Chicago public school teachers voted on Tuesday to end their strike and resume classes Wednesday in the third-largest U.S. school district in the Nation. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly to suspend the strike.
Colorlines.com’s Julianne Hing has been covering the issue close and provides the following statement:
Folks are still trying to parse right now: who won the strike? Neither side can claim a complete victory with the final contract. On teacher evaluation, compensation, school day and school year length and school closures, both sides won key victories for their interests–Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his market-driven school reform agenda and the Chicago Teachers Union for its staunch defense of poor communities’ right to robust public schools.
Yet many are looking past the specifics of the strike deal itself; the larger lesson may be in the way unions allied themselves with poor communities of color to advance a unified agenda which defends poor people’s rights to hold on to and improve public education. That’s where many are finding hope, and cause for celebration today.
Below is a list of items Chicago Teachers Union members’ forced the Board of Education to agree to during the strike:
- Hire over 600 additional teachers in Art, Music, Phys Ed and other subjects
- Maintain limits on class size, increase funding for smaller classes
- Add a parent voice on class size committees
- Make textbooks available on the first day of school
- Increase racial diversity in hiring at CPS
- Lessen the focus on standardized testing — keep the focus on teaching instead of tests
- Provide more attention from school Social Workers and Nurses Increase funding for Special Ed teachers, social workers, psychologists, classroom assistants and counselors in schools with high caseloads.