Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Teacher gets tough civics lesson after bucking Rahm

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
While teaching social science at Roosevelt High School, Tim Meegan got deeply involved in civic life himself, running for alderman against one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s allies.

His students led a boycott of the Roosevelt cafeteria’s offerings from Aramark, the Chicago Public Schools’ lunch vendor.

And he blasted CPS CEO Forrest Claypool as a “hatchet man” at a Board of Education meeting.

Then, on Aug. 5, after 12 years with CPS, he was among more than 500 teachers who were laid off.

“My advocacy for Roosevelt High School got me fired,” says the 40-year-old father of two boys, ages 11 and 5.

Meegan had received a “warning resolution” signed by Claypool and the school district’s general counsel, Ron Marmer, on July 27. Among his “deficiencies” as a teacher: “You encouraged, solicited support, and congratulated students through social media for a student-led lunch boycott.”

Claypool also noted in the letter that Meegan ran for 33rd Ward alderman and gave classroom credit to students who volunteered to work on the 2015 council race.

“The fact that you were one of the individuals running for alderman of the 33rd Ward necessarily created a conflict of interest and an appearance of impropriety by, in essence, obtaining free labor from students to earn service learning hours,” Claypool wrote.

Meegan says he offered credit to students who helped any campaign, including his rivals in the aldermanic race. He appeared to have forced a runoff with Emanuel appointee Deb Mell, but absentee votes counted after election day carried the incumbent barely over 50 percent.
After all, government schools are run by politics. You can hardly blame Rahm for canning a teacher for "offering credit" to work on campaigns. Even Rahm Emanuel isn't wrong all the time.