As the Chicago Public School teachers strike comes to a close the nation will continue to debate the merits of public sector unions, teachers’ pay/benefits, and the proper role for workplace evaluation. While these topics remain important issues that will have a large impact on the fiscal sustainability of many municipalities across the country, there is another story receiving far less attention: A surprisingly high percentage (40%) of public school teachers in Chicago opt to send their children to private school.
This fact should not be overlooked. The question that this should clearly raise is why, and it should be viewed as confirmation of what most everyone knows: that the public school system is failing students at such an alarming rate that parents no not want their kids to attend the very schools in which they work! The public education system in this country is centered around a ‘Teachers-First’ mentality that places union interests and job security above the interests of the students. This has resulted in a system filled with horror stories of teacher-incompetence and student failure. Public school teachers know this. They are eye-witnesses to the account, and they are increasingly insuring that their own children avoid such a fate.
The Chicago teachers most certainly improved their standing with the new labor agreement. The question that we should continue to ask ourselves is why? What market forces indicate that these teachers should receive pay raises? What improvement in student achievement can these teachers point to? Clearly, the answer is none. The teachers themselves are catching onto this fact…when will the rest of the public?