Teachers Unions

Chicago Teachers Go on Strike to Demand Higher Pay, Smaller Class Sizes, New Schools, More Staff, and Affordable Housing

More than 300,000 students in Chicago were out of school on Friday as the teachers strike continued.

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Chicago's 300,000-plus public school students had no school on Friday as the city's teacher strike extended into a second day. While some of the teachers union's requests are par for the course—higher pay and smaller class sizes, for instance—the other demands are likely unmeetable.

Approximately 26,000 teachers and 8,000 additional staff members continued striking on Friday after rejecting the Board of Education's Oct. 11 counteroffer of a 16 percent pay raise over five years as well as $400,000 for recruiting and training nurses, counselors, and social workers. Faculty say that such support positions are spread too few and far between, with some of those workers having to cover multiple schools. The city's proposal also includes the creation of 20 new "community schools" with expanded after-school programs and social-emotional support and trauma interventions.

Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot characterized the city's counteroffer as a generous one and said that going beyond it would push the city closer to financial insolvency. "We have tried to provide the best deal that's fiscally responsible, fair to teachers, and fair to taxpayers," Lightfoot said in a press conference Wednesday.

But the Chicago Teachers Union disagrees. The union is demanding a 15 percent pay raise over three years, better benefits, as well as the need for a Restorative Justice Coordinator at each school to supplant the heavy police presence. Teachers have also asked for thousands more support staff, though Lightfoot's proposal would more than double the current number of nurses and social workers. Under their plan, Chicago Public Schools would hire an additional 250 nurses by 2024, giving each school their own dedicated medical professional within five years.

"Every day we go to work, the stress level is sky-high. The kids are not ready to learn, they suffer a great deal of trauma, they are hungry and tired," Catherine Dalber, an instructor at Lawndale Elementary Community Academy, told The Washington Post. "I can't do every job."

On average, Chicago teachers earn $79,000, about $20,000 higher than the mean national salary for a public school educator. The Illinois Policy Institute estimates that the Chicago Teachers Union's demands would cost taxpayers an extra $397 million in the first year, with the figure increasing each subsequent year as benefits and compensation expand.

That estimate is partly based on the union's requirement that the city fund more affordable housing for teachers and students. Teachers say they won't return to the classroom unless the Chicago government contractually obligates itself to subsidize more low-income housing.

Housing in Chicago is certainly a problem, with extreme poverty and a high degree of segregation. But demanding affordable housing as part of contract negotiations complicates an already fraught situation. It's a slower and more complicated approach, as it requires that the government build new housing and rent it to teachers and their students' families at a discount, rather than simply rezoning the city in a way that incentivizes the private development of more housing stock. Lawmakers would need to collect new funds for the project, pinpoint appropriate and available locations, complete construction, and then institute price controls to ensure that teachers and students could access the developments.

"Affordable housing is a critical issue that affects residents across Chicago, and everyone's voices need to be heard during this process," Lightfoot said in a statement earlier this month. "As such, the collective bargaining agreement is not the appropriate place for the City to legislate its affordable housing policy."

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  1. “”Every day we go to work, the stress level is sky-high. The kids are not ready to learn, they suffer a great deal of trauma, they are hungry and tired,” Catherine Dalber, an instructor at Lawndale Elementary Community Academy, told The Washington Post.”

    You’ve identified the problem. That’s fabulous, cupcake, but riddle me this- how is taking more money from their parents to give to you going to solve it?

    1. Your job is stressful? There’s a support group for that. It’s called everybody. They meet at the bar.

      1. Actually, I was going for the kids’ difficulties being the problem, but your take works, too.

        1. Kids in Ghana have to hunt wild chickens to eat and carry water miles from the well in addition to learning multiple languages.

          Fuck your sob stories, fire all of those assholes. There is a new crop of teachers every 6 months, and very little to distinguish between the ones who have been collecting a paycheck for 40 years and the greenhorns.

          “Do your job”

          1. “Do your job”

            Is that in the union contract?

