The Chicago Tribune continues to browbeat and humiliate any and all Illinois legislators who dared to vote against the pension reform proposal that the Tribune is endorsing. The Tribune even singled out individual legislators in a series of lengthy lead editorials. The newspaper used the word “coward” to describe legislators who abstained from voting.
Here is a tip for the Chicago Tribune: People do not like to be humiliated and they especially don’t like it when it is seen by thousands of people. The Tribune’s refusal to see any other side of the pension issue has blinded them to any sense of impartiality and has caused them to act in an obnoxious and bullying way.
I firmly believe that the bullying and humiliation tactics have caused many legislators to work even harder than they already were to defeat the pension reform proposals. If the Tribune keeps up its childish behavior, we may never have any pension reform, at least not the kind the newspaper favors. That would be a good thing.
I could almost always tell which of my students didn’t have a father at home.
If we want to solve the so-called “education crisis” in America, let’s start by finding a way to end the large percentage of absentee fathers among poor inner-city families.
That should be goal number one.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY.
The Chicago Public School Administrators are about to fire 420 teachers. More than a third of the teachers have tenure, but they were rated either unsatisfactory or satisfactory. The teachers union contract protects only those teachers with excellent or superior ratings.
Tenured teachers being fired ? Yes, folks, it’s not all that uncommon. The Chicago Teachers Union is one of the most powerful teachers union in the nation, and even their tenured teachers can be fired if not EXCELLENT OR SUPERIOR.
I get so irritated whenever I hear the latest millionaire hedge fund manager explain how we have an education crisis because incompetent teachers can’t be fired. The level of competency among teachers is no different than in any other profession. Probably 10% of teachers are incompetent, just like 10% of doctors, lawyers, plumbers, farmers, hedge fund managers and all other professions that exist.
There are procedures in place in every school district that allow for tenured teachers to be fired. What the tenured system does, is to provide certain guarantees that a teacher will get due process before they are fired. It’s no more difficult to fire a tenured teacher than it is for a doctor, dentist or lawyer to be fired and or lose their license. If you want to find a system that overly protects incompetence, check out how difficult it is for a doctor to lose their license.
If a disgruntled student should falsely accuse a teacher of inappropriate sexual contact, that teacher will be led out of the classroom in handcuffs and they will be assumed to be guilty until they work to prove their innocence. If a patient accuses a doctor of sexual misconduct, that doctor is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The idea that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty is one of the founding principals that elevated this country above all others at the time it was founded. Teachers actually have less protections than other professions in many areas because teachers are dealing with a most precious commodity, children. Teachers should be held to a high standard compared to other professions and I believe they already are. The idea that incompetent teachers are protected by unions is a ridiculous myth.
How many times do I have to remind teachers that they have no rights and must do whatever their principal and or school district directs them to do ?
A Batavia High School teacher who told students they had a constitutional right not to answer a school survey about drug and alcohol use has been warned to keep his opinions about all future district initiatives to himself or risk losing his job.
What was this teacher thinking ? You are a teacher ! The school district doesn’t care about your opinions, just pass out the surveys, collect them, and then you can get back to your social studies curriculum. Let this be a lesson to all future and current teachers. Keep your opinions to yourself and do as you’re told.
According to the newspaper, this was not the first time this teacher has been reprimanded by the district. In 2011, he received a letter of reprimand for telling a student to “put those coins away or I’m going to shove them up your (expletive).” I suppose this teacher thought he had a constitutional right to say that. Let this also be a lesson for all teachers. The 1950′s easy authoritarian way of disciplining students is long gone.
Perhaps this teacher should have responded to the district in the manner in which he responded to the student’s coin disruption. He should have told the school district to, “take your reprimand and warning and shove them up your (expletive)”. Then he could have been persuaded to take early retirement and gone on to work in some profession where people actually are allowed to voice opinions about things in the workplace.
The Batavia School District leaders who came up with the well-intentioned survey also deserve a special mention for being somewhat out of touch. The district thought this would be a way to help identify students with alcohol or drug problems and then refer them for help. These district leaders must also be living back in the 1950′s. Did they actually think students would be completely honest with their answers? They expected high school students to be honest about drugs and alcohol use after putting their names on the survey form ?
Here’s a “heads up” for the school district leaders. If I may quote my favorite no-nonsense, authoritarian judge, known as “Judge Judy”. The judge had a little advice for a particularly naive parent who couldn’t believe that their teenage son had lied to her. The judge said something like, “he’s a teenager, that’s what teenagers do, they lie.”
