Chicago: Why The Teachers Are Wrong

Here's a few rough statistics to begin my argument.

In the city of Chicago, teachers make nearly twice the amount of the average government or citizen services worker.

Teachers are currently receiving a 17.6% raise over the next four years.

These very teachers decided to strike, several weeks ago, for higher pay.

Eight business days went by. After that week of strike, protest and battle, the teachers settled with several victories and several losses.

An estimated 350,000 children now have their vacation cut by the aforementioned time. 350,000 children in a bankrupt city- a city that needs this generation to rescue it. To dig it out of it's monetary grave.

The past four mayors are in jail, and its school systems are already regarded as some of the worst in America.

These teachers have harmed the students and teachers. The teachers asked for a legal advantage in job-hunting, a higher pension and more Health Care benefits.

They received all but a legal employment advantage.

I quote the words of Xian Barret, who was spoken to after the strike had ended.

"I understood, especially in these tough economic times, that striking can be an unpopular choice, but I wrote it with some rage at the lack of empathy and understanding I felt as an educator. I wrote it with the hope people would understand that we made this tough choice in the interests of our students.

As I reflect back on the first day of the Chicago Teachers Union strike, I know many are still angry. I hope that those who are angry with us would put aside their party affiliation and personal opinions on unions. Some critics reminded me that this needs to be about the students. They are 100% correct. So I ask you to think of your own son or daughter or sister or brother sitting in a Chicago Public Schools classroom.

You wouldn’t want your kids in 96-degree classrooms. You wouldn’t want them without books or teachers for the first month of the year. You wouldn’t want them tested over and over again instead of taught. You would want their teachers evaluated, but you wouldn’t want their favorite teacher bullied or fired due to an inaccurately measured test.

In my blog post, I was replicating how many of my students feel every day. They are trying their hardest and they are angry at feeling judgment for their learning conditions rather than love and support for the honest effort they are putting in."

I see how the teachers think, but this may not all be true, according to the average Chicago mother. I spoke with a woman who wishes to remain anonymous after the strike had been over for a week and a half. I'll refer to her as "Karen Ransom." She has two children, Ralph, 6, and Jack, 8, who are in kindergarten and second grade, respectively, at South Loop Elementary School.

"The real struggle of home life has been keeping my children away from electronics for the past eight days, especially when both my husband and I work for most of the day."

Mrs. Ransom's husband runs a paper route every morning before going to Forest Park National Bank to work from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Finally, he runs and works valeting cars for another two hours.

"He comes home exhausted," Mrs. Ransom says. "He's in no state to deal with the kids and I'm not home. We desperately need the money it would take to hire a sitter for the kids- but we'd rather have them fed than watched," She states, desperation growing in her eyes. "I work the night shift at a diner a few miles south of here."

According to Mrs. Ransom, the family's small, four seat car is only used by her husband to get back and forth from his lengthy work commute.

"The kids can walk to school, but I need to take the bike over four miles to get to work. In the morning, I'll occasionally take Jack's (Mr. Ransom's) paper route in the mornings so he can rest a little longer."

The teachers' striking has left her two young children alone- and she's wants her children to succeed.

"Jack and I didn't go to college," Mrs. Ransom says. "We want Jack Jr. and little Ralph to have everything we didn't, and the teachers can give them that."

I sent my thanks to Mrs. Ransom for her time.

In these reasons, I find enough logic to condemn the union.


Mrs. Karen Ransom

Anonymous, unionized teacher at South Loop Elementary School.
666s 666s
36-40, M
Jan 6, 2013