Skip to comments.Beware of Backfire - Striking Chicago teachers may turn Illinois into Wisconsin.
Posted on 09/12/2012 12:59:07 PM PDT by neverdem
If Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has spent the last 18 months painting a portrait of public-employee unions as intransigent and selfish, the Chicago Teachers Union this week provided him with confirmation. On Monday, 25,000 Chicago teachers (average salary: $76,000 before benefits) walked out of their classrooms, leaving nearly 350,000 schoolchildren and their parents in the lurch. The teachers are fighting to protect their lavish pay and benefit packages and also trying to stave off a new accountability plan that would evaluate their effectiveness using students test scores.
The Chicago strike serves as a counterpoint to events in Wisconsin after Walkers election in 2010. In a protracted, contentious battle, Walker virtually eliminated collective bargaining for public employees, weakening the unions power significantly. Illinois is now demonstrating what Wisconsin might have looked like without Walkers reforms. Those reforms didnt come easy: for a year and a half, Wisconsin was paralyzed by demonstrations and union disruptions. But the union tantrums in Wisconsin clearly backfired, and in a recall election this past June, Walker won by a greater margin than he had in 2010, against the same opponent. Walker is now a national star on the Republican scene, while public-union membership is plummeting.
Theres no reason to believe that the Chicago teachers strike wont similarly backfire on union loyalists. For one, the teachers demands are well beyond what normal citizens consider just. In recent negotiations, the CTU rejected a 16 percent pay increase over the next four years, which in todays economic climate would seem like a generous deal to virtually anyone who doesnt work for a public-employee union. Instead, the union demanded a 30 percent pay increase, in part to compensate for an extended school day. And the negotiations addressed only salaries. With new accounting rules in place, the Chicago Public Schools annual contribution for teacher pensions will jump from $231 million to $684 million between 2013 and 2014, according to the Illinois Policy Institute. Next year, pension costs will eat up nearly half of the education funding that Chicago schools receive from the state.
Perhaps most egregious are teachers attempts to duck accountability to save union jobs. Under Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuels plan, a public school teaching position would no longer be a sinecure; teachers would have to justify their employment with their students test scores. While this makes sense to the public—Barack Obamas own secretary of education, Arne Duncan, has fought for similar accountability plans nationwide—unions see it as a threat to job security, which, to them, clearly takes precedence over student learning.
Even to those inclined to support unions, these issues are losers. People out of work and parents scrambling to find care for their kids are likely to lose sympathy with teachers quickly as the strike drags on. The fact that Emanuel, a Democrat, is the one getting tough with the CTU is a sign that the unions demands are out of line even by mainstream liberal standards. (On Monday, Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan issued a statement saying that he stands with Rahm Emanuel, which made me check to see if my office was properly ventilated.)
The strike could also damage support for the teachers by drawing a clear contrast between heavily unionized public schools and union-free charter schools. Currently, Chicago has nearly 100 charter schools, and 52,000 of the students in those schools will be attending classes on schedule and outperforming public school students academically. A study by the Illinois Policy Institute examined the Chicago districts open-enrollment, non-selective high schools and found that nine of the ten top performers were charters—all while the average Chicago-area charter-school teacher earns about $49,000 per year. Charter schools, of course, are also anathema to the CTU—but by walking out on the citys schoolchildren, the unionized teachers are only reminding parents that another option exists, one that works better at lower cost.
Its possible, of course, that the CTU could prevail in this dispute and win valuable concessions from Emanuel. But its also possible—if the mayor remains strong—that Chicagos teachers have given Illinois the shove it needs to start moving toward the Wisconsin model.
It’s already happening. Many folks on my team at work live in the city and have kids in these wretched schools. They are NOT happy with the teachers, many calling it an illegal strike now.
Most of rural Illinois looks like a ghost-town, with boarded up storefronts, and empty strip malls everywhere.
Unemployment is outrageous, and the Democrats raised income taxes to pay for Gub’ment pensions.
Now, the highest paid teachers in America are demanding a 30% pay increase??
I cannot see how this wouldn’t upset the sheeple. But then, history shows us they vote however the Magic Glowing Box in the living room tells them to.
