In recent weeks, both CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have pointed out that Chicago teachers are among the best-paid in the nation when compared to other large school districts. Brizard made that point at a Stand for Children town hall last month, and Emanuel reiterated it during an Ask Chicago video town hall on Facebook.
Chicago teachers "are some of the best paid in the country and they deserve it," Emanuel said during that town hall. “[But] I will not let another contract happen that leaves kids at the side of the road." Emanuel’s remark was a reference to the current contract, about to expire on June 30, under which teachers got a then-unheard of 4 percent annual raise for five years in addition to step and lane increases--but no longer school day, which Emanuel and Brizard have now made their top priority. (This school year, however, the school board voted not to give teachers their raise because of finanical hardship.)
According to 2010-2011 data compiled by the National Council on Teacher Quality, CPS teachers are, in fact, the overall highest paid among teachers in the 10 largest school districts in the country. In only one category does CPS fall behind: first-year teacher with a master's degree in New York City Public Schools earn approximately $1,000 more annually.
Among the 50 largest districts, CPS teachers fall behind in two instances: to California Long Beach Unified School District, where a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree earns $48,444 compared to $47,268 in CPS; and to New York City Public Schools and Montgomery County, Maryland Public Schools, where first-year teachers with a master’s degree earn $51, 425 and $51, 128 respectively, compared to $50,542 in CPS.
However, data from the Illinois State Board of Education show that CPS salaries are far from highest among Illinois schools, especially when compared to those in suburban districts. The city ranks 13th in salaries for beginning teachers with a bachelor’s degree and 25th in pay for beginning teachers with a master’s.