September 14th, 2012
11:45 AM ET

Interview with a parent on the impact of the strike

(CNN) CNN Student News conducted a Skype interview with Chicago parent Nino Rodriguez about how he and his family are dealing with the teachers' strike.

We asked him about his family's daily routine during this time and how he felt about the strike.

Rodriguez says, "We are always doing stuff at home.  You know, keeping them away from the computer, keeping them away from television and movies, which is what they want to run to first.  They must either do writing, reading or something like that."

He looks forward to his kids being back in class because he feels that they are losing valuable instructional time.

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Filed under: At Home • teacher unions • Teachers • video
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. SD

    BRAVO! As a former teacher for 23 years, and now a gvt. worker, I can tell you that teaching is the HARDEST job anyone can do, and that even the top of the pay scale is not commensurate with the difficulties and complexities of this profession. While I currently have not seen a raise in several years and will be frozen for a few more, I feel that I am adequately compensated and very happy to have made the career change. While a teacher, we were furloughed to make up budget deficits (and we weren't making all that much to start with), mandated to teach whatever new "method" was all the rage that year (most of which were authored by someone who had never taught in a public school), forced to buy basic supplies when the school sytem ran out of money mid-year, and suffered through years of non-airconditioned classrooms with windows that didn't open. Oh, and let's not forget the classrooms equipped with 30 desks and then being routinely given 36 (or more) students to teach. While I enjoyed actually teaching, all the extraneous parameters kept getting in the way. I was fortunate to teach some wonderful children, and work with some wonderful parents. But too many parents out there view the school as a catch all: feed my kids, babysit my kids, provide for my kids....etc. I also had many who clearly weren't interested in being parents, and it showed in both their behavior and their children's. I had several parents who never visited the school, and didn't even know where it was! Being held accountable for the woes of modern society is just not right. So I understand the frustrations of the Chicago teachers and applaud them for striking to get a fair deal. Teachers are sheep for the most part,and it is difficult for them to stand up for their rights. And as someone else mentioned, continuing to stay on the job while negotiating is a joke. The school board will string you along as long as they can. This was settled in record time! Again, BRAVO! It was a good deal for both the students and the teachers.

    September 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  2. SubtleTees

    Once a child learns to READ, WRITE, and do ARTHMETIC ... they are ready to explore and learn. IF the "standard" testing in America does not promote that exploration of the "What If? ... will the Americans continue to be in the bottom of world standards?

    The government, state-run schools now seem to serve the purpose of putting all the students and teachers in a box, based on a very low standard! I am glad my "kids" are interested in thinking outside of that "BOX".

    The government thinks they know what the graduates of state-run schools, all levels, are knowledgeable in as they have all been limited to a very short-sighted education. This does serve to protect the government from forums of those that might have a problem. The educational system seems based on controlling the people who have been put through that system. Good luck to all!

    September 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  3. Canadian Resident

    Jasper, you have my sympathy. In a world that has eroded both the teachers ability to teach and the parents ability to parent a responsible child, we are all losers. When will we stop saying "this is the world we have now" and start saying "I will not go along with this"?

    September 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  4. Laura (CPS Parent)

    Parents have finally had enough and are mobilizing. Spent the lunch hour in front of CTU headquarters protesting the ongoing strike and demanding that our kids get back in the classroom while a final written agreement is worked out by both sides. We are protesting again tomorrow at noon in front of the Merchandise Mart and expect a much larger crowd now that word is out and presence of news media there today. Parents need to get in the game and tell both sides we've had enough!

    September 17, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Justice Stamps (CPS Parent)

      Laura, I think you're stupid because you SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE GAME. You should have BEEN HAD ENOUGH! And, you SHOULD BE STANDING WITH THE TEACHERS. Find out what they were fighting for instead of pushing your kid back into a classroom with shotty conditions. Do you even think of what is going on in the classroom that is overcrowded? Do you even care that the Mayor's children go to a school where their union says that anything over 24 students is too much and CPS averages 33 kids per class? Do you think your child is learning in the class where it is 115 degrees? Do you think its okay that FOUR weeks into the school year, some TRACK E schools do not have all the books they need? Is it okay that books are outdated? Do you even know that your child takes a scantron test once or twice a FREAKING week adding to their anxiety? Do you even know that your child is only asked to retain FIFTY percent of what they learned to move to the next grade level? YOU ARE PUTTING YOUR CHILD At A DISADVANTAGE....NOT the teachers!!!

