By: Mark Glennon*

Overlooked in all the news last week were the terms announced for the deal for Illinois teachers while schools are closed through March 30. Millions of Illinois taxpayers who have been laid off or had their pay cut will pay for it but see no shared sacrifice.

Lost school days will not be made up but teachers will get full pay and service credit towards pensions, as well as all other benefits, while school is out.

That’s because the closing resulted from an “Act of God” according to joint statement of the Illinois State Board of Education, the office of Governor JB Pritzker, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Association of School Administrators and the Illinois Principals Association.

Are they required to work – doing what they can through remote learning?

That was left up to individual school districts. From the statement, school districts “can expect school district employees to participate in work activities in some form. The concrete details of the work, including stipend work, that will occur during this timeframe must be worked out through mutual agreement.”

Many teachers, perhaps the vast majority, are working hard to provide online instruction. That’s especially true at the most competitive schools from what I have heard anecdotally. And not all classes can be taught remotely for a number of reasons.

However, there’s no excuse for a statewide policy so lax, which is sure to be abused. I got an earful on Friday from a school administrator, who asked not to be named, incensed about many teachers who were making little effort.

One place where you can assume the lax policy is being abused is Chicago. There, sick days are commonly regarded as days off with pay and full pension accrual, and it’s already beyond obscene. Under their new contract negotiated last year, Chicago teachers can accumulate 244 sick days they can put toward an earlier retirement with a full pension. And Chicago managed to shift the cost of that give-away to state taxpayers as we explained earlier.

They are entirely oblivious to the economic crisis at hand. Earlier in the month, the Chicago Teachers Union and other labor groups held a news conference “to unleash a kitchen sink of demands that might have been unthinkable before the worldwide pandemic that started in Wuhan, China,” as the Chicago Sun-Times put it.

Those demands included a citywide meals-on-wheels program, internet access and electronic devices for students forced to stay home, debt forgiveness, suspended mortgage payments, a temporary shutdown of eviction court, a moratorium on utility shut-offs, no more penalizing schools by basing funding on school attendance and a nurse in every school sooner than the hard-fought teachers’ contract demands, according to the Sun-Times.

Most public school teachers are dedicated, valuable, public servants. Some, however, are not. Teachers unions, and what the government hands away to them, are the biggest problem.

The “Act of God” deal the state gave them is more like manna from heaven. No, scratch that. Manna from taxpayers who are looking into the abyss of layoffs and pay cuts.

We will be having much more to say on the absence of any shared sacrifice from the public sector as this crisis unfolds.

UPDATE: See our article linked here for the deal other state and local workers are getting while not working — full pay and pension accruals.

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

Leave a Reply

12 Comment threads
28 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
21 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Proud Teacher

I’m a teacher in Illinois and I am working double and triple time to support e-learning. I’m sorry if some of you think that teachers are watching Netflix and eating Bon-bons all day. Despite the numerous lessons, activities, videos, etc. that we put out to families, some parents haven’t been requiring their children to take it seriously. Are we all in this together? Or, has teaching become babysitting for people who have “real” work to do. My mountain of student loans says otherwise!!

Charlotte aines

Kids can just go to websites like khan academy and not get all the progressive indoctrination.

Poor Taxpayer

Feel like your are getting screwed. You should because you are.
Leave as soon as you can or face much higher taxes and much less service from the state. Government does not work for you, you work for government.

Pension lawyer

“Act of God.” It’s no longer politically correct to say that He (or She) is punishing us. Instead, it seems to mean that it’s nobody’s fault. Therefore, people get paid for not working. [??] Why isn’t the “therefore” that the “contract clause” doesn’t need to be enforced? And here I point to both the collective bargaining agreements and the constitutional provision on pensions. To pay or not to pay: “that is the question.” From the taxpayer’s perspective, it’s not my fault so why should I pay. From the municipality’s perspective, we have to pay salaries so we can’t make pension… Read more »

Fed up neighbor

Great comment, but what lawyer out there would help the taxpayers of Illinois to mount a challenge??

Pension lawayer

Four law firms are involved in a Kentucky lawsuit entitled MAYBERRY V. KKR. (see: It’s primarily a suit for breach of fiduciary duty but it also asserts “derivative” claims on behalf of taxpayers on whom the burden to keep the pension promises ultimately falls. The names of the law firms are at the end of the complaint that you can read via the link. At the moment the Mayberry case seems to be stalled pending resolution of a related case. The main issue seems to be whether taxpayers have “standing” to sue when an individual taxpayer is unable to… Read more »


To everybody that comment here on wirepoints, something bugs me. California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois the first 4 states to issue stay at home orders, close schools etc. these 4 states have the some of the worse financial situations, and the top pension debt in the country with Illinois of course on top. My feeling is they are trying to make there States insolvent and hope for federal money to save the helpless asses. Maybe I’m wrong but it seems like a conspiracy to bring the economy down and reset it. Don’t beat me up to bad please… Read more »


I think they may be counting on the “Biden Bailout” in 2021. But that’s shortsighted.


