25,000 Chicago Teachers Walk Off the Job

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The decades old problem of the public schools isn’t going to be solved until we outlaw public sector unions and restore liberty in education by instituting 100% school choice so parents are empowered and kids can learn though things like customized education. Everything else is “school reformers” wasting our time and politicians (especially Republicans) participating in the harming of children (you need to research some of what’s being taught in the public schools).

From the Heritage Foundation:

This morning, about 350,000 students in Chicago Public Schools will be without teachers. While the 25,000-plus unionized teachers take to the picket lines in a strike over benefits and teacher evaluations, working parents are scrambling to figure out what to do.

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Reuters reports that “Chicago Public Schools has projected a $3 billion budget deficit over the next three years and faces a crushing burden of pensions promised to retiring teachers.”

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Heritage’s Jason Richwine and the American Enterprise Institute’s Andrew Biggs did an extensive study of teacher compensation and followed up with additional discussion of controversial issues. When it comes to teacher pay, Richwine sums up:

Because the average public-school teacher already receives above-market compensation, policymakers should avoid across-the-board pay raises. Instead, they should focus on rewarding high-quality teachers with targeted salary increases.

Of course, teacher compensation is much more than just wages. Part of Chicago Public Schools’ financial problems is the guaranteed pensions for retired teachers. Richwine explains that these defined-benefit plans, which cost several times more than the typical retirement plan in the private sector, are a bad deal for taxpayers:

Since benefits accruing to today’s workers need not be paid now, states can promise generous benefits without feeling the full fiscal impact for years or even decades. Benefits to workers are guaranteed, meaning taxpayers are ultimately responsible for any shortfalls in their states’ pension systems—and there are many shortfalls.

The Chicago strike, highlighting the urgent need for education reform, comes at a time when lack of confidence in public schools is at an all-time high—and support for school choice is also at an all-time high. Is it any wonder?

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