Discourse / September 26, 2012

Knox students speak out

Teachers need more benefits

“… People who teach well often shy away from the profession because of the minimal pay and benefits of the job. So while it is fantastic that teachers in Chicago got some added benefits, it is not enough…
This is only the beginning of a vast number of improvements that need to be made within our education system. … Throughout the teacher strike these past weeks, a lot was reported about whether or not teachers had the best interests of their students in mind. My question is, why was this even mentioned? We should be saying instead, do we have the best interests of children in mind when we make it so difficult to be a teacher that these men and women must rise up and demand more for themselves?”
Nicole Holtzman ’14

Mixed feelings

“I have mixed feelings about the results of the Chicago teachers’ strike. I feel like the teachers’ main concerns were addressed —  that if they were teaching longer hours, they deserved to have more pay and that increasing emphasis on test scores would force teachers to teach to a test.
Generally, I think increasing the school year is probably a good idea … I say this, but if they’d extended my school year in high school, I would’ve hated it. And extending it by an equivalent of two years sounds extreme. It makes me think that a 17.6 percent pay increase over four years probably isn’t enough to make up for all the extra work teachers will be doing. I think, in general, teachers are underpaid and under-appreciated.”
Rebecca Gonshak ’15

Getting what they deserve

“Teachers have a weighty and fundamental role in shaping a successful and prosperous democracy, because they shape the minds of its citizens. … Chicago’s complex history, society and people force teachers there to battle innumerable obstacles in their students’ lives.
I don’t believe every teacher is competent or compassionate, but I believe that most of the ones on strike deserved raises. Even further, I believe that scores should not determine a teacher’s evaluation because those tests are unfair to students and teachers alike who fail to fit in a ‘box.’ I know little of politics, but I do know that teachers deserve a standing ovation. But we’ll settle for salary raises.”
Celinda Davis ’15

Striking a compromise

“I would consider the strike effective as a compromise, despite both sides wanting more from the other. I think teachers demanding a 30 percent pay increase was over-ambitious. However it is absurd that Chicago Public School teachers make less than their suburb counterparts, when the teachers in the suburbs normally deal with significantly less poverty and crime.
As for test scores, I think it is important that a teacher should not be rewarded or punished heavily based on test scores. … Chicago public school students attend significantly less school than their counterparts, so I agree that more time should be added to their school day and school year. This could potentially provide teachers with more time to help prepare for exams, but additionally could help students maintain their knowledge, and level the playing field with other states.”
Amanda Lee ’13

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Tags:  benefits chicago compromise opinions resolution strike Students teachers

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