Chicago Teachers Strike as Negotiations Continue

Yahoo Contributor Network

According to ABC News, approximately 25,000 teachers from the Chicago Public Schools system officially went on strike this Monday morning. The Chicago Teachers Union's decision came after the union and the city failed to reach a deal late Sunday night. With teachers at the picket lines at schools across the city, parents and their students have scrambled to find alternative accommodations for the duration of the strike.

Here are some facts and details about the strike, including how it is impacting the city's public school students and what CPS officials and the union still have to negotiate in order to end the strike:

* This strike is the first time in 25 years that Chicago teachers, who make up the third-largest school district in the country, took to the picket line, noted the Associated Press.

* Contract negotiations were ongoing as of Monday and 144 schools will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to provide free meals to qualifying students.

* CTU President Karen Lewis announced the lack of an agreement and the resulting strike on Sunday night, according to an article from the Chicago Tribune.

* School board President David Vitale emphasized that the district changed its proposal about 20 different times in order to attempt to reach an agreement.

* Numerous community organizations, including churches and libraries, have also opened their doors to provide safe havens for students in the afternoon hours.

* Desk duty police officers from the Chicago Police Department have been deployed to protest sites to keep the peace and on the streets to keep an eye on any roaming students.

* CBS News added that the union and the city were close to reaching an agreement on wages, but the biggest issue during the talks involved teacher performance and how this factor will be used to determine the removal of underperforming teachers.

* The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke publicly about the strike on Monday while at the Maranatha Church in the city and said that it needs to end for Chicago's students. He commented, "This is a strike of choice, and it's the wrong choice for our children, it's totally unnecessary, and we need to finish the job."

* However, the mayor emphasized that he will not compromise on two remaining points, specifically allowing school principals to keep the authority to choose their teachers and teacher evaluations.

* Even Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized the CTU for turning its back on Chicago's children and criticized President Obama for siding with the union.

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.

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