Nurses, dentists and psychologists asked the Illinois legislature for more authority to make medical decisions, but lawmakers sided each time with doctors and turned them down. It was a victory for the Illinois State Medical Society which was representing the doctors who weren’t about to let anyone infringe on their professional turf.
Real professionals don’t acknowledge that anyone might be able to understand their work and possibly be qualified enough to accomplish what they can. Dr. Eldon Trame, president of the Illinois State Medical Society said the following, “from the position of safety, we want to make sure no one is practicing beyond their abilities.”
I have a dream that one day teachers might actually be viewed as professionals who know what’s best for their students. Teachers might actually have the power to control curriculum, testing, and all aspects of their craft. I have a dream that one day everyone and their cousin will stop pretending to be an expert on education. I have a dream that wealthy hedge fund operators will keep their noses out of the arena of education. I have a dream that one day politicians, business leaders and the general public will allow teachers to do their job and actually give them the necessary tools to do so. I have a dream that one day teachers will have the same respect and power as any professional should have. I have a dream that one day teachers will be outraged when anyone tries to infringe on their professional turf, just like doctors are outraged by the suggestion that just a tiny part of their decision-making might be taken away from them. I have a dream that one day all teachers will stand up and scream for all the world to hear them, “we are the experts in education, now leave us alone and let us do our job.”
Teaching once was a real profession, today it’s a career, not a profession. Let’s all work to get its professional standing back. The first step is to stop non teachers and would be education experts from, “practicing beyond their abilities.”
The teacher-bashing, union destroying, pension ending, public school critic Bruce Rauner has officially announced his candidacy for governor of Illinois. The wealthy venture capitalist is on a mission to end teacher-unions and do away with the pension system altogether.
Here is Rauner’s quote about the teacher pensions. “Frankly, the historic system is absolutely unaffordable and incredibly generous, it’s way beyond anything that the average voters and people of Illinois get in their private-sector jobs and it’s not right that taxpayers should be funding a pension system that’s so much more generous than they get in their own lives.”
Hey, Mr. Rauner, how about I trade you my generous $26,000 a year pension for just one of your many millions of dollars ? I don’t think you could learn to live on my pension amount. You surely couldn’t have gotten your daughter into the prestigious Walter Peyton College Prep School in Chicago without using your millions of dollars worth of influence. You didn’t even live in Chicago at the time! I encourage everyone to investigate how you managed that. When asked whether Rauner lobbied top Chicago Public School officials for a favor, spokesman Mike Schrimpf said Rauner “is not going to make his children part of the political process.”
He might not want to make his own children part of the political process but he sure has no problem making the other school children in Illinois a part of his politics. He has gone out of his way in the past to destroy the public school system in Illinois. He’s just one of many wealthy people who have all the answers as to what ails public education and yet has no background in the field of education and is completely out of touch with what living in poverty is really like.
Illinois teachers need to start working to defeat Mr. Rauner. We have enough teacher-bashers in society, we don’t need one in the governor’s office.
Senator Mark Kirk’s proposal for mass arrests to dismantle Chicago’s Gangster Disciples street gang was criticized by Representative Bobby Rush who described the plan as an, “upper-middle-class, white-boy solution.”
Of course Kirk’s plan is ridiculous since there are approximately 18,000 Gangster Disciples. What is not ridiculous is that a politician actually had the courage to suggest it’s high time to do SOMETHING about the free pass given to street gangs all across this country. These gang members impose way more damage than the terrorist group al-Qaeda could ever dream of. These gang members are the worst kind of terrorists, responsible for thousands of deaths each year and untold damage to the communities that they live in.
I don’t have an “upper-middle-class, white-boy solution”, but I do have a “lower-middle-class white-boy solution.”
The city of Chicago needs to follow the lead of several of its suburbs who have taken legal action against the gangs that plague their communities. These gangs have been successfully sued for thousands of dollars. The same strategy should be employed in Chicago. In addition, the RICO ACT should be employed to arrest and put all the gang leaders in prison. It would be feasible to imprison just the leaders. Make it common knowledge, if you want to be a gang leader, we are coming after you until you are put away.
The ideal solution would be to address the poverty and other conditions which lead to gang membership, but that is never going to be fixed as long as “upper-middle-class white-boys” run the government in the United States. Until poverty and all the other problems of our inner-cities are solved, we need to address this gang problem. The inner-city problems should not be used as an excuse to ignore the obvious. These gang members are terrorists. Worse terrorists than al-Qaeda. Declare war on these terrorists and criminals. Bobby Rush and others who make excuses for gang members are not helping the situation. The name of the worst gang in Chicago is not, “The Unfortunate Inner City Young Mens Club”, it’s the “GANGSTER Disciples”. What part of GANGSTER doesn’t Rush understand ?