Parents, teachers react to end of CTU strike - FOX 32 News Chicago

Parents, teachers pleased CPS kids are back in school

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A lot of smiles and looks of moments of relief from both parents and teachers came after the House of Delegates overwhelmingly voted in favor of calling off the strike.

"I'm excited, I'm happy, I'm glad they're going to be back in school," said George Pierce, a father of six children enrolled in Chicago Public Schools.

Pierce's children are all ready to return to the classroom after Chicago Teachers Union's seven day strike comes to an end.

"I'm glad it's over, the kids are happy too, I'm definitely happy so they'll be back tomorrow," said Pierce.

"It's good to hear, it's good to see kids going back to school finally and the teachers finally getting to an agreement that allows them to get off the streets, get them in a safer environment and get them back to learning," said Abdul Khawan, a Chicagoan.

News of the suspended strike hit at the height of rush hour as many parents were getting off work and anxiously waiting to know if students would return to school Wednesday.

"I know that they had a program that was going, until 2:30 or something but they really needed to be in the classroom," said Doritha Moore, a grandmother.

As news of the strike suspension trickled down, parents at a rally at Daley Plaza shifted focused - on classroom conditions.

"We're happy that the kids will be back in class but the bigger issue is what kind of schools are kids going back to... We want to talk about how do we get more quality schools in the communities that need them the most," said Jessica Smith, an organizer or New Schools for Chicago.

Adam Geisler, a 6th grade Social Sciences teacher at Bateman Elementary admits that he is still concerned about job security.

"Despite the small victory, we got a big fight ahead of ourselves because they're trying to close down the neighborhood schools and privatize on the cheap," Geisler says.

Despite some concerns, many teachers say they are eager and ready to return to class.

"I'm so excited to get back to school," says teacher Lawrence Balark. "It has been a long journey, but I think we've had a victory!"

Another teacher, Susan Ryan agrees. "I'm thrilled!" she says, fighting back tears. "Absolutely happy to go back to my kids tomorrow."

On its website, New Schools for Chicago says its mission is, "To radically improve outcomes for Chicago's children through public education. We do that by investing in excellence, driving innovation and promoting school choice."

The organization says despite a strike suspension, more work lies ahead.

"Even though the strike is over, but the continuing challenge that we have between the partnership of the parents, the student, the teacher and the administrator continues on," said Susana Sandoval, a mother of two Chicago Public Schools students.

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