After eleven days on strike, more than 30,000 teachers and support staff in Chicago returned to school after reaching a tentative agreement with Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Lori Lightfoot on October 30. They also agreed to make up five of the school days missed during the strike.
“It’s a definitive shift in the entire landscape, not just in Chicago, but throughout the U.S., away from privatization, school closures, charter schools, and the kind of Koch Brother-funding of private schools instead of public schools, a threat we’ve been fending off for the last 30 years,” said Jackson Potter, a high school teacher and union bargaining member in Chicago.
Potter continued, “This contract really represents advances—and not just trying to preserve what we had or prevent the annihilation of the public system—but how to expand it, fortify it, and have a considerable [investment] in low income students of color and their communities that starts to look more [like] what we see in wealthy white suburbs.”
The strike was the longest teacher strike in Chicago since 1987, and Chicago is the third largest school district in the country.
In 2019, thousands of teachers across the country went on strike in Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver, West Virginia, and at smaller school districts in Ohio, Massachusetts, and New York, while teachers in several other states have held rallies and demonstrations pushing their state legislators to increase investment in public education….
Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 march during the CTU and SEIU strike on October 18 (Photo by Kevin Gosztola)