Chicago Public School Teachers Strike for the First Time in 25 Years
Over 400,000 students in Chicago Public Schools are not going to be in class today after the teachers went on strike. The third-largest school district in the country now has no teachers after 30,000 teachers and support staff decided that today was the day to walk away from the job. This is the first labor stoppage in the Chicago Public School system in 25 years.
Police are now stepping in to deal with a flood of unoccupied teens roaming the streets as a result of the strike. A city that is already plagued with violence is now going to see a spike in crime as teens with nothing to do find creative ways to fill their time.
“The kids in Chicago belong in the classroom,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “Our kids do not deserve this.”
The negotiations, which have taken place over the last 10 months, have gotten stuck on a few key issues, such as compensation, job security and merit pay. Since the strike began, the district says that 144 out of 700 schools are going to remain open, but the hours are going to be limited.
“We know that a strike will put a strain on many families, and no one will be hurt more by a strike than our students,” Chicago Public Schools said on its website.
Parents are increasingly concerned about problems they may encounter, as many of them can’t figure out where to send their kids while they are at work.
“If the kids are not in school, they’re out getting into some kind of trouble … when they should be in school, learning,” Shatara Scaggs said.
Several community organizations are opening up to allow children to have a place to go during the day.
Karen Lewis, the union president, says that talks have been productive, but that there is a great deal more work to do.
“We have successfully won concessions for nursing mothers and put more than 500 of our members back to work. We have restored some of the art, music, world language, technology and physical education classes to many of our students. The board also agreed that we will now have textbooks on the first day of school, rather than have our students and teachers wait for up to six weeks before receiving instructional materials.”
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