Arne Duncan’s insistence on collaborating with teachers’ unions paid off big with a teachers strike in Chicago that made national headlines (see: Union Stance Ridicules Duncan’s Collaboration Efforts). Teachers postured for the press, shuffled through the streets, and appeared to enjoy the party atmosphere as classrooms stood empty and children stayed home. While thoughtless taxpayers might be tempted to point blameful fingers at striking teachers, or even accuse them of disgracing the profession and embarrassing the Obama administration after it bent over for unions, we probably don’t understand the stresses that elevate their profession far above the jobs performed by private sector dullards.
Fortunately, those who educate our children have teachers’ unions to cut off public services with a strike and make sure their members get what they deserve. Even though the private sector enjoyed a meager increase in earnings of 0.2% from July 2011 to July 2012,¹ teachers can escape the income doldrums by shutting down their school system until demands for pay raises that reached 4% per year in Chicago are met. With any luck, they will even manage to circumvent a teacher evaluation system that measures success by how well students do on tests.
Let’s face it. Teachers are better than we are and they deserve more. Here are five reasons why:
1. Educators determine our children’s futures while braving an unfair teacher evaluation process.
We assume that good teachers were behind every Barack Obama and Arne Duncan. How unfair to these veritable kingmakers that they have to face a draconian teacher evaluation system that relies on the test scores of their students. For all the influence our educators are credited with to justify government and union demands for high teacher pay and extravagant benefits, when it comes to measuring job performance there are too many factors teachers can’t control for test scores to be good measuring tools. We could always change our strategy and test teachers instead of students. Judging by the sound bites we are hearing on the news, a little remedial English might be a good thing for some of these talented public servants.
2. Teachers care only about students and our schools.
Everything teachers do is for our children. Just look at the signs and T-shirts of those participating in the Chicago teachers strike and listen to what they are telling us. The children are all that matter, or at least they matter after generous teacher pay raises are set in stone.
3. Our educators are so vital they are worth $150,000 per year.
In America income is everything, especially when so many workers are down and out. Good teacher pay means six figures to ensure that these public workers are rewarded for a job well done (see: Will Taxpayers Support Raising Teacher Salaries 165%?). How we decide who the good ones are seems to be a problem, but if we pay all of our educators lots of money, we can be sure that some of those we are rewarding are worth their big paychecks.
4. The teaching profession is tough. An eight hour work day is exhausting.
This is not a problem in Chicago where the extended school hours that contributed to the strike are still a lot less than what most of us consider to be a long day. Fortunately, teachers in Chicago were offered more money for their extra work. This proves how valuable teachers are. When was the last time your boss thought you were worth more pay because you worked late?
5. Teachers form unions that are selfless in their pursuit of better schools.
Like their membership, teachers’ unions have only the best interests of our children at heart and it pains them when we force members to engage in a teachers strike. After all, it’s not like they are in this for the money, is it?