The class warfare types talk a lot about greedy corporations and greedy CEO’s and greedy 1 percenters who do nothing but eat money, burp it up again and then use it to buy politicians.
But greed like this is hard to find outside the public sector. It’s greed that comes perilously close to evil.
Seventy-nine percent of the 8th graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade-level proficient in reading, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.
Chicago public school teachers went on strike on Monday and one of the major issues behind the strike is a new system Chicago plans to use for evaluating public school teachers in which student improvement on standardized tests will count for 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Until now, the evaluations of Chicago public school teachers have been based on what a Chicago Sun Times editorial called a “meaningless checklist.”
Oh and the greed part. Here it is.
Chicago teachers have the highest average salary of any city at $76,000 a year before benefits. The average family in the city only earns $47,000 a year. Yet the teachers rejected a 16 percent salary increase over four years at a time when most families are not getting any raises or are looking for work.
The city is being bled dry by the exorbitant benefits packages negotiated by previous elected officials. Teachers pay only 3 percent of their health-care costs and out of every new dollar set aside for public education in Illinois in the last five years, a full 71 cents has gone to teacher retirement costs.
As bad as some corporations can be, no private company could keep getting away with this for so long. And no private company’s employees would be this amoral and ruthless at the expense of the children, because companies aren’t built that way. Unions are.
“This is an amazing display of democracy,” said Rick Sawicki, a 7th grade teacher at Evergreen Middle School. “It is a wonderful lesson for children and adults alike. I’m honored that we are all sticking together. We all want what is fair. We want to make sure everyone is treated fairly, just like I teach my children.”
Statistically Rick’s children probably can’t even read and their idea of fairness is picking people’s pockets.
Maria Garcia, who lives across the street from the school, picked up her 11-year-old daughter Carla at 12:30 p.m. She said she and her husband are both unemployed.
During the strike, Garcia said, it’s good she can be with her daughter. “I understand both sides, they have their right to strike,” Garcia said in Spanish, “but it’s a shame my daughter can’t learn.”
But that’s okay, she’s probably learning more than she would in a Chicago public school.