Teachers Unions

As Schools Reopen, Chicago Will Hire 2,000 Employees to Assist Students Whose Teachers Stay Home

Surprise: The teachers union opposes this plan.


Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will reopen in January, finally returning kids to their classrooms. But many teachers—between a quarter and half, the district suspects—plan to keep teaching from home, even if their students are back at their desks.

To cope with the potential staffing shortages, CPS plans to hire 2,000 new employees. About half of those will be part-time, non-unionized employees, and their job will be to supervise and assist students in the schools, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.

"One of the primary responsibilities for half of the new positions will be student supervision, according to a job posting," noted the paper.

Keep in mind that the teachers opting to keep working from home will still be paid. Their continuation of virtual education is facilitated by a variety of special accommodations and medical leave. The new student supervisors, then, are an additional expense. Many classrooms will have desks filled with students—presumably still glued to their screens—a virtual teacher, and a classroom aide.

One wonders why the student supervisors can't just teach the kids themselves and cut out the middle man, but of course, Chicago's public school teachers are unionized, and thus have extreme job protections. In fact, the union is largely opposed to the new staffing plan:

Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said the part-time job posting was the first the union heard teachers might teach remotely to students in a classroom, a proposition she called "slightly less terrible than forcing teachers to engage in synchronous learning from unsafe buildings." She said in a statement, however, that "hiring people into a position that barely pays minimum wage, with zero health care benefits in the middle of a pandemic, seems particularly cynical."

"CPS can try to exploit low-wage temporary workers to fill in for staff who are not willing to sacrifice their lives for their livelihoods, when they must instead come to the table and bargain collaboratively to land what we need to return to our school buildings and our students safely—enforceable safety standards and real equity for Black and Brown school communities starved of equity for years before this pandemic," Davis Gates said.

Follow the logic here: The district said schools will reopen in January and teachers should plan to go back to in-person instruction. The union, on behalf of many of its members, said no, it's not safe, despite the emerging scientific consensus that schools have not been particularly risky environments for the spread of COVID-19. In response, the district said fine, teach from home if you must, and we will hire additional staff to help out in the classroom. Then the union accused the district of cynically exploiting these new staff members—the staff members who actually want to work—and essentially declared that schools will not be safe until there is "equity" for "Black and Brown school communities."

Talk about shifting the goalposts.

Unfortunately, there is nothing unique about the behavior of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). All across the country, teachers unions are sounding a pessimistic note about the possibility of going back to work—despite the positive news that millions of people could be inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine over the next few months, bringing the pandemic under much greater control. A headline in today's New York Times asked, "If Teachers Get the Vaccine Quickly, Can Students Get Back to School?" The answer, at least according to the several different teachers union bosses interviewed for the story, was essentially no.

"I don't think it's around the corner," Michael Mulgrew, head of the United Federation of Teachers, said about going back to school in the spring.

"Some of our members are being bullied into returning back to classrooms," fretted Becky Pringle of the National Education Association. "That's not safe, we don't want to support that."

The Times also quoted a different CTU official, President Jesse Sharkey, who said that he could imagine schools potentially opening in the fall—reminder: his own district is aiming for January—but if school "is continuing remote, there's less urgency around the vaccination."

Some union bosses said some of their members don't want to return to their classrooms unless they have received the vaccine, but others have no plans to receive it. "My members are anxious to get back to the classroom, but they're skeptical," said E. Toby Boyd, president of the California Teachers Association, which represents 300,000 educaors. "We need to be sure it's safe and there are no lasting side effects." Another California teachers union leader told the Times that vaccination was just one component of reopening. Schools also need to undertake additional mitigation efforts such as testing and tracing.

Largely absent from these statements is any genuine sense of urgency. One cannot help but suspect that public schools will be among the very last institutions to return to normal, simply because the teachers unions have so much political power. Public schools are not subject to market forces. Yes, parents can un-enroll their kids, but they can't reclaim their tax dollars that fund the public education system.