            1. Absolutely not.

              1. I was afraid not. *sigh*

          2. Je je je… I’ll bet they really miss mayor Jane Byrne right about now. She’s the one that added the Atlas Shrugged clause to the goonion corntract.

      2. As someone who worked at a bar in college… the only people in the bar from 3-5 were teachers pretending to grade papers bitching how hard their lives were.

    2. Aw, come on! You know the logic!

      “Children are suffering! There’s war, and hunger and disease in the world! It’s awful! AWFUL, I tell you! …



      Now please give me more money.”

      1. If they said “please”, I’d be surprised.

        1. Please and strike are one in the same to these people.

    3. taking money from their parents would help a lot — charge tuition, or only tax parents with kids in the school. If they have some skin in th game they would make sure their kids are motivated.

  2. $80k/yr and 3 months of vacation every year. That’s quite a gig.

    1. But they have to put up with school bureaucrats; so not so good.

      1. Put up with them? They’re demanding more of them!

    2. Yeah, they make almost what I do, probably have a much better retirement benefit and get 3 months off.
      Some teachers may be underpaid, but there are a whole lot that seem to be compensated quite well.

      1. It’s all about where you work. In the south the schools pay shit. 80K for average salary is pretty good.
        If you teach in a good area and you stick with it then you’re going to retire very well.
        Is it a pain in the ass? Yes.
        Are you going to have panic attacks as summer is ending? Maybe.
        Your pension is sweet though so if you just spend your years playing tricks on the kids it goes by faster.

        1. Is anyone forced to work a particular job?

          1. No, but for the pay and the pension I’d shut my mouth because it’s a pretty sweet gig and like most things, if you endure hardship now the payout is great.

  3. 300,000+ students, divided by 26,000+ teachers = 12 students per teacher. So are a bunch of teachers sitting in padded rooms, because all I’ve heard on local news is the “unmanageable” class sizes of 30+ students (which was normal back when I was a kid, and walked uphill both ways through the snow).

    And yes, I’m not smart enough to join the Illinois Exodus yet, but I’m also not dumb enough to live a mile further south within the Chicago city limits.

    1. You must have learned math at a school district not in Chicago.

      1. Half of those are special Ed teachers. Maybe now than half. They do a much smaller ratio.

    2. So are a bunch of teachers sitting in padded rooms

      Yes.

    3. 2K of the 26K members are retired and earning pensions. So any 24K working. If there are 30 kids in a class you need only 10K teachers, so there must be 16K surplus doing something else than teaching. And they need more for “restorative justice” coordinators?

  4. “Approximately 26,000 teachers and 8,000 additional staff members”

    Uh, 3 to 1 ratio of workers to drones. Fire the 8k and split the money among the teachers in true socialist fashion. Problem solved.

    Or explain to the taxpayers how more money to the same people who can’t get the job done now will magically make them better at their jobs.

    1. The administrative bloat in these schools is absolutely insane. When I was a kid in elementary, we had 14 classes- 2 each of K – 6. Add to that a librarian, 2 PE teachers and a music teacher, and you had 18 teachers. Supporting them was a principal, secretary, assistant principal and a part time nurse.

      Flash forward to my kids school, and there are around 10 staff supporting 20 teachers- including an extra admin, guidance councilor, full time nurse (who cannot seem to do anything but administer ice packs or call you to come get the kids), 2 therapists and more. Plus there are all these district shared resources for IT connectivity and field trip coordinators.

      It isn’t that all these additional bureaucrats don’t add value- I’m sure many of them do. But in my company, when we are running short on cash, we have to make tough decisions. It never seems to happen at these schools.

      1. Did you go to school in Beverly Hills? We had 7 classes – one each of K-6. No librarian or music teacher (one book mobile and one music teacher spread among 10 elementary schools in the town), no PE teachers and no assistant principal.

    1. Sounds like the Illinois general budget. And the pension fund…

  5. Chicago’s 300,000-plus public school students had no school on Friday as the city’s teacher strike extended into a second day.

