Thousands of Chicago students got the day off school following an educator’s union strike, according to USA Today.
Chicago teachers are fighting to renegotiate their contracts on several factors that include teacher evaluations, benefits and other issues. The strike is the first in the city’s 25 years.
Despite the strike, the Chicago school district opened 144 of its 578 schools for part of the day to provide safe venue and meals to needy students, according to CNN.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is upset with the Chicago Teachers Union to decision to strike calling a “strike of choice.”
“And it’s the wrong choice for our children,” Emanuel said, according to The Chicago Tribune.
The city’s public school educators make an average of $71,000 a year, according to CBS News. The Teachers Union is arguing for a pay increase of 16% over four years, according to CNN.
The Union is also taking issue with a new evaluation program based on standardized test scores that could threaten job security.
“Negotiations have been intense but productive, but we have failed to reach an agreement that would prevent a labor strike,” union President Karen Lewis said Sunday, according to CNN.
“This is no way to measure the effectiveness of an educator,” she said. “Further, there are too many factors beyond our control which impact how well some students perform on standardized tests such as poverty, exposure to violence, homelessness, hunger and other social issues beyond our control.”
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