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  1. #1
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    BetteDavisEyes is offline "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."
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    Detroit Teacher Sickout Enters Second Day

    Second day of sickouts closes 90-plus Detroit schools

    James David Dickson, The Detroit News 7:38 a.m. EDT May 3, 2016

    For the second straight day to start the month of May, an abnormally high amount of Detroit Public Schools teachers calling in sick has resulted in massive school closures in Michigan’s largest public school district.

    As of 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, the list of closed schools is up to 94. A union-sponsored protest Monday also closed 94 of the district’s 97 schools.

    This school year, DPS’ 47,000 students have lost more than 1 million hours of classroom instruction.

    On Monday, Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, said: “At an absolutely critical time for a city on the path to recovery, Detroit’s next generation has now lost more than 1,000,000 instruction hours they will never recover to cheap political stunts.” ...

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/new...ools/83862718/

    http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/d...out-on-tuesday

  2. #2
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    I love seeing teachers trying to fight back. Somehow politicians have been able to convince many in the populace that teachers are the cause of the education and funding crisis in this country. It's mind boggling. I went to pick my son up after school today at 4:30 (he's in an after school biking club). School ends at 3:15. I said hi to 5 teachers within walking half of a corridor. Still at work. My sister worked for 6-7 hours on Sunday, doing things she doesn't have time to do while in the classroom. That is typical for her. It's time people stopped looking at schools as warehouses for their kids during the day, and stopped looking at teachers as nurses/babysitters. I back the teachers 100%. And for people who say, "They must not care very much about the kids, if they're willing to close down the schools"....if some parents, school administrators, school board members, politicians and tax payers cared half as much about the kids, or the quality of the education teachers are expected to provide with little to no support, as do the teachers, the teachers wouldn't have been driven to take the drastic measure of picketing instead of teaching.

  3. #3
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    I don't know, I disagree with the strategy. They are lying and then at the same time wanting my respect. Sorry, I don't want liars teaching my kids. I also think that the constant "teachers work so hard" mantra can backfire. There are many, many professions which require people to work hard and to work outside of their normal work hours. Those jobs are typically 12 month jobs too and yet I don't hear contingents of chefs, nurses, air traffic controllers, police officers, accountants, etc. constantly telling everyone how hard they have to work and how they are at work at 2 a.m., etc. It's like when a 20 year-old keeps telling you how mature they are, you start to wonder how mature they really are.

    As professionals, the best strategy might be to show up every day at your job and do the best job you can. Demand pay for your own abilities, success, and devotion to your job vs advocating that everyone, good and bad, be paid the same. Demand accountability from administration for the budget. Don't just complain about funding, be specific. How much, to the dollar, more money do you need to make your school a successful school? What exactly will that money be spent on? What's the timeline for seeing improvement? Every politician who comes to my door saying they are for more funding for public education can't answer the simple question of how much and what for. I have a sneaking suspicion it's because it will never be enough. And that's fine too, except then just say that. And, if the answer is really that no amount of money can make up for poor parenting or horrible social situations, then just say that too.

    Oh, and I'm married to a teacher so I know the devotion to the job. We've been through a lot here in Wisconsin regarding teachers and funding for public education, but no matter what his feelings are, he'd never dream of calling in sick out of spite.

  4. #4
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    I weep for the state of Michigan. The current Governor seems to have implemented policies to gut multiple urban areas. There is no doubt that Detroit Schools have been severely challenged--from within as well as without, considering the recent revelations of vendor kickbacks to various administrators for goods purchased but never received.

    Frankly, at this point, given the utilization of Emergency Managers lands the responsibility for issues in Detroit Schools, as well as the Flint water situation, directly in the lap of the Governor. He should be tarred, feathered and driven out of town on a rail.

  5. #5
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    BetteDavisEyes is offline "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."
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    School resumes as pay promise buoys teachers

    Shawn D. Lewis, James David Dickson and Mark Hicks, The Detroit News 7:18 a.m. EDT May 4, 2016

    After two days of a sickout that shut most of Detroit’s public schools, the teachers union said Tuesday evening it would urge members to go back to work Wednesday after the district’s leader guaranteed they would be paid this summer.

