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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 21, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Third Section The Lethbridge Herald Lethbridge, Alberta, Saturday, April Pages 29-40 Ugly passions violence was close in Philadelphia strike III 'TEACHER POWER' SHAKES SCHOOL SYSTEMS By RALPH NOVAK CHICAGO (NBA) When the third Chicago teachers strike in the last four years was settled in late January, the reactions from tha main parties involved were predicta- ble. Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) president Robert M. Healey said the strike settle- ment was "a victory not for the union or the school board but for the schoolchildren of Chicago." Mrs, Margaret Wild, chief negotiator for the Chicago Board of Education, promised the agreement would not add to the school system's already bloated budget problems. Mayor Richard Daley said the settlement terms were just what he had suggested and why hadn't they listened to him In the first place? Behind the rhetoric and a general sense of relief, how- ever, lurked a gnawing anxiety that things were going to get worse before they got better. Sure, this strike was over after 12 days without school for the city's pupils but when was the next strike going to arrive? The Chicago Daily News said !n an editorial that "unless the (state) Legislature can stir it- self to write a law that effective- ly controls the bargaining pro- cess for public employees, school closings by strikes may become a regular part of the school year." Thus does the nation's sec- ond largest city pass the buck of (1) finding money to keep its schools open and (2) coping with the growing strength of the organized teacher movement that has led to many of the fi- nancial problems. The problem is not unique to Chicago. The arrival of the new year was greeted by a flurry of big city school strikes, notably those hitting Cleveland, St. Louis, Philadelphia and more recently New Haven. (The Phil- recently New Haven. (The Phil- adelphia strike lasted more than seven weeks, during which Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo called the teachers union leaders "power-hungry black- among other things, and two of those leaders were thrown in jail.) But Chicago has traditionally been a centre for teacher un- ionism since 1897, when a young woman named Margaret Haley organized the Chicago Federation of Teachers, the first militant organization in the country. Chicago has been plagued by strike threats and two previous strikes, in 1969 and 1971, since American teachers began tak- ing their cause to the streets in 1965. (The high point of thef teachers militancy movement was 1969-70, when there were 181 strikes; there were 89 strikes in the 1971-72 school year, nearly that many already in lihe current one.) this January's Chicago strike was one of the most effec- tive ever, with 92 per cent of the city's teachers out of the schools even at the end, while Philadelphia, for instance, managed to keep most of its schools open using makeshift faculties and nonstrikers. The "teacher power" contro- versy thus is especially hot here. The crux of the problem is how much of a role teachers should have in deiermining ed- cational policies in a school system. In a controversial book pub- lished last year, "Teachers and I education writer Rob- ert J. Braun quotes an uniden- tified national organizer for the American Federation of Teach- ers as saving that his group "is determined to control the pub- lic schools of the United States." And Braun himself says, "Whatever the union, if allowed to grow and if fed by the ten- dency toward more and more centralization, will win may not be worth the price. It may have to destroy public educa- tion in order to 'save' it, ac- cording to its own parochial lights." CTU president Healey, a brusque, burly former English teacher, naturally denies that the teachers are power hungry but he says they do have RECEIVE DIRECT DIVIDEND CHEQUE From Carrier Our best the new round one. Uses the least power And our quietest. Pleases neigbours by tossing heat and sound skyward. Has a money-saving 2 speed motor. Cruises en most hot days. Speeds up for scorchers. And protective solid state controls monitor critical operating circuits. Comes standard with these bonus features. Filter dryer. Sight glass. Crankcase heater. Suction line ac- cumulator, low- voltage transformer. PRE-SEASON SALE ENDS MAY 1 BUY NOW SAVE DOLLARS if Famous quality Carrier Air Conditioning system complete with therm- ostat, condensing unit, coil and tubing. HERE'S Wri'T Immedkrhi installation by Carrier trained YOU GET it Comfortable living and be the envy of the neighbourhood. BREATHE EASIER ALL YEAR ROUND WITH ELECTRIC CLIMATE MAKERS CALL TODAY FOR A FREE ESTIMATE SHEET METAL LTD. 1709 2nd AYE. S. PH. 328-5973 I (Off OUT THIS AD) special role in urban school systems. "In the large cities, teachers are forced to do what the par- ents should be doing through their school boards in terms of shaping policy and encouraging he said in a re- cent interview. "Teachers in the suburbs don't have to do that because the parents there are more involved. "But we have never asked for veto power, just the right of consultation. When we think changes are needed, we try to induce the school board to make those changes." Salaries and fringe benefits are not forgotten by the teach- ers, of course. The January set- tlement brought starting salary for Chicago teachers to highest in the country, and the citywide average is about 000, nearly three times what it was 20 years ago. (The nation- wide average in 1971 was 261, according to the National Education Healey in fact comes as close as any union leader in his right mind will come to minimizing the importance of money: "We're beginning to reach the point where we'd say the sal- ary schedule is fair. Now our main concerns are improving class size in particular areas, and shortening the school year." (Among the nonfinancial gains for tbe teachers in the January strikes were a short- ening of the school year by a week, extension of maximum class size provisions to the whole system, increased spend- ing for classroom supplies, al- located "preparation" time for elementary schoolteachers and increased policy consultation rights.) Things look more than a little different from the other side of the bargaining table, of course. Right now the Board of Educa- tion is wondering what to do about a million deficit in an million budget that will force the city schools to close for the year on November 7. Wondering in addition wheth- er the teachers may strike again if the schools close early. Board member Mrs. Wild, a dynamic and combative woman who as chief negotiator at