Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

For the second day, 350,000 public school students in Chicago are all dressed up with no place to go.  They are ready for school, but their schools aren’t ready for them.  And why is that?  The teachers are on strike, all 30,000 of them, in the third largest school district in the country.

And why do the teachers claim they are on strike.  Why, claim the teachers through their union spokesperson, it’s all for the children, for their educational well-being.  In their words, “We are fighting for our students, we are fighting for education justice.” 

While the kids wander the streets.

Is this making any sense to you?  No?  I’m not surprised.  Lies rarely make sense when looked at for more than a minute or two.

Teachers never go on strike because of their students.  They go on strike because their unions direct them to strike.  Students don’t have a union.  But teachers sure do.

I saw an interesting statistic yesterday that explains in large measure why teachers are on strike in Chicago.  (There are other explanations, and we’ll get to them.)  The average teacher in Chicago works about 170 “instructional” days each year, or about 1039 instructional hours.  Nope, that’s not the sort of year’s worth of work most of the rest of us have to put in, but then, well, Chicago teachers have a great and powerful union.  How powerful?  The average pay for Chicago teachers, including the many perks these people enjoy, is in excess of $68 an hour!

How many of you readers are making that kind of money?  Show of hands?  That’s what I thought.  You’d strike, too, if you were riding that kind of gravy train and someone blocked the track.

So when Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a DEMOCRAT mind you and not one of those fire-eyed “cut every budget” Republicans, started to put just a little heat on teachers to get them to actually EARN their incredible, exorbitant pay, they went immediately, “righteously” on strike.

For the kids, they said.  Uh-huh.

What did Chicago’s mayor request of his teachers?  First, that they work a 7 hour 40 minute day.  (Not even eight hours, folks.)  The spokesperson for the Chicago Teacher Union described such a workday as “unworkable.”

Yup.  Well, no eight hour days for public school teachers.  They’ve got to spend some time, after all, figuring out better ways to spend their money and enjoy their perks.  They clearly aren’t concerned with spending that time improving children’s education in their fair city.  In fact, that’s “unworkable”.  Their words, not mine.  And the results in Chicago schools certainly serve as the proof of their monumental disregard for children, and their complete failure to educate.  The nearly 40% drop out rate in Chicago speaks for itself.

By the way, the average 8-hour-a-day laborer in Chicago makes just over $23 an hour.  Their unions just aren’t doing the job for those day laborers, I guess.  Of course, their pay doesn’t come from the taxpayer, like public school teacher’s do.  So I guess those tax-dollar pockets are of nearly unlimited depth, and well, teachers deserve their “fair share” of your money, right?  Right?

There’s more.  What else did the mayor ask for?  Well, he asked for accountability.  That sure sent those teachers howling into the streets in a hurry.

Oh, teachers claim they are close to resolving the 49 issues that they went on strike for.  There are just two issues left, the teachers say.  Ready for the reality of this strike?  The two points: teacher evaluations, and jobs for laid off teachers.

That’s it, the two remaining points.  Teachers don’t want their job security  determined by whether or not they are any good at their jobs.  Most of them are unbelievably lousy and they know it. That 40% drop-out rate, remember?   So they sure don’t want teacher evaluations that might result in, well, deserved unemployment.  And when the very, very few of them get laid off for cause, well, there better be a golden net to catch them.  How will they maintain the life style to which we would most of us like to become accustomed?  By the way, the teacher union stated today that these are the sticking points in negotiations.  This isn’t me guessing, it’s their statement.

So the strike isn’t about children, or education, or “educational justice”. Yes, teachers lied about all that.  It’s about teachers who don’t want to invest time in their jobs, want the big pay checks, and want guarantees that they will never lose their jobs no matter how awful and destructive they might be at their jobs.  And really, folks, if the teachers were striking “for the kids”, wouldn’t they have struck long, long ago, given the miserable quality of education in Chicago’s public schools?  Why wait until teacher evaluation is put on the negotiating table before striking, if it’s “for the kids”?

The strike has nothing to do with our children.

The result?  350,000 kids wandering the streets!  Probably receiving some sort of education for the first time in their lives.  If they’re really lucky, parents will finally throw up their hands in despair and form homeschool groups.  Then Chicago would indeed become one smart town, a city of big shoulders.  And a town no longer in need of public schools and their insanely pampered, unconcerned, soul and city destroying teachers.


