Chicago Parent: Supporting Our Teachers
~By Kim Strickland, blogger at A City Mom
For days now I’ve felt I should chime in on the Chicago teachers strike. After all, I’m a parent of three CPS children and a Chicago blogger. I’m also a card-carrying union member.
I started several posts — and then deleted all of them. I was afraid. As my son Kyle says, “The Internet is a vicious place,” and I was afraid to voice my opinion for fear of being attacked for it. Not a great attribute for a blogger to have, I know. Then, as the strike grew nearer, so many people I spoke with about it proved vociferously against it. That sealed it for me. I decided I would not voice my support for the teachers.
Until I couldn’t keep silent. I tried to distract myself with other topics and musings, but nothing worked. Not even the auctioning off of Elvis’ stained underwear. (It turns out there weren’t any takers. Go figure.) My inability to write about anything else for two days felt like the universe’s way of telling me to grow a pair.
So I wrote my opinion on the strike. Then I went out for a run. When I returned, my comments section hadn’t been over-run by trolls and my inbox wasn’t bursting with anonymous haters. It still isn’t. In fact, I received more support than I expected and had discussions with a few folks whose opinion differed from mine. And they were nice discussions.
The teachers’ strike is complex and full of sticky issues and I don’t pretend to know the details of all of them, but I am supportive of the teachers. I know labor unions can be flawed, but show me any large organization that isn’t. I believe in our teachers. I believe that unions are the best way for us to maintain a middle class in this country.
I know this opinion is unpopular right now, but I’d rather be unpopular than be silent, a lesson that I want to impart to my kids. If the teachers have the courage to do something so hugely unpopular in defense of their careers, then the least I can do is not be afraid to voice my support.
About Kim Strickland
When not writing, speaking, or attending literary events, Kim Strickland is flying as a first officer on a Boeing 767 and jetting off to Europe or South America. You can read more of Kim’s wonderful work at ChicagoNow.