Teachers Union Shuts Down Chicago Schools, Accuses Governor Of ‘Blatant Disregard For Children’

Randi Weingarten YouTube screenshot/Clinton Global Initiative

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American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten showed up in Chicago on Friday for a one-day strike organized by the Chicago Teachers Union to berate Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner for “showing a blatant disregard for children.”

More than 20,000 Chicago teachers walked off the job Friday as part of the one-day strike, canceling classes for almost 400,000 students and causing considerable stress for countless parents.

“Gov. Rauner is trying to dismantle public education, and it’s just wrong,” Weingarten said in a statement sent to The Daily Caller. “The governor is showing a willful disregard for children by refusing to fund public K-college education through a manufactured crisis.”

“Gov. Rauner is pulling up the ladder of opportunity for our children and showing a blatant disregard for children,” Weingarten also told a throng of teachers at a Roosevelt High School picket line.

“We’re out here fighting for opportunity for kids,” the wealthy union boss added.

U.S. Census data shows that Chicago teachers are the highest-paid taxpayer-funded school teachers in America, according to The median salary for a Chicago public school teacher is $78,910 (compared to a median salary of $31,096 for all occupations in Chicago).

Officially dubbed a “walkout,” in part because a full-blown strike would violate federal labor laws, the one-day stunt by the teachers union is intended to put pressure on Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to increase funding and make other concessions. It’s the first labor stoppage by Chicago teachers since the fall of 2012 when they embarked on a week-long strike that extracted a salary increase of about 13 percent.

Chicago Public Schools is one of the most financially troubled school districts in the country. It has a budget hole of almost $500 million, which is expected to grow due to rising pension costs. The district recently had to sell $725 million in bonds at a ruinously high 8.5 percent interest rate just to have enough cash to finish the school year. (RELATED: 20,000 Chicago Teachers Walk Out For One-Day Strike)

Rauner has proposed a recovery plan which would replace the school board with a new state-appointed one and allow the district to declare bankruptcy as a means of discharging some of its debts. The plan has been strongly opposed by Illinois Democrats and the teachers union. The union argues that the district simply needs to provide more money without meddling from the governor’s office.

Weingarten, a frequent critic of economic inequality, makes at least $360,000 per year — likely much more. This salary puts her squarely in the top 1 percent of all Americans. (RELATED: Teachers Union Fat Cat Lives In America’s Top 1 Percent, Blames Baltimore Riots On INEQUALITY)

She brings home at least $30,000 each month — or about $7,500 per week, or $1,500 per workday.

Thus, it takes Weingarten less than three months to earn the entire salary of an average Chicago school teacher.

Weingarten is most famous, of course, for falling for the absurd claim that Walmart sells hams for Hanukkah. (RELATED: MORON: Teachers Union President Falls For Obvious Walmart Hanukkah Ham Hoax)

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