Advanced Placement


Chicago Public School teachers and students were back in classrooms Wednesday morning after union delegates voted Tuesday to end their seven-day strike. The union won a —including a provision that student test scores will count for no more than 30 percent of a teacher’s evaluation and another that will give teachers more pay for longer school days and years. The proposed contract should be finalized and approved in the coming weeks. By   , though, in its fight with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the union is emerging as the clear winner.

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 of the public’s   highly stratified between well-funded public magnet and private schools and crumbling, neighborhood-based schools—where  of public-school students are children of color, attend hyper-segregated schools, and 82 percent are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-cost lunch. Their efforts could  for teachers in other cities to organize in the same way.

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  for years under Mayor Richard M. Daley and former Chicago Public Schools CEO (now Secretary of Education) Arne Duncan—and strong relationships with community and parent organizations. While the teachers are legally  to striking over economic issues, Karen Lewis and the rest of the union’s leaders insisted from the beginning of the contract negotiations that their fight extended past what could be won in a contract.

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  closing 80 to 120 public schools and opening 60 charter schools in their stead, seen by many as a not-so-subtle scheme to weaken teachers unions and push privatization. Outside the union hall in an industrial district of Chinatown where delegates met, Kirstie Shanley, an occupational therapist at Walt Disney Magnet School, says the end of contract negotiations should lead to a quick shift in the mobilization to fight those closures.

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