Chicago Teachers Strike
18 Sep, 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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