The current strike by Chicago's teachers has again brought to national attention the long-running debate about the role of standardized testing in the evaluation of the quality of teachers.
The public schools derided by so many, educated and socialized hundreds of millions. The truth that conveniently is erased from memory is that those schools, more than any other institution, made the America we celebrate.
Eliot Spitzer and Kellyanne Conway are asked: a) why did Obama got a 5 point "bounce" after both Conventions -- personality? policy? Michelle-Bill?; b) was Romney's attack on Obama during a foreign crisis a blip or blunder? Then: Are we "better off?" Are Chicago teachers and kids?
The point is, these conditions are not conducive to a healthy learning environment. And they are not conducive to a healthy teaching environment. And it's why supporting the striking teachers in Chicago is imperative. So, what are they fighting for?
As of Thursday evening, there's so far been no settlement in the teachers' strike, but optimism prevails. There's still time for what Catalyst Chicago's Rebecca Harris calls "a deal that both sides will be able to spin as a win."
School choice is a win-win: it's good for taxpayers, and good for families. The only losers are the special-interest groups that are willing to hold children hostage, educational collateral in their effort to further inflate their overgenerous compensation and excessive power.
The outcome of the Chicago Public Schools teachers' strike which centers on teachers' pay, evaluation, and tenure, will have serious implications for the city's students and teachers. It also speaks to the national debate over how our children should be taught and classrooms run.
What are the teachers worried about, to the point where they are risking not only their jobs, but their reputations? A host of popular but troubling policies -- and underlying assumptions -- that might finally get the in-depth public discussion that has been too long neglected.
Too much is at stake not to stand up. I know what it might mean if students are out of school for another week. I also know what it will mean to continue denying them the resources needed to provide the education they deserve.
Global management feels it's in the driver's seat. And because it has so little to fear, it's practically daring workers to put up a fight, utterly confident it the fact that monied interests will win in the end.
The Obama education policy certainly isn't an education policy! It is a political gamble designed to beat up on two of the Democrats' most loyal constituencies, teachers and families with children in urban schools, to show the "Billionaires Boys Club" that the administration could be tough on its friends.
Union power is no longer sacrosanct. Unions can no longer phrase the debate as "us versus them" as leaders from Cory Booker in Newark to Antonio Villaraigosa in L.A. chafe against union interests in a push to reform large urban school systems.
Sometimes classroom educators must use their "Teacher Voice" to restore sanity. That's what is happening in Chicago, where striking public school teachers are shouting "enough is enough" to test-driven school reform schemes.
Unless you are a teacher you have no idea the pain, frustration and intrinsic anger we feel when some paid radio ad claims, that "teachers are walking out on students." We are trying to teach you about how your child's education is under attack.
Life here has heated up considerably since Chicago's public school teachers declared a strike on the eve of September 9. And it's a startling, painful, dramatic, and yes, magnificent sight to behold.