12 September 2012

A simple and obvious solution to the Chicago teachers strike

As we all know by now, the Chicago Teachers Union has gone on strike. Among the many articles I've seen, this tidbit really jumped out at me:

On Monday, 25,000 Chicago teachers (average salary: $76,000 before benefits) walked out of their classrooms, leaving nearly 350,000 schoolchildren and their parents in the lurch. 
I know what you're thinking - that's a lot of money. What I noticed, though, was that apparently Chicago has one teacher for every 14 kids. Wow - small class sizes, right?

Not so fast.

At least as late as November 2011, Chicago Schools reported class sizes were around 25, on average, with much higher class sizes reported in schools with poor and minority populations.

In case your math is a little rusty, let me help you out: to staff up classes of 25 for a student population of 350,000, you'd need 14,000 teachers.

Yet there are 25,000 out on strike. Which leads to the obvious question: what exactly do the extra 11,000 do when they are not on strike?

Then again, this suggests an easy resolution, as well. Fire 11,000 teachers and raise the pay of the remaining ones to $135,000. There will be no change in the total salary budget, after all, and it would be a great opportunity to cut out the worst teachers. Win-win!

And wouldn't that be best for the children?

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