Saturday, June 16, 2012

More Reasons Why Public Sector Unions Are Problems

Earlier this week, the Heritage Foundation noted that the union for Chicago teachers are demanding a 30% pay raise...
Yet in Chicago, where just 15 percent of fourth graders are proficient in reading (and just 56 percent of students graduate), the teachers union is set to strike if the district does not agree to a 30 percent increase in teachers’ salaries.

The average teacher in Chicago Public Schools—a district facing a $700 million deficit—makes $71,000 per year before benefits are included. If the district meets union demands and rewards teachers with the requested salary increase, education employees will receive compensation north of $92,000 per year.

According to the Illinois Policy Institute, the average annual income of a family in Chicago is $47,000 per year. If implemented, the 30 percent raise will mean that in nine months, a single teacher in the Chicago Public School system will take home nearly double what the average family in the city earns in a year.

According to the union, 91 percent of its members voted for the ability to strike. That vote gives the union the ability to walk out of public school classrooms as children return to school this fall.

The union argues that Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) wants to extend the school day, and that the requested salary increase would compensate them for extending the school day from 5.5 hours—among the nation’s shortest school days—to 7.5 hours.

This is just stunning. And its no real surprise that 91% of the members of the union voted to go on strike if their absurd demands are not met - would you vote to not demand a 30% pay raise?

What I am wondering is what is the most stunning? The 30% pay raise demand from a district already facing a $700 million operating deficit? Or the demand for this compensation to extend their working day from 5.5 hours / day to 7.5 hours / day? Or the demand to be earning more than double the median income of families in Chicago?

To me, the most stunning is the demand in the face of the facts that only 15% of the city's fourth graders are proficient in reading, and only 56% of the students graduate from High School.

But this is how the teachers unions operate. Under the rules of the teachers unions, the students are not the focus and clearly do not come first in their priorities. In Sacramento, California, the school district's 'Teacher of the Year' was just fired...
It doesn’t matter anymore how good you are at your job if you live in the failing state of California; if you’re on a lower rung of the ladder in terms of seniority, you’re toast.

Michelle Apperson, a teacher at the Sutterville Elementary School in Sacramento who was named “teacher of the year” by the school district, was fired because she was outranked in seniority.

The state’s budget deficit, which has ballooned to $16 million, has triggered a move by Governor Jerry Brown to make cuts across the board, and schools across the state are being forced by budget cuts to fire thousands of teachers.
These highlight the importance of Wisconsin and the actions of Governor Scott Walker - showing how to oppose public sector unions and refocus attention towards the students and fiscal responsibility. 

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