Chicago Teachers Strike: Mayor Says Making Up All Missed Time is a ‘Nonstarter’
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot stood firm on her stance that making up all of the missed school days from the more than two week-long teachers strike in the city is a “nonstarter,” leaving no end in sight for the final battle between the district and teachers union following a tentative agreement.
“We cannot allow the CTU leadership to continue to make repeated, new demands and move the goalpost unilaterally and repeatedly,” Lightfoot said.
The Chicago Teachers Union’s leadership announced Wednesday that a “tentative deal” was reached with Chicago Public Schools, but cautioned that the strike still remained in effect as negotiations continued over making up school days missed during the work stoppage.
Moments before a meeting of CTU’s House of Delegates, the union said in a statement that it was prepared to take a tentative agreement to its leadership for “consideration” but only if “CPS and the mayor agree to make up lost school days at the end of the year.”
“Why is the mayor taking out her anger over the strike on CPS students by reducing instructional time?” CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates tweeted. “The CTU may have reached a monumental agreement and want to convene our HoD to suspend the strike.”
While the agreement was announced just after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, the CTU says that no agreement has been reached on making up lost school days, and planned to rally at City Hall Thursday morning to encourage Lightfoot to change her stance on the issue.
“What I’m not willing to do is a take-it-or-leave-it, unilateral demand, which is what they’ve given me,” she said, adding “this is on them.”
CPS CEO Janice Jackson said “there’s really no way” to make up the missed school days.
“The only way to make up 11 days is to really disrupt families’ plans that have already been made,” she said.
More than 25,000 teachers and support staff in CTU, as well as roughly 7,500 school employees in Service Employees International Union Local 73, went on strike Oct. 17, canceling school for more than 300,000 students in the country’s third-largest school district. SEIU approved an agreement with the district on Wednesday.