Illinois politicians have a few days before beginning a second year without a state budget, which means that its public universities are in the same, or worse, situation. While these politicians seem aware of and committed to these universities, they have effectively reduced their state appropriation by seventy percent last year, which has had a negative impact upon these universities. Prospective students and their parents were less likely to consider Illinois public universities, for example, and my university reportedly lost 20 faculty while I lost more than $2,500 of my salary. Such collateral damage will remain long after the budget battles between the Governor and the Legislature are won and lost.
Almost 2,000 protesters, as the Chicago Police Department reportedly estimated, marched at Northeastern Illinois University Friday morning, and many more filled Loop streets in the afternoon as a coalition of unions, community organizations, and other groups joined together in the 01 April Day of Action.
A recent Tribune editorial characterizes the Chicago Teachers Union call for an April first job action as a “Tantrum Day,” and it dismisses this call by suggesting that most Chicago workers cannot whimsically decide to stay home because they’re “upset about conditions.”
CPS teachers in fact have been asked to join other educators, social service providers, nursing home employees, and other workers in a coalition that foregrounds the costs of the current budget impasse in Illinois and calls for fairer funding for these public services and public goods. As such, this action is part of a larger debate about the future of both the State of Illinois and, some suggest, the public sector more generally. Continue reading “Economic Fairness and April First”