Strike for Chicago's Teachers (and No School for Students)
September 11, 2012
26,000 Chicago teachers are on strike as of September 9, picketing at 675 schools.
The 404,000 mostly low-income students are either at home, at one of the 144 schools still open (like the charter schools), or at a non-profit center's strike camp.
No one can say how long the strike will last because to end, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel must find some way to resolve these critical issues:
- wages and benefits
- teacher evaluations
CTU president, Karen Lewis explains the teachers' concerns about evaluations, “We are also concerned that too much of the new evaluations will be based on students’ standardized test scores. 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."
Mayor Emanuel, who supports the new teacher evaluations said about the strike, "This is totally unnecessary, this is avoidable, and our kids do not deserve this."
Ed Weekly explains the differences between the two sides which are markedly different.
But, after reading all the issues on both sides, I found Teacher X's blog post about why he is striking compelling. You can read it here . I recommend you do.
What do our Mom Congress delegates think of the strike?
Stacy Kannenberg of Wisconsin says, "I am against the strike! I believe the needs of the children and parents NEED to always come FIRST! The private sector employee goes to work without a 'contract' every day!"
Ohio delegate Hilary Frambes disagrees, saying, "I am in support of the CTU Strike. I believe the teachers in Chicago are indeed thinking of children and their families in their actions. They are fighting against the emphasis on standardized testing in their district.... tests which would decide the fate of teachers and schools. We all know that standardized tests aren't a true measure of learning, so why should they be a factor in deciding a teacher's job security or possibly closing a school? I think it's fantastic that educators are fighting against this... for the good of their schools and community. Strikes are unfortunate, but...our collective voices are all we have left against oppressive "reforms"."
"While I generally am not in favor of striking, it is sometimes necessary," says Megan Lynch, delegate from New Jersey. "This district has reached a critical mass. I have a friend who is there. One of the biggest sticking points is the teacher evaluation system. We all know it is preposterous to link a teacher's salary based on standardized testing outcomes particularly when some of these teachers have classes with 40 plus students. It is unrealistic and unfair. These teachers are taking a stand against something that is detrimental to the children."
What's your opinion of the Chicago teacher's strike?
Melissa Taylor is a freelance writer, an award-winning educational blogger at ImaginationSoup, an award-winning teacher with a M.A. in Education, and a mom of two children, ages 6 and 9. Follow Taylor on Twitter or find her on Facebook.
Subscribe to Class Notes blog posts in RSS.
You might also like:
Join Mom Congress on Facebook for updates on the 2012 Mom Congress conference, breaking education news, advocacy resources, and exclusive offers.