic system that needs to profit from everything people do, and nobody is trying to fix that system. The real August Spies was an anarchist. That means he envisioned a system where people didn't need to be spoonfed information by corporate owned education systems, and where people had the freedom to think and act for themselves. Nobody in the US envisions a system like that. Tom, if you don't care about education, thats fine. But other people find value in it. How is posting offensive comments about your hatred of revolutionaries improving anybody's education?


I never said they weren't fighting. Only that they were fighting the wrong battle. Wait and see what comes of this. Carrying picket signs doesn't change anything. Militant? Hardly. Refusing to work isn't going make a difference either. What they need to do is teach kids under their own terms. Make a new system. Don't try to bend the old system, and don't wait around for someone else to make a new system. You are probably a frustrated teacher I imagine. Maybe not. But you think being militant is the answer. All Americans think being militant is the answer. If there are enough parents and teachers who care, then a new system can begin to develop where they make all the decisions. Begging politicians for more money and different rules is only going along with the status quo, and in two years the whole city will be private charter schools. Nothing ever changes. The protests and strike in Chicago is no different than any other teacher strike. The outcome will be the same too. A whittling away of the school system until it needs to be replaced by for profit schools. Look, the corporations and politicians can wait a lot longer than the teachers and the students can. If the current system needs to deteriorate more before before it gets replaced by corporate schools, they can make that happen and they can wait it out while a bunch of "militant" teachers carry signs and "threaten" to stop working. That's exactly what they are hoping the teachers do.