Chicago teachers on strike, nation’s third largest school system shut down
Instead of students being in class, last Friday thousands of Chicago teachers went on a strike and marched and held signs at the city’s hundreds of public schools, according to The Washington Post. In some instances, parents and children were present at the school to show the teachers support.
The Chicago Teachers Union strikes means that the city’s nearly 340,000 students were not in the classroom.
President of the Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis, said that she hopes the disruptions put pressure on the states Governor, Bruce Rauner. His standoff with the Democratic legislature has left the state with no budget for the last nine months.
The union recognized that the financially troubled school system faces limitations in its ability to bring on more teachers or increase their pay, and wants lawmakers in the state to reform its education funding.
The state of Illinois has the most unfair school funding formula in the United States, according to an analysis by the national advocacy group Education Trust. It found that schools with the highest level of those in poverty get around 20 percent fewer dollars per student than schools in the more wealthy communities.
Lewis stated in an interview that the city needs to do something major.
Chicago Public Schools and city officials agree that the Chicago school district faces a fiscal criss that needs the help of lawyers in the state’s capital, Springfield. Like the union, they blame Gov. Rauner for choosing not to aid the struggling system.
They call the union’s walkout unproductive and illegal, a breach of labor rules that forbid teachers from going on strike prior to the middle of May.
School system officials also call the strike illegal, and union leaders say it’s a way to bring attention to the dismal financial outlook of Chicago’s public schools and colleges.
The union believes its strike is legal because the district engaged in unfair labor practice when it chose not to increase salaries based on teachers education and experience.
I hope that the city and the teachers can resolve these issues soon. The children of Chicago deserve to be in the schools receiving education — they should not suffer because of factors that are beyond their control.