Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Understanding the Coming Teacher Strike (a friend writes) | Bill Ayers

Understanding the Coming Teacher Strike (a friend writes) | Bill Ayers:

Understanding the Coming Teacher Strike (a friend writes)

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I have a lot of friends across the country, and something is about to happen in Chicago that will get national attention: a strike in our public school system. This likely will be brought up by Trump or Clinton at some point. The circumstances that got us to another teachers’ strike are complex. Before someone highjacks the issue on the national stage, I thought it’d be worth a relatively short explanation. So, if you like to be informed, read on:
One part of the break between the teachers and the city is about pension payments. About 25 years ago, the city made a deal with the teachers to pay a much larger chunk of their shared pension costs in lieu of a raise. 

The pension is a critical part of the pay package for a teacher in Chicago, since the city doesn’t pay into Social Security — so the teachers don’t get that — and there is no 401k savings through the city, like you’d have at most large companies. The pension is what the teachers will have to retire on, unless they’ve been able to save in an IRA out of their own pocket…So the teachers’ union isn’t soaking the city in some kind of unfair deal. There are many details I’m leaving out, but this post will be long enough…

The city, being Chicago, skipped so many payments into the pension for so many years, and it’s required by law to have a certain level of funding for the pension, that now the city can’t catch up without massive cuts or taxes. So they want to make the teachers pay much more into their pension, essentially taking away the one way teachers can retire safely. The city’s financial mismanagement is now the teachers’ problem, and the city wants to guilt them into giving more to their pension, without any additional benefit. It’s not the teachers’ fault the city blew this, and it’s not the teachers’ problem to fix. Especially because:

Chicago is broke on purpose. We have the money to fund pretty much whatever we want, but we hide it. The main scheme? The Tax Increment Financing fund, or TIF. This plan hatched way back in 1977 works like this: the city sets up a zone, a TIF district, in a “blighted” neighborhood, and Understanding the Coming Teacher Strike (a friend writes) | Bill Ayers:



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