Imagine you are a teacher in the great city of Chicago. Evaluation time comes around and you receive a bad review, which eventually leads to a pay decrease and ultimately you lose your job. The reason, you discover, is because your student test scores are below par.
Last week, the Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) went on strike for the first time in 25 years. Factors leading to the strike include extended school hours, performance evaluations based on test scores and the potential for job loss.
In this landmark event, negotiations fell through Sunday, only to finally be resolved Tuesday afternoon. Teachers are back in their classrooms today.
The CTU is made up of approximately 26,000 teachers and other staff.
Teachers put in just as many hours, if not more, than the students they teach. Annually, a Chicago teacher makes a $42,740 starting salary and an average of $64,509, according to an estimate by TeacherPortal.com.
It is unfair to take into consideration a student’s test scores when performing an evaluation of a teacher. Some students, especially high school students, don’t always want to take school seriously.
Kids can have the greatest teachers in the world, but if they don’t want to apply themselves they aren’t going to learn anything. Not every kid out there wants to prove himself or herself academically. This isn’t a Stand and Deliver type situation, people.
Even if students did want to excel in school, home conditions and environment could also play a huge factor in how they fare academically. These conditions are out of the hands of the teachers and should not be reflected in their evaluations.
In response to the extension of school days: If you work longer hours, you should get paid for them. An extra 30-75 minutes doesn’t sound like much, but add that to a full day of work five days a week and it can take its toll on a teacher.
Without the incentive of proper payment for work, it’s ridiculous to assume that teachers would be happy to take on the extra workload.
After negotiations failed this past Sunday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was not pleased with the results, as 350,000 school children would be out of school while the strike continued. Emanuel said he was even willing to take legal action if it puts an end to the strike.
As the new school semester has begun, students have already missed an entire week of classes due to the strike. When coupled with the threat of legal action, one can see just how drastic the strike had become.
Union leaders and city negotiators both declared themselves satisfied after the compromise was reached, with teachers eager to return to work, according to a report by the Associated Press.
Educators are the sculptors of the marble that is America’s youth. Not only do they spend school hours teaching, but they also take time after class to give extra help to their students, and even time at home grading papers. Teaching is not a job where you can turn it off and forget about work until you have to go back in; it is a 24 hour a day commitment.
People don’t go into teaching because they need money, rather, they teach because they care about the next generation and want them to succeed. The strike was a way for the CTU to stand up for themselves and their profession.
Teachers have been on the bottom rung of the ladder for a long time now. It’s about time they climbed up a step.