A tale of two teacher's strikes

Chicago Teachers are on strike.  35 miles north of Chicago there is also a teachers strike, in the tony suburb of Lake Forest.

In Chicago, the teacher's average compensation is circa $71,000 per year.  The average household income in Chicago is around $46,000.

In Lake Forest, the average teacher compensation is around $106,000 per annum.  The average household income in Lake Forest is about $200,000.

In the Chicago instance, the teachers are well above the median income, yet still want more from those who make less.

In Lake Forest, the teachers seem to think that if they are teaching the kids of those who make 200K a year that perhaps they should be making something closer to that number.

Each of these strikes is absurd, but in different ways. 

To expect more taxes to come from those who make less than you so that you may make more money must be questioned.  Chicago is broke. And it is wonderful theatre to watch Rahm Emanuel cross swords with the Teachers Union.  Additionally, these teachers are striking under the following circumstances.

 "Chicago students currently receive 5 hours and 45 minutes per day of teacher instruction - the least of any major city in the nation. To examine the issue, Dr. McQuillan compared the 'pay per hour of instruction for Chicago teachers to public school teachers in the following cities: Charlotte, N.C., Richmond, Va., Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Atlanta. These cities were selected because they are major cities in states that do not allow public school teachers to collectively bargain. In these states, teacher salaries are determined more by individual merit and competition than forced collective bargaining. After taking into account Chicago's higher cost of living, Dr. McQuillan determined that Chicago teachers are overpaid by 31 percent." 

Now turn to Lake Forest.  Lake Forest is not broke. Neither are the teachers. At an average of over $100,000 a year, no, for 9 months, they are handsomely compensated.

But it seems this city is going to hold its ground.  Thousands of applicants for teaching in the Lake Forest school system are rejected annually. All presumably willing to work for less than the six figures currently paid. Filling the teacher ranks would be done in short order.

Chicago Tribune:

"The school board also said that it has offered to defer a two-tiered salary schedule that has been a sticking point, but that teachers are still holding out for raises of 5 to 6.5 percent per year.

If no deal is reached by Monday, the North Shore high school (Lake Forest)  is expected to reopen for a mandatory academic program that will be overseen by administrators with the help of community volunteers."  

In Lake Forest, with all the compensation for its teachers, the Football Team has to do fund raisers for helmets and pads. No room in the school's budget apparently.


So the Chicago teachers, already compensated beyond the norm, are attempting to get blood from a stone.  And the Lake Forest teachers must be suffering from a delusion that school can't go on without them.  How wrong they both are.

Bruce Johnson