September 20th, 2012
10:19 AM ET

Wins, losses and draws in Chicago school strike

by Michael Pearson, CNN

(CNN) As schools reopened Wednesday - the day after teachers union representatives voted to suspend their eight-day strike - union leaders, city officials and even students could all claim a few wins and admit a few losses after a bruising battle that had both sides hurling insults like pro wrestlers.

Teachers were happy to secure concessions limiting a school reform program that they said would harm students and cost teachers jobs.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel walked away with a teacher evaluation system and other changes that he says will make educators more accountable.

And there was even an upside for the 350,000 Chicago kids who had to go back to school after an unexpected eight-day holiday.

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

"It was kind of boring being at home, so I'm kind of glad I'm going back to school so I don't have to have any more baby sitters," South Loop Elementary School student Grace Bauer said.

In all, teachers appear to have come out ahead in a strike that gained nationwide attention, said Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and director of its Labor Education Program in Chicago.

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Filed under: Policy • Politics • teacher unions • Teachers • video
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. DearthVerbose

    Let those students who wish to learn do so at their own homes in their own time in their own ways simply by reading the text books to master an of course economically useful subject or field or to practice with tools to master an of course economically useful trade and SAVE the taxpayers of Chicago FIVE BILLION!!! DOLLARS EACH AND EVERY YEAR!!! So called "teaching" is an obsolete and needless profession after a student learns to read and write because the invention of the printing press made the verbal presentation of knowledge obsolete. To obtain a so called "well rounded" education which many profess but which has NEVER been well defined explained not its benefit thereof one can merely read the daily newspaper or the occasional text on geography history social science whatever that is or even art history or any other trivial subject which most anyone can learn at any time in their lives as easily as reading the aforementioned daily newspaper. The entire city's economy would be greatly strengthened from the expansion and strengthening of the middle class due to the great reduction in so called "property taxes" making Chicago the strongest economy of any major city in the country if not the world. The Mayor of Chicago can also solve the city's major problem of incredible daily violence by using a SMALL portion of the FIVE BILLION!!! dollars for the hiring of a thousand police officers to always and constantly patrol each and every locale where such violence is known to occur thus making Chicago the safest major city in the country.

    September 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  2. Mary

    Teachers do not work 20% less than any corporate worker, they work well over the 40 hours a week. The only difference is teachers do not get paid for those hours that are worked well past 3:00pm, or the hours spent working on weekends. Then on top of that, so many resources to educate the children that come into our classes everyday are paid for out of pocket. I know I spend well over $60 a month on my classroom. That is a bill. I agree with you DEWAYNE, education is the MOST important job in America. Otherwise who would educate those corporate workers???

    September 21, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  3. Rob Durante

    Double digit salary increase when facing a $1 billion annual short fall for the next several years is crazy. Teacher already work 20% less hours than corporate workers. They should be willing to work harder and perhaps increase the education level of the community to bring in more tax dollars. The whole thing is currently not sustainable. There are gong to thousands of layoffs and many school closing. How does this help the community.

    September 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Dewayne Fields

      I couldn't disagree with you more Rob. The most important job in any country is education. I can see you don't know the full details that lead to this strike. Teachers were being asked to do more with fewer resources and were to be held to higher standards of accountability or risk being fired. Before you reply that’s common in corporate world, I want to remind you we're talking about educating and grooming kids, not reaching quarterly sales, or mass producing some product. Furthermore we know not all neighborhoods are created equally. Meaning inner-city teachers are less likely to get the parental support that's equally valuable to a child's education. Teachers within inner-city school districts will face twice as many challenges to educate a child as their counterparts. There has to be incentive to lure competent educated college grads to major in education and go into the field of teaching as opposed to other employment that pays substantially more.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:04 pm |