Commenting on the Chicago teachers’ strike, Dr. Steve Perry, CNN Education Consultant and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, said yesterday (see video below) that teachers’ unions are hurting their own cause, especially in an election year.
“They’re like a drunk uncle at a wedding trying to make a toast, making a fool of themselves,” Perry said. He believes that their salary demands are far in excess of what the community can afford to pay, especially given that many schools especially in Chicago are failing in their basic educational mission.
Chicago teachers earn about $76,000, plus they have the summers off and receive a very generous pension and benefits package along with ironclad job protections. Prior to going on strike, the Chicago teachers turned down a 16 percent pay raise.
Teachers’ unions provide massive support to the Democrats all around the country, and, given this monolithic political affiliation, Perry suggested that the Chicago strike could inadvertently help GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the November election because of voter antipathy towards the striking teachers.
Separately, Perry pointed out in a tweet yesterday that educators are paid from property taxes and that “with high foreclosures driven by high unemployment, how can any [educator] ask for more money now?”
Some conspiracy theorists, on the other hand, have claimed that this strike is merely a setup to allow Barack Obama to come in and supposedly save the day (especially since his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is mayor of Chicago). That theory seems very contrived even by the standards of Chicago politics, however.
Watch the CNN clip of Dr. Steve Perry commenting on the Chicago teachers strike: