Teachers At Four Chicago Charter Schools On Strike

Bernie Tafoya
February 05, 2019 - 9:51 am

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Teachers have gone on strike for a second time this academic year in Chicago against four Chicago International Charter Schools.   

One-hundred-seventy-five teachers and paraprofessionals are on the picket line, but CICS said schools are open for its 2,200 students for online learning and recreational activities. 

In some cases, though, striking teachers are telling parents who are dropping off their kids that the schools are closed. One parent told WBBM Newsradio that a striking teacher did tell her there was no school.

WBBM Newsradio questioned that teacher:

WBBM:  Are you telling parents that there’s no school?

Teacher:  Yes. There’s no teachers in the building. 

WBBM: Are you telling them that the school is closed?

Teacher:  The school is, essentially, for instructional purposes, shutdown.  

WBBM: Is the school open or closed?

Teacher: The school is shutdown for instructional purposes.

WBBM: You're telling them that or it's shutdown?

Second Teacher: Shutdown.

Teacher: It's shutdown for instructional purposes. For all intents and purposes, for instructional reasons, the school is closed.

WBBM: So, if a parent shows up and needs to have a place for their kid to go and doesn't realize that they're really open, you're not telling the truth?

Teacher: I'm telling them the truth that the school is shutdown for instructional purposes.

Chris Baehrend, chairman of the charter division of the Chicago Teachers Union said, "we're asking parents to support our demands for educational justice here by finding other arrangements for their students."

Baehrend goes on to say, "If a school is a place where you do learning and get an education, it’s, essentially, not a school today. Sure, there are administrators in the building, but there’s no education happening there. There are no classes. There’s no instruction."

CICS said it is "disappointed" teachers have walked out and said it "places a significant burden" on school families.

Teachers said they're striking over pay and class size.

The CICS schools in which teachers are on strike include Wrightwood Elementary, Ralph Ellison High School, ChicagoQuest North High School and Northtown High School.