Before leaving town to spend the Fourth with family on the East Coast, we celebrated the birthday of a Chicago teacher last week. As happens, a heated discussion broke out as we shared pizza and beer as to whether we would advise young folks today to enter the teaching profession.
“I would never tell someone not to teach,” I said.
I got that look from a number of those standing around me.
You know, that look.
Okay. I had to qualify that.
If you’re looking for pay that is commensurate with your skills and professional training, job security and a guarantee that the pension you were promised will be there when you retiree, don’t go into teaching.
I’m not a fan of the current genre of articles from teachers that appear on my Facebook feed that explain why they quit teaching.
I loved the thirty years I taught. I fought what I opposed. I was an active teacher union leader. All that.
Look at the budget deal worked out in Springfield this week.
There are some things we know and some things we don’t.
We know that there now appears some money to open schools in the Fall, even if we don’t exactly know where it will be coming from.
We know that the basic regressive revenue structure remains in place, putting greater financial burdens on those least able to afford it.
We know that the Governor did not get any of his Turnaround Agenda.
We know that there will be another attempt to go after the pension protection clause of the Illinois Constitution and that the courts will once again tell the politicians that no means no.
And we know that teachers will catch hell.
So, let’s see. Who has yet to really feel the pain? Who has yet to join in this begrudging spirit of shared sacrifice?
We would say the Chicago Teachers Union.
I’m just glad I don’t have to go back and face those teachers I was arguing with at last week’s party.