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Strike day two– Chicago teachers party in the streets (Update — Video added)

Strike day two– Chicago teachers party in the streets (Update — Video added)

The Chicago Teachers Union continued its second day of the strike by celebrating in a party-like atmosphere with kids, festive music, and a giant fuzzy elmo doll. They may be anticipating a long strike: according to CTU President Karen Lewis, the idea that a contract will be settled by the end of Tuesday “is lunacy.”

I traveled downtown to view the protest. The “L” train was packed with young teachers in red t-shirts, smiling and laughing about the strike. One teacher commented that all they were doing at his high school to provide for students was “plopping in The Hunger Games” all day; another said that they were glad the schools weren’t inundated with all of the 400,000 children left in the lurch by the strike–otherwise, it might “make them look bad.”

The protest snaked from Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago around the “loop” area. Teachers wearing red union shirts filled the streets, many with young children grasping their own pro-strike signs.

I took video footage of the protest, where you’ll hear the reaction to my questions about “merit pay”:

The Teachers Union seemed to be intent to stress that they were not striking over the 16 percent raise over four years that the Chicago Public Schools has now offered them (the union is demanding 30 percent). Nor was it about the sticking point of enforcing accountability through merit pay. Rather, according to the teachers I spoke with, it is about getting air conditioning in the 10 schools that currently are without and ensuring that there are enough social workers.

With chants like “get up, get down, Chicago is a union town,” and signs expressing solidarity, it is clear that what is really at stake is union power–and with that the ability to continue to negotiate huge pay raises. Chicago public school teachers are the highest paid in the nation. When faced with this fact, the teachers I spoke with countered that Chicago’s cost-of-living is higher than other places.

Thanks to the Illinois Policy Institute for crunching the numbers on that:

On average, the cost of living is 21 percent more in Chicago than the other cities, according toCNNMoney. After this cost of living adjustment (COLA), Chicago public school teachers are still overpaid by a whopping 31 percent! This is morally indefensible.

And for our overly generous teacher pay we get a tragic 40 percent dropout rate for children who enter a Chicago public high school.

Don’t be fooled by CTU President Karen Lewis or the angry protestors in the streets. CTU teachers don’t deserve a pay raise of even a penny. They deserve a cut of at least 30 percent.

CTU President Lewis told the crowd Tuesday that “the whole world is watching us.” They’d better hope that the rest of Illinois isn’t watching; 35 percent of the cost for the Chicago Public Schools is funded by Illinoisans outside of Chicago.


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Air Conditioning? AIR CONDITIONING!!!??? I grew up in extreme Southeast MO, South of the 36’30” line of the “Missouri Compromise” (nothing today’s public school attendees have ever heard of). The Student Council in my own High School years manned a concession stand at every baseball and basketball game to raise money to purchase air conditioning for every class room, which was installed during my student year.

This bring to mind the profound insult to the human spirit that the Entitlement State breeds. While I can look back with some pride at the years of students who benefited from the A/C that my fellow Student Council members and I provided, I weep at the multitude of teachers (dear God–Teacher!!) marching with their hands out–for air conditioning!!

God, have mercy on our nation!


I guess the $89,859.00 that Karen Lewis was paid in 2010 for less than 180 days of work at a school that is in session only 7 hours, giving her an hourly pay of over $71.00/hr is just not enough to provide enough food to shove in her oh, so obese body.

I went to and wanted to compare how much someone in another city would have to make to have the same buying power as $79,000 does in Chicago, since the teachers there think their cost of living is so high.

Here is what you would have to earn to have the same buying power as $79,000 does in Chicago:

Newark, N.J. – $93,862.
Boston, MA. – $93,862.
Los Angeles – $114,423.
Washington, D.C. – $82,390.
Detroit, MI – $80,010.
New York City – $159,370.

All of those cities have a higher cost of living than Chicago, but all of those cities have teachers that make LESS than Chicago teachers.

Seems that Chicago teachers are too stupid to be standing in any classroom.

    CalMark in reply to retire05. | September 11, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Funny, it’s “all about the [insert noble-sounding thingie here].” But it always boils down to bucks.

    My parents remember when public school teachers weren’t such money-grubbing charlatans. That was a long time ago!

    No they are being very intelligent and rationale. They want to be paid for their work at a higher rate than the work is worth. So they are doing everything in their power to leverage their negotiating position, meaning your children are being held hostage as a negotiating point.

    Which is fine for me, it means that we get to take the kids gloves off. If they were doing it for the kids and they were truly underpaid, or at least refused to strike I wouldn’t necessarily approve of hard ball strategies, but since they are going to use our own children as leverage that means they are pulling out the bass knuckles. If the teachers feel that’s a good idea, then lets treat them like anyone who attacks our kids.

Correction “installed during my student year” – “installed during my Senior year”.

9thDistrictNeighbor | September 11, 2012 at 10:21 pm

My dh has his office a block from the school headquarters—non-stop noise for two days.

