Friday, September 14, 2012

It might be, it could be …

JACKSON: Losing his chance to mediate?
As I write this commentary Thursday afternoon, it appeared that the strike by the Chicago Teachers Union will only shutter the public schools for a week.

The teachers’ union’s House of Delegates is scheduled to meet Friday afternoon, giving some 700-plus delegates a chance to take a vote in support of a deal that would bring the strike to an end.

CLASSES COULD BE back in session come Monday. This strike could be the unofficial last week of summer break – one that came one week after classes officially began for the bulk of students in the Chicago Public Schools.

All of which strikes me as a “victory,” of sorts, for the union. They made their point that they could shutter the schools if they so wished. And classes will resume before public opinion can shift so drastically against the teachers union that they would start to feel serious backlash as a result of causing parents to be inconvenienced in finding a place for their kids to spend the day.

Which is kind of a shame because it creates the perception that the Chicago Public Schools are little more than a babysitting service. Certainly not a place that one  would send their child to in order to reinforce the intellectual skills they will need in order to have a chance to succeed in life.

But if it means that Rahm Emanuel has been smacked back a bit and that someone was capable of standing up to him, then perhaps that is good. Perhaps we shouldn’t be thinking of our government officials as invincible.

BECAUSE IT SEEMS that the only people who have been backing the mayor this week are those individuals with ideological hang-ups inclined to make them want to say “No!” anytime anyone associated with a labor union says anything.

I was somewhat amazed at the polls that showed a majority of actual people willing to support the teachers in their political fight with the school administration (which was being guided by Emanuel and other city officials).

Then again, it shouldn’t be shocking to learn that those ideologues don’t really represent the attitudes of the public, and that the only real reason they get so much attention is the volume of their voices. Does anybody really care what Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney thinks about a Chicago labor dispute?

He who shouts the loudest can’t be ignored – no matter how nonsensical their rhetoric truly is!

OF COURSE, I’M cadging my bets in writing this commentary because I’m fully aware of how something can always derail a deal at the last minute.

Even teachers union President Karen Lewis was saying that on a scale of 1 through 10, the chance of a contract agreement was a “nine.” Perhaps we all ought to be saying a prayer to whatever divine presence one prefers to believe in that the “1” doesn’t suddenly become a reality and cause picket lines to run into next week.

It really would be preferable if “the kids” were to go back to class come Monday. Some of them really can’t afford any distraction if they’re to have a chance to learn anything.

Besides, if it turns out that the strike is not settled, we may well have to turn to the Rev. Jesse Jackson for help.

FOR JACKSON ON Wednesday offered his services to mediate between the schools and the union in hopes of bringing the two sides together.

The man who has mediated in the Middle East and brought hostages back home to the United States would certainly gain an over-bloated ego if he were to gain any significant role in settling this labor dispute.

And just think of the blow to Emanuel's ego if he were to get upstaged by the Rev. Jackson?


EDITOR'S NOTE: The headline is a take-off on long-time baseball broadcaster Harry Caray's home-run call. I'm holding off on the "it is" until I learn of an actual vote.

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