No matter what the state of the pandemic is months from now, providing students with the kind of educational experience that fits their needs is going to take flexibility and creative thinking on the part of policymakers. It's a shame that many potential solution will invariably draw automatic opposition from the defenders of this wretched status quo.

NEXT: The FDA Finally Approves a Real At-Home COVID-19 Test

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  1. Headlines we’ll never see:

    As Schools Reopen, Chicago Will Fire 2,000 Teachers Who Stay Home

    1. That is precisely the headline we should see.

      And in the People’s Republic of NJ as well.

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      2. Yep.

        The head of CPS should come fight out and say it.

        “If you don’t show up to work on X date, don’t bother showing up at all.”

        Teachers unions holding tens of millions of families hostage should be enough to warrant mass woodchipperings.

        1. When you can raise taxes the way Illinois, Cook County and Chicago city do, more money is just a bigger number on a budget sheet. CPS teachers make between $52-103K per year plus benefits and perks for 180 days of instruction. 8.5 billion for next year proposed CPS budget for 350K students including federal dollars. All to get a 29% math and 32% reading proficiency rating. Yet they graduate about 80%.

          1. When you can raise taxes the way Illinois, Cook County and Chicago city do, more money is just a bigger number on a budget sheet.

            I don’t think it’s going to work that way much longer. Voters in Illinois just turned down a progressive income tax. Chicago and its metro area have been losing residents for a few years now, and city projects revenues will be down more than 20% from last year. They’re spending more money they don’t have.

            1. Nancy wants to bail them out. That way, they either ignore the debt or other states get to pay it off.

    2. It should be against the law to get paid if not working, at least for government employees–full stop.

      Yeah, I know this contradicts centuries of patronage and guild behavior, and will never happen in a “democracy” where “civil servants” are allowed to vote.

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  2. Round here kids are going to school. They’re making take-home lesson plans in case they have to close again, but that’s it.

    1. Are they wearing their masks?

      1. Only when distancing is not possible. It sucks, but it could be worse.

        1. Damn right it sucks.

  3. Next step.

    Replace all teachers with Khan academy videos and a babysitter.

  4. Public school teachers are our heroes!

    Look at all they have done for us. Is it too much to ask ourselves to consider their interests, particularly their safety?

    1. Don’t talk to us about them being heroes until they’ve achieved real equity for black and brown school communities. Anything short of that is just weak.

      1. So, should I expect teachers from fancy upscale school districts to do missionary work in the hood?

        1. Teacher busing.

    2. I thought Jim Acosta was the trending hero today.

    3. And it’s not like they are forced to do it for us. They could not show up at school and still get paid. Their selflessness is moving.

    4. Heroes, the most over-used descriptive tern since 9/11.

    5. i think this is meant as sarcasm…good god….it must be.

  5. “people to assist students” — aren’t those supposed to be the teachers?

    1. Students? Here’s the food chain:

      Teachers assist the candidates.
      Candidates assist the union.
      The union assists the teachers.

      Or the other way around.

  6. Just make retirement age 50, start Medicare and Socialist Security at 50, and let everyone else go back to work.

  7. Public school teachers declare they don’t want to do their jobs. Reason should be celebrating.

    Anyone who can afford a private instructor, should get on. And everyone else should be teaching their kids themselves, or finding some other method that doesn’t bankrupt them. For too long public schools have been a glorified, ruinously expensive daycare system for kids. They are better served by playing video games, considering how broken education at that level is. The ones who would have fared worst in a public school will hardly do worse outside of one.

    1. Its not like they would accept less funding though

    2. That’s be great if the parents no longer had to pay taxes to fund the schools, but having to pay both taxes and private schools is beyond many people’s budgets, and the taxes aren’t going away while unions and progressives will fight school vouchers tooth and nail.

    3. What is funny is an article today of stay at home teachers asking for schools to continue ue snow days this winter… just amazing.

      1. Several Maryland counties outside of DC have said that the learning must go on regardless of the weather over the next few days.

