The Talker: Were the teachers right to go on strike? - FOX 32 News Chicago

The Talker: Were the teachers right to go on strike?

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Chicago Teachers Union contract fight has more than 350,000 kids out of class and their parents out of sorts over what to do.

The thrust of the fight, though, is not salary. CPS is offering to raise the average teacher's pay 16% over the next four years and the teachers union indicates that's close to what it wants.

The sides are further away when it comes to health benefits. CPS wants to raise insurance rates for teachers on family plans. The biggest sticking point of that is job security.

There are two parts to that. First: teacher evaluations. They'll be used to determine which teachers keep their jobs and which ones are shown the door. CPS wants to include standardized test scores as a measure of teacher performance, but the union says, it would force them into teaching to the test rather than overall learning. They also say the playing field is not level because some students -- or in some cases, entire schools -- are at a disadvantage with standardized tests. Teachers say it's unfair to blame them for problems that stem from larger societal issues like poverty.

Part two of job security is what happens to teachers who get laid off when schools are closed. The union wants them to have priority in hiring at other schools--"recall." CPS prefers the teachers merely be "eligible" for rehiring, so it has more room for new applicants.

Mayor Emanuel says the sides are close enough, that the teachers should have delayed the strike.

"Since we were down to only two issues our request was, which was rejected, postpone the strike and continue to work thru the night, if not, beginning tomorrow morning to deal with the two remaining issues," Emanuel said. "This is a strike of choice and it's the wrong choice for our children. And it's not necessary…totally avoidable."

We did a non-scientific poll on the FOX Chicago News face book page. Out of 250 votes Monday night, 67% said they support the teachers' decision to strike. 33% said they do not support the strike.

What do you think about the strike? Sound off on our Facebook page.

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