Chicago Teachers Strike

18 Sep, 2012

September 18, 2012

This isn’t the first time the city of Chicago has made national headlines. The record breaking number of homicides led newscasts across the world earlier this summer. Because of the violence, some were eager for the school year to begin.  Only to have the summer break extended due to the teacher’s strike-the current  issue putting Chicago in the forefront of news.

Last week, Chicago teachers replaced their chalk with red tee-shirts and took their teachings outside of the classroom.  Whether this is a ‘strike of choice’ as dubbed by the mayor and his administration or a strike of necessity, the need for change has reached it’s boiling point and has resulted in the first Chicago Public School teacher’s strike in 25 years. On its surface, the headlines put the focus on local education yet the underlying factors address broader issues of education reform.

It was the water cooler conversation in offices, elevators and on public transportation throughout the city.  Social media and public opinion seemed to tilt in favor of the teachers.  Although parents were concerned about child care they understood the need for the strike.  Teachers pounded the pavement showing strength in numbers.  Schools closed due to the strike remain empty inside but outside their front doors stood teachers armed with picket signs instead of class assignments.

However,as days passed and the inconvenience on parents deepened, the tone shifted.  Parents are now ‘supporting the teachers but not the strike.’  While the newest contract is being reviewed Mayor Emanuel has an injunction calling the strike illegal. Teachers have refused to return to school in the interim citing a lack of trust.

Whether the issue lies with evaluations based on merit, student performance, hiring practices and contracts or job security, pay and a working environment that’s made it normal for teacher’s to purchase supplies, a change is surely to come.  In the end, if the strike serves it’s purpose it could be a double win for the students-they win as CPS students today and as future CPS employees tomorrow.



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  1. September 19, 2012

    Message I’m so happy the strike is over! I totally agree…this is a win-win for the children and future employees of Chicago!

  2. September 19, 2012

    Greatly stated…the strike is finally over and our children can get refocused on what they should have been focused on the last few weeks…their education and their future!!

  3. Ali
    September 19, 2012

    I applaud the teacher’s for voicing their serious concerns about how to educate the children in their district. I live in the suburbs and I can only imagine the obstacles that teachers and children face daily.

    My mom is an educator of 30+ years and I know that teachers are so focused on teaching that they lack the time/effort to fight for improvements. I’m glad to see that the strike is over and more importantly, everyone was heard and their concerns were addressed.

  4. September 19, 2012

    It was a long week for everyone but well worth it.

  5. September 19, 2012

    I couldn’t outright pick a side on this issue as it unfolded as I see valid points on both sides of the fence. To the teacher’s point on challenging the evaluations, I think it would be beneficial for both the Board and teachers to implement more opportunities geared toward getting the parents more involved in what happens in the schools. As a kid, I remember my mom always came to events, parent-teacher conferences, etc., so she was familiar with my teachers and what was going on with my academic life. This kept me focused. The more involved parents can be in collaborating with the teachers, the better for the students. It’s cliche but it really does take a village.

  6. September 28, 2012

    Another strike just ended this past week…the full-time NFL referees union and team owners reached an agreement to “save” the integrity of the game of football. Let me admit, I am a football fan. I tune in every week. I follow the stats of teams and players. I am even in a couple of fantasy leagues! And, I too was disgusted on the Tuesday following the blown call that resulted in the (bitter rival) Packers losing a close game against the Seahawks (I’m a Bears fan!).

    BUT, my disgust was not in the ineptitude of the replacement refs. My disgust was not due to the “pain” of having to endure an average 10 additional minutes per game – to allow for extra penalties to be sorted out. My disgust was not in one of America’s favorite sports being tarnished in front of the entire world. In their defense, the replacements did what they were capable of doing.

    My disgust came from the reminder Tuesday morning of where our priorities are in this country. The blown interception / touchdown call was the headline on everything the following Tuesday. I would expect ESPN to cover it at nauseam, but CNN, Headline News, all of the local networks, CNBC and Bloomberg (really…business news), late night talk shows, newspapers, and everyone in between had something to say. The president had something to say about it. Former president Bill Clinton was asked about it. Even vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan got in on the fun, comparing our current president to the replacement refs.

    And yet, quietly an article was released by USAToday citing reports by both the College Board (owner of the SAT) and the owner of the ACT, stating that more than 50% of 2012 high school graduates who took a college entrance exam demonstrated a score indicative of not being able to achieve a B-minus or better in the first year of college (at a 4 year institution). In another report that I read last week, it was revealed that Black male high school graduation rates sit at just over 50%.

    However, everyone who had a voice this past week, was talking to anyone who would listen about how the NFL needed to get it together; a multi-billion dollar institution with a broad fan base. Heck, some 70,000 plus fans allegedly called the league office Tuesday to complain, and over a million tweets were generated. Did the aforementioned teachers strike in Chicago get that kind of broad-based, headline attention around the country? We’re people all over the country calling the mayor of Chicago or the Chicago Teachers Union to voice their opinion about the 3rd largest school district in the country being on strike and depriving kids of much-needed school time?

    I have to admit, I did see some teacher strike coverage on national news, and I did hear a celebrity or two lending their voice to the CPS debate, but the momentum paled in comparison to this past weeks’ outcry over football. But I guess that’s what we are…a nation that rallies around the multi-billion dollar institution, but carries on almost in a business-as-usual fashion when it comes to the 47% – and for those who don’t know about the 47%, just Google Mitt!

  7. September 29, 2012

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