News & Politics

Chicago's Unionized Teachers Were Ordered Back to Work Monday. Over Half of Them Refused.

Chicago's Unionized Teachers Were Ordered Back to Work Monday. Over Half of Them Refused.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Just over half of Chicago public school teachers ordered to report on Monday to prepare for the resumption of in-person instruction failed to show up, according to school authorities.

There has been no in-classroom instruction at the CPS since last March and the teachers’ union wants to keep it that way, apparently until there’s no chance of any of their members getting sick. The union is complaining about the safety of teachers after seeing the district’s plan for reopening.

The Chicago Teachers’ Union, which routinely goes on strike to extort more money from the district as well as to promote their social justice agenda, is the most radical teachers’ union in America. The leadership is not much interested in educating children except as a means to propagandize and brainwash them into believing as they do.


The district’s reopening plan has been met with resistance from CTU and elected officials over concerns that the district does not have a comprehensive coronavirus testing and contact tracing program, among other issues.

CTU said Monday that educators who returned to schools reported “problems with cleanliness, safety protocols, ventilation and more.”

No school in America has any kind of a comprehensive contact-tracing program. But this isn’t the real problem. The real issue is power and who’s in charge. The union doesn’t like the fact that the district can discipline teachers for refusing to show up.

“It is a progressive discipline policy. So we hope that by reminding folks of the expectations – look, at the end of the day, it serves no one’s interest to fire teachers, so I’m not going to lead with that,” Jackson said. “But we do have a clear policy around expectations to return to work. We should also be reminded that thousands of individuals in our school system have been reporting to work since the pandemic began: our nutrition support staff, our principals and administrators, some central office staff, as well as security and others throughout the building.”

“We fully expect teachers to be treated the absolute same way as any other employee. If they are in essential functions, we are asking them to come back to work and failure to do so we will follow the progressive discipline process.”

The teachers responded by throwing down the gauntlet.

“We know that CPS is trying to divide and conquer our staffs and it is schools like this and many others who have signed, 10,000 people have signed a pledge to support teachers if there is any retaliation against them and we’re willing to take whatever actions we need to take if there is retaliation today,” Maldonado said.

A couple of weeks ago, an open letter signed by 17 physicians appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times declared it safe to go back to school and that they couldn’t “understate the serious psychological harm that prolonged virtual school has had on many children.” No comment from the union.

Well, other than this.

School officials are telling the teachers to put up or shut up.

“The CTU has not identified any area where the district’s plan falls short of public health guidelines and CTU’s last minute tactics are deeply disrespectful to the 77,000 mostly Black and Latinx families who selected in-person learning,” the statement continued.

The union’s power-play is getting support from Chicago aldermen who are demanding the school system satisfy the teachers’ demands. Lost in all of this wrangling are the 350,000 students who aren’t going back to school until the union says they can.

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