Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Film Skewers Chicago Teachers Union

Juan Williams pulls no punches in school expose

A Tale of Two Missions - a film by Juan Williams and Kyle Olson - tells the story of competing cultures in American education through examples from Chicago.

While the fight for school choice rages across the nation, perhaps no better example exists than that of the Windy City. Traditional alliances are breaking down. Both political parties are pushing for education reform and expanded school choice. The status quo is under attack, because most reasonable people understand that thousands of Chicago students are trapped in failing schools.

But the education establishment, led by the radical Chicago Teachers Union, is not willing to give an inch to allow better choices for underserved students. And the union still has enough money, influence and legal standing to make reform efforts difficult to implement.

The film features the Noble Street College Prep charter school and the amazing results its teachers and leaders are delivering for students and parents of Chicago. It also exposes the entrenched educational establishment bent on stifling school choice options and preserving its monopoly on state education dollars.

"Juan's voice cuts through the daily back-and-forth and issues a searing indictment of a system that is largely focused on the needs of adults," said Kyle Olson, executive producer of the film and founder of Education Action Group. "It is our hope that this will provide the public with an unvarnished analysis of the state of our schools, as well as a glimpse into what could be, if the teachers unions would drop their consistent opposition to reform."

Released during National School Choice Week, the film runs approximately 35 minutes and is geared towards generating discussion about the role of our schools and what obstacles can be overcome when school culture is focused on student success rather than adult demands.

To gain a good understanding of the state of affairs in Chicago Public Schools, take a few minutes and watch " A Tale of Two Missions," narrated by former National Public Radio and current Fox News analyst Juan Williams. Williams talks about a city that has invested heavily in charter schools in recent years, due to the persistent failure of union-dominated traditional public schools.

"Some argue that the solution is simple - just spend more money (on traditional schools)," Williams says in the film. "But others are convinced that continuing to chase good money after bad cannot continue. When parents are allowed to choose, schools will have the incentive to compete. And competition breeds flexibility, adaptability and innovation. But school choice also poses a significant threat to the status quo, and no single entity profits more from the status quo than teachers unions. They fight and resist education reform however and whenever it is found."

Williams focuses on the success of one charter school,
Noble Street College Prep, which spends less per student than CPS and boasts a graduation rate of 99 percent, compared to CPS’s woeful 56 percent. The Noble Street school has a non-union workforce, which allows it to control labor costs and pursue groundbreaking education strategies without the permission of union bosses. The school's environment is focused on success. It has a much longer school day than traditional Chicago schools. It has a strict dress and conduct code. It's curriculum is focused on college preparation and acceptance. The school is currently at full capacity with 6,500 students, and has a long waiting list of parents who want their children enrolled. [more...]