How Chicago schools became an outlier in the latest COVID disruption – Chalkbeat Chicago
In the span of a few days, Chicago canceled classes just before midnight on a Tuesday evening, the teachers union chief called the mayor “relentlessly stupid,” and the mayor on national television bashed the union for “abandoning” students. Working parents scrambled for babysitters and dropped off children at “safe haven” sites for emergency child care.The return from winter break amid the omicron surge has severely tested school districts across the country, forcing them to grapple like never before with staffing shortages, glitchy testing programs, and spiking COVID case counts. In some cities — such as Oakland, where a teacher sickout closed some schools — the crisis is ratcheting up labor tensions.
“…Over the past decade, the Chicago Teachers Union has built a national reputation for flexing its muscle on a slew of issues, challenging the idea of unilateral decision-making in a mayoral control district and setting the tone for labor fights in other cities. It has also aimed to position itself as responsive to rank-and-file sentiment, and, says Jon Shelton, who studies labor unions at the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay, leaders were undoubtedly picking up on growing strain among educators.
“A lot of rank-and-file teachers feel devalued,” Shelton said. “They feel stressed. They feel they have been on the frontlines of keeping schools open.”
Source: How Chicago schools became an outlier in the latest COVID disruption – Chalkbeat Chicago