Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chicago teachers on strike.

Someone who has more time to read  and analyze, please tell me I heard this wrong:

Chicago teachers earn on average $75K a year, and are demanding a 35% pay increase??

That can't be the only reason (please) that they'd strike.

(Edited to add: apparently they're also upset over some of the evaluation measures used for teachers. Well, I don't know. I get evaluated every semester, I have to write a long report every year summarizing my teaching evaluation results, my scholarly productivity (grants and publications), and my service (committeework, stuff like judging science fairs). I think some kind of evaluation is necessary and again, most everyone I know has some kind of "annual review" in their career where they either get told "keep on keepin' on" (as I tend to hear) or "You need to step it up in these areas....")

I make less than they make, and I am a college teacher of demonstrable quality (nominated for an award, have students coming back from grad school thanking me for the preparation I gave them, high teaching evals). Of course, I also don't have to live in Chicago, but still: demanding a 35% raise, when most people in the working world haven't seen raises for five years or more, seems kind of rich.

(I was over the moon when I was promoted and got a 5% raise due to that promotion)

In my career, I would be less likely to raise objections (we are not unionized so we cannot legally strike) over money; it would be more likely over working conditions. For example, if they made the blanket expectation that everyone would teach night classes. (Or if they did that, but exempted the people with children). Or if they doubled our loads without telling us or giving us time to discuss. Or if they abolished tenure. (I know lots of people hate tenure, but I'd hate having to reapply for my job every three years and wonder if they were looking for a way to get rid of me and bring in someone younger and cheaper. They probably wouldn't, for the reasons I stated in the paragraph above, but still, I get paranoid. Also, there's a history at some schools of going the "flavor of the month" with the sciences, so you get a department stacked full of nanobiology specialists and nary a taxonomist to be found....and then suddenly you need someone who can do taxonomy, but all the taxonomists went off to other careers....)

But still. Striking over wanting that kind of pay raise (especially considering the median income in Chicago is something like $45K - yes, there are lots of rich folk on the Gold Coast, but there are also a lot of middle and working class people, and I bet the rich folk are the ones relying on private schools) just blows my mind.

Then again, if you expect people to be logical, you will be eternally disappointed.

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