June 6, 2012

To strike or not to strike?

14 years ago, CPS was not making the grades


With news that the Chicago Teachers Union are casting their "strike" votes, I immediately was thrust back to 1987. I was a sophomore in college and I felt so badly for the kids that were going to have their graduations interrupted, work harder to catch up - I knew it was coming back then, but I didn't really understand my anger!

Fast forward 25 years. I don't have children in the Chicago Public School System, and many of those teachers don't either. It is an unstated fact that if you want the best education for your child you put them in parochial or private school. And here we are with another possible strike. Once again I am angry. Not at any one in particular, but I am definitely angry.

Now, I cannot speak for any other parent then myself, and those like minded to me, but for the many who hem and haw about the price of a private/parochial education but vacation in the Swiss Alps, it is about choices. Every one makes choices. I chose to be hungry so that my children would get up each day and desire to go to school. It was my priority that they thrive and be well rounded.

Should I have to make this sacrifice as a property tax payer? NO! Why is public education always the last thing on legislators minds!

When my oldest was in Blaine (our local CPS at the time), the teachers kept telling me they didn't have the resources or time to address his needs. Fine, I pulled him out and began living my life by an ode that I will never move away from - Choose the path of least resistance! I couldn't make CPS meet his needs and I didn't have the time anyway.

Today my sons are well-educated young men, and I do not regret the sacrifices I made as a single mom to get them where they are.

Secondly, my thoughts running through my mind as result of this strike vote is my own government job.

IT IS THANKLESS.

In the 24 years I have worked in the criminal justice system, I have supervised murderers, rapists, pedophiles, undocumented rapists, undocumented pedophiles, drunk drivers (documented and undocumented, domestic abusers (documented and undocumented), gang-bangers, gang leaders, cartel and a few terrorists who were on the DL (down-low). I have even been yelled at by a few judges - NICE!

In that time-frame we too have authorized a strike vote, or two, but that was after years and years of no raise, high caseloads and rising health care costs. Unlike the private sector at that time, we had no graces being government employees. We are not allowed social security and knowing that our pensions were being syphoned off to some unknown causes made us want to let THE POWERS THAT BE know we meant business.

Yep, it would have meant countless offenders would have been roaming the communities free and unhindered but hey, we have to feed our families too, right?

I suppose the same is the feeling the teachers are having. But I can't help but feel that letting loose canons go is a bit different then letting eager minds wander.

Once strikes are in motion these kids will definitely be at risk for ending up with me. Many are already on the cusp. The City and the State are broke. I don't have the answer and I am sure none of them do either, but I sincerely hope they are given their most important demands at the very least. My case load is high and growing ... it seems the crime patterns of the 1980's are back and teens are ruthlessly slaying one another like cattle in the streets.

No fist fights, just an onslaught of bullets. Mothers of these criminal offenders crying knowing their kids were far gone onto the other side anyway - knowing they had no resources to turn them around.

I am not writing this post in support or against CPS or CTU. These are simply thoughts provoked by today's strike vote.

I can voice my own thoughts and not have an answer for the problem, right? What are your thoughts? If you have children in CPS what will you do if they actually strike? What do you think the impact will be?

I may be becoming jaded here, but from where I am sitting, I am not sure any one (the state, the city, parents) truly cares about anything anymore, it is all about the Benjamins.


2 comments:

Shari said...

It's frustrating because none of this addresses improving education for public school students. It's all grown ups acting like children. We also moved out of Chicago rather than deal with the school system. Our Wicker Park niece spent more time getting into a good high school than I spent getting into college. I don't think the union understands that striking doesn't do anything but piss off families. I have never seen a strike that results in anything other than hard feelings on both sides.

Houseonahillorg said...

yes Shari,

it is very frustrating and results in hard feelings :-(

Thanks for commenting <3