Illinois By The Numbers: 97

On this installment of Illinois by the Numbers, the number is 97.

The Chicago Teachers’ Union recently took a mock vote as to whether or not to go out on strike. 97% of CPS teachers voted yes, they are prepared to go out on strike for the second time in four years.

The average CPS teacher salary is just under $80,000 per year, before you include their health insurance benefits and guaranteed seven-figure pensions.

The bankrupt, junk-rated Chicago Public Schools spend more than $15,000 annually per pupil and yet 75% of fourth and eighth graders are neither proficient in reading nor math. Only 1 in 10 CPS freshmen will get a bachelor’s degree by the time they are 25 years old. This in a system of nearly 400,000 students.

So who is the bad guy here, is it the teachers’ union or the mayor’s office?


There are no white hats in the story of the central planners from City Hall fighting with the central planners from the teachers’ union over who gets to be the lead central planner at CPS.

However inflammatory you find Chicago teachers’ union boss Karen Lewis, it is not her Marxist rhetoric or advocacy for massive new taxes and tax increases that should frighten you.

What should frighten you is that 97% of 30,000 Chicago public school teachers are enthusiastically willing to sprint over the edge of a cliff with Ms. Lewis.

On the city side, the big idea from Tiny Dancer is a $500 million state bailout of CPS. You see, his $500 million property tax increase is being used to inadequately fund city pensions and he doesn’t have any money left over to inadequately fund the schools.

The adults who have legal authority over CPS, a fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers, and a moral duty to 400,000 kids have abdicated all of the above.

They deserve no state bailout. They deserve no pay increases. And, if the teachers strike, they deserve to be unlocked from their jobs.

CPS students deserve access to schools that will give them the opportunity to earn an education that sets them on a course for success in life.  

They only way that happens is if the adults inside CPS, the parents, and the adults outside CPS, state political leaders, change the flow of money away from central planners and to families to make the same choices for their children that Tiny Dancer did for his kids matriculating at the University of Chicago Lab Schools. 

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