While union leaders announced Chicago teachers are ready to enter the second week of strike, the mayor threatens to go to court and 350,000 students are still clueless as to when will school actually start.
Over the weekend, Chicago teachers, union leaders and officials from public schools spent several hours discussing a tentative deal. Eventually the suggested deal failed to convince teachers to end their strike. As a result, Chicago teachers’ strike enters the second week, while Mayor Rahm Emanuel is decided to take the matter in court and have it ended.
“There’s no trust for our members of the board. They’re not happy with the agreement. They’d like it to actually be a lot better” said Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is playing the “What about the children” card to pressure teachers into quitting their strike he calls “illegal on two grounds”. “I will not stand by while the children of Chicago are played as pawns in an internal dispute within a union. This was a strike of choice and is now a delay of choice that is wrong for our children” the Mayor’s statement reads. “ Every day our kids are kept out of school is one more day we fail in our mission: to ensure that every child in every community has an education that matches their potential” the Mayor of Chicago added.
While teachers in Chicago are still hoping union officials will meet their demands, parents of 350,000 students are forced to seek alternatives. Many hoped school would start this Monday, particularly since school system officials themselves told parents on Friday children and teachers will be back in class this week.
On Sunday evening parents in Chicago were trying to figure out what they’re going to do with the kids this week. Lawyer and dad of three Roger Wilen told the New York Times: “We’re spending half of our life trying to figure out what to do with the kids this week. This is ridiculous”.
“You had a whole week. This is beginning to be ridiculous” said Dequita Wade, whose son had to go 15 miles away to stay away from threats in a violent neighborhood. “Are they going to keep prolonging things” Wade added.