        Still time for the teachers to kick up a fuss, but since the bars are closed, they’ll likely just be drinking wine out of their coffee cups as usual.

        1. I worked at a bar in college. 3 pm to 6 pm was the teaching hours. Nothing but teachers getting hammered grading papers. Every day. Such heros who work harder than us.

          1. I had a math teacher in 6th grade who didn’t wait for happy hour-just poured the whiskey in his coffee and could smell it a mile a way. Those were the days…

        2. Chicago teachers can now do that all day long from home. Who is to say what’s in that cup? Glazed eyes can be blamed on computer screen and who can differentiate between getting smashed and an internet outage these days?

    4. We’re pandemic homeschooling, with the help of an amazing part-time teenage tutor because both parents work. Today, my 7 year old wrote about early US foreign policy (isolationism vs Monroe Doctrine) and which he thought was best (isolationism, because he’s a little libertarian). My 9 year old studied the fight for religious freedom in colonial Massachusetts and the role of women like Anne Hutchinson and Mary Dyer.
      In their former public school, they don’t even have history as part of the curriculum. We hope to get them into a private school so they can continue to learn at an appropriate level.

      1. Definitely do that. My public school-educated daughter asked me recently if Lincoln owned slaves. When I said no, she said that several of her high school teachers had told her Lincoln was a slaveowner. The high school she attended is far from being an indoctrination mill, and yet this is the kind of shit she learned there. Public education is a lost cause.

    5. Would be fine if we weren’t still paying the teachers and for the facilities.

  8. I don’t think it matters all they are being taught is neo marxist indoctrination. If you are the kind of person who believes that is wrong you’ve already pulled your kid out of public school. Give them a real chance.

  9. I practically burst into tears to think about how brave they are just to attend their many rallies and protests, which must put their delicate immune systems in such peril. But they heroically go to their superspreader gatherings anyway to speak truth to power and put those evil, disease riddled children in their place!

    1. This was supposed to be a reply to Libertymike, but it really fits anywhere

      1. Your comment was very much on point. 🙂

      2. You have grown to be so enlightened.

  10. their job will be to supervise and assist students

    Assist students to do *what*, exactly?

    “One of the primary responsibilities for half of the new positions will be student supervision”

    With all due respect, isn’t that what cameras and “resource officers” are supposed to do?

  11. This nonsense will continue until the Chicago voters come to their senses and kick out the greedy selfish capitalist Republicans that have ruled them for so long.

    1. They have just about chased all the capitalists out of Chicago, so paradise soon?

    2. Ugh. I’m a Chicago voter. Libertarian. There are maybe 90% Democrats, 9% Republican, and 1% Libertarian or boycotters in the voting population. It’s beyond hopeless here.

  12. If the teachers and bureaucratic class had to go without a paycheck this year all this shit would have ended in two weeks.

    1. And a reduction of pension benefits.

  13. Black lives matter for school resolution…

    The resolution includes the 13 guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter movement, including Black Villages:

    We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.

    1. Dr. Jill Biden on minority students:

      “Many minority students lack basic skills such as identifying the main idea and supporting statements, identifying parts of speech or using punctuation correctly…”

      1. Those are white supremicist ideas!

        Just like math, going to work, etc.

      2. That is the problem with “Education”. Too many “Doctors”, not enough real teachers.

    2. This.

      Point out someone who supports lockdowns/school closures, and I’ll show you someone who A) has no kids, and/or B) has not list any pay, and simply wants to continue sitting their fat ass in the couch eating bon bons, doing 20% of their normal workload, and collecting 100% pay.

      1. Some over idealistic friends of ours send their kids to DCPS with no mention of the schools ever reopening in person. They have been very sympathetic to the teachers, parroting all their talking points like “why should they put their lives on the line?” l can tell it is really starting to annoy them though they will never say so

      2. My teenage kids are happy to remote school. They have seen me do remote work for years, so it doesn’t seem strange to them. They can do it on their own time, taking up far less of their day than mandatory attendance did, and they are making great money, by teen standards, watching elementary school age kids do their “remote” schooling at the community center in the next town over.

