3 Things Every Parent Can Learn From the Chicago Teacher’s Union Strike!

September 19, 2012  |  

After many days of long negotiations, last Monday Chicago teachers decided to hold the city’s first strike in 25 years to protest the grave injustices (classroom overcrowding, dangerous schools, reviews tied to teacher’s evaluations,etc) occurring in their classrooms. With the vote to strike resonating across the country, I (as a fellow educator) was ecstatic that for once teachers were demanding respect. While teachers were marching and protesting, many parents were left wondering what all of this meant for them?

Should they support the teachers or “wait it out” until the strike is over?

While the answer varies by parent, the one thing that all parents should take from this move is that the voice of the parent is needed at schools across the country!

Our children are being crowded into classrooms – educated by “high stakes” testing that are putting our children further behind! So what does that have to do with the teachers who are striking? Teachers and parents are stronger if they work together to improve education. While our teachers are marching, parents should be side by side demanding a better education for their children!

It’s a known fact that in many public schools across the nation – many children are struggling academically.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), white students continue to outperform Black and Hispanic kids in both reading and math! To make matters worse, on one of the main NAEP reading assessments, a higher percentages of Asian/Pacific Islander and White 4th-, 8th-, and 12th-graders scored at or above proficient than American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, and Hispanic students at the same grade level.

So while we watch the news every night reporting from the strike in Chicago, concerned parents should learn that:

1. Parents must be involved in their neighborhood schools, especially when policies are passed. During this strike, teachers march for lower class sizes, safer schools and the ability to teach children curriculum without the interference of standardized testing. These are all issues that disproportionately affect children of color.

2. Teachers truly care about the children they teach. There is a horrible myth that teachers are in the classroom for a check. False. From my experience, the strike proves that teachers are marching for change in the classroom culture.

3. Everyone can’t do our job or should everyone try. For years there are people who believe they can do the job of a teacher-despite their education level. This has to stop. Let the people who are passionate about education do their job!

In the end, whether you agree with the strike or not – take the time to advocate for your child’s education so that truly no child is left behind.

MommyNoire family, what do you think about the Chicago Teacher’s Union Strike?

Words By: Franchesca Lane-Warren
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