‘A’ Is for Agitation

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Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis walks, talks and barks like a rootsy Occupy Wall Street activist. But this Big Labor loudmouth who’s leading the abandonment of nearly 400,000 schoolchildren in the Windy City is just another power-grabbing union fat cat.

Instead of academic excellence, she rails about “social justice.” Instead of accountability, she fumes about “profits” and curses merit pay. Lewis has marched with the Occu-clowns denouncing capitalism and promoting “socialism (as) the alternative.” She raves: “Occupy Wall Street and the whole concept of the 99 percent is an extraordinarily important movement.”

And she earned praise as a “fist-in-the-air, crowd-rousing, dynamic union leader” by former Communist Party revolutionary turned Obama-funded “school reformer” Michael Klonsky.

While she pays solidarity lip service to the 99 percent, Lewis is part of the deep-pocketed elite of public employee union chiefs who blame everyone else for their own financial and educational ruin. She’s good at pandering to her Che Guevara T-shirt-wearing colleagues and trash-talking the political machine. But she is the machine.

The Chicago Teachers Union rakes in nearly $30 million in forced dues from rank-and-file teachers every year. CTU is an affiliate of the behemoth AFL-CIO, which dropped an estimated $100 million in forced dues to support Democratic candidates and causes during the 2008 and 2010 election cycles.

Before Lewis took control of the CTU, the union was teetering on bankruptcy and owed millions of dollars in loans. The previous CTU president pulled down nearly $300,000 a year in base salary and compensation. Local union watchdogs reported that top CTU officers and staff with six-figure salaries and bonuses also received:

“… a monthly expense account for each administrator — officers, coordinators and field representatives — of $1,500; a car allowance of $7,000 per year (whether or not you have a car); 85 percent of car insurance and expenses paid; parking allowance; cellphone allowance; life insurance paid with union dues; and among other perks, a 53rd week of yearly pay for “working” over the Christmas holiday.”

Lewis assumed the CTU presidency in June 2010.

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  • clarespark

    Here is my comparison of two "strikes", one commemorated yesterday, and one ongoing. See "http://clarespark.com/2012/09/11/strikes/. "Strikes." When I was in teacher training, we argued that teaching was a profession. Professionals do not abandon chidren and leave poor people with no recourse to losing work. Are strikes always violent interventions, indeed militant and military? Do current conditions favor them?

  • oldtimer

    First time they had a strike in, ?25yrs? Probably the first time they didn't get and undeserved raise. What is wrong with merit raises? All business do it. Are the teachers better than the ones who pay their salaries?

    • tagalog

      Obviously THEY think they are.

  • scotsirish

    …………..teachers used to teach units on "Character Counts".
    These people are bafoons, Communist Bufoons, low-lives.
    May they all stay in Chicago and go to blue blazes.

    • scotsirish


  • pierce

    They, the teachers, have had it their way far too long, but the school board for Chicago probably has no kahunas, so they will continue to have it their way. Unions, and in particular Teachers Unions are too strong, or so they think. Education is supposedly good, but parents have to take some interest in their kiddies education. The parents are not just there to procreate , at least I hope not.

  • http://tarandfeathersusa.wordpress.com/ Iratus Vulgas

    Of all of the many labor unions in the US, teacher unions may be the most dishonest. At least most labor unions present themselves as simply that: labor unions with a pro labor agenda. Teacher unions couch there rhetoric in pseudo-compassionate fakery–a political facade that's supposed to create the image that they're actually nothing more than a concerned group of education advocates. I find there phoniness difficult to stomach.

    • ffortnightly

      The Education Industrial Complex created their own version of the perpetual, un-winable War On Drugs which would be called the War on the Achievement Gap if they had the stones to actually declare it. Instead they stealth it up, which started in the beginning. They measured students, found the gap, then sought every possible reason except the obvious ones (because they would be racist after all). For them it became a circular project where they attempted to use a single educational model to educate a very wide variety of students. Any time the student didn't fit the mold, the educators drew on their tried and true reasonings like being poor or inner city or of course; institutional racism.

      Within only 1 race you will find groupings of students who do better than others. What do you do then? Simply bus the students around, usually far from home. This has the added benefit of magically making marginal minority students smarter because of the "example" the white kids set. Merging our schools with our equality programs put our children on the front line.

      And it didn't change the "gap" at all.


  • Ghostwriter

    "A" is for addlebrained,which is what this whole protest is.

  • BLJ

    It looks like Karen Lewis may have eaten Rahm. She is a big un. Nice red shirts by all of those losers,