At least one college professor is looking at the Chicago teacher’s strike with envy. “What should be our model to defend community college education and our working conditions?” Héctor R. Reyes , Associate Professor of Physical Science at Harold Washington College asks in the academe blog maintained by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). “I propose that it be the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE), which succeeded in turning the Chicago Teachers Union into the solid force it is today.”
Such a model may indeed lead to plush working conditions but the educational value of their output is more questionable. In a column in The Washington Times, Marybeth Hicks  looks at the impasse between the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and CORE.
“Average teacher pay in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system is $76,000,” Hicks noted. “(For reference, according to the 2010 census, median household income in Chicago is $38,625.)”
“Teachers asked for a 30 percent increase to reflect CPS’ desire to extend the elementary school day from 5 hours and 45 minutes, one of the shortest school days in the nation, to a more average 7 hours, and to add 10 school days per year. This would bring CPS’ school year closer to the national average of 180 days.”
“Even though CPS offered as much as 16 percent in pay increases over four years (who in America is getting that?) and agreed to hire additional staff and classroom aides to handle the increased workload, the union  rejected the contract. For the children.”
Meanwhile, “Current scores already prove Chicago’s students are not being educated properly, “ Hicks asserts, “and Chicago’s graduation rate is a scandalous 56 percent.”
As for CORE, “CORE’s philosophy is in line with the political and social agenda of Rethinking Schools , a curriculum development and publishing company that is part of the legacy of the late Howard Zinn,” Hicks claims. “Rethinking Schools  hopes to improve the quality of education with publications such as ‘Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word,’ ‘Rethinking  Globalization: Teaching for Justice in an Unjust World,’’Rethinking  Columbus’ (expanded second edition!) and ‘The Real Ebonics Debate’ (why teachers need to acknowledge and understand Ebonics to teach English more effectively).”
Indeed, we’ve been receiving and reviewing Rethinking Schools  for years. Among other things, they have championed:
- Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger , who openly advocated sterilization and segregation.
- Occupy Wall Street (or whatever noun you chose to put after that verb) and
- Illegal immigration.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia .
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