Chicago Teachers Strike Enters Second Week
posted at 3:18 am on September 17, 2012 by Matt Vespa
Chicago’s public school teachers are taking their campaign into their second week. Yesterday, the various union representatives couldn’t agree reach a deal, which is odd since a tentative deal was said to have been struck last Friday. Monica Davey and Steven Yaccino at The New York Times reported on September 16 that talks had broken down and “the announcement came after nearly 800 union representatives, the House of Delegates, convened for several hours to decide whether to end a strike that has drawn national attention in the debate over teacher evaluations, job security and the length of a school day.” As such, “the decision forced 350,000 students in the nation’s third-largest school system to begin another week without classes and with no strong indication of when they might resume.”
Consequently, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has stated he will sue to end the strike. According to Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah and Joel Hood of The Chicago Tribune, they wrote yesterday that Mayor Emanuel “called the walkout “illegal” and pledged to seek an injunction in court to force an end to the city’s first teachers strike in a quarter century.” Furthermore, “Emanuel called upon CPS officials “to explore every action possible” to return students to school. He has maintained for over a week that the two major sticking points in negotiations — evaluations and the ability to recall teachers who have been laid off — are not legal grounds for a work stoppage. ‘I will not stand by while the children of Chicago are played as pawns in an internal dispute within a union,’ Emanuel said in a released statement.”
Some schools, like Lake Forest High School, plan on resuming classes today with school administrators bringing in substitute teachers and community volunteers to offer instruction.
Lisa Black reported yesterday for the Tribune that Lake Forest “officials said 50 substitute teachers and at least 50 community volunteers will be on hand Monday. The students will participate in programs that touch on the school’s curriculum, including math, science, English and social studies. Among the scheduled programs are Lake Forest police leading a session on criminal justice, and guest speakers addressing topics such as evolution and emotional well-being. If needed, educators are prepared to offer similar sessions the entire week.”
Furthermore, “Many parents appeared to support the school board during Sunday’s meeting. At one point, [Jay] Hoffmann [Principal at Lake Forest] was greeted by cheers and applause when he said he had been asked in recent days about the teachers: ‘Why don’t you just fire the bums?’
Lastly, EAGnews.org documented socialist lobbying organization Jobs for Justice being on the scene and teachers using their students as pawns during the strike. Education Action Group news is part of the EAG Foundation, Inc. – which is a non-partisan organization aimed at education reform.