The historic Chicago teacher strike seems to be all that we are hearing and seeing on the news. Teachers in the nation’s third-largest school district went on strike Monday for the first time in 25 years, disputing education reforms sought by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
This has caused quite the stir here in Chicago, from the picketing teachers to horrendous traffic in and around the Loop area, to kids not being in school. With more than 350,000 children out of school, parents and employers alike are impacted by the amount of time that workers have to take off work to watch their children. Not exactly an economic bonus for working parents who have to fork out additional funds from their budget. And employers have several days of lost work hours – and those losses get pushed down to the consumer.
The Chicago Tribune has been all over this.
“When the teachers announced that they were striking, the Chicago Public Schools announced that they had opened nearly 150 schools to accommodate students who were to receive free breakfast and lunch. The sites faced low turnout from families due in part to schools only being open until 12:30 p.m., which would lead to parents having to leave work early to pick up their kids.”
“Since the [Chicago Teachers Union] chose to strike on Sunday, parents are seeking greater support, and we have responded by increasing hours to more closely mirror a traditional school day,” Chicago Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said in a statement. Around the city on Tuesday and Wednesday, kids could be seen on basketball courts, as well as hanging out in front of corner stores and on street corners. Many others simply hung out and played video games with friends at their homes.
The strikers are planning to stick it out as long as necessary, and that would have far-reaching effects, including athletics, since all CPS school sports programs – including football – have been suspended until the strike ends.
This matter should be coming to an end. Getting our children back into the classrooms and get the education that they need and deserve is what matters most at this point. Like everyone else we’ll wait to see that the union decides. Children should come first, before the union, before the teachers, before everyone and everything else.