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Teachers union not giving up on Tribune

Monday, Aug 18, 2014

* The Chicago Tribune published an op-ed today calling for video surveillance of public school teachers and administrators

Some readers will be offended by the idea of video recording cops and teachers. You might even invoke the specter of mass surveillance. I see things differently. Privacy is a wonderful thing, but on-duty police officers and teachers in classrooms are not private citizens living their lives as they choose. They are public servants charged with, well, serving the public.

* That’s almost guaranteed to honk off the Illinois Federation of Teachers. We’ve discussed the IFT and IEA attacks on the Trib earlier. The IFT’s MoveOn petition demanding that the Tribune “stop manufacturing scandals that target teachers and start telling the whole story” now has more than 4,000 signatures.

The IFT has also created a Storify page

Teachers, parents, and students across the world demanded that the Chicago Tribune tell the whole story about our schools. They took to Twitter using the hashtag #TheWholeStory. The hashtag garnered more than 5 million impressions and was the #1 trending topic in the Chicago area.

* A few tweets from the page

* The union has also expanded to Facebook memes, which you can see here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    I would imagine the police union might be a bit honked off over this also.

  2. - OneMan - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    I think the teachers unions have a point about the Trib some of the stuff they have gone on for great lengths seems rather ticky-tacky to me.

    As for videoing of teachers. No running 8 hours of video in 30+ classrooms wouldn’t be costly and or challenging at all… Can think of better ways to spend that money.

  3. - Geronimo - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    It has become a witch hunt. In some respects one has to laugh at the panicked hysteria and paranoia of the Tribune. Since they have the ability to “influence” people, just like teachers do, perhaps they need video surveillance as well.

  4. - Commander Norton - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    The jump from recording cops to recording teachers is an absurdly long one. Police officers carry deadly weapons. Not only do they use force - they are specifically authorized by law to use force under certain circumstances. Force is a normal, daily or near-daily part of working in law enforcement.

    It is not a normal part of teaching. Even in the extremely rare instances where there is an allegation that a teacher has used physical force against a student, he or she is not armed with a gun, taser or nightstick. The need for video surveillance is not compelling.

    Usually, disagreements over whether a teacher handled a situation properly will thus be much less clear-cut than a determination of whether a cop used excessive force (and that, as we know, isn’t always clear-cut either). Having a video won’t tell us whether Ms. Smith unfairly disciplined Little Johnny on the basis of race. All it will do is start an argument that will probably never be resolved, exacerbate existing tensions, invite new tensions that may not have existed previously between parents and schools, and make Ms. Smith feel like she has crosshairs on her every time she sets foot in the classroom.

  5. - train111 - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    Lets See:

    Mrs train111 heads in to school this morning to set up her classroom for the coming school year–today and tomorrow for free as she doesn’t officially start work until Wednesday.

    The Tribune has another oped about something they have absolutely no clue whatsoever about enabling a whole lot of the anti-teacher and anti-union crowd to justify their feelings about something in which they again have no clue!!

    Yup things are normnal.

  6. - Katiedid - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    I don’t have Tribune Plus (or whatever the paid online version is called), but this op-ed was an article in on Friday, which is when I read it. I agree with OneMan - there’s a lot of things I could think of that would be better uses for that money. And it wouldn’t run in to *any* privacy issues for the students!

  7. - whetstone - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    What Katiedid said–it’s repurposed content from Slate under their premium service. Even I don’t think the Trib edit board would be that silly in the service of setting off the teachers unions. (Slate, OTOH… well, there’s a reason #SlatePitch is a punchline.)

  8. - Not a commercial - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 2:09 pm:

    Do you think which guest columns the Tribune chooses to publish is an accident?

  9. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 2:17 pm:

    I read the story as an indictment of school administrators, not schoolteachers.

    Teachers do not have the authority to suspend anyone.

    Kudos to the IFT for their campaign. In fairness, negative coverage of teachers is not unique to the Tribune. Rarely if ever do you see the same sort of coverage or public policy or rationale we apply to teachers applied to individual school principals, central offices or school boards. Teachers are apparently responsible for every failing student, but successful students apparently are the result of immaculate conception.

