Chicago teachers' strike enters 10th school day

Striking teachers and supporters rally at the Lincoln Yards development site in Chicago Oct. 29 2019

Striking teachers and supporters rally at the Lincoln Yards development site in Chicago Oct. 29 2019

After huddling in private to review the tentative settlement for several hours, union leaders emerged to call on rank-and-file members to rally on Thursday to press their demand for extending the school calendar to offset days missed during the strike.

The district and the Chicago Teachers Union reported some progress late last week but talks stalled over the weekend.

Lightfoot said the union officials left her office without a deal.

The announcement came as the Chicago Public Schools district, the third-largest in the United States, issued a separate statement saying the strike would continue, with classes canceled again, for an 11th straight school day on Thursday. "We shouldn't have to work this hard - and we shouldn't have to strike - to get our students what they deserve".

Sharkey addressed a group of reporters Tuesday evening after the union's House of Delegates meeting.

"We made some movement to try to get a deal done and I was deeply disappointed that with that movement. they would not take the deal", she said during a news conference.

The union, which represents 25,000 teachers who have been without a contract since July 1, voted this month to go on strike if a deal was not reached.

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Chicago's 25,000 public school teachers want a pay increase along with smaller class sizes and more support staff.

"There is no justifiable reason that kids should be prevented from going back into class tomorrow because we refused to reduce the length of the school day or the length of the school year", she said.

A sticking point is teachers' demand for paid preparation time before classes begin, said LaTanya McDade, chief education officer for the district. But as they prepared to strike and set up picket lines, union officials and teachers more often spoke about reducing the size of classes and adding staff, including librarians, social workers and nurses.

The strike is the second-longest in a wave of teachers' strikes that played out across West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and California over the past few years, topped only by a three-week strike in June in Union City, California.

Elementary school teachers were guaranteed at least 15 minutes at the beginning of the school day under the contract that expired this summer.

"Chicago is one of the wealthiest cities in the world".

Details of the tentative agreement between the district and the Service Employees International Union have not been released.

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