Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Opinion: Rahm Appreciates Teachers

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    If you have a job, you know there’s only one real compliment your boss can give you: more money. The Employee of the Month Award, the “Good job, Nardelli” comment after you turn in a project, the profile in the company newsletter -- all those are fatuous lip service unless they’re accompanied by a raise. 

    It is in that spirit that we should consider Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s statement for National Teacher Appreciation Week, which runs from May 7 to 12: 

    “Teachers deserve our gratitude each and every day, but especially during this week of recognition. On behalf of the students and families in Chicago, I offer my thanks to the educators in Chicago who work tirelessly to shape students both in an out of the classroom and prepare children for a very bright future.” 

    If Emanuel truly appreciates Chicago Public School teachers, he will offer them a raise commensurate with the extra hours he expects them to work when he institutes a longer school day. Do it this week, mayor! 

    Along with his statement, Emanuel recorded a video praising one particular teacher: his history teacher at New Trier West High School. Here’s what he had to say

    “One high school teacher in particular, Larry Grote, was both homeroom teacher, soccer coach as well as history teacher. I still to this day read history. I love history. I’m reading Max Hastings’ book Inferno right now. I’m a big history/biography buff. We did U.S. history together. He basically taught me the beginning part of critical thinking about how to ask questions about what happens. And the fun of history, because it really is an open question with no concrete answer. And since I love concrete answers, it challenged me all the time.” 

    While salaries at the New Trier and Chicago public school districts are identical, New Trier has a 12-to-1 teacher-to-student ratio, while Chicago’s is 20-to-1, according to teachersalaryinfo.com. So along with a raise, hire some more teachers, so they can give their students the attention Mr. Grote gave you.

     Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!