Chicago’s teachers strike entered day two with no resolution in sight. The city and the union met last night and will meet again today, but the Chicago Tribune reports that the two sides are mostly talking around the edges.
As a parent, I can’t help wondering what Chicago’s families are doing to cope with the strike.
Many parents didn’t know what to expect when they dropped off their children Monday at schools opened as part of the district’s strike contingency plan. Like other parents, Vicente Perez had to cross raucous picket lines, with teachers chanting and banging drums, when he dropped his two boys off at Ray Elementary School in Hyde Park.
That scared off his youngest son, Kahil, 9. “I don’t want to go there,” the boy said, leading Perez to call his wife on his cellphone and change plans — they’d either take the kids to a church or just keep them at home.
Scaring the kids today, that they will be teaching again once the strike ends.
The teachers keep saying that the strike isn’t about the money. But money keeps coming up somehow.
CPS has improved its initial offer to teachers of a 2 percent base wage increase in each of the four years of the contract. The offer submitted to the union Sunday night offers teachers a series of base salary increases over four years, beginning with 3 percent in the first year and 2 percent in each of the next three years.
Chicago’s teachers are among the highest paid in the United States. They make about $25,000 more per year than locals working in the private sector, for nine months of work versus a full year of work. But they want more, they want it now, and they want it guaranteed for life, with no accountability.
For the children!