PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Reacts to Chicago Teachers Union Strike

Published October 17, 2019

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has left students in the lurch by abandoning the classroom for the picket line. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has offered a reduction in health care co-pays, a 16 percent raise over four years, which would bring the average teacher pay to nearly $100,000, and other concessions.

The CTU is demanding higher wages, banking of unused sick time; more librarians, nurses, and social workers; smaller class sizes; reduced instruction time by 30 minutes, and 15 percent raises over three years.

According to the Nation’s Report Card, only 30 percent of Chicago 4th graders are proficient in mathematics, and just 27 percent are proficient in reading. Eighth graders fare even worse, with just 27 percent scoring proficient in mathematics and 27 percent proficient in reading.

The Illinois Report Card data show 28 percent of students meet expectations and a mere 22 percent in mathematics. In addition, 61 percent of students who graduate from CPS and attend college must take remedial courses in college.

The following statements from education experts at The Heartland Institute—a free-market think tank—may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Media Specialist Billy Aouste at [email protected].

“The highly compensated and underperforming teachers of the Chicago Public School teachers are on strike. Mayor Lightfoot’s offers and the Chicago Teachers Union’s (CTU) proposals focus on money and items that have little to no bearing on improving the dismal education in the district and leave the students and families in the crosshairs. To stop the CTU from holding students hostage in the future, The Heartland Institute’s strike vouchers and education choice reforms need to be implemented immediately. These are the only reforms that would help the seven in 10 students who cannot read or perform math proficiently in Chicago. Students deserve a politics-free educational experience.”

Lennie Jarratt
State Government Relations Manager, Education Reform Specialist
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Ahhh, autumn in Chicago—the feel of the crisp fall air, the smell of cinnamon and fresh pumpkin pie, and the sound of 25,000 spoiled brats from the CTU clamoring for more money. It’s amazing with how much regularity these people walk out of their classrooms. They’re so precise they make the swallows of San Juan Capistrano look capricious and inconsistent.

“So, once again, a familiar cycle will repeat: CTU will strike, CPS will cave, taxpayers will get fleeced, students will continue to underperform, and the city will go further into debt. The city could have saved itself a lot of trouble if it had passed The Heartland Institute’s strike voucher proposal after CTU threatened to strike a few years ago, thereby breaking its power to strike in the future. Unfortunately, the city didn’t, and now 300,000 kids have nowhere to go until Chicago forks enough money into the grubby maws of the union. Hopefully, Chicago officials will learn their lesson after this strike, but don’t count on it.”

Tim Benson
Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]