NOTE: To view graphics, find this post at cristyfossum.com
I’m in Chicago with my grandsons this week while their parents are away. A couple days ago, we heard shouts and looked out the window to see hundreds of teachers with strike signs walking the neighborhood on their way to a rally. I ran out and joined the tail of the parade for a minute, walking and talking with a teacher, wishing them well.
In 2012, before any of my grandchildren attended Chicago Public Schools (CPS), i blogged in a very general way about the teachers striking in this windy city (read that blog here). But the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) strike 2019, now in its seventh day, is highly personal to me. There is no hardship in our little lives, let me clarify; we are having a great time, lots of fun and games with these two precious, cagey guys. The splendid isolation during school hours i imagined ain’t happenin’, though. Again, no complaints and no worries, personally.
My daughter’s household doesn’t have to worry about childcare or missed income or addressing the lost instruction and myriad of other issues once agreement is reached. The situation is complicated and difficult, to say the least. While essentially siding with the CTU and considering their demands appropriate, i recognize the pressures and strictures CPS and the city face. Setting priorities in our governmental systems often seems an upside down process to me, propelled by skewed values, the corruption of personal financial gain, and crisis management. Frequently, it seems money is directed more towards reacting to problems rather than preventive measures. An example highlighted for me by a concerned high school senior illustrates the dynamic i’m describing: According to the American Friends Service Committee, the Chicago Police Department spends $4 million every day. If some of that money was invested in the school system, we could reasonably expect that many heart-wrenching situations the CPD has to deal with could be prevented.
Complicated. Difficult. My boys here, in their youthful innocence, wish the strike wouldn’t be settled until after Christmas vacation. Most of us hope and pray that intransigent sticking points can be effectively addressed today or tomorrow, for the good of all.