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End the Strike: Mom Talk

Right or wrong, teachers need to be part of the solution, too.

It was circa 1982 when Joliet's District 86 teachers went on strike. I was in junior high, and our teachers told us, no, no, they would not strike.

They were out three weeks.

I couldn't tell you what the details were or who won. But I can recall the names of the two teachers who crossed the picket line.

That was a difficult time for my family. My divorced mother worked full time and I had no where to go during the day. At 10, I was home alone.

By and large, teachers are undervalued in this country. They deserve combat pay for some of the districts they work in. My close friends are Chicago teachers. If I had a magic wand I would easily triple their salaries, benefits and give them anything else they wanted. Schools should be palaces!

With that said, Chicago Teacher Union President Karen Lewis is a thoroughly unimpressive person. After listening to her sarcasm and rants these past months, I have little faith in her ability to properly represent the union. More importantly, it is hard to see her dedication to students through the egotistical media personae.

The unfortunate reality is that Illinois is broken—and broken bad. There quite simply is no money to do what rightfully should be done. It must be difficult for the school board to negotiate with nothing but lint in its pockets.

The bottom line is these children are in danger, real imminent danger. Suddenly, we have 350,000-plus grade schoolers with no place to go. We can expect emergencies to be up. Gang activity will be up. Parents' jobs will be in jeopardy if they lose too much work. The costs to society will be far reaching.

Whatever the sticking points, this is a high-stakes tug of war. No matter what, the children will lose. They have already lost. Both sides need a kick in the pants, the school board and the teachers. You are both at fault. Get this strike over.

It's a plague on both your houses.

