Tag Archives: teachers

Teachers Union

Springfield journalist Scott Reeder says the state’s second largest teachers union needs to learn a lesson from the people it represents: “Teachers unions have long prided themselves as champions of free speech and academic freedom.  But it appears they don’t always practice what they preach.”


More Possible Teacher Strikes To Come?

The Illinois Policy Institute has never minced words in expressing its dislike of public sector unions. Last month’s teachers’ strike in Chicago, the IPI says, has emboldened public unions across Illinois – from downstate teachers’ unions to the 39,000 AFSCME members under Gov. Pat Quinn’s control. Those unions are positioning themselves for possible strikes, the IPI writes in a report titled “Contagion: Nothing Spreads Like Greed.”

Illinois Teachers Retirement System

The last time Illinois Teachers Retirement System director Richard Ingram advocated pension reform to protect benefits for future retirees, he did not get a warm reception in some quarters. The State Journal-Register said Ingram paid the price for speaking the truth.

Retirement Benefits for Teachers

Cuts to cost-of-living adjustments must happen now to insure retirement benefits are there when current teachers retire, says the head of the state’s largest pension plan, Illinois Teachers Retirement System. Without a change, TRS chief Richard Ingram warns, “’It’s likely that benefits are impaired today, that we’re looking at the possibility in the future of not being able to pay them.” One-fourth of TRS benefit payments are for COLAs, Ingram tells Crain’s Chicago Business. 



Chicago Teachers Union vs. Emanuel

The Chicago teachers’ strike made Chicago the focus of national attention as a powerful Democratic mayor squared off against an equally powerful teachers’ union. Today the Chicago Teachers Union is set to vote on the contract at the center of the strike. Whether Mayor Rahm Emanuel or the CTU “won” is open to debate. Who didn’t win? Students, who lost seven school days. 

Labor Issues

 “The district will be hard-pressed to make the budget adjustments necessary to close an estimated $1 billion budget gap for fiscal 2014. In particular, the duration of the recent CTU strike demonstrates that labor issues may continue to be a ratings factor.” Moody’s Investor Service, which last week downgraded Chicago Public Schools’ credit rating for the second time since July.

Does Chicago Think It’s “Too Big To Fail”?

Hey, downstate Illinoisans, the Chicago teachers’ strike could affect your bank account, warns journalist Scott Reeder. “By agreeing to something it knows it can’t afford, the city will have to seek funding elsewhere… Like … Springfield,”

 Reeder writes. “I’ve covered the General Assembly for many years and observed the pattern time and again.” Chicago officials consider themselves “too big to fail,” and thus entitled to bailouts never extended to other communities. http://bit.ly/SzsXB7

Illinois owes $670 Million for Teacher Pensions in next budget

Illinois will have to come up with another $670 million for the teacher pension system in the next budget after a retirement fund panel crunched the numbers and adjusted its assumptions, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Fixing Illinois’ budget crisis begins with understanding just how much money comes in and how much money is spent in a given year. Yet tracking the state’s massive budget is much more difficult than it seems, especially because of convoluted accounting practices. This lack of transparency matters because, in addition to contributing to the budget crisis, incomplete information makes solutions harder to find. Understanding the state’s true fiscal situation depends upon how clearly, consistently and broadly budget information is presented. Illinois faces two main transparency problems: “time-shift” budgeting and an overemphasis on the General Funds budget, according to economist Richard Dye in an op-ed for the Sun-Times.

Emanuel and the new Teachers Contract

Mayor Emanuel could go a long way toward paying for the new teachers contract — without closing schools, raising class size or laying off teachers — by reversing financial maneuvers he ordered last year to prop up the city budget, according to the Sun-Times. Emanuel stripped teachers of a previously negotiated, 4 percent pay raise and used the $80 million in savings to pay the Chicago Police Department retroactively, going back to 2009. The question now is whether Emanuel is willing to reverse that maneuver to help defray the $295 million, four-year cost of the new teachers contract and ease pressure on a school system that has drained every penny of its reserves and faces a $1 billion shortfall next year.

Chicago Teachers Strike

There are endless reasons why Chicago teachers say they went on strike. Pay, charter school growth, unfair evaluations, teacher recall, the over-use of standardized tests, the “privatization” of public education, poor teaching and learning conditions, anger toward Mayor Rahm Emanuel and on and on. But for many a Chicago teacher, no reason was more pressing than the prospect of mass school closings in this city.

The Sun-Times has reported rumors (http://bit.ly/SeCyNn) of as many as 100 school closings, while the Chicago Tribune cites sources saying 80 to 120 schools will be targeted on the South and West Sides, which have seen significant population declines. City and schools officials adamantly deny these estimates, but refuse to offer a firm number. CPS’ spokeswoman says the scope and timing is still being hammered out. It should go without saying that the more open and inclusive CPS is as it heads down this difficult road, the better.

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