Reporting Derrick Blakley
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CHICAGO (CBS) – While teachers at Chicago Public Schools have drawn plenty of support from parents as they stage the city’s first school strike in 25 years, not all parents were supporting the teachers’ decision to walk out.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, whether parents support or oppose the strike, they’re hoping for a quick resolution so kids can get back to school.
As teachers and their supporters were picketing outside hundreds of public schools – then later gathering for a massive rally outside CPS headquarters and City Hall – one family was expressing its outrage in a small protest on a South Shore street corner.
“There is no contract greater than our children’s future,” Leon Alexander shouted as he stood with his wife and three kids, holding up protest signs as they voiced their extreme displeasure with the strike.
Alexander held up a sign reading “What About The Children? Your Job Is In The Classroom,” while one of his kids held up a sign reading, “It Is Time To Break The Back Of The Dinosaur Of The CTU.”
“I understand the teachers’ concerns, and I’m with them with their concerns, Alexander said. “I draw the line, again, at the fact that they’re taking our children and [saying] ‘Okay, I’m going to use him to get what I want.’ They can’t do that no more.”
At the South Side YMCA, it was all play, no protest on Monday. The YMCA was providing alternative activities for students, paid for by parents.
Sherrie Medina, spokeswoman for YMCA of Greater Chicago, said, “We have had some families, but we still, currently, at our nine sites, have open spots.”
Former CPS teacher Clyde Partner, who endured three teachers’ strikes, brought his son Dyan to Chase Park in the Ravenswood neighborhood for the day. He backs the striking teachers.
“Teachers are working very hard. I think 95 percent of them deserve a raise,” he said.
But working parents picking their kids up from Chase Park’s strike day camp were hoping the camp won’t be needed for long.
CPS parent Ian Halpin said, “I obviously hope it gets resolved as quick as possible for both sides.”
Another CPS parent said, “I think teachers are going to lose a lot of sympathy if it goes on too long.”
Contract talks resumed around midday Monday, but there had been no word about the progress of talks as of late Monday afternoon.