CHICAGO (CBS) — Thousands of teachers shut down Loop streets circled City Hall and shut down Loop streets on Wednesday, the fifth school day of the Chicago teachers’ strike.
The sticking point is whether the “asks” coming from the Chicago Teachers Union, as well as the Chicago Public Schools, are reasonable. CBS 2’s Chris Tye showed us Wednesday whether the issue of nurses in every school is the norm or the exception.
With heels dug, and sixth canceled school day looming, remarks from union leadership about suburban comparisons caught our ears.
So for the moment – let’s examine the issue of school nurses. On the city’s side, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is promising a nurse in every school by 2024. On the union side, they say they want ways to measure, enforce, and file grievances if promises are not met.
CBS 2 reached out to some suburban districts to see if they have nursing language in their teacher contracts.
The East Aurora School District 151 has language in its contract calling for a nurse’s assistant in every school, but not a registered nurse.
The Joliet School District 86 has no contract language about nurses and does not have a nurse in every school.
In both Naperville and Orland Park, there is no nursing contract language, but there are nurses on all school campuses.
Around the country in cities of similar sizes to Chicago, it varies.
In Dallas, it is in the contract that there is a nurse on every school campus – often though, there is more than one school per campus.
In Philadelphia, the teachers’ contract has no nurse requirement language.
And in Los Angeles, the local teachers’ union’s newest deal guarantees a nurse in every school by 2021.
One teachers’ union in the Chicago area we spoke with said they use the state-required “nurse-to-student ratio” to determine care. The problem is there is no such ratio, according to the State Board of education.
In 2012, there was, according to the National Association of School Nurses. Illinois allowed one nurse for every 2,800 students.
That is 10 times more lax than Vermont, which required a nurse for every 275 students.