Chicago Classrooms Are Empty For A Second Day | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Chicago Classrooms Are Empty For A Second Day

Striking teachers in Chicago manned the picket lines for a second day today as parents again scrambled to occupy their stay-at-home kids.

Some 350,000 of the district's students are locked out of their classrooms because city officials and thousands of teachers represented by the Chicago Teachers Union have yet to reach a contract. The strike is the first by public school teachers in the Chicago in 25 years.

The main sticking points are over teacher evaluations and a recall policy. The district has offered the teachers a 16 percent pay raise spread out over four years, beginning with 2 percent the first year.

The Chicago Tribune reports that School Board President David Vitale left talks a little after 6:30 p.m. yesterday, saying the two sides were going over technical issues and that he was hopeful the key issues could be surmounted soon.

"We believe we should resolve this tomorrow. We are close enough to get this resolved," he said. "This is hard work."

However, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who left the negotiations about three hours later, according to the Tribune, expressed surprise at Vitale's remark that a deal was that close.

Tim Knowles, head of the University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute. Knowles says tying teacher pay to student test scores, as well as job security, longer school days and expanding charter schools, are issues that teachers are struggling with across the country. But he tells NPR's Tovia Smith that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former chief of staff in the Obama administration, has come head-to-head with a particularly tough teachers union.

"There is aggressive reform effort and there's a concerted resistance to reforms being put on the table," Knowles says. "I think it's the New Democrats versus Old Labor."

Emanuel has said teacher evaluations would not be binding in the first year, but that's little comfort to teachers who fear they might lose their jobs over the new policy, Smith reports.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
NPR

'Panic In A Suitcase' Puts A Fresh Spin On A Coming-To-America Story

Yelena Akhtiorskaya's debut novel is about a family that emigrates from Odessa to the Russian enclave of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, N.Y. It's a funny tale full of insider knowledge and offbeat words.
NPR

With Help From America's Test Kitchen, Why Buy When You Can DIY?

Morning Edition host Renee Montagne talks to America's Test Kitchen's Chris Kimball about foods that are easier than you'd guess to make at home. Fresh Nutella or kale chips, anyone?
NPR

Montana Sen. Walsh Says PTSD May Have Played A Role In His Plagiarism

Sen. John Walsh lifted at least a quarter of his United States Army War College master's thesis, according to a report in The New York Times. Walsh was appointed to the Senate in February.
NPR

U.S. Database Glitch Delays Passport, Visa Processing

The problem in the U.S. State Department system could cause problems for millions of people worldwide who are awaiting travel documents.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.