Wednesday classes canceled as CTU members rally in downtown Chicago

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CHICAGO — The Chicago Teachers Union said Tuesday night they’re making progress in contract negotiations, but it is not enough.

School is canceled again for Wednesday, marking the fifth day without classes since the strike began.

Morning rush hour was affected as thousands of teachers marched toward City Hall for a large rally.

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CTU also announced Tuesday night that picket lines are being suspended. On Wednesday at 8 a.m., thousands of teachers converged on downtown Chicago Wednesday at 8 a.m. Police are urged commuters to use the CTA instead of driving in the Loop.

CTU officials addressed the media ahead of the rally.

More Than Just Classes

In addition to classes being canceled, the city's student-athletes will be forced to forfeit state playoff games due to state rules banning players from competing when their school is on strike.

Here’s the official rule from the Illinois High School Association:

“If a high school or district is on strike when the IHSA series begins at its lowest level, then that high school or the high schools in that district are prohibited from participating.”

Afterschool activities have also been suspended during the strike.

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Democratic Presidential Candidate Offer Support to CTU

Earlier Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren joined teachers on the picket line at Oscar Depriest Elementary School in the South Austin neighborhood.

The Massachusetts senator took photos with teachers gathered outside the West Side elementary school and told the crowd that her experience in a New Jersey teaching job makes her appreciate their work and support the strike.

"I'm here because the eyes of this nation are upon you," Warren said. "They have turned to Chicago, for you to lead the way, for you to show how the power of standing together is the power of making real change in this country."

The senator also encouraged teachers to "stand together and fight" for the children and America's future.

"Are you going to stand together and fight? Our fight, to stand for our children. Are you going to fight for our children? Our fight, for America's future. Are you ready to fight for America's future? Then we will win, and America's children will win!," Warren said.

The Republican National Committee released a statement Tuesday following Warren's appearance with CTU:

“Teachers should be wary of any advice Elizabeth Warren may be relaying today in Chicago. From lying about being fired as a teacher to her newest astronomical $800 billion tax scheme to fund education services, Warren’s words should never be taken at face value.”

CTU president Jesse Sharkey said he also received a call Tuesday from another presidential candidate: Joe Biden. Sharkey said Biden offered his support to the union.

How Parents & Students Are Filling The Days

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The strike meant another day parents were left to try and negotiate the day as the district and the union negotiate a contract.

Some local businesses are helping kids stay busy. At Waveland Bowl, for example, owner Gary Handler was offering two free games to CPS students during the school week.

“We’re pulling our hair out,” she said. “I support the teachers, I really do. But the kids need to be in school.”

Ileana Inserni and Mollie Vivoda were also at Waveland Bowl. They both have twins in pre-K.

“I’m fully behind the teachers,” Vivoda said

“We’re just finding random stuff to do around the city,” Inserni said.

Christl Gomez brought her son and his friends to the northside bowling alley Tuesday.

As the strike drags on there are public options for kids out of the classroom at libraries like the Mayor Richard M Daley branch. There, students listened to “spooky stories” and had other activities, plus free lunches.

At the Humboldt Park Community Center, park district rec leader Alanzo Thomas was keeping kids busy and playing basketball with 5th graders.

“However long the strike goes, we’ll be here and ready,” he said. “So I hope it ends soon, because kids need their education.”

List, links and information of places students can go during the CPS strike

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