I am very conflicted about the first teachers’ strike in Chicago in 25 years. My Mother was a teacher, although that was long ago and in a very different time. She worked very hard, putting in long hours in and out of the classroom. She was funny; she looked forward to the school vacations, at least as much as the kids, if not more. I know the teachers not only work long hours, but pay for school supplies out of their own pockets, which is outrageous. They deal with the added stress of constant job performance evaluation; should how well a teacher’s students perform in the classroom impact her job standing? Now that we have standardized testing, there are a percentage of teachers who teach “to the test”. How can we call this education? It is rote learning and does nothing to foster analytical thinking. But, I digress, as I seem to do on a regular basis.
My son is not in a CPS school due to the fact that he has special needs and he cannot function in a regular classroom. Most of the time, I wish he were in a regular school setting. But not this week. His school is a private school and is not affected by the strike so he is in his classroom. Woo hoo for us! However, if I was a working parent with children at CPS, I don’t know how supportive I would be of the teachers after a week of no school. This strike is a huge disruption to thousands and thousands of families; parents are forced to take days off work to watch their children since there is no place for them to go after 12:30pm.
But, with global warming significantly affecting our climate, I can understand how air conditioning the schools has become so important. It’s pretty hard to concentrate when your classroom is sweltering. I completely agree that the number of students per classroom should be reduced. There should be much more money devoted to educating our children. This has always been an issue with CPS. I will conclude by quoting my favorite bumper sticker of all time:
“Wouldn’t it be great if the schools had all the money they needed and the air force had to have a bake sale to raise money to buy a bomber?”