Teachers union president says Mayor Emanuel ‘exploded’ at her
The president of the Chicago Teachers Union says Mayor Rahm Emanuel “exploded” at her during a debate over a longer school day, pointing his finger in her face, yelling and cursing.
CTU President Karen Lewis made the allegations in a Friday morning press release detailing a complaint filed by the union to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board over the ongoing battle between the union and City Hall.
“A couple of weeks ago I sat down with the mayor in his office to talk about how to roll out a longer school year and what components would go into making it a better school year for our students but he did not want to have that conversation,” said Lewis. “When I explained to him that a longer school day should not be used for warehousing or babysitting our youth he exploded, used profanity, pointed his finger in my face and yelled. At that point the conversation was over — soon thereafter we found ourselves subject to a full-scale propaganda war over a moot point.”
Asked for his version of the incident at an event Friday with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Emanuel said “I’m not going to get into a he-said, she-said. ... We had a good meeting. ... She hugged me at the end of the meeting.”
However, Lewis, the CTU and its parent union, the Illinois Federation of Teachers were conspicuously absent from Friday’s event featuring key players in passing Illinois new school reform bill. All had been invited.
Duncan took the opportunity to tell a crowd of mostly officials and reporters that “teachers have been beaten down too long” and “I think we need to double the salaries for teachers... Great teachers should make $130,000, $140,000, $150,000. They shouldn’t have to wait to age 55 to make a good living. They shouldn’t have to take a vow of poverty.”