What did teachers union really gain from walkout?
CHICAGO – While Chicago’s teachers may have drawn national attention to their cause, it’s still unclear whether what was achieved at the bargaining table during a seven-day strike was worth the disruption to teachers, students and parents.
Ultimately, the strike gave the union a platform to voice its opposition to an education reform agenda that it believes undermines the power of organized labor, devalues the teaching profession and strips funding from needy public schools.
“On a big, international stage they put out the question of how you conceptualize what public education should be,” said Robert Bruno, professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois, Chicago. “From the teacher’s perspective, for the last two decades they have been on the losing end of the larger education reform effort. What the CTU managed to do is take their philosophy of what schools should look like into the public square.”
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