Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis: "Rich White People" to Blame for My Union's Catastrophic Failures

Guest post by Investors Business Daily

Education: The president of the Chicago Teachers Union charges that racism and "rich white people" are to blame for the immense financial and educational crisis facing the Chicago Public Schools.

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) represent everything that is wrong with public education in America. They are in thrall to the unions that run the system and bankrupt it through bloated salaries and pensions while too many of the students trapped inside graduate as functional illiterates, if they graduate at all.

Poor academic performance generally, a huge budget shortfall and poorly attended schools in declining neighborhoods recently forced CPS to close 49 schools in an attempt to close a $1 billion budget gap. But according to CTU President Karen Lewis, the root cause is not the lack of educational competition or the inability to fire or reward teachers on the basis of student academic performance.

In a speech Wednesday before the upscale City Club of Chicago, Lewis asked, "When will we address the fact that rich, white people think they know what's in the best interest of children of African-Americans and Latinos — no matter what the parent's income or education level."

She decried members of the "status quo, the people who are running the schools and advising the mayor on how to best run our district, know what good education looks like because they have secured it for their own children in well-resourced, public and private institutions."

As we have noted, the unions run Chicago schools and seek to preserve the status quo of a virtual education monopoly. Lewis has fought the use of any objective analysis of teacher performance despite the fact that just 15% are proficient in reading and that four of 10 CPS students do not graduate from high school.

Lewis is also no fan of charter schools, despite the fact Chicago's charters regularly outperform their public school cousins. In 2012, nine of the top 10 performers were charter schools based on the ACT scores of their students.

Of course when you mention things like charter schools, liberals like Lewis say they get to cherry-pick their students. Yet some 60% of Chicago charter-school students are minorities and 35% are Hispanic.

Ninety-one percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Doesn't sound like cherry-picking to us.

School choice and vouchers would seem to be the answer to Lewis' lament that "rich white people" call the shots while sending their kids out of the system to well-endowed, private schools, like President Obama did.

Obama, who is rich but only half-white, closed the Washington Scholarship Fund that for 17 years had allowed students trapped in D.C. public schools, even worse than Chicago's, to attend the same private schools as the Washington elites.
Lewis opposes the idea of giving all students vouchers and letting them attend the schools of their choice. In every other area of human endeavor, competition reduces costs and breeds excellence. Parents and students, like other consumers, should be free to reject poor service and take their business elsewhere.

Lewis prefers the statist solution of "investing" through higher taxes on the rich and new taxes on consumers plus financial transfers that would be redistributed to the public schools and the teacher's unions from those who can afford to leave the city with their kids.

This is not surprising since she is a socialist who has marched with Occupy Wall Street and thinks and "the whole concept of the 99 percent" (vs. the richest one percent) is "an important movement."

She has earned praise as a "fist-in-the air, crowd-rousing, dynamic union leader" from former Communist Party revolutionary-turned-school-reformer Michael Kronsky Lewis should embrace school choice. If it saves only one child, wouldn't it be worth it?

Via: Investors Business Daily.

2 comments: said...

So what are we supposed to say to this race-baiter? -- That poor black people are to blame for our schools' catastrophic failures? This wouldn't be true.

What would be true is that corrupt, overpaid black bureaucrats and leftists -- and, alas, corrupt overpaid white bureaucrats and leftists -- are to blame.

Just look at Karen Lewis: she is a metaphor for herself.

Jefferson Ohio said...

Al Sharpton in drag. Pathetic.