The Chicago Tribune would have advised American troops to lay down their arms when defeat seemed certain. They would have advised appeasement in the 1930s. This is an editorial board that cares not a whit for 40,000 children (not their children, after all) or for public education.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board is composed of Quislings. This is their advice to teachers:

May 22, 2013

When a vast tornado ripped into an Oklahoma elementary school, some teachers threw themselves on top of their students to shield them. They put their students’ lives before their own.

Some quick-thinking teachers huddled children into a bathroom. Though the roof blew off the school, the kids survived.

Some teachers were the first rescuers to pull surviving kids from the rubble, to comfort them, to keep them safe.

We’re sure we’ll hear more stirring stories about Oklahoma teachers who kept calm and protected their students during Monday’s tragedy. Guiding and protecting children is what teachers do. Not just in Oklahoma. Everywhere.

Parents who send their kids off to school every morning take a leap of faith: They trust that a teacher will care for their child with passion, with dedication, with patience and love. Parents place great value on their teachers, and with good reason.

We point this out on a day when the Chicago public school system will make a gut-wrenching decision. The school board is set to vote Wednesday on whether to close 53 elementary schools. Chicago teachers and parents have been protesting, trying to save those schools.

No one revels in closing a school. Chicago faces this decision because of some undeniable facts. The number of students has declined. That decline has been concentrated in lower-income neighborhoods. Chicago has a school infrastructure designed to support more students than it has enrolled. Chicago has to put its money toward the education of students in full, thriving schools. Money spent to light, heat and maintain half-empty school buildings is not money focused on educating children.

After months of planning, months of debate, the school board members will make a tough, emotional decision Wednesday.

They may spare a handful of the schools, based on the reports of arbitrators who questioned the efficacy of closing some schools. But barring a last-minute change of direction, most of the schools will be closed. That will be the right decision. Students won’t be served by pushing off these decisions, by continuing to misdirect education dollars.

And that brings us back to the teachers.

They have fought intensely against these closings. They’ll continue to challenge the board’s decision in federal court.

But their complete cooperation in the months ahead will be essential to ensuring a safe, successful transition for their students. Many teachers will follow kids to new buildings. Those charged with shepherding kids safely to school will depend on teachers to help, to speak up if they see dangers.

The teachers may not agree with every closing or any closing. But it will be up to them to make this work.

And far beyond that: The teachers will be key to restoring Chicago’s focus on building a much better public school system, on graduating students who are prepared to succeed in college and the workplace.

That can’t be achieved if Chicago’s teachers fight every effort at reform, if they are in a perpetual war against those who lead Chicago’s public schools.

Teachers, be heroes.

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