Socialist Magazine Joins Chicago Teacher's Union Campaign on ‘Neo-Liberal’ Education

Kate Andrews

9/22/2013 9:00:00 AM - Kate Andrews

Jacobin—a quarterly magazine that prides itself on providing, “socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture”—has found its ideological soul mate: the Chicago Teacher’s Union.

The partnership is raising money to create a ‘Class Action’ booklet that 'educates' on neo-liberal education reform. Their goal is to distribute the booklets throughout major cities in the United States, including Chicago, New York and Newark.

Jacobin recently sent out an email to its readership, in an effort to raise $7,500 for the creation and distribution of the booklet. Here are some highlights:

I’m happy to announce that Jacobin magazine and the Chicago Teachers Union's CORE Caucus will be producing a color booklet, "Class Action," on neoliberal education reform.

Since the beginning, Jacobin has paid special attention to the struggle of public workers against austerity. With so much of the education reform movement's impetus coming from liberals, communities resisting the push have been left with few allies.

Education "reformers" like Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein rhetorically connect standards and accountability to egalitarianism, using liberal language to advocate for a radically conservative reform agenda which consists of union breaking, “merit” pay, and sometimes budget cuts for schools.

With the inspiring 2012 Chicago Teachers Union strike, we saw signs of what can happen when teachers and their allies unite to resist this agenda and present visions of an alternative.

The e-mail does not go on to ‘present visions of an alternative,’ for education reform. In fact, there is not a single mention of how liberal education reform will benefit students; which is surprising, given the 2012 National Assessment of Educational Progress concluded that only 21% of Chicago public school students are proficient in reading and 20% are proficient in mathematics.

Instead the e-mail focuses on the ‘struggles’ of unionized teachers who, in Chicago, are taking in an average of $76,000 a year--“the highest average salary of any city in the nation.”

The teacher’s unions and far left are struggling to find ‘allies’ because even Democrats (and neo-liberals) are realizing that poor, underprivileged children are suffering from failing education policies designed to ensure high wages and alluring pensions for public workers.

The teacher’s union is consistently campaigning for policies that benefit their income, but very rarely are they so obvious about their goals. Liberal-leaners would do well to look into the ‘Class Action’ campaign, as it quite accurately defines the true nature of the unions.