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.

Add on top of that the pandemic, the rioting and crime, the enforced lockdowns and the city’s damaged tax base, and it should be crisis management time at CPS.

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.

Never mind that the school district is effectively broke, junk-rated and part of an equally challenged city.

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:

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Eugene from a payphone
16 days ago

18% reduction in student body, where are the corresponding cuts in overhead?

Lisa
1 month ago

They need to go back to work!!!
Police, fire and nurses etc have been at work the whole year

Governor of Alderaan
1 month ago

Not even the KKK is as successful as the CTU in denying an education to minority children

NB-Chicago
1 month ago

The majority white/ upper income ctu that is

Tranny
1 month ago

We should teach students about their bodies, genders and sexualities.

NB-Chicago
1 month ago

Also, ctu never ending strikes is about making sure lightweight is a one term mayor, who they hate, even after she caved in last strike. Because in reallity ctu are anything but progressives and are in fact 100% behinde madigan, prekwinkle & the machine pay-to-play/ where’s mine empire

Platinum Goose
1 month ago
Reply to  NB-Chicago

Absolutely, they want one of their whack job progressive socialists in there.

NB-Chicago
1 month ago
Reply to  Platinum Goose

No, what i was trying to say is all the ctu progressive/socialist bs is just fake cover to ultimately extracting even more bargaining power…..i.e. via getting the 2019 proposed madigan/ martwick elected school board bill passed, that leightweight has came out against so far, that will reinstate barganing rights taken away in 1995–like class size. It’s all an act, ctu still sends off their members union dues to papa madigans–friends of madigan campaign funds just like all the other pay-to-play unions

Tommy
1 month ago
Reply to  NB-Chicago

Harold Washington promised an elected school board in 1983, but it never happened.

NowSuburban
1 month ago

I drove to the Weathertech factory store in Bolingbrook yesterday. Commerce is booming along I-55. Jobs are advertised everywhere and schools are large, attractive and safe. Lightfoot’s leadership has done wonders for others.

Fed up neighbor
1 month ago
Reply to  NowSuburban

Yup you got that right schools are large, attractive, safe ? That’s why property taxes on average are 5,500 a year for school districts add the rest 7500. Chicago property tax payers have it made and they don’t even realize it.

Chris
1 month ago

Yes, schools are large, attractive and safe.

mqyl
1 month ago

Chicago property taxes are much too high and so are Chicago suburban property taxes. Look at other states that have state income taxes. With few exceptions, they have much lower property tax rates. Even some states without state income taxes have lower property tax rates!

Iola
1 month ago

I’m glad CTU is fighting for teachers’ rights. It’s about time.

Last edited 1 month ago by Iola
Thee Jabroni
1 month ago
Reply to  Iola

Yea,ooh boy,the poor teachers have it so rough,buncha lazy slobs that get paid for doing NOTHING,poor poor babies,wish i had a job where i could not work,complain about everything,and still get paid!-really Iola!!??

Iola
1 month ago
Reply to  Thee Jabroni

Become a teacher!

DixonSyder
1 month ago
Reply to  Iola

Get a real job and see the difference

Iola
1 month ago
Reply to  DixonSyder

You don’t have a job.

Mr_Common_Sense
1 month ago
Reply to  Iola

Lola, tell us why a majority of CPS Teachers, (who have kids) enroll their own children in private schools?….

James
1 month ago

Common Sense, I may well be wrong here, but I think the point of your question is that you are trying to say that the CPS teachers in your view are “totally worthless” as teachers. Perhaps, but there other ways to look at the issues in answering your question posed to Iola. I think most would agree that parents who pony-up the big bucks on average are more (1) educated than other parents, (2) likely to have higher I. Q.’s, (3) able to devote greater financial resources to their children, (4) likely to correlate the value of education to one’s… Read more »

James
1 month ago
Reply to  DixonSyder

Or your could become a teacher and see how super easy and cushy it really is. Did you ever wonder why roughly half of the beginning teachers quit within the first half-dozen years of such employment. Maybe its not all that easy and cushy after all is said and done. You don’t even seem to contemplate that side of it.

