Below is the substance of a communication I received from Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool and Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson concerning the possibility of a teachers strike tomorrow (Tuesday, October 11th).
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) are continuing to negotiate. In the event of a teachers’ strike, however, CPS will ensure that all children have access to safe, welcoming environments.
Should a strike occur, all classes and extracurricular activities will be canceled. Parents who can keep their children at home or at a non-CPS location are encouraged to do so. Students who need a place to go will be welcome at their usual school during normal bell schedules, or at any other school that is appropriate for their grade level. They will be greeted by principals and non-Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) staff, and will be fed and engaged throughout each day.
Parents who wish to take advantage of this option must register their children at cps.edu/strikeplan, where they can learn more about all the options available to them. Parents can also call 311, the City of Chicago’s information hotline, for assistance with site locations and registration.
In addition to schools, parents may also send their children to certain Chicago Park District and the Chicago Public Library locations, including Loyola Park, 1230 W. Greenleaf (at the Lake), and the Rogers Park Library, 6907 N. Clark (at Farwell). The CTA will provide CPS students with free transportation.
These contingency plans are a precaution at this point, as CPS continues to negotiate with CTU leadership in the belief a strike can be averted.
Click here for an overview document that outlines the recommendations of an independent fact-finder, which were rejected by the CTU. The recommendations largely followed a proposal the school board made in January, which also was turned down by the union bargaining team. The recommendations included an average 7.15% net increase in teacher compensation, more freedom on grading, fewer evaluations, less paperwork and establishing community schools.
Together with our principals and parents, our teachers have helped get the school year off to a strong start, which is why I urge CPS and the CTU to do everything possible to reach an agreement, keep students in the classroom and provide teachers with the best deal possible given CPS’s financial situation.