Chicago Teachers Won’t Teach, Do the Safety Dance

Chicago Teachers Won’t Teach, Do the Safety Dance

Chicago Teachers Won’t Teach, Do the Safety Dance

Chicago teachers were supposed to return to work on Monday and provide in-person classes for K-8th grade students. But once again the Chicago Teachers Union thwarted the plans of the Chicago Public Schools. As of Wednesday, less than 14% of elementary teachers showed up for work. Plus, when figuring in prekindergarten and special education teachers — who were to return earlier in the month — the total number of “educators” on duty came to less than 16%.

Thus, on Wednesday evening, Chicago Public Schools called off Thursday classes. Not only that, but CPS is on the brink of dealing with another teachers’ strike in less than two years.

The teachers union, smelling victory, released a sorry/not sorry statement to parents, asking them to keep their kids home.

“Chicago Teachers Union leadership continues to direct their members who support pre-k and cluster programs to remain at home. Therefore, we must ask parents to continue keeping your children home as we are unable to guarantee adequate staffing levels to cover in-person learning.”

“We regret any distress this situation has caused, especially for children who have been learning happily and safely in their classrooms for the past few weeks.”

So if children have been “learning happily and safely in their classrooms,” why don’t Chicago teachers want to go back to teaching? Special education students in particular need the structure of a classroom — you’d think dedicated “educators” would care about their needs.

Chicago teachers

Chicago 2016/CC BY 2.0.

But apparently not. Instead, CTU leadership made this a pissing match between the union and the Board of Education. The district had sent letters to teachers through their principals, demanding they return to work and threatening them if they refused:

“Without an approved accommodation or leave of absence, all K-8 staff members are required to report to work in-person on January 27th as previously directed by CPS. . . .If you do not report for in-person instruction as directed, your absence from the school building will be unauthorized and CPS may take appropriate next steps, including cutting off your access to CPS systems and discontinuing your pay.”

However, CTU president Jesse Sharkey took these letters as fightin’ words:

“You cannot accomplish a safe reopening with force when you failed to do so with persuasion.”

Meanwhile, some Chicago teachers expressed their fears of work through interpretive dance. Yes, really.

Think of it as a cringeworthy 2021 reboot of the ’80’s hit “The Safety Dance.” Get it? It’s all about being safe from the ‘Rona.

Watching this dreck made me think of these lyrics from the original:

“And you can act real rude,
and totally removed and I can act like an imbecile.”

Behold, the Chicago Teachers Union Safety Dance.

(Admit it, you were waiting to see if the woman on the dock fell into the icy river.)

Meanwhile, many Chicago parents aren’t exactly inspired by such stunts. A grassroots group, the Chicago Parents Collective, is pushing for reopening. Its statement read, in part:

“Put yourselves in CPS families’ shoes. We’ve been dealing with these very issues in our own jobs for 10 months now. Our children are struggling. We need options and optimism from our leaders.”

Other parents, however, are still afraid of having their kids in the classroom, like Ticina Williams, who fears that “the consequence could be death.” Sadly, it appears that the CTU has instilled such fear in most Chicago parents; less than one in five eligible students have returned to the classroom. Plus an additional 10,000 have recently changed their minds and won’t return. There’s a racial disparity here, too: white students chose to return at higher rates than minority students.

Nonsense, said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, schools are safe:

“We’re addressing issues about the schools, which are safe, not only safe as evaluated by our Chicago Department of Public Health but safe as to CDC guidance and a number of studies that have been done.”

Perhaps the Chicago Teachers Union is taking its cue from President Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain. So while Biden promised to open most schools in his first 100 days, Klain seemed to counter his boss. In fact, said Klain, schools can’t open until they get. . . you got it: mo’ money.

But aren’t the unions throwing up roadblocks, like in Chicago? Oh, no, says Klain. It’s not the unions. It’s “investments,” i.e., money.

But while the Chicago Teachers Union probably appreciates Ron Klain’s support, they really don’t need it. That’s because the CTU already has the Illinois General Assembly and Gov. J.B. Pritzker in its back pocket. Not to mention numerous Chicago city aldermen, too. They’re a public union that won’t suffer from market forces like a private sector union would during a strike. And when they strike, they make life miserable for everyone in the city, who in turn pressure officials to give in to their demands. Plus, the CTU influences elections, greasing the palms of local politicians who vote their way.

So while the Chicago Teachers Union is making heartfelt pleas and silly dance videos in order to extract the public’s pity, they’re muscling up and getting ready to strike if they don’t get their demands. And with their clout, they can bully their way to success.

Kids? What kids?

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Featured image: “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. Leo Reynolds/flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. 

 

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Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

4 Comments
  • John Wilson says:

    Chicago is turned into a laughingstock again and those crazy teacher chickz are oblivious to themselves. Even our crazy lesbian mayor is catching on that they are helping to kill the city, but Lightweight has really done the job with her shutdowns.

  • Taylor says:

    Elections have consequences and the Democratic Party is in the pockets of the unions. It is all about control and breaking the public’s spirit.

  • Milwaukee says:

    A large part of my misspent youth was spent trying to teach, mostly high school math, and a few years maths. Public school teacher unions tend to be evil. The district I was with for years had this happen frequently…if the school board got too adversarial the union would support teacher friendly candidates. They would win and the adversarial was would become disappear.

    I taught English in the Peace Corp, so I was an English teacher. Then I taught Maths in England, so I was an English Maths teacher. This i have been an English teacher two ways. Once English was a noun, the English as an adjective.

  • Milwaukee says:

    I watched the video. I was hoping for lithe, limber, and svelte dance teachers. They seemed a little chunky, and not particularly attractive.

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