    And those students learned a valuable lesson – the schools aren’t there for them.

    1. Actually most of the are, serving three meals a day to students on the subsidized meal programs.

  6. In other words, they are protesting the fact that they are teachers in Chicago. If you want a cushy job teaching obedient children from well-to-do households in upwardly mobile neighborhoods, there is a solution. It’s called “pack up your shit and move.”

    1. Yeah, but that would require them to do something opposed to making someone else do something for them.

  7. Teachers say they won’t return to the classroom unless the Chicago government contractually obligates itself to subsidize more low-income housing.

    Which is a monetary benefit when you subsidize the housing of a caste of employees.

    1. Is $80k/year low income in Chicago? I guess half make less than that. I wonder what the spread is?

      1. Chicago is about 10% above national average for cost of living, and $80,000/yr is somewhere around 70th-percentile for Household (not individual) income – so not “low income” at all.

        Here’s an interesting site with some very detailed data (including neighborhood income) for Chicago.

      2. “Is $80k/year low income in Chicago?”

        Not sure about a year, but $80K for nine months sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

        1. especially when it includes a decent pension. with interest rates at historic lows, pensions are an even bigger benefit compared to 401ks

  8. Generally,the problem in areas like this are the bloated and corrupt administrative employees. The conditions for the teachers do suck. The solution is to fire bureaucrats and use the money for the actual schools.

    It’s like the old SNL Clinton-warlords joke. When money is added, the administrative bloat goes bigger, so the teachers and students don’t see the resources.

    It’s probably true that the teachers are in a no win situation where they can’t actually teach because they have to wear too many hats.

    1. Um Chicago teachers, like all government employees, are parasites who will continue to feed on their host until it is a lifeless corpse. In point of fact both Chicago and the state of Illinois are by any reasonable measure in bankruptcy thanks to these thugs. Now they’re demanding that the taxpayers pay their fucking rent? Ever heard the term rent seeking? Some of the most “affordable” housing in the nation is about 80 miles west. They wanna live in the windy city and they want me to pay their rent? Fuck them.

    2. It’s probably true that the teachers are in a no win situation where they can’t actually teach because they have to wear too many hats.

      They can vote with their feet. If they don’t, it’s their own fault.

    3. Expel the ineducable feral students so the teachers can teach and the kids who are willing and able to learn can do so.

      1. Great idea. Now turn it around and do the same for the teachers.

        1. Once the students refusing or incapable of education are expelled or put back on the short bus, hiring competent teachers would get much easier.

          1. As someone points out above, the reason the 300K students to 26K teachers math doesn’t work out to 30 students per teacher is because a significant chunk of the 300K are special needs kids, consuming teachers/staff at a 1:2 or even 1:3 student:teacher ratio.

            1. So, separate the intellectually disabled students from the normal ones, as was done for many decades, so the regular classroom teachers aren’t distracted by their “special needs”. And as I’ve alluded, many of the students who suck up teacher time and attention are not disabled, but are simply disinterested in learning and are choosing to engage in disruptive behavior. Those students should be segregated into special disciplinary programs when young, and, if they never straighten out, expelled when they’re older.

    4. No, the solution is to end public education period, and make parents responsible for choosing and paying for their children’s own education, meals, health, “counselors…social workers…social-emotional support and trauma interventions.”

  9. Evil greedy bastards didn’t include demands for vegan meals, renewable energy, nuclear disarmament, impeachment for the Trumpenfuhrer and pay raises for teachers in Minnesota as well?

    1. That’s coming for Trump’s second term lol

  10. Government employees should not be allowed to unionize or strike, period.

    1. Yeah, it’s basically government conspiring with itself to extract more money from people.

    2. …said that capitalist bastard Franklin D. Roosevelt.

      1. One of the US’ worst presidents, but ultimately one of it’s most “effective”. I use that quote any chance I get

    3. Was thinking about that.

      Government employees are not different than anyone else. They are contractors who have signed into a deal that includes the union as the agent. Nobody was forced into any of this.

