Chicago school teachers give us all a lesson – Opinion – Al Jazeera English

18 Sep

We don’t know the final terms of the settlement yet, but it appears that the Chicago public school teachers managed to score a major victory over Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s business-oriented mayor. Testing will not comprise as large a share in teachers’ evaluations as Emanuel had wanted; there will be a serious appeals process for teachers whom the school district wants to fire, and laid off teachers will have priority in applying for new positions.

If these seem like narrow self-interested gains for the teachers and their union, think again. Teaching in inner city schools is a difficult and demanding job.

Most of the children in Chicago’s public schools are poor. Their families are struggling with all the issues presented by poverty. Many of the schools are in high crime areas and serious crimes often take place on school premises. It can be a lot harder job than working for a hedge fund.

It will not be possible to get committed and competent people to teach in the public school system if they cannot be guaranteed at least a limited amount of job security and respect. The $70,000 annual pay that was ridiculed as excessive by so many pundits would not even be a week’s salary for many of the Wall Street types who do nothing more productive than shuffle paper. More…

via Chicago school teachers give us all a lesson – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

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