      September 19, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  5. worldcares

    If both parents are working, I can't imagaine the stress they are going through. If there is a parent or, whoever, is watching the child or children , take up where the teachers left off and homeschool, until this issue is resloved.

    September 17, 2012 at 3:55 am |
  6. Jasper

    Far too long we teacher have suffered in silence not demanding and requiring the respect and pay we deserve. Our thoughts are we are here for the kids just go to work and do our best maybe it will get better. To those making negative comments when was the last time you have been inside a classroom. I bet when you were a child well I have to share something with you; it is so so different… Just try to see it from our point of view. How can you hold only me accountable for a student’s test scores? I cannot hold the child or parent or even my school with our overcrowded classes, lack of discipline and consequences for our students ACCOUNTABLE. I cannot make a child do homework bring their assigned books or materials to class. I have seen students draw happy faces on their test another bubbled all letter “A” another did connect the dots. Since you want to hold me accountable and base my evaluation on these students and several others like this, let us hold the parents accountable as well. Our society passes our students to the next grade even if they fail their classes and have not done the required work. We are afraid to discipline our students and put our foot down but you want to use the classroom teacher as the scapegoat and blame only us. If students are failing our classes due to lack of required work. The administrators blame us. I should not give homework since this is causing a student to fail, it’s my fault, I need to change what I am doing so I water down the curriculum so the students can pass and not have parents and administers complain that students are not getting an A or a B. Parents and society just because you bully us into giving good grades does not mean your child is getting a good education or leaning responsibility and consequences. I offer extra credit I call parents and I offer afterschool tutoring for FREE I am off the clock. I still cannot make a student or parent participate but again it’s my fault. You as a society want to base my evaluation on situations that I have no control over. I asked my class what makes a good teacher a student replied, “a teacher is not afraid to discipline”. I asked for clarification from the student he told the class that last year his class was bad and the teacher tried to discipline, the class did not like it and told their parents and got the teacher in trouble. The student went on to say that the teacher did not want to get fired so they did not discipline anymore. Even our students realize their teachers are not respected and are powerless on all levels. Anyone who would like to criticize a teacher or think they have a solution, first have a real conversation with a teacher. Come teach our class for two-three weeks then we can have a conversation. Help us teachers, without a doubt there needs to be reform. Teachers who are on the frontline are an integral part of the reform conversation, not only policy makers or administrators who are sitting behind their doors who are so out of touch with teaching. Thank you CHICAGO TEACHERS for stepping up and making demands for our students and our teaching profession. Mr. Emanuel you have such disregard for the teachers of Chicago and our profession as a whole shame on you. Step up and support us teachers on all fronts.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:39 am |
    • Chaska

      Right on!

      September 17, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Aurora

      I agree with you on the issue of evaluation. I think teachers SHOULD be held accountable for the product of their work, but you're right in the sense that there are other factors at play in a student's performance. However, I do not agree with the quibbling by the teachers in the areas of pay increases and benefits. Let's leave the issues to environment and evaluations, NOT compensation as that is where you lose my support. I work for a public university and have seen my share of pay and benefit cuts to help offset state debt. Sucked, but times are tough for ALOT of people out there not just me or you so I put on my big girl pants and get my job done. As should Chicago teachers.

      September 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Justice Stamps (CPS Parent)

      THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE JASPER- WE APPRECIATE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

      September 19, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  7. Baxter

    Everyone keeps talking about more money and how bad it is that they are not getting pay raises every year under contract. The state employees in Virginia ( that includes teachers ) have not received a pay raise since 2007. If you would stop being selfish and live within your means you would be happy to have a job and enjoy life. No strikes here, no unions, it's just happy people realizing money doesn't make you happy if you are a selfish person.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Concerned American

      Baxter, and everyone else with snarky remarks for the Chicago public school teachers, let's think about what you are saying. Does the state of Virginia even has a city comparable in size, economic range, or geographic area to Chicago? Does Virginia have a city school system with the number of schools and children in it like Chicago? Has Virginia lengthened the work day for its teachers by 30%? Does Virginia has an average class size over 30 students?

