The verbal assault on teachers has reached a fevered pitch as conservatives and “education reformers” push to make it look like the Chicago Teacher Strike is about money and the demands of greedy teachers and their greedy unions, rather than the fact that Chicago teachers are actually standing up to the “education reform” industry and the politicians that support it.
Yesterday, Leonie Haimson, a leader of Parents Across America, the country’s primary public education parent group, was on CNBC.
In typical fashion, as Haimson laid out the facts about what is going on in Chicago, Larry Kudlow, the commentator asking the questions, was literally left screaming that they only fact that mattered was that “only 15 percent of fourth graders” in the Chicago public schools can read.
Of course, such a claim is completely false, but facts never seem of importance to the right-wing or those who claim to be dedicated to “reforming” education.
Yesterday also saw a Heritage Foundation talking head telling the media that the Chicago Teachers Union was demanding a “30 percent pay increase,” even though only 15 percent of the children in Chicago’s public schools can read and only 56 percent of the students graduate.
Again, the statement is completely false.
It turns out the right-wing talking points are coming from the right-wing Heartland Foundation and the right-wing National Review.
For what it is worth, Illinois’ state standardized test scores show that 62 percent of Chicago’s fourth graders meet or exceed the goal in reading and the number of students, at or above goal, in math, science and reading has been increasing.
At no time did the right-wing or the “reformers” admit that poverty, language barriers and the number of students needing special education services are the three biggest predictors of test score results. (Strange, they forget to admit that in Connecticut as well.)
And as to the reason that they falsely claim that only 15% could read?
Apparently they were “confused” between the meaning of “goal” and “proficiency,” or they knew the difference, and decided that it was just better to lie about it.
But the greatest irony of all is that it was Paul Ryan, the politician who can’t seem to ever tell the truth that actually explained what is happening in Chicago.
Yesterday Ryan proclaimed. “We stand with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.”
Adding moments later, he added, “We will stand with education reform…”
The one time Ryan tells the truth is to make it clear, the Chicago Teachers Strike is about our generation’s equivalent of the fight against the Military Industrial Complex.
There is a group of corporations, led by a group of “education reformers,” and backed by a group of Republican and Democratic politicians, all of whom are engaged in an effort to destroy public education, and hand the nation’s education system over to corporations and consultants, who can make a huge amount of money.
Meanwhile, the President of the United States hasn’t gone beyond having his spokesman say that the President doesn’t have an opinion on this strike.