    The interim president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, Ivy Bailey, received a letter from Emergency Manager Steven Rhodes assuring that checks would not be stopped June 30 for most teachers, as Rhodes previously warned, according to a union statement.

    While some issues still needed to be addressed, Bailey told reporters after a union meeting Tuesday evening that the assurance was a partial victory. “We feel we got what we asked for,” she said.

    During the meeting at the Fellowship Chapel, DFT members were told of the letter and encouraged to report to school Wednesday...

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/new...ools/83862718/

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Margo/Mom View Post
    I weep for the state of Michigan. The current Governor seems to have implemented policies to gut multiple urban areas. There is no doubt that Detroit Schools have been severely challenged--from within as well as without, considering the recent revelations of vendor kickbacks to various administrators for goods purchased but never received.

    Frankly, at this point, given the utilization of Emergency Managers lands the responsibility for issues in Detroit Schools, as well as the Flint water situation, directly in the lap of the Governor. He should be tarred, feathered and driven out of town on a rail.

    Couldn't agree more. It's beyond shameful. His willful negligence and disregard is nothing short of criminal.

  7. #7
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    I agree that there appears to be a great deal of corruption in Detroit/ Flint and Michigan. However, I strongly disapprove of professional public servants (teachers, nurses, police, firefighters, etc) striking, or doing an end run around state law (which is what these teachers did, because teacher strikes are illegal in MI) and doing “sick outs”. It’s irresponsible, immature, and thoroughly unprofessional, IMO. Children’s safety was put at risk by their immature, irresponsible “sick out.” Nothing about that behavior is about good things for “the students”, or making education better. It’s deplorable, IMO. This kind of behavior is EXACTLY why so many people have such a bad impression of licensed professionals unionizing. Licensed professionals, IMO, have no business unionizing. It's unconscionable, and unprofessional, IMO. IMO, public education would be far better without teacher unions. (And yes, there are several K-12 teachers in my family.)

    I strongly disapprove of unions for licensed professionals and public servants. I understand the teachers have complaints and issues with their contracts, but holding families, students, and districts “hostage” while they play around with their little “sick out” vacation, is exactly the worst way to go about positive negotiations and making positive changes. Licensed professionals are not disaffected, minimally educated, and marginalized “factory workers” (the original laborers who unionized)—as educated professionals, they should not be using these kind of deplorable coercive union tactics. It’s beyond offensive, IMO. They should all be fired for what they did, IMO. Plenty of teachers are out of work, and would love to have their jobs.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by K_Z View Post
    I agree that there appears to be a great deal of corruption in Detroit/ Flint and Michigan. However, I strongly disapprove of professional public servants (teachers, nurses, police, firefighters, etc) striking, or doing an end run around state law (which is what these teachers did, because teacher strikes are illegal in MI) and doing “sick outs”. It’s irresponsible, immature, and thoroughly unprofessional, IMO. Children’s safety was put at risk by their immature, irresponsible “sick out.” Nothing about that behavior is about good things for “the students”, or making education better. It’s deplorable, IMO. This kind of behavior is EXACTLY why so many people have such a bad impression of licensed professionals unionizing. Licensed professionals, IMO, have no business unionizing. It's unconscionable, and unprofessional, IMO. IMO, public education would be far better without teacher unions. (And yes, there are several K-12 teachers in my family.)

    I strongly disapprove of unions for licensed professionals and public servants. I understand the teachers have complaints and issues with their contracts, but holding families, students, and districts “hostage” while they play around with their little “sick out” vacation, is exactly the worst way to go about positive negotiations and making positive changes. Licensed professionals are not disaffected, minimally educated, and marginalized “factory workers” (the original laborers who unionized)—as educated professionals, they should not be using these kind of deplorable coercive union tactics. It’s beyond offensive, IMO. They should all be fired for what they did, IMO. Plenty of teachers are out of work, and would love to have their jobs.

    I applaud the sick out, and wish every sector of the workforce were unionized. Management is management anywhere and in every profession, white collar or blue collar or shirtless. Workers' needs and rights are always secondary to management's, and too easily disregarded or trampled upon without effective, organized resistance.

