Daley claimed that Chicago would turn into St. Louis, or worse--Detroit, if the city allowed government employees to live outside city limits. This came one day after the Illinois State Senate voted overwhelmingly to remove the residency requirement for teachers in the Chicago Public Schools.
Daley went so far as to say that Chicago would lose its middle class. That could happen, but if the city had new, high-tech, and "green" jobs, the city would not be losing any middle class. Instead, it would become a fertile ground for ideas, innovation, and success. However, that is besides the point. Keeping teachers and government employees in the city does, or at least should, build up pride for the city. If an employee comes from out of the city, who says they have the same passion for the city in which they are not a resident?
Daley steadfastly believes that the residency requirement "is the essence of keeping neighborhoods strong." I wholeheartedly agree. Teachers who are able to teach in the neighborhoods in which they live builds up a community foundation. With that foundation, the community is set up for success and growth.
On the other hand, the "Chicago Teachers Union argues that the state law is unfair because teachers in city charter schools can live in the suburbs, and Chicago housing is expensive." I do believe it is unfair that Chicago charter school teachers can live in the suburbs. I say force them to live in the city. And if housing in the city is expensive, the city and CPS should offer tax credits and other benefits to teachers who move into the city and/or live continuously in a particular neighborhood for a long period of time.
Chicago does not need to destroy its tax base, or the one of its great beauties: the neighborhoods.
I wondered how teachers and those in the know about education issues felt about all of this, so I reached out to a fellow ChicagoNow blogger, Alexander Russo, who writes about education. His blog is "the unofficial inside scoop" on CPS, so I am curious to see what he or any of his sources say.