Chicago teacher strike leaves kids out of school for third day

As the Chicago teacher’s strike drags on, more than 300,000 students in the city are out of school again Monday, though the Chicago Teachers Union president said, “We could end this within a couple of days”, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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Teachers are braving the rain as they headed back on the picket lines this morning with a march planned later in the afternoon.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Monday schedule has her announcing a “groundbreaking initiative” with the CEO of a bank, according to Chalkbeat reporters in Chicago.

During negotiations over the weekend, the two sides did find some common ground. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, agreements were attained on certain aspects of the dispute — like school counselors, early childhood educators and student homelessness. But, there has not yet been agreement on major issues like teacher pay and smaller classroom size. The two sides were expected to resume talks on Monday.

“After two days of school being canceled while we’re on strike, we’ve seen movement and made some wins,” Jennifer Johnson, the teachers’ union chief of staff told the Sun-Times. “It shouldn’t take being on strike for the needs of our students to be met, but as we’ve said repeatedly, we’re looking for a just contract.”

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Children who are unable to stay at home all day are able to go to schools — albeit with no classes being taught — but with principals and non-union staff there in a supervisory capacity.

“During the strike, school buildings will be open for students who need a safe place to stay during the day,” according to the Chicago Public Schools website.

Breakfast and lunch will be served at the schools — and dinner can be made to be taken home by students as well. Also, during the strike, all students are able to ride mass transit via the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) for free.

Still, because of the ongoing strike, after school activities like sports are canceled. The Class 2A and 3A state playoffs are scheduled to take place on Tuesday and 100 Chicago Public School teams won’t be able to participate if the strike is not resolved by then, per the Illinois High School Association regulations, according to ABC7 in Chicago.

“We have 14 seniors on our team. We see this as an opportunity to finally, hopefully win something in state, and we want to be given that chance to compete for a regional title,” Whitney Young High School senior Esme McCarthy said to ABC7.

Joe Trost, the founder of Pepsico Showdown, told the news outlet: “You’re impacting families, you’re impacting life long memories, and you’re impacting opportunities to be seen by college scouts.  There’s a massive impact. It’s not just a game, it’s an impact on the game of life.”

In a letter to parents Sunday, CPS said it’s “committed to working around the clock” in order to finalize a deal with the union. Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the district has not received “full, written” counteroffers from the union on class size or school staffing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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