Monday, September 10, 2012

A fight worth watching

This attractive looking bunch of "education professionals" are members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), who walked off the job today, turning their backs on about 400,000 students.

Here are a few facts about the teachers of Chicago:

 - The average salary for their nine-month work year: $76,000 BEFORE benefits. (Average salary of a Chicago taxpayer: $47,000.)

 - They currently pay just 3% of their health care costs. If their family health care plan costs $1,200/month, they pay just $36 of that.

-  They went on strike after rejecting a pay raise that averages 16% over the next four years.

The school district that employs them used its fiscal reserves to plug last year's budget deficit, and is currently looking at a $1 billion budget shortfall for this year. The State of Illinois, which provides much of the district's funding, is on the brink of insolvency, with a budget deficit of more than $40 billion (worst of the 50 states). It's not clear where these teachers think additional money is going to come from, but then, they don't really care about that.

Perhaps these are an exceptional bunch of teachers, however. Maybe they are so good at their jobs and produce such amazing results that they are worth whatever amount of money they want. Well, let's look at a few more stats for the district:

- Just 15% of the district's 4th-graders are proficient in reading
- Only 56% of the district's freshmen make it to graduation
- 79% of the district's 8th-graders are not grade-proficient in reading
- And 80% of those 8th-graders are not grade-proficient in math

I understand that teaching in an urban school district is no piece of cake, but the Chicago Public School system is a disaster.This union stopped being about educating kids a long time ago, and has become just a tool for putting its members snouts into the public trough. Just as Wisconsin's public employee battles were critical to the future of the country, so too is this one. If the union can't be forced to back down, the future of public education is bleak indeed.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who is watching it happen in my neighborhood, please pray for safety for students
    With limited places to go, violence can easily start rising.

    And as someone who went through a strike as a student, I can tell you I felt during the affected school year, we learned only a semester of important material. It hurt knowing people choose money over your education.