Teachers Unions

Q: Why Are Chicago Teachers Striking for the 1st Time in 25 Years? A: Because They Usually Got Everything They Could Dream Of?


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.

Read more here. And note that the average salary is sometimes reported as $76,000.

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.

NEXT: David Harsanyi on Why No One Is Going to Close Any Tax Loopholes

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    Marines at embassy in Egypt not permitted to carry live ammo.

    Is ineptitude strong enougg todescribe these people?

    1. What the hell are we supposed to use man? Harsh language?

      dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb

      1. What the hell are we supposed to use man?

        ‘Smart’ diplomacy, of course. Sure glad the bushpigs aren’t making people hate us anymore.

        1. Despite the wild attempts to portray Mitt Romney as the bad guy in all of this, the actual, real story seems to have gained some traction.

      2. “A-Apone. Apone, look. We can’t have any firing in thlook I want you to collect magazines from everone.”

      3. Yeah, but it’s a dry heat.

    2. Is ineptitude strong enougg todescribe these people?

      No, but it might explain yopur tpying skills. 😉

      1. Yeah, probably makes me over qualified for a job at Foggy Bottom.

        1. You seem to have recovered from that stroke remarkably quickly.

    3. I’m telling you, it’s going to be the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 all over again.

      Except this time, the U.S. is going to go in (as they should), and it’s going to be a bloodbath.

      Putting on my naval officer’s hat, they need to either deploy a lot of troops with perhaps an LHA providing a reserve off shore, or get everyone out.

      Getting everyone out would be best. Egypt is no longer a U.S. client state. The conflagration cannot be put off much longer.

      1. And to think that it all was probably started by our monetary and agricultural policies.

    4. Then what is the point of their being there? Do they have some live ammo near to hand in case they need it?

    5. Any at all, anywhere? Or just not allowed to carry their weapon already loaded? The latter is not all that uncommon. (but they can rapidly change the situation if needed.) Don’t think I’d make them stay unloaded with the mob climbing the walls though…

      It is hard to shoot someone without ammunition. Not surprising that State would make the Marines try.

  2. They’ll eventually get almost everything they dream of this time, too.

    1. Maybe, maybe not. Normally, Rahm being a stupendous asshole isn’t a good thing, but in this case it might.

      1. Nah. They’ll work out something about the union doing everything in its power, legal and illegal, to ensure Rahming Speed’s reelection.

  3. Because they believe there is an infinite supply of Other People’s Money?

  4. I wonder how they explain this to the kids if and when they return to teaching?

    1. “We did it for you, baby, so we could teach you better.”

      1. “But Mrs. S, how do you determine ‘better’?”

        1. “Simple – we grade students down for every time they backtalk or question the union. Any other questions?”

    2. “I don’t feel tardy.”

      1. I’ve got my pencil!

        1. Gimme somethin’ to write on!

          1. i got it bad, so bad.

      2. I like that song very much.

        One of my kids is in some weird AP class that is about world culture. The teacher is teaching him about how racist Americans are. Wonder if that is on the AP exam?

        1. I live in a school district that teaches crap like that. Thankfully my kids are still young, but I foresee problems when they hit high school and the intensive indoctrination begins in earnest.

        2. Do they also teach about how racist pretty much all traditional cultures are?

          1. No, that would be racist.

          2. Of course not. I was pissed. They also told him in a different class (English, I think), that some rural folks nearby are KKK members. I’m a little dubious about that one.

            1. They also told him in a different class (English, I think), that some rural folks nearby are KKK members.

              Gee, where have we seen this kind of thing before?

              Therefore Furet suggests that ideology played the crucial role in the rise of the Reign of Terror because “man’s regeneration” became a central theme for the Committee of Public Safety as they were trying to instil ideals of free will and enlightened government in the public.[14] As this ideology became more and more pervasive, violence became a significant method for dealing with counter-revolutionaries and the opposition because for fear of being labelled a counter-revolutionary themselves, “the moderate men would have to accept, endorse and even glorify the acts of the more violent.”


              1. He’ll be killing rednecks next.

              2. My daughter’s AP history teacher taught them about the War Of Northern Aggression last year. She actually pointed out to the kids that the Emancipation Proclamation did not free all of the slaves and that the cause of the war wasn’t necessarily slavery.

