Many of us are weighing in on the Chicago teachers strike in Chicagom which has implications across the country. What is at stake here is that those who are trained and experienced in teaching are not running the schools. The school boards are. They are the ones who insist on passing students who are not qualified. They stifle discipline as well, but the teachers are taking the hit for it.
The mayor also is complaining that the teachers must be of inferior quality considering the low test scores. Well, he is wrong, too. Comparing the top schools in the suburbs to the top schools in Chicago, the Chicago schools win hands down in ACT scores.
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So what is the difference? Those schools that rate so very high in Chicago are schools where parents send, yes send, their kids. These are parents who care about the education of their kids. In very general terms this applies to medium-ranked schools in the suburbs against Chicago's medium-ranked schools. Parents in the burbs generally put more effort into the education of their kids, often getting them tutors to make sure they get good grades. So the issue for education is the active participation of the parents, not the quality or education level of the teachers.
No teacher can take a student in the fifth grade and up who has a first or second grade reading level and raise him up in one year. No teacher should be rated down when handed large amounts of low-achieving students with uninterested parents. Whatever the teacher can give those students is merely a bonus.