      So a strike is a gamble from both sides.

      I am not very good at negotiation. I tend to overestimate the good will of the other side. Some things I have learned the hard way.

      Do not be fooled by take it or leave it hardball tactics. If the other side is talking there is something they want or need from you. Always be prepared to walk away and have a backup plan.

      Do not get taken in by extreme demands. The teachers union is doing this in the affordable housing thing which is an obvious throw away.

      The other side will want you to reduce your position before making a counter offer. Anyone who has been to a car dealer knows this trick. Just ask what do you have for a counter offer. (Learned that from My Cousin Vinnie)

      To see this negotiation as a zero sum win lose game is incorrect. Best alternative to a negotiated agreement means that you understand yourself and the other side. In this case to teach the children and get the job done. We do not agree about that exactly.

      So whatever we want to talk about with unions I really have no dog in this fight. I prefer to stay independent.

      1. I am not very good at negotiation. I tend to overestimate the good will of the other side. Some things I have learned the hard way.

        My downfall as well. I got the ‘overestimation of good will’ from my mother. 🙂

  11. So, more money, and some woke shit so it looks like it’s not all about more money.

    1. They want their “mo’ money” to buy mo stuff, hence the affordable housing.

  12. Time for a complete reset. Close all the schools, fire all the teachers and administrators, and cancel all school-funding. Then ask families what then want from K-12 education AND what they are willing to pay. Advertise positions with salaries to match. Try again.

    1. Oh, and ban teacher unions.

    2. Distribute the school funding directly to the kids’ parents. Then just get the fuck out of the way.

    3. You’re not even close. Eliminate all government involvement in schooling.

    4. Stop subsidizing the reproduction of unmarried, unemployed, mentally retarded young women.

    5. Also +100. And privatize every last bit of it.

  13. “For The Children”(tm), I’m sure…

  14. Chicago Teachers Go on Strike to Demand:
    Higher Pay (ok makes sense for a teachers group)
    Smaller Class Sizes (no surprise here)
    New Schools (fits the union mindset, hard to blame them for asking this)
    More Staff (sure, ask for it)
    and Affordable Housing Wait. WAT?

  15. as well as the need for a Restorative Justice Coordinator

    I’m scared to ask but WTF is a “Restorative Justice Coordinator”

    1. Someone who makes excuses for juvenile thugs.

      1. We have a winner.

    2. Another parasite who needs no training to make big bucks just because – – – –

  16. Chicago would be better off reopening the stockyards and moving those kids from pen to pen every year than what can be had from their educational system.

    1. What’s the best age to slaughter them?

  17. For the first time in my memory (back to the early Daleys) Chicago seem to have a mayor with a head screwed on straight…. housing cannot be supplied as demanded straight out of the blue without involving other groups, and the entire city, in a comprehensive plan.

    On WHAT BASIS do the silly teachers demand affordable housing”, perticularly considering their already sky high salaries?

    I say let the strike go on until the teachers wake up and realise THEY do not run the city. Enough of their greed. Eigthy K to teach grade school? And they want even SMALLER class sizes? WHen I was in grade school (1950’s) we had 55 students per classroom, yes FIFTY FIVE, only one teacher, no aides or helpers. WE were the helpers. And we learned. Our eight grade level of cpmpetence was quite a bit above todays high schoolers. We knuckled down and LEARNED because we WANTED to. No class disruptions… in all my eight years of grade school I recall one cut-up, the first time was mild, he had consequenznces. Second time, he was worse, and so were his consequences. Third time, he was OUT. Yes, Oh You Tee Tea. Gone. And we all knew exactly why, as WE all knew his actions were not acceptible.

    1. Did they teach spelling in your schools?

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  19. I work in public education in a mostly rural area. Most schools around here have at least one nurse in every building. I cant imagine a large urban school building with no dedicated nurse. If nothing else, to dispense the kids prescriptions during the day.

