CHICAGO (CBS) — Striking teachers showed up by the thousands on Wednesday, for a trio of rallies at three Chicago Public Schools buildings.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports there was a sea of teachers and supporters wearing red shirts, and waving picket signs outside John Marshall Metropolitan High School. The Chicago Teachers Union has been on strike since Monday, with no deal in sight to end the walkout.
There was plenty of animosity toward Mayor Rahm Emanuel as protesters marched, sang, chanted and banged on drums.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
Teachers chanted “Hey Rahm, we’re no fools, we won’t let you ruin our schools,” as they marched outside the West Side high school.
“I think that there would not have been any personal animosity had he not made it personal,” one teacher said. “The minute you make it personal, and talk about our kids … when your child is not being educated by CPS, when you make it personal towards us, then you’re going to get some backlash.”
Teachers described the mayor as a bully, and said he has the power to bring the strike to an end by giving teachers a fair deal.
“He’s not on the teachers’ side, that’s for sure,” one woman in the crowd said.
Teachers and their supporters also rallied outside Dyett High School and Thomas Kelly High School on Wednesday.
Rumors swirled at Wednesday’s teachers’ rallies that Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard had resigned, but he sent an email to CPS staff Wednesday afternoon, stating “the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”
“The fact that I am writing to you directly means that the report is a lie and is meant to distract you. I am deeply committed to the students of Chicago, and to the work of ensuring that they get a world-class education,” he wrote. “I have been in urban education for more than 26 years and I would never abandon my post, especially during a crisis. Please stay focused and keep the faith. See you soon.”
Brizard also appeared at a roundtable discussion with CPS principals Wednesday afternoon at Roberto Clemente Academy Community High School, to discuss issues at the bargaining table, including a new teacher evaluation system and guidelines for recalling laid off teachers.