one point said Healey "doesn't give a hoot and a heck about the contends the teachers have become too demanding in some cases. "Now I'm not an advocate of unions but I do admit that for too long teachers were the for- gotten man on the totem Mrs. Wild said recently. "But row salaries have doubled, so the teachers are grieving be- cause in their 'self-directed pre- paration period' they can't go to the cafeteria for rolls and coffee. "Many of the things they have wanted have been good for the children but now they have overstepped the bounds. "I think it is time for legisla- tion limiting the things they can bargain about to things like raises and cost-of-living allow- ances. The teachers should not be involved in running tfie school system." Caught in the middle of the teacher-school board conflict are the children and then- par- ents. Mrs. Wild says that many citizens have "a total miscon- ception of bow the schools oper- ate." "They say 'settle the con- she says. "But they also say 'Don't spend any money to do it.' Those citizens who react at all to school crises tend to side in a general get-the-kids-off- the-street way with the school board. Mrs, Wild says she got about 150 calls during the strike, most of them backing the school board, and even Don Turner of the CTU said that the messages the union receiv- ed were split 50-50 in support of the board and teachers. Some of the parents' frustra- tions came out during tte strike when Mrs. Irving King, presi- dent of the Chicago Region Italy's Fascists back in headlines By EDWARD MAORI ROME (AP) Italy's neo- Fastists, heirs to the ill-fated dictatorial regime of the late Benito Mussolini, burst back into the headlines in recent days with killings in Milan and Rome. To many the climate of vio- lence and fear recalled the chaotic days preceding Musso- lini's rise to power 50 years ago. In Milan, a young policeman was killed Thursday by a hand grenade thrown during a dem- onstration staged by the neo- Fascist Kalian Social Movement rightists have been arrested. In Rome Monday, twx> sons of an ISM official were killed when gasoline was poured un- der (heir apartment door and set afire, allegedly by leftists. The official, Mario Mallei, his wife and two other children were injured in the fire. Police found a note saying: "Death to Mattel. Proletarian justice." They suspect left-wing extremists. Judges and deputies called on the government to enforce a Jaw which makes it a crime to revive Mussolini's Fascist party in any form. Admiral Gino Birindelii. who resigned as head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Southern European Allied Forces to become a deputy in parliament for the ISM, said he would quit the party if it were proved that it was "politically or morally' responsible for the death of the Milan policeman. SUSPECT BLAMES ISM One of the two right-wing ex- tremists arrested in the killing of the policeman is reported to have said he acted on directions from persons close to ISM members of parliament. The death of Mattel's children highlights the exasperation of some leftist Quarters who be- lieve the coalition government of Christian Democrat Giuuo Andreofti and political parties are doing little to stop growing Fascist influence. The lawyer of Vitlorio Loi. 22, who had been arrested. toM po- lice ISM leaders had often used Lm and other Milanese young- sters to stir up disorders. This statement is similar to that of another youngster, Nico Azi. arrested in Genoa after an abortive attempt to set off a bomb on a train 10 days ago. Aa told police the attempt was part of a rightist plan to bring chaos to the country. ISM. nhjch doubled its votes and members of parliament to neariy nine per cent of the elec- torate in general eJedacms last year, has been rapidly spread- ing organizationally throughout Italy. It has been flourishing on the discontent of Italians ex- periencing rising unemployment and rampant inflation. And it has drawn ibe support of busi- nessmen as well as the desper- ate Jobless. Happiness is the end of the Chicago school strike Parents Teachers Association said, "It is apparent to us that both the board and the union favor this strike, the union be- cause it is a vehicle for strengthening its power in the schools and the board because it is saving million a day." In a recent interview, she said: "We hope that the board, the union and the parents want the same thing: a good educa- tion for our children. But we've gone through so many crises here that the parents were very divided. On the one hand they didn't want a strike but on the other hand they didn't want the board signing a commitment they wouldn't be able to honor later." The confusion of the parents and the hamstringing of school boards by money shortages and lack of maneuvering room have left the power vacuum that the teachers have more or less filled. And with mergers between American Federation of Teach- ers locals and local affiliates of the increasingly militant Na- tional Education Association coming more and more often, Braun is not the only one pro- phesying doom. Myron Lieber- man of the City University of New York, for instance, wrote last year that the political po- tential of a merger of educa- tion professionals possibly creating a 3.5-million member j organization could lead to changes in the power structure of the country as well as the schools. A Philadelphia clergyman, the Rev. John R. Cochran, said the strike there was "the death knell of tie public school sys- tem in this country." Others are not so pessimistic. University of Chicago educa- tion professor Dan LorSe says: "Teachers are neither any more nor any less selfish than every- body else. They have a great impulse to improve the schools and they care very much about the children. But under the press for solidarity, when the bargaining gets tight, they tend to drop educational aspects oi their demands which not every- body agrees on, and concen- trate on things they do agree on, like money. "In general, I think that teachers don't really have much of a feeling for running things effectively and they bas- ically don't question laymen's control of education. "What they're doing 3s re- sponding to the increase in ed- ucational bureaucracy, trying to replicate the earlier autono- my of the one-room school- house where the teacher was the school. "Opposed to them Is a kind of bureaucrat's backlash. Peo- ple used to feel teachers were people we exploited but that salaries have gone up so much it is almost as 2 people are saying to the teachers, 'OK, now, what are you going to give In Chicago, anyway, It ap- pears that what the teachers are going to give people, is a hard time, for better and-or worse. 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