The Independent

Kids Out of School Take on NEIU

Grace Yu, Campus Life Editor

November 5, 2019

As a result of the ongoing Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) strike, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has enacted its district contingency plan during normal school hours, giving children a place to go during the day as well as breakfast and lunch while classes are cancelled. However, as a result of after-school program cancellati...

Karen Lewis

President of Chicago Teacher’s Union for Mayor?

August 22, 2014

  Chicago’s mayoral race is coming in February and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s possible opposition,...

Karen Lewis Speaks at NEIU

Gary Soriano, Arts and Life Editor

April 12, 2013

Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis, an alumna of Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) who received a Master’s Degree in Inner City Studies at the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies campus was greeted with a standing room only crowd during her recent visit to NEIU’s main campus. ...

Strikes Becoming Fashionable

Nell Greaney

November 14, 2012

  The Chicago Teachers Union Strike set the bar for other city unions that had been kicked around for too long. When the Chicago Teachers Union strike was finally settled, the battle ended with a few bruises, but needs were met. Let's be honest, the kids were pleased as punch that they got a small extension on their...

Moral or Money: The True Reason for CTU Strike

Karina Rivera, Staff Writer

October 3, 2012

  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....

Walking the Picket Line with Chicago Teachers

Daniel Williams, Contributing Writer

October 3, 2012

For the first time in 25 years, 30,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) went on strike on Sept. 10, 2012. The strike was an historic moment, since Chicago has been ground zero for the education “reform” movement and the neoliberal agenda of privatization. Aside from what it means for the state of education, the...

Resolution in Sight for Teachers Strike

Emily Haddad and Jacklyn Nowotnik

September 19, 2012

  Photo by Janean L. Watkins Albany Park neighborhood alliance Photo by Janean L.Watkins Strike Crowd Photo by Melissa Brand CTU Strike Photo by Janean L. Watkins Juggling Justice Schools remained closed on Friday as more than 29,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) continued their strike for the fifth day in a row. The strike, the first Chicago has experienced in 25 years, was due mainly to contract disagreements over working conditions such as class size and air conditioning availability, compensation/raises, job security, the weight of standardized test results in teacher evaluations, and layoff/recall policies. The issues behind this strike have been the subject of repeated negotiations between the CTU and the Chicago Board of Education since November of 2011. Victoria Delgado, a 22-year-veteran teacher at the Peirce School of International Studies, cited the current method of teacher evaluations based on student standardized test scores as the most critical element of the contract negotiations. “If the people criticizing us and making the rules [about teacher evaluations] came in for one day to see what it’s like to be a teacher, they would change their attitudes a lot.” While red-clad teachers took to the streets of Chicago with support from labor groups and other teachers unions, support from parents was split down the middle. Angela Cruz, NEIU student and mother, said that while she supports the teachers in wanting smaller class sizes and air conditioning in the schools that don't have it, she worried that changes to the recall system would return teachers dismissed for poor performance to the classroom along with teachers laid off due to budget concerns. Erica Kormak, a dental assistant employed by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to travel between schools on the south and west side giving dental exams to children at no cost to parents, described how the strike has even prevented people not employed by the CTU from doing their jobs. “We can’t even begin scheduling dental exam appointments because there is no one to collect consent forms.” The problem of finding child care during school hours also had an impact on parental support of the strike, disproportionately affecting single-parent and low-income families. Many parents of the more than 350,000 CPS students faced the choice of missing work to care for school-age children or paying a significant amount of their earnings for unexpected child care hours. To alleviate this, CPS enacted a contingency plan entitled “Children First,” opening 147 locations to students, originally between the hours of 8:30 A.M - 12:30 P.M. Northeastern Illinois University supplemented this plan by providing afternoon activities between 12:00 P.M. and 3:15 P.M. for children of NEIU students and employees. CPS has since extended their hours to 2:30 P.M. While Cruz was able to provide daycare for her children, they were disappointed at missing school. “My kids are constantly asking when they are going back to school, they get up at 6am and get ready in hopes there's school that day.” Echoing a similar sentiment, Delgado said that teachers want the strike to be over as much as parents and administrators do. “I want to be in the classroom with my kids.” Toward the end of Thursday’s negotiations, CTU president Karen Lewis announced that the City of Chicago and the CTU may have reached a tentative agreement. Chicago School Board President David Vitale described the agreement as giving students the time they need in the classroom and teachers the support and respect they need. Union representatives met Friday to vote on ending the strike and will continue to meet over the weekend to flesh out the framework and define the specific contract language of the agreement....

Intro to the Taxi Industry in Chicago

Peter Enger, Staff Writer

September 19, 2012

The recent Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) strike has overshadowed another strike already in progress in Chicago, the cabdriver’s Strike. The issues that led to the cabdriver’s strike have not gone away, and the struggle for a living wage has not been forgotten by the United Taxidrivers’ Community Council (UTCC). On June...

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