Let’s see... $76,000 + 25,000 in health ins, pension and other benefits for 180 days per year work.
180/5= 36 weeks
$101,000 / 36 weeks = $2,805.55 per week
$2,805.55 per week X 52 weeks = $145,889.60 per year equivalent
“..Many folks on my team at work live in the city and have kids in these wretched schools. They are NOT happy with the teachers, many calling it an illegal strike now...”
And that pansy thug of a mayor of Chicago is just pandering to the extortion of the teachers union. A good crooked DemoRat, he would not dare confront the unions. And where is his ex-boss? Probably denying the strike is even happening.
In a way, I feel sorry for the CTU. The lousy performance of the students is a reflection of societal and cultural decay.
But with the Great Recession still going strong, the CTU is on the wrong end of a losing argument, IMHO.
Don’t count on it. Rahmbo will back down.
“Lets see... $76,000 + 25,000 in health ins, pension and other benefits for 180 days per year work.
180/5= 36 weeks
$101,000 / 36 weeks = $2,805.55 per week
$2,805.55 per week X 52 weeks = $145,889.60 per year equivalent”
and, mind you, that evil Rahm wants to extend the workday from 6hrs, 45minutes, to (GASP!!) SEVEN HOURS PER DAY!
They only work a 5 1/2 hour day too not counting lunch and breaks.
350,000 students———25,000 teachers=
1 teacher for 14 kids ratio.
I went to school where the classes held 35-40 kids. We did just fine. Was on the Honor Roll most of high school.
You got Rahm “The Wonder Horse” wrong. He PROVOKED this strike with demands for another hour (16% longer day).
BTW 76 Gs is not a huge salary and is less than most of the suburban teachers make. Chicago is expensive to live in.
Lower Charter School salaries reflect younger teachers.
Now Rahm “The Wonder Horse” is floating the idea of MORE Charter schools (non-union) to try and bring the union to sanity.
Walker has shown the way and Rahm “The Wonder Horse” has determined that the unions must be confronted even the idiot in Springfield has realized this.
My sis and I are four years apart. The kids in my class all had two parents. More than half the kids in my sis’ classes were divorced. Our culture changed overnight.
My sister's kids are in Florida. The Public School System, like in most places, leave much to be desired. They moved into a neighborhood with a great K through 6th grade school. The middle school was horrid. My niece did well on national tests. Because she did so well, she placed out of all English classes. IOW, no more English.....she was only 12 years old!!!! They took out both kids and sent them to a very good and unbelievably expensive private grade and high school. My BIL was laid off and they are barely pulling through....
I don't know what to say anymore.
While you have your calculator out, run these numbers: 350,000 students divided by 25,000 teachers on strike, and that’s the average class size.
and there lies the disconnect with the rest of us. a short day for me is 10 hours.
Most people it’s 8-9 hours a day, 5 days a week year round for as much as HALF what these “teachers” make.
To bad Chicago does not have a Reagan as mayor. He’d fire the whole lot of them like the air traffic controllers.
At some point, free market or not, someone’s going to figure out 9 out if 10 teachers have absolutely no qualifications, and all those masters degrees don’t amount to a hill of beans. Does anyone else remember honors announcements at college graduation? It was a trickle in math and hard science, a steady stream for the humanities and social sciences, and a flood for business school. Where was education? For me, at least, nowhere. Because they were a school unto themselves. Most likely because however corrupt higher education has become they’d still blanch at pretending even business school is comparable to education school. And this at a university that used to be a “normal college,” or school for teachers.
I, who’ve had nothing to do with school since taking a bachelor’s, could teach a kid reading, writing, and the times tables in my spare time, if I really wanted to. It’s not that hard. There’s absolutely no reason you have to pay as much as they do, especially given the results. Nuns used to do it for free and better.
Physics, chemistry, calculus, that’s different. Pay them more. But ABCs and math up to algebra could almost be taught for minimum wage.
Good teachers like my late wife did not stop working after leaving her classroom. She worked a couple of hours every night and a lot on the weekends. Taxpayers got their money worth from her and there are lots of devoted teachers like her.
