Chicago teachers are on strike.
In the last two contract fights, the union brought up these issues, but they also had to concentrate on protecting their members whose jobs were being threatened by school closings and the opening of charter schools. The school district also had a budget deficit that made it difficult to argue for more resources.
This year, they saw an opening to try to win big on these social justice issues. The school district has more money after a change in the state’s funding formula and Lightfoot has said she believes schools need additional resources. The union also feels compelled to push these demands after years of budget cuts that led to staff losses in schools .
Many teachers say conditions in schools are unacceptable.
Lightfoot and her team have maintained they are committed to adding 250 more nurses, 200 social workers and more special education case managers to schools. But they say putting these promises in the contract would limit their flexibility.
Between the lines: it’s a weath transfer, from Illinois taxpayers to Chicago public employees.
Special “Elite” Media Messaging Bonus: Listening to MPR discussing the story this morning, “Morning Edition” host Bill Inskeep, talking with a Chicago NPR reporter, emphasized (and I’m very closely paraphrasing here): “Just to make sure we’re clear on this – the union is doing this for the kids’ well-being…”