By Dennis Duffy
An eight-day teacher strike left the 350,000 students of the Windy City in a dismal situation. Students from across the Chicago Independent School District being deprived of an education for foolish reasons reflects poorly on our nation’s educational system.
Teachers educate the future leaders of our society, so if they are not educating their students for frivolous reasons, then there is a problem with the rationale of these teachers.
Chicago’s school district is the third largest school district in the United States.
The teachers of this district went on strike for three main reasons: the Chicago school system wanted to evaluate teachers on the basis of student performance, they wanted to extend the school day without extra compensation and there was a possibility for job losses.
These may seem bad, but in hindsight they are foolish reasons for going on strike.
The teachers’ union argued that students’ performance is linked to their family and neighborhood environment. Although this may be true in certain circumstances, it is not true in every situation.
Teacher evaluations should be based on student performance to some extent.
If student performance was not included in teacher evaluations, then bad teachers would be protected and students would suffer. On the other hand, if teacher evaluations were solely based on student performance, then good teachers with bad students would suffer.
Teachers should be evaluated not only by their student’s performance but by also peer review. This way, both teachers and students would benefit.
The second big issue was the extension of the school day without further compensation.
A normal school day in the Houston Independent School District is seven hours and twenty minutes. The school day in Chicago is currently seven hours, and the district planned to extend the school day to seven and a half hours.
The teachers thought it was necessary to strike for the extension of school by thirty minutes. This is not a long time, and for teachers to raise such a big deal because of thirty extra minutes is ridiculous.
Teachers in Chicago are some of the highest paid in the United States. The average annual pay for teachers in Chicago is $74,210, which is $20,890 more than the average pay for teachers throughout the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Teachers are generally highly undervalued and underpaid. Professional sports stars that are good at playing a game get paid millions of dollars, yet the men and women who mold the minds of the youth of our nation are only paid a fraction of what professional athletes make.
Teachers’ salaries should be greatly increased considering both the things they do for children and the things they have to deal with from their students.
The Chicago teachers’ union wanted teacher’s salaries to be raised 3%, but striking over thirty minutes added to the school day and 3% of a small salary is not worth it.
The third reason these teachers went on strike was the potential job loss.
Schools being closed and teachers being laid off is not good, but it may be one of the only things a city sinking in debt can do.
The job loss is sad, but it is something the city of Chicago might have to do.
Although teachers are highly underpaid, there is no reason for a teacher to take away precious educational time from students.
This strike shows that the teachers of the Chicago school district do not care about their profession of teaching; they only care about their income.