Jonathan Sweeney, an elementary school physical education teacher hoists a Chicago flag Tuesday at the Chicago Teachers Union rally in the Loop. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 14, 2012 1:27PM
I don’t live in Chicago, but I’ve followed the Chicago Teachers Union strike issue and realize that it is complex, with right on both sides, and that only the two parties can come to an equitable agreement.
In other words, I’m as confused as most people. However, Mitt Romney, with the clarity gained from a few hours spent in Lake Forest collecting his millions from rich people, has assessed the situation and found the teachers guilty.
Speaking as an outsider but on behalf of the people involved in this situation, one that effects thousands of lives and livelihoods, I would respectfully recommend that Romney and other political opportunists of his ilk butt out.
Thomas W. Evans, Mundelein
What teachers face
Imagine you are a teacher with 25 third-graders. It’s late August, temperatures are in the upper 90s and your school has no air conditioning. The drinking fountains are broken. You have kids in your class who are below grade level and have severe emotional problems. They can’t do the work, they cry a lot and fight with the others. Your principal doesn’t have time for your problems, and every teacher has problems.
You refer these kids to the school social worker for evaluation and appropriate placement. But she covers two other schools, so it’s not until after the Christmas holiday that she finally has time to evaluate your students. You spend more time on classroom control than on academics. You have no aide. Parents have to go to work, so they send their sick kids to school, but the nurse is at your school only one day a week. You have to administer a standardized test that is biased to white culture, but all your students are African American . . .
These were a few of the problems I faced as a teacher in Kansas City. Chicago’s teachers face the same problems. Would you like to teach under these conditions and then be blamed for a kid’s failure?
Sarah Criner, Princeton, Ill.
What’s the true value of CPS teachers?
The teachers’ strike presents opportunities for all of us. If the teachers feel that their true value is not acknowledged, they should test their true value in today’s job market. The market, at the same time, should be tested for replacement teachers and their required pay structure.
I believe the market will provide masses of unemployed and underemployed holders of mathematics, engineering and natural science degrees, along with holders of doctorates in humanities and social sciences, who will jump at the chance to work a full year for the average cash payout of the Chicago Teachers Union members, and also pay for their own health care and pension requirements. Let the market speak; let our children benefit.
Stuart Harris, Lake View
Step into my shoes, Mayor Emanuel
Mayor Emanuel, I promise to donate any raise increase once the contract is reached to a charity of your choice if you agree to do my job for a week — the lesson plans, the classroom management, all of it. But it must be during a hot week, and you must work the hours I work over and above the contractual hours and drive yourself back to the North Side in two-hour rush hour traffic each night afterward, just like I do. I will even help coach you with the planning.
Kristen Kelly, third-grade teacher
(As posted on Mayor Emanuel’s Facebook page)
Public should go on strike vs. public unions
It is high time the public went on strike against the teachers’ union and all other public employees unions. When a teacher is making twice as much as the average private/productive worker, it calls for a radical redesign of the system.
The paradigm has shifted and there is no longer the public servant. Based on the salaries and benefit packages for public-sector unions, the public is now the servant. This must end.
Pepe L. Gaibor, Longwood, Fla.