Thursday, May 2, 2019

Educators at three Chicago Charter schools go on strike

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that 80 educators at three charter schools in Chicago are on strike Thursday, after months of negotiations have resulted in no acceptable contract for the teachers.

After rallying yesterday afternoon with non-teaching staff from the City College's of Chicago, teachers at Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy, Instituto Justice Leadership Academy (both run by Instituto del Progreso Latino), and Latino Youth High School (run by Pilsen Wellness Center) walked off the job today. Teachers at Chicago High School for the Arts and Youth Connection Leadership Academy had been weighing a strike as well, but last minute deals on Wednesday and overnight managed to avoid work stoppages.

Educators at the school point out that starting salaries at the charter schools tend to be about 40% lower than at public schools in Chicago, leading to high turnover as teachers leave to find better jobs. They also point to the fact that while charter schools get a large amount of funding, much of the money is going into administration rather than the classroom. Columbia College Chicago's student paper The Chronicle cites frustration with work loads as well, with paraprofessionals in particular being required to take on more work with little compensation or recognition.

The educators at all five charter schools are represented by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) which famously won its city wide strike back in 2012. The strike represents the first time multy-employer charter schools have seen a work stoppage, and follows on the trail of the country's first charter school strike at Acero Charter Schools in December 2018.

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