Chicago Teachers back to work

Louisville, KY - Chicago teachers returned to work today based on a tentative contract agreement. Of course what they were saying during the strike and what they got were two different things.

After trying to make the case that this strike was “about the kids” once again  the agreement is so much different as usual.

Chicago teachers average an annual salary of $76,000 and yet Chicago’s high school graduation rate is substantially lower than the national average.

Of course one of the other key issues is teacher retention and layoffs. In short, the union wants control of who gets rehired and where they get assigned. Additionally, they did not want test scores counted towards their evaluations.

With the current salaries, substandard results in education, and the budget shortfall they face one would think that concessions could have been made. After all the private sector unions make concessions.

Ford Motor Company is alive today because of the willingness of the UAW and management to work together and make concessions saving thousands of jobs though certainly not all jobs. And that may be the biggest difference between private versus public sector unions.

Where a private business must produce profit to stay in business and keep employees, public sector unions do not have the same boundaries. Government does not produce an income therefore has no sin in the game with what private sector jobs go through.

So what did the teachers gain?

They got their 17.6% pay raise over 4 years at a time when tax dollars are decreasing. Need further proof of how bad the economy is there? More than 80 percent of public school students qualify for free meals because of low family incomes.

Additionally, the current budget shortfall is $665 million in their school system and now will be saddled with an additional $75 million thanks to the new contract.

What does that mean?

It means Chicago cannot afford any more. It is that simple.

Did the teachers get smaller classroom sizes that they tried to convince us was one of the biggest issues while they were on strike?

Nope.

But they did get more money which is what this was all about anyway.

I am often reminded of an old saying.

Be careful what you wish for you just may get it.

Thanks to this new contract and the 1950′s style negotiating tactics employed by the union leadership, SOME teachers will make out great on this contract but at the expense of others that stood beside them and helped make it happen.

According to HuffPo,  Chicago has seen enrollment in  public schools fall in recent years as its population declined  and people moved to the suburbs.

The district says it needs to close schools to reduce  overcapacity. The union says that the district is closing  neighborhood public schools and replacing them with “charter”  schools, which are mostly non-union.

“You’re going to have to reduce the number of overall  teachers in the system and shrink the number of schools,” said  Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a private  group. “Some teachers will get more money. But there will have  to be a lot less teachers in the system.”

And in the midst of a contentious Presidential election in which Emmanuel’s good friend President Obama needs all the help he can get, is it any wonder that this was settled in the union favor?

Every vote counts right?

Even at the expense of the kids………..