The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have yet to reach an agreement over teachers’ contracts. As a result, CTU voted on Friday, September 27, to authorize a strike. The strike itself will take place next week on October 17, 2019, adding a new level of urgency for both parties as the days grow closer and closer.
However, in the past, authorized strikes haven’t always led to a strike since the immense inconvenience a strike inevitably poses leads parties to reach an agreement before the actual date. Many are hopeful that this will be the case. On the contrary, if an agreement is not met, CTU (and their 25,000 union educators) are prepared to follow through. In addition, Park District employees have also recently agreed to participate in the strike, adding even more fuel to the fire.
Within the contractual agreement between CPS and CTU, teachers are requesting higher salaries, lower student-to-teacher ratios, and more nurses, librarians, and special education professionals. CPS is trying to accommodate these requests, but so far, their offers were unsatisfactory. While the idea of a teacher strike isn’t desirable for either party, it would hopefully expedite negotiations.
Thousands of CPS families and community members are equally invested in a resolution between the school district and the union. Closed schools mean students wouldn’t have a place to go during the day, and now that Park Districts are joining in, the displacement of tens of thousands of students seems a likely and very scary possibility for Chicagoans. Young students would require childcare, and older students would miss out on extracurricular activities and athletics. Students receiving free or reduced lunches will be without a school-provided meal, adding financial strain to Chicago families.
Additionally, Test Prep Chicago courses offered at CPS schools and Park Districts will need be rescheduled should there be a strike. Our courses will continue once the strike ends and we will add make-up classes to the end of any course affected by the strikes. While CPS and CTU are bargaining to find the best results, which will empower teachers to better serve their students and school communities, we hope they are able to do so very soon.
Lauren Lynch, Tutoring Coordinator