2.15 p.m. Negotiations continue
Chicago Public Schools said in an afternoon update that negotiations are continuing with the teachers’ union over whether to reopen campuses and whether to do so in person or remotely. The district, which has said it will not pay teachers who do not come to work in person, said 12.82% of teachers and 15.3% of substitutes showed up at school buildings on Thursday and that some schools might have enough staff to reopen on Friday.
District officials urged parents to wait for instructions from schools.
2:00 p.m. Student journalists work on history
Chicago high school reporters Iliana Garner and Alex Burstein watched from their living room the clash between Chicago public schools and teachers. The teens, who work for their campus newspapers and are part of a program for teenage journalists at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, interviewed some of their peers and filed these reports.
At Lane Tech, in second year, Sean Groh is waiting for news. His weekdays are typically busy, ranging from being a class president, participating in sports teams, serving as a student representative for the local school board, attending classes and socializing. Now he’s home.
“It can get very stressful while reading the news,” Groh said. “I think CPS and CTU need to sit down quickly and start compromising. They need to realize that children are stressed about it, whether they are far away or in person. “
At Northside College Prep, Garner interviewed a senior who expressed concern about returning to classes in person. 18-year-old Sana Nanalawa helps her mother care for a 7-year-old brother. She doesn’t feel comfortable going back to school as COVID cases and virus-related absences are steadily increasing.
She’s also upset that teachers are being banned from their online accounts, including crucial resources like Naviance, a college prep website that many CPS high schools use.
“When parents argue that teachers should go back to work, it’s hard when the mayor prevents you from doing it,” Nanalawa said.
1:00 p.m. Duel complaints
Even as they each make their case in the court of public opinion, the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Board of Education have filed formal labor complaints against each other with the Board of Relations. work in state education.
It’s unclear whether the board will rule on the district’s current dispute over COVID protocols, which has closed classes at Chicago schools for the second day.
The union filed its first complaint against the school district the last week of December. claiming that the CPS had not provided information on positive cases of coronavirus in schools. This week, the union filed another complaint on January 5 in response to the district’s cancellation of classes and the exclusion of teachers from their professional emails.
Union president Jesse Sharkey said in a letter Wednesday that the education council had shown “no respect for the negotiation process.”
“They falsely claim that we are going on an illegal strike when we WANT to teach but we can’t because they locked us out,” Sharkey said.
The city’s education council filed a complaint Jan. 4 that includes a cease and desist order against the union and for the labor relations board to hear the case on an expedited basis.
This is only the latest dispute between the CPS and the teachers’ union to end up in the state labor court.
In December 2020, the union filed an unfair labor practices complaint in an attempt to block efforts to reopen the district, saying the district was not negotiating in good faith. The court sided with School District 2-1, a decision seen as a green light to reopen in January.
Schools reopened in January for a small group of students – preschoolers and special education students in regroupment programs – but struggled to stay open in the face of union reluctance on the security measures. Ultimately, the two sides came to an agreement to reopen the schools on a mostly hybrid schedule with distance learning and in-person learning for those who opted.