HomeSchool Reform NewsChicago Teachers Union Cancels In-Person Classes

Chicago Teachers Union Cancels In-Person Classes

Chicago Public Schools remained closed the first week of the new year in a move orchestrated by the teacher’s union (CTA).

A majority of teachers in the Chicago Public School system voted to start the year with online learning due to the surge in coronavirus cases. The next possible day of in-person learning will be January 18, reports CBS News in Chicago.

Schools were cancelled with barely seven hours of advance notice as the vote was taken during the night after the parents of the 300,000 Chicago public school children were likely already asleep, reports PJ Media.

Children’s Safety Excuse

Union leaders state that the decision was based on safety needs of children, RedState reports.

“Our schools are safe,” said Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez, at a press conference. “There is no evidence that our schools have ever been unsafe this school year.”

Chicago Public Schools issued a statement in response to the threat of a union strike. “A vote to stop reporting to work would cause profound harm to children’s learning and health and be another damaging blow to the well-being of our students and their families,” the statement reads.

“There are no good explanations here,” writes Kira Davis for RedState. “There is nothing that can make this make sense for the parents who have already been through hell trying to maintain the learning progress of their children while simultaneously trying to figure out how they go to work and care for their young ones.”

“To be as frank as possible, these large teachers’ unions in blue states are evil, abusive organizations,” writes Bonchi for RedState. “That may not be true for some of the more mundane ones that exist in the South, but in regards to places like Chicago, teachers unions have become a force that harms children. It’s long past time city leaders and parents stand up to them.”

Cities Held Hostage

It is not just the city of Chicago that finds itself held hostage by a powerful teachers’ union. The public schools in the city of New York have regressed educationally during the reign of Democratic Mayor de Blasio.

“Mr. de Blasio waged a war on charter schools at the behest of the teacher’s union, and a war on merit in the name of social justice, writes the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal. His obsession with racial equity led him to water down admissions to selective high schools, phase out gifted and talented programs in grade schools and punish charters at every turn. One early priority for Mr. Adams should be lobbying Albany to lift the cap on charters, which are limited to 290 in the city despite a waiting list of 48,300.”

In California, the teachers’ union (CTA) has become the top influencer in the state, The Mercury News reports. The power of the union pushed teacher issues to the top of the agenda during the pandemic. The CTA ranks third in total spending on lobbying in Sacramento since 2017.

Throughout 2021 the union used its considerable financial resources to purchase television and digital advertisements advocating for remote classrooms. California was one of the last states to return to in-class learning.

“Under the status quo, California spends $22,000 annually per child in its funding of a deteriorating public education system ruled by teachers unions promoting curricula steeped in leftist agendas on race and gender. California public schools place 40th in the rankings kept by U.S. News and World Report,” writes Tristan Justice for The Federalist.

Some parent’s groups claim that “the state deferred to the deep-pocketed teachers union at the expense of students, who continue to slog through online classes from their homes,” Solomon Moore and Harriet Blair Rowan write for The Mercury News.

Unions’ ‘Near-absolute Authority’

Teachers’ unions have gained power during the coronavirus pandemic, Washington Examiner reports. Under the Biden administration the unions are, “wielding near-absolute authority.”

“The pandemic exposed just how much control teachers unions have and how the best interests of students have played second fiddle to their own,” writes Barnini Chakraborty for Washington Examiner.

Union power successfully squashed additional charter schools in Los Angeles. In Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul the unions flexed their muscles, advancing their own agendas.

“Teachers unions in Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul teamed up with the Democratic Socialists of America to say traditional public schools could not continue without changes that included a national ban on evictions, an end to voucher programs, and the abolition of standardized testing,” Chakraborty writes.

Unions Aren’t Teachers’ ‘Voice’

“Unions claim to be the voice of the teachers,” says former teacher and founder of For Kids and Country, Rebecca Friedrichs. “They are not. They are for radical, anti-disciplinary policies. They have turned classrooms into war rooms. They embolden and empower anyone who is disobedient. They are purposely advocating for anarchy. They are emboldening lawlessness,” Friedrichs said.

Teachers’ unions wield a great deal of power, says Attorney Luis Robles. “It’s both its voters, it’s union members and the money that it has to give,” Robles says.

“The thing that that worries me is how beholden politicians are to union money and the willingness for them to look the other way,” Robles says. “You know the politician needs the unions just like the union needs a politician.”

“The other pandemic lesson is that mayors and school chancellors often don’t really control the schools. The teachers unions do,” writes the WSJ editorial board. “If politicians and school officials want to boost the academic performance of students, they have to break union control. The way to start is by forming alliances with parents by giving them more choices for where to send their children.”

Eileen Griffin
Eileen Griffin writes from Richland, Washington.

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