      No.

      What the state of Virginia deems necessary for it's teacher, students, and public education have absolutely nothing to do with the way a city like Chicago. Notice the "facts" that are being stated in the above article. First of all, the statistics are loaded, a "median" is not a mean, or average, and is statistically misleading. Chicago public school teachers are massively under resourced and put to unreasonable expectations. I'd like to think that the parents of the children are concerned and supportive of their teachers, they only demand that more resources are allocated to the children they teach.

      They spend their time raising the public's children, and deserve every dollar for doing it in a city as diverse, troubled, and complicated as Chicago. I laugh to think of myself or any of you teaching a classroom full of Chicago children. Don't fool yourself, they deserve better pay, better resources, and a better support system. For goodness sake, for once couldn't our taxes go to something that will actually improve our youth and future nation?

      *Note: "our taxes" only goes for those of us living in Chicago... seeing as people in other states really have no weight in the matter to begin with.*

      September 17, 2012 at 1:33 am |
      • Justice Stamps (CPS Parent)

        THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! At least I know that someone out here GETS IT!!!!! I am a former CPS teacher and I had to leave the classroom for my sanity. I love my students, still love them right now and am very active in their lives through my youth program but I could no longer sit by and watch the DISMANTLING of public education without the support of parents.

        September 19, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Jasper

      As a teacher with a masters degree I have not received a raise in 7 years not even a cost of living. We we force to take no pay days to ensure our fellow teacher would have jobs. Come on JR this is not fair. We are happy to have a job by the way but we need and deserve more. Thank you

      September 17, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  8. Nesmith

    Talks could go on for a long long time if teachers go back to the classroom while negotiations are discussed. In Hawaii, teachers are working without a contract for 2 years and the state DOE has done whatever they want to teachers. No raises in 3 years. Chicago: STRIKE and don't return until all matters have been agreed upon by BOTH parties.

    September 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  9. Paige Rocco

    It is so wrong to use children as pawns in a teacher strike. The teacher unions are asking for too much in these troubled economic times and are holding our kids hostage to their demands.
    I hope that we can outlaw teacher strikes in the state of IL.

    September 16, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • SAB

      I have heard people say that the teachers of Chicago are using children as pawns in the teacher strike. What about administration that use a teacher's love and affection for teaching as a way to take advantage of an educator. They know teachers will do anything to make sure a child is getting what they need. I know teachers in Florida that are under paid and still putting their hard earned money back into the school buying supplies for children, food for children and even putting in their personal time for children. Florida is a No Strike State and the governor is taking full advantage of that. Not only do teachers not get a raise or steps but are threatened with being bound to student scores. That's just like tying the governors job to Florida's weather. We have no control over parents, divorce, death, housing, parents' salaries, parenting, health, birth defects etc. Teachers, I do admit, need to be graded but they also need to be paid because teachers are the backbone of society. They are the ultimate "Baby Sitters". Other obstacles that make teaching so challenging is discipline. You could say that discipline is the parents problem but I would say that the government has taken away discipline from every person involved. If the parent has no right to discipline their child then the teachers have even less and the students know it. Therefore we have children in school with no respect for their parents and even less respect for teachers. Teachers have to deal with kids that could care less if they get an education and in most cases will tell you that you can't do anything about it. Class disruptions from these types of students endangers not only the jobs of teachers that have no control of the situation, but of other students that want to learn. This "freedom from discipline" or "soft discipline" is filtering up through our society and most disruptive students become disruptive uneducated adults which leads to an undisciplined society which is why the United States has fallen so far on the World Education List. Back in the day parents ruled with an iron fist. They deemed it child abuse but today parent abuse or adult abuse is far more wide spread than child abuse could ever be. In closing, the Chicago situation is much more that you can see. If you keep digging, you will find that the problem is so deep it will take a revolution to correct it. Thanks and be well.......

      September 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  10. JR

    I think that he is right kids do need to be in school, and those lost days should be made up, to make sure that the kids are getting more than enough education.

    September 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm |