Confirming earlier Chicago Tribune reports that Benn would recommend a 15- to 20-percent pay hike, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said the recommendation would go to the union's house of delegates for a decision. Observers have said that both the Chicago Public Schools and the CTU would reject the recommendation. Leading to the question:
What the hell do the teachers want?
The fact-finder, whose full report is expected to be released to the public Wednesday, recommends that teachers be given a 2.5 percent cost-of-living wage increase and a 12.6 percent additional increase “to compensate teachers for working a longer school day,” Lewis said.
The fact-finder reviewing issues related to CPS and CTU contract negotiations said teachers will have to work an average 19.4 percent more hours because of the longer school day and “CPS cannot expect its employees to work 20 percent more for free,” Lewis said. [More details and rationale for the greed are found in the CTU's statement.]
This is incredible. Truly a fantasy land.
How often are we told by the teachers that they spend a lot of time working outside of the classroom, correcting papers and tests, preparing lesson plans, counseling students and speaking with parents. (See this report about the "invisible workload of teachers.) If that's true, Benn's math doesn't add up if his calculation of 19.5 percent more hours is based exclusively on classroom. The base (classroom time plus out-of-classroom time) on which the percentage increase is calculated would be a larger making the 19.5 percent disproportionately high. The first question I would have to ask is how did Benn come up with his calculation of hours worked. And this talk of more money to cover the cost-of-living increase--what cost of living increase?
In any case, doesn't the financial condition of the school district enter into the calculation? Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard will be hard-put to come up with the money to cover the school's $665 million budget deficit. The budget already raises city property taxes to the maximum level allowed by law.
Has the CTU gone too far this time? Do they really think that Chicagoans will sit tight or support a strike for such an appalling increase when their own taxes are going up and their own pay is stagnant--assuming they still have a paycheck. Not to mention the appalling performance of Chicago public schools.