Chicago teachers prepare to strike

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2 mins read
Photo by Betsy Rubin of Indivisible Chicago - South Side.

Chicago Public Schools were closed today for Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day (the state of Illinois does not formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but it is listed on the CPS calendar), and many teachers spent the day rallying and marching as Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union continued to try to make a last-minute deal.

CPS and CTU are at odds over more than just pay and benefits. In recent years severe budget crises have led to cuts in staffing in schools, including nurses, librarians, and social workers. Class sizes have also grown dramatically as schools have closed. However, legally, the teachers can only strike for pay and benefits, not staffing or class size.

The previous mayor, Rahm Emanuel, had a contentious relationship with the CTU, and his failures in education were a primary cause for his low approval rating and may have led to his decision not to seek a third term.

In April, Chicago elected a new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, who ran on a progressive platform. However, the CTU endorsed her runoff opponent in the nonpartisan election, Toni Preckwinkle.

Lightfoot says that she is committed to making a deal. In this first major test of her administration, everyone is watching to see if she manages to avoid the strike, currently planned to start Thursday.

We will learn soon if Chicago teachers will strike for the third time since 2011.

Photo by Betsy Rubin of Indivisible Chicago – South Side.

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Born on the 4th of July, Kelly has always been a firecracker, leading a revolution of girls sitting at the boys’ lunch table in 2nd grade and founding Young Independents in high school. Since earning her Masters, Kelly has spent the past 15 years as a university administrator. In the fall of 2017, Kelly co-created the Two Broads Talking Politics Podcast with her friend Sophy. As producer and co-host, Kelly quickly built the podcast into a nationally recognized interview show, featuring Democratic candidates, activists, and authors around the country. She lives in Chicago with her husband & two sons.

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