Another teacher strike is looming about 30 miles north of Chicago in Lake Forest. Yes, Lake Forest High School teachers have authorized a strike beginning tomorrow (9/12). They have been negotiating for more than a year, but now are accused of authorizing a strike just as fall sports season begins (another sports-nutty north shore town). Kids have been told not to come to school until the 17th. Parents on the “Patch” dot com über-local news site are posting teacher names and salaries (after becoming outraged that the union filed a lawsuit against the board); the discussion is getting personal and venomous. The issue is generally the same as the Chicago teacher issues (and the Wisconsin public unions this past summer)–how big a raise, a new pay scale for new hires (oh, but that would make LFHS less attractive to the “best” teachers), employees need to begin to pony up for benefits and pensions, etc.

And since it is a matter of public record, the highest paid teacher at LFHS makes upwards of 168k and has been a gym teacher for more than 30 years.

I am at dismayed with the amount of sympathy for the teachers union in the media. It truly boils down to wanting more money and less accountability.

Tragic. Shame on Karen Lewis.

Top Ten Reasons the Teachers Should Settle:

10. They’re trashing the city, costing so much in clean-up costs
9. They’re detracting from Obama’s campaign
8. A parent called to complain that his 11th grader who, a few days ago,
could read at a seventh-grade level, now can only read at a sixth-grade level
7. It is, after all CTU president, Chicago. Sooner or later there’s pay back. Can you afford the price, even if your demands are met?
6. The kids are bored already. They so tremendously want to be in class.
5. Some of the teachers are complaining about losing weight because of “walking the line.” They admit that it’s a good thing, but are worried that any increase might disappear due to having to purchase a new wardrobe.
4. The pigeons are complaining that with so many people in the streets they’re finding it difficult to get to food
3. It seems as though their heart really isn’t into the whole strike thing. I mean, if it is, get out there and riot, or burn something, or use some really, really bad words
2. Realize that, well this is a bit delicate, their image is being harmed because some of them don’t have a very good TV appearance
1. And the top reason of the top ten reasons the teachers should settle is (could we have a drum roll pleaseeeeeeeee!) because It’s the Right Thing to do!

1. The Chicago government, unable to stop rampant murder, gets Farrakhan’s goons to patrol black neighborhoods.

2. A Red union shuts down the already-dysfunctional public school system.

3. Chicago seems like a city not too far from collapse. Is another Detroit on the way?

4. For all his faults, the original Mayor Daley would never tolerate this lunacy—except that the superior beings running today’s Democratic Party would not let him put a stop to it.

Conservative Beaner | September 11, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Look at the upside of this strike. The kids are not learning any of the liberal garbage that is taught in class.

These morons were out in full force on Foster Avenue this am screwing up traffic. I had to run a guantlet of them from Ashland to Pulaski. One teacher had a brilliant sign proclaming “We Love Our Students” I wanted to yell at her that if that were the case she would be back in school and and teaching them somethinga dn not striking. For the guy up thread who is dismayed over the pro-media bias towards the teachers in the press, remember the the Sun Times, Tribune and all TV station reporters and writers are all union memebers. Do you honestly think that there would be any other treatment other than priase of teachers by their fellow union members?

Let’s not forget that it is the democrats that “invited” the unionization of the public sector. This was their early work in the field of social engineering.

Now, unions infest the public sector nationwide and the collusion between the politicians and unions is largely responsible for out of control pension costs, runaway health care expenses and a degrading of the level of services everywhere.

The losers in this case… The kids!

But don’t expect any improvement from the bowels of those who have caused the problem but look to the ever approaching tipping point of insolvency.

Nice job Rahm…

Why are there Communists teaching our children??

This is what is teaching our children.

Al Sharpton speaks with a CTU official:
“It’s about educational justice. We are in a time nationally where our students – black and brown students to be very clear – are under the pressure of privatizers who want to collect off of the pathology that plagues our communities. That’s what is going on here in Chicago.”

She goes on to say this is their Arab Spring:

Just a thought. But considering the incompetence of the overpaid teachers in Chicago: how can anyone tell they’re on strike?

There was a tweet a couple days ago, can’t remember who said it:

“You’re the highest paid in your profession. You earn 40% more than the average income of the people you serve. You do a terrible job, but 30% raise isn’t good enough?”

Paraphrased, the author managed to get it in 140 characters.

I say give them A/C. Put one in Karen Lewis’ mouth and in every other possible opening they can find on her.

Then give the union a small increase and tell them to shut up and get back to work.

Then over this school year work to gut the CPS. Replace union workers with teachers. If need be interview out of state teachers and pay them to move here.
The up front cost will be heavy but things will at least change for the better.
No union should hold our children or the state hostage.

TrooperJohnSmith | September 12, 2012 at 5:28 am

Is it any wonder why the Archdiocese of Chicago is the largest educator in Cook County? Is it any wonder why 2 of 3 teachers who live in Sh!tcago send their kids to private school? Maybe the cost of providing their kids with a private school education is why they need such exorbitant wages.

We had no air conditioning when I was in public school in Houston where it’s hot as hell and humid as the Amazon River basin – it wasn’t a huge problem. Chicago just seems to suck lately, maybe it always has.
We could use a descendant of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow about now.

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