The Chicago Teachers Union is an amazing example of how labor unions can fight for better wages and job security for their members while also providing useful information to employers about the quality of the workforce they have available. The Chicago Teachers Union has been at the forefront of educating the general public about the importance of teachers in our schools and community. Over the years the union has worked tirelessly to represent the best teachers in the Chicago area and build a strong education movement in the process. Now the union is fighting for higher pay and job security for all Chicago teachers.
Currently the Chicago Teachers Union has two representatives on the school board, but they are now hoping to grow their numbers so that they will have a presence there as well. This would allow them to do more than just represent individual teachers; they want to be able to bargain with the school district about longer school days and fewer hours of instruction. They also want to be able to set up individual classrooms in elementary and middle schools all across the city. They would like to see increased funding for schools, better educational opportunities for all children, more after school programming, and better academic accommodations for students who have special needs. These ideas could not only benefit Chicagoans, but the nation as a whole.
It should be noted that not all teachers in Chicago are members of the teachers' union. A lot of teachers work part-time or on a shoestring budget trying to provide quality education for their families. Some schools have a high turn over rate, which means that hundreds of good teachers would be laid off immediately. This would result in less instruction time available for other good teachers. It is obvious that the quality of education in Chicago schools would decline if this were happening.
There has been a lot of talk about Chicago teachers' bargaining rights being violated by the school district. However, the reality is that Chicago school districts are required by law to follow the guidelines set forth by the Illinois Department of Education. They cannot pick and choose how to teach and discipline their students. The state has established clear guidelines for how schools must administer discipline.
The teachers' union may want to go above and beyond what the state wants in order to protect its membership. However, these overreaching actions by the unions will not benefit Chicago schools. The cost of having unprofessional teachers in the classrooms is far too great. This is a very real problem that faces our children every single day in Chicago.
The Chicago Teachers Union has a legitimate reason for wanting to negotiate higher compensation. They obviously recognize that their members are . . . . . . suffering financially from the school district's actions. They would much rather negotiate for higher pay and longer schooling days than suffer the humiliation of seeing their name removed from the school district list of teachers on strike. Hopefully, the school district will realize that they have little to gain by continuing the conflict with the teachers' union.