September 18th, 2012
06:49 PM ET

Chicago teachers vote to end strike, classes resume Wednesday

From the CNN Wire Staff
Chicago (CNN) - Hundreds of thousands of Chicago schoolchildren will return to class Wednesday after the teachers union voted to suspend its strike.

About 800 union officers and delegates met for just over two hours before there was an overwhelming voice vote to suspend the walkout, according to delegates who attended the meeting.

The contract agreement with the school system still needs to be ratified by the more than 29,000 teachers and support staff who are members of the union.

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Filed under: Policy • Practice • teacher unions • Teachers • video
My View: The Chicago teachers’ strike from an ambivalent union member’s perspective
September 18th, 2012
02:52 PM ET

My View: The Chicago teachers’ strike from an ambivalent union member’s perspective

Courtesy Kelli Rushekby Gina Caneva, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Gina Caneva is an eight-year veteran high school English teacher in Chicago Public Schools. Caneva is a Nationally Board Certified teacher at Lindblom Math and Science Academy and was recently awarded a fellowship with Teach Plus. She can be found on Twitter at @GinaCaneva.

(Chicago) - On day one of the Chicago teachers strike, I picketed with my fellow teachers outside of Lindblom Math and Science Academy in the Englewood community. Across the street, an African-American family sat outside a dilapidated black-and-white flat. Three school-aged boys played in the yard while we stood in red T-shirts.

Statistically speaking, if public education does not change these boys won’t make it through college. Only 2% of African-American males graduate on time from a university after graduating from Chicago Public Schools.

Statistically speaking, if public education does not change these boys won’t get into Lindblom Academy, a selective enrollment school now ranked 20th in Illinois, even though they live across the street. Only 11% of Lindblom’s population resides in Englewood.

I couldn’t help but think that the strike was both for them and not for them, that the terms discussed in the media—minor raises in pay, a freeze on healthcare, the percentage of teacher evaluations based on standardized tests—largely ignored them. Reforms for stronger teacher education programs and processes for retaining our strongest teachers not just our most experienced have not been central to this very public debate.

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Filed under: Policy • Practice • teacher unions • Teachers • • Voices
September 18th, 2012
01:12 PM ET

A principal talks about educating today's kids

(CNN) Georgia high school principal Grant Rivera talked to HLN about his profession and what it takes to educate students today.

Rivera, who started as a special education teacher and coach, said his road to becoming principal started when he had an interest in growing beyond the four walls of his classroom.

He talked about the importance of families in schools.

"We need our families to be engaged in their children's education," says Rivera.  "We have a responsibility to build that bridge. We need those families in our schools. We need those families having the right conversation around the dinner table because their involvement is bigger than just signing a signature on a form."

Rivera believes that educators should be role models for their students.

"In education and in public schools, I don't believe it's very hard for educators or for me to be a role model. We got into this business because we care about kids," says Rivera.  "Every single day, when we walk through those doors, we hold ourselves to that standard – to be a role model, to be a mentor, and when appropriate, to be a friend and a coach."

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Filed under: At Home • Issues • Voices
My View: We’ve got your backs, Chicago teachers
September 18th, 2012
04:20 AM ET

My View: We’ve got your backs, Chicago teachers

Courtesy Dug MaraBy Bonnie Kenaz-Mara, Special to CNN.

Editor’s Note: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago-based writer, photographer and videographer and mother to two children. She blogs daily at

My 9- and 11-year-old Chicago public school kids are getting schooled in politics, union organizing and grassroots protest in a very visual way this week. The streets of Chicago are running red as teachers wearing crimson shirts take to the streets for the first strike in a quarter of a century. They're joined by red-wearing parents, kids and supportive community members.

This isn't an “us vs. them” fight. Our teachers ARE our friends, neighbors and parents with their own kids in public schools right next to our own.  Where is Mr. Mayor?  Maybe he missed out on every one of those 50 prior meetings that Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Teachers Union had because he was so busy chauffeuring his kids to a well-funded, private Lab School.

The teachers have taken it to the streets, and the strike has exploded into the public consciousness.

As closed door negotiations remain at an impasse, eyes nationwide are on Chicago now.  Before Monday, September 10, if the public had heard the acronym CTU at all, they equated the moniker with “Counter Terrorist Unit.” Now, CTU is better known as Chicago Teachers Union all over social media and the news.  Chicago's real CTU is the teachers, keeping 400,000 kids off the streets and educating them into crime-free futures as productive members of society.

My father was a product of the Chicago public schools in the ‘40s and ‘50s. He went on to an accounting degree at Northwestern and then a master’s degree.   Now, two generations later, his grandchildren are in CPS.

I've had two kids in a fabulous Chicago public Montessori school since they were 3 years old, and the teachers are professional, committed and caring, and go above and beyond.   As the daughter of a teacher myself, I have the utmost respect for the invaluable work teachers do.

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Filed under: Issues • Parents • teacher unions • Teachers • Voices