One-day strike is not the first time in the history of the Chicago Teachers Union that a one-day strike was deemed necessary to break a political logjam... Parents and children join picket lines all over Chicago despite media claims to the contrary before April 1...

Teachers and their supporters picketed in front of the looming Roberto Clemente High School at Division and Western in Chicago as part of the April 1, 2016 strike. Substance photo by Jean Schwab.More than once over the thousands of years of recorded history it's been said that those who do not know and understand history are doomed to repeat it, so perhaps it's even more true in Chicago, where distortions and lies about even the simplest historical facts have often been thrown into contention because those with the power to dictate "facts" have decided that the version offered by those who own America is also the Truth.

Despite the usual lamentations from editorial writers at Chicago's daily newspapers and some anti-union "news" stories featuring the tiny number of SCABs before the strike, by the end of picketing time in the morning of April 1, 2016, it was very clear that the action, the beginning of a long day, was a big success. Substance reporters began their day taking photographs at various points across Chicago, and at every school we visited there were many many pickets (as the photos accompanying this article show).

For the most part, parents and students were very supportive of the strike. (This reporter and his wife, a Steinmetz High School delegate, have two sons currently attending Chicago's public schools).

The final email to parents from "Chief Executive Officer" Forrest Claypool claimed that "contingency" plans were in place for all the children. Of course, Claypool's own children go to private schools, but...

March 31, 2016

Dear George,

While we know many families have already made plans for their students tomorrow, it's not too late to register for a contingency site using There you'll be able to search from over 250 contingency sites operated across the city by CPS and its partners where students will be supervised by trained staff.

Picketing outside of William H. Ray Elementary School in the Hyde Park neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, teachers, parents and students together sang the classic labor song “Solidarity Forever” on the morning of April 1, 2016. Substance photo by David R. Stone

Though regularly scheduled classes will not be held tomorrow due to the one-day strike by the Chicago Teachers Union, our priority remains to keep our students safe, fed, and engaged. Thank you for your continued support as we work to minimize challenges to all of our students.

Forrest Claypool, CEO

Janice Jackson, Chief Education Officer

As a matter of historical interest, as far back as any of the current members of the Chicago Teachers Union can remember, parents and children have always supported CTU strikes and the strikers. And, as usual in 2016 as much as it was in 1971 (this reporter's first strike), some in the corporate media claimed that the strike was "ill advised" or that real parents would not, or did not, support their children's teachers.

There has never been a time in Chicago public schools' history when real parents in large numbers opposed a CTU strike. At times, attempts by groups of "parents" to get media attention by bad-mouthing the union have been laughable. A few days into the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, for example, a tiny group of white people showed up outside the CTU's Merchandise Mart headquarters, claiming to speak for "parents" in opposition to the striking teachers. One of two members of the group (one of whom worked for The Wall Street Journal) actually were parents, while the remainder were apparently there to form the required "diversity" backdrop to the media event.

Earlier in the confrontations between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the CTU, Rahm's supporters actually hired and paid for protesters who appeared at a number of events, supposedly to support the longer school day and denounce the union for creating the shortest school day in American public education that year (2011). When the paid protesters were finally exposed (first by Substance in September 2011 and by January 2012 by others in the media), it had become clear to anyone paying attention that behind the well subsidized protests against the union and the teachers was Rahm Emanuel and the plutocracy he fronts for.

And so, as Rahm's negotiators stalled contract talks into the Spring of 2016 (after the contract had expired on July 1, 2015), there was still some residual attacks on the teachers and the union. But as this report is completed at noon on April 1, 2016, it is clear that once again, Chicago's ruling class's ploys have failed, just as they did in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1975, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 2012. The union busting and teacher bashing scripts attempted by Rahm Emanuel and the plutocracy are oldies - and they are not goodies.


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