Chicago, IL - Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman released the following statement regarding news that the Chicago teachers strike would enter its second week.
"For the second week in a row, the Chicago Teachers Union has decided that their students will not have class because the teachers are busy pursuing their own interests at the bargaining table. Details that emerged Sunday night regarding a proposed contract revealed the following:
- Longer school day and longer school year was listed in the "negatives" column on the union's summary sheet. It is shocking that more time in the classroom is regarded as a negative by the Chicago Teachers Union.
- The CTU also listed as negative the fact that the lowest-performing teachers should be penalized.
Chicago students deserve a world-class education that will propel them to success. The 1987 strike failed to produce real reform, subjecting an entire generation to a failing system that leaves 40 percent of kids without a high school diploma and sends only 33 percent to college. We cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes.
It appears Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS have backed away from pursuing any serious school reform and the union is fighting to preserve the status quo. Most disappointing is that the Mayor has backed away from one of President Obama's own initiatives: merit pay to reward excellent teachers. This is a tragedy for students and parents.
When it comes to finances, all Illinois taxpayers should be concerned about the details that emerged Sunday night about the possible contract from the CPS. In this proposal, Mayor Emanuel joined the ranks of other Illinois Democrats who spend money they simply do not have, ratchet up a pile of unpaid bills and then ultimately hand the bill over to maxed-out taxpayers.
The deal rejected by the CTU includes 16 percent raises - which Chicago Public Schools cannot afford. Beyond the fact that Chicago teachers are overpaid when compared to teachers in other cities, by even maintaining current pay levels CPS would drain its reserves during the current school year and run $1 billion deficit the following year. To pay for these raises, taxpayers outside the city should not be surprised when a tax hike comes their way as CPS seeks more money from the state. Already, more than one-third of CPS money comes from state coffers.
The CPS refusal to cope with its fiscal reality is a failure to taxpayers. But worse, a marginal settlement that does not empower CPS to hold teachers accountable is a failure to today's students and the hundreds of thousands who will pass through the system in coming years."
John Tillman, CEO of Illinois Policy Institute
Kristina Rasmussen, Executive Vice President
The Illinois Policy Institute is a nonpartisan research and education organization dedicated to making our state a beacon for liberty and prosperity for all citizens. As a leading voice for economic liberty and government accountability, the Institute engages policy makers, opinion leaders and citizens on the state and local level by promoting free market principles and liberty-based public policy initiatives for a better Illinois. To learn more about the Institute or review our policy work, please visit: www.illinoispolicy.org.