COMMENTARY | CHICAGO -- As the teachers strike heads into its second day, it appears that the two sides are no closer to reaching a deal that would send our kids back to school. The Tribune reports that job security is at the heart of the debate, with a possible 6,000 jobs at stake. Despite the effect the strike has had on parents so far, I support the teachers in their battle to save their jobs, and so should other Chicago parents.
As a parent of a teenaged Chicago student, my heart was touched to see photos of a sea of red shirts downtown. Teachers and their supports have been wearing red as a show of solidarity. Chicago public school teachers are not the enemy, and they are not getting rich from their jobs. These people go into some of the worst neighborhoods to teach children who are often hungry or neglected.
Teachers are fighting to be called back to work when jobs become available. These are people who were laid off when schools were shut down. This is a key part of the contract negotiations, not a pay raise, and not a guarantee for a job for life. People are simply fighting for the ability to go back to work.
Now that the parents of the city are getting used to our children being out of school, our focus should turn toward supporting the teachers. The work that they do is priceless; the least that we can do for them is provide a respectable wage and reasonable working conditions. The teachers of Chicago have my full support.