Teachers union’s best interests are not always students’ best interests

SHARE Teachers union’s best interests are not always students’ best interests

Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times

Jesse Sharkey’s letter Lessons from the teachers strike at Chicago International Charter School, contains so many falsehoods that it’s hard to know where to start when responding to them. But it’s his hypocrisy that should be most offensive to parents who send their children to CICS schools — parents like me.

Sharkey, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, claims that “the interests of charter operators differ from the interests of educators and students.” As someone who has had a child in a public charter school for 14 years, I can unequivocally say that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I’d argue that the interests of CTU differ from those of the students and families that attend charter schools. Why else would they keep more than 2,000 children out of school for two weeks, only to accept essentially the same agreement that was on the table before the strike began? They did it to make a political point and used our children as pawns in the process.

Sharkey also says that this strike “changes the idea of what is possible in charter school organizing.” I hope, for the sake of all 64,710 public charter school students in Chicago, that this is not true. Threatening the public with multiple charter school strikes, as CTU has done, is irresponsible and unfair to our students. Mr. Sharkey says that they’re fighting for what’s best for our schools, but I fear that this is just another politician saying one thing and doing another.

Nery Hessberger and Roxana Ortega, CICS Parents,, Belmont-Cragin

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Michael Cohen and John Dean

S. E. Cupp writes that Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is a liar and not a credible witness. She questions his motives. If Cupp had been a columnist in 1973, she could have written the same thing about John Dean, who made allegations against President Richard Nixon in his public Watergate testimony. Ultimately, Dean proved to be unbelievably accurate and honest.

Larry Vigon, Jefferson Park

Michael Cohen and the GOP

Congressional Republicans who grilled attorney Michael Cohen over his truthfulness have a point: Once a person has been exposed as a liar, it is difficult to believe anything else they say. Unless, of course, you’re a Republican congressman and the liar is Donald Trump.

Daniel Welch, Glen Ellyn

A better mayoral ballot

Two thirds of the voters in Tuesday’s mayoral election preferred somebody other than Toni Preckwinkle or Lori Lightfoot. Clearly, this shows the need for a ranked-choice ballot, such as they use in Maine, instead of what we have now, a ballot that allows voters to indicate only their first choice. The result can be, as in this case, that no candidate gets anything close to a mandate.

Larry E. Nazimek, Logan Square

The danger of legalized pot

I would urge those rushing to legalize marijuana to pause and ponder this question: How do you decriminalize marijuana and not encourage its use? Legalizing marijuana would put one more mind-altering drug on the market alongside cigarettes, alcohol and opioids. I need not go into the enormous harm caused by alcohol, cigarettes and the abuse of opioids. The health ramifications are well documented.

As a society, we have waged a long and continuous battle against the use of cigarettes and have seen a decrease in their use. Do we want to go down that road with marijuana and the new kids on the block, e-cigarettes and vaping?

Decriminalize marijuana, but don’t promote and encourage its use. Can we do both?

Ned L. McCray, Tinley Park

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