Chicago Public Schools cancels classes again on Thursday as standoff with CTU continues
CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools, on Wednesday evening, made the call to cancel classes for the second day in a row after negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union fell through.
Parents, once again, were given just hours’ notice that their children would not have a classroom to attend on Thursday, Jan. 6.
With no end in sight, frustration is mounting among city leaders, union members, and families.
CPS CEO Pedro Martinez called it a "very sad day."
As the clash over the classroom continues, a heated Mayor Lori Lightfoot called out the CTU during a Wednesday evening press conference.
"Show up tomorrow morning, 8 a.m., and get a deal done," said Mayor Lightfoot. "I will not allow them to take our children hostage. I will not allow them to compromise the future of this generation of CPS students. That is not going to happen."
LIGHTFOOT LOCKS TEACHERS OUT OF ONLINE CLASSROOMS AFTER UNION VOTES AGAINST IN-PERSON CLASSES, CTU SAYS
The Chicago Teachers Union and CPS leaders will continue to battle it out Thursday, leaving students caught in the middle and many parents outraged.
"In my eyes, there is no reason to have E-learning," said Laurie DelFavero, CPS parent. "It just doesn’t seem like the kids are being looked at first, because if it’s about safety, why is CTU not stepping in and helping and making sure each of these schools have what they need."
CTU members are still calling for added protections in the classroom amid the omicron surge. They assembled for a caravan in Union Park on Wednesday afternoon.
"We don’t want to be remote, we want to be in person with them, but we need more PPE for us and our students. We need more rigorous testing for our students," said Rebecca Coven, Sullivan High School teacher.
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Coven was one of many CPS employees locked out of their accounts following the walk out.
"There was no work stoppage today. We planned to work today remotely, we planned to log into our Google meets and we continued to work today," said Coven.
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki commented on the classroom debacle.
"We are more than equipped to ensure schools are open and we're going to keep our children and educators who selflessly serve their community safe," said Psaki. "But ensure that children are not enduring the mental health impact of not being in school. That there are not gaps in learning. This includes schools everywhere, including in Chicago."
CPS officials, on Wednesday night, said it’s their goal to get teachers and students back into the classroom by Friday.
Meantime, Mayor Lightfoot said an unfair labor practice complaint has been filed against the Chicago Teachers Union.
Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin issued a statement Thursday, calling on Gov. JB Pritzker to intervene and bring teachers back to classrooms.
"The current crisis with Chicago’s public education system is causing incredible hardship and trauma for students and families, who have become pawns in this power struggle," the statement reads. "Evidence has shown that the last three wasted school years have had a long-term impact on our children and their future, and we cannot let this go on any longer. Just as he ignores the escalating crime plaguing the city, Governor Pritzker has turned a blind eye to all the Chicago students and families he represents. He must immediately intervene in this emergency to get schools open safely and students back in the classrooms where they belong."