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Teacher Contract Impasse Could Leave Parents Caught In Crossfire

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Approximately 5,000 Chicago Public Schools teachers marched down Michigan Avenue on May 23, 2012, as a show of solidarity amid contract talks with the Emanuel administration. (Credit: CBS)

Approximately 5,000 Chicago Public Schools teachers marched down Michigan Avenue on May 23, 2012, as a show of solidarity amid contract talks with the Emanuel administration. (Credit: CBS)

Roseanne Tellez Roseanne Tellez
Roseanne Tellez is the co-anchor of CBS 2 Chicago′s midday News at...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Parents of kids at Chicago Public Schools have a huge stake in teacher contract talks, but no spot at the bargaining table; if there’s a strike, they’re left to wonder, “What will I do with my kids?”

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez spoke with parents around the city on Tuesday, including some at “Track E” schools, where students are entering the fourth week of classes. Parents at John B. Drake Elementary School in Bronzeville said a strike now would be especially disruptive for their kids.

After nearly a month of class, students at Drake already have many routines established for the school year, and so do their parents.

Drake parent Titus Kerby said, “It would be very disruptive, so I would suggest that the city and the board come together, and see that that don’t happen.”

Fellow Drake parent Tarynn Jackson said, “If they walk out now, then what? What are we going to do? You know, we have to work.”

On the North Side, at Augustus H. Burley Elementary School, parents are fed up as well.

“It will be a logistical nightmare, and a mess,” said Wendy Katten, co-founder of the community group “Raise Your Hand.”

In the event of a strike, the group plans to provide childcare options at their website.

“We’ll do what we can to help, if there is a strike. We hope that it doesn’t come to that. We hope they can work this out,” Katten said.

But ask who they support, and in a small sampling on Tuesday, most parents backed teachers in contract talks

“I think the teachers need what’s just due,” Kerby said.

“The mayor started the year off with some really negative sentiments about teachers,” Katten said. “We need some healing, some relationship building, some respect, and some change.”

CPS officials said Tuesday afternoon that they were close to finalizing plans for 144 sites where parents could drop off their kids in the event of a strike.

Parents would need to sign up for the programs online, or by phone. CPS officials said they’ll work hard to be sure all parents get the necessary information.

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