Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chicago's New Lady Labor Slugger Reactivates Social Movement Unionism

Chicago's New Lady Labor Slugger Reactivates Social Movement Unionism:

Two ideals are struggling for supremacy in American life today: one the industrial ideal, dominating through the supremacy of commercialism, which subordinates the worker to the product and the machine; the other, the ideal of democracy, the ideal of the educators, which places humanity above all machines, and demands that all activity shall be the expression of life. If this ideal of the educators cannot be carried over into the industrial field, then the ideal of industrialism will be carried over into the school. Those two ideals can no more continue to exist in American life than our nation could have continued half slave and half free. If the school cannot bring joy to the work of the world, the joy must go out of its own life, and work in the school as in the factory will become drudgery.
~ Margaret "Lady Labor Slugger" Haley, Chicago teacher, at the 1904 National Education Association convention

Reflecting on her struggles for women's rights and public education, Haley remarked:
When I look back over my 75 years of life, 40 of them spent on hectic battle fronts of the unending war, I realize that, like all crusaders, I have stormed in where kings and courtiers feared to tread. I have beaten my fists, and sometimes my head, against stone walls of power and privilege. I have railed at mayors, at governors, at legislators, at presidents of great universities. I have banged machine guns in defense of certain basic principles in which I believe and continue to believe. For them I have fought without fear and without favor; but within my own soul I know that I have never sought a battle for its own sake, although I have never evaded one when it was forced upon me.

Karen Lewis, 2010 acceptance speech, after winning the Chicago Teachers Union presidency:
Today marks the beginning of the end of scapegoating educators for all the social ills that our children, families and schools struggle against every day. Today marks the beginning of a fight for true transparency in our educational policy - how to accurately measure learning and teaching, how to truly improve our schools, and how to evaluate the wisdom behind our spending priorities. This election shows the unity of 30,000 educators standing strong to put business in its place - out of our schools. Corporate America sees K-12 public education as $380 billion that, up until the last 10 or 15 years, they didn't have a sizable piece of.... Our teachers and para-professionals are poised to reclaim the power of our 30,000 members and protect what we love: teaching and learning in publicly-funded public schools.

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