Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is turning to the courts to try to put an end to a teachers strike that’s entering its second week and has left parents scrambling to make alternative child care arrangements for at least two more days.
The union and school leaders seemed headed toward a resolution at the end of last week, saying they were optimistic students in the nation’s third-largest school district would be back in class by Monday. But teachers uncomfortable with a tentative contract offer decided Sunday to remain on strike, saying they needed more time to review a complicated proposal.
Emanuel fired back, saying he told city attorneys to seek a court order forcing Chicago Teachers Union members back into the classroom.
The strike is the first for the city’s teachers in 25 years and has kept 350,000 students out of class, leaving parents to make other plans.
Working mom Dequita Wade said that when the strike started, she sent her son 15 miles away to a cousin’s house so he wouldn’t be left unsupervised in a neighborhood known for violent crime and gangs. She was hoping the union and district would work things out quickly.
“You had a whole week. This is beginning to be ridiculous,” Wade said. “Are they going to keep prolonging things?”
Why yes, they are. And this despite the fact that the teachers’ union won significant concessions from Emanuel. Anyone who believed that teachers’ unions look out for themselves first and for kids and parents second has got to feel vindicated by the union’s all-or-nothing approach in these negotiations.
Incidentally, we still don’t know whether President Obama supports the unions or his former chief of staff in this struggle–which, let’s remember, is happening in his hometown. Any enterprising journalists want to press the White House on this issue, or is it verboten to ask the president where he stands on the struggle between self-interested teachers’ unions and the kids and parents who are disadvantaged by their selfishness?