strike of choice."
One of the issues, according to Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is pay, despite the offer from Chicago of a three percent initial pay raise and another 2 percent annually for the following three years, amounting to an average raise of 16 percent over the duration of the proposed contract, via School Board President David Vitale.
The point of contention is the job performance criteria, something all jobs from almost any industry use to evaluate employees to determine advancement and/or continued employment.
So what's the sticking point? In exchange for the salary increase, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others are insisting that standardized test scores play some role in evaluating teachers and that school principals be given more power to run their schools the way they want to. Teachers say they don't have enough control over their students' socioeconomic situations to be judged on what they teach kids. .....According to Reuters the Chicago school district, like many cities and states across the country, is facing a financial crisis with a projected budget deficit of $3 billion over the next three years and a crushing burden of pensions promised to retiring teachers.
Two main issues remain to be resolved: Teachers be evaluated based in part on student performance on standardized tests, and more authority for school principals.
The Illinois Policy Institute provides a few things the public needs to know.
There are certain critical facts that we believe the people of Illinois should keep in mind as they watch the conflict develop and evaluate the claims made by the two sides:
- Chicago public school teachers are already well compensated. By CTU's own figures an average teacher earns a salary of $71,000 (CPS reports the number is $76,000 without benefits). Even if we only compare CPS teachers to others with college degrees, they still do well. According to the US Census American Community Survey Chicago the median annual wage for persons with a college degree is $48,866.CPS teachers earn nearly half again as much as an average worker in Chicago with a college degree.Note: Average teacher pay at Urban Prep Academy, the Chicago charter school that has sent 100% of its graduates to college for the third consecutive year is $71,236.
- Four out of every ten kids who start freshman year at a public high school in Chicago do not graduate. While poverty and crime certainly complicate instruction, this is not a system where anyone, including the administration, teachers or the union, can rest on their laurels.
- Chicago public schools expect to drain their cash reserves in the upcoming year and are likely facing another shortfall of as large as $1 billion the year after that. It is doubtful that the district can afford across-the-board pay raises.
- Chicago receives almost $2 billion in funding from the state tax funds. That means almost 35 percent of Chicago's total funding for education comes from state taxpayer funds. The entire state, not just Chicago, is paying for the failures of CPS and CTU.
- CPS has the shortest school days and year in the nation when compared to the ten largest cities in the nation.
Using the CTU's own figures on teacher's salaries show that they earn more than many of the parents who's children are now left without a school to go to, many of whom will now have to miss work because their child cannot be left alone. Now the teacher's union has turned down a deal that would garner them a 16 percent pay raise over the next four years. That is not going to go over well.
The refusal on the part of the striking teachers to understand the need to evaluate job performance is also not going to go over well with those parents, who again, probably work in another industry where job performance evaluations are a common occurrence.
Chicago thuggery personified: Meet Chicago Teachers’ Union president Karen Lewis
(Changes made to headline and post)