Chicago Schools a Microcosm of Obama’s Next Term

If you want to know what an Obama second term will be like, all you have to do is look at the Chicago school strike: Out-of-control state workers who are demanding more money when the graduation rate is about 60 percent and we are in a deep recession. Here’s what Rahm Emanuel said:

“For the first time on record, Chicago Public Schools have achieved higher than a 60 percent graduation rate.”

To be exact, it was 60.6 percent, and for this there was a celebration. Keep in mind that this is a “record” graduation rate. Let’s not forget that the pregnancy rate among the female students is 12.5 percent.

How well are the students doing? It seems to me that a pay raise of 16 percent — what the teachers are demanding — should be based on student performance. Isn’t this what liberals demanded of money managers who lost money for their investors? Shouldn’t we apply the same economic logic to a teacher salary raise? Consider these statistics:

Seventy-nine percent of the 8th graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade-level proficient in reading, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.

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With [the National Assessment of Educational Progress] test results, only 19 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders rated proficient in reading while another 2 percent rated advanced — for a total of 21 percent who rated proficient or better.

79 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders were not grade-level proficient in reading. According to the U.S. Department of Education, this included 43 percent who rated “basic” and 36 percent who rated “below basic.”

The average salary is $76,000 per year — the highest average salary of any city in the nation. This does not include a very generous benefits’ package.The average family in the city only earns $47,000 a year. Yet the teachers rejected a 16 percent salary increase over four years at a time when most families are not getting any raises or are looking for work.”

Their argument for higher salaries and benefits is probably based on how much it costs to live in Chicago. And why is that? Because of the tax burden which a boost in pay and benefits would increase. Much of the burden will fall on the people who make considerably less.

Gov. Scott Walker went through a similar attack by government union workers in Wisconsin. The Democrats fought him all the way and lost. And when they lost, they went all the way to recall him. Again, they lost.

Standing firm against the union bullies has paid off for Wisconsin. The “Wisconsin Economic Outlook” for 2012 and 2013 is instructive:

  • The forecast expects Wisconsin employment to grow 1.0% in 2012 and 1.7% in 2013.
  • The Wisconsin seasonally adjusted unemployment rate retreated to 6.8% in May, down from a peak of 9.1% in mid- 2009. The forecast calls for an unemployment rate of 6.5% in 2012 and 6.1% in 2013.
  • The housing sector at the state and national level seems to have started a timid recovery.
  • Wisconsin personal income grew 5.2% in 2011, above the 5.1% growth nationwide. The outlook calls for Wisconsin personal income to grow 2.9% in 2012 and 4.1% in 2013.

The Wisconsin union thuggery and the Chicago teacher strike is a microcosm of what we can expect if the economy gets worse. It’s not just union workers that we’ll have to contend with students who aren’t in school while their parents are at work. “[A]fter a violent Chicago summer, police Supt. Garry McCarthy said he’s ‘emptying our offices’ to patrol the thousands of unsupervised kids on the streets.”

Welcome to Obama’s America.