Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools Must Put Students and Families First

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For the fourth time in the past nine years, Chicago Public Schools families are left to fend for themselves during another impending Chicago Teachers Union strike.  This situation, coming on top of lower attendance and grades during the pandemic, is once again contributing to chaos and academic instability.  It must end.

In their latest threat, the Chicago Teachers Union has ignored choices and eliminated options for teachers and parents wanting to return to in-person learning. This is unacceptable and a grave disservice to Chicago Public Schools students.

Black and Latine students currently make up over 80% of the district’s student population. However, only 18% of Black students are proficient in reading, lagging eight points behind Latine students. The data points and opportunity gaps are woeful and sure to widen as distance learning continues to be the only option available during the pandemic.

Additionally, we’ve seen crime rates double throughout the city in which some of the perpetrators are school-aged youth. The inability to attend in-person classes is undoubtedly a contributor to this increase and the trend will continue as long as students are disengaged, lacking structure and locked out of environments that once served as safe havens.

Therefore, we demand:

1. The Chicago Teachers Union rescind their strike threat and work with Chicago Public Schools to accommodate a hybrid learning model that serves parents who wish to continue e-learning and those that have elected for a return to in-person learning. 

2. Chicago Public Schools teachers who want to return to in-person classes should be allowed to do so without interference from the union.

3. Chicago Public Schools must guarantee and provide equitable funding for traditionally under-resourced schools in marginalized communities to ensure Covid -19 safety protocols are met and upheld.

4. Both Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union develop new ways to bring greater transparency and parent/community input into their negotiations over safety and working conditions. Both institutions have histories of implicit bias and white supremacist actions toward Black and Latine communities. Both institutions need to hold themselves more fully accountable to the children and families they serve.