Wednesday, December 5, 2012
TheTakeaway by Guy Mingo
I'm a little behind on this post, but there's never a bad time to examine the power of mass, street-level activism.
In September, 25,000 teachers flooded the streets of Chicago hoping to contain ongoing attacks on public education in urban centers across the country.
The strike in Chicago ended after eight days with modest benefits retained by the teachers.
Specifically, the union-based effort won small gains in the areas of job security and test-based evaluations. We all gained from a more critical look at education-for-profit.
This now long-sought method for education reform continues to be advocated by the Obama administration and state legislatures forming a cohesive front with corporations who have, for decades, been trying to unlock the vault holding billions of public education dollars. In the process, they have intentionally weakened urban school districts, and sacrificed the futures of millions of underprivileged, minority children.
The even larger issue, however, was not lost on Chicago teachers, their supporters, and, hopefully, observers-- there simply is no such thing as a democratic society without the equality of access that only public institutions can provide.
The teachers in Chicago moved the forum to a location best suited to discuss an issue absolutely vital to democracy--the streets. Their action must not be forgotten as the public sector continues its struggle for survival.
Vocal commentators in the above track include Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teacher's Union, and author/journalist/activist Chris Hedges.