Yesterday was April 1, and so, before we begin, apologies to those loyal readers who were fooled, even upset by my post announcing the end of the blog. I tried to drop enough giveaway clues in it, and succeeded too well, for those who thought the gag was obvious, and not well enough for those who were genuinely deceived. But in general it seemed to be enjoyed by most, and certainly caused some discussion, which is the point of these.
I almost forgot that I also had a column in the paper Friday, also tied to a certain day — April 1 was the day the Chicago Teachers Union went on their one-day, ill-advised strike. This column also caused a bit of fuss, of a more serious nature, and I thought today being Saturday, I'd slip it in for those who missed it in the paper (and you know who you are!)
Good morning class.
Settle down, please. There's room for a few hundred of you in the front: the little kids, please.
I know there's a lot of us here — 330,000 Chicago Public Schools students, shut out of school Friday due to the one-day teachers union strike.
Which means the teachers will be walking picket lines, and you'll be, well, somewhere. Hundreds of schools and churches will open their doors, and you might go there to get out of harm's way. Though I'd imagine a good number of you are parked on the sofa at home, killing time as only kids can.
So forgive me for intruding. I thought I'd try to shoehorn a little education into your day. You can play Call of Duty: Black Ops III all afternoon.
So, hello, I'm Mr. Steinberg.
I did pause to ask myself whether this makes me a scab — “scab” is a historic labor term for someone who undermines a strike. The Chicago Teachers Union announced it is monitoring school entrances, threatening to fine any teacher who goes to work today. This was necessary, as opposed to the choir of solidarity that greeted the 2012 strike because, well, times have changed. In four years the economies of Illinois and Chicago have gone from menacing to calamitous, and the union pushing to the front of the line, well, it sparks mixed feelings.
So flexibility being a survival skill in unions nowadays, I can be a proud member of the Communications Workers of America and still instruct what few students actually drop their eyes upon this today. I’m not on strike.
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