According to the Associated Press , Chicago public school students are headed back to the classroom Wednesday as the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) voted to end its seven-day strike. The decision was made Tuesday night as union delegates voted to cease the walkout as they discussed the tentative agreement proposed by the school board. Approximately 350,000 elementary, middle, and high school students were displaced by the strike, which left parents to search for alternative accommodations.
Here are some facts and details about the end of the strike, what decisions still remain in the agreement between the teachers union and the school board, and comments from both sides:
* Despite suspending the strike, more than 26,000 teachers and other members still have to vote to ratify the contract.
* NBC Chicago reported that Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the end of the walkout to the public at Frederic Chopin Elementary School on Wednesday. He said, "This is an exciting day. It is a better value for taxpayers -- paying less, getting more."
* Earlier this week, the mayor called upon the school board to file a lawsuit against the union in order to get teachers and students back in school. He also emphasized that the contract presented to the union was an "honest compromise."
* Speaking on the decision that took place Tuesday night, CTU President Karen Lewis commented, "We said that we couldn't solve all the problems of the world with one contract and that it was time to suspend the strike," noted the Chicago Tribune .
* Lewis also stressed the importance of Mayor Emanuel sticking to his word and carrying out the contract.
* Reuters added that a court hearing is scheduled on Wednesday regarding the lawsuit filed against the union and there is uncertainty as to whether that legal action would be further pursued.
* Additionally, the union filed suit charging unfair labor practice by the Chicago Public Schools district.
* According to the New York Times , the proposed contract includes offering teachers over 17 percent in wage raises over the full four years.
* There will be a gradual phasing in of using student performance as a tool to evaluate teachers. In the third year of the contact, student performance will make up 30 percent of teacher evaluations, which keeps the district in line with state law.
* The Chicago school district still faces a $1 billion budget deficit and teachers have expressed concern over what cuts will be made in order to fund the provisions outlined in the contract. Those cuts could include closing 120 schools across the city.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.