12/11/2012 10:34 am ET

CTU 'Stand Up To The Fat Cats' Video Mocks Chicago Mayor, Education Reformers

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The Chicago Teachers Union is out with an incendiary video targeting city officials through a made-up scary cartoon bedtime story called "The Fat Cats."

The video accuses Mayor Rahm Emanuel ("The Rahminator") of bringing in "a whole litterbox full of evil cats all over the country." Those "evil cats" are a host of big wigs ranging from private equity executive and charter school advocate Bruce Rauner ("Rowdy Rauner") to Bill Gates ("Bill 'The Fence'") that CTU says are scheming to privatize public education and eliminate the union "once and for all."


The union "seeks to rally the public against corporate infiltration in public education and encourage them to join the fight to provide resources and support for neighborhood schools," union officials said in a statement Monday, calling the video "a spotlight on the history of corporate school reform in Chicago and proposed 20th century advancements that ultimately led to the deterioration of many of the city's schools."

The video shows the September teachers strike that pushed a contentious two-week labor battle into the national spotlight. It comes just days after the union released a report that calls the Chicago's school system one of "educational apartheid."

Describing that report, CTU President Karen Lewis said "the attack on public schools is endemic," and she has sought to fight the city's plans to close dozens of public schools with falling enrollment. Hundreds of teachers and community supporters took to the streets last month in protest of the closures, which Lewis says are a way for the city to shift money into non-unionized charter schools. Emanuel seeks to open 60 charter schools over the next four years, 14 next fall.

The city later announced a five-year moratorium on shuttering schools after the current plan is completed 2013. But the video's release shows that the union doesn't think that's enough. CTU also plans to distribute a Fat Cat coloring book.

Those on the other side aren't amused.

"To be lectured by a leader of a failed union who protects a failed school system would be laughable if it were not so sad," Rauner, the charter school advocate, told the Chicago Sun-Times. "These union leaders are a joke, just not a funny one."

Becky Carroll, chief communications officer for Chicago Public Schools, told NBC Chicago that "mean-spirited tactics" are steps backwards in reforming and improving education for the city's children.

"These attacks do a disservice to our students and their families as it distracts the public conversation away from the very serious problems in our school communities today," Carroll said. "It's time for these attacks to stop and time to start talking about how we can work collaboratively to address $1 billion deficit facing CPS next year and the work that must be done to right-size our District so we can better invest our limited resources in all our children."



Chicago Teachers Strike
Chicago Teachers Strike