Dwight Watt - Watt Thoughts #256 9/17/2012

#256 - The Chicago Teachers ' strike and national politics (Watt Thoughts)

On first reaction looking at the teachers strike it appears we have odd fellows in the same political bed. Rahm Emanuel is asking the courts to call off the strike, Ryan is saying he agrees with Emanuel and the schools are closed.

I have realized there is more happening here than appears on the face of it.

It looks like Rahm Emanuel is taking on the unions. What it seems to be is actually Emanuel is trying to save the election for Obama. If the teachers stay on strike then they will be unemployed for purposes of September and with over 10,000 of them can run the unemployment rate up with just over a month to the election. It will be the rate cited to the election (yes another comes out days before the election but most will not notice it). So Rahm needs them back working.

Much of the news is that the strike is because Rahm wants to start using standardized scores to evaluate them. That is part of Obama's plan to improve teaching but I don't think you can measure teachers mainly on standardized tests, but that is for another time. What Emanuel also has done is lengthened the work day about 2 hours but still less than 8 hours a day. The teachers are demanding a 26% pay raise for this (with average salary at $76000 now) and Rahm says he can give 16% over 4 years and the city is massively deficit spending. In the meantime in Georgia we make a lot less, and we have not received a raise in about 3 years and do not expect one next year. At the technical college I am at we work 40 hours a week like other state employees.

So Rahm Emanuel appears to be fighting the union but is really taking a position t save his former boss's job and also to try to start reducing the city budget deficit.



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