Playing the Indian Card

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chicago on Fire

Good question.

The war against teachers’ unions has now spread to the streets of Chicago. Chicago teachers are on strike despite already getting the highest or second-highest remuneration package in the US, because the Chicago board is trying to shave back health benefits and impose some quality control.

One might ask, why is it the best-paid teachers in the US, and, in Ontario, the best-paid teachers in North America, who are so restive?

And the answer is simple: did you ever, as a child, read the story of The Princess and the Pea? (There is much wisdom in fairy tales. That is why they endure.) If one is oppressed, one quickly gets used to being oppressed—see the “Stockholm Syndrome.” If one is pampered, one gets used to being pampered, and quickly comes to consider it one’s right. The same principle of human nature explains feminism.

The oppressed masses?

Unfortunately, the Chicago School Board seems to be wrong on one of their proposed quality control measures. They want to tie teacher evaluations to student test scores. That seems like an obvious step. But the research suggests it is a very inaccurate measure, and there are better ones.

The simplest and most accurate one is just to allow parent choice.

Unfortunately, the teachers have left themselves open by decades of non-evaluations and phony evaluations.

One more notable thing about this strike is that, as in Ontario, the confrontation is between the teachers’ unions and a fairly left-leaning government. This was predicted here: since Chris Christie and then Scott Walker showed that facing down the teachers’ unions was a winning political issue, everyone else has been climbing onto the bandwagon. Even the political left, which for years has been almost an arm of the teachers’ unions, does not now dare to back them. Michelle Rhee is a Democrat.

This means the teachers are in a perilous position, and they don’t seem to realize it. They’ve lost their political cover. Blinded by that easy assumption of privilege again, which has been the downfall of every ruling class sooner or later. It is a very bad idea for them to go on strike against the public. Meanwhile, the private and charter schools continue to operate; making a very good advertisement for private and charter schools.
Ironically, the original sweatshops were sole-proprietor small businesses.

This is going to happen fast now (though any thinking person knows it should have happened at least thirty years ago). Teachers’ unions as we know them are finished. The public school system as we know it is doomed.

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