I am disappointed with the silence from this city’s employers while the CTU and Board of Education’s negotiations have left the parents of over 350,000 Chicago Public School children out of school. Yes, CPS assigned designated Children First sites to provide children a safe place—for ½ the day. When this option was announced I LOL while imagining thousands of parents spend their lunch minutes darting to pick up kids to drop them off at the next location for the remainder of the day. Wait—what location? Numerous local churches and community agencies opened their doors to students by providing unique academic enrichment activities to keep kids engaged. Another thought: Lucky kid to have a parent working at one of these agencies.
What support did your employer provide for you while you wait for negotiations to end? While some of us were graciously allowed to work remotely (i.e.: conference calls while still in pajamas, in bed), others were forced to use vacation and/or sick days that were being saved for winter break. I even know of one couple that left their kids home alone. (Insert horror themed music here.)
Chicago relies on a lot of significant people to keep things in operation and many have to make alternative child care arrangements. Could we function without the CTA or METRA operators, security guards, police and firefighters, grocery store clerks, and postal workers? What would you do if the STARBUCKS BARISTA stayed home with her kids while the teachers take over Clark Street, in front of the Board of Education’s headquarters?
We say the future depends on our children but we don’t encourage families to spend enough time with them. Work is our priority—not our children. Now that Chicago Public School students have a longer school day, most of their waking hours are away from home. During summer vacation, we work to afford the $2,000.00 camp fees. And pray you have enough vacation days left after August 15th because no one has a camp three weeks before school starts again—or pray your boss takes hers.
So, hopefully this strike comes to an end very soon. But until then, ask the security guard how things are going for his family during this strike. He’ll appreciate your concern because we’re all feeling what life could be like without teachers.
I’d love to hear your comments: What support did your place of employment offer, if any?
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