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Sunday
Jul222012

The Missile meets Aeschylus and the S-word at a Hyde Park school

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Missile, is confronting the most challenging period of his 14-month-old mayoralty, with a rising and nationally-chronicled homicide rate and predictably rancorous bargaining with the teachers union that could prompt a strike.

And now he's got to deal with guerrilla signage.
It was found in recent days on the outdoor marquee of Ray Elementary School, a public school in the same Hyde Park neighborhood that includes the University of Chicago, President Obama's home and substantial poverty. Ray is the school Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent his kids before he became a member of the Obama cabinet and headed to Washington:
"I AM NOT AFRAID OF SHIT STORMS---AESCHYLUS," it proclaimed.
Well, that's not quite what the Greek poet and author wrote about fear. His line was, "I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning to sail my ship." And, in fact, the correct quotation was found on the other side of the marquee.
But a Hyde Park resident and attorney passed along the photo of the rhetorical sabotage over the weekend with his reasonable thesis about what some cerebral provocateur at mischievous play was probably alluding to; namely the mess in which the mayor, teachers, students and parents  find themselves.  Failed bargaining on a new teachers contract led to a fact-finder's recommendation that the city pay the union nearly 36 percent in pay hikes over four years.
The city simply doesn't have the money, with the schools already running a huge deficit. But the mayor and his school board are moving toward a lengthening of what has been the shortest school day among major systems nationwide. The fact-finder found it only reasonable that a significant increase in their workload be met by a big spike in pay. In better times, perhaps. These days, that's a pipe dream.
The two sides each rejected the report for different reasons, meaning they'll return to the bargaining table. It's unclear where this will end.
But it could wind up with an epic storm of the sort that might have made even a placid Mayor Aeschylus a bit anxious.

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