    1. Much of the “dispensing” should be dispensed with. The drugging of children, especially boys, is a public health crisis.

    2. “…to dispense the kids prescriptions during the day”

      This is their parents’ responsibility. Also, if I’m qualified to administer medications to myself, and a barely-literate home health aide was qualified to give my mother her meds after she was incapacitated by a stroke, you sure as hell don’t need some overpaid RN to give meds.

  20. But the Chicago Teachers Union disagrees. The union is demanding a 15 percent pay raise over three years, better benefits, as well as the need for a Restorative Justice Coordinator at each school to supplant the heavy police presence. Teachers have also asked for thousands more support staff, though Lightfoot’s proposal would more than double the current number of nurses and social workers. Under their plan, Chicago Public Schools would hire an additional 250 nurses by 2024, giving each school their own dedicated medical professional within five years.

    My, my….Is this all they are asking for? 🙂

  21. So the students had the opportunity to actually learn something useful on Friday, instead of being brainwashed with nonsense.

    1. In the socialized school system that is as “useful” as it gets.

  22. Privatize the entire education sector. Don’t like your pay or working conditions? Quit and find another job.

    1. $400,000 for recruiting and training nurses, counselors, and social workers…expanded after-school programs and social-emotional support and trauma interventions.

      Gotta raise that next generation of illiterate, entitled, useless welfare parasites and professional victims. I’d call them snowflakes, but it’s kind of an insult to actual snowflakes.

  23. Yet somehow millions of people graduated and went on to live productive lives after attending schools with one nurse, one librarian, a handful of guidance counselors and no psychologists or social workers. It’s almost like the Chicago teachers care more about make-work union jobs than they care about educating students.

  24. Use the kids you push your proggy agenda on, to push government to provide your specific caste with your proggy agenda. The teacher’s unions are the next thing Americans should dump in the Harbors, believe me if you cave they will make you pay.

  25. Government employees should not be allowed to unionize or strike, period.
    زوج درمانی قطعی

  26. The absurdity here is that no one is really asking the big question – can the city afford any of the union demands and the answer is clearly “no”. Many of those who can, are fleeing the violence. Pensions are, of course, out of control. Increasing costs and decreasing revenues is not sustainable.

    1. Does kind of make you want to try to find out how many retired Chicago teachers are still in town, and how many have moved to lower tax states.

  27. And a pony. They forgot to ask for the pony.

  28. What’s the problem? Kids’ll at least have a chance to learn something while the looters are out on strike. They could learn to conjugate the verb “incentivize,” and discover that alternative to “I hold a gun to your head, you hold a gun to your head, he holds a gun to your head…”

  29. We should expect a surge of teen pregnancies following the strike due to girls being home with Mom’s boyfriend.

  30. I can’t support this in any way. Schools are for teaching and they are already making way over the national average. Schools don’t need the extra staff members (that’s why it gets so expensive to educate the kids). If a kid truly needs the extra services, they can be referred to someone not sucking off the educational tit.

  31. Considering the decades of poor results in Chicago city schools those students didn’t miss anything.

  32. So, my wife had been a 5th grade teacher for 10 years. New principal comes to the school, moves her to 2nd grade. Moves the 5 year-2nd grade teacher to 5th. All this about 2 weeks before class starts.

    The county spent about $2mil on a new 2nd grade math curriculum. My wife spent about 4 hours on each lesson, making “crafts” and visual aids (per the curriculum instructions). She can hardly keep up but one day, she’s cleaning out the closet and looking at the supplies left over from the previous 2nd grade teacher. She starts to recognize a few things. In this box, was all the visual aids that she had spent hours on making, already supplied by a previous curriculum that the county had spent about $1.5 million on, 4 years before…and threw out..for a new curriculum ….only to re-purchase it again, 4 years later..with no supplies for the teacher…at a higher price.

  33. Hmm, then I see why so many teachers leave the teaching job for commercial companies and prefer to work for them, once my company posted a job for writers and we have got a plenty of teachers` CV. I guess current social issues much worse than before

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