Karen Lewis bravely led the teachers’ strike in Chicago. This was not an action that she or the members of the Chicago Teachers Union took lightly. They deliberated, they debated and in the end, 90% of the members (and 98% of those who voted) supported the strike. Given their near unanimity, no one could make the mealy-mouthed claim that they love teachers but not their union. In Chicago, the home of teacher unionism, the home of AFT Local 1, the union is the teachers, and the teachers are the union.

In this link, Karen Lewis addresses the Chicago City Club. This is a civic organization whose members include the civic, business and political leaders of the city.

Please watch this speech! It is a brilliant dissection of why “reform,” as presently defined, is failing. And it is a clear and realistic description of what students and teachers need to succeed. If you take the time to watch this, it will make your day!

Let us be thankful for Karen Lewis.

A reader, Prof. W., watched and said this:

What a great speech! City Club members are big shot business and political leaders and can be a tough crowd. I got such a kick out of how she answered this question, about 38 minutes in:

“Instead of corporate meddling, would you prefer that corporations sit on the sidelines and not try to help our schools get better?”

Karen said, “I don’t think they should sit on the sidelines. I think they should do what they do when they give money to the Lyric Opera. I don’t believe they go to the Lyric Opera, give money and then go tell the singers how to sing. I don’t believe they do that. So give your money –where’s Andrew Carnegie when you need him?– give your money and walk away, Buddies. Ya know, just leave it alone. When you don’t know something, don’t dilettante your way into it.”

Gotta love her honesty and chutzpah!