Thumbs-up for your comment, but I’m not so sure the Dem-leaders of the disastrous blue states are thinking that far ahead. Not that they think much, at all. They certainly wouldn’t be thinking the dimwit Biden will win. But you might be right, and they might be that stupid, delusional and disrespectful to taxpayers !!

Fed up neighbor

Using nearly $40 billion to help states stabilize school funding and help colleges continue operating during the crisis. This is part of crazy Nancy Pelosi plan. This shit never ends, school districts need to stabilize there funding by cutting there top heavy staffing, exuberant salaries, then guess what things will stabilize


What about the article in the Tribune that none of the online classes even count, and the line up above “Lost school days will not be made up”? Are kids meeting their requirements to move on to the next grade level? What about seniors going on to higher ed? Why can’t this time be made up in the summer, like snow days?
I thank God that my kids are out. Why aren’t we all going crazy and marching in the streets demanding the service we are paying for, teaching our kids!


“Why aren’t we all going crazy and marching in the streets demanding the service we are paying for, teaching our kids!”

Because fattie mcfatso issued a statewide order preventing us from demonstrating in groups of 10 or more, under threat of arrest. That’s why.

Poor Taxpayer

Feel like you are being screwed? It is because you are.


What about daycares who are shut down we do just as much work

Old Spartan

“Shared sacrifice”– there isn’ t any. While millions of private sector folks have been put on unpaid leave, how about government workers. Teachers?– the schools are closed. Toll collectors– they aren’t working since the Tollway said I-Pass only. Cook County courts are closed– what are those thousands of workers doing while they are getting paid? Metra reduces its schedule by 50%. any payroll reductions there? Libraries are closed. All those govt employees on paid vacation? You bet. Municipal and county parks are closed. Are those employees doing anything but getting paid to watch Netflix? The list goes on and on.… Read more »

Tom Paine's Ghost

CTU and IFT are the most corrupt organizations in Illinois. They lead the pack in bribery and manipulation of Illinois politicians. At this point i have zero respect for teachers. How sad that the once proud and revered profession has sunk into the primordial ooze of organized criminals. When Illinois is bankrupt I’ll happily step over the former teachers begging for Gravy Train dog food in the gutter. And I’ll save the dog food for those who’ve earned it: my dog.


Nurses and doctors have seen (along with most Americans) retirement savings cut nearly in half. Already-underperforming Illinois home values are likely to plummet, which will knock off the second leg of the savings for ‘dignified retirement’ stool. Third leg of the stool: in a humane modern society, blind faith that it must be impossible for a sector of workers be expected to risk their own and their families’ lives to extend lifespans of another sector of workers who contribute so heavily to the stool-storm destroying their economic lives? If Illinois public teachers get Federal stimulus checks it will destroy many… Read more »


I really don’t see the point of comparing pay/benefits between completely different professions. When determining equity, the comparison should be between the public and private sectors for similar jobs. Yes, I think public teachers are ridiculously compensated in Illinois, but I fail to see how that is relevant when discussing the compensation of medical professionals or any other profession. The public teachers are screwing over everyone in Illinois, not just one other profession.


My point is : nobody gets defined benefit plans anymore. Except, the ‘government’ sector . Parts of the government sector are people who put their lives at risk as a function of the job description. They may have a legitimate argument for societal encumbrance of defined benefits entitlements. (Although I would argue sociery is better served when all professions are at risk (IRA, 401k, etc.) in personal retirement savings). Other government workers who burden society with their entitlements cannot make that life-at-risk argument (teachers, school administrators, municipal economic development officials for example). My point was to take a class of… Read more »


Would an “Act of God” pause the pension systems’ automatic 3% COLA for one year? I’m kidding, of course, we all know the answer. After all this, we’re going to have an uncomfortable pension conversation, more uncomfortable than any conversation preceding it. While the working folks have and private sector retirees make great sacrifices – from furloughs to pay cuts to unemployment to retirement savings depletion – the optics around public sector retirees not only emerging financially unscathed, but better off, will not sit well with the plebeians. So when our politicians use the pandemic to sell us on pension… Read more »