News Column

Teachers, Students Back in Chicago Schools

Sept. 19, 2012

Hundreds of thousands of Chicago Public School students were back in class Wednesday after teachers voted to end a strike that lasted more than a week.

"It feels like the first day of school again, because I was just nervous by waking up," fourth-grader Madison Bryant told the Chicago Tribune as she, her brother and mother walked to school. "I'm really excited to see my teacher again."

No one yet knows how or when Chicago's 350,000 students will make up the days missed because of the strike that began Sept. 10, the Chicago Sun-Times said.

Chicago Teachers Union delegates voted Tuesday to end the strike, a prelude for the union's entire membership to approve a contract sometime during the coming weeks.

"We feel very positive about moving forward," CTU President Karen Lewis said. "We feel grateful that we have a united union, and that when a union moves together, amazing things happen."

Chicago Public School President David Vitale said reaching the tentative agreement wasn't easy cautioning that the 29,000 CTU memberd still had to approve it, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

"It's been a long road to get here," Vitale said Tuesday. "There is one step to go, but I'm sure we'll get through that. I'm confident the members will see the value in this contract and pass it. This will transform the way we run this district, for the benefit of the teachers and the kids."

Fifth-grade teacher John Cusick said, "we're not done" despite the vote to end the strike.

He told the Sun-Times he would use the walkout as a "teachable moment about standing up for yourself to bullies."

Source: Copyright United Press International 2012

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