Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN


September 18, 2012

Children left out of teachers' battle in Chicago


Weingarten's wailing about the damage to teachers' self esteem reminds me of a teachers union president in a small city who, after my newspaper had editorialized that his contract demands were not affordable for his community, marched into an editorial board meeting and opened with, "We know you hate teachers' unions."

To which the only logical response would have been, "We know you hate taxpayers."

Both claims are absurd.

As has been reported by numerous news outlets - although most are not part of the mainstream media - this is what the CTU considers completely disrespectful:

- The average Chicago teacher who retires after just 30 years of employment has a final salary of $105,888 and will receive an annual pension of $78,576. That puts that teacher in the top 5 percent of all workers nationwide.

- The average salary of a Chicago teacher is $74,839, while the income of the average household in Chicago is $47,000.

- Chicago public schools have among the shortest school day in the country: 5 hours, 45 minutes.

- The union opened the current stalled contract negotiations with a demand for a 30 percent salary increase over four years, and then dialed that back to a more "modest" 19 percent. The district has offered 16 percent. How many average Chicago residents are seeing anything close to that kind of salary bump?

- Chicago teachers pay 3 percent of their medical insurance benefits.

The only victims here are the taxpayers and the students.

That is not the only absurdity here. As a few people have been brave enough to note, 71 percent of the district's eighth-grade students aren't proficient at the most basic level of science, and nearly 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in reading. The district dropout rate is 40 percent.

But, as is always the case when students aren't progressing, the union blames everybody and everything but its members - poverty, lack of air conditioning, not enough books or the wrong books, not enough nurses, not enough counselors, and, of course, not enough "investment" from taxpayers.

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