Reporting Dorothy Tucker
CHICAGO (CBS) – Classes might be in session on Monday at Chicago’s charter schools, but they aren’t totally unaffected by the strike being staged by the Chicago Teachers Union.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports charter school kids and their non-union teachers find themselves caught in the middle on the first day of the teachers’ strike.
While also picketing at their own schools, union teachers formed picket lines at some charter schools that share facilities with traditional public schools, like the Englewood Campus of Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men.
Teachers and students headed to class at Urban Prep on Monday were greeted by chants of “stop the cuts” from about 30 teachers on the picket line outside the school.
Students like Andy Anderson didn’t mind. He was grateful to be going to school, but sorry his friends at traditional public schools didn’t have the same opportunity.
“They’re sitting at home, frying their brains. I think they should come to school and get to learn more, and get a good education, so they could all become lawyers and doctors,” he said.
Urban Prep CEO Tim King admitted it’s a challenge trying to keep 500 students focused in half of the building in Englewood, while the other half – TEAM Englewood Community Academy High School – is closed due to the strike.
“We understand both sides in this. We understand that there are differences that need to be worked out. We hope that they get worked out, but in the meantime, we’re going to be about our business of educating the young men of Urban Prep,” King said.
Non-union charter school teachers also had to cross the picket line outside Urban Prep on Monday. Striking union teachers argued their protest would also benefit charter school teachers.
“Charter schools are based on what public educators get, so if our contract gets busted, theirs is going to be even less,” said one teacher on the picket line outside Urban Prep.
About 20 charter schools in Chicago share facilities with traditional public schools, but most charter schools – about 100 of them – have their own buildings. All charter schools were open Monday, as their teachers are not union teachers, and are not on strike.