The teacher strike was years in the making.. and sadly looks like it could be weeks, until there is a truce.
This is a very challenging time for students and parents. Students need to continue learning. Parents need to go to work. Community organizations are scrambling to provide help, but it is hard with shoe string budgets and limited facility space. For example, YMCA is doing a great job opening up their sizable facilities to provide activities for students. Chicago Commons is allowing recent pre-school graduates (now in kindergarten) to return to our pre-schools during the strike. It is a testament to Chicago Commons’ staff, and other organizations, who are stepping up to help working parents.
As for the two warring parties – the Mayor’s team and the Teachers – who is to blame?
Mayor Emanuel and his team sowed the seeds for this fight. It is a problem they created. See Carol Marin’s insightful summary of this.
On the other hand, the teachers risk losing public support if they don’t stay focused and work to get this resolved quickly. Teachers have right to fight for a better evaluation system and for compensation for the extended school day. However, they are dead wrong to criticize efforts to provide temporary care during the strike. They should count themselves lucky that there are organizations filling the gap while they fight the battles that need to be fought. And the union must be clear to the administration about what it will take to reach a truce.
Let’s all hope and encourage the cooler heads on the Mayor’s team and the CTU team will find a truce to this battle in the next few days.