For the first time in seven years, the Chicago Teachers Union is on strike. This work stoppage effects roughly 32,000 educators and 300,000 students. This obviously creates an inconvenience for parents as they scramble to find adequate care for their children while they’re out of the classroom. I feel for the student-athletes whose hard work and dedication may be in jeopardy as the playoffs are approaching.
If there is one unionized group I would never hesitate to support or demonstrate with, it teachers. I’m sure part of my immediate backing of educators stems from two places.
First, growing up my father didn’t mince words when it came to the role of teachers in the classroom and the respect he expected his children to give them.
Second, the fact I’ve been married to an amazing one for eighteen years. Knowing what my wife’s salary was, it quickly became obvious teachers aren’t in it for the money. The majority choose this profession because they love kids and what to make a difference in their lives. The beginning of every school year we set aside funds from our household budget to purchase supplies for her classroom. Many sacrifice their time before and after school, which is uncompensated, to help students who are struggling. Matter of fact, some teachers spend more time with students on a daily basis than their parents or guardians.
What I find most intriguing is what the teachers union is holding out for. While they are seeking reasonable salary raises, more importantly they desire nurses and counselors at every school. Education must be approached from a holistic perspective. The socio-emotional needs of children can disrupt their pursuit of academic excellence. A well-educated society is a healthier society.
I’m Joe Mitchell and that’s my perspective.