Chicago Teachers Union Suspends Strike Against Charter School Network After Reaching Tentative Agreement

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) announced on Sunday that it will suspend its striking efforts after reaching a temporary agreement with a charter school network.

More than 500 teachers walked out of 15 schools associated with Acero Schools, one of Chicago’s largest charter school networks. The teacher strike, which started on Tuesday and continued into Friday, cancelled classes for more than 7,000 children.

The CTU’s strike demanded for increased salaries for educators, a sanctuary school policy that would protect illegal immigrant children from deportation, and smaller class sizes, according to Chalkbeat.

“Teachers and paraprofessionals will hold a rally and press conference at 1PM today at CTU headquarters to share more details about the tentative agreement, which aligns pay for educators and paraprofessionals with pay scales in CPS schools over the course of the agreement, reduces class and includes language in the contract that sets terms for sanctuary schools for students and families,” CTU said in a press release. (RELATED: Chicago Public Schools Receives More Than 600 Sexual Assault Complaints In One Semester)

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago offered free child care services for busy parents, though many did not take up the offer, Chalkbeat reported. It was unclear why many parents did not take up the offer.

Acero and 10 community partners also provided programming options for students. Between 150 and 200 students participated in the programs per day, an Acero spokesperson told TheDCNF over email. The spokesperson added that Acero covered the costs of child care facilities with fees.

“Some parents have made statements in support of Acero Schools, others have been vocal about their support for the teachers and critical of Acero Schools, including some who have joined in pickets,” the Acero spokesperson said.

Acero Schools CEO Richard Rodriguez previously said the strike was motivated by an “anti-charter political agenda,” in a letter sent to parents on Tuesday.

Acero filed complaints with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board and National Labor Relations Board on Friday to stop the strike, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Picketers allegedly offered alcohol to a school security guard in front of minors. Another allegation said a picketer threatened to call immigration officials to a parent who was bringing a child to school.

Teachers will be expected to be in school on Monday.

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