We’ve always assumed that public schools exist, first and foremost, to benefit the students of a community. But that’s clearly not the case in Chicago. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been pushing the idea of adding 90 minutes to the school day to improve learning for children in the city’s deeply troubled school district. He has managed to convince teachers in 13 schools to accept the longer day in exchange for cash bonuses, but the radical Chicago Teachers Union doesn’t like this idea. Union President Karen Lewis and her comrades have been going around trying to convince teachers to reject the proposal, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.
When that strategy didn’t work, the union complained to its friends at the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. In a quick decision, the board ruled 5-0 that the city was violating labor law by “luring teachers with inducements and hampering the efforts of union representatives… Because of this irreparable harm, it is necessary to immediately restore the status quo,” the board wrote in its ruling. The board will not seek to have the longer days cancelled in the 13 schools, but it has asked the Illinois attorney general to go to court to seek an injunction to prevent more schools from extending the school day.
So, the bureaucrats on this silly board are more interested in the “irreparable harm” done to the collective bargaining process than the immeasurable harm being done to students receiving a subpar education. This is a staggering illustration of the power of teachers’ unions and how they use collective bargaining to benefit themselves, regardless of how their actions affect children. Luckily, Illinois state law mandates longer school days for all public schools beginning next fall. The mayor felt an urgency to get started this year, but Lewis and company just wouldn’t hear of it.
If this all-too-true story doesn’t convince everyone that organized labor is bad for education, nothing will.