Chicago Teacher Strike Continues

by: Katie Grimmer

September 11, 2012

Teachers are picketing. Parents are struggling to find another option. Children are left with nothing to do.

Chicago Teacher Strike WLD world
Photo: Associated Press

In Day Two of the Chicago Teacher’s Union strike, the first teacher strike in 25 years, 350,000 students had a day off but with nowhere to go. Churches and civic organizations provided activities for the children. Chicago Public Schools opened 147 schools to help keep them off of the streets. The Chicago Transit Authority also offered students free rides to these safe havens.

The union and district still had not reached an agreement after 8 months of bargaining. In the nation’s third-largest school district, 30,000 teachers and support staff continued protesting due to the lack of job security and the new teacher evaluation system.

Part of the impasse stems from the push to link employment with a so-called merit system. The Chicago Public School District, along with many other districts across the nation, evaluated teachers and entire schools based on standardized testing scores. Unfortunately, statistics show that the rest of the state is receiving better scores in reading, math and science than in the Chicago School District.

Chicago teachers' strike WILD world

Union leaders and many teachers are weary of a test-based score model: “This is no way to measure the effectiveness of an educator. Further there are too many factors beyond our control which impact how well some students perform on standardized tests such as poverty, exposure to violence, homelessness, hunger and other social issues beyond our control,” the union said in its news release, according to CNN.

The contract has 49 articles to cover and sign off on. Thus far, six have been resolved.

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