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...

Participants from NEIU join over 10000 protesters-from rally points all over the city and state for a one day strike and rally downtown this past spring.

School’s in: The Chicago Teachers Union strike

October 11, 2016

The teachers may be out, but the schools are staying on schedule for Chicago Public Schools. Thoug...

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. ...

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....

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