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Editorial: The teachers union bullying tactics

Protestors gather outside Chicago Board Educatiheadquarters Chicago Ill. Tuesday December 18 2012. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

Protestors gather outside of the Chicago Board of Education headquarters in Chicago, Ill., on Tuesday, December 18, 2012. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 20, 2013 6:19AM

The Chicago Teachers Union has crossed the line.

It has gone from fiery and justified advocacy on behalf of Chicago’s teachers and children to nasty, personal attacks and outright bullying.

Is this any way for teachers to act?

In its quest to save neighborhood schools, the union is willing do whatever it takes to rile up parents and activists. This includes distorting facts, unfairly playing the race card and demonizing anyone with a sizable bank account and an interest in helping the schools as a “fat cat.”

The latest is a video short put out by the CTU, “Stand up to the fat cats.” In it, the union mocks local philanthropists and education advocates, arguing that “fat cats” only dabble in school reform to enrich themselves and their cronies. The CTU marched to the office of one of those “Fat Cats” on Tuesday.

The video is an insult to the thousands of people who have given money to help Chicago’s schools. It also repels people who might want to support the schools. Partnerships, including those with the business world, are vital to CPS’ long-term success.

The CTU is right to call out folks who think writing a check gives them free rein to experiment with other people’s children. And we agree with some of CTU’s arguments, including opposition to a large expansion of charters while CPS is planning to close under-used schools. Five new charters face a vote on Wednesday.

But the CTU fails to acknowledge that CPS didn’t create the financial challenges it is forced to operate under. The CTU also accuses CPS of targeting black neighborhood for school actions based on racist motives. CPS targets those neighborhoods because that’s where low performance and under-enrollment are most acute. The best arguments stand on their own merit. That’s how you build true and lasting support.

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