Friday, September 14, 2012

CPS Teachers, Parents, Supporters Line Archer Avenue in a Show of Solidarity

Several hundred red-shirted Chicago Public Schools teachers, parents and other supporters lined a mile-long stretch of Archer Avenue (Narragansett to Harlem) on Friday morning to show solidarity and rally public support for their cause in contract negotiations with the Emanuel Administration.

The Southwest Chicago Post attempted to interview several striking teachers along the route, and it was a challenge to get good audio due to the frequent noise of car and truck horns from supporters driving by on Archer.

In the hour we were there, we heard only one negative comment from a passing motorist, who yelled at the top of his lungs, "I hope you all lose your jobs!" To their credit, the teachers who heard him took the high road and kept it classy, responding with smiles and waves.

Aside from that, motorists in vehicles of all types were honking their horns in support---private autos and vans, a tricked-out yellow hot rod, a white stretch limousine, CTA buses, tradesmen in pickup trucks, local delivery trucks and vans, huge 18-wheeler tractor/trailers, city garbage trucks, and other city vehicles.

While the mood of most demonstrators was energetic and upbeat, they were quick to caution against misinterpretation. "I did not become a teacher so I could walk a picket line. I want to be in the classroom where I belong, teaching, just like everyone else here," one teacher told us. "The reason we're smiling today is because it feels good to be out here standing up for ourselves, standing up for the children we are privileged to teach, standing up for everyone---and standing against the privatization of public education, standing against those whose actions would short-change Chicago's children."

A lighter moment at the demonstration.
Other teachers we spoke with expressed disappointment and anger with what they say is the biased and unfair way that much of the downtown news media is covering the strike. They were in agreement that all Chicagoans should check in frequently with the Chicago Teachers Union website: keep abreast of the union's position, directly from the union, without the filter of the news media.

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  1. Why are the signs in photo #1 in spanish?

  2. Because the parents of many students speak Spanish. My great-grandparents never really learned English, only speaking German. Unless you are of pure English heritage it is highly likely that your first wave immigrant ancestors never fully mastered English. Teachers are trying to communicate with parents and the community, not push a political agenda.

  3. Way to go, Heide!!!!