Badge of Shame and Bigger Paychecks: Arne Duncan's Mixed Bag Comments for Teachers
By JoshMogerman in News on Sep 11, 2011 6:00PM
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan [ed.gov]
“We need to elevate teachers,’’ Duncan told a gathering of officials and educators in the fresco-ceiling library of Carl Schurz High School.But it wasn’t all golden for talk for teachers. Duncan highlighted an issue that has festered with school watchers for years and is the main source of friction between the City and union right now: the embarrassingly short school day. On Thursday, Duncan had this to say:
“I think we need to double salaries for teachers. We need to start them at a much higher level.”
Teachers “shouldn’t have to take a vow of poverty,’’ Duncan said. “Great teachers should have the chance to make — pick a number — $130,000, $140,000, $150,000.’’
Of course, as a former head of CPS Duncan didn’t really manage to tackle either of these issues while he was running the show in Chicago, leaving him open to criticisms of grandstanding with these comments. He acknowledged the school day issue, noting that he would have liked to address it, but “the system couldn’t afford it.’’ Hmmm. Nonetheless, the national perspective on the current CPS battle is important. A city that has seen 200,000 residents leave town since the last census simply can’t afford a school system that is perceived as behind the rest of the nation, forcing many Chicagoans out to the burbs when their kids reach school age.
“Chicago has had the shortest day and year among [large] urban districts for far too long,’’ Duncan told the Chicago Sun-Times in advance of a Friday visit to Schurz High School.
“That’s not a badge of honor. That’s a badge of shame."