Thousands of striking Chicago teachers stage a rally on Saturday to keep the pressure on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to wrap up an agreement with their union so they can end a strike that has closed the nation's third largest school district for a week.
“The teachers are striking for specific issues having to do with their contract but the bigger issue is the whole way that the shape of the public education is being changed in the U.S.,” said Chicago-based Kari Lydersen, contributing editor of In These Times.
She continued, the teachers are protesting “the trend of closing regular public schools with almost entirely low income mostly black and Latino students that have been underperforming.”
Lydersen was referring to low achievement results in the standardized tests.
The walkout, the first by Chicago teachers in 25 years, canceled five days of school for more than 350,000 public school students who had just returned from summer vacation. On the table in contract negotiations were principal differences over the rehiring of laid-off instructors and how much a new teacher-evaluation system should rely on student test scores.
Kari Lydersen, an In These Times contributing editor, is a Chicago-based journalist writing for various publications, including the Chicago Reader and The Progressive. Her most recent book is Revolt on Goose Island.