The ballots have been counted. The third largest school district in the country, Chicago Public Schools, has voted “yes” to authorizing a strike if the teacher’s union and the city can’t come to a consensus over benefits and pay.
Stemming from budget cuts last year, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel took back a promised 4% pay increase for teachers and moved to increase the length of school days. Most Chicago teachers argue that the proposed 20% classroom time should net them a 20% pay raise, plus the 4% that was taken from them and another 5% on top of that for 2012s merit increase. CPS (Chicago Public Schools) argues that they have given teachers a guaranteed 2% increase, but teachers are saying that’s not enough.
The increased school day was proposed by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel which he argues would keep Chicago in step with the rest of the county. CPS claims that Chicago students spend 22% less time in the classroom than the average student throughout the country. This is an argument CPS has taken to their website, in a battle for the support of CPS parents.
Chicago Teacher’s Union President Karen Lewis gave a press conference this morning, asking CPS to stop and listen to the voices of the labor forces that help mold the future of students. She insisted the potential strike and pay raise request is made in the exclusive interest of students. The teacher’s union also wants to limit class size for teachers, something that CPS says they simply cannot afford. One reporter asked Ms. Lewis to comment on the skeptics who claim that the potential strike is in interest of adults and not students, questioning the “What about the children?” mantra and whose interest the potential strike would really be in. Lewis responded something to the effect, ‘You can’t help students unless you help those who teach them first’.
(Now, isn’t that the same argument the banking industry make about their top tier executives? I’m just sayin’.)
CPS is really pretty ticked about the whole thing. They wanted the teacher’s union to wait until an independent group gave their recommendations in July for a compromise between teachers and CPS. CPS says they are 2 billion dollars in the red.
So, the battle lines are drawn.
If Chicago teacher’s strike, it will be the first time in 25 years. Teachers do not get paid while on strike.
So, what do you think? Should Chicago teachers get an almost 30% increase?
According to the Chicago Sun Times, the average school teacher makes $71,000 a year. If the teacher’s union gets the raise they’re asking for, the average Chicago school teacher will make over $90,000 a year. (Geez, where’s the blogger’s union? I want me a union, GD!)
Let me preface this post by saying there are thousands of excellent, caring and skilled teachers in this country, however, for the ones who aren’t making the grade, why shouldn’t they be held accountable? Furthermore, I am growing increasingly tired of hearing teachers whine about how they don’t get paid enough. There is no other union in the world that protects its workforce, whether they deserve it or not, as much as the teacher’s unions. States are going broke paying out pensions for superintendents and teachers who retire in their 50s, only for them to go on to get other jobs and double dip. Who would have thought that the public school system could be so lucrative?
While New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg agreed to close down it’s city’s “rubber rooms”, which are places where teachers spend their day reading magazines and doodling while they collect paychecks because their misconduct prevents them from continuing to teach in the classroom. While the city tries to fire these teachers accused of misconduct, their hands are tied as the unions render them almost complete immunity against termination.
It’s not necessarily that I think teacher’s are paid too much nor do I begrudge them their benefits, I’m just tired of hearing teachers complain about how they’re over-worked and underpaid. Sure, they might have to take work home with them. (Welcome to the real world toots!) Most of America works 8am – 5pm, without extended vacations around holidays, they have to scramble for child care on Columbus Day type “holidays” and teacher institute days. Plus, the vast majority of the working stiffs in this country work all summer. Gasp! continue reading…
My three-year old and I were in the kids’ section of the library the other day. It’s one of our favorite hangouts. There’s a nice little nook by a big picture window that they have furnished with overstuffed chairs, couches and rockers to sit on while you read. They also have the walls carpeted so that felt letters and shapes will cling to them (bins of felt are available for perusal), a magnetic board to put letters and shapes on, and some other toys. My little one loves to play there.
That’s what she was doing the other day, just playing in the kids’ section while I sat on a couch, reading and watching her enjoy herself. Across from us, there was another mother and her daughter. The daughter looked to be just a little older than mine—so, maybe about 4, or at the tops, 5. This child was reading a Step 3 Reader out loud to her mother. She was doing a remarkable job with it, too. I was impressed at first.
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