Teachers worked 6 hours per day and Rahm’s unilateral extension of the workday by an hour is a 16.7% increase in the work day. He provoked this strike for his own political reasons.
Teachers get great health benefits but their pensions are not particularly generous.
Anyone who has to deal with the Chicago pupils (75% of Blacks out of wedlock, gang infestation, worshippers of Evil) and/or their insane parents gets burned out VERY fast. I would not be able to do their job for 150Gs a year.
Surely you jest! It would be impossible for Illinois to make the changes Wisconsin did for several reasons. First, the governor is bought and paid for by unions and special interests. Second, the number of dead people voting in Chicago is directly related to the number of votes necessary to approve or disapprove any initiative or elect or un-elect any politician that would try something like what Wisconsin did. Third, the majority of the people of Illinois have the progressive illness that renders them delusional and completely irrational.
Impossible! Nothing could turn wretched, dirty, crowded, corrupt Chicago into Wisconsin!
“76 Gs is not a huge salary”
How does it compare to the Median income for Chicago? Probably at least 30 grand more. And that’s not including benefits, nor factoring in hours worked per day and the tact that they’re off for three months a year.
I realize the entire point of unions and government monopolies is not to think about it, but what would these teachers make if they had to compete with everyone else in the job market and schools had to compete with every other expenditure? Not this much.
Wisconsin ping. Chicago turning into Wisconsin?
FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.
My sister and BIL went to my nephew's teacher/parent night at a private high school in Fort Lauderdale. There were two new teachers from the public school system. One was Chinese teacher. She was in bliss. She could not believe how wonderful it was to be a teacher at the school. The students are respectful, they want to learn, they work hard and the parents are interested in the school, their children and the teachers. The other teacher is teaching calculus. He said the same thing.
LOL good one! I hope this state wakes up, but I wouldn’t count on it, as soon as we re-elected Pat Quinn here in Illinois I have no hope left for this state, I may actually move to Wisconsin in a decade.
Teachers in Illinois get 75% of average of last 4 years of salary after 30 years. Still think that's not generous?
Why doesn’t the school board fire all who belong to the teacher’s union and start hiring replacement teachers a la RR with the air traffice controllers?
The teacher’s union idiots would start puckering.
While you have your calculator out, run these numbers: 350,000 students divided by 25,000 teachers on strike, and thats the average class size.
350/25 = 14
$684 million in teachers pensions divided by 25,000 teachers = $27,360 retirement funding per teacher for one year..... something smells real bad
What you said! If they think that's bad, let them live on 401Ks like the rest of us poor slobs. No wonder our property taxes are so high.
When are they going to arrest Obama and the crooks.
“I feel sorry for the CTU.”
Only if you don’t know them.
I doubt Illinois will wake up and pull a Wisconsin.
Agreed! But they should demand better working conditions - not more pay!
Chicago teachers have their own pension system which is not state funded.
Class warfare over supposedly outrageous salaries are the Democrat stock in trade. Those who make over 200K are supposed to be our enemies. They aren’t, neither are teacher salaries.
Why would you believe a pension of about $50 K is so much? That is probably the average pension of a teacher in Illinois.
It was heartbreaking to hear the tales my wife would tell me about her students’ lives. She had one kindergarten child who was HUNG because his mother did not pay the dope dealer.
He was found in the stairwell of one of the hell hole projects.
Her students could not do math or understand English but they could turn out, under her direction, great art projects. They saw that they could do something and that may have been the first time some understood that. Needless to say they adored her. Being beautiful with long hair didn’t hurt. Her little girls would just come up to her to touch her hair.
I never understood how the Lord could take her away from those kids so early.
Bears and Packers fans living together....mass hysteria.
These jobs need a high salary to retain personnel and even so they have a high burnout rate and escape (to the suburbs) rate.
School systems are probably the political entities closest to the People and easiest to get under their control.
So it is obvious that Education is something people like to bitch and moan about but rarely do anything.
This class warfare is not worthy of FR. And at any rate the real question is not what the average income in Chicago but what the average income FOR COLLEGE GRADUATES in Chicago is. Would you not suspect that it would be close to the avg for teachers? And a large percentage of teachers have Masters degree.
