How Chicago teachers are fighting for students

How does the Chicago teachers’ struggle for a fair contract help students?

Just ask Chicago’s “Teacher X,” who recently took issue with schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard’s assertion that “a strike would only hurt kids.”

When you make me cram 30-50 kids in my classroom with no air conditioning so that temperatures hit 96 degrees, that hurts our kids.

When you take 18-25 days out of the school year for high stakes testing that is not even scientifically applicable for many of our students, that hurts our kids.

When you spend millions on your pet programs, but there’s no money for school level repairs, so the roof leaks on my students at their desks when it rains, that hurts our kids.

When you unilaterally institute a longer school day, insult us by calling it a “full school day” and then provide no implementation support, throwing our schools into chaos, that hurts our kids.

When you support Mayor Emanuel’s TIF program in diverting hundreds of millions of dollars of school funds into to the pockets of wealthy developers like billionaire member of your school board, Penny Pritzker so she can build more hotels, that not only hurts kids, but somebody should be going to jail.

When you close and turnaround schools disrupting thousands of kids’ lives and educations and often plunging them into violence and have no data to support your practice, that hurts our kids.

When you leave thousands of kids in classrooms with no teacher for weeks and months on end due to central office bureaucracy trumping basic needs of students, that not only hurts our kids, it basically ruins the whole idea of why we have a district at all.

He adds:

I am willing to sacrifice an awful lot to protect the students I serve every day. I am not hurting our kids by striking, I’m striking to restore some semblance of reasonable care for students to this system. I’m doing to tell you, “No, YOU are the one hurting our children, and you need to STOP because what you are doing is wrong, and you are robbing students of their educational opportunities.

Well said. You should read the whole thing.

You should also check out’s take on everything you need to know about why the Chicago teachers are striking, and this video from Democracy Now! showing how parents and teachers are united to oppose Mayor Emanuel’s “corporate” education model.

democracy now - parents for teachers

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  1. Brian September 11, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Great work Betsy! Here is the PJSTA’s “CTU Strike: Day 2 Update”:

    • Betsy Sandberg September 12, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      Actually, Bryan deserves the credit! Thank you for your update!

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