Reporting Susanna Song
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UPDATED 09/07/12 5:09 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — If Chicago Public Schools teachers go on strike, how will it affect their families?
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, a CPS representative said Friday that talks are going well, and officials are optimistic that a looming strike on Monday can be averted. And the Chicago Teachers Union released a statement saying, “contract talks remain hopeful, but strike plans continue.”
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports
Still, no agreement has been reached, and if the strike does go ahead, there is no doubt that the children will feel the most impact.
Bacon was sizzling at Sonia Jones’ home Friday morning, and the kids were up and ready to eat. Jones knows a good breakfast is just what her children need to be good students.
But now, Jones is worried they may not even get to learn, come Monday.
“The things that they learned, they could forget,” Jones said. “If they forget those things, like, we have to start all over, and some kids cannot handle starting all over.”
Jones’ daughter, Ladajaha Williams, is a junior at Tilden High School, 4747 S. Union Ave., and says she has been learning a lot just since the school year started. She is dreading the prospect of a possible strike.
“I’m going to miss all of my friends; all of the teachers,” she said.
As Williams headed to the bus stop, she shared her dream is to be a chef one day.
“Without education, you have nothing,” she said.
She says even missing one day because the teachers and the district cannot come to an agreement would hurt her, at least “a little bit.”
Williams knows college is near, and every class she can excel in will help her get there.
“I go to school every day, and I go to class every day on time,” Williams said. “And I’d be happy to go to school just to learn.”
Back at home, Jones’ hands are full, juggling a ton of responsibilities including helping out with homework.
If classes are cancelled Monday because of the strike, she’s not sure what to do.
“I know me and my husband work every day,” she said. “We don’t want take off work to have to find a babysitter or sit at home with our kids, and we really don’t have a, really, backup plan.”
Jones is hardly the only mother hoping a contract deal is reached before Sunday night.
“I think there should be school,” said Tilden Academy parent Novella Rockett. “Our kids need their education.”
And if there is a strike?
“I hope the strike is not for a long time,” Williams said, adding that she would miss her favorite teachers.
Her message to both sides of the bargaining table was, “Try your best; work hard.”
Some Parents Rearranging Schedules In Hyde Park, Kenwood
In the Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods a couple of miles southeast, many homes sported signs supporting the strike.
But CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman reports parents still had to make plans in the evne of a strike Monday. At Murray Language Academy, 5335 S. Kenwood Ave., some parents said they had decided to keep their kids home and were reworking their own schedules.
“Rearranging work schedules for my wife at this point,” said Paul Beene, a Murray Language Academy parent. “Basically, with her being home, it’s kind of difficult. It’s going to be difficult. But we’ll always figure out something and work it out.”
Mr. Adams, a parent at Ray Elementary School, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., added: “If he misses a week, even two weeks, I don’t think it’s the end of the world. We’ve pretty much operated on the assumption that there was going to be a strike for about a week.”
Some high school students at nearby Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., say despite starting school just this week, they plan to use their time off to shop, babysit and sleep in.
“We’re going to have to make up these days later, so it’s ultimately affecting us, not really them,” one student said. “They get what they want, and we have to kind of suffer.”
If teachers go through with the strike, the CPS system will offer a half-day program that runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., which will keep 144 schools open. Breakfast and lunch will be served to help ease the burden for those parents who don’t have an alternative.
CPS staff are encouraging parents to sign their children up as soon as possible.