ASM 2014 – School Strikes

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When teachers strike, students miss out on education and parents scramble to find child care.

In 2012 the Chicago Teachers Union threatened to leave 400,000 students citywide out of class.

“A strike is kind of like the last resort”, college advisor Uriel Gonzalez said. “It’s just a union making  a collective effort to say where everyone is supporting this issue.”

School strikes affect teachers, students and parents. During strikes teachers are not getting paid and the students are not receiving their education.

“School time is lost, valuable school time”, said Gonzalez.

There were some difficulties that parents faced such as finding a safe location for their children during strikes.

Uriel Gonzalez believes there is a lack of trust in the school’s system by parents, as an outcome of strikes.

“Nearly ninety percent did support the teachers”,  says Robert Heise, a teacher at Uno Hector Major P Garcia.

Due to Illinois having the shortest school days in the country the final deal had a provision adding 90 minutes to the school day and an annual increase of 4.4 percent over 4 years.

The new deal requires performance to be evaluated based on test scores and feedback.

“For us as teachers we are telling kids that the only thing that matters is that one test you take.”, said Heise

On October 2 teachers of the waukegan district walked off the job, students had missed 17 instruction days. That is more than twice as many days missed due to the Chicago district school strikes.

“My kids rather be in school to learn, to get a good education, to go to college.”, said a mother while supporting teachers on strike.

“Their bosses have 26 million dollars in the bank that they refuse to spend on teachers. Is that fair? Absolutely not!”, Heise said.

There’s no denying that strikes affect students but it is clear that teachers have the best interest in mind.

“In general it would make happier teachers that would benefit the school. Better results, just a better learning environment and better working environment.”, Gonzalez said.