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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The story underneath the Chicago strike

You've heard that teachers in Chicago are on strike for the first time in 25 years. Depending on your sources, you may not know that they make the most on average of any public school system - $75k, that they turned down at 16% pay increase excluding benefits (which are large), 80% of the students don't graduate, and that 39% of Chicago teachers send their kids to private schools. They haven't even started negotiating with the city of Chicago about teacher evaluations and the ability to fire incompetent teachers. I've heard rumors of the strike happening so Obama can swoop in and solve the problem, even though he hasn't contacted them, at least on public record.

I've lived in Chicago and I am eternally grateful we left before my kids were old enough for school. Their education system is a mess. There are a few good schools that promising children compete for and the rest have to make do with sub-part schools. They have to apply for middle schools, high schools, and the stress on these kids is enormous! It is really hard to get any kind of education in some of the poorer neighborhoods, where gangs rule the school, police roam the halls, and teachers can't assign homework and hardly teach anything during class. I have great respect for a few friends that teach/taught in some of these kinds of schools, perhaps trying to make a difference. For the most part these kids don't value education, not seeing it as their ticket to a better life. For the most part, their teachers don't value education either, and think of it as an easy paycheck and don't try to make a difference for their students. I really don't know that it's worth teaching in schools like that, even with the pay double what many other teachers make across the country.

But I'll tell you, the overriding thought I have about the teachers' union is that they are so selfish! Chicago is deep in the mire. Are the teachers so full of themselves that they really won't accept pay increases so far removed from the private sector? Would they really rather be part of the problem than part of the solution?  Who do they think is going to pay them or thank them when Chicago paychecks start bouncing? And for the quality of teaching, do they really think they're more important than the students? That students should suffer through teachers who do not perform well? Teachers ahead of student interests.

This attitude is more reflective about the Democrat party in general than Democrats would like to admit.

They funnel money to their special interests, which in turn donate to Democrats (if they're unions) or vote for Democrats (the welfare crowd). These are not people trying to make America a more profitable place, these are not people growing the pie by starting businesses, these are not people contributing to economic growth. Shoot, Obama's (illegally) gotten rid of the work requirement for welfare! As for quality of performance, these are the same people arguing that we should keep Obama even though he has a terrible record. Obama ahead of American interests.

As I know all too well from living in Chicago, these welfare types are takers, some frauds, some abusers of the system, very few genuinely need it for life such as the handicapped. Most of them? They should be working towards employable skills with which to support themselves and their families and get off government dole, saving government money for more worthy causes. Some of these people have never paid taxes in their entire lives. They're taking money from taxpayers. As far as federal budgeting is concerned, this money is washed down the drain. This is the antithesis of the American dream, and Democrats are embracing it. They show no signs of engaging in meaningful entitlement reforms. Who do they think will pay the welfare checks once federal checks start bouncing?

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