The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Rahm Emanuel:
A Bully Attacks the Schools

Sep 19, 2011

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has declared war on Chicago teachers and their union. At issue is the length of the school day. Mayor Emanuel wants elementary students in school for an hour and a half longer every school day. In exchange, he’s “offered” teachers a two% raise. This comes after Emanuel’s school board refused to pay teachers a four% raise called for in their contract.

The teachers union, noting that the extra money comes out to $3.50 for every extra hour of work, turned down Emanuel’s proposal.

Since Emanuel could not bully the teachers and their union, he’s turned to picking off individual schools. Principals have used pressure tactics and bribes at some smaller elementary schools to break them away from the union.

But out of 477 Chicago elementary schools, Emanuel has thus far rammed his idea through at only seven.

Of course, it could benefit children to be in school longer. But there are many ways this could be carried out, without forcing teachers to work too many hours for too little pay. For starters, Chicago could hire more teachers!

But better schooling is not what Emmanuel has in mind. He just wants students off the streets and out of sight. He himself has said it.

Whatever they learn depends not on Emanuel’s bullying tactics but on whether teachers have the time needed to prepare and teach, whether books and supplies are there, whether schools are maintained adequately, whether individual help is available for students who come to school unprepared.

And Emanuel isn’t talking about this.