In a scathing speech on Wednesday, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union charged that racism and “rich white people” are to blame for the immense financial crisis facing the Chicago Public Schools.
In her remarks to an audience at the upscale City Club of Chicago, union boss Karen Lewis strongly criticized Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. She also urged the city schools to follow the strategic blueprint of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
“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,” the Dartmouth graduate charged.
“When will there be an honest conversation about the poverty, racism and inequality that hinders the delivery of a quality education product in our school system?” Lewis also asked in the speech. “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.”
I ask with all seriousness: where’s the evidence that non-rich, non-white people know what good education looks like? Or that skin of any color, income of any level, has anything to do with what good education looks like? It is my experience that, due to federal and state mandates, poor education costs as much as (or almost as much as) good education. What makes the difference between poor and good education is the commitment of the teachers and the parents to the outcome.
But she gets one thing right:
“There is something about these folks who love the kids but hate the parents,” Lewis inveighed. “There’s something about these folks who use little black and brown children as stage props at one press conference…”