Chicago Teachers May Strike on Monday; News Coverage Doesn’t Disclose Their Current Pay, Initial Demands
By Tom Blumer, NewsBusters
Less than 48 hours from now, Chicago’s teachers, whose union head insists, as quoted by the Associated Press, that “we are here to negotiate for better schools in Chicago,” may walk off the job, leaving the children entrusted to them to languish in half-days of activities unrelated to learning “staffed by non-union and central office workers.”
There seems to be an unwritten rule that news coverage of these matters not discuss the current earnings of those who are threatening to strike. In a writeup of over 900 words, AP writers Tammy Webber and Don Babwin stuck to that script, and also failed to tell their readers the size of the raise union negotiators initially requested.
Chicago Teachers Union Demands 30 Percent Pay Raise
It takes a lot of nerve to ask for a 30 percent pay raise. You’d better be sure you had a banner year. Yet in Chicago, where just 15 percent of fourth graders are proficient in reading (and just 56 percent of students graduate), the teachers union is set to strike if the district does not agree to a 30 percent increase in teachers’ salaries.
The average teacher in Chicago Public Schools—a district facing a $700 million deficit—makes $71,000 per year before benefits are included. If the district meets union demands and rewards teachers with the requested salary increase, education employees will receive compensation north of $92,000 per year.
According to the Illinois Policy Institute, the average annual income of a family in Chicago is $47,000 per year. If implemented, the 30 percent raise will mean that in nine months, a single teacher in the Chicago Public School system will take home nearly double what the average family in the city earns in a year.
While the union bemoans the longer school day and is demanding a hefty pay raise as a result, taxpayers will be left holding the bill for a 30 percent salary increase and wondering whether $92,000 is appropriate compensation for public school employees.
I don’t have to wonder. It’s not.