The Chicago’s teacher strike which started last week, officially ended on Tuesday. The end of the strike came after ninety-two percent of the union delegates voted to return to work. Thanks to this agreement, 350,000 students were allowed to return to class on Wednesday morning. Several issues had lead up to the strike, including how teachers were evaluated, the length of the school day, and job security. Although all of the issues may not be completely resolved, there was apparently enough of a feeling that things were going in the correct direction to be able to move forward. A few of the agreements that came out of the negotiations include, extending the school day to seven hours, give yearly raises to teachers, and allow student test scores to count for at least a part of the teacher’s evaluation. A system was also established to help teachers that have high scores but are laid off, to be rehired into a percentage of the open positions within the school system. The news of the end of the strike was very appreciated by parents of children in the school system, who looked forward to getting their children back in school on Wednesday. One of the parents made the comment that she hoped that the administrators and teachers would now be able to focus on teaching the children.
While this strike was a situation that involved the Chicago public school system, it highlights issues that are global in nature. Teachers are at the heart of educating out children. They represent the foundation, which the future generations will be built upon. It doesn’t matter if the schools are in Chicago, New York, Spain, or Italy. Issues affecting the ability for teachers to effectively teach our children while providing for their own families are critical to the lives of both the teachers and children. Of course there has to be a balance between economics and education but the primary focus should stay on ensuring a quality education for all children. Economical factors are always going to be an issue no matter where the schools are located but this strike shows the importance of teachers and administrators working together to find this balance.