        They sure as hell don’t feel exploited.

    3. Writer Noah Berlatsky united typically warring political factions on social media on Monday after suggesting on Twitter that “parents” are, as a whole, an “oppressive” class, who commit atrocious acts of abuse on the level of economic repression and racism.

      “parents are tyrants,” Berlatsky opined. “‘parent’ is an oppressive class, like rich people or white people.”

      “there are things you can do to try to minimize the abuse that’s endemic to the parent/child relationship, but it’s always there,” he added, noting that the oppressive “parent class” is also emblematic of the “patriarchy,” and reinforces a hierarchical, sexist society.

      1. Yup, Normal people in normal human relationships are the problem. Progressives want to redefine the fringe as the norm and the norm as oppressive. Keep in mind this guy wrote a book on bondage and feminism. I don’t care what anyone’s kink is, but in my experience people like Berlatsky have contempt for anything in the normal range of behavior (and also verbally abuse women who aren’t into their particular kinks).

  14. “Follow the logic here: The district said schools will reopen in January and teachers should plan to go back to in-person instruction. The union, on behalf of many of its members, said no, it’s not safe, despite the emerging scientific consensus that schools have not been particularly risky environments for the spread of COVID-19. In response, the district said fine, teach from home if you must, and we will hire additional staff to help out in the classroom. Then the union accused the district of cynically exploiting these new staff members—the staff members who actually want to work—and essentially declared that schools will not be safe until there is “equity” for “Black and Brown school communities.”

    Talk about shifting the goalposts.

    Unfortunately, there is nothing unique about the behavior of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU).”

    CTU? Cunt Teachers Union?

    1. Communist Teachers Union, duh.

  15. Largely absent from these statements is any genuine sense of urgency

    Also missing is any genuine sense the unions understand who works for who.

    Actually I take that back. They know perfectly well. It amazes me people willingly put up with and encourage such a large parasitic class.

    1. We work for them, because they’re on the side with men who will cheerfully kill us if we don’t cough up some tribute.

      Slightly off topic, my folks had a disorientated (possibly rabid) racoon causing problems. Stepfather (great guy) called 911 to ask if he could blast it with his shotgun (he has since borrowed my Marlin 60) so they of course said no and sent an officer.

      Rather than give it a clean death by blowing it’s brains out, the cop elected to beat it to death. My mom couldn’t decide which was more disturbing. The slow painful death of the animal as the cop nonchalantly struck it over and over, or her finally understanding that they guy (and any other cop) would do the same thing to a person and be equally indifferent.

      1. One time when I was staying with my grandparents a deer got hit outside their house. I only realized it when the cops came to “put it out of its misery”. One shot, it kicked and writhed for a bit, then a second shot and it went down. I went back to watching TV.

        EXCEPT that 45 minutes later the cops came back. Deer wasn’t dead and it had moved into the road. They finally managed to put it down. And just left it it neighbors’ yard.

        I was so pissed. Luckily my grandmother wasn’t awake for it.

        1. We once called the cops on an apartment neighbor who tried to take out a doe in the back yard of our apartment complex with a .22 caliber pistol.

          The deer was about 30 yards away from his back door, it was dusk / dark. Mind you, these are 3 sided courtyard type back lawns with apartments on the other side, maybe 60 yards away. I was out grilling at the time, maybe 40 yards away.

          The cops didn’t do anything because he was a cop.

      2. That’s sociopathic / psychotic. Wow.

        A shotgun is probably safer to fire at a potentially dangerous small (ish) pest than a .22 rifle, depending on the geography – I don’t know how much yard your folks have or how close their neighbors are.

        There is also a fair market for high-powered air-powered pellet rifles these days, I think Sullum(?) listed a couple in the Libertarian Gifts article. You get higher muzzle velocity pellet air pistols at a sporting goods store, but not as much kinetic energy on impact.