                I sent her a thank you card and an apple.

                1. I have a sneaking suspicion that’s not how my son is going to be taught.

                  1. You live in Florida. Why would you assume he’d be taught at all?

        3. She’s just teaching them exactly what she was taught in college. The academia control the indoctrination.

  5. Well, there is also the matter of preferring laid-off workers to new hires when jobs open up.

    In places where it is almost impossible to fire someone for something as trivial as gross incompetence, lay-offs are often used to clean house. I imagine the laid-off worker are the worse of the worse in some cases, and union loyalists to the bone. That’s really who should be fast-tracked back into the classroom.

  6. The first instant that anyone proposed tracking their performance, they struck.

    Here’s my shocked face -___-

  7. Re: alt text – you really mean “Bet on the black guy”, don’t you? I hadn’t realized just how racist the Jacket is.

  8. /begin rant

    Fucking reason editors. Can’t you guys do better than this? The same photograph of Sidney Poitier that we got in the story yesterday about the striking asshats. There are other ones out there, you know. Cancel my subscription!

    /end rant

    1. If only they had a trained photographic expert on staff…

    2. Nice! And much more appropriate when talking about the teacher’s union.

      1. Hey, that guy’s dreaming about his young, nubile high school students just like he does well he’s awake. Technically he should be getting time and a half.

    3. /begin follow-up rant

      Fucking reasonable add-on. Can’t you guys fix it so the pictures show up in the comments? Cancel my, my…whatever the fuck it’s called that I did to put reasonable on.

      /end follow-up rant

  9. I’m not one to usually side with teachers’ unions, but…

    …but the big sticking point is reportedly the desire to increase the role of standardized test scores in evaluating teachers for merit pay.

    If I was still teaching, I might strike over this, too.

    Standardized tests are the single biggest roadblock to improving schools. They are as likely to accurately assess true learning as a prayer circle.

    Now, I don’t doubt the union is also trying to avoid having its members “evaluated,” but standardized tests are the worst way to do this.

    1. “Standardized tests are the single biggest roadblock to improving schools.”

      citation needed

      1. “Standardized tests Government involvements are the single biggest roadblock to improving schools.”

        1. When someone has to tell you how good they are, how good are they? Teachers are constantly saying they are doing God’s work. They’re the roadblock. They’re the problem. They cannot self-police.

          1. If you are a good teacher you should have no problem being evaluated by your students test scores.

            1. If you are a good teacher you should have no problem being evaluated by your students test scores.

              FIFY. These greedy fucks don’t want to be evaluated at all.

      2. Education quality improves the more students are treated as individuals.

        Walt Haney and Laurie Scott, “Talking with Children About Tests: An Exploratory Study of Test Item Ambiguity,” in Roy O. Freedle and Richard P. Duran, eds., Cognitive and Linguistic Analyses of Test Performance (Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1987); and Clifford Hill and Eric Larsen, Children and Reading Tests (Stamford, CT: Ablex, 2000)

        Standardized testing does not treat students as individuals.

    2. We’ve had standardized tests for decades. If a school’s totals consistently scored low it was at risk of losing funds. The only thing different now is that we’re starting to apply the same principle to individual teachers.

      There should be some common sense applied to this, of course. Classrooms are not homogeneous units and should not be treated as such. But the idea that you cannot evaluate a teacher by how poorly his or her students do is bullshit. Tests are still the best measure we have of evaluating a student’s education, and thus teacher performance.

      1. I’m sympathetic to the teachers only in the sense that if the parents don’t give a shit about their kids’ education, very few teachers have the ability to overcome that particular anchor and inspire students to succeed. A lot of these “This teacher made me want to do better!” stories are inevitably told mostly by people who had some strong direction from an adult outside of the classroom.

        This is going to be worse in a shithole like Chicago, because the whole population there is inoculated against anything other than the “government can solve everything!” mindset. You have an entire population that expects the city government to wipe their ass for them in some way or another, and never really have bothered to examine their own responsibilities in creating a stable community.

        Their minds just aren’t wired for it, and this problem is endemic throughout many dysfunctional, crony-ridden urban governments. Yeah, there might be a “good ol’ boys” network in Hayseedville that operates in a similar fashion, but the smaller scale of the community and the higher incidence of trust bonds between neighbors makes social dysfunction and disunity a lot less likely.

