Kyle Olson

“It's difficult to quantify ‘fully compensated’ and ‘fully funded’ because there are a lot of variables in play - work hours, class size, curriculum quality, job security, etc. We are advocating that the budget and salary negotiations be considered with all of those things as priorities, rather than with charter schools and standardized testing and other private profit making endeavors as priorities.”

She then referred us to a document on the Chicago Teachers Union website.

So, in fact, she was really saying, “I don’t know, it’s not on my sheet of talking points, go ask the union.”

It’s obvious there is no amount of money that will fix the problems of government education. If there was, the problems would have been fixed long ago. The United States is among the world leaders in public school investment, and the returns have been disappointing for decades.

But citizens still fall into the trap of wanting a “fully funded” education system, whatever that means.

And “fully compensated” teachers? We think that’s already been accomplished in Chicago.

CBS2 reports the average Chicago teacher salary is $76,000 a year, and that doesn’t include benefits. The school district said that made Chicago’s teachers the highest paid in any city in the nation. The CTU disputed that, saying they’re just the second highest – behind New York City. Big whoop.

But who cares about comparing teachers to teachers? How about comparing them to private sector employees, who work 12 months a year, compared to nine months in a typical government school. The median household income in Chicago is $50,897, according to

It seems as though Chicago’s teachers have it pretty good – likely better than Stavroula Harissis. So what exactly is a “fully compensated” teacher? One with a bigger pension and lower deductibles and co-pays for health insurance? Bigger sick leave payouts? Who knows?

But the talking points are working like a charm, especially with average citizens and an overly-compliant Chicago media that never presses the CTU and its allies to back up their absurd claims.

Kyle Olson

Kyle is founder of Education Action Group and, a news service dedicated to education reform and school spending research, reporting, analysis and commentary.

He is co-author of Glenn Beck’s “Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education,” available at

Kyle is a contributor to

He has made appearances on the Fox News Channel, The Blaze, Fox Business Network, NPR and MSNBC. Kyle has given scores of interviews on talk radio programs coast to coast.

Kyle likes talking about his family, as well as his favorite music. Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler, Neil Young and Johnny Cash are at the top of the list. He has attended 25 Bob Dylan shows.

Kyle can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.