Chicago teachers need ‘well overdue’ raise

By Anthony Szudarski

I am always going to think that teachers should be more respected and revered than they are. With all the help some of my teachers have given me throughout my life, that will never change.

By now I’m sure that many of you are aware of the teacher’s strike in Chicago.

The strike has caused a lot of debate all over the country, and according to CNN, about 350,000 students are out of school in the Chicago area. This is a pretty huge deal.

For those of you who don’t know, part of the reason the teachers are striking is for a union-wide raise that, I personally feel, is well overdue.

It’s a little-known fact that I am an out-of-state student coming to NIU from Wisconsin. No, that doesn’t mean I’m a Packers fan, but it does mean I’ve already experienced some fighting between teachers unions and political officials—I had a few teachers who protested Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker while I was in high school.

During that time, I realized how important our teachers really are.

To students, they can be educators, role models and even great friends. But I’m worried that too many people look at them as mere babysitters who keep children busy for hours out of the day so that parents can go to work. However, that’s not what public education is for.

I think people forget that when public education first started, it was a privilege to be able to go to school. So many children had to stay home and work. Nowadays, most, if not all, children go to school and that should be looked at as gift and not a burden.

While I don’t claim to know all the facts, these are some of my personal thoughts on the issue:

• Without teachers, there would be no other skilled professions. Imagine having your mom or dad try and teach you brain surgery. If they’re surgeons it wouldn’t be a problem, but I know my dad doesn’t know how to perform surgery so I can’t expect him to be able to teach me how.

• Teachers aren’t taught or trained to be babysitters. You can get a responsible enough neighborhood kid to do that job if that’s all you want. Teachers are professionals. They are people who, in my experience, care about the enlightenment and growth of children so that tomorrow’s professionals can do better than those in today’s world.

• We are all human. None of us are infallible. Every single one of us has made mistakes and is going to keep making them. That means our parents have made mistakes, and our government representatives, and of course, our teachers have made mistakes. I’m not saying that this strike is one of those mistakes, but maybe the events that led to it were.

As of now, the strike in Chicago won’t end until Wednesday at the earliest. Unfortunately, the issues remain unresolved, as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has publicly announced that he will be bringing the union to court to end the strike.

Maybe if some people paid more attention in school these issues would have been easier to fix.