Chicago Teachers Union holds protest rally - FOX 32 News Chicago

Chicago Teachers Union holds protest rally

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Thousands of Chicago teachers gathered downtown Wednesday afternoon to send a message to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the school board.

"He stole your 4 percent raise. Then he cussed me out!" said CTU President Karen Lewis to a cheering crowd.

Lewis neglected to mention that, in that private meeting with the mayor, she, too, used foul language.

Among many other issues, teachers do not think raises should be merit-based; do not think cutting healthcare benefits is fair to their families; and think even entertaining the idea of making classes bigger than they already are is ludicrous.

Teachers also said that by only focusing on math and science, the good kids who do excel in writing or the arts will suffer.

Union leaders said more than 80 percent of their members think education in Chicago is headed in the wrong direction. But the union said they are not ready to vote on a strike - yet.

"The mayor's not right," said art teacher Willie Montfort. "We work hard every day. We work hard every day. He should come out and visit the schools."

The famously tart-tongued president of the union put on a rhetorical display that delighted her audience of activists. She mocked public schools' CEO Jean-Claude Brizard for his handsome good looks.

"The spokesmodel for Chicago Public Schools says that we are being aggressive," Lewis said.

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