What did the New York Times say about the Chicago teachers?
Back a month ago, Chicago teachers stood up, struck, and backed their mayor down, at least a little.
That’s important. And big. There are lots of important stories. And important details. Other people have written about them, and will write about them. One day, maybe I will, too. But today a small detail, really a footnote, is on my mind.
wrote the New York Times, in its own name.
“Teachers’ strikes, because they hurt children and their families, are never a good idea. … the strike is based on union discontent with sensible policy changes — including the teacher evaluation system required by Illinois law — that are increasingly popular across the country and are unlikely to be rolled back, no matter how long the union stays out.”
In other words, “sit down and shut up”
“Mr. Emanuel … lengthened one of the shortest school days in the nation. …Chicago’s teachers are well paid, with an average salary of about $75,000 a year …And despite its dismal fiscal condition, the city says it has offered the union a 16 percent raise over the next four years.”
In other words, “sit down and shut up, you underworked, overpaid teachers”
[The union's] “main point of anger has to do with a state law that requires school systems to put in place an evaluation system in which a teacher’s total rating depends partly on student test scores. Half the states have agreed to create similar teacher evaluation systems that take student achievement into account in exchange for grants under the federal Race to the Top program or for greater flexibility under the No Child Left Behind law. Such systems are already up and running in many places.”
In other words, “Sit down and shut up. You already lost.”
“…this strike was unnecessary… Ms. Lewis… seems to be basking in the power of having shut down the school system, seems more inclined toward damaging the mayor politically than in getting this matter resolved.”
In other words, “Sit down and shut up, you power-hungry, underworked, overpaid teachers”
Of course, the Chicago teachers and their president did not back down because the New York Times told them to. They fought, and ended up better for it.
But will you remember how the New York Times addresses teachers?
Lot’s of New Yorkers look at the Post and News as the gutter press, but hold the Times in higher esteem. Because it’s better written? More prestigious?
But don’t let yourself get seduced by the big words, clean type, and fancy fold. The Times is not on our side.