‘Too high a price’

Editorial
Chicago Tribune
November 22, 2009

We watched an interesting YouTube video the other day. It was brought to our attention by state Sen. James Meeks, the Chicago Democrat who is also pastor of Salem Baptist Church on the South Side. We think our readers should check out the video. It’ll open your eyes.

Meeks, who chairs the Illinois Senate Education Committee, has been in a war with the Chicago Teachers Union since he had some tough things to say about public education in a Tribune essay and in a speech at Rainbow Push.

The CTU responded with a vow not to give him another dime in campaign money until he apologized. Meeks promptly wrote a check for $4,000, giving back every dime the union had already given him.

No apology.

You have to love this guy. He’s genuinely looking out for kids and doesn’t back down to pressure.

Back to the video. It shows the top lawyer of the National Education Association, Bob Chanin, speaking at the NEA’s annual meeting in July. Chanin was retiring. This was his swan song.

Chanin makes unmistakably clear what the highest priority is for the union. Hint: It’s not the education of your kids.

Chanin closed his nearly 25-minute speech by explaining the influence of the NEA:

Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.

And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year, because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.

Oh, it gets more interesting.

The rest is at the Tribune.

Watch the YouTube video of Chanin’s remarks:

His entire speech can be viewed at NEA.org

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