      2. Tests are still the best measure we have of evaluating a student’s education, and thus teacher performance.

        This is as demonstrably true as the story of Noah’s ark.

        It’s a good way for some students and a terrible way for others.

    3. I agree. I wouldn’t want my performance based on the results of a standardized test either. But what other methods could be used to evaluate teacher performance?

      I would be wary of evaluation based on a national standardized test. But how about evaluating a teacher based on their ability to actually do “teacher things’? Like develop a curriculum, and a syllabus? To create effective tests and quizzes? To identify gaps in individual students knowledge at the beginning of the year, and show that knowledge gained at the end of the year? How about parents have a part in the evaluation process based on face to face interactions? How about students give a part of the evaluation?

      And what the hell do we pay school Principals for? They are management, and should evaluate labor accordingly. How do private school teachers get evaluated. Can that translate to public schools?

      1. “I wouldn’t want my performance based on the results of a standardized test either.”

        It’s not the sole performance measure.

      2. You evaluate the same way you evaluate your dentist, or your accountant, or your grocer, or your car mechanic. If you’re not happy with the results (by whatever criteria you choose), you go to a different one.

        If parents could do this with schools, 90% of the issue would go away.

        1. This is absolutely, 100% true.

          The only standard by which teachers should be judged is by the opinions of their students and the parents.

    4. Standardized tests are the single biggest roadblock to improving schools.

      And also the biggest conduit to federal money.

      The teachers have a choice – improve the schools or take more money. Naturally, your desire to strike shows which choice you’d make.

      1. The teachers have a choice – improve the schools or take more money. Naturally, your desire to strike shows which choice you’d make.

        The thing is, the strike and the teachers’ attitudes are really just symptoms of a much bigger, more systemic problem–an apathetic, entitled populace that has no sense of personal or social responsibility. This is worse in heavily urban areas because dysfunctions that would normally rip smaller communities apart are able to thrive in urban environments, because the populace not only embraces it, but actively encourages such mindsets to continue.

        Like I said above, I don’t blame teachers for being upset when they get whatever progress they might have made with their students undermined by the kids’ worthless parents. However, they’re not seeing the big picture in that the very things that cause this frustration are endemic to the society in which they work. You could pay them $100K a year minimum, and it’s still not going to make a difference if the broader local dysfunctional culture doesn’t change.

    5. Why?

      Standardized testing has been used for a long, long time. It only started to become a problem when someone realized that it could be used to track teacher’s performance. As soon as that happened, standardized testing suddenly became inaccurate–especially for evaluating how well a particular teacher was doing their job with a particular set of students.

      And no one ‘taught to the test’. Standardized tests are general knowlegde tests, basic skills tests. The stuff on the tests is all supposed to be part of the basic curriculum.

    6. Why? I hear this all the time, but it’s never explained. How is a standardized test worse than, e.g., a standardized curriculum? If you have a standardized curriculum, what’s wrong with having a test to ascertain how well students have learned it?

  10. Palin to Obama: Time to Grow a Big Stick

    That’s funny.

    1. It’s also sophomoric and uncalled-for. An ambassador and three other Americans are dead and the right make penis jokes about the Commander-In-Chief while the crisis unfolds.

      /Media talking head

      1. That was freakin’ hilarious

    2. I heard she might be familiar with big black sticks.

      1. I have heard those rumors too.

      2. That there are no videos of that on the internet is what’s wrong with capitalism. Market Failure!

        1. I found a pic from that video!


  11. You can find the actual salary data for last year here: http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/F…..Files.aspx

    If you extract the data into a useable format, you can do the calculation yourself (make sure to include only “Regular Teachers” as there are non-union and other non-teachers in that list. Anyway, what you’ll find is that the mean CPS teacher salary last year was just over $71,000. The median, however, was above $74,000. CPS says the “average” is $76,000, so that is probably their planned median salary for the 2012-2013 school year. In any case, CPS teachers make a lot of money.

    1. pretty good for a job that gets summers off

  12. Standardized tests are the single biggest roadblock to improving schools.

    Of course they are.

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