By: Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner
If there’s one message that both the Chicago Public School administration and the Chicago Teachers Union should take away from the CPS exodus, it’s this: their product is a failure. Students and their families are fleeing their schools and you can’t help but think the flight will get dramatically worse as this school year’s full impact is felt – especially if the union ends up striking again.
Even before the pandemic reared its ugly head, CPS had already lost 80,000 of its students, or 18 percent, compared to 2000.
But with the pandemic in full swing and kids locked out of their schools, enrollment fell another 14,500 in 2020.
In 2000, CPS’ enrollment was 435,000. This year, it’s down to 341,000.
But it’s not. It’s business as usual as the union threatens to strike again. Jesse Sharkey, the Chicago Teachers Union President recently hinted another strike is in the offing if the school district continues with its plan to reopen schools in January.
Read Wirepoints’ coverage at Look Who Is Standing In The Schoolhouse Door Now: The Chicago Teachers Union
Look for the administration to cave. It’s been that way over the past three strikes and there’s no reason to think it will be any different this time. Why should we expect anything to change? CPS has enabled the union by giving in every time the CTU has thrown a tantrum.
It was only last year when Mayor Lori Lightfoot offered what she called the “most generous” contract in the CTU’s history – and the union still went on strike for two weeks.
Instead of reversing course in the face of the CTU’s intransigence, Lightfoot ended up giving the union everything it wanted and more: just look below at some of the raises she handed out.
Average teacher salaries are set to grow to $100,000 by 2024, an increase of 24 percent versus 2019. Average second-year teacher salaries will jump to $73,000 after five years, an increase of 35 percent. Nurses’ salaries will also get bumped up to $73,000, a 48 percent increase.
In all, the agreement will cost Chicagoans an extra $1.5 billion through 2024 – and that’s not including additional pension costs.
That contract is still in place today even though a vast majority CPS teachers haven’t been in a classroom since March. And if teachers end up striking, expect that to continue for months more.
If Lori Lightfoot’s administration caves, it will simply be the latest episode of the district’s moral and financial bankruptcy.
Read more about Chicago and COVID-19:
- Look Who Is Standing In The Schoolhouse Door Now: The Chicago Teachers Union
- 25 times more Chicago youth have died from homicide than from COVID
- Support for school reopenings grows across the political spectrum
- Every Illinois school parent, teacher should know these COVID-19 facts
- Seven facts parents and teachers should know about the risks of reopening CPS