On October 17, tens of thousands of public school teachers in Chicago went on strike, causing the school district to cancel classes indefinitely. While some of the motivation behind the strike is to seek better pay for teachers, the full intent of these teachers is to improve their public school system not just for the teachers, but for the students as well.
The Chicago public school teachers have demanded larger budgets for their schools in order to fund both salaries and improvements to their public school system. Among their demands are smaller class sizes, hiring more staff such as nurses and guidance counselors, and an increased budget for school supplies. These teachers have even asked for the city to provide more affordable housing for teachers and students, especially immigrant students. They are demanding to see a contract with these provisions written in, seeking to create a substantial change in the schools that they teach in. The objective for their strikes, therefore, reaches beyond fair pay. Chicago public school teachers are striking in hopes for providing a better education for their students.
These strikes have not been without consequences. Parents have had to scramble to seek alternate arrangements for their children during the day in place of school, leading to some mixed opinions on the strikes. While some may see the strikes as disruptive and hindering their children's education, many parents have voiced support for these teachers, understanding that these teachers are striking so that their children will have a better environment to learn in. Many teachers have also expressed the necessity of the strike, stressing that they do not wish to disrupt class but see no other option.
On October 30, the CTU accepted a new contract with Chicago Public Schools. This contract will increase the budget to meet some of the CTU's demands, especially in enforcing smaller class sizes. However, Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not agree to make up the lost school days from the strike, causing the CTU to decide to continue the strike. This continuation of the strike will mark the eleventh day of striking for the Chicago public school teachers.