Earlier in the week, I'll admit: I doubted the Chicago teachers strike was going to make any difference.
Now on Morning Four, the cars honking their support for the picketing teachers at the school across the street are starting to get my attention.
Okay, teachers, as long as none of us are working, let's talk. What do you think would happen if the whole nation agreed with me that:
• Class sizes should be cut from 30-ish to 15-ish.
• Teachers should be evaluated—and the best should be richly rewarded—by a core of thoughtful, mentoring managers that doesn't exist at all in the schools right now.
• Made unnecessary by actual teacher supervision, standardized testing should be eliminated as a means of evaluating individual teachers and their performance.
• And air conditioning should be as standard in classrooms as it is in corporate headquarters.
What would happen if the whole nation agreed with me on those issues?
To the extent that your strike helps promote these commonsense but financially radical solutions in Chicago and nationally, I support it—just as I would patriotically pay the huge tax hikes required to build many more schools, double the American teaching corps, hire a whole new class of administrators and install Federal Fucking Central Air.
To the extent that your strike is just another hand in the game of liar's poker that we've been playing in this city and this country on education for the last half a century, I wish you'd get your ass off my street corner and my kid back in your hot, overcrowded classroom so you can get on with teaching her what you can in such conditions, and I can get on with teaching her the rest. Like we've been doing all along.