Kyle Olson

The protesters wandering around in various locations throughout Chicago are little more than warm-bodied rentals who are  able to clutch a sign bearing the name of someone – in this case, Chicago Public Schools CEO J.C. Brizard – they’ve never heard of.  See the EAGtv video here.

It’s a classic example of astroturf trying to appear to be a legitimate force. 

Taking the lead is the Chicago Teachers Union, but following closely behind is Action Now, the reincarnated Chicago ACORN. Filling in the spaces where legitimate protesters might be placed are a lot of people who would be hanging out on street corners if they hadn’t been approached to take part in the union protest, probably with financial incentive.

In addition to carrying on outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house, protesters also descended on a Chicago Board of Education meeting, where the board was considering – and did vote affirmatively – to close the worst schools in the city and implement an aggressive turnaround program.

The union opposes this plan because it could mean the loss of many union teaching jobs, and therefore the loss of union dues.  Action Now and a lot of clueless volunteers are along for the ride – and likely a hot meal when it’s over.

How else could you explain the presence of people in two different locations protesting in the winter when they don’t know who or what they’re protesting, or why.  They probably figure, if there’s nothing better to do, and a few dollars to be made, why not?

One protester actually looked into the camera and said “How can you fix something that was never broken?”

What a remarkable statement. This “protester” is a virtual poster child for everything that’s wrong with Chicago schools. She obviously doesn’t care about the school district’s miserable 56 percent graduation rate. She obviously doesn’t care about its $720 million budget deficit. He obviously doesn’t know about the teachers union’s preposterous request for a 30 percent raise for all teachers.

The Chicago Teachers Union has done a pretty good job of developing its cadre of ‘Useful Idiots’ to stand in front of the cameras and tout its line.  What a shame those people are so blinded by the self-serving rhetoric of the CTU, or don’t care enough about the issues to recognize or care about the union’s destructive agenda.

The union will not be successful because it has to rent its support.  That’s the definition of political astroturf.

Kyle Olson

Kyle is founder of Education Action Group and, a news service dedicated to education reform and school spending research, reporting, analysis and commentary.

He is co-author of Glenn Beck’s “Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education,” available at

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He has made appearances on the Fox News Channel, The Blaze, Fox Business Network, NPR and MSNBC. Kyle has given scores of interviews on talk radio programs coast to coast.

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