Become a Catalyst member

Celebrating 25 years of Catalyst


Join the conversation

We encourage our readers to leave comments and engage in dialogue about our stories. But before you do, please check out our "rules of the road."

Subscribe to by e-mail feeds

Current Issue

The race for City Hall

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

For the Record: Teacher Pay

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.

U.S. Teacher Salaries by District

IL Teacher Salaries by District


Anonymous wrote 2 years 47 weeks ago

what this means .....

it means for a highly qualified teacher, there is more money to be made by leaving chicago for other IL districts. If pay or benefits are dramatically cut, the ones who can get out (the best, most qualified) will leave. There will be a huge talent suck away from CPS and into the suburban districts.

The Retired Principal (RP) wrote 2 years 47 weeks ago

CPS to Present New Sick Day Policy That Will End $30 Million-Plu

CPS to present new sick day policy to Board next week that will end annual $30 Million-plus payouts in unused sick days. For full press release by CPS go to the Chicago Public Schools website to News, click onto to it and go to press releases.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 47 weeks ago

Teacher Pay

The proposal Brizard will make to the Board will only affect Non-Union employees. For the Union ones, it has to be part of the new contract , yet to be negotiated.

The Retired Principal (RP) wrote 2 years 47 weeks ago

CTU Members

Dear 30-yr Vet, true. However CPS is telling the CTU, take this or strike!

Schools do everything wrote 2 years 47 weeks ago

Guess what Rahm--the scores are going to go down and it is on U

You are pulling this garbage and making teachers and principals feel so bad-not worth anything--yes, we still care and teach our students, but if the students were treated this way by their 'parent', they would have poor scores. stop it--

Schools do everything wrote 2 years 47 weeks ago

right retired principal--Rahm is daring CTU to strike

and if CTU does not--there goes CTU. it will be over. Good luck CTU--many hope you get the 75%.

MBA wrote 2 years 47 weeks ago

Brizard sophistry continues

Jean fails to mention that Chicago is one of the most expensive cities in the US. Property, gas, food and other expenses are much higher here than elsewhere.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 47 weeks ago

An attack on collective bargaining

Rahm/Brizard WANT a strike so they can destroy any right that teachers have to determine their working conditions and therefore the learning conditions for their students. It seems that they think that teachers spend too much time with their students to have any idea of what's in the students best interests. A Democratic mayor of Chicago
jumping on the anti union band wagon? Pathetic!

Grandma wrote 2 years 47 weeks ago

Teacher Pay

Are police officers and firemen are able to accumulate their sick pay over their period of employment? If so, then why not teachers?? If the City is on a witch hunt, should restrict their employees from holding more than one goverment job, like being an Alderman and Committeeman at the same time An alderman couild be approached by a lobbyist for something and it seems so self serving to say: heck I'm the Alderman and Committeman, I can probably make it all happen, at the expense of the community. In a down economy, anyone in a government job should only be allowed to hold one position at a time, not multiple government, whether Federal, State, or City.

A Chicago Father wrote 2 years 47 weeks ago


I believe teachers will get the vote to strike...even at 75%. Every week that goes by, more and more teachers, cops, and firemen are pissed off. Rahm is a snake and I do not trust him. Those 3 groups and their families alone could put Rahm out of office next election....not to mention the voters who are having their school closed down and the board continues to ignore them. If teachers do strike, they have my support. I have three sons in CPS and all their teachers work hard and do a lot of things they do not have to do for our children.

A former CPS student's opinion wrote 2 years 47 weeks ago

Suburbs always better option

It has always been an option for "highly qualified teachers" to head for suburban districts, who also have always paid teachers more. I don't think this will be the dramatic talent drain you predict for straight-forward, and controversial reasons like CPS teachers being of a lower quality than those recruited and hired by suburban districts.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

A Little Misleading...

There are 1,100 school districts in Illinois, so being number 13 puts you in the top 1.2% in pay.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

Teachers Strike

With an average salary over 70 grand per year, how does one in all good conscience go strike for more money? I suppose it would be justifiable if the kids were actually learning something.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Who cares


Add your comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
go here for more