Do people have no analytic abilities at all?
Class sizes are 30 or over.
Discounting the 2008 election since it had an Illinois senator running they had trended better in the previous 4 elections:
Where do you get the idea that pupils in Chicago are like normal kids? Or come from a culture that respects learning and/or teachers in ANY way?
You do realize, I would hope that without discipline there will be no real learning, and that the civil rights lawyers have made sure there is no disciplining these students.
It is correct that most college graduates can teach a child or children but the problem is that under these conditions few people can put up with all the BS year after year. Lunatic parents, wild kids and insane federal, state and local bureaucratic crap. Half the funding is absorbed by the bureaucracy.
Your calculation does not show this to be a huge pension now does it. I suspect it is a little low but a good initial estimate. It would be hard for me to survive on a little more than 2.5 grand a month.
It verifies what I have been saying about them not having outrageous pensions.
Since Chicago teachers have their own pension system they do not pay into or receive Social Security.
“Your calculation does not show this to be a huge pension now does it. I suspect it is a little low but a good initial estimate.”
No, you misunderstand. That amount is the average current year funding for all current active working teachers. The amount they put away for the future retirement benefits. It is not the retirement benefit!
Ok. That funding is partially from the teachers. If you look at the current avg. pension for a retired Chicago teacher it is not exorbitant.
I’m not sure what conclusions can be drawn from that figure in any case since there are a lot more than 25,000 teachers drawing pensions.
“In a way, I feel sorry for the CTU. The lousy performance of the students is a reflection of societal and cultural decay.”
To which they’ve contributed significantly.
The amount shown is the current year contributions required to provide future retirement benefits based upon an actuarial computation for their defined benefit plan. These would not be the teacher’s contributions. It uses present value calculations based upon the number of years to retirement, age, expected mortality, estimated yield on fund investments, and expected future retirement benefit.
I’m retired as a CPA and I used to audit pension plans.
With your background perhaps you can tell me what the actual current pension being paid to retired Chicago teachers.
The dopey parents who “support our schools!” are just getting a small portion of what they deserve. Unfortunately, I have one kid in government school right now (and one homeschooled) and I would dance a jig if the schools shut down.
Here is why the teachers are really pissed. Read these proposals:
Here is a cut & paste from the Chicago Teachers Retirement Fund:
Depending on your stage in life, retirement may be on the horizon or still seem remote. In either case, careful planning helps ensure that you and your family receive the maximum pension benefit from the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.
The Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund (CTPF) is a defined benefit retirement plan that provides a retirement based on your salary and service credit. After you accumulate five years of service, you are vested and qualify for a lifetime pension once you meet minimum age requirements.
Unlike many other investments, the value of your pension does not fluctuate with investment market conditions.
You can get an estimate of what your retirement pension would be by using our Monthly Annuity Planner.
I entered data in their retirement calculator:
Retirement Age 65
Years of Service 40
Salary at Retirement $76,000 (this is low as it is the average)
Here are the results:
Retirement Monthly Annuity Planner Results:
You indicated that you would be retiring at age 65 with 40 years of service and a final average salary of $76,000.00. Based on your years of service, your pension percentage would be 75 percent and your total annual unreduced pension would be $57,000.00. This is a monthly benefit of $4,750.00.
According to the data you entered, you qualify for an unreduced pension.
I added $10K to the average with all other data the same and here is the result:
Retirement Monthly Annuity Planner Results:
You indicated that you would be retiring at age 65 with 40 years of service and a final average salary of $86,000.00. Based on your years of service, your pension percentage would be 75 percent and your total annual unreduced pension would be $64,500.00. This is a monthly benefit of $5,375.00.
According to the data you entered, you qualify for an unreduced pension.
-— few people can put up with all the BS year after year —
Years ago, New York’s Cardinal O’Connor offered to take the LOWEST -performing 10% of government school students for FREE.
The entire school establishment turned him down.
That tells me something.
It ain’t about the children.
The big problem with an open ended defined benefit plan where the benefit is calculated based upon last year of salary and there is a COLA clause, the unfunded liability can run wild.