Black leader attacks union 'gang'

The Chicago Teachers’ Union is a gang, charged James Meeks, chair of the Illinois Senate Education committee and pastor of Salem Baptist Church, in an Oct. 17 speech.

“Chicago Public Schools have a gang problem. The gang, however, is not the BDs (Black Disciples), the gang is not the GDs (Gangster Disciples), the gang is not the Vice Lords and the gang is not the Four Corner Hustlers. The gang is the Chicago Teachers Union.”

Angry about the gang reference and an Oct. 29 Tribune commentary, the CTU has cut off donations to Meeks, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Meeks told the Tribune editorial board late Wednesday that the threat of such financial pressures explains why “legislators won’t speak out against the atrocities of the Chicago Teachers Union. . . . I’m finding where every dollar is they’ve given me and I’m giving it back. They can give it to some legislators they control.”

In his Tribune op-ed, Meeks blamed  “despair, disruption and ultimately violence” on students’ educational frustrations.

. . . the Chicago Teachers Union has figured out a way for teachers to not be evaluated on obvious criteria, such as how well they perform in the classroom. Nobody wants to be held accountable, but the blood of every child is on our hands. . . .”

For the first time in my personal and political career, I am exploring the idea of vouchers and charter schools to help facilitate choice and enhance academic performance. Why should we continue to make investments in a system that is bankrupt and weighed down with bureaucracy?

We must begin making decisions that are in the best interest of children, such as mandatory teacher evaluations. Since the will to change the system is nonexistent, we should allow students the flexibility to attend schools outside their district.

Is it a stunt, a sincere change of heart, or a turning point for city politics? asks Alexander Russo on his District 299 blog.

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