Thursday, June 20, 2013
The Head of The Chicago Teachers Union Blames "Rich White People" for Poor Educational Policies
Chicago is one of the most corrupt cities in America. Many Chicago politicians are completely dishonest. Indeed, Chicago is in the State of Illinois, and 4 out of the last 7 governors (leaders of the state) have been thrown in jail.
The city is also one of the most racially segregated cities in the country. This means that black people and white people live apart from each other.
Chicago is so corrupt because there is a "Democratic machine" that controls the city. This is called "machine politics." It means that there is only one political party in the city (there are no Republicans in Chicago) so if you want to gain power or do anything in the city, you have to do business with a very strong political organization. If you want to gain power, you start at the bottom of the organization, do favors for people, and work your way up. When you gain power, people do favors for you and, of course, you make lots of money for yourself and your friends and family.
As a result of the political corruption, Chicago's public schools are a joke. They are a bad joke. They are a disgrace to a civilized society. Students do very poorly in the Chicago Public School System. Of course, the public school system has, primarily, black and Latino children. So there are often claims that the corrupt politicians who run Chicago just don't care about children of color.
That's probably true. Yet, there's probably another reason as to why the schools suck so badly. In 1966 a sociologist named James Coleman wrote a report called The Coleman Report on Equality of Educational Opportunity in the USA.
Basically the Coleman Report stated that children who live in poor and violent neighborhoods will perform badly in schools - even if the schools are wonderful, modern schools with excellent teachers.
The emphasis in America has always been to provide excellent schools - but Coleman showed that if you want children to be able to learn, you have to make sure they have safe living environments and enough financial resources to live relatively well so they can have some hope and focus on their studies.
Many educational experts would argue that the black and Latino students who do poorly in Chicago's schools do so because they live in poverty and in dangerous neighborhoods. Yet the US government continually blames 'bad' teachers or 'bad schools."
Now we have a person in Chicago who is blaming someone else: rich white people. Her argument is in this article. Actually, she does mention poverty and racism in her attack against rich white people, but I am not sure I understand her argument about the Chicago Cubs baseball team (probably the worst baseball team to ever play baseball in the world).
Vocabulary to help you understand the article:
corrupt - dishonest, not following the law, willing to do unethical things for one's own profit.
a politician - someone elected to a government office.
a union - an organization that represents a group of workers. Unions usually negotiate contracts for their workers.
a chief - the boss or the head of the union.
to fault s/o or s/t - to criticize someone; to blame someone or something.
a mess - a difficult problem, a situation that looks very difficult to fix.
scathing - scathing criticism is a very sharp or angry type of criticism.
to charge - to make a claim or to accuse or to make an argument.
immense financial crisis - a huge financial crisis.
upscale - very nice, rich, wealthy, expensive
boss - a supervisor
urged - encouraged
a blueprint - a basic plan for something.
the status quo - a normal situation; the way things have been; usually the status quo means the way things have been for too long - now it is time for a change.
well-resourced public and private institutions - rich people tend to send their children to good schools while poor children are not getting an education.
to hinder - to stop or to slow down something
to inveigh - to verbally attack
stage props - basically she's saying the children are being treated like objects in a theater or like things to be used to create a story.
fire, layoff or lockup - to fire someone from a job means to force the person to leave his/her job; to lay someone off means that your company isn't making enough money and has to ask some workers to leave; to lock a person up is to throw the person in jail.
subsidies and loopholes - she's saying that rich people get various benefits from the government. A subsidy is money from the government and a loophole is some problem in the law which allows a person to avoid paying taxes.
progressive taxation - taxation based on how much money a person makes. Poor people would pay little while rich people would pay a lot.
a deficit - a debt.
The Second City - this is a term for the City of Chicago. It has always been considered second in importance to New York City.
self-professed - she is calling herself something.
dismantled - taken apart.
to emulate - to imitate, to try to act as another acts.
underutilized - not used as much as it can be used.
a franchise - in this case a franchise means a business.
to implore - to beg for, to ask for.
The Chicago Cubs - basically she is saying that the Chicago Cubs baseball team is a terrible team, just as the Chicago Public School System is a terrible school system. Yet, the people of Chicago are willing to support the team, but not the school system. This is, honestly, a ridiculous argument.
Discussion/writing: What do you think of her argument? Based on what you read, are wealthy white people to blame for Chicago's terrible schools?
Do you feel her criticism was justified?
Here is the last governor of Illinois (Rod Blagojevich of Chicago) to be thrown in jail. We see him with his ex-friend Barack Obama.