Kyle Olson

Union apologists fail to quantify their “fully funded education” demand.

Teachers unions and their apologists constantly talk about the pressing need for a “fully funded” education system. We at EAGnews.org have yet to see anyone actually quantify that argument and clearly define what “fully funded” means.

In 2006, New Jersey school districts spent an average of $14,630 per student while the national average was around $9,138. Does that mean New Jersey’s system is “fully funded”? Considering the fact that the statewide graduation rate is 83 percent, it seems the Garden State’s government education system has some problems to address. Of course the educrats would reflexively say New Jersey schools need even more money to get the job done.

Such is the case in Chicago. There, a union shill group, the “Chicago Teacher Solidarity Committee,” has been circulating a pledge form to gather names and contact information for union sympathizers who buy into the “money equals quality education” argument.

The language on the SocialistWorker.org that the CTSC was “first proposed by the Occupy Chicago Labor Outreach,” responded to my email:

“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 CLRsearch.com.

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 EAGnews.org, 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 Amazon.com.

Kyle is a contributor to Townhall.com.

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.

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