I am not against teachers per se. My favorite sibling is one, a public teacher no less. She’s also a raging Democrat but still is my favorite sibling no matter who she votes no matter how misguided she may be. At least she voted for Reagan in the 1980s unlike yours truly.
Still, as the parent of a kid in public schools teachers are more often than not a stumbling block to the Kid’s education. I have had several run-ins with teachers, not because I’m an asshole (I’ll admit that I often come across as one) but because I’m seeking answers to basic questions like, “What are you teaching my son?” “Why are you teaching him using a particular method?” “Why are you punishing him for using a different process than the one you teach that arrives at the same answer?” After a decade of this I’m coming to believe that I made a terrible error trusting public schools with the education of my child. Maybe I am against teachers after all.
So I guess it’s no surprise that I think the demands of Chicago teachers currently on strike are outrageous. They are either the number 1 or number 2 highest paid in the nation (extra credit: are they the number 1 or number 2 most effective when it comes to SAT scores, graduation rates or student-teacher ratios? Answer: Not even close.) depending on whether you believe the Mayor’s office or the Union. Either way $70k for 3 seasons worth of work plus benefits seems like a racket to me, especially when there is no shortage of teachers around.
The teachers are demanding 16% more. 16% is a shade above a decent tip one leaves at a sit-down restaurant. But have the teachers earned their tip? Have they provided good service? Mayor Rahm doesn’t think so. Of course, since Mayor Rahm doesn’t send his kids to public school, he may not know for sure. But he is the one picking up the check.
I guess I’d care less if my children attended an expensive and elite private school in Chicago like Mayor Rahm’s do, or one in Washington DC like President Obama’s children do. I’ll admit I’m jealous: I wanted to send my kid to a school like University of Chicago Lab Schools or Sidwell Friends but couldn’t afford to. One of the reasons I couldn’t afford to was the fact that my tax burden is running at 27%. In fact I would have had no problem paying $26.5k tuition at University of Chicago Lab Schools had my taxes been lowered. With serious reform I might even be able to buy my own Chicago public school teacher, at least until their next contract negotiation.
My feeling is that if Chicago teachers want a tip they should get a job waiting tables. Otherwise they should be happy with guaranteed jobs that pay them the equivalent of $100k year plus benefits, a salary that few make in the private sector.