Moral or Money: The True Reason for CTU Strike

Karina Rivera, Staff Writer

comic by Grace Caruvana


In today’s government it is difficult to believe that omissions and bad timings can be purely chance, rather than a scheme. When the teacher strike occurred, one had to wonder of the reasoning behind the strike. The media conveyed varied reasons for the Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) strike; the one coming across through critics was money. It seemed that teachers were more worried about gaining higher revenue due to the extended schooldays than about education issues. If one was to look upon the CTU’s website then they would see the 10 main points for the teacher strike.  In the research-based proposal, “The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve,” financial increase for teachers was listed as number six on the 10-point executive summary.

The number one issue listed in the 10-point executive summary was for smaller class sizes. One on one attention from the teachers to students is an important issue that has much to do with educational experience. When the class sizes are smaller it is easier for teachers to identify any academic struggles that a student may have. The earlier that an academic struggle is identified, the easier it is for resources for that student to be provided; whether it be tutoring or mentoring or an afterschool program that a school may offer. Putting a child’s education on hold for financial gain is the wrong reason for teachers to go on strike. To stand one’s ground for change that will better a student’s education may be seen as a more noble and reasonable cause.

The strike in and of itself was a controversy. Using children’s education as a means to receive the demands of unhappy teachers may be seen as an abuse of power. Teachers have a duty to their students. Point six on the CTU executive summary was titled, “Respect And Develop The Professionals.” The teacher’s strike could be seen as a tantrum. The teachers were unhappy with small issues such as air conditioning, so they refused to attend to their duties as educational providers. Others may view the CTU refusal to work under their conditions as noteworthy and inspiring. Standing on the behalf of student’s that are not even provided with a library in their school, educators could not stand any more injustice. Point two on CTU’s executive summary was, “Educate the Whole Child.” The small summary includes the demand that the education system “provide every school with a library and assign the commensurate number of librarians to staff them.”  The CTU strike could have been seen as unnecessary and petty, but were their demands that outrageous? If seeking financial increase was seen as a selfish reason to put student’s education on hold, then what about going on strike because the student’s deserve more than leaky roofs? Point eight on the executive summary was titled, “Provide Quality School Facilities.” It is impossible to know the heart of every teacher that participated in the strike, but it would have been interesting if the Chicago Public School Board offered to comply with every point on the executive summary except the demand for higher salaries. In the end, whether the reason is money or moral for the CTU strike, all should hope that something positive came from the temporary hold that was placed on Chicago Public School students.