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Politics: Obviously, Rahm Emanuel wants Chicago children to die

Published by: Robert Laurie on Monday September 10th, 2012

Robert Laurie

By ROBERT LAURIE – Chicago teachers unions place students in harms way

UPDATED: added links to numbers cited.

Chicago, Illinois now boasts a homicide rate higher than Kabul, Afghanistan.  The Windy City has seen murders spike almost 50% this year and weekends where 10-20 people are killed have become commonplace.  In fact, in the last few weeks, two people were gunned down just a block from Barack Obama’s home – one of them only 17 years old.  In short order, the streets of Chicago have become some of the most dangerous in the world.

Now, as a result of the city’s massive teacher union strike, those same streets are being flooded with unsupervised children.  Police are pouring into the neighborhoods in an effort to keep everyone safe, but when you have thousands of kids home alone all day – while their parents work – eventually, we’re bound to witness tragedy.

Obviously, Rahm Emanuel wants children to die.

Rahm has refused to live up to the good, proper, and just demands of those who nobly slave away for substandard wages simply because they love the sheer joy of educating our youth.  These teachers are heroes, doing a difficult, thankless job, and are being paid next to nothing. Many of them work well into the night grading papers and are forced to buy their own school supplies, since their districts don’t furnish them with the proper materials.  How dare an evil, selfish, politician withold public money as he refuses to acknowledge their selfless adherance to duty?

At least, that would be the narrative if the current Mayor was a Republican.  After all, cut a school lunch and you're trying to "starve kids." So allowing their schools to close entirely, in a place as dangerous as Chicago?  Monstrous.

However, since Rahm Emanuel is the former White House Chief of staff, Barack Obama’s best pal, and instrumental in the President’s re-election campaign, the media isn’t interested in their usual pro-union hyperbole.  This time, it’s not Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker slamming the door on union demands; it’s one of their own.  That means they actually have to report some facts rather than regurgitate far-left talking points.

The facts are as follows:

One of the main points of contention, other than salary, has been the amount Chicago teachers are forced to pay into their insurance plans and the size of their pensions.  They currently pay just 3% of their health care costs, and 71% of every new public education dollar the city takes in has gone to their retirement packages.

Apparently, that’s just not enough for them, since they’re complaining that they’re forced to pay more into medical than teachers in most other cities.  Additionally, they’re angry that Chicago Public schools are placing too much emphasis on test scores in evaluating teacher performance. They also want more job security. 

This, in a town where only 15% of fourth graders are reading at their proper level, an only 56% of high school freshmen manage to graduate.

According to Alderman Pat O’Connor, chairman of the City Council’s Education Committee, the whole thing is no big deal.

“We’ve been talking about it for weeks,” O’Connor told reporters. “Everybody has been steeling themselves for it. That being the case, you just hope that if they go out they keep bargaining and working to get it done. If it’s a protracted strike, it may be something that has a lingering effect. If it’s not, people in Chicago have seen this coming. The idea that it’s here — nobody should be surprised.”

While his City Council may not think it’s a big deal, the municipality's top dog seems to disagree. With the school system grinding to a halt in what Mayor Emanuel calls “a strike of choice,” Rahm is worried about the safety of the 400,000 children left hanging by the teachers.  As a result, some schools will remain open, if only to offer lunches and to serve as babysitters for the displaced kids.  Police have been dispatched to these sites, in order to provide protection and crowd control.

As has become all too common with public sector unions, Chicago’s teachers are immune to the shame they should be feeling. Their selfishness, especially given their generous pay scale, is simply staggering.  Hopefully, despite claims that they’re willing to go the distance, they’ll be forced back to work quickly.  While they wait, idle students are placed in harm’s way on the streets of a city that has become extremely dangerous.

As for Mr. Emanuel, “Right-to-work” is probably looking pretty good these days, since charter schools – employees of which are not members of the Chicago teachers union – remain open and unaffected.