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Right Hooks

Chicago Teachers Throw Students Under the Bus

Unionized educators are staging another walkout.

Jordan Candler · Mar. 29, 2016

Friday is April Fools’ Day, but the theatrics being staged by unionized teachers in Chicago is no joke. A dispute over new contract provisions has prompted city educators to schedule a walkout at week’s end. For purely selfish reasons, parents will need to make alternative arrangements for nearly 400,000 students while union leaders works to assuage their demands. According to The Daily Signal’s Leah Jessen, “In a contract offered in January, the district sought to phase out a 7-percent pension payment that the school district pays toward a teacher’s required 9-percent pension. The union did not accept the offer.” That’s too bad, because a whole lot of trouble could have been avoided.

Let’s be clear: Chicago teachers already enjoy undue privileges. A report by Illinois Policy Institute’s Ted Dabrowski notes, “According to a 2014 report from the National Council on Teacher Quality, Chicago teachers receive the highest lifetime earnings when compared with teachers in the 10 largest school districts in the nation. Those high salaries end up costing CPS twice — first in large payroll costs, then again in higher pension costs.” Some additional facts:

The accrued benefits for all members of the CTPF [Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund] have grown by 400 percent since 1987. That’s an annual rate of 6.1 percent a year, more than twice the rate of inflation and far faster than the growth in incomes of the taxpayers who pay for those pensions. … Not only do Chicagoans already pay more in taxes and fees than residents in any other major Illinois city, they’ve just been hit with a record property-tax and fee increase of more than $700 million annually.

More importantly, these prodigious salaries and higher benefits have not helped students. Heritage Foundation research associate Mary Clare Reim says that “Chicago spends almost $20,000 per student in the public school system, yet students’ academic achievements are subpar.” Furthermore, the city suffers a $1.1 billion education budget shortfall. “The city needs to get its fiscal house in order before artificially raising wages for teachers,” Reim rightly adds.

This isn’t the first time Chicago teachers have played this ruse. A Illinois Policy Institute press release adds, “In 2012, teachers walked out of the classroom for more than a week to demand unaffordable salary and benefit increases. Now, the CPS budget is in worse shape, but CTU is exploiting the needs of students to demand even further concessions.”

Violent thugs aren’t the only thing plaguing Chicago. So are greedy and entitled educators who demand increasingly more but with no accountability. Many Democrats argue that keeping troublemakers in schools keeps them out of trouble in the streets. Too bad they aren’t making that possible.

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