One the eve of the nation's third-largest school district seeing a massive teacher's strike ABC's World News was strangely silent. Of course, even as other media outlets have covered the story, they've often done a poor job at presenting the public relevant information. For example, as my NewsBusters colleague Scott Whitlock reported today, CBS This Morning was the only broadcast network morning show on Monday to note that Chicago teachers make on average $71,000 a year.
[O]n NBC'sToday, Kevin Tibbles offered, "The core issues here involve pay raises and health care, the teacher evaluation and a recall policy for laid off teachers…Over on Good Morning America, Alex Perez insisted, "What happens here could impact education reform across the country...So all eyes, as far as labor movement, on this strike.
If this is an “all eyes on” story, then why did Muir omit it from his broadcast the night before the strike commenced? What's more, aside from average pay in the $70s, Chicago teachers foot a tiny sliver of their health care costs and most new money flowing to the education budget is tied up in teacher benefits reported John Fund at National Review Online:
The coverage of the strike has obscured some basic facts. The money has continued to pour into Chicago’s failing public schools in recent years. Chicago teachers have the highest average salary of any city at $76,000 a year before benefits. The average family in the city only earns $47,000 a year. Yet the teachers rejected a 16 percent salary increase over four years at a time when most families are not getting any raises or are looking for work.
The city is being bled dry by the exorbitant benefits packages negotiated by previous elected officials. Teachers pay only 3 percent of their health-care costs and out of every new dollar set aside for public education in Illinois in the last five years, a full 71 cents has gone to teacher retirement costs.
This can pose a serious problem to President Barack Obama as merit pay, considered anathema to teachers’ unions, was part of his campaign platform in 2008. This could be an incident that the Romney campaign could exploit and gain traction given their stagnant position in the latest polls. As it so happens, this story could hurt the president and therefore not newsworthy.