Images taken from the Chicago Tribune: http://galleries.apps.chicagotribune.com/chi-120907-teachers-union-strike-public-schools-pictures/
An individual can be exploited and alienated from their labor in many ways the reason that this happens is due to what Marx explains as use-value and exchange value. The most important of these for capitalist is exchange value because it is the deciding condition that makes them profit or surplus. Exploitation is used to make surplus and that surplus is what makes profit. It is not so much as what the product a person makes is worth but what profit you can make from exchanging it. Alienation can happen in four different forms: work, product, others and species being.
If we take a look back to the two images that I included in this post you can find that they are very similar the only difference between them is the first image is take in 1969 and the second is an issue that is currently taking place in our history. Both of these images focus on the same social issue, the Chicago Teachers Union. We can apply many of the concepts that Marx develops in his writings to the current possible strike by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). Through out the last weeks there have been many attempts for teachers and Chicago Public Schools to come to an agreement that would benefit teachers and end the potential strike.
As we have learned, Marx's concept of the bourgeoisie and their role in exploiting and alienating is a great example of why the CTU is threatening to strike. Chicago Teachers Union is fighting for the right to have raises and better health plans along with other benefits. But the CTU does only plan to benefit themselves but also the quality of education they set out to provide for their students. There are many ways that you can compare the board members of the Chicago Public Schools and the Mayor to a bourgeoisie they of course look out for themselves and only make sure that the service school teachers provide is enough to create exchange value. Some how we forget that the teachers and students are people and public schools become like production lines just making sure that we can graduate a certain number of students and teachers provide standard education. CTU wants to improve condition for both students and teachers in order to improve better social relationships between students.
An example that I would like to use to portray alienation in public schools is the relationship that develops between students and their teachers. The student and teacher become alienated because of the CPS system that sets out to raise educational standards. The relationship gap that is set upon the student and teacher is evident when each teacher is expected to produce students who can reach state standards. The problem is that many times these students do not meet standards and teachers push forward and attempt to have them meet standards but they often fall short and students feel as though teachers do not understand them. There is so much pressure both on the teacher to produce students who perform above average and raise standards as there is on the student to reach that level of performance. CTU's hope is for the connection between student and teacher to become strong enough were they can rely on one another to reach exceptions.