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Del Valle defends teachers’ right to strike, backs state tax increase

Miguel del Valle. | Al Podgorski~Sun-Times

Miguel del Valle. | Al Podgorski~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 13, 2011 5:42PM

Mayoral candidate Miguel del Valle slammed candidate Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday over Emanuel’s support for a bill that would curtail Chicago teachers’ right to strike.

“Let’s stop attacking teachers,” del Valle said after a tour of Telpochcalli Elementary School on the Southwest Side. “Trying to take away teachers’ right to strike is a direct hit on the teachers. Let’s not try to punish the Chicago Teachers Union by saying ‘We are going to take away your right to strike’ when they haven’t had a strike in 23 years. I think it’s a slap in the face of teachers. I want to stop the teacher-bashing.”

Backers of the “Performance Counts” legislation, including Emanuel, hoped to pass their bill before new legislators take their seats Wednesday. But the bill, which would make it easier to fire bad teachers, appears stalled in the state Senate.

Most of the attention is focused on passing an income tax hike, which Del Valle supports, Gery Chico and Carol Moseley Braun oppose, and which Emanuel has declined to take a stand on. Part of the tax increase package is expected to be dedicated to education.

“Rahm Emanuel ought to be doing what I’m doing: urging the Illinois General Assembly to take action on the income tax increase so that we can get property tax relief, and the help for education that we desperately need,” del Valle said.

Del Valle said he is frustrated that the other candidates and even Mayor Daley are opposing the tax hike.

“The mayor says, ‘No,’ I don’t understand that. He understands that we need that money,” del Valle said. “Chico and Carol are against it — it is irresponsible [to oppose it] It is pandering at it’s worst. How can we deal with the $16 billion deficit? We need those dollars.”

Del Valle said teachers would support reasonable reforms that won’t gut their right to strike.

“Teachers are the first to want a good evaluation system that gives them ongoing feedback about their performance,” del Valle said. “Teachers also want an evaluation system that allows incompetent teachers to be weeded out of the system.”

The Chicago teachers union has not decided whether to endorse del Valle or Braun for mayor.

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