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Parents split on strike; rallies held for/against teachers

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Even as Chicago Teachers Union delegates prepared to gather to possibly vote to end a strike which has lasted seven days, parents groups on both sides of the issue came out all over the city to make their voices heard.

"We want to let them know that whatever decision they are today on the proposed contract we're behind them," said Erica Clark, Parents for Teachers.

A so-called lunch-time rally at the Merchandise Mart where Loop-working Chicago Public Schools parents called on teachers to end the strike.

"I feel like right now it's a domestic dispute and our kids are in the middle," said Cynthia Bell, CPS parent.

"We've had our trust betrayed, the system is being run for the benefit of the adults and not the children in the system," said Steve Timble, CPS parent.

Meanwhile, outside of CPS headquarters, where teachers were still picketing this morning, parents took their message to CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard's office, attempting to hand deliver over 1,000 postcards they say contained the signatures of parents in support of striking teachers.

"I know our teachers' working conditions are our children's learning conditions. And actually it's a basis of trust," said Rhoda Rae Gutierrez, CPS parent.

In North Lawndale, parents and activists also came out in support of teachers, defending their decision to extend the strike by a couple of days rather than calling it off on Sunday, when the compromise agreement was finally reached.

"The contract was 180 pages. The teachers were given 23 pages of that 180 pages, which was not complete," said Wendi Pearson, Action Now activist. "No one with common sense should be able to sign something without knowing what it means."

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