Soon after the Chicago Teacher Union’s strike began in September 2012, IDEA Senior Fellow Sam Chaltain was asked to speak about the strike on CNN Headline News with Brooke Baldwin. CNN’s news coverage of the strike had been framing the issue through the lens of teacher wages, but Sam knew that a more complex narrative was really in play.
Sam got in touch with IDEA Executive Director Scott Nine to ask his advice and if IDEA had any connections with folks who could help him get to a richer, better story.
Using connections forged through the North Dakota Study Group and other networks, Scott got in touch with CTU’s Staff to get a direct sense of what they thought was going on and what messages they'd like heard.
In the interview Sam said, "The teachers’ working conditions are the students’ learning conditions." Sam also made a point of drawing out why the conversation in Chicago is important nationally.
With the platform of a national news broadcast, Sam kept the focus on learning but created a new narrative rather than accepting the existing one about teacher pay.
The powerful work in Chicago is that of the educators, youth, and organizers there. And Sam does what Sam does. IDEA's role was helping to make critical connections in ways that make small contributions that help shape a new education narrative one story at a time.
If you want to jump into the national education conversation, contact IDEA and let's talk about how to tell a better story.