    I'm willing to bet most folks aren't aware that in post WWII America, when unions first took strong root, management often didn't oppose and even favored unionization. It wasn't until the late 1970's early 1980's that a very well funded and organized political effort began to destroy unions. Remember the air traffic controllers?

    Bravo to the union organizers, leaders, and members who built the American middle class, even if the current (declining) American middle class has no memory of or appreciation for their contributions.
    Last edited by Hope4More; 05-04-2016 at 05:37 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hope4More View Post
    I applaud the sick out, and wish every sector of the workforce were unionized. Management is management anywhere and in every profession, white collar or blue collar or shirtless. Workers' needs and rights are always secondary to management's, and too easily disregarded or trampled upon without effective, organized resistance.

    I'm willing to bet most folks aren't aware that in post WWII America, when unions first took strong root, management often didn't oppose and even favored unionization. It wasn't until the late 1970's early 1980's that a very well funded and organized political effort began to destroy unions. Remember the air traffic controllers?

    Bravo to the union organizers, leaders, and members who built the American middle class, even if the current (declining) American middle class has no memory of or appreciation for their contributions.
    I think you're right, Hope. People just have no idea what it was like before unions, and have been manipulated by politicians into blaming unions for plant closures, economic failures and hardship that is really just being caused by changing markets, globalization and corporate greed. I have the advantage of knowing both sides pretty well. My father was in management his whole career, and my father-in-law was his union's representative. Even my dad (one daughter a nurse, one a teacher) is disgusted with what the governor of my state was able to pull off by breaking unions. Not so much that the unions are gone, (although he does feel employees need protections) but that he was able to convince people that teachers are the enemy and are responsible for the education budget crisis. I'm a nurse, but have never been fortunate enough to have been a union member. A union tried to come in to the first hospital I worked in in the 90s; we were told by administration we'd be fired if we pursued unionizing (illegal, by the way). Anyway, it's very scary to see what is going on in hospitals now as unions are being dismantled. Nurse pt. ratios have never been very safe, but now, without union support, nurse/pt. ratios go out the window again, unsafe shift rotations start back up, very little say in equipment purchasing (we had an ACCOUNTANT pick out our IV pumps), being forced to work on units not in our areas of expertise, all things that really impact the ability to deliver SAFE care. It's awful. It looks like the teachers took the drastic measure they needed to take in order to be heard and to be taken seriously. The faux outrage has been predictable. "But what about the children!!!!!" Heh. More like, "What about the inconvenience to meeeeee! Where am I gonna stash my kid!!!!! You mean they're MY responsibility????" LOL. Hopefully negotiations will go forward in true faith on the part of the administration, and teachers can get back to what they really want to be doing: teaching.

  10. #10
    BetteDavisEyes's Avatar
    BetteDavisEyes is offline "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."
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    Michigan House approves $500 million funding plan for Detroit Public Schools

    Money would help district pay off debt, but doesn't include a commission


    Posted: 11:15 PM, May 04, 2016
    Updated: 7:16 AM, May 05, 2016

    LANSING, Mich. -

    After 15 hours of mostly private meetings, the Michigan House approved a $500 million restructuring plan for the ailing Detroit Public Schools.

    House lawmakers started session Wednesday and emerged early Thursday morning to approve a plan that's aimed at easing teachers' fears they won't be paid. The Detroit Federation of Teachers held a two-day sick-out this week over the concerns...

