Although Chicago’s public school teachers are among the highest paid in the nation, they wanted more, and according to the settlement reached late Tuesday, September 18, they are getting more. Mayor Rahm Emanuel hailed the settlement as marking “a new day and a new direction” for Chicago public schools. He said it provided “higher pay for teachers and a higher standard of education for students.” It included teacher evaluations, a longer school day, and plans for five new science and technology high schools.
But whether any of the changes actually improve education in the schools is still to be seen. This is the city of Saul Alinsky, who said that the purpose of revolution is for the have-nots to take from the haves. The teachers of Chicago may not technically be “have nots,” but it pays to act like them.
Conservatives have always thought that permitting public school teachers and other government workers to unionize was a very bad mistake. A strike in which 350,000 children were held hostage by 35,000 teachers is nothing more than a crude form of blackmail. The fact that the union is led by a highly intelligent former high-school teacher, Karen Lewis, simply adds irony to the story. Her aim is not to fix a dysfunctional education system, but merely give teachers as much money and protection as they can possibly squeeze out of the taxpayers.
The average salary of a Chicago teacher is $76,000 a year. If you add such benefits as healthcare and retirement, the total amount comes to about $150,000 a year. And what are the parents and citizens getting for their money? According to the Washington Times:
Seventy-nine percent of the 8th graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade-level proficient in reading, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.
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Sam Blumenfeld (photo)