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Chicago Public School Teachers Strike for First Time in 25 Years

On Monday, Chicago’s public school teachers went on strike, leaving approximately 350,000 students across the country’s third-largest school district with an unscheduled day of leave.

“We have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent a labor strike,” Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said. “No CTU members will be inside of our schools Monday.”

The CTU’s 35,000 members were instructed to stand in front of their schools at 6:30AM to begin picketing. 144 of the district’s 578 public schools remained open to provide children with a safe daytime environment and meals.

While teacher salaries and job benefits are part of the protest, the main point of contention between teachers and administrators has been job security. A new evaluation program based on standardized test scores was recently put into place, meaning that teachers could be fired if their students scored too low on tests.

Estimates by the CTU pegged potential job losses at around 6,000 under the new system.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has come forward to declare that “[the city’s] kids do not deserve this.” Emanuel’s stance has puzzled union officials who have accused him of reneging on promises made to teachers.

Though 144 schools will remain open, parents are still seeking other options to weather out the strike. “Intense” negotiations are still underway to find a middle ground between the city and teachers’ demands.

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Annie Pei

U Chicago

Annie is a Political Science major at the University of Chicago who not only writes for Her Campus, but is also one of Her Campus UChicago's Campus Correspondents. She also acts as Editor-In-Chief of Diskord, an online op-ed publication based on campus, and as an Arts and Culture Co-Editor for the university's new Undergraduate Political Review. When she's not busy researching, writing, and editing articles, Annie can be found pounding out jazz choreography in a dance room, furiously cheering on the Vancouver Canucks, or around town on the lookout for new places, people, and things. This year, Annie is back in DC interning with Voice of America once again!
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