    http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/v...ted-in-lansing

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/new...lion/83956108/


  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by animlzrule View Post
    I think you're right, Hope. People just have no idea what it was like before unions, and have been manipulated by politicians into blaming unions for plant closures, economic failures and hardship that is really just being caused by changing markets, globalization and corporate greed. I have the advantage of knowing both sides pretty well. My father was in management his whole career, and my father-in-law was his union's representative. Even my dad (one daughter a nurse, one a teacher) is disgusted with what the governor of my state was able to pull off by breaking unions. Not so much that the unions are gone, (although he does feel employees need protections) but that he was able to convince people that teachers are the enemy and are responsible for the education budget crisis. I'm a nurse, but have never been fortunate enough to have been a union member. A union tried to come in to the first hospital I worked in in the 90s; we were told by administration we'd be fired if we pursued unionizing (illegal, by the way). Anyway, it's very scary to see what is going on in hospitals now as unions are being dismantled. Nurse pt. ratios have never been very safe, but now, without union support, nurse/pt. ratios go out the window again, unsafe shift rotations start back up, very little say in equipment purchasing (we had an ACCOUNTANT pick out our IV pumps), being forced to work on units not in our areas of expertise, all things that really impact the ability to deliver SAFE care. It's awful. It looks like the teachers took the drastic measure they needed to take in order to be heard and to be taken seriously. The faux outrage has been predictable. "But what about the children!!!!!" Heh. More like, "What about the inconvenience to meeeeee! Where am I gonna stash my kid!!!!! You mean they're MY responsibility????" LOL. Hopefully negotiations will go forward in true faith on the part of the administration, and teachers can get back to what they really want to be doing: teaching.

    How disturbing, your story of what is happening in hospitals. And unsurprising, sadly.

    I think this election is demonstrating that a great many Americans feel that something is fundamentally wrong with how things are, but that many of us feel powerless to force a change in course. It is for sure a strange, unsettling time.

    As for unions. I learned of unions firsthand when I attended a very academically exclusive, very expensive private college. During the second semester of my first year there, the unionized maintenance workers went on strike. Every day dozens of mostly black workers walked a picket line at the college entrance, and every day an almost entirely white faculty would drive right on by them, as would the almost entirely white commuting students.

    I went on down to the picket line within a few days of the strike, at first because I felt so uncomfortable with the stark racial division the picket line had exposed. My edclusive college suddenly looked and felt like a plantation, and I had no interest in playing southern Belle.

    So I went to the line, spoke with workers, and couldn't have been more appalled. Even as unionized workers, what they were being paid wasn't enough to support themselves, much less their families, and none of them had been given even a cost of living raise in over 10 years.

    That first day I walked the picket line with them in order to hear their stories. The next day I walked the picket line with them in solidarity, and within a few weeks my parents were watching local TV news about the march into town I helped organize, a march of workers, professors, and students, all chanting support of those workers' right to a decent wage.

    All that and more for UNIONIZED workers. The experience opened my eyes, and decades later, they remain wide open.

  12. #12
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    I'm not going to talk about maintenance workers, or nurses, because this thread is about teachers, at the urging of their union and co-workers, acting out with an illegal strike/ "sick out" to protest something that hadn't even happened . THAT is the issue.

    I love K-12 teachers, and know many, many of them. They are very dedicated people who would flourish even more professionally, without the stranglehold of the union, and the bullying and coercive tactics of their peers related to union demands, IMO. I don’t like anything about K-12 teacher unions, and I strongly believe that the unions are holding back performance, suppressing professionalism, treating them like children, or unskilled/ uneducated workers, and hobbling public education in general. Everything is about the almighty contract, and holding Boards (and students, and parents) hostage to ever-increasing demands, that have absolutely nothing at all to do with students or education in the classroom. Get rid of the K-12 public teacher unions, and public education will improve, IMO. Charters and private schools seem to make do just fine without unions, and have no problem hiring qualified teachers.

    Look at the reality—how deplorable is it that the union encouraged (bullied!) staff into 2 days of a “sick out”, to do an end run around STATE LAW that prevents strikes?? What kind of horrible message does that send to parents, STUDENTS, and citizens??? That you can just ignore any law you don’t particularly like, as long as you bully all your friends and co-workers into breaking the law, too?? Sick message for ANY educator to be sending. They should all be fired, and have to re-apply for their jobs, IMO. At a minimum, every participating teacher should be fined, reprimanded formally in writing, and docked pay for the 2 days they had their “sick out.”

    Not a single one of them was denied a paycheck. They had their little tantrum "sick out" because they THOUGHT they MIGHT not be paid in the summertime. Which means they PRE-EMPTIVELY chose to "strike" both illegally, and for no particularly good, factual, imminent reason. AND during the school year, during precious class time. That's deplorable, IMO. They could have handled this so much better, and more professionally, than forcing the shut down of 40 some odd schools in the last few weeks of the school year. Talk about a knee-jerk, impulsive reaction to something that hasn't even happened! Sheesh!

