The following is a Chicago Public School Father’s perspective. Craig Johnson, a native Chicagoan, is a father and former Chicago Public School student.
For two weeks, Chicago’s public education landscape became a national case study on unions, politics, and education reform. The issues were lifted from the pages of reports and spreadsheets and escaped beyond conference rooms into the national arena. The plight of our children and the state of our education system became the subject of impromptu town hall meetings among adults and youth alike on buses, in bars, across national news networks, in social media outlets, and on playgrounds.
But what do the children learn from this national case study? Here’s what I most want my own 11-year old daughter who is also a Chicago Public School student to take from this: It doesn’t matter if school starts on time or is delayed by a 7-day strike. The ability for teachers to perform effectively, for administrators to make decisions and for elected officials to effect change absolutely matters in the big picture. However, labor disputes, socio-economic crises, the political climate, and other macro-level conditions that influence my daughter’s environment, will not be the factors used to assess her progress to the next grade level. Ultimately, she will be judged on her merits, so she must accomplish her own success by exceeding expectations. She must value her own education and learn to identify the teachable moments in all circumstances. And in doing so, she can learn from current events about democratic values—standing up for her rights, negotiation and conflict resolution, and civic engagement.
Our job as parents and teachers is to teach children to do these things, knowing that ultimately, they must learn to do it for themselves—inside and outside the classroom, strike or no strike.
Category: #CTUstrike, Chicago
About Dwana: Dwana authors a few blogs, is a full-time officer of the court and mom to two boys and the dog.
You can find her rants, advice for healthy living and Chicago tips at: "Healthier, Happier, You!", Chicagonista.com, TheChicagoMoms.com & SocialRevUp.com View author profile.