Sites, Sounds from the Chicago Teachers’ Strike

By Audrey Cheng and Jennifer Starrs

Emotions and rhertoric have been running high as CTU teachers and paraprofessionals formed picket lines, beginning early Monday and continuing Wednesday with no quick end in sight for the first schools strike since 1987. Teachers are pushing for a contract, better working conditions and more social workers in schools, amomg other issues – while administration officials are pressing for big curricular and testing changes, including a greater emphasis on programs like charter schools.  

Audrey Cheng and Jennifer Starrs are reporters for The Chicago Bureau. 

Widespread Worry in Chicago About Safety of Children as Strike Continues

Following another Chicago summer during which many youth were slain in gang or drug disputes, there was concern on both sides of the Chicago teachers’ strike this week about the safety of the children whose school doors have been shut during negotiations over a new contract. There was little patience and much anger leading up to, and following, the breakdown of talks late Sunday, which picked up again with the new week but so far have failed to stem the first strike here since 1987. That’s a quarter century of relative labor peace in a city where walkouts and the delay of the school year were regular. While remembering those union battles might stretch the memory of many Chicagoans, there’s little need to stretch the imagination about what might happen if minors are left unwatched or unsupervised as parents return to work. Consider: Through the first week of September, homicides in Chicago were up nearly 30 percent over last year to 366, and overall shooting incidents were up 10 percent.

Experts Weigh in on Report Detailing High Number of LGBT Homeless

CHICAGO – After the Williams Institute, True Colors Fund and the Palette Fund released a critical study on LGBT youth homelessness last month, Chicago-based experts have weighed in and offered reaction to the study’s findings that 40 percent of homeless youth identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender and many agencies designed to meet their needs have failed to adequately address pressing concerns. The study, conducted between October 2011 and March 2012, was designed to assess how homeless youth organizations provide services to LGBT youth. (See related story)

About 380 respondents from 354 agencies that serve homeless youth participated in the web-based survey. Overall, the study found that the current network of homeless youth providers “is not adequately addressing the needs of gay and transgender homeless youth,” according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. The survey showed about 30 percent of homeless using housing-related services—emergency shelters and transitional living programs—were LGBT.