    Edited to add:

    I don’t have a problem with low skill and uneducated labor unionizing to ensure they have safe working conditions, and access to a benefit package commensurate with their position and training. These workers are the most likely to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers. However, I’m specifically opposed to educated and licensed professionals being unionized, or the other euphemism “collective bargaining.” I won’t get into the nursing issues, as this thread is a teacher situation, but I will say that I strongly believe that a large majority of the teacher contract issues could be easily solved with eliminating teacher unions, and hiring teachers at an hourly wage in a full time status (12 months a year), like almost all other professionals. The idea of 9 month contracts for teachers, IMO, is ridiculous—but it is a sacred cow that most K-12 public teachers are not willing to let go of. The seniority system needs to be completely overhauled, IMO, as well, and the idea of “tenure” eliminated. Tenure is a specific system that applies to university professors (to prevent such things as discrimination for research topics and research publishing), that has somehow been adopted as a very warped idea by the K-12 union system. K-12 teachers are not at all the same as university professors in terms of their job responsibilities. K-12 teachers are not subject to "publish or perish" pressures, nor do they have to recruit grants and funding for their research. It's just silly to pretend K-12 teachers "need" a tenure system to be able to do their jobs effectively. IMO.
    Last edited by K_Z; 05-05-2016 at 12:51 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hope4More View Post
    How disturbing, your story of what is happening in hospitals. And unsurprising, sadly.

    I think this election is demonstrating that a great many Americans feel that something is fundamentally wrong with how things are, but that many of us feel powerless to force a change in course. It is for sure a strange, unsettling time.

    As for unions. I learned of unions firsthand when I attended a very academically exclusive, very expensive private college. During the second semester of my first year there, the unionized maintenance workers went on strike. Every day dozens of mostly black workers walked a picket line at the college entrance, and every day an almost entirely white faculty would drive right on by them, as would the almost entirely white commuting students.

    I went on down to the picket line within a few days of the strike, at first because I felt so uncomfortable with the stark racial division the picket line had exposed. My edclusive college suddenly looked and felt like a plantation, and I had no interest in playing southern Belle.

    So I went to the line, spoke with workers, and couldn't have been more appalled. Even as unionized workers, what they were being paid wasn't enough to support themselves, much less their families, and none of them had been given even a cost of living raise in over 10 years.

    That first day I walked the picket line with them in order to hear their stories. The next day I walked the picket line with them in solidarity, and within a few weeks my parents were watching local TV news about the march into town I helped organize, a march of workers, professors, and students, all chanting support of those workers' right to a decent wage.

    All that and more for UNIONIZED workers. The experience opened my eyes, and decades later, they remain wide open.

    Good for you. You received a better education during those days that you interacted with those strikers than if you had actually gone to classes. I'm hopeful that eventually the pendulum will have to swing back the other way and the fight for worker's rights will gain momentum. Sadly, things are probably going to have to get a lot worse before they get better. I'm happy for the teachers, that their paycheck will be secured for the time being (supposedly) but the house passed an absolutely terrible bill. It's pretty clear that the main goal on the Republican side is to just privatize everything. Charter schools continue to be championed rather than committing to a good faith effort to fix the public system. It's clear that there is no respect for teachers, and no consideration being given to the welfare of the students in the district. They continue to spend all their time and effort on penalizing teachers for trying to call attention to the deplorable conditions in which they are expected to teach, and in which students are expected to learn. Lack of text books, overcrowded rooms, lack of technology, obstacles to getting students interventions that they need not only in school, but in their home situations..... how on earth are they supposed to do their job without any support?? I suppose that is easier than actually implementing any bipartisan reforms. And, of course, the leader of Detroit Public Schools is blaming the teachers for the outcome of the bill. How sad is it that he will not advocate for the teachers and the schools??? I wonder who's pocket he is in? Oh well. The teachers did the right thing, and hopefully they will be an inspiration to other teachers across the country. It's so hard to take drastic measures when your livelihood is being dangled over your head. I really feel for them. It sounds like Detroit is going to let it's district fail.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by animlzrule View Post
    Good for you. You received a better education during those days that you interacted with those strikers than if you had actually gone to classes. I'm hopeful that eventually the pendulum will have to swing back the other way and the fight for worker's rights will gain momentum. Sadly, things are probably going to have to get a lot worse before they get better. I'm happy for the teachers, that their paycheck will be secured for the time being (supposedly) but the house passed an absolutely terrible bill. It's pretty clear that the main goal on the Republican side is to just privatize everything. Charter schools continue to be championed rather than committing to a good faith effort to fix the public system. It's clear that there is no respect for teachers, and no consideration being given to the welfare of the students in the district. They continue to spend all their time and effort on penalizing teachers for trying to call attention to the deplorable conditions in which they are expected to teach, and in which students are expected to learn. Lack of text books, overcrowded rooms, lack of technology, obstacles to getting students interventions that they need not only in school, but in their home situations..... how on earth are they supposed to do their job without any support?? I suppose that is easier than actually implementing any bipartisan reforms. And, of course, the leader of Detroit Public Schools is blaming the teachers for the outcome of the bill. How sad is it that he will not advocate for the teachers and the schools??? I wonder who's pocket he is in? Oh well. The teachers did the right thing, and hopefully they will be an inspiration to other teachers across the country. It's so hard to take drastic measures when your livelihood is being dangled over your head. I really feel for them. It sounds like Detroit is going to let it's district fail.

