|My kind of town. Chicago|
Hi there!! It's B. A. Binns again, here with the Genre-Istas for September. (You know, back-to-school time)
|My alma mater|
Last month our city held the annual Bud Biliken Day parade. It's a giant, open-air, back-to-school celebration. Parents and kids were happy. They wanted to head back to school. Kids want to learn. Student athletes, artists, performers, all want to be there displaying their talents. Seniors want to prepare for college. The summer break was fun, but most kids understand a little thing called a future. They want to be in school.
But they can't. The Chicago Teachers Union declared a strike that started on Monday.
I write for Young Adults. Most of my stories are set in Chicago, in a made-up school on the south side. My teachers and students are as real as I can make them. I care about kids of all ages. I raised a daughter, and watched many nieces and nephews grow up. I know the union and the board of education have differences. But these kids belong in school. And the ones trying to get to the safe havens the city has set up should not have to cross a picket-line first.
I am not anti-teacher. My sister teaches in the Chicago school system. One of my greatest joys is visiting schools and talking to students. Really, call me and I will happily set something up because I visit schools all the time. But I am not ambivalent about this strike, I think it's wrong. It will hurt much more than it will help. And it's hurting the most powerless people on the totem pole. Statistics say that 350,000 students are out of school, apparently for the foreseeable future
|Concerned grade school parents |
From what I hear, the two major sticking points appear to be teacher job evaluations and re-hiring laid-off teachers when new positions open up. Come on union and board, surely you can keep working to resolve those issues AND keep working in the classroom to help the students and their parents. Show the kids that you really do love and respect them and continue to teach while you negotiate. Be like doctors: First, do no harm.
The teachers union says teachers love their students. This strike is supposed to help show that love. Teacher's say they are striking for the students. They insist the kids will understand that their teachers are striking to get the kids a better education, not just for their own job security.
I'm sorry. I'm an adult, and I don't understand. And I can see kids saying how can this be love? Can anyone explain this to me? Or explain how the seven-year-old who wanted to spend time with his or her new teacher and impress them with their skill will benefit from the extra "vacation" so they have time to forget even more?