If Obama weighs in on the Chicago teacher strike, which way will be most strategic for him?

Chicago teachers have been on strike for 3 days now. About 350,000 kids are out of school. The teacher’s union is at odds with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is pushing for more flexibility to evaluate teachers and fire those that are not up to par. About 47% of Chicagoans, support the teachers, while 39% oppose them.

So far Obama has been silent, and it is speculated that his campaign is fervently working behind the scences in hope of some sort of resolution soon, so that he won’t have to.

But if he does, which way should he stand? For the teachers, thus continuing to support his base of government unions. Or against, thus winning support of voting mothers, who see the declining education system as a key issue.

What other considerations may weigh on him in deciding which way he supports?

IMO, he’s best served by staying the frak away from this one, unless negotiations stall out.

Must not have read the op…that’s okay. Next.

What evidence do you have that “voting moms” make up the portion of Chicagoans who don’t support the Teachers’ Union? It’s not self-evident to me that Emmanual’s position of weakening the Teachers’ Unions is more pro-education than supporting them is.

Well, there’s the consideration that it’s not his job to resolve random local worker issues and that, in attempting to do so, he would be dragging his campaign into an otherwise avoidable clusterfuck. I would be shocked if he goes anywhere he near this.

No, I read the OP. It sets up a Kobayashi Maru scenario, when “stay the hell away” is, in fact, also a legitimate option.

IF Obama takes a position on this issue, it will potentially impact voter’s opinions across the nation, not just in Chicago.

As I stated in the OP, he probably doesn’t want to go there, but he has regularly commented on various issues that have potential national ramifications…Wisconsin union issues, Travon Martin, etc. The OP clearly premised the question as an “IF”.

Staying out of it eventually runs much the same risk of offending either or both sides (“why aren’t you supporting us?”), both of whom are important factors supporting Obama’s campaign. Presumably public school teachers are not going to go vote Republican in large numbers, but they may withhold money and GOTV efforts, and similarly Emanuel may decide that he can’t or isn’t inclined to find the time to coordinate super PAC participation, as had been contemplated for him.

I don’t have an answer for the OP. I don’t see any good options.

It’s a really tough argument, because the Federal government does have some limited control in the funding mechanism, so Obama at least must appear to be sympathetic to the issues.

The problem is on it’s face Emanuel is demonizing the teachers as the core problem, when there may be many other factors that go into a child’s achievement scores. Is the child eating breakfast? Does the child’s parent/guardian know about the child’s difficulties in school? Do the same parents have realistic goals for their child? That’s not to say Emanuel may not have a good argument to fire poor teachers, but it’s a draconian measure, where compromise could be achieved. And in tough economic times, firing adds to the unemployment lines and the overall jobs malaise. You have to ask the questions,

Can you implement standardized testing, in which student achievement is measured over their elementary and secondary careers, and rather than firing teachers, look for trends within the data that can point to remedial programs to advance the curriculum through teacher re-training. If teachers aren’t trained to handle the curriculm, make sure they have to tools to do so.

Are there a number of teachers in their retirement years or close to it, and can Chicago offer them a buy out opportunity? Often times attrition can be a good way to see some revenue savings that could be channelled back into training.

Are there extra-curricular activities that are costing the system real dollars, and can these activities be delivered another way? Eg YMCA or Neighbourhood after school programs?
Or can some after school community programs pay a fee to use the Chicago School facilities? Keeping the lights on and the heat on is often a huge financial challenge and if you can re-purpose a school after the school day it makes sense.

Has the transit systems fully exhausted cost saving measures? Are school busses full or half full taking kids to school? Is there a way to ensure full busses?

No question Teacher Salaries is the biggest bang for the buck in terms of cuts and where you’ll see a big difference right away. But hopefully Chicago has looked at all the financial ramifications of teacher firings.

That government unions aren’t his “base?” That voting mothers agree with the teachers here? That the declining education system can’t be tied to the teacher’s union? That breaking the union would magically fix the education system? That many of the teachers on strike are “voting mothers?” That the question, with the two scenarios, you’ve presented are more loaded than a twice-baked potato at Fridays?

He should leverage his old friend Rahm Emmanuel to lay off the teachers and propose a compromise both sides can find something good in.

I’m reminded of a line from the Woody Allen comedy Love and Death where his character is quoting scripture. He says, “yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, um, make that run through the valley, because you get out of the valley much quicker that way!” Obama should run from this as fast as possible. He doesn’t need to get involved in Chicago politics, since many already think he is bought and paid for by the supposedly corrupt politicians up there.

I think we can safely assume that no matter what Obama does, he will win in Chicago, and Illinois, in November. Even if he gets caught with a live boy and a dead girl in the same bed.

Yeah, he’ll win there. He just doesn’t need the agita that getting involved in that mess could bring.

I’m thinking that Obama should take the exact opposite stand that Romney and Ryan took and support the teachers.

Even if he is somehow compelled to comment on the strike, he’s a politician. He’s surely capable of making empty statements that don’t really address anything.

He should support the strike and explain how the teacher’s unions have jack shit to do with the declining state of education. Point out the destruction of public unions in Texas and the fact that they are 51st in the nation in students even graduating high school. Point out that it’s just a Republican spin doctoring so they can destroy unions so that the rich can become richer.

How could he be compelled? He is not prone to “off the cuff” remarks that he has not thought about long and deeply. The OP is a canard because nobody can force Obama to have an opinion, and every night he says a prayer of thanks for that. Anyway, we know him well enough by now that he will deflect any attempts to force him to support one side or another by saying that both sides make very good points and should work together to reach our common goal of educating our youngsters (and he will call them “youngsters”) then finish with a canary-swallowing smile that says, “You don’t really think I am that dumb, do you?”

Bill Clinton would, too, but he’d take longer to say it.

Once the strike is resolved he will point out how the unions and government have worked exactly as they should.

And he’d be right. Funny how that works.

Obama has already stated his opinions on education reform during the education debate here in DC.

He is in favor of charter schools.

He is against vouchers.

He is in favor of incentive pay.

He is in favor of firing bad teachers.

He is against using standardized test as the sole measure of teacher performance.