An old truism about feeding bears seems to apply to the strike by 26,000 Chicago teachers. You can feed a bear regularly without incident until one day you forget or don’t give him as much as he wants and he eats you.
That’s where Democrats find themselves after years of feeding the bears — in this case the powerful teachers unions — in the nation’s third-largest school district and elsewhere. The result is that Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff, is in a fight that could devour him — and who knows how many of his party’s candidates who rely on campaign volunteers from the big American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.
At least initially, Rahm’s former boss, President Barack Obama, has opted out of the fight. Avoiding the extensive ripple effect of Emanuel’s dilemma may not be possible for long, considering that both Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, hail from the Windy City, and Emanuel’s efforts follow Obama’s initiatives for education.