CTU’s partial victory

January 21, 2020

From the January-February 2020 issue of News & Letters

Chicago—Members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) approved a contract in mid-November after an 11-day strike, the longest teachers’ strike in Chicago in more than 30 years. The contract includes key gains like a moratorium on charter schools, a nurse and social worker in each school, and special education improvements.

Students and teachers alike find common cause against corporate raids on teachers’ pay and public school resources. Photo by Bob McGuire for News & Letters.

The strike achieved guarantees on class size: The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) was forced to either reduce class size or add teacher’s assistants. The contract includes support for homeless students, a living wage for paraprofessionals and school-related personnel (PSRP), and a 16% raise for teachers over five years

Many teachers, however, felt like they could have gotten more of what they were demanding, such as a librarian in every school and making up all 11 days of school missed, instead of only five, after CPS and Mayor Lori Lightfoot essentially forced the CTU to strike.

Just what exactly is meant by a “living wage” for PSRPs, special education “improvements” and “support” for homeless students? I will keep my eyes open for the answers and report on them.

—Network 49 Education Committee member

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