Teachers and Parents March on Day 1 of Chicago Teachers Strike
Parents, teachers and students across the Beverly and Mt. Greenwood neighborhoods marched in support of the Chicago Teachers Union strike.
Carrying signs, singing out chants and dressed in red shirts teachers, parents and supporters marched around public schools across Beverly and Mt. Greenwood Monday morning.
It was the first day of the Chicago Teachers Union strike and complaints about overcrowded classrooms, longer school days and a lack of needed resources dominated the list of grievances.
Marciano was one of dozens of parents who showed up at Mt. Greenwood and Beverly schools to stand in solidarity with their children's teachers. She stressed her belief that the strike is not just about money or compensation, but is instead about improving the quality of education her children receive.
She recounted a time when one of her children was in a classroom with more than 40 other students for more than month.
"I don't want them to be off, but it is worth it if in the end they are better off," Marciano said.
Peg Majka teaches third grade and is the union delegate for Kellogg Elementary School. She said her fellow teachers are eager to get back to work, but are willing to do what it takes for a better contract.
She said the union is working to get all students the instructional support they need.
"We don't need just a longer day, but a better day," Majka said.
Over at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences teachers, parents and students from area schools came together to form a long picket line down 111th Street.
Bridget Czubernat has two children in CPS, one attendats Cassell and the other Whitney Young. For her this is about supporting her children's teachers.
"We believe that they deserve to have a fair contract," she said.
The day's turnout was not surprising for Czubernat. As cars drove by honking their horns in support for the striking teachers she reflected on this area's connection to the strike.
"The 19th Ward is a very strong, loud and proud ward," Czubernat said.
Danielle Juracka is an art teacher at Cassell and the school's union delegate. She has been talking with her fellow teachers about a potential strike for months, but was still surprised when the official word came down. She says the community support has been extraordinary.
"We have had people dropping off coffee and doughnuts all day," Juracka said.
Lauren Byrnes is another Cassell teacher and shared a sentiment voiced by many parents and teachers throughout the day, a criticism focused on Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
"Our mayor is out of touch, he has no idea what goes on inside a classroom," Byrnes said.
Teachers outside of the Ag School say that only three students were taking advantage of the school's open facilities as part of the strike contingency plan. Attendance at other Chicago 'Children First' sites has been modest.
Teachers are planning a large rally at 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon in front of CPS headquarters.
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