“You never want a serious crisis go to waste.” Those words were from Rahm Emanuel in 2008. He was the Chief of Staff for then President-Elect Barak Obama.
After the inaugeration, Rahm Emanuel became the White House Chief of Staff. He resigned his position in the Obama White House on 1 October 2010 to pursue his campaign for the Mayor of Chicago.
In October 2010, Richard M. Daley was the Mayor of Chicago, but he had announced his retirement. After Rahm Emanuel left the White House, William M. Daley, Richard’s brother, was appointed by President Obama to replace Emanuel.
In short, the Mayor of Chicago, President Obama’s hometown, announces his retirement. President Obama’s Chief of Staff announces his run for the Mayor of Chicago and President Obama replaces him with the brother of the old Mayor of Chicago.
Now, President Obama is in a tight race for re-election for the White House. Fifty-seven days before the election, the 29,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) go on strike for the first time in twenty-five years.
The terms that the teachers could not agree to were over a teacher evaluation system, compensation and benfits. The Chicago School District is $700 million in the hole and the teachers are seeking a 16% pay increase.
But as for the kids in their district:
- Just 15 percent of fourth graders in Chicago are proficient in reading.
- Only 56 percent of students in Chicago who enter their freshman year of high school wind up graduating.
- Seventy-nine percent of the 8th graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade-level proficient in reading, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
- 80 percent of the 8th graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade-level proficient in math (bit.ly/QE9aA0).
The Chicago Teachers Union has contributed $2,295,973 to Democrats’ political campaigns in 2012 (bit.ly/QDbKUR). The president isn’t unfamiliar with the CTU either. While campaigning for the White House, Barak Obama gave the Chicago Teachers’ Union a special “shout out” in his video message to the American Federation of Teachers in July 2008 (bit.ly/TCTLk8). And teacher unions still give 95% of their sizeable political contributions to Democrats.
So far, President Obama has not voiced an opinion in the strike. But, if it drags on into the school year, it may become difficult to allow this “good crisis go to waste.” If the president can be seen to be the one to solve this issue and put the kids back in school, it will certainly help him get a few votes in November. Or was that the plan all along?