Updated: Dec 16, 2020
BY ANJALI PRABHAKAR
If you’re a Chicago Public School student, you may know the luring threat of a teacher’s strike. It comes every few years and is inevitable because of how little funding CPS schools get from the government. Every year, there are becoming more and more teacher strikes and walkouts due to the lack of fair contracts. Fair negotiations have been made with school systems in other big cities such as Los Angeles, so CPS should be given better funding and resources as well.
Lori Lightfoot was elected on promises that she would address the issues made by CPS teachers and administrators. Due to Lightfoot’s lack of action, chants such as “Get on the right foot, Lori Lightfoot” have been called upon. Lightfoot claims there is no money, but the CTU insists to use the money that would otherwise be used for the Lincoln Yard project, described as a proposed arrangement to renovate an old community.
Consequently, October 17 marked the first day of the CPS teacher’s strike of 2019. Every morning, teachers are selflessly picketing outside fighting for their students’ futures. Anyone is invited to strike with them and support CPS teachers. They are negotiating with Mayor Lightfoot for a fair contract to create smaller class sizes, more prep time, and additionally petitioning for more nurses, social workers, counselors, and librarians. These are essential to creating a better teaching environment for CPS students.
Currently, CPS classes can be as large as 42 students! Imagine teaching 42 students! Especially with so many students with a range of varying learning abilities, it can be hard for one teacher to address every students’ needs. Thus, smaller class sizes are needed to create a more individualized lesson for each student.
Tuesday, October 22 marks the fourth day of the CTU strike. More than 300,00 students have been out of school each day which can create very dangerous situations at home. For students who needed a safe shelter to stay at during the school day, the school was available to stay with free breakfasts and lunches. However, school buses were not in use, but CTA rides were free to CPS students. The strike has also brought up issues of fall season sports because it has prevented many athletes from playing in sport meets during the duration of the strike.
A letter has been written to the CTU president, Jesse Sharkey, asking the CTU to end the strike, allow students back in school, and continue negotiations. CPS CEO Janice Jackson and Mayor Lightfoot argue that the strike harms parents who must coordinate for child care. Nonetheless, the CTU is not giving in and are fighting for equity harder than ever.