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Statement from StudentsFirst CEO and Founder Michelle Rhee

September 16, 2012 posted by Michelle Rhee

Despite reaching an agreement on a framework for a deal on Friday, the CTU announced that it would extend the teacher strike into its second week this evening with CTU President Lewis stating:

"Our members are not happy.  They want to know if there is anything more they can get."

[AP, September 16, 2012]

Michelle Rhee, CEO and founder of StudentsFirst, issued the following statement in reaction to the news:

I was disappointed to learn that Chicago's school children won't be in school tomorrow morning, and outraged when I heard President Lewis' reason why. 

We heard a lot of talk from union leadership about fewer students in each classroom, about improving training, and about the very real challenges teachers face. But by extending the strike tonight, the union proved that this wasn't about addressing any of those issues. 

It's clear this was only about job security and compensation for union members.  It is as President Lewis herself said this evening about "anything else they can get" even if it means kids are kept from the classroom for longer. 

If it were about the kids we wouldn’t be negotiating the idea that increased compensation should come with more accountability for learning, not less.  If it were about kids, we wouldn't be negotiating whether principals should be empowered to choose the best teachers available regardless of fit or effectiveness.

And if it were about the kids, 350,000 students would be in class tomorrow morning instead of at home or on the streets. 

Chicago families have paid enough.  The education of Chicago's children should not be a chip at the bargaining table for one hour longer so that the Chicago Teachers Union can see if "there is anything else they can get."

Topics: Michelle Rhee, School Governance, Students