Today the most highly paid public teachers union in the entire country went on strike, and their kids and parents should celebrate with gratitude. The Chicago school system is a brilliant case study of what is wrong with public education in our country.
The average pay for primary school teachers in Chicago is $79,000 before a loaded benefits package that includes lucrative vacations with vast months off during summer and winter, fully paid health care benefits for domestic partners, and such graft as paid “teacher days” when they are suppose to prepare lesson plans. There is no getting around the fact that they work less than you. And they happen to be the richest teachers in the country, paid more than the average police officer or fireman, more than the average electrician, and more that most of the readers of websites like this one.
And what do these poor kids receive from their teachers who are paid like kings? According to DOE statistics, 79% of Chicago students are reading deficient in 8th grade. That means four out of every five kids who attend a public high school in Chicago can read an Obama speech but not his autobiography. Ironically, the president of the United States speaks to us at an 8th grade level so that the product of our failing public schools will not be challenged by his words.
Things were not always this way in America’s public education system. If one were to graph our competitiveness versus school systems in other countries, you would see an interesting relationship between our failing schools and the rise of public unions encouraged by liberals who believe there is no such thing as a bad union. Our kids’ futures were sunk the day local schools began unionizing decades ago. I see nothing to reverse the trend that will have public support, so they will continue to fail and liberals will continue to wonder why.
Ronald Reagan showed us the answer to poorly performing public unions. When the air traffic controllers went on strike in 1981, he took the bold step of firing them, every last one of them. Things were rough for a few months but then the replacement workers were hired and the skies were safer than before.
All public unions should be illegal. That is the answer for the Chicago school system. Fire them all, hire replacement workers, and watch the test scores go up after decades of mediocre (and worse) results. Of course that is a fanciful idea because the laws of our country do not allow it. Too bad. Children always come last for entrenched liberals.
While we are dreaming, imagine how schools would improve if they were declared right to work zones? If a teacher comes along with better credentials and is willing to work for a lower wage, hire that person. Replace the poorest performing teacher who remains. How awesome would that be for our kids?