The Spark

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

Teachers Back the “Reformers” Off

Nov 25, 2013

In 2011, the Illinois state legislature passed Senate Bill 7 – written by an “astroturf” organization – a fake organization pretending to be grassroots – funded by Bill Gates and other so-called reformers. The law allowed Mayor Emanuel to radically lengthen the school day without negotiating with teachers – and without providing additional money to schools for necessary salary, staff, playgrounds, computer labs or programs to make a longer day worthwhile.

The law also targeted Chicago’s unionized teachers’ ability to fight back. It forbids teachers to strike unless 75% of them voted to strike. That’s not 75% of those voting – which no politician ever gets – that’s 75% of anyone eligible to vote. One of the “reformers” bragged several months later that a teachers’ strike was now “impossible,” leaving the mayor a free hand to attack teachers. He had to eat his words a year later – Emanuel’s full tilt attack galvanized teachers to respond: 90% of them voted to strike.

The strike, lasting a little over a week, was a slap at the mayor – a mark of the teachers’ determination not to accept his attacks.