Riverbender
1 month ago
Reply to  James

They don’t in my district and of course the bad ones get to stay.

James
1 month ago
Reply to  Riverbender

Then, I think is safe to safe your district isn’t Chicago Public Schools or any similar-sized city. There are places where you’ll find teachers working for unusually low wages–mostly in places where they are place-bound for one reason or another. Such people either have especially strong allegiance to their family and friends or have a spouse whose job/career only exists because of where they live. Rural America historically has hired teachers at low wages due to those factors.

willowglen
1 month ago
Reply to  James

James – you (perhaps unintentionally) raise a good point about teaching in many urban schools. Work conditions and the students are do difficult that unions are valuable in merely keeping teachers on the job. Young education school graduates in Florida, for example, invariably get posted to schools with very difficult students. Most immediately start on a strategy to transfer, which typically takes two to three years. Teacher turnover in a place like South St. Petersburg is incredibly high. So unions meet a need in many tough jurisdictions. Unfortunately, where teachers unions unions do real damage is in the political arena,… Read more »

Ha Ha
1 month ago
Reply to  Thee Jabroni

Thee Jabroni writes like a CPS student-veey badly.

Ha Ha
1 month ago
Reply to  Ha Ha

very badly

Thee Jabroni
1 month ago
Reply to  Ha Ha

I dont use multi syllable words cuz you would understand what they mean

Ha Ha
1 month ago
Reply to  Thee Jabroni

And you don’t know how to write them.

Ilana
1 month ago

In the last 10 years, so much more money has been given to CPS, but the results went south. The answer is NOT more money….it’s likely holding teachers accountable. The money should be tied to graduation rates and test scores. As those go down, so should the money.

Thee Jabroni
1 month ago
Reply to  Ilana

It would nice if the teachers would actually work once in a while,all they do is sit around and snivel about everything….WHILE GETTING PAID!!!!

Ha Ha
1 month ago
Reply to  Thee Jabroni

You complain too much.

Thee Jabroni
1 month ago
Reply to  Ha Ha

I complain because im tired of the b.s-sheep such as you will allow the state and city do whatever they want,then run as fast as you can to the polls to vote for more democrats

Ha Ha
1 month ago
Reply to  Thee Jabroni

I don’t vote Democratic. I don’t allow anyone to do anything. It’s called freewill.

Thee Jabroni
1 month ago
Reply to  Ha Ha

Yes you do,youre a sheep like most of chicago voters,go stand in line for your free stuff sheep

Ha Ha
1 month ago
Reply to  Thee Jabroni

You must be a sheep because you know a lot about them.

mqyl
1 month ago
Reply to  Ilana

That doesn’t work, either. Over time, they gradually inflate college entrance exam test scores to make it look like students and teachers are doing better. A 700 on the SAT isn’t what it used to be.

Linda
1 month ago

these teachers don’t give a $hit about the kids! they only care for themselves and how much money and power they can increase for doing NOTHING for kids!

Elle McWilliams
1 month ago

And you wonder what is wrong with our state, our educational systems and this country. GREED over the greater good. Ultimate statement in me, me, me and children be damned….This is pure insanity. If that is the way you think when you live in Chicago and northern Illinois, I will stay in the center of the state thank you very much. You are cutting yourself and your FUTURE off at the knees.

s & p 500
1 month ago

I haven’t given up. Prop 15, the “Split roll” change to Prop 13 failed in Calif. Unions had big hopes for the change to the Howard Jarvis Prop13. Three measures to fund schools have failed in LA in just two years. I’m starting to think that the crazy way that decisions are made in Calif– with propositions and not by the legislature — isn’t such a bad idea.

NowSuburban
1 month ago
Reply to  s & p 500

Do we still have a state legislature in Illinois? When is the last time they met and debated issues. The governor seems to be ruling by decree and fear.

Flash413
1 month ago
Reply to  NowSuburban

And don’t forget ruling by the dictates of the unions.

Mike
1 month ago

The collective bargaining law, IELRA / IPLRA in Illinois is a major impediment to any reform involving public sector unions in Illinois.

