Short end of the stick

By Samuel Charles

My mom has worked as a Chicago Public Schools teacher for more than 25 years—longer than I’ve been alive. Throughout her career, she’s been at the same school, McKay Elementary,6901 S. Fairfield Ave., in the destitute Chicago Lawn community. She’s the longest tenured employee at the school by a long-shot. Seeing her come home from work every day taught me what dedication is.

Teachers don’t do what they do for money; that’s a common misconception among the ignorant. They do it because they genuinely care about the betterment of society and its youth.

But Mayor Rahm Emanuel seems to think that because teachers want to make the city a better place through education, they’d be willing to do it for free. This is the same argument that Internet media pirates use to justify stealing music. If someone likes what they do and isn’t really in it for the money, it should be free right?

No. Absolutely not.

I was pleasantly surprised when Emanuel showed some humility and backed off his plan to increase the length of the school day from five hours and 45 minutes to seven hours and 30 minutes and is now only asking for seven hours. But that feeling was quickly dashed when the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the idea for a seven-hour day came not from Emanuel, but from Jean-Claude Brizard, CEO of CPS.

It’s no secret that Emanuel has a genuine hatred for Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union. She’s one of the few people in the city who holds a trump card over Emanuel. Kids are a great sympathy card, as morbid as that might sound.

Chicago is a union city. Union members built it and made it much of what it is today.

Getting paid for the work you do is one of the cornerstones of capitalism and the American economy.

The City Council has bent over backwards to appease Emanuel since the day he took office. Whether or not you agree with what’s passed, a circle-jerk government is not a good one, no matter what’s getting done.

Dissent naturally fosters intelligent thought and discourse if done correctly.

Lewis is a polarizing person. You love her or hate her. But she might just be the one to give Emanuel’s cage the rattling it so desperately needs.