Chicago strikes again

Submitted by Matthew on 6 April, 2016 - 10:26 Author: Harry Davies

The Chicago Teachers Union has once again committed to strike over terms and conditions, and struck on 1 April.

Previous strike were successful and notable for the level of popular support, largely as a result of rank and file organising in the community. The latest round of action seems to be no exception.

The Chicago area has been hit by a deep financial crisis in recent years, and public sector workers have been made to pay for that crisis. The CTU wants to reduce standardised testing, get smaller class sizes, win teachers more autonomy on issues such as grading, and gain more support staff such as school nurses and librarians. It has called upon the school system to address larger economic problems by providing translation services and bilingual programs, and school counsellors to students.

CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey has said, "While we do not expect the schools to fix homelessness, broken immigration policy, crisis-level unemployment, and racism, we must address the undeniable fact that these problems spill over into our schools and devastate the lives of our children".

Legal challenges to these strikes seem likely to fail, but this will be a difficult battle.

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