The lack of an organized reform group is another impediment.

The political will to reform is fragmented and ice cold.

Fred
1 month ago

Those who render no services cannot be “essential workers.” Reason enough to stop paying them. The system would be better off if 90% of them found other employment — after a year or so of waiting in the unemployment line for their checks and food stamps. Oh yeah — what about the students? Collateral damage to be sure. But the teachers have already esplained to us that so many students can’t learn because of their lack of breakfast and lunch and home supervision and male role models, along with 15 other consequences of discrimination, poverty and segregation. I assume the… Read more »

Rick
1 month ago

Declining enrollment… the union should be happy about that, aren’t they always screaming to get lower class sizes? Well now that is happening. They need to learn that the math equation has two sides, increasing teachers or decreasing students both lead to smaller classes, so they got what they wanted!

nixit
1 month ago

Property taxes have all but killed parochial schools. Used to be you could move to Orland Park and send your kids to St Michaels then Marist, and while it was not cheap, it was manageable. With property taxes where they are now, it’s hard to justify sending your kids anywhere but public school, which puts more burden on the public school system, which raises property taxes even more.

Rick
1 month ago
Reply to  nixit

When I lived in Burbank it was the same path… Go to St Albert’s the Great then on to St Laurence or Queen of Peace.

Eddie
1 month ago
Reply to  Rick

There’s a few factors that kill Catholic schools: ☹️

Catholic schools and churches merge often,

Pedophile lawsuits,

Always increasing tuition,

Some people switched to other or no religions,

Religious institutions pay no taxes.

If I’m wrong on no taxes, Mark, Ted or someone else may correct me. 🙂

Riverbender
1 month ago
Reply to  Eddie

Lack of low cost teachers, ie nuns and brothers, might add into the multi faceted equation as well.

Eddie
1 month ago
Reply to  Riverbender

Thank you, Riverbender. Duly noted and appreciated. 🤔😐

Pala
1 month ago
Reply to  Eddie

So your point is no school?

Eddie
1 month ago
Reply to  Pala

I never said that. ☹️

Ricky
1 month ago
Reply to  Eddie

This is so very true.

Old Spartan
1 month ago

And most folks either weren’t around or don’t remember the impact the school collapse in the 1980’s had on residential real estate values. As the schools deteriorated, and parents took their kids out of public schools in the mid and late 1980’s property values in Chicago were flat for five years. Landlords could not increase rents at all, even in most downtown areas. And back then Chicago didn’t have the horrendous crime problem, pandemic, or anemic downtown like we do now. It is a perfect storm forming for our once great City.

Thee Jabroni
1 month ago

The amazing thing to all of this is the lazy slob teachers keep wanting more and more,havent worked for a while,still want more,then proclaim that its “for the children”!-what a joke!

1 month ago

I was on Quora, and a question was fed to me about setting your business up in Chicago. Instead of being a cheerleader like most people, I talked about the tremendous upsides of Chicago. Then, I showed the downsides. If you want to attract employees, they will not be able to educate their children within the city limits inside the public school system. It’s a tremendous concern for millennials with children. The flight from Chicago hasn’t slowed down and it won’t. In LA, a Kim Foxx like DA took over and LA is going to hollow from the inside out.… Read more »

Mike Williams
1 month ago

Seriously, wouldn’t the best outcome be the termination of the Chicago Public Schools? Think of the message that would send to all the other public unions and organizations.

Mike Williams
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Mark, I looked at the link/article. What’s depressing is it was written 5 years ago. As expected, those suggestions by Wirepoints were ignored. Sigh. It’s just another reminder that those who left knew what they were doing.

LessonLearned
1 month ago

The public sector refuses to reorganize and downsize for efficiency, so the taxpayers and private sector are reorganizing and improving efficiency by moving out of state. There is a line in Jurassic Park I tend to believe in, “Life finds a Way.” That includes taxpayers.

Eugene from a pay phone
1 month ago

Being very generous, the “product” offered by these scholars has been degenerating since 1990. Their “brand” has been rejected and abandoned by the middle class. A publicly held Corp. would have been gone or reorganized long ago.