    I agree completely that the privatization of public schools is the ultimate goal of many in many places, not just in Detroit. In my state, anyway, teachers’ unions are the chief obstacle preventing that takeover from happening. One reason to be thankful for teachers’ unions.

    Having seen a failed urban school system up close, I am well aware what those teachers are up against. The miracle IMO is that any of them ever last longer than one year.

    In reality, even in more optimal school districts, teachers aren't paid or treated as professionals. Never have been, no doubt because in the US teachers have always been largely female.

  15. #15
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    I think privatization of urban public schools has proven to be an incredibly successful model for improving academic achievement in minority populations. KIPP schools, for example, have a 20 year track record of incredible success and college matriculation.

    Now granted, parents of minorities who seek out KIPP and other private and charter schools with models like these, are disproportionately supportive (compared to typical urban families) of academic success, and seek out a highly structured academic environment with high expectations for behavior and compliance. With that kind of parent/ guardian support, and an extended school day, high expectations, and removal from the stressors of their urban environment for as many hours a day as possible, these disadvantaged kids are nurtured and excel personally and academically. But all of THAT is not "politically correct" as an educational vision, and education policy. And the unions vehemently argue against those models.

    http://www.kipp.org/

    We know these models "work" to close the achievement gap. We know this from hard data on graduation rates, test scores, college attendance and graduation, and lifetime success. But this model is rejected by teachers, unions, legislators, racial activists, and educational policy wonks. They seem to want EVERYONE to fail equally, IMO. They are angry when charters succeed, and try to eliminate them as a choice, rather than examining why they succeed, and celebrating their success. That's really screwed up, IMO.

    So you really have to scratch your head and ask who it is that is so vehemently working to prevent academic success in urban schools.

    The answer is NOT "more money" per student. Chicago spends more than twice per pupil than any other district in the country, and has some of the worst academic measures of success and graduation. If money is the answer, money per student, and more for teacher salaries, then why is academic success not the highest where the most money is spent? We all know the answer to that. It's the disadvantaged and dysfunctional social environment these students are in at home and in their communities. And we simply can't "fix" that with the current public school model in the urban inner cities.

    We have to start looking at the problems and challenges of urban education in minority populations differently if we ever expect to close the achievement gap. Personally, I don't think we are capable of doing that as a nation. Not because it isn't "possible" to close the achievement gap, but because so many people are unwilling to name, face, and openly talk about the REAL problems that affect academic failure and success. And most of the reasons for failure, IMO, fall on the families and communities of the struggling and failing students. That's not PC to say out loud when you're talking about failure.

    We have to pretend that it's a money problem, and come up with all kinds of blame and excuses to make "the government" and "administrators" the surrogate for why urban schools are failing. Money is only one tiny part of the problem. And in situations like this sick out/ strike, the teachers and unions, IMO, are very clearly part of the problem why these urban schools are failing.

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