As the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates prepares to vote on the deal that was presented to them Sunday, groups of parents from around the city staged rallies in support of the teachers' strike.
Some of those parents showed up at the Chicago Board of Education building at 125 S. Clark Street Tuesday morning to deliver about 1,000 signed postcards containing notes from public schoolchildren and parents.
A group of about 50 parents and strike supporters planned to hand deliver the postcards to Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. They were stopped, however, by a security guard at the front desk who was instructed to take the cards.
“I’m a taxpayer; I do pay for this building to run. I pay for Mr. Brizard’s salary. We have a message we’d like to give to him. Why can’t we walk up there and give these postcards to him?” asked Erica Clark, a CPS parent and member of the group Parents 4 Teachers.
The guard responded “I was told you would just hand us those postcards.”
After about five minutes of back and forth between some of the more vocal parents, the group began chanting “Parents, teachers united for better schools.”
After leaving the postcards with the security team some of the parents expressed their disappointment that they were unable to speak with Brizard.
“This just goes to show right here that they don’t want to hear from us,” said Amy Green, a Logan Square resident who has at least one child enrolled in Chicago Public Schools. “They have an agenda of their own and they’re not pulling parents to the table.”
Green said though the strike has put a strain on her family’s homelife, she’s willing to stand by the teachers even if the strike continues for another two weeks.
Today's action outside the Board of Education building was just one of several that are taking place today. At 11 a.m., Action Now held a rally and march at The Mirror Project at Solidarity School to "highlight inequalities at public schools." Around 1 p.m. this afternoon, striking teachers joined forces with disenfranchised warehouse workers and marched from Simeon High School to a South Side Walmart store " to expose the corporation’s role in the push for charter schools and the unfair labor practices in its warehouses in Illinois and California", according to a press release.
Later this evening at 7 p.m., a busload of Chicago teachers, parents and students are headed to Washington D.C. on a "Journey for Justice." The bus will converge with motorcades of supporters from several cities, including Boston, Detroit, New York, Kansas City and New Orleans, along the way and on Thursday the group will participate in a press conference and march from the D.C. Public Schools office to the U.S. Department of Education building.
"Since 2002 in Chicago, only 18 percent of schools that have replaced closed schools are high performing and of that 18 percent, more than half are selective enrollment," explains a press release announcing the trip. "While African-American students make up less than 48% of the CPS population, their schools have made up over 80% of CPS school closing actions. These actions have destabilized performing schools in our community and spiked violence in receiving schools. Parent and community input and proposals for school improvement have been ignored as neighborhood schools are brokered to private companies. This is a civil rights issue."
The union’s House of Delegates is currently discussing whether or not to end the strike. If they approve the proposed deal, students could be back in the classroom as soon as tomorrow. Meanwhile, a judge will decide Wednesday whether to consider an injunction request from Chicago Public Schools to stop the strike if the CTU House of Delegates does not vote to end it this afternoon.
Check back with Progress Illinois for more on fate of the CTU strike later today.
Aricka Flowers contributed to this story.