        Air rifles and pellet pistols, at least in my area, are not subject to most of the normal rules that bring the cops around. So long as you’re not firing over a right-of-way or onto a neighbor’s property. (Your mileage may vary. Caveat emptor. E pluribus unum.)

        1. Go to Crosman Custom shop online. You can purchase an awesome, American made, fully legal, customized, integrally suppressed pellet gun that shoots as tight as an expensive European model. You can quietly eliminate pests when needed.

  16. O/T – Pete Buttigieg chosen as Biden’s Transportation Secretary, vows full funding of the Hershey Highway.

    Sorry, but someone had to do it.

    1. If a problem comes up, is going to get to the bottom of it.

    2. He doesn’t know that much about surface roads, but Pete is well acquainted with many of the dirt roads and tunnels in Indiana.

  17. “Public schools sector unions are not subject to market forces.”

  18. “Some of our members are being bullied into returning back to classrooms,”

    If you stop bullying people into paying your salaries, then you don’t have to return to any classroom. Deal?

  19. Maybe Chicago should assign the teachers who refuse to go back to school to work as grocery store shelf stockers or fast food restaurant employees, who’ve been working with the public right through the pandemic.

    1. They couldn’t handle the accountability.

    2. This is one of the most irritating hypocrisies going: teachers won’t go back to school, but damn well expect those same kids they should be teaching to stand there wiping down the freezers shopping carts at the grocery stores.

  20. Covid has changed our educational system at all, now pupils and students can’t write all their homework, because teachers had started to ask students write more homework than before.So, most of students from colleges and universities ask about help at https://essayassistant.org and similar educational websites!

  21. Then the union accused the district of cynically exploiting these new staff members—the staff members who actually want to work…

    Unions and people who want to work don’t mix.

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  24. “…staff who are not willing to sacrifice their lives for their livelihoods.”

    Oh brother.

  25. There was a hiring spree in NJ a few months ago – districts paying up to $175 a day for substitute teachers (no license). What’s the big deal in Chicago? They’re not going to get rid of those teachers who choose to remain at home and teach remotely. But who’s supervising the classroom with no live teacher. If the union is so concerned, let union admin staff be the chaperones!

  26. I attended Chicago Public Schools during the busing riots in the 80s. It was “quite a unique education”. In 7th grade, I had to switch from a private school to Chicago Public Schools. I was reading Tolkien, my classmates were struggling through “The Cat in the Hat”. In senior year, I was reading Orwell, my classmates were still struggling through “The Cat in the Hat.” Yes Sir, preparing them for life!
    In college, I noticed that few of my classmates had ever been in a real fistfight, been robbed, nor had they ever witnessed a live drug deal. Certainly, none of them had been stabbed, only I. I can attest that, “Chicks dig scars”.
    If you love your children you will do anything to keep them from attending Chicago Public Schools. 58% of Chicago’s outrageous property taxes go to those “Bastions of Learning”. Teachers make twice the national average and yet, the graduation rate is dismal at best. If kids were tested fairly on a national level, Chicago’s graduation numbers would be in the single digits.

  27. Tennessee addressed the issue of teachers union back in 2011. From an HR site:

    “Tennessee’s Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act of 2011 removes the right of teachers to bargain collectively. Instead, it mandates “collaborative conferencing” to discuss the terms and conditions of employment. If the collaborative conferencing results in a memorandum of understanding, that memorandum must be submitted to the board of education for approval. Teachers and their representatives do not ratify the memorandum. If the board of education and teachers or their representatives do not reach an agreement on any issue, the board may address the issue through board policy. Teachers do not have the right to strike (TN Code Sec. 49-5-601 et seq.).”

    Other states should copy this. LOL Can you imagine the number of coronaries in blue states? Might be useful to the rest of the country.

  28. The government run schools have been collapsing now for decades. Here is hopefully the final implosion. All that talk of how important ‘public’ education is has been exposed as a farce.

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