Inner-city Chicago youth are having an unexpected vacation as their teachers go on strike. The country’s third-largest public school system lost their teachers to the picket lines this morning for the first time in 25 years. After failed negotiations over the weekend, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis announced, “We have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent a labor strike.”
The overworked and underpaid teachers are fighting for higher salaries, better benefits, and job security after the school board unanimously voted to cancel the teachers’ 4 percent pay increase.
As teachers began their strike this morning, NBC News reports that the police will be in full force to patrol the unsupervised kids, especially after the violent summer Chicago just experience. Chicago School Board President David Vitale said more than 20 offers were presented to the teachers union to prevent the strike, but no deals were made. He blames the limited amount of financial resources for the two sides not being able to see eye to eye.
Although the students will not officially have school, the community has set up several resources as safe havens for the kids to go. About 150 schools will be open for half days, 60 churches will open their doors, and parks and YMCAs will be offering day camp for the youth.
This will certainly be a hot topic on President Barack Obama’s mind, as he is from Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is the POTUS’ former top White House aide.
Should the teachers have gone on strike now or tried something else? Will this increase violence rates in Chicago where they are already extremely high?