From Mike Klonsky’s Small Talk blog
Chicago teachers continue to hang tough despite a negative media barrage orchestrated by the mayor and his big-money outside supporters. Hopefully, an agreement will be announced today with the union’s House of Delegates scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. Minus some last-minute shenanigans by Vitale, Byrd-Bennett and the rest of Rahm’s crew, students could be back in class on Monday.
Yesterday’s rally by thousands of strikers at the Hyatt made all the necessary connections between Rahm’s hand-picked board, which includes Hyatt billionaire heiress Penny Pritzker, and his union busting policies. A strong case is being made for an end to mayoral control of the schools and for an elected school board.
All this wasn’t lost on political analyst Don Rose who called the mayor out for “posing himself as a democratic version of Scott Walker.” It wasn’t lost nationally on Republican politicians either who also see Rahm as their guy in the war against public employee unions. Joining Romney and Ryan on the pro-Rahm bandwagon yesterday was William Bennett, who was Reagan’s Ed Secretary and founder of K12Inc, a virtual learning company with million of dollars in contracts with CPS at stake. Here what Bennet posted at CNN yesterday:
For decades, conservative education reformers like myself have been pushing for performance pay, strict accountability, flexible rehiring practices for school principals and longer school days to improve our public schools. Now, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, through the Race to the Top grant requirements, are trying to implement similar measures in Chicago’s public schools. Duncan, whom I sometimes agree with, and Emanuel, whom I almost never agree with, both seem to be taking the traditionally conservative side of this issue.
Insiders told me yesterday, what I already knew — that Rahm has become toxic to the Obama campaign and that there’s pressure coming from inside the White House for Rahm to make this go away.
Latest polls posted at Capitol Fax showed that parents and community members aren’t buying the mayor’s anti-union propaganda.
(CTU) support jumped to 66 percent among parents of public school children. Less than a third of those parents, 31 percent, disapproved of the strike, according to the poll. Among people with no school-age children, 51 percent approved of the job action, while 44 percent disapproved.
A very strong 63 percent of African-Americans polled approved of the strike, while 65 percent of Latinos expressed approval. Women and men almost equally approved of the strike – 55 percent of women and 56 percent of men.
Asked who they thought was “most to blame” for the strike, just over 34 percent pointed their finger at Mayor Rahm Emanuel, while 29 percent blamed the Chicago Teachers Union and 19 percent blamed the school board. In other words, a solid majority blames management, one way or the other.
But almost a majority, 48 percent, of Latinos blamed Mayor Emanuel, as did 33 percent of African-Americans, 42 percent of parents of public school children and 40 percent of parents of school-age children. All age brackets except those aged 55-64 blamed Emanuel the most, with 50 percent of 18-24 year olds pointing their finger at hizzoner, as well as 41 percent of 35-44 year olds.
More picketing and neighborhood rallies are scheduled for today and a massive noon rally tomorrow at Union Park, which I hope will turn into a victory rally.
I’m headed this morning to a support rally in Logan Squarer where striking teachers from 3 schools will converge on the Logan Square monument for a rally/press event with students and parents. The event is being organized by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association.