Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey joined teachers picketing outside Helen Peirce International Studies school, where he said every kindergarten class has at least 30 students. He said there’s “pent-up frustration” among union members about conditions in the schools, and the union wants some of those longstanding issues addressed in their next contract.
CTU has told us they will continue their strike, which means classes will not be in session tomorrow, 10/18.— ChicagoPublicSchools (@ChiPubSchools) October 17, 2019
To ensure students have a safe place to stay and access to free meals, all school buildings, along with other sites will be open. More info-> https://t.co/q0nQPR7VLL pic.twitter.com/mwnaZaiMoN
While some school buildings were open during normal hours, classes were canceled as well as after school activities. Some parents are hoping the strike doesn’t last long.
“For me it didn’t go as bad I was able to get off time to pick her up by 2:45. I hope they work something out soon because I can’t do it every day,” Richard White, a parent, said.
“We need the teachers back in the class and the kids and the teachers need to get what they deserve,” Sepideh Noekhah, a parent, said.
At Bronzeville Classical Elementary, students spent some time jumping rope, playing basketball and other games.
“We got to play for most of the time, Arion Sharheh, a third grader, said. “We played on the computers for like 30 minutes and then had lunch.”
Striking union teachers will be joined at the picket line by SEIU members. That union represents 7,000 support staffers, such as bus aides and security guards, who are also negotiating a new contract.During the 2012 strike, the district kept some schools open for half days during a seven-day walkout. This time, all CPS school buildings will be open during the normal school day. Students who need a safe place to go are encouraged to attend their regular school, but will be welcomed at any CPS school that is age appropriate. More on CPS’s contingency plan can be found here. In a press conference Thursday evening, CTU officials said it’s “too early to say” when the strike will end. “It’s too early to say, we’re willing to bargain hard tomorrow. If it goes into the weekend we will stay at the bargaining table,” CTU Chief of Staff Jennifer Johnson said. “We’re going to do what it takes to get what we need before we go back… so it’s too early to say about Monday.” Parents are encouraged to register their child online for the duration of the potential strike. While not mandatory, it helps ensure the district has enough staff and meals to serve each child. All CPS schools will serve breakfast and lunch to students. The CTA is offering free rides for students until school reopens.