It’s an interesting web the union has spun for itself: its power to negotiate lavish pensions for teachers has helped bankrupt the city, which is now forced to sack teachers. And with Chicago’s budget deficit at $1 billion and revenue declining, there’s no end in sight, and no tenure and no pension is safe. How teachers react to the declining ability of unions to secure their interests in one of America’s great blue cities will tell us a lot about the blue model’s current bill of health.

The immediate impact on children and families of Chicago’s fiscal failure is obvious enough, but the long-term impact is perhaps even more grim. The city’s budget cuts, harrowing crime rate, and broken politics are forcing people out: Chicago’s population has declined to numbers not seen since before the 1920s, with the black population falling by almost a fifth in the past decade alone.