The Chicago Public Schools Strike – Seen By Me

If you haven’t heard, the Chicago Teacher’s Union is participating in its first strike in 25 years. The dividing line is STRONG. Those who are adamantly FOR the teacher’s and those who aren’t.

I happen to be – for once in my life – right in the middle. As a parent I’m very concerned for the loss of days and the timing of the strike. As a volunteer in the cellists’ school, I KNOW how hard these teachers work, and how much they do with what little they have. As a parent, I wish that this would have been finalized before my child spent an entire month getting acclimated to new teachers, new schedules, new policies. As a volunteer, I know that no time is ever the “right” time.

Today I was serving jury duty (yeah, you read that right, one day AFTER my birthday – joy) and after dismissal, I was let out right into the streets into a sea of red shirts and placards. Many people were chanting and others seemed to be milling around hugging each other in support of the strike.

I felt…weird.

For someone who values education as much as I do, I felt that in all of this political bantering and requesting fair wages and classrooms conducive to learning, our children were STILL losing. While overcrowding and lack of textbooks don’t provide the environment that we need in so many schools across the city of Chicago, the children aren’t learning anything while school is out.

By no means does this mean that I support the Board fully either. I just wish that our children were not stuck in the middle of this. I don’t quite remember the strike of ’87, but I’m sure that it was the same story, different day. My parents had their parents around to help watch us. We were in a safe environment, we were in a neighborhood where everyone watched everyone else. That’s not so today.

And the protesters weren’t without protesters of their own. Several non-union supporters were downtown hurling insults back at the teachers. One particular individual made sure to call every teacher he passed “nothing but scum.” Another decided to hurl expletives at every red shirted individual he passed. This made the situation at hand all the more intense and uncomfortable for me.

I know that this is supposed to make the parents sweat enough to call down to the board of education to plead with CEO Brizard to settle on the contract that the CTU has set forth. Our children are out of school and we NEED them back in those seats. We’re falling behind so many other cities when we have the second largest school district in the NATION. It’s not right.

Now we have to sit and wait. Except in this Houseful, the cellist will be starting his own homeschool curriculum and hopefully, this mama can do him some sort of justice.

I happened to take a couple of photos of the signs that some of the teachers were carrying. I would love to hear your thoughts below.

Hopefully an agreement is reached soon. Hopefully.