A young Chicago student read this article and wrote to tell me that it was bull.  She’s very bright and very motivated.  I wrote her back.  I pointed out that my quotes and figures all came from the Chicago teachers and their union, and the government.  How was this bull, and why was she so passionate about it?  She kindly wrote back to inform me that her teacher HAD BROKEN DOWN IN TEARS IN FRONT OF HER CLASS, COMPLAINING ABOUT PAY!!!


Well, I could see why this young student was so upset by the article.  The teacher had made her own work situation her student’s problem!  The teacher had accomplished this by having an apparent emotional breakdown, a demonstration of emotional instability before a class of students, I might add.

Welcome to Chicago public education.

I wondered for a moment if this wasn’t a strategy employed by the union and executed by individual teachers to earn sympathy points from parents and students. It is certainly not beyond the teacher unions to pull such a stunt.   Chicago Parents and workers who make, on average (when they have employment) around $40 less per hour than these teachers weeping and beating their chests before impressionable children.

What are children learning from such a display?  Nothing good.  And it certainly isn’t math, or science, or anything else we send kids to school in order to learn.  But the child is being manipulated by an adult they have already been intensely manipulated to respect and even admire, even when that same adult treats the student like garbage…as this young student’s teacher did to her.

As you probably know, I am an advocate for homeschooling. It’s my belief that homeschooling potentially provides a student with a vastly superior education than schooling in any form. This is backed up by a lot of numbers and research. I’ve taught for public and private schools, at the University level, as a private instructor in thousands of workshops, and as a homeschool dad running a homeschool group. Homeschooling by far works best for most students- and most families.

But I understand that many parents do not believe they can effectively homeschool. They’ve been told that they “don’t have degrees,” and that they “aren’t qualified.” This is all nonsense, of course. You’re legally not required to have any kind of a degree to homeschool your kids anywhere in the U.S. A lot of people who have degrees and who call themselves “professional teachers” are simply awful, and even destructive at what they do. A lot of parents…hundreds that I know of…have homeschooled their kids right into universities and careers.

In a serious effort to make homeschooling easier to do, and more commonly successful in terms of education received, I’ve authored my own curriculum. It took some 15,000 hours to write, over more than a decade of work, and is intended to replace the need for schooling a student from age 5-Adult Continuing Education. The curriculum is called Steps (or “CTT”). It has been used by over 20,000 students worldwide over the past 10 years. Hundreds of “success stories” attest to how well CTT works.

CTT courses are written in a way that gradually allows the student to take over his own education. Each course itself largely does the teaching, relieving mom and dad of that duty unless they wish to use our daily lesson plans in various subjects as springboards for family discussion and discovery – as many families do, every day. The parent has the job of making certain the student is working and has what they need to study. (And you’ll need to find a good math program for homeschooling as we don’t provide one. There are many.)

Below are links to our site discussing each level of curriculum, and every subject at that level that we offer. (You can start any level at any time. We don’t have “semesters” that start at a certain time, and each course stands alone well.) You’ll find free videos describing how every subject and each level works. You’ll discover free samples of every course we offer. Our site offers many other services and surprises, including numerous free courses you can download and try out.

Starter is for ages 5-6, and for preliterate students of any age. It focuses on starting to develop literacy skills, while teaching about various subjects. Starter includes full two-year programs in Reading, History, Science, Creative Writing, and Living Your Life, courses that develop life and study skills for the youngest students. Every lesson plan at the Starter level works to develop literacy.

Elementary is for ages 7-8, and for students who are developing literacy. It includes two-year programs in Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing (which also teaches the parts of language at this level), and Living Your Life courses which develop life and study skills in preparation for more advanced studies to come.

Lower School (ages 9-10) offers two-year programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, P.E. Electives, and in various arts such as Animation, Music Theory, and Acting. At this level, students must read fairly well, and studies are progressively turned over to the student.

Upper School (ages 11-High School, and Adult Continuing Education) provides programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, Current Events, Literature Guides, P.E. Electives, and in arts such as Animation, Acting, Music Theory, and Music History.

For parents who wish to teach at home, but are intimidated at the thought, and for parents who just wish to improve the homeschool experience, we offer a ten course homeschool program for homeschool teachers, as well as several books about education and homeschooling today.

We want you and your children to win with homeschooling!


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