Ernie Knight September 13, 2012 at 07:00 PM
And exactly how is that relevant to the dangers of police work?
Kelly September 13, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Oswegosmarts - Again, my point is that we went to school in non-airconditioned facilties and we did just fine. And you have no idea how long a cop or firefighter is out in the field, so way to throw 99% out there.
Ernie Knight September 13, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Tim, Try making that argument to the family of the Ship, Michigan police officer who was killed 2 days ago. He was gunned down on duty.
Oswegosmarts September 13, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Not true, and yes kelly I have a little insite on what Police and Fire do my wife is a cop and my brother in law is a Fireman. Family events are fun because they try to outdo each other as to how much sleeping and doing nothing and making $125,000 a year. And paid days off etc. Also my wifes pension is way more lucrative than our teacher friends. She makes tens of thousands more and can retire with less time. You see while everyone keeps banging on teachers, both my wife and brother in law hope you don't look their way. In fact I don't either, she is retiring in two years and in her first year her pension will be $97,500 . Not bad for 53 years old.
Concerned September 13, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Chicago city teachers have an incredibly difficult job, suburban teachers don't.
Gerard Schilling September 13, 2012 at 09:06 PM
The entire state pays for 30% of Chicago's teacher salaries and benefits including pensions and as such should have inputs into these negotiations. Mine is cut off these funds and if Chicago citizens want to continue to bribe their union bosses to get their political hacks reelected let them pay their own bills!
Katie A September 13, 2012 at 09:21 PM
My benefits are getting cut at work too, and I have no recourse. I just have to be thankful that I still have a job when so many don't. With so many desperately unemployed people out there, I get really angry that these teachers selfishly put everything on hold so they can go throw a tantrum while parents and students suffer. It's not right. Like you say, they got into this field of work knowing that there are enormous challenges inherent in it, and then they constantly complain and act like martyrs. There are some fabulous teachers out there that really care about the kids and the job they do, and there are plenty of teachers who just don't care, and don't contribute - they shouldn't be on a level playing field. When everyone is lumped together, the bad teachers slip through the cracks and there is nothing to be done about it. We'd be much better off without the unions. I agree that they know they are finally getting attention to their cause, so they are going to milk this for all it's worth. Trying to resolve every one of their issues all at once is not reasonable. If they weren't demanding so much at one time, they would have settled long ago. They are just being stubborn. That Karen Lewis is a joke, too; the Drew Peterson of the CTU.
Gerard Schilling September 13, 2012 at 11:46 PM
No doubt you are talking about yourself !
Tony September 14, 2012 at 12:16 AM
If I were the Mayor of Chicago or any other big city and had to deal with a teachers strike I would tell the teachers They can have anything they want, we will just raise taxes to cover the cost.Every one seems to be against what the mayor is trying to do so just give them what they want,when people leave the city because they can't afford the taxes the city can layoff teachers.By doing this maybe the next time a teachers contract comes up the Mayor will get some support from the taxpayers
Dave September 14, 2012 at 12:45 AM
It's not that easy Tony. People tend to forget that teachers teach the future of this country. You sit in a room with 30 kids all day everyday, and inspire them to do amazing things. The reason you know how to read and write in this blog is thanks to your teachers. People forget that, and the media is portraying them as greedy. In other countries, being a teacher is the highest honor. What's happening here is a shame if you ask me. Oh and I worked at a school district not as a teacher but as an administrator so I should know.
Tom September 14, 2012 at 01:52 AM
After reading all the comments from this thread it seems to me that a lot of people should have chosen teaching as a career. I am assuming from reading that all the people who say teaching is easy and that the suburban teachers have it easier are not currently teachers. I don't know why you don't quit your current career and come join the gravy train. (sarcasm) Teachers have it made. (sarcasm) All of the negative comments are obviously from people who went to school and now have kids in school so therefore they are qualified to evaluate teachers. (sarcasm) Hey that sounds like the current evaluation for teachers. Completely unfair. I put sarcasm in quotes for all of you who had lousy teachers when you grew up while walking to school uphill both ways in the snow.
Indy September 14, 2012 at 02:24 AM
I guess you have not been in Bolingbrook lately.
Jenna September 14, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Concerned, Chicago teachers have a different set of conditions, but the suburbs are not easy. Shadow a teacher. Wow.
Jenna September 14, 2012 at 03:58 AM
http://www.familytaxpayers.org Included in teacher pay: extra duties outside of school day like coaching, substitute teaching during their conference and plan period, working games (high school), etc. These are not listed. Many have their masters not just the BS or BA. I worked with several that had PhD in their subject area (high school). FYI
Wakeup Naperville September 14, 2012 at 04:03 AM
If there is one person that only cares about himself it's Gerard the megalomaniac. He thinks the only way in life is HIS way. (Back on the playground huh Gerard?!)
Jenna September 14, 2012 at 04:06 AM
I believe they are in agreement with salary and school districts should be audited. Too many generals who have forgotten how to be soldiers. The sticking points are not financial. Illinois is not broke because of hard working teachers or other workers for that matter. Teachers lose in negotiations too. My new contract was far worse than the old. Including items that will make it harder on students, but we were weak and didn't strike because so much of our workforce was non tenured and afraid to stand up for the students...4 year probation...can be fired for anything as long as they can find some way to word your evaluation poorly. New evaluation procedures will make it easier to get rid of bad teachers, but also good experienced and educated teachers because the $ too much.
Jenna September 14, 2012 at 04:10 AM
You need to apply to charter schools. That, right there, changes the game. In some families, in the suburbs, the kid is the only one with satisfactory english or education for that matter. Leading to the fact that, though available, some families may not know the process of getting the application 'in'. The fact that they apply also suggests greater parental/family investment in education. That is huge.
Jenna September 14, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Kota, really? How many teachers are in the news for the Wonderful things they do for kids? Doesn't get ratings. But thanks for throwing that in as if it is the norm. Explain the teenagers and unwed monthers and etc. Are you blaming teachers or is there more to that that you did not state?
Jenna September 14, 2012 at 04:18 AM
I agree with many statements here Kota. In addition, why do we pay for drivers ed? Reading Writing Math Science Arts, but Driving? Unfortunately, that is the way a tax system works. SS is not guarenteed for me, but I pay...Sucks, my taxes went up and home value down, but that is where I choose to live.
Jenna September 14, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Hey bpc9, 150 kids per day in my high school. I think it is amazing that parents think we will be so overwhelmingly more successful with them than they are at home. 'I cannot get ___to do homework' oh, explains test scores. It is amazing that some of you allow kids to go to school with such little respect for educators. In other competitive countries, kids and families respect educators. That is one form of payment we do not get here in USA. In fact, I would say that that is one reason we are falling behind other countries that do not 'make' kids go to school and who believe it truely is a privilege to be educated. We educate all students no matter their ability and believe all students can improve. Yet, not all can be doctors and engineers because it is beyond their ability. However, they can all be successful.
Jenna September 14, 2012 at 04:35 AM
thanks Kota http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuBmSbiVXo0&feature=share Share this...This is how I and many of my teacher FRIENDS feel. It isn't the money.
Jenna September 14, 2012 at 04:38 AM
parents have to apply/sign up for charter...means they are invested. That is a HUGE difference that is not being taken into account. I read, but check me on it, that the teachers could only strike for $. So whether or not it was about $ they need it to be in order to strike. Please check that as I cannot locate my original citing.
Tim September 14, 2012 at 04:45 AM
The 'dangers' of having a lower incidence of accidental death than the general population? There is no more danger to police work as a whole, than there is to you. In fact, you face more danger than they do. Stop idolizing police work based on nonsensical myths.
Gerard Schilling September 14, 2012 at 09:21 AM
Good to hear from you WN. See you are still suffering from anal cavity suffocation syndrome! Need to come up for fresh air once and awhile.
Ernie Knight September 14, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Somehow I don't think "accidental death" is what most cops and their families are concerned with, Tim. Ask the family of the murdered Michigan police officer (3 days ago). Playing with numbers cannot trump reality. Being a cop is dangerous. Body armor is not an affectation.
LMS September 14, 2012 at 02:34 PM
"All of the negative comments are obviously from people who went to school and now have kids in school so therefore they are qualified to evaluate teachers. (sarcasm)" Brilliantly put (no sarcasm). I've been struggling to figure out how so many ignorant people can feel comfortable being so vocal about something they know nothing about, but you've nailed it. These experts you've described join forces with the, "If I don't get baseline level quasi-fair treatment in the workplace no one should...If others demand it they're greedy" or "My husband and I chose to work multiple jobs and never have any free time ever (literally....ever), so no one should expect free time...If they ask for semi-decent compensation they're greedy." You're so right. In addition to those thought processes there's, "I had cruddy teachers in the seventies, so the Chicago teachers of 2012 should let unions nationwide bend over and take it from Rahm and others determined to privatize and profit from education, setting the teachers up for unfair and imminent termination based on illogical evaluations." Or "My cherubic son/daughter had a bad (fill in the grade) teacher, so this strike must be about those evil unions and the greedy teachers throwing a tantrum and demanding more money." You've filled in the missing piece, Tom. I sincerely thank you.
Kota September 14, 2012 at 07:03 PM
LMS...where will the money come from for these increases since you are so brilliant?
LMS September 14, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Kota- what's the main sticking point in the negotiations?
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