Daley Rightfully Rips Those Who Want To End Residency Requirement for Teachers

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"Mayor Daley warned Friday that Chicago would kiss its middle class goodbye by allowing teachers - or any other public employees - to live outside the city." Those words come from a Chicago Sun-Times report detailing the mayor's lambasting of a proposals to remove residency requirements for Chicago Public Schools teachers. While Daley may be using harsh rhetoric and some scare tactics, he is more than right: removing residency restrictions for CPS teachers will kill Chicago.

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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.

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  • Removing the residency requirement will have a huge impact on the city's tax base. Teachers -- on average make a good living -- the average pay for 3/4 year of work is $75K plus higher benefits than those in the private sector get by a huge amount. Teachers should be well paid. What's missing is balance between their current pay & benefit scales & what the rest in the private sector are making. In the midst of a budget crisis, the union will not roll back these overly generous benefits & pay raises (way in excess of inflation & what others have been getting). Now they want to remove the residency requirement. At the same time, there is talk about eliminating language, art, sports & some science spots and having 37 kids in a class. So it seems to me that the teachers union is saying you schmucks in chicago -- pay my high salary & benefits. 37 kids in a class. No problem. I don't live here. My kids don't go to school here. I have tenure. Go to hell chicago

  • In reply to chicagoresident:

    I disagree with Daley. Why is it the teachers' responsibility to create or keep a middle class in Chicago? (or cops or firefighters, etc) If the city was more affordable, maybe we'd stay!
    Second, the idea that teachers live in the neighborhoods the teach in is categorically wrong. Most teachers do not live in the same area where they teach. I used to drive 45 minutes to my school. (not an area where anyone who can afford better would choose to live in)
    If Daley wants a middle class in the city, he needs to do a whole lot more to keep us here. Besides, so many teachers simply lie about where they live.

  • In reply to chicagoresident:

    Chicago resident, I also disagree with you. It appears that you believe teachers don't care if class sizes go to 37 or if all the "specials" are cancelled. We absolutely care! First, all those things will hurt the students we love. Second, from a purely self-seeking perspective, 37 kids in a room with no break time (no music, no art,etc) will KILL us. Noone can teach in that kind of environment for long without losing it or quitting.
    Many of us have kids in this system. I do. I certainly care about their future. But even if I didn't, I consider the students I teach as my own children. And many other teachers do to. Why else would we be spending 10% of our take home pay on supplies for our classrooms? Because we don't care? Come on. I can think of a lot of better ways to spend $200-300 a month. My own kids need hats and coats, but still, I purchase them for students. Because I love them. You don't appear to know much about real teachers. Maybe you should go into teaching since you have such strong opinions about it.

  • In reply to chicagoresident:

    If the teachers care about huge class sizes then there would be some compromise on wages and pensions. The average salary of a teacher in the city of chicago is 75K for a 9 month work year which is 100K on an annual basis. Teachers get pensions that are several times higher than workers in the private sector. Last year the teachers received a 4% raise in a year with zero inflation. This was called a cost of living adjustment or COLA by the union. For the past 10 years, raises have been 2-3 times the rate of inflation. If the teachers of chicago cared then they would lengthen the school day which is the shortest in the nation. Students in the city of Chicago graduate (if they do indeed graduate) with several fewer years of schooling than others in major metro areas due to the short school day. Most students in Chicago have 15 minutes of recess because the teachers will not add 20-30 minutes to their day. The taxpayers of Chicago pay the bulk of teachers' salaries and teachers should in turn make a commitment to the community and also to the students and parents that they serve by remaining in the city of chicago, paying taxes back into that community and by attending the schools so they will have a stake in the outcome.
    It would be refreshing to see an argument made by a teacher based on facts, not emotions or antidotes & not to make a personal attack when someone disagrees with them.

  • In reply to chicagoresident:

    I would absolutely vote for a longer school day. I would vote for merit pay.
    I still think that anyone who complains about any school issue needs to be required to spend at least a year teaching. It adds some "facts" to the numbers that nothing else can.

  • In reply to chicagoresident:

    The mayor is just looing out for his developer friends. He's just being loyal, what's wrong with that?

  • In reply to chicagoresident:

    Well...nyc does. It's a pretty big city. So does Los Angeles. So does Philadelphia. Haven't checked other metros but it's pretty clear that most DO rather than do not. I've even included the court decision below. It's for the health of the entire city, not just for developer friends otherwise why would it be so widespread nationwide for this to be a requirement. You've got to ask yourself why this is being pushed by the union when education cuts mean large class sizes for those in city schools.

    COURT OF APPEALS UNANIMOUSLY AFFIRMS THE IMPORTANCE
    OF RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS FOR CITY EMPLOYEES
    New York, Nov. 29, 2004

  • In reply to chicagoresident:

    I could be wrong, but aren't property taxes, the basis of educational payrolls, set by the county and not the city?

    I have always thought that people paid by the city should live in the city.

  • In reply to chicagoresident:

    I agree with Daley on this one!!!!!Chicago is a good city and could even be better if we had the full support of all its employees and residents together. I am proud to live and say I am from Chicago. If you are not then you should not work here.

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