Real Solidarity, Urgent CPS-CTU Collaboration Needed

Impasses, stalemates, and political standoffs have become all too common in the Chicago public school system. Both sides talk at each other and should do more to collaborate and put the best interest of the students.

Can the current CTU leadership's tactics lead to results that provide solidarity among its members and stand to benefit thousands of CPS students and their parents?

There is no question that education policy during a pandemic is complicated, but it is feasible to find solutions as other school districts have. It is disappointing that district leaders and CTU union bosses continue to have a hostile, confrontational, and ineffective relationship that brings little to no progress for the countless students that depend on both sides to find meaningful solutions.

It is time for both CPS and CTU to stop the incendiary rhetoric and other hardline tactics that lead to more gridlock instead of better educational opportunities. While negotiating a favorable position may require harsh political tactics, it should never come at the expense of the children who attend our schools and their parents.

Times have changed.

The time when Mayor Rahm Emmanuel closed dozens of schools has passed. These times call for opening classrooms and discussion about balancing safety and meaningful instruction that provides the flexibility for each school to have options for in-person, remote, or hybrid classes depending on school level circumstances.

While the CTU went on strike in 2019, the pandemic is a different time that begs for a balance of solid union demands and more collaboration between CTU leadership, CPS, Local School Councils, and Chicago parents.

Solidarity needs expansion and cooperation for all the school stakeholders. For that to happen, it may be necessary to rethink who is driving CTU decisions, rhetoric, and, most importantly, results. The next CTU President and other union leadership elections are in May 2022.

Chicago is the city that works.

For the sake of CPS students, their families, CPS teachers, and CTU members, let us hope union and district leadership can adjust with the times and make collaboration for solutions in this pandemic a reality.


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