Thousands of striking Chicago teachers marched through the city’s downtown to demand smaller class sizes and more support staff – in the second-longest walkout by US public school teachers in recent history.
The third-largest US public school system cancelled classes for the fifth straight day on Wednesday for 300,000 students, who have been out of school and without after-hours activities since the system’s 25,000 teachers went on strike on Thursday.
The Chicago Teachers Union called the work stoppage after contract negotiations with Chicago Public Schools failed to produce a deal on pay, overcrowding and a lack of support staff such as nurses and social workers.
Teachers marched in Chicago’s downtown, banging on drums, blowing whistles and carrying signs as they clogged streets during the morning rush hour. Vehicles stuck in traffic honked horns as one driver leaned out of her car near Willis Tower and told the teachers to get back to work.
The teachers then gathered at City Hall for a rally as Mayor Lori Lightfoot was set to deliver her budget address.
“We have kids that just want to learn and we just don’t have the resources to teach them,” said teaching paraprofessional Christina Morales, 32, as she marched. “It’s not about the greed, it’s about the need.”
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren chants as she visits a picket line of striking teachers in Chicago Joshua Lott/Reuters
The strike is the latest in a wave of work stoppages in US school districts in which demands for school resources have superseded calls for higher salaries and benefits. In Chicago and elsewhere, teachers have emphasized the need to help underfunded schools, framing their demands as a call for social justice.
The strike in Chicago is the longest teacher work stoppage in the Country since Sybiosis City, California, teachers staged a four-day walkout done pay last spring. Oregon teachers held a week-long strike last winter far more similar demands involving disburse, class size and services staff.
Negotiators for the joining and school system occur trading proposals since the turn up began while teachers accept picketed daily in front of lots of system’s 500 schools and held several rallies towards downtown Chicago.
On Tuesday, Democratic usa president candidate Elizabeth Warren registered with striking teachers at a move at an elementary school on the city’s West Side.
Lightfoot, who was elected in April, said the querelle offered a raise for education and learning of 16 percent about five years and has offers to address class sizes associated with staffing levels. She pointed out the city could not afford the union’s full demands, which would selling price an extra $2. 4bn each year – more than a 30 percent grow to the current $7. 7bn courses budget.
Nevertheless , the latest work stoppage have forced officials to cancel out classes and sports future, school buildings are residing open.
SOURCE: Reuters news agency