Finally, the Chicago teachers strike is over. Under the threat of a lawsuit the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Public Schools reached a deal that both sides are calling a “true compromise”. So if that is the case then nobody is happy with the outcome and both sides will be claiming victory.
According to the Chicago Tribune, “The contract would give teachers base salary raises of 3 percent this year and 2 percent in each of the following two years. They could receive another 3 percent raise if both sides agree to a fourth year in the contract.” And, “Those raises are in addition to other salary bumps for experience and pursuing a graduate degree that would push the overall average pay raise for teachers to 17.6 percent over four years, according to CPS. The district did not offer an average raise estimate for three years.”
What bothers me, if no one else, is the idea that there are automatic pay raises for advanced degrees. Where else but in academia is that so? If I were to get an MBA there is no guarantee of more money, there is an increased likelihood but no contract stating that it will be done. That degree does not insure that the teacher will perform their job at a higher level only that the school district and taxpayers will have to pay more. And how will the CPS pay for these pay increases? That is what’s missing in all of this.
Yay! The kids are back to school and the teachers are back to work, but who and when is all of this compromise going to be paid for? In classic Chicago style, the deal has been made today and the bill will be paid tomorrow by the state of Illinois. It is that kind of back room politics that has caused that states credit rating to be lowered, that has caused a $13 billion dollar plus deficit, an underfunded state pension and has started people fleeing the state because of ever-increasing taxes and fees to pay for it all. I can be counted in that last group as well. Making a run north looks better and better every day.
Mayor Emanuel was able to secure some of his demand in all of this, “In the tentative agreement, Emanuel solidified his No. 1 reform objective of lengthening what had been one of the nation’s shortest school days and year. The mayor also managed to secure a deal that gives teachers smaller raises than they had received under their previous five-year contract, maintains principals’ right to determine which teachers will be hired and institutes, for the first time, a teacher evaluation system set out by state law that takes into account student performance.”
Ok great. The Mayor was able to fight the good fight and get some more work for the money that is being paid out and putting some accountability on poor performing teachers while giving principals more authority to hire who the want. Super. Both sides got a little, both sides lost a little. In the coming weeks and months both the Mayor and Karen Lewis can address their constituents and say they put their foot down and held strong on principle! Classic compromise, both sides win.
But, as always in this state, the suckers left writing the check are the taxpayers.