Chicago Teachers’ Strike Heads into Third Day
Parents – mothers and fathers are marching with the teachers, while other parents honk their horns, showing their encouragement from cars as the Chicago teachers strike moves into its third day. However, some are wondering whether parents will continue to support teachers if students are unable to attend school in coming days or weeks.
The strike, over Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s demand for tough teacher evaluations that education reform advocates see as crucial to fixing urban schools has resulted in canceled classes for more than 350,000 students. The strike has affected students from kindergarten to high school.
Reuters reported Wednesday that one of Emanuel’s negotiators, Barbara Byrd Bennett, said the two sides had not even met by early afternoon on Wednesday.
According to Reuters, the school district said it gave the union a comprehensive proposal on Tuesday night.
“We have not formally met with them. We have not received a response to our proposal,” Byrd Bennett said.
Jesse Jackson, Civil Rights leader met with both sides separately to urge them to settle.
“Both sides are dug in,” said Jackson. “They can’t hear each other,” he continued.
Emanuel held a press conference Wednesday, where he reiterated that the union chose to strike and should go back to work.
“There’s nothing that can’t be worked through while our kids stay in the classroom… Those issued can be negotiated simultaneously while our kids are in the classroom learning.”
Meanwhile, Karen Lewis, the union leader said there were fundamental issued of closing schools in poor neighborhood and evaluating teachers without giving due weight to the conditions children live in.
“If you are going to make decisions, instead of sitting in an air conditioned office with a spreadsheet, come talk to us and see what’s really going on,” she said on Wednesday, reported Reuters.