The big news during the start of the 2012-13 school year has been the Chicago teachers’ strike. By now, we're familiar with the key players—and how they're portrayed: The district officials, led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the “famously foul-mouthed mayor,” are pressing for a longer school day. Then there's the union, run by the “pushy, witty, unwavering” Karen Lewis, calling for better salary, benefits, and working conditions.
The media and the think tank analysts love a kerfuffle of this brand, often portraying district officials as doing what is best for children, while the union works for its own self-interest. Granted, on the surface, this does seem to be the case—with the average teacher in Chicago earning more than $70,000 a year.