Lots of stories about the Chicago teachers strike point out that this is the "first strike in 25 years" or some variation on the theme.
To recap so far: Windy City teachers walked off the job earlier this week after rejecting a three-year contract that proposed an average 16 percent increase in pay over four years. The city had upped its offer from 8 percent but the big sticking point is reportedly the desire to increase the role of standardized test scores in evaluating teachers for merit pay.
Why have teachers struck so infrequently over the past 25 years? Simply put, it's because they've gotten sweetheart contracts most of the time. Consider the contract that just expired:
The Chicago teachers' previous contract…gave teachers a total wage increase of 19% to 46% over the contract period from 2007 to 2012, according to a fact finders report issued in July. Chicago's average teacher salary is now $71,000 a year, according to the city.
I happen to think that an average boost of 16 percent in salary over four years is a pretty good deal. But I guess compared to up 46 percent over a similar timespan, it's really chicken feed.
Today is #schoolchoicefacts day on Twitter. Check out that hashtag and if you're so inclined, send around this video that explains a semi-obscure fact: the K-12 education system in not fundamentally about teaching kids. It's about making money for all sorts of folks.