Friday, September 14, 2012
Why the Chicago Teachers Strike is a "Game Changer"
Every since No Child Left behind, School Reformers promoting school closings, privatization, and the use of high stakes testing in teacher and school evaluations have had no significant political opposition and no "grass roots pushback" strong enough to make them think twice. That is, until the Chicago Teachers Strike. Yes, there was the Save Our Schools March, attracting 8,000 people, and yes, there have been petitions all over the country against high stakes testing, but none of these represented something strong enough to make those promoting school reform initiatives to back off. Shutting down the school system of the nation's third largest city, however, and filling the streets of that city with 50,000 red shirted marchers is a "game changer." It will not stop the Reform Juggernaut or even slow it's momentum, but it will encourage opponents to ratchet up their opposition to the Testing/ Privatization regime on all fronts, including strikes by teachers, test refusal by students and parents, and lawsuits against reform policies which are abusive and discriminatory. If the Save Our Schools March showed that there was significant opposition among teachers and educators to the Obama Administration's Education Policies, the Chicago Teachers Strike shows that the opposition has the power to challenge those policies in ways that command attention and respect because they are now mobilizing parents along with teachers. And anyone who thinks that this strike is the last gasp of of a dying movement may find the future holds quite a few surprises!