For several states, the fiscal planning for prison housing is calculated as a function of third grade standardized test scores. Educators have pleaded with authorities for years to heed the connection between a lack of proper education and the need for prison cells. But it appears they recognize the correlation. Indeed, it appears that — along with some of the most powerful corporate and lobbying entities to hold seats on the stock exchange – they’re banking on it.

We must keep one eye on this profiteering from social misery that occurs in the prison industry, and connect the dots to the assault on public education, fighting it tooth and nail.

The teacher’s job is invaluable. Once it appears that the brilliant experiment of public education flourished in America because we believed that the way to build the most powerful country on earth, was to have as fully-educated a citizenry as possible; one capable of critical thought, even as its citizens filled positions in industry, finance and government.

The current trend, not just in Chicago, but also throughout the country, suggests a sad departure from this history. Public education is being strategically dismantled and we’re being force fed the idea that the privatization of our children’s intellectual future is what will be most advantageous for them.

On the Tuesday before the strike, Rahm Emanuel unveiled his 25 million dollar contingency plan in anticipation of a strike. Money that could have been used to pay the wages asked, so that negotiation on the other issues could have started sooner.

The city of Chicago has not negotiated in good faith. It has ‘negotiated’ by putting the reputation of the teaching profession on public trial. Should a weapon formed in such a manner be allowed to prosper?

Teachers are striking for the future of education in this country, for the respect and policies that will enable teachers to perform at their best. No one else seems to be standing up for the students, so the teachers have taken on the fight.

Chicago Public School Teacher Katie Patton contributed research assistance for this article.