Striking teachers protest outside Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy on Wednesday, September 12.
Photo: Jonathan Messinger
I'd heard rumors that the liveliest picket lines in the massive Chicago Teachers Union protests were down in Little Village, so I headed down there this morning to check it out. Sprawling across the curve where Marshall Street turns into 24th Street, positioned between Spry Elementary School and Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy, a large, vocal, drumming contingent of Chicago school teachers greeted honks from passing cars with cheers. "You missed our jazz band on Monday," one teacher told me, but it was clear that the energy was still cranked to 11 when I showed up around 10am of day three. Special education teacher, Sarah Chambers, 26, told the assembled teachers that the district had taken the management clause—a controversial article in the contract offer that allowed the district to change the contract after approval—off the table. That's huge news for teachers, as a few told me yesterday at the downtown rally that the management clause was a non-starter.
Later, as the crowd moved to one of the three regional rallies (no massive downtown protest today), I asked Chambers—who serves on the union's executive board for contract negotiations—whether people should believe Mayor Rahm Emanuel or CTU president Karen Lewis. Emanuel has consistently claimed the two sides are only separated by two issues, wheread Lewis said yesterday that only six of the 48 articles had been agreed to. "There are still a lot of disagreements," says Chambers. "Things are progressing, and we're definitely winning articles that will benefit students and teachers, but there are still disagreements."