For starters, Chicago is the nation's third largest school district with approximately 350,000 students who have been sidelined for the past five school days while the teachers have been on strike.
If this were a boxing match, the bout might be summarized like this:
Big-pictures issues at play:
- What role will unions continue to play in this country? See, e.g., Wisconsin.
- What political influence will *union support* have on the presidential campaign.
This strike has been described by some as "a symbol of hope for public teachers and other unions that have been losing ground around the nation." (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/negotiators-reach-framework-to-end-chicago-teachers-strike-classes-could-resume-monday/2012/09/14/bb3fa52c-fed3-11e1-98c6-ec0a0a93f8eb_story.html).
Issues to be resolved during these negotiations include:
- Teacher evaluations
- Standardized testing
- Automatic re-hiring
- The rights of laid off teachers and the benefits to which they are entitled
- Principal responsibilities
Although deal proposals have been made and meetings have been held, with a hope that Chicago students will return to school on Monday, it appears that no deal has yet been reached. But we will be watching this one closely.
P.S. (September 27, 2012) - Although the strike is over, questions abound regarding how Chicago will deal with the financial implications of the agreement reached with the Teachers' Union: