There used to be an argument that everyone “loves” teachers but decries the union organizations that push for strikes. Since 90 percent of Chicago teachers voted to support a strike, it looks more like the bad characters are in the union membership as well as the leadership.
The Chicago Teachers’ Union strike that began this morning – as well as Wednesday’s looming strike in Lake Forest High School District 115 – shows every sign of fulfilling the leftist movement’s objective to use the cult of grievance and entitlement to facilitate the break down American culture. This is all the more reason for parents to flee these geographic districts, or better yet, to home school. Just think what groups of parents could do with a fraction of the $13,000 per student spent by Chicago public schools, where, by the way, less than 60 percent of seniors even graduate from high school.
Word is that Chicago School Board President David Vitale (appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel) already has capitulated to union salary demands by offering 16 percent raises over four years. This is in a 400,000 student district where average annual teacher pay is $71,000 – without benefits. Chicago’s overall unemployment rate is 11 percent, and soars to 43 percent in some poor neighborhoods. This year, the Chicago Public Schools have used up reserves just to stay afloat, with a $1 billion deficit coming next year. Democrat politicians, including Mayor Emanuel, are in office only as a result of financial support from teachers (and other public unions), so this confrontation is especially difficult for them. Prediction: Mayor Emanuel will give back more than the Chicago Public Schools ever can afford, if only because of the even more daunting public union pension disaster that faces the Illinois Democrats – especially if the union-stimulus president of the United States is not available for a new bail-out on Nov. 7th.
Meanwhile, Lake Forest District 115 has jumped onto the same bandwagon, scheduling a strike for Wednesday of this week that will harm academics as well as college check-off extra-curricular activities for those North Shore students. The Lake Forest teachers are fighting about salary increases, out-of-pocket insurance costs, and lower pay-scales for new teachers.
None of this is good news for the students – has anyone missed the syrupy radio commercials about how the unions are all about the children? Governors in neighboring states (that would be Republican governors) have brought about remarkable results through miniscule reforms of public sector unions; in Wisconsin, teachers have kept their jobs despite union attempts to reverse elections. What the public schools need is reform, not settlements from the politicians. The monopoly public education system is working about as well as monopolies always do – they are failing.
Check out Michelle Malkin’s take on Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis – and call the union to register your opinion on the strike: 312-329-9100.