Chicago teachers strikes in perspective: A mom and veteran of the 1980s Chicago strikes recalls how the pain led to real reform. Then it was about money; now it's about class size, standardized testing, charter schools, and teacher evaluation.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what is different about this strike, and I’m not sure that watching it from this parental angle is what makes it different. Two things have changed: In the 1990s, most of the issues were around salaries and benefits. And in those days parents were largely on the sidelines and the children were in the middle.
Today, both the teachers and the Chicago Board of Education say that it’s no longer about the money. It’s about class size, standardized testing, charter schools, and teacher evaluation. It’s about a steady stream of policies – from charter schools to more tests to abruptly shutting down schools without parent involvement. Parents understand gang boundaries; the suits downtown do not.