  10. - Willie Stark - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    Agree with Not a commercial. The Trib channels and serves the plutocrats’ agenda - a long-standing tendency that’s only gotten worse in the post-bankruptcy era. At least the lack of a serious webpage design is consistent with the lack of an editorial voice to be taken seriously.

  11. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    As for videotaping: video cameras in nursing homes and operating rooms would probably do more to protect the public than body cameras on police officers or certainly in classrooms.

  12. - Nieva - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    This would stifle a teachers ability to do their job. We all misspeak at times an teachers are human.

  13. - OldSmoky2 - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    I think I’d rather see video surveillance of Tribune editorial board meetings.

  14. - Commander Norton - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    Great idea, OldSmoky2. As for the source of the content, the fact that the esteemed Tribune editors didn’t even come up with this stuff on their own makes the publication of the piece even more pathetic. The intent might be to go after teachers - or it might just be to run a “modest proposal” guaranteed to get everyone’s blood boiling and generate more clicks and shares. Either way - yuck.

  15. - lake county democrat - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 3:08 pm:

    Here’s the Sun-Times telling us how we could double to tripple student math performances via a specially structured merit pay - you would think this would be something to at least EXPERIMENT with. The IFT didn’t want us to know about it.

  16. - Coach - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 3:19 pm:

    Have you looked at the books lately in the classroom some are ten years old and in terrible shape. If we have extra money maybe we should look into purchasing new books for the students!

  17. - Griz - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    Great idea, when Johnny misbehaves you can play the tape for mom and dad. They can reflect on their parenting skills when it is viewed by the school board. A video of a student’s class performance might be interesting as well. No more teacher meetings. I’ll mail you a video.

  18. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    Griz you are a genius! When a fellow teacher had to dodge peas, apples and a variety of other food thrown across the cafeteria (not to mention the ruin of a dress splattered with food by the darlings) the video camera came to school the next day. Wow, did that solve a few problems. Thinking this is a violation of the teachers workplace might actually be a flaw. It could revolutionize the disciplinary issues in schools if the cameras are trained on the STUDENTS! Teaching would instantly become a much more sane and easier job. Problem in class? Let’s review the tape! See for yourself! They’ve installed cameras in school buses not on the driver (!) but on the children. Why would they have to do that I wonder. Isn’t all school bus misbehavior the fault of the driver?

  19. - low level - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 4:19 pm:

    Not only would I like to see video surveillance of Tribune editorial board meetings but also of their reporters - particularly D. Kidwell, who got past the foyer and the locked door with phone to call to be allowed in.

    His card was under my door saying to “please call me as soon as possible.” I don’t know how he got in as I wasn’t even home to let him in. He was trespassing.

  20. - olddog - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 6:38 pm:

    === Isn’t all school bus misbehavior the fault of the driver? ===

    Not yet.

    But if the hedge fund vultures ever figure out a way to make money out of standardized school bus tests, they will!

  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 6:58 pm:

    Shhhhh olddog! You just gave someone in the funds a new idea!

  22. - Diogenes in DuPage - Monday, Aug 18, 14 @ 8:10 pm:

    God bless the teachers for “fighting back” against the negative and one-sided criticism. Teachers in the metro area do more good for society in one morning than the Trib in one year.

  23. - Ellen - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 6:55 am:

    Teachers unions became the “death” of education! America’s children are so far behind the rest of the world even though we spend 10X more per child. Hmmmmm…. Doesn’t make since does it?

  24. - Leftseat - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 9:04 pm:

    30 years ago I began my teaching career thinking I would be the pilot of my classroom. Now in retirement I realize I was just the baggage handler. I became demoralized by the weight of government interference and media attacks on my profession. Demoralized teachers are not effective teachers, I was tired of playing the faducation game of “what works”. I was weary of heavy-handed fast-track administrators walking on me. I was sick of being berated time and again in the press as if I were the enemy of happiness. So here I am typing this response in hopes that new teachers have some kind of hard-shelled resistance to last more than the average teacher who leaves teaching within 5 years.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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