Teachers in Chicago, Illinois are sick and tired of being taken advantage of while performing one of the most important duties in society.
We entrust the enrichment of our children to teachers every day, and yet when it comes time to properly compensate them, their unions, pensions, and pay are the first things to go.
Notably, the Chicago area teachers that are on strike this week are not doing so for their own gain, but because they feel that their school system and the students in that system are being underrepresented and ignored.
Here are comments from one of the organizers and elementary school teacher Xian Barrett.
“Today I want to be teaching at my southwest side Chicago Brighton Park Elementary School in classroom 235. The vast majority of Chicago teachers and students would rather be in our classrooms teaching and learning together today. We don’t want to lose our paychecks and miss our students. We don’t want to burden parents and families with another missed day.
But we know. In this moment, we know our students and the dreams we share are worth fighting for. We dream of a city where we aren’t treated as second-class citizens by our leaders due to our address or skin color or legal status. We dream of a city where our students grow to be better leaders; leaders of, by and for our communities. We dream of a city where the district doesn’t just cancel days of instruction due to lack of money while siphoning money away from schools to developers or paying other city departments to lock up our students. On a smaller scale, we dream of a city where students don’t have to do without paper and dry erase markers so that CPS CEO Forrest Claypool can send home letters attacking teachers.
And as teachers, we know that students learn most deeply the lessons we inadvertently model rather than what we directly tell them. We know that each day we show up and “just teach” shows our students that we are complicit in a system that gives hundreds of millions of dollars to banks and political cronies while denying kids adequate food or a reasonable class size or access to books.
We know that the promise of “study hard and it will all work out” is a lie when the people trusted with our children’s futures are abruptly cutting off funding for college and forcing repayment of grants with money they don’t have.”